Monday, April 30, 2012
Epilogue page 2
“Evangeline Fredericko you are hereby given one hundred thousand dollars,” Evangeline gasped and covered her mouth in surprise, “Eva, my saucy friend, you are by far one of my favorite people in Sunset Valley. I enjoy our shopping trips. Thank you for being here for me and keeping my dirty little secret. Men like me have few friends, real friends that we can trust. I have a favor to ask, last one I promise. Eva, take care of my Jenson. He has a tough exterior, but even if he won’t say it, he needs me as much as I need him.” Evangeline glanced over at Jenson just as he discreetly wiped a stray tear.
“There is one more person that I wish to speak to.” Peter combed his fingers through his hair and hesitated to continue. “Cecil…” Everyone turned their attention briefly to the two at the opposite end of the table. The woman sitting was dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief and Cecil was standing behind her chair gripping it so hard his knuckles had turned white.
“Rhetta took a chance when she hired you at such a young age and allowing you in my home. I admit I was against the idea at first, but there was just something about you even then. Something about your eyes and I allowed you to stay. You have never let me down. You have never disappointed me… that is, until I found out your secret.” Again every head in the room turned to stare at Cecil, except for Odette. Cecil’s usual calm manner was gone, silent tears had taken its place.
“If by the time of my death, the truth has not come out… well, it is about to. No more hiding. Be the person you were born to be. Be the person I know you can be. I have loved you from the moment you told me the truth. I only wish I knew sooner.”
“Oh, sorry, I was looking for… Cecil?” Peter walked into the room closing the door behind him. He stared in stunned disbelief at the person crumpled in the middle of the room wearing a camisole and boxer briefs frantically wiping at her tears with the palm of her hands.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” Cecil tried to stand and staggered blindly. Peter caught her as she was about to fall over, helping her into a chair.
“I, um…” Peter scratched his head. “I’m officially stumped. You’re…”
“Not a guy,” Cecil shrugged a shoulder weakly and stared at the paper in her hand. “I need to tell you something and I…”
Peter calmly took a seat in the armchair, his gaze firmly on the person trying to control her sobbing and doing a poor job of it. “Yes, you need to tell me what the fuck is going on before I decide your fate. Lying to me is bad. Lying to me while living in my home for the past four and a half years is very bad for your well being. So talk, talk fast and make each word count.”
Pacing unsteadily she began, “My name isn’t Cecil. It’s Celina, Celina Jonahs.” She watched as Peter’s eyebrow quirked at her last name. “I grew up not knowing my father. My mother wouldn’t tell me who he was. I would ask and she would say, ‘I’ll tell you when you’re older’. When I turned eighteen, she relented and finally told me his name. You see, my birth certificate doesn’t have a father listed, it just says unknown, so I had to get proof or it was just her word. I’ve been debating for a few years if I really wanted to know if it’s true or not and finally I got the money saved up for the test and…” she took a deep breath, “today I got the results.”
Celina handed him the paper she was holding so tightly it crumpled. “My mother is Aemilia Jonahs, my father is Peter Hamilton.”
“Aemilia…” Peter’s eyes scanned the results of the DNA testing while the impact slowly sunk in. “You didn’t use my blood…”
“Hair follicles. I’m sorry this whole thing was handled so underhanded. I wanted to know if you really could be my father and I knew if I just came knocking on the door you’d throw me out thinking I was just after your money. Mom said she didn’t know your last name until years later.” Celina swiped at her eyes again. “She also said she never told you about me.”
“No, she never did.” Peter stared at Celina. “You have her eyes.” Celina bit her quivering lip and he sets the paper down on the coffee table. “So what happens now?”
“You let me keep working here?” Celina winced when he laughs, hard, abrupt and loud.
“You want to continue working for me? Why?” Peter watched her carefully.
Celina stared at her hands, “I just want to get to know you, who you are, what makes you tick. I’ve always dreamed of having a father. Now I have one and well…” She started pacing again. “You’re pretty fascinating and super intimidating.” Her head snapped up when he got out of his chair.
Peter stepped over to her and pulled her into a bear hug. Celina buried her face into his chest, clinging to him. “I have another daughter. You’re my first born.” He chuckled and she looked up at him confused. “Dennis is not going to like that.”
“He’s his father’s son, he’ll adapt.” Celina laid her cheek on his chest. “Nothing has to change. I actually enjoy my work. I like taking care of the family, cooking for everyone. Did you know I didn’t even know how to cook when I first got here?”
“Yes,” he snorted, “Rhetta mentioned it. She said you burned the soup.” He laid his cheek on her head. “How do you burn soup?”
“Put the pot on the stove and forget you did it.” Celina grinned. “It’s not funny.” His whole body was rocking with his laughter. “I really don’t want things to change. Your wife scares me. Please, we don’t have to tell her. Do we?”
“One day we will have to tell her. One day I’d like you to be able to tell the world.” Peter felt her trembling in his embrace. “Once you get used to the idea of being a Hamilton. I admit it can be overwhelming.”
Peter cleared his throat. “Right, you already know this.” He waved a dismissive hand. “Bottom line time, and here it is. You’re fired. I won’t have you working for Zania. She already thinks we’re having an affair. The thought is horrifying, I know. I thought I was going to be sick when she accused me, but I kept your secret and allowed her to continue in her beliefs. I mentioned the bank accounts for my children. That includes you, my first born.”
Immediate reactions ranged from a gasp from Tatiana, an outburst from Dennis and a sob from Celina. “From the moment you told me, I wanted you to join the family, but you hesitated. Being a Hamilton, being my child, that takes some getting used to I suppose. You had your reasons to remain unknown and I honored your wishes. Now it is time to honor mine.
“We have talked for the past six months and the one thing that has come up more often than not is what you want to do with your life and, my dear child, it is time. You have the means now, Celina. Go to school, be a chef. Stop hiding in my backyard. Life is passing you by and by the Gods woman, you’re a Hamilton. It is time you live up to that.
“There is a stipulation on your account. You need to legally change your last name to Hamilton. This is important to me. You are my daughter, you are a Hamilton. I want everyone to know. Besides, your account is in the name of Celina Hamilton so if you want it… well, you know what you have to do.”
Celina chuckled and shook her head. “He always gets his way.”
“There’s one more thing, Celina. There’s this building down by the beach. I’m sure you know the one. We’ve talked about it enough times. The one that over looks the beach; not too far from town, not too close, the one that would be the ideal place for a restaurant.
“The building and the land it sits on belongs to Hamilton Industries. I bought it yesterday.” He smiled genuinely, eyes lighting up reflecting his happiness. “It is yours, Celina. Make it what you want, tear down the building, build a new one, remodel that one, it doesn’t matter. The land is yours, the building is yours.
“You would not believe the hoops that man tried to make me jump through. I suppose he didn’t care who I was. Rather foolish of him. I was willing to be generous until the bastard tried to get greedy.” Peter’s eyes glinted like steel. “Anyhow, live your dream and… well…
“There is one last thing I would ask of you.” Peter dropped his gaze and frowned. “When I asked about your mother, you mentioned she is married.” He smirked at the camera, “happily. You wouldn’t tell me where she is, so I hired someone to find her.” He took a calming breath.
“I know you said she has a good husband, but I had to know. I had to make sure.” He shrugged a shoulder, “you might not want to tell her I had him investigated. You’re right. He is good to her.” The woman beside Celina shook her head slowly.
“Please, just tell Aemilia that I love her. I never stopped loving her. In my safety deposit box, along with Tiana’s trinkets there is a ring, a modest little thing that I bought years ago. Back before she knew my last name, back when we were just Aemilia and Pete. Take it to her and tell her…” Celina set a comforting hand on her mother’s shoulder as quiet tears fall from Aemilia’s eyes. He looks at the camera with pleading eyes. “Tell her I’m sorry.”