Nina Vasquez sat down and rested her head against the back of her seat. The first class compartment of the brand new train was empty except for her and the attendant on her way out to fetch Nina a drink and some refreshments. She was enjoying life on her late husband’s dime.
George had been a spectacularly wealthy man. He was also arrogant and selfish and foolish. He described his hobby of exploiting destitute women as a penchant for the strong beauties of the world. Nina, one of several in his bed, discovered it was really a weakness for beautiful women and a preference for the dumb or desperate ones he could take everything he wanted from and discard with no shame or repercussions. He had his way with the masses of young girls whose brains were not as large as their breasts, then he moved on to the next and no one thought less of him for treating a young lady whose virginity he’d stolen in exchange for an empty promise of marriage as if they were worthless whores.
But Nina was different. She heard about his ways from the friend of her best friend’s cousin’s babysitter. Unlike every girl before her, she listened to the warnings that reached her ears in regards to the charming man with a fabulous fortune and sweet promises of the perfect life together. She played innocent, she played dumb, she acted like she was none the wiser to his scheme. And all the while Nina Vasquez waited. Finally, he got her drunk while she pretended not to notice. When she had supposedly consumed four bottles of wine, he shoved his hands up her flimsy silk skirt. She acted the very innocent, shy, and naive he expected of her and allowed him to lift her up. With one hand firmly gripping her bottom from under her skirt, he carried her to his bedroom. Just as she was supposed to, Nina insisted she was waiting for marriage. When he promised they’d soon be husband and wife, she took him up on it.
George awoke to a planned ceremony complete with priest, bride, and guests awaiting him. And so the spontaneous nuptials took place in the grandest drawing room the bride’s family had ever seen. But they’d be seeing a great deal more of it because their very own Nina now owned it.
They were shocked and appalled at his murder the following month but even more so at the bruises covering his shattered and devastated widow. Nina was cleared of suspicion because of how upset she was, but she was pretending. She took her bottle of poison and all her husband’s fortune and bought herself a train ticket.
The attendant returned and dutifully served the wealthy lady seated in the first class car and left silently. Nina sipped her drink and thought about where she wanted to go when she was finished ‘visiting her cousin’ in Paris. She thought the Bahamas were sounding nicer and nicer by the cold, wet London day.
While in Paris she pursued the life of grandeur her husband had promised her every time he took advantage of her. She left a week later and returned to the broken and crime-ridden neighborhood she had lived before meeting George. She hated England. She hated how fake the well-to-do London society was and hated how they left the lesser populations to suffer and try to make a life out of nothing. She hated how those people let themselves be victims and acted grateful and reverent to those who abused, exploited, and belittled them without a second thought. She hated it all. She gathered up her siblings and took them to America, where they made a new start.
They did so under her late husband’s respected name and received the beneficial treatment and pre judgements that provided them. But they also made a point of helping those who’d gotten off the ship in New York to look around at awful conditions and know they had nothing and would be given nothing. She got them jobs and provided for them with money she’d gotten from a greedy man who’d never helped a soul or done anything good in his life. And only when she’s spent a significant portion of what he’d had did she allow herself to give birth to his child and vow her son would never know the truth about his father or, much worse, live it. Her boy would grow to be a good man.
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