What You Thought You Knew

What You Thought You Knew

A Story by Anne

After the sudden death of a close family member, you find that you inherited a mysterious house from them. Upon arriving at the house, you find something that completely shatters everything you thoug


     Standing on a small hill overlooking the town and the mountain range behind the town, Ellen could not believe the words she was hearing.  “we therefore commit his body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, looking for that blessed hope when the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”  The rest was just a blur until she walked up and placed a flower on the casket, said a small prayer for her Uncle Ted, and began walking to her car.

     Lanna, Ellen’s cousin, called after her “Ellen, wait up a minute.  Are you coming to the reception?  It’s at my mom’s house.”

     “Yes, of course.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.  I know it sounds cliché’, but I wish it didn’t take a death in the family for us to visit.”, she said with a little laugh.

     It was good to see the family and reminisce about Uncle Ted.  He was such a quiet man and lead an unassuming life.  He worked as a tax accountant for a large corporation, so he was usually working overtime to meet deadlines.  One of his sons, Lenny, was a little angry.  The memories he had of his father were of not being around for his baseball games, school concerts, and family picnics. 

     “Yeah, too bad dad wasn’t around to spend time with us.  I mean I love him, but he was never here for us.  He was always at work or something.  Like that song from the 70’s, uhhh…’Cat’s in the Cradle’.  ‘When you comin’ home dad, I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then son.’  But it never happened.

     His sister Lanna piped in “Lenny…you know dad loved us, he did his best.  Don’t talk about him like that.”  Ellen could see Lanna fighting back the tears.

     To help Lanna feel better and give Lenny a different perspective, Ellen chimed in “Part of how he was, was because of the generation they were raised in.  You know fathers worked and mothers took care of the home and kids.  We’re in that ‘mixed’ generation.”

     Lenny quietly grunted and Lanna seemed to have a bit of peace coming over her expression.

     Aunt Marjorie, Uncle Ted’s wife, put her hand gently on Ellen’s shoulder “Ellen, can you come here a minute.  I have something I want to talk to you about.”

     A perplexed look came to Ellen’s face as she turned around to follow her Aunt into the den.  It was quiet in the den, removed from the rest of the hustle and bustle of people talking, setting out food and picking up dishes left around.

     As Aunt Marjorie shut the door, she began, “Ellen, Uncle Ted left you a house he had on Peak’s Island.  Here is the address and the keys to the house.”

     Astonished, in complete shock, Ellen didn’t know what to say.  She stuttered trying to find the right words.  “Aunt Marjorie…why did he…I didn’t even know you guys had another home…”

     “This home was Uncle Ted’s private escape.  He bought this little cottage on Peak’s Island to get some quiet time away from the world.  Working in a large corporation took a toll on him.  He really didn’t like his job, but he did it so he could provide a good home and opportunities for the children.”  He specifically left instructions in his will that he wanted you to have this home.  He knew you were focusing on your career being a news journalist and he felt you could use a private escape when the brutal realities of journalism became too much for you to bear.  He wanted you to have a place to regroup.”

     “Thank you, Aunt Marjorie…I mean…Thank you Uncle Ted.” She said questioningly.  “But what about Lanna and Lenny?  I don’t want them to be upset with me.”

     “Don’t worry, darling, they don’t have to know, and Uncle Ted took very good care of them in his will.  You know, we led a simple life, never needing anything, although a nice vacation or some luxuries would have been welcome.” Aunt Marjorie said with a chuckle.  “But, he was a smart man.  He invested wisely, and in the end, he provided for us in a big way.  Enjoy, dear.”, she said with a warm, loving smile.

     The next evening, Ellen packed a bag for the weekend.  She decided she would go to work the next day, and start her weekend off driving to Peak’s Island.  She was excited to see what this new place was like and to see her new get away home.

     The ferry ride from the coast of Maine to Peak’s Island was a little rough, but it was a short ride.  Driving off the ramp and up the steep, narrow hill, Ellen instantly felt welcome, and she hadn’t even talked to anyone yet!  It was quaint and warm and welcoming.  She drove her red Ford Focus on the narrow island road along the coast of the island, following her GPS.  It didn’t take long for her to hear her GPS say “In 500 feet, arrive at destination on the right.”

     “Holy S**t”, she said out loud, in a quiet voice, “It’s on the shore.”  Her jaw dropped slightly, in disbelief as she turned into the gravel driveway.  It was surrounded by coastal shrubs.  The house was barely visible from the road.  ‘I guess this is a quiet get away place’.

     Ellen grabbed her bag and headed toward the door, keys in hand.  In a dreamy state, she looked around her at the beauty and peace that was now hers.  She opened the door and entered a small foyer.  The cottage looked like it was from the early 1900’s.  The walls were darker in color, with golden and maroon décor for accents.  She put her bag down and started to explore.  The living room had a stiff, tufted couch that looked like it would be uncomfortable, but with all the throw pillows, it was actually quite comfortable.  A big comfy sitting chair was by the window overlooking the ocean view.  She went through all the rooms, just taking in the beauty and comfort. 

     ‘Wow, Uncle Ted really knew how to get away and relax’, she thought to herself.

     She grabbed her bag and brought it upstairs to the bedrooms.  Which one should she choose?  It felt a little weird sleeping in the ‘master bedroom’, but it was like a bedroom from a ‘Home and Garden’ magazine, how could she resist?  It had French doors out to a balcony overlooking the ocean!

     Ellen walked over to the dresser to begin putting her clothes away for the weekend.  It was a low, long dresser with a Mirror.  She opened the top drawer on the left side.  As she pulled the drawer out, she saw red, silky material, then white, then black lacey material.  She thought ‘Am I in the right place?’  She pulled out the red material.  It was a sexy bustier corset.  She quickly dropped it not knowing what to think.  ‘Why is this in Uncle Ted’s dresser?  Is this Aunt Marjorie’s.  I just can’t…I can’t.’

     She opened the drawer in the middle.  ‘NO!  It can’t be!’, she thought.  Condoms, scented massage oils, his and her lubricants.  She quickly slammed the drawer.  The drawer on the right, does she dare?  She opened it.  Men’s boxers.  ‘Phew’.

     All the clothes on the left were woman’s clothing, all the clothes on the right were men’s.  She slowly turned around, examining the room from corner to corner.  As her eyes got closer to the bed, she saw a picture frame.  She walked over and picked up the metal filigree frame.  There were two people in the picture, and it was obvious they loved each other deeply by the way they were looking into each other’s eyes.  It was Uncle Ted and a strange woman.

     So many thoughts ran through Ellen’s mind, ‘how could he!?  Yeah right, a quiet place to escape from the corporate life, my a*s.  I made excuses for him when Lenny was complaining about him. Poor Aunt Marjorie, did she know?  What do I do, do I tell them?  Do I keep this place?

© 2017 Anne

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Added on January 11, 2017
Last Updated on January 13, 2017
Tags: #writingprompt #cottageinthewood



Books and Writing have been within my soul for as long as I can remember. Thankful my life has lead me where I have been and where I am going. more..

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