Chapter 1: Grandma
“Oh the kids are making too much noise again! I just
can’t stand this anymore.”
- Hey Hannah, Sarah, stop crying would you? Sarah, leave your sister alone. Go to your room and stay there! There won’t be any dinner for you tonight!
- But mother, we didn’t do anything we were just playing…
- I don’t care, you gave me a headache with your stupid games and cries. Now go to your room. Don’t you have homework to do during summer?!!!! I can’t wait for September when you will go to school and leave me alone!
- Alright mother, sorry we gave you a headache. Goodnight.
- Goodnight mother… and sorry.
- Yes, whatever…
The girls were in their room when their grandma came and brought them something to eat.
- Oh thank you Grandma, we were hungry and you know mother punished us. We won’t have dinner tonight…
- I know sweethearts, but don’t get mad at her. She is sick you know and needs silence.
- Yes we know, says Hannah.
- She is always sick. I know that she doesn’t love us, says Sarah.
- Oh Sarah please try to understand her. She loves you but you know her condition. She can’t walk and has a very weak health. She needs to rest, says Mrs Marlowe.
The twins look at each other and try to understand their mother’s behaviour. They knew that she couldn’t walk, but was that a reason to treat her daughters this way? Eeven if it was hard to admit it, they knew that she simply didn’t love them. They had only their grandmother who took care of them. They were happy to have her. They grew up listening to her stories before going to bed. Now they were twelve-years old. Their grandmother was there again for a bedtime story and she brought food this time.
- I didn’t say anything, says Sarah, are you here to tell us a story?
- Yes, I am, but you must finish your meal first and then wash your hands, brush your teeth, be ready for a story…
- Alright Grandma, we are not children anymore you know, and tonight I’ll decide about the story that you’ll tell us
- All right…
When the twins were getting ready to go to bed, Mrs. Marlowe sat on the rocking chair between their beds. She opens a book and tries to find a story that she hadn’t told them yet…
- So girls you want to hear the story of Cinderella?
- I want to hear the story of Susanna Marlowe and her two daughters, says Sarah.
- Sarah! What do you mean? Answers her grandma.
- You know very well what she means, says Hannah, We want to know the truth before we go back to school. We are tired of getting teased by the other students, they always say that we don’t have a father and we are illegitimate children. And our mother doesn’t love us, doesn’t want us to talk about our father. We want to know…
- We need to know, says her sister.
- But you already know the entire story; your father went to war and died there.
- So why is my name Sarah Marlowe? Why do I have the same last name as you and not the name of my father?
- Yes why isn’t our last name Grandchester?
- Because he died at war and her mother accused your mother to be the reason that he went to war, and his father didn’t want to accept Susanna as his son’s wife and annulled the marriage. As you were born while he was at war we couldn’t prove that you were his children and then…
- That’s nonsense and we are tired of hearing the same story. Tell us the truth, please grandma…
- Yes please grandma, we really need to know how our mother lost her leg and how she met our father and what happened after?
- Alright girls, the truth and nothing else, you will be upset but you asked for it. You must promise that you won’t say anything to your mother.
- We promise.
- Where do you want me to start?
- From mother’s accident…and her meeting with our father. We want to know every detail…
And Mrs. Marlowe starts to tell them the story of her daughter…
- Susanna was in love with a young and handsome new actor. And as you guessed it was your father Terrence Grandchester. He was very talented and a promising actor, they played together in some plays, I don’t remember quite well the names but the plays were very famous. Susanna loved him at first glance but there was another girl. It was an orphan without any charm but Terrence was in love with her. I guess they went to school together.
Hannah and Sarah couldn’t believe what they just heard. So their father wasn’t in love with their mother?! How could it possible? Mrs Marlowe seeing her grandchildren face understands that the news already shocked them.
- Yes girls, that is true. Your father wasn’t in love with your mother at the beginning. One day at the theatre that they were rehearsing for Romeo and Juliet, the lights were about to fall on Terrence when Susanna saved him, but she lost her leg. After that Terrence felt very bad and he stayed with her because of duty. Then he started to lose his talent for theatre. He was suffering a lot from his separation with his girlfriend. Then one day he left without telling where. Susanna and I were worried and didn’t know where to look for him. However, after a while he came back, he started to play in big productions again and proposed to Susanna. They were about to get married when he left again, this time with a note saying that he had to go to war as it was his “duty”, and that he was going to marry your mother when he would come back. He never came back from the war… He died there. We only received a letter from the French army telling that he was dead… And your mother gave herself to him before the wedding as she was thinking that they would get married. You were born two months after we received the news of his death. As you remind her of her lost love, she gets bitter when she sees you, that’s all. Now that you know the whole story, I wish a good night girls. Don’t forget your promise, you won’t tell anything to your mother.
The girls promised and Mrs Marlowe left them, closing the door behind her.
- Do you believe her story? Asked Sarah.
- No, she is lying, we have to look for the truth, we have only one month here, and then we leave New York for school. We must start our research tomorrow.