My Father's House
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : S D Johnson
Word Count :59165
Publication Date :2021-09-24
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3390-1
Joanna and Jack’s love is overwhelming and all-consuming, but can it survive all that life throws at them?
Joanna never expected much from life. She’d had too little affection to believe anyone but her father could ever love her. How could she, when her brother hated her and her mother treated her with scorn?
Then she met Jack. She’d come from privilege, planning on following her father’s academic career. Jack came from poverty and abuse, escaping both by serving in the army. A relationship between them would never work. Everyone told her all he wanted was to use her, to get his hands on her father’s house. Would he be able to prove them wrong and win her heart? Was she right in trusting her own instincts? If she did, would she be able to hold on to what they would build?
Could she survive what fate would throw her way? War and death, violence and greed, and an attempt on her life would test her strength.
I had to spend Christmas at home by myself. My sister, Fi, offered to buy me tickets to visit her in the States, but I’d only worked at the library for three months. I didn’t dare ask for the time off. With the wounds from my parents’ deaths still raw, I’d have gladly gone away, but I had no real alternative to being on my own that year.
I’d had an invitation from my brother to visit on Christmas Eve afternoon for sherry. I said no and asked him to pick up his boys’ presents from me at the library instead. Guessing he only wanted the presents, I saved him the inconvenience of my visit.
My brother hates the sight of me. He has done since I was in the womb. He is twenty years older, and when my mother found she was expecting me, he helped her set up an abortion at a private clinic.
It’s hard to grow up knowing your mother didn’t want you, but Charles made sure that happened to me. He relished telling me about the failed plan as soon as I was old enough to understand. It wasn’t what any thirteen-year-old needed to hear, but it did explain a lot about the way I was treated at home.
Not only did my mother not want to have me, she also blamed me for the shift in the way my father felt about her. She had got used to my father worshipping her, and when his faith was shaken, she could never restore it fully. She was diagnosed with a heart complaint during the pregnancy, and she blamed me for that as well.
My parents met at a faculty dinner when my father joined the teaching staff of the university. She was the dean’s goddaughter and was his guest for the evening. Her background was impeccable, and she was both intelligent and beautiful. She didn’t work. She didn’t need to. She was active in charity and an essential member of various social circles, and her connections were far reaching. She was a glittering, scintillating presence in those days. Old photographs capture the translucent beauty of her youth.
My father was captivated at first sight. He grew up in Yorkshire, the son of a miner and the descendant of a line of miners and farm labourers. He was unbelievably intelligent and became a classic product of the old grammar school system. He had a passion for history and was the first member of his family to go to university, staying on until his PhD was awarded.
There was no pretence about my father. He was a Yorkshireman who’d happened to find a niche in academia and considered himself blessed. He was in awe of my beautiful, socially skilled mother and was amazed that she had ever considered him as a boyfriend, let alone a husband.
I’m not sure if my mother had a touch of the Professor Higgins when it came to my father, but she decided to marry him and to use all her connections and hostess skills to catapult his career into the stratosphere. She miscalculated slightly, because although my father was passionate about his work and research, he lacked her ambition.
He did love her and allowed her to support his progression to the level he wished to reach. By that time, they had two children, my older sister, Fiona and my brother, Charles. Just as my mother was beginning to realise he didn’t share her vision for his future, she had the horror of finding she was pregnant again.
By that time Fiona was at dental school at St Andrews, and Charles was working at an estate agency. She had gotten used to being totally free to do as she wished. She was forty-four and had no desire to be pregnant again. She made an appointment at a private hospital and arranged to have an abortion. Charles was to take her there in the morning and collect her in the early evening. Everything was set for my father never to find out.
I would not have existed if they had had their way. My father found out completely by chance. He had gone back to the house to pick up some documents he’d forgotten. He answered the phone, as no one else was in. He became suspicious when the person on the line would only speak to Mrs. Stephens and would not leave a message or disclose what it was all about.
His curiosity was aroused sufficiently to dial 1471 and press to return the call. He went into a blind panic when he got through to a private hospital, thinking my mother had a secret illness and might even be dying.
In the end, my mother had to tell him what she had planned. Even she could not carry on the pretence of a mysterious illness when he was in such a state.
The wedge came between them then. My father could not believe she had kept the secret from him, could not believe she had arranged an abortion without discussing it, and, most of all, could not believe she had involved Charles in all of it.
My mother, anxious to preserve her husband’s adoration, shed tears and tried to get his agreement. She explained, she pleaded, but he couldn’t agree, and she was stunned to find just how deeply he felt her betrayal.
I honestly don’t know how he would have reacted had she been honest with him from the very beginning. I’m not sure if it was the betrayal or the idea of abortion that made him take a stand, but he held firm. In the end, she cancelled the appointment.