The Morrow Family Saga, Series 4, Book 1: Once Around the Ride, Chapter 10

Belinda had taken her things. She had packed up and loaded her Corvette. She had left it all behind, never looking back. She had gone back to her world of one-night-stands and group sex.

Matt was glad to see her go. No one tried to control him. No one. And no one told him who he could or could not bring into his home.

Matt wanted to cry. Not because of Belinda’s leaving, but because he knew that his mother was dying. But he couldn’t cry. He had to remain strong.

He had his brothers and sisters  to think of. To be strong for. Only the oldest would know what was going on.  They were the most important part of his life, not some two-bit tramp who thought she had the right to demand his complete attention.

He couldn’t help smiling through the pain. It had been ironic, the whole incident about her demanding that it would be her or his family. There had really been no question. It had always been family. That meant that he would always step in and take care of the youngest in a time of need. He always had.

What had made her believe that she would ever get his way? She had been warned about him and how he saw life. Sal had told her. Tandy had told her. Hell. the whole band had told her.

Still, she had insisted that she could change him. But she hadn’t. instead, he had given her far less than she had been after. No house, no apartment, no millions…just a meager $10,000 trust account meant to build interest and a sports car. Not enough to even sneeze at.

Hell. She had probably already been to the bank to withdraw her trust to find that she had to allow it to mature over a couple of years. But he had warned her. He had told her that she would not be able to and she had not believed him.

Of course, the bank had contacted him to let him know that she’d tried and failed. It was funny, really. Some people never listened and she happened to be one of those. For her, the party never ended. As long as she could find sex, drugs, and a rock-n-roll star, she was happy. Maybe a bit too happy.

If it wasn’t for the pain in his heart, he would laugh. But the pain was more than he could bear at the moment. But pain let him know that he was still alive. Still, there were some days he wished that life would just leave him alone. And today was one of those days.

***

Belinda had closed her account at the bank. No need to remain in L.A. still, Matt’s lock on the trust he set up for her angered her. it was supposed to be her money. that had been the agreement. Yet what had he said to her when he told her that he had set it up?

“The account has a time lock. It has to remain in the bank for at least two years before you can begin to use it. That ensures that you will accrue interest enough to live for a good five years. Try to withdraw it right away and you will be refused.”

Damn him! Damn him to hell! He had tricked her, even though he had warned her. She frowned.

She had been such a fool. He would never change. Never. He was too set in his ways. His family was too important to him.

Maybe she should have taken things into her own hands and removed the threats. Maybe she should have just killed them all. There were too many maybes. She blinked back the tears.

No matter, it was better this way. She just needed to put distance between the two of them. Maybe the miles would deaden the pain. Maybe she just needed to find the next party. Or the next target.

Yes. That was it. She just needed to find another millionaire who was too stupid to realize what she was doing. She needed to be on the take. After all, that was what she was good at. Being a con.

***

Thirty-four years had led to this. Michael Morrow, now 90, knew that he had hurt his daughter in ’59 but had been unable to ask her forgiveness.  Even when he had reunited with her briefly in the 60’s, there was no asking for forgiveness, just a reunion as a family. And then, she was gone in the 70’s.

Now, before he could ask, his precious Nattie was dying. No parent should have to outlive their child. The child was supposed to outlive them. He fought back the tears.

Valeria hadn’t aged past the age of sixty. She was still so beautiful. He forced a smile even though he didn’t feel like it. She had been his greatest support over the past seventy years. Lord, how he loved her.

He had remained faithful throughout those years. Never once had he strayed. And they had been happy…happier than most. Even through the hardest years.

Yes, they had been the best years of his—no, their lives. They had been inseparable and fully immersed in love. Their children had been their lives and still were. As were their grandchildren.

He closed his eyes. Now, he was going to L.A. to say goodbye to his daughter. Yes, he had two of them, but Nattie had always held a special place in his heart even after she had run away.  And he had blamed himself for that. He had not taken the time to listen to her after Tobias had raped her.

He had tried to prevent that incident, of course, through his objections to her dating the detestable excuse for a man, but his objections had fallen on deaf ears. After that, it was too late to turn back. And he had handled the result poorly.

At the time, he hadn’t known how to handle it. He had been both angry at Tobias and hurting along with Nattie. He had lashed out blindly and spoken out without thinking. She had taken his words as an attack and fled. That had been in 1959.

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