The Inheritance #4 – Lack of Dough

Posted on April 23, 2011 11:09 pm under The Inheritance
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Jerry stood in the kitchen watching Kathleen shape pizza dough.

“We could just have some delivered.”

“I enjoy making it. Besides, it would cost a fortune to feed everyone.”

Jerry’s face tightened. “Right. I’ll go set up some tables.”

Kathleen wished she could take back her last words. Jerry was so sensitive about their finances. She was content. There wasn’t much money for luxuries, but they had the basics. She had learned at a young age that money was overrated. Fine furnishings did not compensate for squabbling parents and expensive toys did not fill the gap created by their frequent absence. Kathleen was barely five when she discovered the path between the two beach properties. Love and warmth permeated the Conley home and helped to fill the emptiness. She visited frequently and Kelly became her closest friend.

As she matured, Kathleen began to see Jerry as something more than Kelly’s older brother. Unaware of her feelings, he continued to treat his younger sister’s friend with his usual brotherly affection. The week before her senior prom, Jerry had found her huddled on the back steps crying. He sat down next to her and put an arm around her shoulders.

“What’s wrong, Kath?”

“Everyone is going to the senior prom and I don’t have a date.”

“Kelly’s not going. I thought maybe the two of you would hang out together.”

“Kelly doesn’t want to go. I do. I thought Bob might ask me, but he’s taking Gina. I’ve had my dress for months and I won’t get a chance to wear it.” She dissolved into tears again.

“I know it’s not the same as a real date, Kathleen, but I’d be happy to take you. At least you’d have a chance to dance and show off your gown.”

A sunshine smile parted the storm.

“That would be wonderful.”

A thought occurred to him. “Perhaps you’d be more comfortable with someone nearer your age. I could ask Matt.”

“You take me, Jerry. All the girls will be jealous, because I’ve got an older guy.”

He arrived at her house wearing a tux. The maid let him in. There was no sign of her parents. She started down the curved staircase, trying to maintain her composure. Jerry watched her descent, seeing her as if for the first time. The prom dress accentuated her curves, effectively banishing any traces of brotherly affection. His hands trembled as he pinned the corsage to her dress.

The evening was magical, a wonderful mixture of comfortable familiarity and new discovery. She knew her lonely existence had ended. Money, looks and intelligence might lure some girls. She found kindness and dependability far more attractive. Less than three months later, she became his bride. Kelly had been her maid of honor.

Kelly had been Jerry’s favorite. “Ellen’s stubborn, Corrine’s a crybaby and Matt’s head is in the clouds”, he’d once told her. “Kelly’s smart, honest and brave. “ She had felt so lucky to be married to her best friend’s brother. Before their marriage was a year old, that bond was shattered. Jerry’s anger was not about a piece of property. That was only the catalyst. More than ten years had passed since Kelly’s betrayal and time had done nothing to assuage his pain.

Grandma

One Response to “The Inheritance #4 – Lack of Dough”

  1. Julia Smith Says:

    Woo…twisty! I totally did not see that coming. And I loved Jerry’s eye-opening moment as she walked down the stairs – really nice.