A Penny For Christmas

A Penny For Christmas Chapter 10: How it happened

By Anthonia Nicol

She knew where he loved to hang out after an ordeal with the police. It was probably a death trap, but Sarah knew she couldn’t continue like this. She had to end this nightmare, whether she lost her life in the process or not. She alighted from the bus and crossed the street, taking note of the street workers and drug addicts she passed along the way.
That was her life once, she thought. A worthless street worker with no future until Herbert came along. He was popular on the streets and back then, and popularity held its appeal. His ability to evade the law and the power he possessed drew her to him. Huh, she said to herself, you were so stupid! He made her his muse, and they made tons of money conning rich men. She would have an affair with them and threaten to expose them or tell their wives, and they would pay up in exchange for the evidence. They never played the same con in the same city twice.
She thought she was living the good life. They spent the money on drugs, liquor, and parties. Soon, Herbert got ambitious. He wanted more. He stepped up the con. It was just like that movie acted by Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt. She assumed different personalities, got married to unsuspecting victims, got them to cheat on her, then divorced them, cashing in on a third of half of their properties, and victims always kept it quiet because of their status in society.
It worked twice.
Her third victim was a devilishly handsome aristocrat and doctor, Christopher Wallace. She applied to be his assistant and got it, using the position to study her target. He was close to his mother and spent a lot of free time in orphanages, improving their infrastructure, stocking up their supplies, and offering free medical services. He loved kids. She told Hebert that much. ‘You need to give him a kid,’ he advised. ‘The money will flow endlessly once his child is in our custody.’ She was reluctant because she had fallen for Christopher, and she knew a child by Christopher would make him a gold mine for Hebert forever unless he was willing to allow the situation to blow up into a scandal.
So, she told Hebert she missed him, seduced him, and got pregnant with his child instead.
Both men were happy for different reasons, and neither of them knew the truth. Then came Daisy, the apple of her father’s eye. Their relationship blossomed, and with it, the excuses she gave Herbert.
‘He put a clause in the pre-nuptial agreement saying that I would only be entitled to half his property if we were married for up to 5 years!’ She hoped he would be tired by then and just let her be or at least give her more time to spend with her husband.
He didn’t fuss about it much. Sarah had given him access to the accounts Christopher gave her, and by his thinking, the wait was worth it. Christopher was a gold mine.
Daisy was five, and to her dismay, Herbert became more persistent. ‘Leave him now, or I will kill him,’ he threatened. Herbert didn’t make empty threats. He was going to kill him. ‘I will,’ she assured him. ‘I just want to make sure everything is fine, legally.’
‘You better not be in love with the rich boy!’ he snapped, holding her neck and pinning her to the wall. ‘You are mine! No one else’s!’
He took her that night, and when she went to the hospital three days later, she discovered that she was four weeks pregnant.
The news broke her because she had given Hebert the insurance policy he needed at long last.
That week, Daisy was in a car accident on her way to school. The driver didn’t make it, and she was in critical condition. She needed blood, and that was when Christopher discovered that she wasn’t his.
All hell broke loose, and that, she recalled, was the beginning of her nightmare. Hebert, who she introduced to Christopher as her brother, revealed himself to him as her handler. He initiated the divorce, forcing Christopher to sign away some of his assets overseas if he wanted the matter out of the press.
For the first time since she met him, Christopher was vulnerable. The most powerful man she knew, brought down to his knees because of their deceit, his heartbreak, and the loss of his daughter.
He hated her now; he signed the papers willingly and told her he never wanted to see her again. He assured her that he spared her because Daisy needed a mother’s love but would change his mind if she didn’t leave.
Herbert was very pleased with himself when he acquired a Beverly Hills Home, courtesy of Christopher’s money, and was sure that Christopher would continue to pay up because of Daisy, but Christopher didn’t.
According to him, Christopher discovered that Daisy wasn’t his child, which only meant that she played a trick on him. He beat her with every inch of her life, and she nearly had a miscarriage. ‘You played me!’ he kept on saying. ‘Now we are stuck with her. What are we going to do with a kid that can’t get us money? I’m not going to spend a dime on her!’ Daisy heard all that. That once cheerful and vibrant kid became a loner with no friends, well, except for Brenda.
It didn’t take long for Hebert to gamble all the money away. He became more aggressive, hitting her at any provocation. The neighbors complained. He got arrested several times, and in the end, they moved to Queens when they could no longer afford the lifestyle.
Penny came late. It was a complicated birth, and she underwent surgery that left her with ugly scars around her belly. These scars made her fall out of favor with her handler, who believed Penny was his child and concluded that the Wallace scam was the worst thing that ever happened to him. How did he end up with two worthless children that were now his responsibility? He decided to move on from Christopher and start again with new girls, but word about his misfortune spread around the streets, and no one wanted to work with him.
He returned to her, but he was no longer an abusive man; he was a wounded and ruthless monster who took his anger out on her and the girls. They never got married; she adopted his surname to avoid uncomfortable questions, and after a while, it stuck.
She sighed.
She was in front of Cobblestone’s Pub, where he liked to celebrate his release from jail. You would think he would have grown tired of that by now. The bouncers let her in since she was a familiar face. She found him, under dimly lit lights, and amidst three beautiful women. She took a deep breath and approached him.

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