Clara set down her book and sighed outwardly. She could hear Harley arguing with her Father at the front door yet again, for the fifth time this week. Every day he came, ordering Harley to allow him to speak to her and everyday Harley refused to let him in.
Clara was jolted out of her thoughts when she heard a loud bang and the voices raising to an abnormal level. The next thing she knew, her Father had swept into the living room and was sitting on the sofa in front of her.
Harley rushed into the room behind him, huffing,
“Clara I’m sorry. He shoved his way in! Do you want me to call the police?”
Nathaniel turned his cold stare towards Harley and opened his mouth to say something but Clara raised her hand to stop them both,
“No Mom, thank you. We’ll be alright.”
Nathaniel gave her a quizzical look and smirked,
“Mom? Did you forget you already have a Mother that is alive and well?”
Harley glared at Nathaniel so hard Clara was surprised it didn’t burn a hole in him,
“I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me Clara. For anything.”
As Harley left Clara turned back in her wheelchair to her Father and smiled politely,
“What is it you’ve been wanting Father? You’ve come here everyday. It must be very important for you to take time out of your precious day.”
Nathaniel laughed dryly,
“Is it too much to ask to see my daughter who I could have lost a couple weeks ago?”
Clara gripped the armrests on her wheelchair so hard her knuckles turned white,
“You lost your daughter when you tried to marry her off for money and power.”
Nathaniel got up and for a second Clara could have sworn she saw a look of pain in his eyes. But just as soon as it was there it was replaced with a look of contempt.
He walked over to Clara and set a piece of paper in her lap. When Clara picked it up and started reading she could feel her heart rate pick up and her head start to spin.
“This...this is a letter from Child Services...you’re requesting to take custody of one of my children because of child neglect?!”
Nathaniel grimaced and responded bitterly,
“You’re husband is never around and those parents of his are getting quite old, and with you so sickly, well it seems like the only logical thing for them to do is grant me custody of at least one of your children so I can look out for their welfare.”
Clara glared at her Father but was just met with his cool gaze as he added sarcastically,
“As you know, I am a benevolent person, I’ll let you keep the girl, Genevieve, we wouldn’t want another “you” situation on our hands. No, me and your Mother agreed we would take the boy, Cullen. He seems like a very smart lad and I already had the chance to talk to him at your little party. I think he’s taken a shine to me, the Grandfather he never knew he had.”
Clara shot up from her wheelchair and even though she felt like her legs were about to buckle she stood her ground against her Father.
“Over my dead body will you take my children away from me! I will go to this court hearing and I will plead my case alongside my husband. I don’t care how much money you have or how many lawyers you can hire. I will fight you every step of the way! This is my family and you will not break us apart!”
Nathaniel raised his hand over his mouth before releasing a chuckle,
“You should have learned long ago that you can’t win when you fight me darling.”
He brushed past Clara and left her standing there, legs shaking.
Once Clara heard the front door close she collapsed back in the wheelchair and winced from the pain she felt in her stomach. She cursed under her breath. She knew she shouldn’t have gotten so worked up, that’s what her Father wanted, but when you threaten a Mother with the prospect of taking her child away. There would be hell to pay.