“Oh my. This can't be happening to me,” cried Mary Henderson.
“The kids are driving me mad. They want money for this. For that. Money, money, money.” She clenched her fists. Raised them angrily into space. Her face contorted with rage. And worry. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
Mary Henderson made a sad picture. She sat on a shabby couch in the untidy room. Mary was thirty-six but looked a lot older. Her hair hung untidy around her face. Clothes she wore were faded from too much wear. Mary, a person who provided for her family before she considered buying anything for herself. Her brown eyes sad from all her years of worry.
The family consisted of four teenage daughters. Mary's husband had died. The girls where nearing the age where they wanted what they wanted, yesterday. No tomorrow. Wanted go go everywhere. Wanted lots of money for clothes. Thought she should buy them a car. The girls had no consideration for anyone but themselves.
The pension didn't cover the kind of items for growing teenagers. The money did a vanishing trick. If she didn't have a small amount put aside for emergencies the family would have gone without the basic needs. She was lucky she didn't have a mountain of bills to pay. She made the money stretch to their basic needs.
Now. The troubles seemed to be multiplying at an excessive rate. Some of the girls wanted money handed to them when ever they wanted it. One wanted money to go to college. Another wanted money to go for a trip to America as an exchange student. The third wanted to be an air steward. The youngest wanted to be an actress when she left school.
The latest argument over money left Mary distraught.
The girls think the money grows on trees, thought Mary. But, as yet, she hadn't found such a tree. Money I do have the girls believe it is theirs to spend.
“Why can't you give me the money,” snapped Sue. “I'm saving for all the other expenditures. Why can't you give me five thousand dollars?”
“I can't. I don't have that much. The bit of money I have invested can't be touched for another three years,” Mary explained.
“Why so long?”
“Because the money is in a trust account.”
“How long has it been there,” bitched Sue.
“Not quite a year.”
“But I want it, now,” wailed Sue.
“I'm afraid you will have to raise the money by holding street stalls. Or cent sales.”
“The committee won't allow me to raise the money,” snapped Sue.
“Then why don't you find me a millionaire. We won't have to worry about money, any more,” joked Mary.
A few weeks later, Mary was out in the backyard dressed in her shabby clothes wearing a large hat. She was saturated with perspiration. A small towel hung around her neck to wipe the perspiration from her face. The heat wringing more fluid from her body than she had drank to quench her thirst. Dirt, and grass, covered her sweaty shins, and feet. Her feet green, and dirty, from walking on the freshly mown grass.
Tired. And sticky. Mary neared the end of mowing the big yard around the house. Her legs shook from so much walking in the scorching heat. Her head down watching where she was going. A shadow fell across the strip she mowed. The last strip. Looking up. Mary stared into the face of a well dressed stranger. His eyes held anger. With a swift movement of his hand he turned off the mower.
The stranger was tall. Slender with powerful muscles which showed with the movement of his body. His complexion beautifully tanned and his dark hair neatly trimmed. He had sparkling green eyes which grew darker with his anger. A man who respected a woman. Someone who'd not let a woman do the mowing. He'd have the work done for her. Not expect her to do all the hard work. But all was lost on Mary. She became angry with him for stopping her from finishing her work. Her whole body ached from all the work, now, she had stopped.
Angry eyes clashed. Each stared at the other. Mary clenched her dirty hands. She placed the fists on her hips. Who does he think he is, ran through her mind.
Amusement flickered in his eyes at her anger blazing at him. No one had ever been game enough to show their displeasure at his actions. Or decisions. Before today. He was always right.
“Who do you think you are,” stormed Mary. “I was nearly finished mowing the lawn.”
“By and chance, would you be Mary Henderson.”
“Who wants to know,” snapped Mary.
“Dennis Murphy. I'm here to talk to Mary Henderson.”
Reaching into his trouser pocket he produced a cutting from a newspaper. He handed it to Mary to read.
Mary took the paper. She read it. The article stated: Woman thirty-six wants to meet a millionaire with interest in marriage. She has four teenage daughters who are costly to keep. Future husband must have plenty of money. Wants to be part of a large family. Contact Mary Henderson, Range Road, Cairns.
Dennis watched her skin pale beneath the grime on her face. She gasped in horror. He removed the offending piece of parer from her shaking fingers. She turned to walk away. She sat on the step before her legs collapsed. She hid her face of shame in her hands.
How could they.
A voice which seemed miles away finally reached her shocked brain. “I gather from your reaction, you didn't know about this notice. So, you are Mary Henderson.”
“Yes,” whispered Mary.
“You didn't place this add,” Dennis persisted.
“You do have four daughters?”
“You are trying to raise them on your own?”
“Do you know who put this add in the paper?”
“One. Or all. Of my daughters.”
Mary went on to explain her daughter had been complaining about money. Or lack there of. They wanted to buy things they believed were necessary to them. How she had told them to find her a millionaire, in a joke, when they had pushed the wrong buttons. It was only a joke. “I didn't think the girls would take me, literally.”
“Can we discuss the future. Over dinner,” suggested Dennis.
“Before. Or after. I strangle my daughters,” said Mary.
“Before. I'll call for you at eight. Will that give you enough time to be ready?” Dennis waited for her reply.
“No,” said Mary, through clenched teeth.
“Won't dine with me?” Dennis curious by her reaction. Usually, women fought with each other to be seen out with him.
“The 'No' is about being collected. I agree to meet you, there. I won't be collected.”
“Why. What do you thin I'll do?”
“I prefer my own transport. That way. I'll be sure I make home.”
“You don't trust me to return you, home.”
“You can say, that.”
With a sigh, Dennis told Mary where to meet him. What time to be there. He knew he had no chance of changing her mind. Someone must had put the distrust in her.
Mary watched Dennis walk out of the yard to his chauffeur driven car. She had just noticed the car parked at the side of the street.
Mary walked into the restaurant with subdue lighting. Candles were placed on every table. The candles were placed in bowls of water among floating flowers.
Dennis was seated at a table enclosed with potted plants. He'd been thinking Mary wouldn't come to the dinner. She was slightly late. She was reasonably dressed for the occasion. Marriage to Mary might keep all the gold diggers away from him, flashed through his mind. With Mary, he knew what he was getting. He'd have a ready made family which he hadn't been able to produce. His life was lonely once all the glitter of the parties were over.
He stared at Mary. She stood a few feet from his table. She was unsure what to do next. Mary hadn't been on a date for a very long time. Did she pull out the chair, and sit. Did she have to wait for Dennis to pull out the chair. What was she doing meeting a strange man. Before he had a chance to move, Mary rushed forward. She pulled out the chair to sit before she changed her mind. Her feet wanted to rush from the restaurant.
“You thought I wouldn't come.”
“Ah. Yes,” Dennis replied. He shook his head at the picture of the woman he'd seen earlier. A different woman sat on the chair. Reaching across the table with his hand he ran his finger down her cheek.
Mary pulled back from the contact of his fingers. “What was that for. Checking to see if I'd washed my face?”
:No. Just to see if you were real.”
“Are the girls still alive,” Dennis asked. Mary nodded. “Do they know who you are having dinner with?”
Mary went on to explain she hadn't told them about Dennis. Or their dinner date. They girls thought she was attending a meeting. What was the use of telling them. There wasn't anything to this, date. This was just a dinner. The two of them wouldn't be seeing each other after tonight. Why build up their hopes. She didn't want to disappoint them when nothing came from the meeting.
“When are you going to tell them about us,” Dennis asked, slightly piqued she didn't seem to want to rush him to the alter. What did she find lacking in him.
“What was I to tell them. Some guy turned up on my door steep wanting to marry me. I didn't mention you. Or the add.”
Dennis frowned. He didn't understand her reluctant manner. Why was she not falling at his feet to gain his attention.
“Is there some reason you don't want to marry me?”
“Why do you want to marry me. I'm not prize.”
Dennis went on to explain he needed to be married. He'd been looking for someone who wanted him for himself. Didn't want someone who only want his money. To be told they loved him but all they saw were dollar signs. He'd seen too much of that type of love over the years. With this situation, He knew what to expect. There wouldn't be any pretence.
A few months later. After a short courtship. Mary, and Dennis, were being married in a small church.
“Where did you find Dennis,” asked Mary's daughter, Sue. They were getting ready to walk into the church.
“Oh. I forgot to thank you,” replied Mary, trying to keep a straight face.
“Thank us for what,” came a worried squeak from all the girls. Had they pushed their mother, too hard.
“Dennis answered the add you placed in the paper.”
Mary walked away leaving four shocked faces behind her.
Another few to go to finish re-editing. I can start new stories. Or finish one I have left to put hard copy on the computer to get rid of some papers in the file. When finished, I'll place the file in my cloud box for safety. I'll be able to find it if the computer dies in the future. Or a virus find in to wipe out my work.
Hope you enjoy the story.