The Mayfield house was a state of confusion. The minute Frieda and her family arrived, there were things that had to be done. Frieda had her mother and sister go in ahead of her, she had called Jason earlier to clue him in on what had happened.
"I am sure Mother won't have any objections with your mom and sister staying," Jason said, "I know she won't, but I know Father will. I swear, he hates ANYTHING Merriweather, just like your dad hates all things Mayfield."
"I am sorry for springing this on you," Frieda said, feeling embarrassed.
"Don't be, honey," Jason reassured his fiancee, "we're gonna be family soon, and if you need help, we're on it to give it to you."
"Thanks, Jason," Frieda said gratefully.
A few minutes later, Frieda and her family were in the main drawing room of the house. Corrine was sitting on a settee and was still crying. Elizabeth was talking to her friend, Jocelyn Mayfield.
What made this feud worse was that while the fathers were always at one another's throats, the mothers had always gotten along. Jocelyn was wealthy herself, and retained her wealth when she married Aaron in 1959. He had always been on her about the evils of William Merriweather; even his late sister, Catherine, had gotten over it and had no qualms about the Merriweathers. When she married her husband, Andrew Steiner, she had had a long and happy marriage. They were the toast of Terre Haute, and were as prestigious there as the Mayfields and Merriweathers were in Markham.
Andrew had gone first, dying in 1992; then Catherine died eight years later. Both were buried in Terre Haute, where they had lived for a long time. Aaron was infuriated that Catherine wasn't going to be buried in the Mayfield mausoleum, because she had wanted her wishes to be buried next to her husband. Aaron had protested but he was overruled.
"I had never been more upset in my life," Elizabeth said, "when Frieda called me and told me what was going on, I was horrified. Corrine was screaming and crying, and Frieda was yelling at William, I didn't know what to make of it."
"Nobody blames you, Liz," Jocelyn said, "least of all me. I have asked Ravenswood and Collette to set up the guest rooms upstairs for you and Corrine. And you can stay here as long as you need to."
"Thank you, Jocelyn," Elizabeth said, "I will have some clothes sent from the house."
"You don't worry about that one, Liz," Jocelyn said, "I will have them sent from the house."
"Thank you for your kindness," Elizabeth said, "I should go to bed, I am tired, and I know Corrine needs to get some sleep."
"Yes, she does," Jocelyn said, "Collette, can you help Corrine get to bed?"
"Yes, ma'am," Collette said, "come on, miss Corrine."
Collette led a sobbing Corrine upstairs. She was so exhausted that she fell asleep immediately.
Elizabeth went upstairs soon after, Frieda and Jason were in the den talking.
"I am most assuredly calling the police," Frieda said, "Dad cannot get away with this!"
"As well he shouldn't, Frieda," Jason reassured her, "but you know my dad is gonna make a lot of this."
Frieda sighed, "I know," she said. "I can't see why both of our fathers can't let go of ancient grudges."
"You know, before she died, Aunt Catherine told Dad to forgive him," Jason said, "she had long since forgave your dad."
"Yeah," Frieda said, "although I think she would have been appalled had she had heard what my dad had done to Corrine."
"I know," Jason said, and he heard a door slam, he winced.
"What is it?" Frieda asked.
"Dad! He's home!" Jason said, "and he sounds unreasonable."
"JOCELYN" he yelled.
"What?" Jocelyn said angrily, "For heavens sake, Aaron, please don't shout! I just got Elizabeth Merriweather and Corrine Merriweather to sleep. They've had a rough night!"
"Why is this house overrun with Merriweathers?!" Aaron snapped.
"Because, they had a rough night," Jocelyn said with an iron glare at her husband, "Corrine was attacked by her father!"
"I bet!" Aaron said disbelievingly, "I just bet!"
Frieda came from the den to hear Aaron's denial of Corrine's injuries.
"Do you think my sister would make that kind of thing up?" she said angrily.
"That would be just like you Merriweathers!" Aaron snapped.
"My GOD, Father!" Jason said appalled, "NOBODY could make that kind of stuff up! Corrine was injured sexually, and you just call her a liar with NO evidence?!"
"She's a Merriweather," Aaron said stubbornly, "that is ALL that matters! And ALL Merriweathers are liars!"
Jason tried to hold his frustration in, but he was starting to lose his patience.
"Dad," he said, trying to be patient, but it was taking Frieda's presence to stop him from blowing up, "I am getting tired of you blaming everything on the Merriweathers! Do you think that part of it lies with yourself?!"
"I am your father," Aaron said harshly, "Don't you DARE question me!"
"Mr. Mayfield," Frieda said, "how can you even think that my sister would make up something like that?!"
"Because she is a Merriweather!" Aaron still droned.
"Aaron, that's enough!" Jocelyn said, "Elizabeth Merriweather is my best friend, and I am welcoming her and her daughters in this house, and that is FINAL!"
"They are Merriweathers!" Aaron protested, "and I swore that there would be NO Merriweathers in this house as long as I lived!"
"Well, I am sorry, Aaron," Jocelyn said coldly, "but they are people too, as much as you want to deny them!"
"Don't you even care that Aunt Catherine forgave Mr. Merriweather before she died?!" Jason snapped.
"No!" Aaron snapped, "It doesn't care nothing to me!"
"Father, you are completely hopeless," Jason lost patience, "I am going to go to bed! Frieda, you can room with either Corrine, or there is a room set up for you."
"Thank you, honey," Frieda said, as she shot her soon-to-be father in-law a nasty glare.
"My father may be a bastard with what he did to my sister," she said coldly, "but you are much worse! You can't even forgive, and you NEVER forget!"
Frieda stormed upstairs.
Jason glared at his father, "One day, Father," he said acidly, "one day, some day, somehow, your venom will bite you in the backside, and you will pay for it!"
Jason kissed his mother on her cheek, "I am going to bed, Mother," he said, "good night. I love you."
"Love you too, sweetie," Jocelyn said, returning the kiss her son gave her, "get some sleep, I will deal with your father. And Frieda is welcome here anytime!"
Jason smiled, "Thank you, Mother," he said, and went to bed, without saying good night to his father.
"Why did you say that?" Aaron said angrily, "I don't want any Merriweathers in this house!"
"You two are so stubborn, and you don't care who you hurt," Jocelyn said angrily, "I told you before, the kids are getting married in THIS house, and in our estate! And if you don't like it, then you can bloody well stay away from it!"
Just then, the doorbell chimed. On the other side was William Merriweather.
"Where is my family?" he yelled.
"What do you care, Merriweather?" Aaron snapped, "Get out of my house! And I will throw your trashy family out behind you!"
"STOP IT!" Jocelyn roared, "William, your wife and children are asleep upstairs, and they are going to stay here for the time being. Now, I am going to ask you and ask you ONCE! Did you molest your daughter Corrine?"
William looked flummoxed, "I am not gonna admit it," he said, "but I am certainly not going to deny it either."
"Then on the evidence I have heard from Elizabeth and Corrine, that you did do it," Jocelyn said, "now you can get out!"
William pleaded, "It's not like she's really my daughter anyway!" he said.
"What do you mean by that?!" Jocelyn glared at him.
"Ask your husband," William said, "I am sure that his brother Jonathan would have a lot to say about it!"
"What does this have to do with Jonathan?!" Aaron snapped, "Jonathan has never done anything to you!"
"I was snooping through Elizabeth's papers," William snapped.
Elizabeth stormed down the stairs, "William," she hissed, "will you shut up? Corrine is finally asleep."
"Have you anything to say for yourself?" William snapped.
"What do you mean?" Elizabeth said.
"Just the fact that Corrine isn't my daughter," Willian hissed at her, "and that she is the daughter of Jonathan Mayfield."
Everyone was stunned, except Jocelyn. She had already known about Elizabeth's affair with Jonathan.
"SO!" Aaron yelled at Jocelyn.
"You don't understand," Elizabeth said.
"Traitor!" Aaron spat.
"Elizabeth is my friend," Jocelyn said, "I am NOT gonna leave her to the wolves!"
"Get out of my house, Merriweather!" Aaron spat, "I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN!"
Elizabeth was sobbing, "Do you hate me, Jocelyn?" she sobbed.
"No," Jocelyn said, "I don't hate you, I don't blame you at all."
"Bitch!" Aaron snapped, "Because of your lies, you drove your husband to molestation!"
"DON'T YOU GO ACTING MORAL ABOUT LYING, AARON MAYFIELD!" Jocelyn yelled, "Elizabeth had nobody, especially since WIlliam was always out and about."
"Acid tongued bitch!" Aaron snapped, "You both are wicked!"
"Maybe," Jocelyn said, "but you are NO better!"
Jocelyn stormed to the stairs, Elizabeth with her.
Aaron went to the den and slammed the door. He drank some brandy.
Vicious bitch! he thought Siding with that bitch Merriweather over her own husband!
He grabbed his brandy snifter and threw it across the room where it smashed against the wall!