Emma was particularly nervous today as the two people she loved most in the world were about to meet for the first time. As her thoughts raced about whether her mother would like Richard she fussed with the cushions for the hundredth time that morning.
Ten years earlier Emma’s parents had been involve in a horrific car accident. Her father died but her mother survived the crash only to end up in a wheelchair. This left a young Emma with total responsibility for her mother’s welfare and conversely her mother was entirely reliant on Emma.
The doorbell rang and her heart skipped a beat. It was Richard. She knew the moment she met him they were meant for each other.
She showed him into the living room where her mother was sitting in her wheelchair by the fireplace. “Hello Mrs Jackson, Emma talks about you all the time, it is truly a pleasure to finally meet you” he said while nervously handing her some flowers. Mrs Jackson accepted the flowers without comment.
“Emma darling why don’t you make some tea for your guest?” As soon as the door closed her mother spoke to Richard in an accusatory tone. “What do you want from my daughter?”
Looking at his inquisitor he noticed her eyes, they frightened him. “I want nothing from her Mrs Jackson; I love her and hope to marry her one day.”
Emma was smiling when she came back with the tea barely feeling the tension in the room. “Will you pour my tea darling?” said her mother rather condescendingly. Emma did so and sat next to Richard, placing her hand on his, as a supportive rather than affectionate gesture.
After Richard left, Emma was almost dancing around the room with happiness. “Isn’t he wonderful Mother? I am so happy I could burst.”
“Well dear, I always say that mother knows best, and I am not altogether sure he is the one for you darling.” Her mother watched her daughter intently waiting for the usual response that she will end the relationship, but instead Emma just rejoiced more in the wonderfulness that is Richard. “Oh mother just you wait until you get to know him better. I am sure you will love him as much as I do.”
Several days later Emma burst into the house shouting excitedly. She rushed to her mother wanting to throw her arms around her but knowing only too well that mother doesn’t like to be hugged or really touched. Instead she babbled her news to her stone faced mother. “Richard just asked me to marry him, we’re going to be married, I can’t believe it.”
“But you hardly know him darling, I am not sure it is such a good idea to rush into these things. You have been here before and mother has always been right.”
A concerned look crossed Emma’s face. “I’ve been seeing him for six months and I know he loves me, please give him a chance mother, he is special and I do love him so much.”
Arriving home from work a week later, Emma walked in to find mother frantically digging through her jewelry box. “Have you seen my diamond engagement ring dear?” “I haven’t mother, last I saw it was in your jewelry box.” “Here look for yourself.” She practically threw the box at her daughter.
Emma’s thoughts were already on meeting Richard for dinner, especially tonight as she was getting her own engagement ring. With some time before dinner she decided to take a long walk around the park. “Mother if Richard arrives before I get back, please do make him feel at home, I shouldn’t be too long.”
Richard arrived shortly afterwards knocking on the front door. He noticed it was unlocked so when no-one replied, he entered the house calling for Emma. Still there was no answer. He walked towards the living room when he heard a sound from upstairs. “Emma is that you?” Silence.
Apprehensively he edged up the stairs. As he neared the top, Mrs Jackson appeared from behind a door. There was a sinister look on her face but more than that she was stood up.
“But but you’re paralyzed, you can’t walk” he was momentarily frozen with shock.
She walked calmly towards him one firm foot at a time.
Richard moved backwards and missed his footing. He lay in a twisted mess on the hallway floor with blood pooling around his head. Mrs Jackson calmly walked down the stairs and stepped over the body. “Such a shame, he really is, was quite a good looking young man.”
She rummaged through her pocket and pulled out a black velvet pouch which she furtively placed in Richard’s clenched fist and then removed the small box from his inside pocket.
Emma arrived home to find the police at the house. Her mother was in her wheelchair by the fireplace, sobbing. “Oh Emma darling, I am so sorry, he was trying to steal my jewelry, there was nothing I could, I shouted him and he fell down the stairs.”
Not daring to question her mother, Emma looked over to the foot of the stairs and saw Richard’s crumpled body surrounded by the police. “Oh mother, I can’t believe it, I thought Richard was different from all the others. I loved him so much. How could I have been so wrong again?”
This time her mother held out her arms. “There there my dear, it’s alright now, mother always knows best.”