Heroine: Evangeline Patton
Book: That Kind of Love - A Legacy Novelette
About the book
Strong and fiercely independent, Evangeline Patton has never experienced love in any shape or form–not from her parents, or a man. She has overcome some major obstacles in her life, but at twenty-five she is still alone. All of that changes when Adagio St. John the third walks off a plane from Italy and into her life.
Evangeline and Adagio are both looking for love, but can she trust her heart to someone she will never see? And can he look past her blindness and see into her heart?
Salt Lake City, Utah
Andrew is dead.
And the sigh that escapes me is one of relief and gratitude. My blind eyes can make out the shadows of medical personnel moving around the hospital room, but I can't see Andrew's still features. I don't need to. There is a new silence in the room–the absence of irregular shallow breathing–for the next few moments. Then the soft sobs of his mother and mine dispel that silence.
With Andrew's death from undetected heart disease comes my freedom. The pressure of my parents to marry him has vanished and I feel as if a great weight has lifted, brightening my world like the sun coming out after a long, murky year of rain. I don't mean to be cold, but I've never loved Andrew. I've never even liked him. Nevertheless, my parents have been relentless in their desire to merge our family with Andrew Tanner's, to strategically combine two financial empires.
Andrew had been willing to put his own happiness aside, as well as mine, and go along for the ride. Had everything gone through, I would soon be trapped in a gilded prison I couldn't see, and would likely have died in. That death would have been a slow one, stealing my strength and my spirit a little each day until all of the things that have made me me disappeared, leaving an empty shell, my armor weakened, emotionally scarred and battered. Just like our parents, with Andrew, it had been all about the money. Love had nothing to do with it because, hey, let's face it. Who needs love?
“I do,” I had told him. And he'd laughed. He actually laughed! It was never about our wants or desires. It was about our parents pimping us out to insure that the two companies went to bed together as soon as possible. “After all,” Andrew had said, “the end justifies the means. Blind, deaf or lame, it makes no difference to me.”
I offer my condolences to the Tanners, and then extend my cane and turn to leave. I imagine the mouths of the men silently opening and closing like fish lying on a shore in need of water, and the women shooting invisible fire darts with their eyes. Later on, I am sure my parents will dutifully harp about my cold and heartless exit, hoping to guilt me into showing the influential world the face of a grieving and heart-broken fiancee. But the days of me feeling guilty are long gone. If anything, I feel sympathy for the Tanner's loss. Andrew was their only son–their Golden Boy–the child they based their hopes and dreams on. His sisters are a different matter. Other than marrying rich men and breeding more sons to work in the family business, their two daughters are treated as if they are of no consequence. And since I'm an only child, my parents' dreams and ambitions for me are shot . . . unless a new financial opportunity emerges, an opportunity that will drive them to once again attempt to prostitute me for their gain. Of course, it figures since I'm not the daughter of their blood. I was adopted by them during one of their philanthropic trips down south. Boy, did they ever rack up brownie points for adopting a token black baby, and a blind one at that!
Will I always be worth so little to them?
However, I have been given a healthy dose of strength, and I will no longer let my parents–Mr. and Mrs. What Can You Do For Me Patton–run my life. Thanks to the good Lord, I am in charge now, and I am open and ready to receive the kind of love, and the kind of life, He has in store for me. In God's eyes I am worth more. I don't know how much more, but definitely more than the value my parents place on my existence.
The trust fund I inherited four years ago on my twenty-first birthday has given me the financial freedom to live on my own in a downtown high-rise condominium that I own outright. And the money I earn giving violin and cello lessons takes care of my needs. I guess you could say I have it all.
Yes, you could say that . . . but you would be wrong. Until now, the thing I have desired most–what I have needed most–has eluded me.
I smile, sensing a coming change. A change bringing a life that has always been mine. A change I have been prepared for, and one I am now ready to receive.
I hope you will love this story as much as I do. Wait, what am I saying? Of course you will!