The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part 10
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part One
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Two
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Three
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Four
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Five
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part Six
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor – Part Seven
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part Eight
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part Nine
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part 10
The knife chopped away on the wooden board, and the relaxed noises soothed me as they echoed through the kitchen. My laptop sat on the counter in front of me. Frank chopped away at different foods across from me. Most of it was fresh from his garden and this week’s delivery truck from this morning.
Frank explained how Aunt Blaire had set him up with online shopping for weekly grocery deliveries.
“I didn’t know that. So, I never have to do any of my own shopping?” I asked.
Frank and Elaina both laughed. While Frank meal prepped for the week and I researched online for information about the Covingport family, Elaina had her book in hand when I first came down. Michael had said good morning as he made a cup of coffee earlier, but he headed up to the gates without a bite of breakfast—much to Frank’s annoyance.
“Not if you don’t want to,” Frank responded.
Elaina put a bookmarker in her book and set it on the table. She looked right at me when she spoke. “You should really go through your aunt’s things, Miss. All the information about the house should be in her rooms.”
I nodded. I knew I needed to finish going through her things. With all that had happened with the legal stuff, I had an excuse to not do it, but not anymore. “I went through most of her office already, but I didn’t see anything about grocery shopping or on the manor’s maintenance. I only found old bills, things she used in her book, and some junk things.”
“Anything of importance is kept in her bedroom, like the letters from your parents.”
I sighed. Elaina was right. It had proved difficult to find any information online related to the Covingports during my search. Going through Aunt Blaire’s things would kill two birds with one stone: find more information and get more of her belongings cleaned up.
When I shut my laptop, I reached for my coffee cup to warm my hands up. I took a sip and watched as Frank effortlessly swept some potatoes into a bowl before grabbing more to cut. Elaina had gone back to reading her novel. I appreciated she didn’t push the matter, even though I did really need her to.
“That’s what I should do today. There’s no point in me dragging it out longer than needed,” I said.
Elaina smiled but didn’t bring more attention to the topic. “Okay dear,” she said, softly.
I looked over as Frank stopped what he was cutting. “If you need anything, you know how to get a hold of us.”
With a smile and nod, I got off the stool and headed upstairs. On my way, I stopped to grab my earbuds. If I was going to go through more paperwork, I wanted to have music to listen to. The notes of American Rock filtered through my ears when I turned them on.
Aunt Blaire’s room was modern which I hadn’t expected because of the décor in the rest of the house. The dark hardwood floors were clean, not a speck of dust and I knew that was from Elaina keeping it clean. But it was eerie too, the cleanliness made it feel as if she was still alive and was just in here this morning.
Her bed was made, too. I saw the light blue sheets peeked out from under the royal blue comforter and pillows were strewn across. The curtains were propped open as well; the light coming in was soft from the overcast sky outside.
The headboard, dressers, and vanity all matched the wood floor, and the old carved designs in the woodwork were the only pieces that matched, what I assumed, was the original design of the manor. Her vanity chair was a soft blue velvet and had a high back. Then there were the bulbs on the rounded mirror that I knew were modern.
Despite the initial shock when I saw the modern state of the room, the mixture of new and old felt right. From what I had learned about my aunt, she seemed like a mixture of old and new herself.
My music continued to play in my ears, and at the start of a new song bringing me back from my thoughts, I walked over to her vanity. The drawers had tons of makeup. I was more intrigued by this because she stayed at home a lot, and there were a ton of products. Every new thing I learned about her, made her personality conflicted.
Then I realized my mom was the same way, and if I had been honest with myself, I was, too. It was a weird way for the three of us to be connected.
The vanity held nothing of value. The first dresser didn’t either; it was filled with clothes and jewelry boxes. I’m sure the jewelry was worth something, but it wasn’t on my list to sell her things. To get rid of clothes and shoes was one thing, but for all I knew, those arrangements could be family heirlooms.
Some pieces were extravagant, literally meant for royalty. One necklace, in particular, was nestled in a red velvet box. It was a pearl choker with a silver rose hung at the tip, and several diamonds glittered to create the shape. Then there was another, less in-your-face, piece that was a simple silver chain and a flat, rectangular pendant hanging on. On the back, Covingport was engraved in elegant script.
I almost gave up hope I would find the information Frank and Elaina had told me about until I reached the second dresser. In the center drawer, under a stack of pajamas, was a lockbox. If Aunt Blaire knew she was dying it would make sense that I found the key in the lock, but it made me cringe at the thought of how vulnerable she kept her things.
With the box in hand, I walked over to sit on the bed. It was softer than it looked; like sitting on a cloud of feathers. When I unlocked the box, I was pleased to find a stack of papers inside. Many of the documents said “copy” in red and I recognized a lot as ones Mr. Watts had at court. It would make sense for him to have the original documents and for my aunt to keep copies.
I shuffled through those and found a few documents that mentioned reoccurring payments, but nothing caught my attention until I came across a photo. The unsuspected sight of my parents and I smiling made my chest ache. It was at my school’s Christmas ball during my junior year. My dress was burgundy, with a tulle wrap top and sequins skirt, dad was in his best suit and mom wore her favorite grey Cinderella dress. It was one of my favorite memories of the three of us. We danced all night, and they taught me and my friends’ several ballroom coordinations.
When I picked up the next thing, I found a letter from my parents. It was after I had won my final gymnastics tournament before I gave it up my freshman year. My mom explained how proud she was and went on and on like I knew she used to do.
The further down I searched, the earlier the letters were. She had written to my aunt since I was a baby, but it was the last letter, or the first if I looked at them chronologically, that I felt the air get sucked from my lungs. I had to read it three times and I still didn’t understand.
August 21, 1987
We’re doing fine. Hannah is adjusting well to being home and we’re navigating this parenting thing as we’ve always wanted! After all David and I have gone through to have a baby, I can’t imagine wanting to give my child up, even to someone I trust.
I’ll never understand your decision because of this, but I will accept it for it is our only hope for a child. I wish you wouldn’t push us away—push me away. I know you love us, and whatever it is you think we won’t accept about this man you refuse to tell me about, we will. I swear it, B! We’ll accept him for who he is as long as he isn’t hurting you. Instead, you’ve broken my heart, pushed me away, and have now given up your child for him.
When Mr. Watts showed up on our doorstep, I thought it was to tell me you were dead. When I saw Hannah’s beautiful sleeping face from the car seat, I thought surely the worst has happened! But when he explained the situation to David and me, I couldn’t believe you’d do such a thing. And to not even tell me in person but through a letter! My god, Blaire, you’ve truly hurt me in the worst way a sister could! Is loving this man worth all this pain you’re inflicting?
Don’t worry, I won’t lecture you anymore on the topic. What’s done is done. We’ve read over your wishes and have accepted them. Mr. Watts has all the signed paperwork and says he will let us know when it is taken care of.
I wish you hadn’t done this, but I’m so thankful for the blessing you have given us. Being parents is all we’ve ever wanted. I thought it was what you wanted too, but I was obviously wrong. I feel like I don’t know you anymore, and yet you know me, or you wouldn’t have given us this perfect little girl.
Please remember that I love you, Blaire.
I hope you will change your mind one day and see us; see her.
It was the most confusing thing I had ever read. What my mom said wouldn’t click together in my brain—or maybe I didn’t want it to, so my mind refused to put the pieces together.
I thought I could push the thoughts away, but I couldn’t deny the truth printed on the next paper. On it, read words that made my heart feel like the beats stopped altogether.
Certificate of Birth
August 8, 1987
Mother: Blaire Covingport