A young woman who is expecting to inherit from the wealthy grandmother who raised her is stunned when she returns from a cruise with a younger husband.
Lucy Martin was a woman with great expectations. She was an intelligent girl, and at 26, she was on her second Masters’s degree. However, she had no interest in getting a job.
Her grandmother, Karla Masters, who had raised her from the age of sixteen after her parents died in a car crash, was a wealthy woman. Apart from her very successful chain of gourmet grocery stores, she had inherited a fortune from her own parents.
Karla had raised her granddaughter after her daughter died. | Source: Unsplash
Lucy was planning on inheriting Karla’s money, and until then, she would prolong her academic career. Her grandmother had suggested that she put her MBA to good use learning how to run the grocery chain.
Lucy had no intention of getting involved in the nuts and bolts of running the business. The chain was worth nearly $75 million, and as soon as her grandmother died, she’d sell and start living the good life.
Unfortunately, Karla was a vibrant and exuberant woman of 65 and looked much younger. She gave absolutely no signs of heading for an early grave, which irritated Lucy profoundly.
No amount of money is worth the lives of our loved ones.
“I don’t get it!” Lucy snapped to her friend Monica as they lounged by the pool of Karla’s beautiful house. “HER mother died at sixty, and her father was just forty-eight. Genetics are supposed to be on my side.”
Monica sipped her wine. “Come on, Lucy!” she protested. “Karla’s been so good to you, and so generous! I’m sure you don’t REALLY want her to die young!”
Lucy was chatting with her friend by the pool. | Source: Unsplash
Lucy poured herself another glass of wine and said, “You bet I do! I’m tired of going to her for a handout of a few measly thousands when she has millions. The sooner she kicks the bucket, the better!”
What Lucy didn’t know was that Karla, who had come out onto the terrace, had heard every word of the conversation. She was devastated. She had no idea that her granddaughter was so cold and so greedy.
That night, Karla couldn’t sleep. She kept hearing her granddaughter’s vicious words over and over in her mind. Lucy was her only grandchild, the daughter of her only child who had died much too young.
“Oh God,” Karla prayed. “Please forgive me, but I’m so angry! I’ve done everything for Lucy and asked for nothing in return, but I thought that she loved and cherished me. Is it too much to ask to be loved by our family? How can I live with this sadness and this loneliness?”
Karla was devastated by her granddaughter’s greed. | Source: Unsplash
Karla decided to distance herself from Lucy and her work for a while. Her doctor had warned her that she was under too much stress. “Take a holiday,” the doctor said. “Take a cruise, relax, do some dancing. You’ll come back as good as new!”
So Karla contacted her travel agent and asked for recommendations, and the woman came up with a three-month cruise that would take her around the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
Karla hesitated a little about being away for so long, but her chain manager was a trustworthy and very efficient man. The night before she was to leave, she said to Lucy over dinner, “I’m leaving tomorrow. I’m taking a holiday.”
Lucy was surprised. “Really?” she asked. “Where are you going?”
“On a cruise,” Karla replied. “I always wanted to go on one, and now is the time. Before I get too old or infirm…or die.”
Karla’s doctor advised her to go on a vacation. | Source: Pexels
Lucy didn’t pick up on the irony in her grandmother’s statement. She had no idea that Karla knew exactly who she was and what she wanted. “Wow,” she said smiling. “Where? The Caribbean?”
“No,” Karla replied. “It’s a three-month trip around the Med and the Indian Ocean. It should be fabulous.”
“THREE MONTHS?” gasped Lucy. “But… What about me? What am I going to do for money?”
“You live here,” Karla pointed out. “There’s free food and accommodation. What else do you need? If that’s not enough, maybe you should get a job. Put all those degrees I paid for to good use.”
Lucy didn’t respond. She was furious and more than a little afraid. Her grandmother had always been so loving and generous! What could have happened? Had she some inkling of Lucy’s real feelings?
“What about me? What am I going to do for money?” | Source: Pexels
So Lucy smiled prettily and wished her grandmother a bon voyage. Maybe it was time for her to set up a plan B, start working for her grandmother and make her believe she was invested in the family business and her legacy.
When Karla returned three months later, she looked like a new woman. She was glowing and looked fifteen years younger. “Gran!” Lucy cried. “You look fabulous! Did you have a facelift?”
Karla laughed. “Certainly not!” she smiled. “I would never do that, But… I discovered that happiness makes you glow!”
“Wow!” Lucy exclaimed. “If that’s what a cruise does for you, I want to go too…”
But Karla was smiling mysteriously. “Not the cruise, exactly,” she said, then she turned and called to a man who was just walking into the house. “Jason! Come meet my granddaughter!”
Karla decided to go on a cruise. | Source: Unsplash
The man came closer and Lucy saw that he was what her friend Monica would have called a silver fox. He was in his fifties, but very handsome, and very fit, with a healthy tan that set off his grizzled hair.
“Lucy, darling,” Said Karla, smiling radiantly. “This is my husband, Jason Hartcourt.”
“WHAT?” Lucy couldn’t help herself and she screamed. “Are you INSANE?”
Karla frowned. “Please moderate your tone, Lucy,” she said coldly. “I won’t permit you to talk to me like that!”
“You MARRIED this guy?” Lucy asked. “WHY?”
Karla was glowing and looked fifteen years younger. | Source: Unsplash
“Well my dear,” Karla said. “Because he makes me happy, he makes me laugh, and I love him.”
“It’s ridiculous! A woman your age?” cried Lucy venomously. “Can you imagine what people will say?”
Jason Hartcourt looked angry and he stepped forward, but Karla stretched out her hand. “It’s alright, darling,” she said. “I’ll handle this.”
She turned to Lucy and asked, “Ridiculous because Jason is eleven years younger than me? Or because you’re afraid he’ll get the inheritance you covet?”
“He’s after your money!” Lucy screamed. “You only have to look at him to see that!”
Karla had married a handsome younger man. | Source: unsplash
“Oh, my dear,” Karla said sadly. “I’m afraid you’re judging Jason by YOUR standards. I heard you talking to your friend. You are the one who hopes I’ll die soon so you’ll inherit, but I plan to disappoint you and live for a very long time. In any case, If you won’t be civil to my husband and to me, you can leave.”
“You’re throwing me out?” Lucy gasped. “I have nowhere to go!”
“You are young, you have a great education, go get a job,” Karla said. “It’s time you made something of yourself. I expect you to be gone by morning.”
“But, gran!” Lucy protested. “I wanted to start working at the stores…”
“Are you INSANE?” | Source: Unsplash
“I’m sorry, Lucy,” Karla said. “But Jason convinced me to retire. I’ve had a great offer for the chain and I’m selling out. I’m buying a boat and Jason and I will be traveling the world together.”
Lucy cried, screamed, and begged, but Karla wouldn’t be moved, and Lucy had to go. She did take several very valuable pieces of jewelry she ‘borrowed’ from her grandmother, and her sportscar.
It would be fifteen years before Lucy returned to that house. An old friend of her mothers phoned Lucy and told her that her grandmother had passed away. Karla had been 77 when a heart attack ended her life. “But Lucy,” her mother’s friend said. “She was happy, and that’s what matters.”
“Happy?” screamed Lucy after she hung up the phone. “I’ll bet that gigolo is happy! But if he thinks he’s getting gran’s money, he’s got another thing coming!”
Two days later, Lucy and her two lawyers showed up at the door of Karla’s house. She demanded to speak to Jason and he appeared, looking very pale and sad. “I was expecting you,” Jason said.
Karla asked Lucy to leave her house. | Source: Unsplash
“I bet you were!” Lucy snapped. “I’m here to claim every cent of my grandmother’s money! You exerted undue influence and I can prove it!”
Jason smiled. “You’re welcome to try,” he said. “But there’s little profit in it for you — and I’ll bet those lawyers are very expensive!”
“What do you mean?” asked Lucy.
“These last two years, when Karla’s heart condition worsened, she decided to resolve her estate while she was still alive,” Jason explained. He took out a thick file and handed it to one of Lucy’s lawyers.
“As you can see,” he said. “Karla made a series of extremely generous donations to several charities we both cared about. There is no money, it’s all gone.”
Fifteen years later, Lucy received a phone call from a friend. | Source: Unsplash
“That’s impossible!” Lucy gasped. “I don’t believe it! I’m sure you feathered your nest and got SOMETHING out of all this!”
“No,” Jason said, shaking his head. “I loved Karla from the moment we met, and her love was all I ever wanted. I have a house of my own, and I’ve retired and have an adequate pension. All I have now is sorrow. I will miss your grandmother for the rest of my life.”
Lucy’s lawyer was paging through the file when he said, “It seems to be in order, every cent accounted for. He’s telling the truth!”
“There’s nothing left?” Lucy asked.
Karla passed away after a heart attack. | Source: Unsplash
“There is this house,” Jason said gently. “This is the house where your mother was born and where you grew up. Karla wanted you to have it. I will be leaving tonight, so you can move in whenever you want.”
“The house is mine?” Lucy asked. “She didn’t…she forgave me?”
“Your grandmother loved you, Lucy,” Jason explained. “Even though she was hurt, she always loved you. She hoped that one day you’d realize that people are worth more than any amount of money.”
There were tears running down Lucy’s cheeks. “I…I loved her too! I thought you were here for her money — like I had been. But then when she made me leave, I missed her so much! I realized how good she’d been to me all my life.”
“She missed you too,” Jason said. “Why didn’t you reach out to her? She kept hoping you would.”
“I realized what a horrible, futile woman I’d become. I was too ashamed.” | Source: Unsplash
“I was ashamed,” Lucy said. “I took quite a few hard knocks and realized what a horrible, futile woman I’d become. I was too ashamed…And now it’s too late…”
Jason smiled. “It’s not too late to claim Karla’s legacy,” he said. “And her greatest legacy was her kindness, her compassion, and her care for others.”
“Do you think she forgave me?” Lucy asked Jason.
“I know she did,” Jason said gently. “And I know you will make her proud.”
Lucy went home and thought about the revelations the day had brought her. She had become a successful businesswoman. She wasn’t rich, but she was self-sufficient. Did she really need Karla’s mansion?
Karla’s house became an old age home. | Source: Unsplash
The next day, she called Jason and asked him the name of Karla’s favorite charity. It was an organization that sheltered indigent older people who came to the end of their lives alone and homeless.
Lucy made the house over to the organization and it was transformed into an old age home for people who would otherwise have been living on the streets. In the main hall, they hung a portrait of Karla and Lucy. Karla would have been very proud of her granddaughter.
What can we learn from this story?
- No amount of money is worth the lives of our loved ones. Lucy, out of greed, hoped that Karla would die so she could inherit, and it took her years to see how wrong she was.
- It is never too late to make good on your mistakes. Lucy went through some dark times before she realized that she was wrong about her grandmother, and only after her death did she learn that Karla’s husband really loved her.
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