How could I have been so blind, not to see what was right smack in front of me? Charlie thought. Sixty-four years on this earth tomorrow, and now my daughter, the daughter I threw out of this house for getting pregnant, is coming to see me. Why now? Is sixty-four some kind of milestone? he thought. “I’ve always heard you’re a God of second chances. Please, let this be mine,” Charlie prayed.
“Why haven’t we met your father before?” Luke said.
“It’s a long story, Son. We're almost there,” Rachel said as she came to the long driveway that led up to the main house. “You see that house up on the hill?”
“Wow, it’s a mansion.” Luke said.
“That’s your grandfather’s house,” Rachel said.
“You grew up in that mansion on the hill?” Sarah said, her blue eyes opened wide.
Rachel continued up the wide circle driveway. As she stopped the car someone was there to help with their bags. Someone else offered to show them the way to where her father was waiting. Rachel walked into the still familiar entry. A crystal chandelier hung over a Victorian antique table with square legs and carved lion heads. Her mother had personally picked each piece of furniture. She breathed a silent prayer. Please, dear God give me another chance.
“Miss, if you’ll please follow me,” the butler said.
The butler opened the double doors. Rachel saw her father standing by the fireplace. Why must the tears come now? she thought.
“Grandfather, I’m Luke,” Luke announced as he shook hands with his grandfather.
“I’m Sarah.” Sarah stepped forward and hugged her newfound grandfather.
“Rachel, she is the precise image of your mother,” Charlie said.
“Yes, she is. Mother had the same golden hair and blue eyes.”
“It’s even more than that. She has the same expressions, the way her eyes sparkle when she talks. She even walks like her. May I ask how old you are?”
“Luke and I are both nineteen. We’re twins,” Sarah said.
Charlie looked over at his daughter, feeling the weight of years he had thrown away.
“Son, is your name Luke or Lucas?”
“It’s Charles Lucas, but I’ve always been called Luke.”
Charlie looked at his daughter, unable to hide his emotions. “After the dreadful way I treated you and you honored me in naming your son. I…I don’t understand.”
“In most ways dad, you’re the person I wanted him to grow up to be.”
“In most ways, I take it that doesn’t include being a parent?”
“That’s all in the past.” Rachel said.
“Would you all like to go freshen up before dinner? I’ll have Henry show you to your rooms.”
“That’s okay, dad. I still remember the way. I’ll show the kids up.”
After dinner, Charlie suggested they all go into the library. It had always been his favorite room in the house.
“Look at all the marble and leather, the tall book cases…I could spend hours in here,” Sarah said.
“You like books?” her grandfather said.
“Very much, grandfather. I love old books. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to say your books are old.”
“They are dear, the same as me. You explore to your heart’s content.” Charlie laughed.
“Dad, if you don’t mind, I’m going to turn in,” Rachel said.
“How about an early morning ride?” her father said.
“I’d like that. I’d like it very much.”
Luke and his grandfather sat over by the fire. The flickering flames danced around the room.
“Grandpa, I never realized you were so successful,” Luke said.
“Success has many definitions, son. My business flourished. But I dropped the ball in many other respects.”
“You mean with mom?” Luke said.
“With your mom and with your grandmother, I didn’t realize it until it was too late. There’s a whole lot of truth in that old saying, ‘you can’t buy happiness.’ By that time your mom was living her own life and your grandmother was dying of cancer. If you equate wealth with money, I’m wealthy, but a second chance at true abundance has walked through my door tonight.”
In the coolness of the morning, Rachel walked down to the stables. Her father was standing next to the horses ready to go. The dawn was overtaking the darkness and casting its golden hues on the horizon. Rachel felt the freedom of the wind on her face as a glimmer of hope stirred in her heart.
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