Cinders gets her revenge

A tale of belated revenge over a bullying family.

The door to the Café opened and a man in his late fifties stepped in out of the rain shaking an umbrella as he did so. The all too brief ‘English Summer’ had broken and normal service of rain and showers was resumed.

A few customers were sitting at tables dotted around the Café, lingering over their afternoon teas and coffees. The two staff were starting to clear things away as the Café was due to close in less than twenty minutes.

The man came up to the counter and waited for one of the two women to notice him.

“Can I help you? We are closing soon.” Asked the shorter of the two women.

The man returned a small smile.

“I wasn’t really looking to get something to eat or drink. I was looking for Robert Palmer. I understand he works here?”

The woman smiled and glanced over at the other one. Then she let out a slight giggle.

“I’m afraid he’s not here at present. Can we give him a message?”

The man looked slightly deflated at this news.

“Well, I need to make sure he has this,” he said pulling and envelope out from inside his rather wet overcoat.

“Is this …. One of those legal thingies?”

“A writ?” answered the man.

“That’s it. A write or whatever?”

“No. This is most certainly not one of those.”

“If that’s the case then I’ll make sure he gets it. Who can I say who called?”

“The contents of the envelope will explain everything.”

The woman took the envelope from him with a slight smile on her face.

“Thank you very much,” said the man.

He gave the two women a slight nod of his head and left the Café.

As soon as the door closed behind him, the two women burst out laughing.

“You played the idiot waitress very well,” said the taller woman.

“Guilty as charged”, she replied grinning from ear to ear.

The rain abated a little later so the lingerers finished their drinks and made a dash for wherever it was they had to go. The two women each gave a sigh of relief, as they knew that their day’s work was nearly over. Even so, it took the both of them nearly an hour to square things away, clean all the surfaces and cash up.

When they were done, the smaller woman turned to the other one and asked.

“Aren’t you going to open the envelope?”

“There really is no need to open it. I already know most of what’s in it. I’m being asked, no summoned to the reading if my father’s will. I saw his obituary in Monday’s Times. He died on last Friday. His funeral is tomorrow.”

“Aren’t you going to go?”

The taller woman shook her head.

“The less I have to do with my old family the better.”

“Would they understand that, well, you are different?”

“Not at all. That’s enough about them. They are in the past,” said the taller woman trying to put a brace face on things.

They put on their coats and went home however there were still a few things outstanding between them.

They’d been at their home for about half an hour. The shorter woman was taking a shower. The other one was preparing their evening meal when the third member of the household arrived home.

“Hi Gerry, how was your day?” asked the newcomer.

“Not too bad. The rain kept a steady stream of customers inside. Yours?”

“Same old, same old. Slaving over a hot stove…” she replied with a smile.

“Now, now Paula, you know you love cooking. What delights have you cooked up for us for tomorrow?”

Paula smiled back.

“A lovely goats cheese quiche.”

Jerry groaned.

“Didn’t you know that summer is over?”

They both laughed. This was all part of the teasing that they did on a regular basis.

“Where’s Eve?”

“She’s taking a shower. I’m cooking up some Pasta for dinner. Is that ok?”

“Yeah. I’ll go and hurry up Eve. I need to pee,” she said with a smile.

Later that evening Gerry was sitting at the kitchen table looking intently at the envelope. She was deciding if she should open it or not.

He two flatmates saw her deliberations and went and sat down next to her.

“Come on Gerry, open the dammed thing,” said Eve.

“I don’t know. It will make it all… so final.”

“What do you mean? I thought that you were estranged from your family?” asked Paula.

“Yeah but now I have responsibilities. Responsibilities that I’d rather not have but fate has dealt me them just when…. I’m not happy about it one little bit.”

The other two women looked at each other.

“I’d best tell you the full story then.”

She swallowed hard and began.

“My father knew about me before I met the two of you. He loaned me the money to put down a deposit on this place and the lease of the Café. I paid him back in full last year and while he didn’t understand what I was doing, he realised that I was happy and that was enough for him. The problem is with my Mother and my three Sisters.”

“What’s wrong with them?”

Gerry looked down at the envelope and sighed.

“You know the story of Cinderella and her sisters. They are my ugly sisters. My mother is a bitch that makes Cruella deVille look like a pussycat. So take that and multiply their badness and bitchiness by about a million and you have them. All of them were really bad to me when I was growing up. What they did to me was probably verging on child abuse but no one was going to complain. Going away to boarding school probably saved me.”

Gerry sighed again.

“Now I’m Lord Graffham and I’ll have to sort things out.”

The two others looked at each other with a look of total astonishment on their faces.

“You’re a Lord?” asked a flabbergasted Eve.

“Now I am. But I’m obviously not going to be able to fulfil my ‘Lordly’ duties,” replied Gerry as she cupped her breasts.

The other two tittered their amusement.

“Ok, enough of the fun. This is serious. My mother will probably explode with anger when she sees me as I am now.”

She paused for a second before a wry smile broke out on her face.

“Perhaps that is not such a bad idea after all?”

“Enough of that. Lets see what the lawyers have to say on the mater.”

Gerry tore open the envelope. The contents were much as she’d expected, a formal notice of the reading of the will giving the location and time. The location was no surprise. That was the family home, a Georgian Country house not far from the magnificent Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire.

Her old home was old but nowhere near as grand as Chatsworth. A long dead and forgotten ancestor, Gilbert Emmett had the place built in 1810 using the profits from his woollen mills. It s size made it just able to be called a stately home. A good chunk of the estate had been sold off in the 1920’s and 1960’s to pay Death Duties but there was still more than 500 acres left. The time was good as well, 1pm. That would allow her to travel up on the day itself.

She had known from an early age that she didn’t want to run the estate but had never said anything. However to satisfy her parents desires, she’d even taken a degree in Estate Management to satisfy her parents. Her time away from home and their influence allowed her to plan her future and it was not one that involved managing the home estate.

Once she’d taken her ‘finals’, she’d disappeared from the lives of her family. The family would not take her simple explanation that ‘I’m not going to manage the estate’ as a satisfactory explanation so they involved the police to search for her. After a few months, they found Robert who by now was living as a woman. Because he/she was an adult they didn’t tell her parents anything other than that Robert was alive and living in London.

That was more than 10 years ago.

Her father hadn’t accepted the Police story at face value so he’d hired a couple of Investigators to find him. After almost six months, he found that his son was now living as a woman he was shocked. Of all the possibilities he’d considered, this was certainly not one of them.

We didn’t tell his wife. He knew that she’d never accept it. Instead, he visited Robert and made peace with her. At first their relationship was a bit strained but over time, she realised that her father was not the ogre she’d imagined and then she came to understand that he was proud of her for striking out on her own and making something of her life.

A few days before he died, he’d called his ‘daughter’. He told her that it was time and that his cancer finally winning. Thus seeing the obituary in the Time a few days earlier was not that much of a surprise. What she was not relishing was seeing the rest of her family and all that that would entail. The truth was that she’d become rather comfortable in her life, with the shop and two lovely flatmates who were more than ready to take turns sharing a bed with her on a regular basis and there was one chapter in her life that had to be closed once and for all.

Their lifestyle and in particular her decision to live as a woman, have some surgery to make her more presentable as a woman would go down with her family like a lead balloon. Add to that, the fact that she was living with two women in what was clearly a lesbian relationship would seal her fate to be burning in hell from then to eternity.

Geraldine or Gerry as she preferred to be called tossed and turned all night long, as she contemplated not going to the reading of the will. She’d promised her father that she would but she was not relishing the experience. However her promise to attend was almost the last thing she’d said to him on their final phone call.

Gerry decided the next morning that she did indeed owe it to her father to confront the evil part of her family once and for all.

Gerry arrived at the family solicitors offices a few minutes before the allotted to for the reading. She’d travelled up to Chesterfield by train just to be on the safe side and things went wrong and she left in a rage. Driving while being emotional was not the best thing to do. Her emotional patterns had changed since she’d been taking a very low dose of Oestrogen for a couple of years.

Both Paula and Eve had wanted to come with her for support but she’d insisted that this was something she needed to do on her own besides, they had a Café to run and customers to serve.

Gerry stood outside the offices for several minutes. Last minute nerves were getting to her. In the end, it was the arrival of the estate gamekeeper that made up her mind for her. The man, Frank Thorne stared at Gerry for a second. He thought he recognised her, as a ‘him’ but wasn’t sure. He wouldn’t be the last one to experience that.

Frank let Gerry into the offices. There were quite a few people there already. The words, ‘All the usual suspects’ came into her mind.

Gerry saw his mother and sisters sitting at the front. His mother was weeping faux tears. She was never very good at the fakery. Gerry knew the outline of what was to come and it wouldn’t be very pretty.

At dead on One O’clock, George Davis, senior partner at the firm, Weddel, Young and Adams called the meeting to order.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today for the reading of the will of the late Charles Robert Palmer who sadly died on the 3rd of this month.”

He paused for a second.

“I will begin with the codicil that was added a few months before Mr Palmer’s death.”

He looked at a sheet of paper in front of him.

“These are the words of Mr Palmer. His instructions were explicit in that I am to read it in its entirety.”

“Well, I’m dead so I’ll keep this short and sweet so we can get onto the interesting stuff, the division of assets.”

“Firstly, to my wife. Now that I’m gone you are free to shack up with Clyde. I know you have been seeing him for a long time so now you are free. I’ll expect you to vacate the house within a week. Not willing to move in with him? Oh dear, he’s married and still lives with her. No matter, the second part of the Will has provision for you.”

“Now onto my three lovely daughters. Frankly, I am glad to see the back of you. I have never known a set of self centred useless women in all my life. All you do is spend money and ride horses. Emily, why do you buy size 12 clothes when you are clearly a size… well it is clear to everyone that you can’t fit into size 12? How do I know this? Well I have to pay all your credit card bills every month. Well, you will be pleased to know that all your cards have been cancelled. You are also required to vacate the home within 10 days. Once again, provision has been made in the other part of the will.”

“Lastly, I move onto my son. I hope that he is here today. I know that for a few of you this is a surprise. Well, I’ve been in contact with him for several years now. He has made a nice life for himself free from the interference of my wife and daughters and for that I’m eternally grateful.”

“Now girls, don’t squirm. You know you all made his life hell. Is it little wonder that he left home and didn’t come back after his time at university. He is quite successful, doing something that interests him and with people that love and care for him. I wish him well in the future.”

The lawyer put the sheet down and looked at the people in the room.

“Now I will turn to the provisions made in the will proper.”

He picked up a more substantial document.

“I will concentrate on the more important provisions.”

“This is the last will and testament of Charles Robert Palmer and is dated the 10th September 2011.”

“Firstly, I make provision to my estate keeper George Thorne. To him I leave the keepers cottage and half an acre of land. Enjoy your retirement George.”

The lawyer took a sip of water from the tumbler that was sitting on the desk in front of him.

“To my dear wife, I leave her the clothes and jewellery that she has acquired over the years. I also leave her a property more suitable to her chosen profession of mistress. There is a nice apartment for you in the Centre of Nottingham. A sum of  £500,000 is also to be made available to you. That’s it. Not a penny more will come your way.”

“To my darling daughters. None of you have shown the slightest inkling of ever getting a job or even god forbid, a husband. You are all thirty years old for god’s sake. Still, I’m not going to leave you destitute. I’ve bought an apartment for each of you in Chesterfield. A sum of  £400,00 will be made available to each of you. That is it. That is to last you until you either find a sucker who can support you or that you join me wherever I am, be that in heaven or hell.”

“Lastly, I turn to my Son. To many of you in this room, you may think that he is a disappointment to me. Well, he is not. When I found him in London, I was disappointed that he hadn’t returned home after finishing his studies. Over a period of time, I observed him and slowly I realised that he was actually making a life for himself free from the constant putting down and criticism he was always receiving from the other women in my life.”

“I say other women in my life deliberately. My son should be more accurately referred to as my fourth daughter. Geraldine is what his name is now. I’m rather proud of her. She runs her own business with the help of two close friends. She does not need anything from me but I’m going to give her one million pounds simply because she made me happy. I watched her from afar, grow into a very assured young woman.”

“Lastly, I come to the rest of the estate. Frankly, I am glad to see the back of it. I only carried on running it because it was the wishes of my father. Therefore it will be sold as soon as possible. All the proceeds after the aforementioned bequeaths and death duties will be given to several LGBT Charities. I have to admit to my eternal sorrow that I have not always been very charitable to this section of society. Discovering that one’s only son is transgendered was a bit of a shock but it has made me re-examine my opinions of the LGBT Community. In the end, I found that those opinions to be hopelessly outdated and for that I ask the lord for forgiveness.”

The lawyer put down the document and addressed the audience.

“That completed the major bequeaths. There are a whole list of minor bequeaths regarding the contents of the family home. My staff will make copies of those available to everyone here today.”

He took another sip of water.

“Thank you for attending and good day.”

He stood up from the desk, picked up the papers he’d used during the reading and started to make for the door.

“Where do you think you are going?” shouted Gerry’s Mother.
“You can’t just leave us penniless and hope to escape like that. Where’s my silly son. I’ll give him transgendered. It is his duty to run the estate and provide for me in old age.”

“Lady Palmer, I am merely carrying out the wishes of your late husband. If you wish to consult another lawyer with a view to challenging the terms of the will, I will be happy to give you the details of a very competent solicitor.”

Gerry’s mother glared at him. Her daughters were still sitting mouths opened in total surprise at the disaster that had befallen them.

As the room cleared Gerry’s presence became hard to hide. Soon there was no one left buy Getty, her mother and her three sisters, Emily, Yvonne and Clara.

“Well, look what the cat dragged in!” said Emily when she recognised her brother.

“Don’t he look a real sight all dressed as a women. He really has some nerve coming here today of all days and dressed like that, it is an insult to all of us.”

“He’s all dolled up and nowhere to go! Ah our baby is still teething. Perhaps he needs his nappy changing?” added Clara.

“Oh look it has breasts. Isn’t that rather cute?” remarked Yvonne not wanting to be left out of the sledging. [1]

Gerry sighed. This was nothing new for the three of them. She said nothing. Anything that she said at this time would just serve as ammunition for them to continue with the ‘sledging’.

Gerry walked over to her family. She took a deep breath. It was time for a lot of unfinished business to be concluded.

“Hello Mother. It is nice to see you again. I had hoped that it would be in happier circumstances than we have at the moment”.

“What on earth do you think you look like? Do you really think you can live as a woman looking like that?”

Gerry had been expecting something like that.

“I could say the same to you. How on earth did you think that a Red Leather outfit was suitable for today? That skirt is far too short especially with your legs. If you are going to wear skirts that short then you need to cover up all that cellulite it makes you look like some tart from a council estate but wasn’t that where you came from in the first place?”

Jerry’s mother looked as if she was about to explode.

“How dare you speak to me like that?”

Gerry smiled back at her and then looked at her sisters.

“Daddy told me about you three. The words he used to describe you were along the lines that you were nothing more than idle slobs and that none of you has ever considered getting a job. Frankly seeing you here today really confirmed what he said. Yvonne, that Muumuu is just awful. Whatever persuaded you to even consider wearing that amount of Pink and Lime Green? Mind you, your sisters are just as bad. None of you have even an ounce of dress sense. You mist get it from our dear mother?”

The three of them were for once silenced by her verbal attack on them.

“Our Father, God rest his soul has made more than ample provision for you all. It is up to you to adjust your lifestyles so that it lasts more than a year. I have one word of advice to you all. Don’t you even think of coming to me and asking for money? Dad made me promise him that I would not even consider bailing you out. I fully intend to honour that promise.”

She continued.

“Since we got to know each other these past few years I lost count of the times he told me that e was sick and tired of the three of you outright refusing to either get a job or get married, not that any man who wasn’t certifiably insane would consider going out with any of you. “

Then she took a step back.

“I am so not sorry that I didn’t return home after I finished University. It has taken me a long time but I have gotten over the bullying that you put me through all those years simple because I was younger, male and our dear mother was usually too pissed to even know what day of the week it was.”

“I have now built a good life for myself and the two people I live with. We are very happy with out lot and the last thing I need is for you lot of social misfits and outcasts to even think of becoming part of it. I hope that I never have the misfortune to meet any of you ever again. Good bye and good riddance.”

She turned on the high heels of her sandals and left the office. She heard several attempts at speech but none was forthcoming. For that she was eternally grateful.

Before leaving the Offices, she went and signed a few papers relating to the various bequeaths in the will. Then she crept out of the offices and walked to the Railway Station and the train home. On the way, she entered the Church of St Mary and All Saints. It was very peaceful inside. She sat and said a small prayer for her Father. As she left, she looked up at the famous ‘Crooked Spire’ of the Church. She smiled to herself as she remembered the time when she’d run away from home aged 10. Her sisters were still trying to get her dressed as a baby complete with a pink lace edged nappy. She escaped their clutches and ran all the way off the estate and took the first bus that came along. She had enough money to get to Chesterfield. By the time she got off the bus it was pouring with rain and the only place where she could take refuge was in the church. That was where she was when her father came to collect her. He’d told her only the previous year that that event had started to open his eyes as to what was going on right underneath his nose. Gerry said a few more words of thanks to her father before walking head held high towards the town’s railway station and her train home.

She’d just about made it to the station when a vehicle screeched to a halt right beside her. She stopped and looked at the driver. It was the former head gamekeeper of the estate.

“Hello Frank,” said Gerry as the driver got out of the Land Rover.

“It is nice to see you in the flesh at last.”
Gerry looked a bit puzzled.

Frank smiled.
“Your father told me all about you. He needed someone to talk to. We spent many an hour sitting on the riverbank fishing and putting the world to rights.”

Gerry felt relieved at this discovery.

“Thanks Frank.”

Frank looked a bit uneasy.

“What’s up Frank?”

“I sort of overheard what you said to your Mother and Sisters,” he said with s sad face.

“It had to be said Frank. Do you not agree?”

“Yes but…. You didn’t need to say it like that.”

“Frank, I had to say what I did. That is the end of it. It closes a whole chapter in my life. Anyway, you are retiring so what does it matter to you?”

“I know but I’ve worked for your father and his father before him. I worry about you all.”

Gerry smiled back at him,

“Frank, all that is over now. You have your own life to lead. You should let go and enjoy the rest of your life.”

Frank smiled for the first time.

“You were always able to look on the bright side despite all that your sisters put you through.”

Gerry smiled back at Frank.

“It was the only way I survived all their abuse. Like all bullies they were very good at blaming me for everything so I had to just think of the future and that one-day I would get out from under their influence. I will think of today as one small step towards getting even.”

Then on impulse, she kissed him lightly on both cheeks. Then she slipped him one of her cards that advertised the café.

“If you are ever on the South Coast, look us up. We serve a mean Hot-pot.“

Then she kissed him again before leaving him standing on the street slightly bewildered.

It was pretty late when Gerry arrived home. The flat was quiet. She assumed that the others must be asleep so she slipped off her shoes and crept into her bedroom. After undressing, she slipped into bed and tried to sleep. Sleep didn’t come. Slowly the enormity of what she’d done to her family struck home. Despite everything they’d done to her she still wondered if she’d done the right thing. Doubts abounded through her mind. This caused her to start weeping.

She was still crying when two lithe bodies slipped into bed beside her.

“What’s the matter darling asked Paula?”

“My Family… I think I destroyed them,” sobbed Gerry.

Her two companions hugged Gerry tight.

“Never mind darling we are your family now. You did what you had to do.”

[The End]

[1] Sledging
Sledging is a term used in cricket to describe the practice whereby some players seek to gain an advantage by insulting or verbally intimidating the opposing player.

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