Mail-Order Husband:The Millionaire's Debt

By: Rebecca Tilley







Chapter 2


Daphne’s heart pounded with excitement when she heard hooves beating the ground some distance off. This is it, my new husband. The train was not due in for another couple of hours, but things didn’t run on a particular schedule out here. She looked at herself in the small mirror in her bedroom. Her hair was pinned back in a bun, which made her look very severe. She had lost a lot of weight over the years due to a lack of food. Her face had become very angular, with a sharp jaw line, and high sharp cheek bones. She had been the most beautiful girl in town when she was young, with dozens of suitors. She had nearly married Johnny Dawkins, but had been won over by Hank in the end. Johnny was not very adventurous, boring even, and Hank was the exact opposite. She found out that Johnny had opened a printing press and started a newspaper back home, and was now a millionaire. How different her life could have been…no sense thinking about that now. Her husband was nearly here, and she could not wait.

She heard the horse pull up to a stop and a man dismount, then a familiar voice called out to her. “Daphne, come on out here…we need to have a chat.” He said with a sinister sneer in his voice.

It was Mr. Gantry. Panic gripped her and her throat began to close up. Why was he here? She had three days to get a payment together. Had they moved up her foreclosure and not told her? Certainly not, that would be against the law. The law rarely falls on the side of poor widows, however. The man with the money makes the law. She drew herself up to her full height, and tried to carry herself with dignity as she walked out the front door.

“What is it Mr. Gantry?”

“I was just out this way visiting some of my good, paying customers, and thought I would check in on you. Let you know I am still here. Do you have any money for me?”

“Not yet Mr. Gantry, but before the deadline is past I will have you paid up, I promise.”

“I know you will,” he said with a sarcastic grin. “You haven’t ever let me down before.”

“I know I am way behind, but I WILL have your money. You have to believe me.”

“I do believe you Ms. Haynes, but you see the board doesn’t believe you. They told me to execute the sale of your collateral today.” He emphasized the word collateral in such a way that it felt like a dagger in her heart.

“You can’t be serious. I have three more days. Our contract…the law…”

“The law nothin’, Ms. Haynes, you have a debt to pay, and we have every right to collect by whatever means necessary.”

Daphne was trying to remain strong, but the news of her candlesticks being sold was too much to bear; she began to cry. Mr. Gantry loved to see her in so much pain. His sneer curled his upper lip underneath a bushy handlebar mustache while he reached into his suit jacket pocket. He produced two mostly used candles and threw them down to the bottom of the porch steps. “Our buyer wasn’t interested in your cheap, used candles.” He mounted his horse saying, “I’ll expect your payment promptly,” and he rode away.

Daphne was heartbroken. The last shred of her family had just been sold. Even while the heirlooms had been out of her possession she had known they were safe at the bank, just waiting for her to pull together the money to bring them home. Now she had nothing left to fight for. If only her new husband had arrived one day earlier this would not have happened. She no longer had any excitement for the arrival of the stranger on the afternoon train; she no longer needed a husband. When he arrived she would inform him that she was not going to marry, and he was welcome to her property if he paid it off, but she was going to move on. Where she was going she had no idea, but it would be somewhere far away from this God forsaken place that had swallowed up all of her hopes and dreams.





Chapter 3


She was rehearsing the speech she was going to deliver to her betrothed when she heard him pull up out front. It was a beautiful speech that explained everything and let him down easy. She steeled her resolve, put down the clothes she had been packing, and headed to the front door to greet the man. When she caught sight of him her will to go through with the breakup started to disintegrate. He had come all this way and he must be exhausted. I will invite him in first and have a little small talk before I break the news. It is the least I can do; let him have a little rest before I tell him his trip was in vain.

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