Updated: Apr 12, 2022
The Heir Comes Home
by Sandy Kay Slawson
Regina Waters closed the mercantile and pushed the bolts into place. She drug a stool up to the counter then pulled the ledger and her notepad in front of her. She checked and rechecked every entry lest her integrity come into question. With the accounts balanced, she closed both books and placed them under the counter.
Regina drew her kerchief from her apron pocket and covered her chestnut hair, then grabbed a rag and broom from the storage room. She’d dusted and swept halfway through the store when a knock sounded on the front door. “Who could it be?” The town’s people knew the store hours, and no one raised an eyebrow anymore about her long workdays. She left her dusting rag on the shelf to mark her spot, but brought the broom with her to the door. Through the glass she saw a woman on the other side. Regina relaxed, unbolted the door, and opened it. “I’m sorry, miss, but we’re closed. We open at seven tomorr—” Regina paused when a man moved into view. A stranger. She gripped the broom handle tighter. “We’re closed, sir.”
“Who are you?” The man stepped around the woman, pushed the door wider, then entered the store. The lady followed behind. “Why are you here?” The man’s scowl made him look fierce.
Who does he think he is? “I said the store is closed, sir. You and your missus need to leave at once.”
“My missus?” The man shook his head in frustration. “I asked you two questions that I demand answers to immediately, Miss—”
“Demand? Look, Mr., I don’t know who you are or why you’ve come into my store with this attitude, but—”
“Your store?” The man glanced at the woman and they shared a look Regina couldn’t decipher.
“Well, not really my store. I’m just—”
“You’re right. It’s not your store. It’s mine… ours, and I’d like to know what you’re doing in it.”
Regina’s ire rose under the unpleasant man’s scrutiny. How dare he push his way into the mercantile and then presume to treat her like the criminal? With one fist clenched on her hip, she lifted her chin, pointed the broom handle at him, and stood her ground. “I work here. Mr. Scotty hired me over a year ago and I’ve worked here ever since.” “Mr. Scotty, as you call him, died, but for some indeterminable reason you are still here. Did you think you could just take over the mercantile in his place? Steal his hard earned business for your own?” “Of course, not, I—” “Been helping yourself to the goods and money since he isn’t here to protect his interests?” “Mr.—” “Stewart.” “Mr. Scotty’s son? And daughter?” “Yes, didn’t know about us, eh?” Mr. Stewart gave his sister a knowing look. Miss Stewart worried her lip and appeared uncomfortable with the confrontation. “I knew he had children attending school in the East,” Regina said. She did her duty as she’d seen it… kept the mercantile in business until Mr. Scotty’s heir came to claim it. “I suppose I’m not needed here anymore then. I’ll gather my things and be out of your way.” “Don’t go far, Miss. If you’ve stolen anything, we’ll find out and send the law for you,” Mr. Stewart said. Regina retrieved her bag, shawl, and hat from the storage room. Mr. Stewart blocked the door. “Don’t go far.” “I heard you, Mr. Stewart. Please let me pass.” Mr. Stewart stepped to the side, and Regina brushed past him. When the door slammed and locked behind her, her pride allowed her to move out of sight of the store before the tears began to flow. She ripped the kerchief off her head and dabbed her eyes. What gall. Mr. Scotty’s son might be tall and handsome despite his scowl, but he wasn’t half the man his father had been.
To Be Continued...Part 2
Did you enjoy the first installment of my new short story series? I'd love to hear from you. Please consider liking, commenting, and sharing to help others see more of my posts and to help me grow. Stay tuned for Part 2. May the Lord bless you and your families with Faith, Hope, and Love, in Jesus' Name.