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The Temptation of Savannah O'Neill Molly O Keefe 2022/8/3 13:53:06

What is wrong with me?

Why does everyone go?

“Savannah,” Vanessa said. “You have to listen to me. There is a fortune in gems hidden in this house. We could find them. You and I. We could—”

“Where have you been?” Savannah interrupted. “All these years?”

Vanessa’s eyes grew colder, harder, the charade of the loving absentee mother falling apart. “Here and there,” Vanessa said, rushing on to add, “But I was always thinking of you. I tried to come back, I tried—”

Savannah felt hollow. Lies. All she’d get from her own mother were lies.

“Why are you here now?” Matt asked.

“I don’t think that’s any of your business,” Vanessa answered.

“My father is Joel Woods,” he said and Vanessa’s eyes flared, her face growing older, uglier every minute.

“Did you steal those gems from Joel and hide them here?” Savannah asked

Vanessa jaw clenched. “No—”

“Get out!” Savannah yelled. “Get out of here. That man is in jail and he’s twice the person you are. He stayed with his son. Taught him how to play cards and music. Made him macaroni and cheese when he was hungry. What did you do, Mom? Twenty years I waited for you!”

“I swear to you, Savannah. I didn’t steal those gems.”

“I can’t believe a word you say.”

“Fine. Maybe we should wake Margot up and ask her if she knows about the gems,” Vanessa said.

“I’m already awake,” Margot said, in the doorway, cinching the belt on her robe. “And I’ve called the police.”

Vanessa jerked at that, but Matt held on tight.

“I told you, you weren’t welcome in my home,” Margot said. “Twenty years ago I said if you left these children here, you weren’t to come back.”

“They’re my kids!” Vanessa cried.

“Stop pretending you’re here for me!” Savannah yelled. “Stop pretending you care. If you cared, you’d have never left.”

“I had things I had to do, honey,” Vanessa said, looking like every con man that ever was.

As suddenly as it arrived, the rage left Savannah, taking all of her strength, leaving her weak and sad and small. There was no point to this. None at all.

“Matt,” Savannah sighed. “Can you throw her out of my house?”

“Ask her about the gems, Savvy,” Vanessa cried. “Ask Margot about Richard—”

“Richard?” Savannah asked and Matt cleared his throat.

“My father’s partner was Richard Bonavie,” he said quietly.

“My dad?” Savannah cried. “My dad was involved in this and you’re just telling me now?”

Matt’s eyes flickered to Margot and Savannah spun to face her grandmother. “You knew?” she whispered.

“I didn’t think it was relevant,” Margot said.

Savannah’s head nearly exploded.

“You see, Savannah?” Vanessa whispered. “You see how she manipulates? How she lies and turns everything around? Ask her about the gems.” Vanessa laughed. “Better yet, ask your dear grandmother why I never came back. Really. Ask her about the money.”

“Money?” Savannah whispered.

“Ten thousand dollars a year to stay away from my own kids.”

Savannah turned to her grandmother.

“She would have been back every year,” Margot said, fierce, like a too-bright light and Savannah hurt looking at her. “She’d be back and play house with you children. She’d toy with you and then vanish again. It’s what she’d done her whole life. She wasn’t about to change.”

“You didn’t give me a chance,” Vanessa said.

Savannah stared at her grandmother, those familiar eyes. That face she loved so much.

“I did what I thought was best,” Margot said. “And I’d do it again.”

Savannah felt the walls pressing in on her. A thousand pounds on her head, stopping her heart. She could barely breathe. It was impossible to think.

Everyone had betrayed her. Everyone.

“Now,” Vanessa said, “let’s ask her about where she’s hidden the gems.”