A man abandoned his young daughter with his mother to go off with his new wife, and when he comes back ten years later, he is shocked to find they both vanished without a trace.
Doris Dakkar had been a single mother to her only son after her husband had walked out on her when Nicholas was seven years old. It hadn't been easy, but Doris worked two jobs and made sure her son lacked for nothing.
Back then, she'd been thirty years old. She never imagined she'd become a single parent once again at the age of sixty. Nor did she imagine her son would abandon his daughter. She never thought he had that much of his father in him.
Doris and Paige were left alone in the ramshackle old life. | Source: Shutterstock.com
Nicholas had married a lovely girl, Sandra, but unfortunately, she passed away when their daughter, Paige, was nine. Doris had told herself that Nicky had been lonely, that's why he'd taken up with Donna just weeks after Sandra's death -- and married her within six months.
Doris had been concerned to see little Paige, who had once been a happy, boisterous child, become quieter and quieter, but she attributed it to the loss of her mother. She still believed her son was a good man, but not for long.
Selfish people care nothing for others' happiness.
The summer Paige turned ten, Nicholas came around and asked Doris if he could take care of Paige for three weeks while he and Donna went on a vacation to Alaska on their own.
"All couples need time alone, Mom," Nicholas had said. "And Paige has become difficult of late... She resents Donna."
Doris raised her son Nicholas alone. | Source: Unsplash
Doris was surprised but agreed. "OK Nicky," she said. "I think a break might be good for all three of you. But if you permit me...I think Donna knew what she was getting into. She knew you had a daughter. A grown woman should be able to deal with the pain of a ten-year-old still trying to come to terms with her mother's death and her father's swift remarriage."
Nicholas flushed scarlet and puffed up his lips in a gesture Doris knew well. "I should have known you'd take Paige's side!" he cried. "Donna loves me, she makes me happy, and that's all that matters to me."
"I would have thought SOMEONE had to be on Paige's side and I'm surprised it's not her father," Doris replied, stung. "And making your daughter happy should make YOU happy too!"
When Paige was 9, Doris's daughter-in-law passed away. | Source: Unsplash
Nicholas walked out in a huff, but when he came back a week later with Paige and her suitcase, he seemed his happy normal self. He kissed Paige goodbye affectionately and gave Doris a hug.
"I'll be back on August 27, Mom," he said and drove off with a cheery wave.
Doris and Paige wouldn't see him again for over a decade. August 27th came and went and Nicholas didn't show up. Doris phoned her son but was stunned to discover his number had been disconnected.
Nicholas hadn't called his daughter since he'd left, but he had occasionally replied to her text messages. Now it seemed he was gone. Doris discovered that the house Nicholas and Sandra had bought had been sold. He was gone.
He'd abandoned his daughter with his aging mother without a word, or any concern for her well-being.
Six months after he was widowed, Nicholas remarried. | Source: Unsplash
Doris sat down with Paige and told her: "Listen, we will manage, you and I. I don't want you to worry. I'll take care of you. I love you Paige, and I know that your father will come to regret what he has done."
Doris didn't know how right she was. Ten years later, Nicholas drove up to his mother's house. The house was there, but it looked abandoned and decrepit. The garden was overgrown, and the windows were shuttered.
Nicholas knocked on his mother's neighbor's door. The woman was surprised to see him and was reluctant to give him his daughter's forwarding address. She eyed his shabby clothes and glanced at his rusty old car.
"Paige married and Doris lives with her. I hope you don't expect the welcome that was given to the Prodigal Son," she said coldly (she was her grandmother's best friend). "After what you did to them, I'd expect the worse if I were you."
Nicholas asked Doris to look after Paige for three weeks. | Source: Unsplash
Nicholas didn't even reply. He just turned his back and walked away. He wasn't worried, he knew how to handle his mother...
When he arrived at the address, he was stunned. His daughter and his mother were apparently living in a huge luxurious mansion!
He walked up to the door and rang the bell. "I want to speak to Doris or Paige Dakkar, please," he told the uniformed maid who opened the door.
"You mean Mrs, Dakkar of Mrs. Henderson, sir." the maid corrected him with a disdainful smile, and she led him into a huge elegant sitting room.
A few minutes later, Paige walked in. She stared at him in silence, but without any trace of surprise, and Nicholas knew that the meddling neighbor had called to warn them that he was coming.
"Paige, my baby..." he said and stepped forward to embrace the lovely woman his daughter had become.
Nicholas never came back for his daughter. | Source: Unsplash
"What is it that you want, father," she asked without a trace of anger in her voice.
"I wanted to see you, and grandma Doris, honey," Nicholas said with his best smile. "I've missed you so much..."
At that moment, Doris walked in. She too looked calm -- and a lot younger than her years. "Nicholas," she said. "What do you want?"
Nicholas flushed. "I wanted to see my family," he cried. "I was hoping for a warm welcome!"
Nicholas learned that Paige had married and taken Doris to live with her. | Source: Unsplash
"You abandoned me, father," Paige said coldly. "You expected warmth?"
"Mom?" whined Nicholas. "It wasn't me... Donna...she insisted. She said she'd leave me..."
"Oh!" cried Doris with a knowing smile. "But you're here alone. Does that mean that the money ran out and so did Donna?"
Nicholas looked around the beautiful room with envy. "You're certainly not short!" he said bitterly. "I would have thought you could spare something...I'm unemployed and struggling..."
Nicholas was stunned when he saw Paige's home. | Source: Unsplash
"I'm surprised you have the gall to ask us for anything, father," Paige said. "You left us when we needed you most, but we managed. Now thanks to my husband, we have everything we need."
"I'm still your father," Nicholas said indignantly.
"You're nothing to me," she said, but she reached for her grandmother's hand. Doris was looking at Nicholas with tears and sadness in her eyes. "But for grandma Doris' sake, I'll help you."
Paige walked over to a delicate Louis XV desk and unlocked the drawer. She fished out a set of house keys and placed some money in an envelope. "These are the keys to the old house.
Nicholas got the keys to the old house and $5,000. | Source: Unsplash
"There's $5,000 in the envelope. Don't think you'll get a cent more, so don't bother coming back."
Paige put her arm around Grandma Doris's shoulders and led her out of the room. Within seconds, the maid was there to escort Nicholas out before he had the chance to pocket any of the obviously valuable knick-knacks.
Nicholas sat in his car for a long time staring at his daughter's sprawling estate. "I did what I had to do," he whined. "Why can't people understand how I've suffered? There's no gratitude in this world..."
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