House of Harwood

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Vote by March 31, 2014!

In the previous episode, readers voted for Nicholas to stop the charade, risking Amy exposing his secret as a result.

Episode 19

Clarissa Harwood watched the library door close behind Nick, then picked up her tea and stirred it thoughtfully. She was tired of all this. Tired of her disloyal, selfish, family members. Tired of stupidity where there should be cleverness, tired of backstabbing where there should be support. In her day, each person accepted their role in the family without question. There was no competition, because everyone saw that they were a part of a great lineage and that accepting one’s proper place in that lineage led to its strength and continued survival. Once, they were banded together against outside forces. Now, they were crumbling from within due to selfishness and stupidity. Her son was a shadow of the man he’d once been, torn apart by the betrayal of a woman he’d once thought of as family. His current wife was a simpering, stupid gold-digger and his sister had apparently turned her back on him to aid his daughter in some crazy plot to…what? Usurp her sister’s place as heir to the family fortune? And then of course there was Nick, who was rapidly becoming a very unwanted force in the family drama.

She’d walked into the dining room the night before to find Nick and Tanya sharing a late-night snack, more than twelve hours after she’d expressly told him to end things with her granddaughter. Tanya had looked so blissfully happy, and Nick so uncomfortably guilty, that she had simply turned and walked out of the room. Nick would explain himself, and soon.

Sure enough, he’d come to her that morning, looked especially scrubbed and earnest, and confessed that Amy had been blackmailing him to do the very same thing that Granny had asked him to do – pretend to fall in love with Tanya.

“I have no idea why, honestly Mrs. Harwood.” He’d looked straight into her eyes. “She said it was part of some plan to get back at you and Tanya, and that at the end she’d have a lot of money. I just agreed to it because -”

He looked away, and then he’d told her about something he’d done at school, something that no one in his family knew about, that Amy had somehow learned.

“I’m begging you, Mrs. Harwood, please don’t tell my grandmother. I’m telling you about this now because I trust you, and I thought you should know what Amy’s doing.”

She doubted this was his real reason for coming clean, but she’d taken his words to heart nonetheless. Thanking Nick for his honesty, Granny had promised to keep his secret if he ended things with Tanya immediately and left the Harwood house as soon as possible thereafter. He’d agreed, with palpable relief.

Now as Granny sat on the ancient cracked leather sofa she decided that something drastic needed to be done. She’d worked her entire life to keep the family intact, and she had been forgetting lately that sometimes a few people had to be sacrificed for the greater good. She smoothed the wrinkles in her skirt and began to plan a family dinner. Vote below on what will happen next or if viewing from email, click Take our Poll.

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