My grandmother passed away, and all she left me in her will was an old sofa. My father was very angry, saying, “She took all her wealth to the grave! You’re her only grandchild!” But I respected her will. Grandma often read me fairy tales on this sofa, and I listened, fascinated, with a

Ten-year-old Kevin is stunned when he finds a box hidden in the shabby sofa he inherited from his Granny. However, the letter and legal papers inside the box contain even more surprises and help the boy understand a devastating truth about his family. Kevin will have to make a choice that will determine the rest of his life. Kevin stared at the slightly shabby and stained sofa Granny left him in her will. He cringed when the movers dropped it to the floor with a loud thump. He waved away a cloud of dust as he moved closer to check the sofa wasn’t damaged. “I’m going to miss Granny,” Kevin said as he ran his fingers over a dark stain he’d caused when he spilled juice on the sofa once. Granny had been so forgiving that day, and seemed more concerned with refilling his drink than the damage done to the sofa. “Why mourn for an old trout who left you this junk?” Dad shook his head and kicked at a corner of the sofa. “This isn’t junk, Dad. It’s a memory of Granny. I’ll earn my own money when I grow up, but I can’t make more memories with her.” Dad’s lip curled into a sneer, and his eyes narrowed. “She’s done nothing but cause trouble for us since your mom died. Have you forgotten that your grandmother ratted me out to Social Services? And what about how she handed you over to that other family?” Kevin hung his head. “Those people aren’t so bad. They let me come stay here with you for the next few days because of Granny’s funeral. I wish I didn’t have to back…I want to live with you.” “We’ll figure it out, kiddo.” Dad ruffled Kevin’s hair. “I’m going to see what I can do to get back custody of you now your nosy Granny isn’t around to push her own agenda. You and I will be a family again.” Kevin smiled. He stepped closer to hug Dad, but the man had already turned away. Dad got a drink from the fridge, sank into his armchair, and turned on the TV. Immediately, the apartment was filled with swearing and gunshots from whatever Dad was watching. Kevin hung his head and hunched his shoulders. He’d missed Dad so much…but he was never an affectionate man, unlike Mom. Kevin shook his head. It still hurt too much to think about her. Mom’s funeral six months ago had been the worst day of his life. And now Granny was gone too. He studied the apartment, but nothing had changed while he was away at Denise and Miguel’s place. This was still his home, and he refused to leave it again. Dad was going to fix things so he could stay here for good.

He sighed and sat on Granny’s sofa. A stiff, pointy thing poked him in the rear. Kevin prodded the seat with his hand and gasped. “There’s something inside Granny’s sofa,” he cried. Dad carried on staring at the TV like he hadn’t heard Kevin’s shout. He seemed to be totally engrossed in his TV show. Kevin lifted the sofa seat cushion. Underneath, he found a torn flap of material loosely sewn into place. Kevin fetched scissors from the kitchen. It was a bit too big for the job, but he clumsily cut the stitches and revealed a small, rectangular box. It was taped shut along the edges and had two words written on it in black marker: ‘For Kevin.’ The boy smiled sadly as he recognized Granny’s writing. He slit the tape with the scissors and sat back on the sofa to examine the contents. He found a sealed envelope, which he set aside to study the folded pages of some legal documents. Then he saw a letter written by Granny.

‘Dearest Kevin, I’m sorry to pressure you while you’re so young, but your well-being and your future depend on you making a smart choice now. You need to know that your father only returned for his inheritance. I’ll explain everything and then you must decide if he’s worthy of your love.’ Kevin frowned. He briefly glanced over his shoulder to check Dad was still distracted, then continued reading. Grandma Linda panted as she hobbled down the hall to her son-in-law’s apartment. Climbing the stairs had taken it out of her, but she needed to check on her grandson. The message she’d received from her late daughter’s friend in the building had her worried about Kevin’s welfare.

After several minutes of insistent knocking, Jerry threw open the door and glared at her. There were dark bags under his eyes, and he was unsteady on his feet. “Linda…what you doing here?” Jerry mumbled in a gruff voice. Linda nearly choked on the stale alcohol stench of Jerry’s breath. “I came to see Kevin. Where is he?” “Uh…” Jerry glanced around while scratching his chin. “I dunno…what day is it today?” “Tuesday.” Linda entered the apartment and stared in horror at the plastic dinner containers, dirty clothes, and empty soda bottles strewn across the floor. “How have you been managing without Kelly?”

Jerry muttered something unintelligible and wandered over to the fridge. He took out a packet of lunch meat and left the fridge door open while he made a sandwich.

“Surely you haven’t been feeding this to Kevin?” Linda waved at the ultra-processed junk food in the fridge.

“There’s nothing wrong with it.” Jerry lifted a microwave dinner out as he returned the lunch meat. “See? Good old mac and cheese. It’s dairy and carbs. That’s good for growing and stuff.”

Linda pressed a hand to her forehead. She’d never understood what her daughter saw in this man, but regrets wouldn’t help her salvage this situation.

“Jerry, the boy needs fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and unprocessed meat. I send you money every month to ensure Kevin has everything he needs! Yet I hear Kevin runs around in torn clothes looking filthy. What is going on in this house?”

Jerry yawned. “Torn and dirty clothes are a sign of a healthy, outdoors lifestyle. That nosy Tina down the hall’s been talking smack about me behind my back, hasn’t she? You shouldn’t believe a word she says, Linda. I know how to look after my boy.”

“Yes, I can see that by the number of liquor bottles lying beside the armchair and this dirty mess hiding the carpets. When last did you do laundry? And…”

Linda narrowed her eyes as she realized something was missing from the mess “…where’s Kevin’s toys and sports equipment?”

“He’s more into electronics. Kids these days.” Jerry shrugged.

“But I pay for him to attend a soccer club.”

“He didn’t like it,” Jerry replied. “Are you done with your questions?”

“He doesn’t like it or you were too lazy to take him to the training?”

Jerry groaned and rolled his eyes. “Stop being such a busybody. Everything is under control.”

“It definitely isn’t under control, Jerry. There’s no proper food in this dirty house. Kevin isn’t attending the sports clubs I’ve been paying for, and you don’t even know where he is!”

“Now listen here,” Jerry pointed at Linda, “just because you send us some money doesn’t mean you get to decide how I live my life, or how I raise my son. You’re not the boss of me, Linda.”


Linda turned just in time to open her arms for a hug as Kevin rushed toward her. He grinned at her, and her heart broke to see his greasy, unkempt hair, rumpled clothes, and tattered sneakers.

“Good Lord,” Linda said. “Whatever have you been doing? School ended ages ago.”

“I walked home.” Kevin shrugged and turned to Jerry. “You said yesterday you’d pick me up from school, but you never came.”

“Huh…” Jerry scratched his chin. “I meant tomorrow…yeah, I said I’d pick you up tomorrow. You must’ve gotten confused, kiddo.”

Kevin pulled a face. He was about to say something, but Jerry told him to go and get started on his homework. Once Kevin had left the room, Linda rounded on his father.

“Listen here, Jerry. I’m only going to say this once. I know it’s been rough for you since Kelly died, but it’s been months now and you can’t carry on like this. Kevin needs stability, safety, good food, a good education, clean clothes…you’re his parent and it’s up to you to ensure his needs are met.”

“You interfering, old…” Jerry screwed up his face. “I told you, you don’t get to come in here and tell me what to do just because you help out with the bills. This is my house, and I’ll do as I darn well please.”

“Then consider this fair warning, Jerry.” Linda shook her finger at him. “I won’t let you ruin my grandson’s life. You may think that lying in front of a TV and pickling yourself in alcohol amounts to a good life, but you’re wrong, and that’s not what I’m sending you money for.”

Linda picked her way over the dirty clothes on the floor. “Pull yourself together, Jerry, or face the consequences. I won’t sit idly by while you fall apart, or let you drag my grandson down with you.”

Weeks later, Linda sat on the sunny porch of the main building in her nursing home. She’d brought her current sewing project out but couldn’t focus on it. She was waiting for someone, a person who might be able to save the terrible situation she found herself in.

A nurse walked around the corner, and Linda immediately waved at her and beckoned for her to approach.

“Something you need help with, Linda?” the nurse asked.

“Yes, Denise, there is, but I’m afraid it’s a big favor I have to ask you.”

Denise frowned and sat down in the chair beside Linda. “This sounds serious…is everything okay?”

Linda shook her head. “I’ve been to court and Social Services to have my son-in-law’s parental rights removed. He’s been neglecting my grandson, Denise! That poor boy. I hate to say it, but I think all Jerry cares about is the money he gets from me and the state to help him care for Kevin.”

“That’s very sad, Linda, but I don’t understand what I can do to help.”

“You and your husband can adopt Kevin.”

“Adopt your grandson?” Denise’s jaw dropped in surprise.

“You’ve wanted to adopt for ages, dear, and I want to ensure my Kevin lives in a happy, loving home where he’ll be nurtured.” Linda put her hand over Denise’s. “I’d take him if I could, but it’s impossible. The next best thing I can do is try to get him placed with someone I trust.”

“I’m…I don’t know what to say, Linda.” Denise smiled at her.

“I’m honored and incredibly nervous! But I’d be delighted to welcome Kevin into the family and I know my husband will feel the same way.”

“Bless you, Denise! I will speak to my lawyer and have her arrange everything.” Linda squeezed Denise’s hand. “You’ve made this old dame very happy, and lifted a heavy worry from my shoulders.”

“Well, you’ve given me an even greater gift: a child to love.” Denise’s voice quivered with emotion. “OMG, I can’t believe my dream is finally in reach, and all thanks to you!”

Denise leaned over to hug Linda. She was overjoyed that Denise had agreed to her plan. Now she knew that Kevin’s future was secure and that he’d grow up in a household where he was cherished.

“And this will be your room. What do you think?”

Linda cocked her head to gauge Kevin’s reaction as Denise and her husband, Miguel, showed off the bedroom they’d prepared for him. Kevin wrinkled his nose and scanned the blue-painted room. The couple had decorated the walls with vinyl stickers of console controllers and posters.

“It’s nice,” Kevin said glumly, shrugging one shoulder.

Denise and Miguel exchanged worried glances.

“We can always change the decor, if you don’t like it,” Miguel said.

“Let Kevin have some time to live in the room before making such big decisions,” Linda said. She put a hand on Kevin’s shoulder and leaned in to whisper to him: “I know it’s strange, dear, but give them a chance. They’re good people who will take excellent care of you.”

Kevin turned away and ran for the front door. Linda sighed and went after him. When she got outside, she found Kevin sitting on the front lawn, tearing grass from the dirt. No matter what Linda said, he refused to answer her.

Linda prepared for bed that evening with mixed feelings. She was relieved to know Kevin was in a good home, but it saddened her that he was so upset by the change.

Linda was confident her grandson would eventually settle in, though. After all, he was an intelligent boy and would one day realize that Denise and Miguel were far better parents than Jerry. It would just take time…

The phone rang. Linda’s heart began to race when she saw the caller’s identity.

“Is everything okay?” Linda asked when she answered the call.

“No,” Denise replied. “I just went to check on Kevin and ask if he wanted a cookie, but he’s not here, Linda! I searched everywhere! I think he’s run away.”

Linda pinched the bridge of her nose. “I think I know exactly where he’s gone, Denise. Don’t worry anymore, I’ll bring him back to you.”

Linda arrived on Jerry’s doorstep with Kevin’s case worker, Mrs. Jameson. Just as Linda suspected, Kevin was in the apartment. While Mrs. Jameson took Kevin aside to speak to the boy, Linda confronted Jerry.

“Does it bug you to see all your clever plans come to nothing?” Jerry smirked at her as he leaned heavily against the kitchen counter. “No matter what you do, Kevin will keep running back home to his dad, where he belongs.”

Linda searched Jerry’s bloodshot eyes for some sign of emotion other than smugness. His neglect wasn’t the struggle of an overwhelmed parent adjusting to the loss of a spouse. He seemed to feel nothing for Kevin.

Then Linda looked at Jerry’s branded clothes and the new, big-screen TV. She narrowed her eyes as she noticed something else just beneath the TV: a brand-new gaming console. She’d always suspected Jerry only wanted money. Now she knew her plan would work.

“I think I know how to convince you to do the right thing here, Jerry.” Linda removed her checkbook from her purse. “Will fifty thousand be enough to convince you to leave Kevin alone?”

“Fifty thousand?” Jerry laughed and crossed his arms. “I know you can do better than that. Try three hundred thousand and we’ll see.”

Linda gasped. “I don’t have that type of money! Just take the fifty thousand, Jerry. It’s all I can offer you.”

Jerry tsked and let out a dramatic sigh. “Guess you don’t value your grandson as much as you pretend to, Linda. I’ll see you next time the boy comes running home.”

Jerry shambled across the room and flopped into his armchair. Linda tucked her checkbook into her purse.

There had to be something she could do to ensure Jerry didn’t become an obstacle in Kevin’s life. She wanted the best for her grandson, but this was a one-way road to ruin.

If only Kevin were mature enough to realize how selfish Jerry’s intentions were, but he was just a child. No child should have to confront the fact that a parent was using them for money.

Kevin emerged from his bedroom with Mrs. Jameson in tow. He tearfully said goodbye to Jerry, who patted him on the shoulder without even looking away from the TV. As Linda escorted Kevin from the apartment, she realized there was only one way to help Kevin.

‘…so I devised a means for you to uncover your father’s true character and see the truth about the way he treats you for yourself,’ Granny’s letter continued.

‘The legal papers in this box outline an agreement that will allow Jerry to inherit all of my money on one condition: He must stay away from you. The papers are fake, but he will not know that. Give them to him and see what he does.

If he destroys the papers, then you know your father values you more than money, but if he takes them to a lawyer…well, you have a safe, loving home with Denise and Miguel.’

Kevin returned Granny’s letter to the box and picked up the legal papers. Fear made his heart speed up as he looked across at where Dad sat watching TV. He didn’t want to believe Dad would turn his back on him, but doubts gnawed at the back of his mind.

“Hey, Dad!” Kevin crossed the room and held out the legal papers. “I found these in Granny’s old sofa. I think they’re for you.”

Dad muttered grumpily and snatched the papers from Kevin’s hand. Dad started to grin as he read the agreement. Kevin’s fears were realized when Dad leaped from his chair and strode to the door.

“I’m going out, Kevin. There are important things I need to do today. See you later.”

This couldn’t be happening! Kevin ran after Dad and followed him out to the street. It might just be a coincidence that Dad left after reading those papers…maybe he suddenly remembered they needed milk and was headed to the store.

But Dad went past the store without even looking at it. Kevin followed him for several blocks before Dad entered a fancy-looking building.

Kevin stopped outside and read the sign at the entrance. It was a lawyer’s office!

Kevin angrily wiped away tears as he headed back to the apartment. Granny was right; Dad loved money more than him. He didn’t want to cry about it—Dad didn’t deserve his tears—but it hurt!

Kevin knocked on the neighbor’s door when he got back to the apartment building. It wasn’t long before she opened the door.

“Hi Miss Tina,” Kevin said. “Can I use your phone?”

An hour later, Kevin walked up to Denise and Miguel’s front door and rang the bell.

“Kevin?” Denise frowned worriedly as she opened the door. “We didn’t expect you back for another two days. Is everything okay?”

Kevin sniffed. “Uh…yeah. I just…Dad isn’t…”

“Hey…” Denise crouched down in front of him and put her hands on his shoulders. “It’s okay…whatever happened, whatever you’re feeling, you can talk to me about it, and I’ll do whatever I can to help. I know we’re still getting to know each other, but I got your back, Kevin.”

Kevin hung his head. “Thanks, Denise. You and Miguel have been so kind to me, and all I’ve done is run away. I’m sorry.”

“You’ve been going through a tough time, Kevin.” Denise smiled a little. “How about some cookies and a glass of milk? Then we can talk about what’s bothering you, if you want.”

Kevin smiled at Denise. He hadn’t felt loved like this since Mom died. In his heart, he thanked Granny for asking such nice people to look after him.