The unexpected letter

The letter came out of the blue, handwritten on the personalised notepaper of a Mrs Betty Chambers. The note told me she was the executor of the last will and testament of her sister Dotty Chambers and politely asked me to contact her at my earliest convenience.    

I’d met Dotty 20 years earlier when I worked over the summer at her B&B in a small seaside resort on the breezy east coast. I remembered the kindness she showed to the painfully shy 16-year-old girl I was back then and how she was always trying to feed me up, telling me baby birds ate more than I did.

The brief telephone call was baffling and abrupt, Betty barked instructions at me about the location and timings of the funeral and hung up.  

Out of a sadness for Dotty’s departure and guilt for not visiting as promised all those years ago I attended the funeral, it was held at a local small church and afterwards we were all told to head back to the B&B.

After lots of small talk, several lukewarm cups of tea and curling sandwiches I found Betty so I could express my condolences and explain I must get back to the city.

“We must talk,” she spoke quietly, took my hand and led me to one of the private rooms at the back of the house.

Sat at a table in what I remembered to be the room Dotty called her office, it was mainly a dumping ground for anything and everything, was a dark-haired man cradling what looked to be a scotch.

“Hello,” I greeted him and then turned to Betty looking for some sort of explanation.

“Sit dear.” Betty tool a big sigh and joined us at the table. “My sister had some funny ideas and as kind and warm as she was some could be, erm how to describe them……downright ridiculous.”

I look at the man opposite me, he looked just as baffled as I was.

“So, in a nutshell,” Betty continued “She’s left the B&B to you two on the condition you marry and bring children in the house, something she was never in a position to do.”

Both myself and the stranger remained silent, looking at each other in disbelief.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” His deep voice broke the silence.

“Sorry…” I looked at his face, trying to place him somewhere in the last 20 years of my life.

“It’s Daniel, Betty and Dotty’s grandson. I stayed here the same summer you did. Dotty caught us kissing when we should have been getting a room ready for a new guest,”

“Oh god,” I clasped my hand over my mouth, unable to take in the madness which was unfolding in front of us.

“Why on earth….” I trailed off.

“Your guess is as good as ours.” He shrugged and downed his last mouthful of scotch.

clear drinking glass with whiskey

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on


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