Page 56 of Claiming Cinderella

“You what?” I stopped and looked at my mother not knowing if I had heard her right. “You told her I was the buyer? She told you what you wanted to hear.” I shook my head and continued going through the files until I came across the one for Ella’s house.

“I didn’t think you were that serious about her.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“I was serious enough to buy a fucking house.”

“I still don’t think it will last. You’re buying her a house, and she’s going to take that and run.”

“Well, you’re wrong. I’m in love with her! When she found out what you did, she threw the house back in my face and broke it off. She said she doesn’t want anything from me. I’m only hoping I can make things right, and you better hope that I can.”

Her mouth had gone slack and her eyes ringed with tears. I hadn’t seen mother so upset, but I didn’t care. I hurried out of the house with my papers in hand and left tread on the drive as I headed back to the Blue mansion, hoping Millie was able to stop her.

When I arrived, I knocked on the door, and Millie opened it. “Did you get the proof?”

“I think so.” I had glanced at the papers enough to see that my mother hadn’t been honest with me either. I passed the file off to Millie, and she hurried me into the front room just past the foyer.

Ella was in tears as Scott and Nola had it out. “She was my best friend, and you betrayed me.” Nola was going to make it all about Scott’s betrayal, and Scott was still in defense mode.

“I knew you’d clean me out and I knew Ella was in better hands with her mother. We were going to be together when I got clean, and then you ended up pregnant. Layla told me to stay.”

“Oh, and that makes it better?” Nola swung her arms around dramatically.

“Well, I wish I hadn’t listened,” he said as I stepped up beside him with Millie as she presented him with the papers. “What’s this?”

“It’s the original deed to Layla’s house. You were the original buyer.”

“Yes, so what? I wanted my daughter to have a place to live. I didn’t know that Layla would get herself in so much debt though, not enough to lose it. If I had known she’d borrowed against it.” He stopped talking and stared off into space as if the thought of it was all too much. But he’d said enough. He’d been told the same lie.

“Nola took the house, not the bank. She had Ella sign some papers under distress knowing that if she didn’t get her to sign it over, Ella would inherit it.”

“Nola?” Scott looked at her to deny it, but instead, she lifted her chin.

“Layla had the audacity to ask me to take care of Ella, to admit that she was yours. Her deathbed confession she called it. She slipped into her coma right after, and since I couldn’t get back at her, I decided that little Miss Ella could pay. I gave your mother the best years of my life being her friend and the whole time, the whole fucking time, she was in love with my husband, and you were their dirty little lie. She’d told me that he was afraid I’d clean him out. Do you know how much it hurts to find out the only reason someone sticks around is because they don’t want to lose their precious fortune? So yeah, I took your fucking house.”

“Wrong. The house was always hers. Your papers didn’t hold up, so the house had always been Ella’s. Instead, you stole from me. You stole the money that I bought the house with, and I have a feeling if I dig a little deeper, I’ll find what you did with Ella’s inheritance.”

“It doesn’t matter, I’m going to clean out Scotty Blue here, and he can pay for it.” Nola curled her lip and gave a menacing grin.

“No, you’re not,” said Halle. “We’re not going to let you.” Sadie stepped up beside her mother. In a gesture of solidarity they walked across the room and stood next to their father.

“How could you take his side after all I’ve done for you?”

“Don’t worry, mother, you’ll continue to do it,” said Sadie. “It’s part of your job, remember? And you’ll also remember who pays your salary.”

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