The creak of carriage wheels pulled to a stop Infront of a mansion nestled in the woodland, one of the quietest places in the town. The mansion was all concrete with windows large enough to welcome the sun rays. Amelia sat in the carriage biding her time. She needed to make sure her mother had taken her coffee before making her presence known. With luck on her side, her journey will not be futile.
She surveyed the house in which she once spent two decades of her life. The fountain with insufficient supply of water had dry leaves littering all over it and the garden seemed to lack its usual lustre. Amelia looked at her watch again and decided it was time.
The morning air bit her skin, freezing her breath the instant she stepped down from the carriage. She found her muff in her pocket and wore it. She trudged down the brick pathway leading to the door with her two hands preventing her gown from sweeping the dusty path. Amelia knocked on the door and waited.
She'd never forget the night she walked out through this door with a resolve to never return. Papa had been furious. She had excitedly gone into the library to tell him that Eddie had proposed. Mama had burst into laughter thinking she was joking but the echoes of laughter were soon replaced with scornful looks and acrimony.
The door crackled as it opened revealing a maid whose eyes widened in shock.
"Is mama in?" Amelia asked.
The maid nodded, opening the door wider to let her in. Amelia shuffled through the familiar corridor leading to the sitting room. She was halfway through when she heard the voices. Her mama wasn't alone and whoever she was with was causing her distress.
Amelia increased her steps. She opened the door as the gentleman caught her mother's hand spinning her back to face him.
"These documents are false", Amanda snarled at him, "My husband paid off his debt before he died. We do not owe you!"
She jerked her arm free and took two steps backward.
The young man's eyes were cold and dark. "I'm tired of this game, Mrs Sheffield. I give you seven days to think about it. It's either I marry Ann or I sell your home from under you. You should be lucky I let you live here this long". He sneered back at her.
His stony stare sent a cold chill through Amelia's bloodstream. She must intervene. "How much is the money Papa owes you?" She asked, announcing her presence.
Amanda turned, facing the door at the sound of the familiar voice. Her stomach rolled over and a knot formed in her throat. Her eyes popped out of its socket at the unexpected sight.
"How much? Amelia quizzed, entering the room. She ignored the sudden emotions her presence brought into the room and continued. "For someone who seemed to have a lot of words to say earlier, I dare say you are a coward" she bellowed.
No one said a word. Amelia moved to the table and threw a bag of shillings on it. "Is this enough or do you want some more? She threw two more bags on the table. "I believe this is enough to get your unwholesome self out of this house and our lives forever? She barked at him.
The gentleman reached for the table and grabbed two bags of shillings. He tipped his hat and excused himself.
Amelia looked at her mother. Her grey hair was let down hiding her cheeks. She had circles under her eyes and a few wrinkles on her forehead. She wondered if it was Papa's death that had aged her or discovering of the debt Papa left behind from his unrepentant gambling.
Immediately the gentleman took his leave, Amanda snapped at her. "How dare you? How dare you show your face here after seven years? How dare you step your feet into this house after making your papa and I the ridicule of the society? Do you realise that we are in this mess because of your foolhardiness? Your sister Anna couldn't get any decent proposals. You had to run off with that carpenter's son because your papa and I forbid you from rolling with someone beneath your station?
"Shut up! I don't want to hear another word."
Amanda felt her forehead with her right hand. Her head was aching from much shouting and shock. She looked out of the window and saw the carriage. It looked new and expensive.
"I suppose you expect me to be grateful for saving our home and saving Anna from marrying Lord Thorpe" Amanda quizzed, turning away from the window.
Amelia couldn't fight back the tears anymore as her tear gland broke sending a cascade of tears down her cheeks. Her pulse quickened as she ran across the room towards her mother. She held her Mama's hands, fearing a rejection but Amanda did not react.
"No mama", she sobbed. Heaven forbid it that I'll ask that of you. I know I have wronged you and papa but I'm here to make everything right. I came as soon as I heard of the fate that had befallen you after Papa's death".
Amanda's form remained cold to her daughter.
"It's been seven years Mama. I've made something of my life. I ventured into a business that yielded so much profit". She smiled amidst tears. "Eddie and I are doing well and we have a daughter, she's five years old and beautiful just like you". She paused and observed her mother keenly. "She looks just like you mama".
Amanda turned and looked at her. Her eyes were filled with admiration but her heart with stings of betrayal. She admired how her stiff-necked daughter had blossomed. She has grown into a sensible woman. She desired to hug her and hold her close to her bosom but pride was an obstacle
"Go away Amelia. You can't just come back and expect us to welcome you with open hands. Papa must be turning in his grave at this moment".
"I understand Mama. I do not mean to rattle you. I shall take my leave now but I wish you to know that as we speak, Eddie is with the lawyers settling accounts. Soon, all Papa's debt shall be paid. I hope someday, I will find your forgiveness".
Amelia hugged her. She felt her mama's hesitation to hug her back . She kissed her mama's cheek and left without taking another look at her. She sprinted through the hallway, out of the house and into her carriage. She had renewed hope. Someday, mama would forgive and accept her.