Having driven across town to get to the Mira Vista Country Club, it was still a couple of winding miles through the meandering hills to the Prendergast mansion, sitting on the top of a hill. Robert dreaded going there more every time he went. He was already late by fifteen minutes and he knew what would happen when he got there.
Robert had stayed at the diner longer than he had planned, but he just could not leave until he had seen Joy one more time. Joy was beautiful, but that was not what had held him there. Every time he started to leave, he had just as quickly changed his mind. He had felt an overwhelming need to see Joy once again before he left, so he had waited.
Now in just a minute, he was going to have to pay for it. What was so stupid about the whole thing was that he had never even liked Ashley Prendergast. His father had arranged the whole thing and told him he would be marrying her or else. As Robert pulled in the circular drive, he saw Ashley heading for his car and she looked angry.
“I should have chosen for the ‘Or else,’ option two years ago,” he groaned.
Screeching in her highest shrillest voice, Ashley said, “Robert Windermere, how dare you embarrass me like this. Important guests have been here for hours and you put me in the shameful position of having to great them alone. This is devastating for someone in my position.”
“Ashley, calm down,” he said raising his hands in a cajoling manner.
At that moment Ashley started screaming and screeching so loudly, Robert had to cover his ears. Everyone was pouring out of the house to see what was wrong. Roberts’s parents were in the group also.
“Where did they come from,” Ashley screamed at him.
Robert looked to where Ashley was pointing to, in his cars back seat and was shocked to find two very frighten little children.
“Ashley, he said firmly. Shut up that horrible screaming and screeching you are doing. You are scaring these poor children to death. I do not know how they came to be in my car, but if you will shut up for two minutes, I will try to find out.”
Turning his back on the still screeching Ashley, Robert simply got into his car and shut the door so that he could speak with the children.
“Ok, so would one of you like to tell me your names and what you are doing in my car?”
Noticing that the tiny girl was crying, Robert pulled out his silk handkerchief and handed it to her to wipe her eyes. Sniffling, the small girl reached out and took it from him.
He was taken aback, when the tiny little angel looked into his eyes and said, “Thank you, my name is Tina.”
“I’m Daniel. I’m sorry sir, but we thought this was Joy’s car, because it was red, and Joy said we should wait in her red car.”
Looking at Daniel and Tina, as they explained what had happen in their lives to put them in their present situation, he finally noticed how dirty and poor these two sad eyed babies were.
For once in his life, Robert was ashamed of his overabundance of wealth. He began thinking about the people his family had hurt by laying them off and all of their little children. At that moment, the wall of ice, his grandfather and father had taught him to build around his heart, melted away.
“Does she always scream like that? She makes my ears hurt,” Tina said covering her ears with her hands.
“Yeah, and she makes my ears hurt too. Her daddy needs to give her a good spanking. She would stop screaming then I bet,” Daniel said.
Robert laughed and agreed with both children, “I think so too, she is definitely getting on my nerves. Give me one moment and I will take you back to the diner and we will see if Joy is still there.
Getting out of the car and raising his hand to quite everyone down, especially the wailing Ashley, Robert said, “I find I have two children, who accidentally climbed into my car for a nap. I am going to return them now. Mr. and Mrs. Prendergast, I offer my apologies for the…” looking at Ashley, he went on, “The scene this has caused.”
As he started to get back in his car, Ashley started shrieking at him again, “No you don’t Robert, you will call the police and have them pick up these little filthy beggars. You will have to fumigate that car as it is, before I will ever consider getting into it again. Do you hear me?”
“I cannot help but hear you. In fact, Ashley, I would imagine all of Fort Worth could hear your obnoxious voice and your evil hurtful words. I will not need to fumigate my car, since you will never be invited to get in it ever again. Now, did you hear me?”
“Getting back in his car, he glanced over at his father and mother to see them grinning. Turning around in the seat he said, “Daniel, help your sister buckle up, then buckle yourself in, we are getting out of here.”
“Yes sir.” After Daniel had buckled Tina in and was buckling his own seatbelt, Daniel said, “I never saw anybody act that way before. Robert, have you ever seen anyone act as awful as that Ashley woman did, before?”
“Come to think of it Daniel, yes I have. In fact, I have seen Ashley do that every time she did not get her way. Then tonight at the dinner, I saw two little children and their parents acting just as bad as she did. In my own way, I am ashamed to say, I have acted as bad as the rest of them.”
“You have fits like she does,” Tina quietly asked him.
“No princess, I do not scream or throw fits, but I have never thought of anyone but myself and my wants. Many people in town have been hurt because of my family’s greed. In that way, I am as bad as Ashley is.”
“But you can fix it if you want to. Tina and I will help you, after we find Joy. I bet Joy will want to help, she wanted to help me and Tina today,” Daniel told him.
“You know Daniel, I just may take you up on that offer, after we find Joy,” smiling at the smart little boy, Robert Thorsten Windermere the third, knew what he must do, first thing in the morning.
To be continued…