The shock of Elinor's death hit me quite hard. Harder than it did Luke I think. He was upset of course, how couldn't he be at the death of his mother? But it was controlled, hidden behind a mask of indifference. Luke pretended he hated his mother, but he doesn't. Well didn't, he loved her because even with all her faults and all their issues, she would always be his Mother. It hit me harder I think because I had seen her a lot more recently, two weeks ago in fact. She had been staying in London for the last couple of years so me and Minnie visited her quite often. I had grown to like Elinor a lot. She was a brilliant woman, she could get anything done, and as much as she hid it she was a very vulnerable, lonely old woman. Luke on the other hand hadn't seen Elinor for four years, since just after Annabel's death.
Two weeks ago when we had met up, she had seemed fine. Paler than ever and looking more frail; but she appeared well. She didn't seem like she was about to drop dead. I was torn up inside, I wanted to cry because I did care for her, quite a lot actually. But not yet, Luke didn't understand. He couldn't before Eleanor didn't want him too.
But now, now I could tell his the biggest secret I ever kept from him, something I have kept for five years. Something that would anger him, he would shout at me. He would blame me.
I was terrified.
His stony face would slam down, he would swear. But I had to tell him, I promised myself that he would know one day, and Elinor is dead. He needs to know that she loved him, in her own cold hearted way. He has to know what she did for him.
Four years ago, Elinor paid for Luke's birthday party. But that doesn't give it justice, it was mind blowing. It made Luke happier than he had been in years, and I was never allowed to tell him who was behind it. Who made it happen.
Now I would.
'Luke' I stumbled hesitantly as he walked into the kitchen 'I want to talk about Elinor.' That's it, I've said. Oh dear god I said it.
'I know you never liked her.' He sighed while he made himself a black coffee, to busy myself I put our ready meal into the oven and set the timer.
'I need you to listen, Luke.' I said quickly. 'Four years ago, Elinor asked to see Minnie and I couldn't say no.'
'What! You know how I fucking felt about her!' He raged.
'I know. But please Luke' I bit my lip 'please listen.' He nodded his assent. 'It was when I was planning your party, she asked to see Minnie and at first I wanted to say no, but I thought just once wouldn't hurt. But Minnie loved seeing Elinor, and Eleanor liked to spend time with Minnie. I didn't want Minnie to grow up resenting me because she didn't know her grandmother, like you didn't know your mother. I couldn't plan your party, not on my own. I'd lost my job; Suze wouldn't talk to me. No one believed I could do it. I broke down in front of Elinor, and she offered to help. At first I refused I knew how furious you would be, but she offered again. Said I refused too hastily, she promised that you would never know, she would do it silently.'
'She agreed to that.' He said disbelieving, but at least he wasn't shouting- I had no doubt he would eventually.
'Yes, I told her that Annabel loved you unconditionally. She didn't expect anything in return for what she gave you. She loved you. I told Elinor how much she meant to you, I don't think she understood before. She said she wanted to do this, in her words something your real mother would do.' I paused blinking heavily. 'Elinor did it for you, no condition. She just wanted to see you happy, I think. I wish you could have seen her. She looked so broken when she had to sneak away. I wanted to tell you, she made me promise. But I promised myself, that I'd tell you one day.'
'Did you see her again.' He said slowly, he wants me to say no. That I only went behind his back then. But I can't lie to him, he has to know.
'We stayed in contact, updates about Minnie and we met up when we could. I know you don't want to hear it, but I think she was trying to make it up to you and she did love Minnie.'
'You lied to me.'
'For over four years.'
'How can I ever trust you again, when you went behind my back? Then you lied to my face. You let her meet Minnie. You didn't tell me what she did for me! Things could have been different. I might have fucking forgiven you.' He shouted.
'That's why she didn't want you to know.' I said softly. 'She didn't want you to feel obligated to forgive her.'
'You had no right to make that decision! Minnie is our child!' I wanted to respond with how he got Nanny Sue involved without me, and the many other things he doesn't consult me on. But I can't he's too upset.
'Then why the fucking hell did you do it Becky? Christ. Why couldn't you just have told me? Why lie to me.' At this loud shout Minnie came skidding into the room, sticking her bottom lip out she shouted at us.
'Stop shouting!' She looked so annoyed.
'I'm sorry Min.' I whispered bending to her height. 'Mummy has some bad news for you.' Minnie looked confused and so innocent. How could I break her heart? 'It's about Lady.' At this Minnie's eyes shot to Luke, she knew that Daddy wasn't supposed to know. Luke noticed and his jaw clenched his knuckles turning white.
'What about Lady Mummy?'
'Lady… Lady died Minnie.' Minnie's face dropped I saw tears gathering in her eyes before he face become impassive, an uncanny replica of Eleanor.
'Oh.' The tears were still gathering though, about to cascade down her beautiful face.
'I'm sorry darling.' I spread my arms for her and she fled into them sobbing as I enveloped her into my arms. I stood back up Minnie in my arms. I stared at Luke. He couldn't understand, I didn't expect him together. He had never seen them together. Seen how they interacted, how Eleanor interested Minnie. I hardly understood myself.
'No more puzzles?' She asked softly.
'Of course you can still do puzzles.' I replied wiping her eyes. 'Minnie can you go into the other room; I need to talk to your dad.' She nodded at me and I dropped her back to the floor. She left, her normal skip absent.
'So Minnie likes Elinor.' I meekly nodded. He looked away. 'And you told our daughter not to tell me?' I simply nodded again. He stared at me blankly before leaving the Kitchen. I sank to the floor and I finally allowed silent tears to escape, tears for Elinor a woman I always thought I'd hate. I just hoped Luke would eventually forgive me.
Me and Luke had barely talked for two weeks. Not for lack of trying on my half, at least at first. But he wouldn't budge, he would talk to me but everything was frosty. It felt like ice was living in my heart. After a while I stopped trying to get him to forgive me. He would when he was ready. But I was beginning to think he never would.
What was worse than how cold he was treating me. Was how he was treating his Minnie, he avoided her, didn't really interact with her. It broke my heart she didn't know what she had done wrong, her Daddy wasn't talking to her, she wasn't happy. She could feel the difference; thank god her little brother was too young to notice these things. That was bad as well; Luke treated his son the same as he always did. He didn't feel like Sam had betrayed him.
I was at the end of my tether. I know I had lied, but holding it against Minnie wasn't fair. He was being irrational, and a bad dad.
It was Eleanor's will reading today, something I was dreading and looking forward to. I had held off on saying anything until now. Hoping this could be the end of it, that he would drop it then.
Me and Luke were sat in a stuffy office, waiting for the will to be read. The distance between us was noticeable, not just emotionally. He had sat a distance away from me. I closed my eyes I couldn't be like this for much longer.
'The last will and testament of Elinor Sherman.
To my son Luke Brandon. I could never tell you how much I did care for you, I am sorry for what I said about your mother, truly. I understand now how much she meant to you. I know I was never a good mother, but I always did what I thought was best for both of us. I believe I did the right thing as I look at you now, you are a successful driven man and I am proud to be you mother. I know nothing I could give you would make up for all the wrongs I have done you over the course of your life and neither do I expect it to. A wise woman once told me that love is unconditional; it's to be given with no want for reward. I believe she was correct. I leave to you my son, 20% of my estates and my apartment in New York. Do with it what you wish.
To Rebecca Brandon nee' Bloomwood. I leave you my sincere and greatest thank yous. I think I know you well enough that you do not wish from anything from me, I highly suspect you wondered why you were even asked to come. I wanted to tell you that you gave me the greatest possible reward, the ability to see my grandchildren grow in a way I could not my son. You are one of the most kind and honest people I have ever met. I know lying to my son for me must have been hard, and I apologise. I just wanted you to be left the knowledge that you brought emotions back into my life that I had long forgotten, thank you truly Becky. I leave you 10% of my estate. Please try to use it wisely.
To my Grandchildren: Minnie Brandon and Samuel Brandon. I am glad I got the chance to see you, and had the gift of seeing you grow and bloom into beautiful children. I know you will one day be successful adults. I leave to each of you 25% of my estate, each to be but into a fund to be accessed at eighteen. Use it wisely.
To my charities I leave the rest of my estate, knowing you will carry on your good work in a way I would appreciate.
Sincerely Elinor Sherman
We sat in silence for a while. Before we left Luke thanked the Lawyer and shook his hand and we left. In silence.
The car ride home was stony. No words were spoken and my heart dropped. As we got home the Nanny left, it was getting to evening and Minnie came running over to Luke and flung her arms around him, he shrugged her off ignored her call of 'Daddy!' and walked into the kitchen. Minnie looked at me and burst into tears. 'Does daddy not love me anymore?' She sobbed.
'Of course he does, he's just distracted at the moment.' I reassured her. But I was fuming, he could be as angry with me as he pleased but to ignore his daughter? This had to stop; until he had sorted himself out I couldn't let the children be around him. I stormed into my bedroom after sending Minnie to play and threw in some overnight clothes a few shirts, few jeans a skirt or two. Three dresses six pairs of shoes (you never know). Once I was packed I dragged the bag into the hall and went into Samuel and Minnie's room. I packed enough clothes for a couple of days, plus toys, nappies and bottles. Sam was asleep in his cot so I lifted him gently into his carrier. Carrying him into the hall, I pulled out my mobile and called a cab and then texted my mum so she expected me. I called Minnie over.
'Mummy?' She was confused and a bright kid she would work it out.
'We are going to Grandma's and Grandad's for a few days.' I smiled falsely.
'Is daddy coming?'
'Good.' I closed my eyes breathing deeply.
'Minnie can you go get a coat and put some shoes on please?'
'Okay!' She ran off smiling slightly.
I carried the bags and Sam down the stairs. Stopping in the hall to put my shoes on. I felt someone else enter the room and knew instantly that it was Luke.
'What's this?' His voice was deadpan.
'We, as in me and the children are going away while you sort yourself out.' I said frostily jerking my coat out of the closet.
'What right do you have to take the kids?'
'Have you even realised you have been ignoring Minnie? Or that you made her cry earlier? I don't want you upsetting Minnie that something that isn't her fault.' He froze. He didn't realise how he had been behaving.
'No, it's your fault.' He retorted.
'And this' I gestured to me and Sam 'is your fault.'
'Look, don't go.' He almost begged.
'We will be back soon. Just sort yourself out. I understand you are angry with me but I won't have you taking it out on our children.'
'I didn't mean to.' There was silence until Minnie clattered into the room. She looked between us biting her lip.
'Bye Luke.' I said stiffly picking up the bags and Sam and stepping out of the door. I turned back to watch Minnie. She stared evenly at Luke. He held out his arms for a hug but she ignored him simply saying,
'Bye Princess' he whispered as she walked out of the door, I looked into his eyes, he looked broken.
'We will be back in a couple of days.'
With that we left.
A/N Hope you enjoyed, reviews would be a lovely ray of sunshine