Sorry it is so late. I tried from AR to get mine up with the linkie and all but it took time and the kids didn't feel like sitting in the Walmart parking lot anymore and it was over a 30 minute drive to go back later or another day. So, I sucked it up and waited until I got home.
It probably needs editing; and, I used the cliff hanger thing again. Well, kinda. I found a stopping point and I stopped. It could go on, maybe it should go on. But, with everything 'we' have going on I'm too busy to continue and I totally wanted to get mine up.
[FYI, we have family in from Georgia and my life-long, bestest friend is in town and we are working in a day for us and our kids. Farmer, Jr. registers for school Thursday and then it will be school supply and school shopping because school starts in two weeks from today. Busy.]
Here we go!
spritzer: a drink consisting of white wine and soda water
eyedrops: liquid medicine for the eyes
trek: to travel slowly or laboriously; to go on foot; a journey; a migration
legitimize: to make or declare legitimate
deed: a thing done, act; a feet of courage, skill; a legal document which transfers property
I put my eyedrops in and took a sip of my spritzer. Seven-thirty a.m. was probably way too early for some to be drinking but I needed something to take the edge off. My brother and I had been estranged for 13 years. Not a text, not an email, not even a postcard. So I was shocked when I got the call the night before that he had been killed in a 4-wheeler accident. That’s not the call one expects. I was even more surprised to find out he had left his largely amassed estate to me.
Today I'd be meeting with the executrix of his estate, which also happened to be his wife. Obviously, she wasn't happy to make the call. She was part of the reason my brother and I weren't in contact anymore. I believe my last words to him was "She's a money grubbing bitch, that's why! And, in the end she's going to leave you without a pot to piss in!" Yeah, no one wants to hear that on their wedding day.
I flipped a final piece of hair up into my bun. Buns are more professional, I've always thought and I needed to nail professional. I threw back the rest of my spritzer, wishing for something stronger, and applied my lipgloss. I looked ready to take on the world. Let's hope that's good enough to take on the devil's advocate, aka my sister-in-law. I walked out onto the 7th floor balcony of my uptown flat. I'd done well for myself too. Having a mom and dad with morals and good business sense went a long way in rearing one to be independent. The fact that they had connections and money didn't hurt either. I didn't have the estate my brother had accumulated, but I'm financially sound. Let's just say I won't be homeless anytime soon.
It was already a sweaty, balmy morning. The temperature gauge read 85. The weatherman had mentioned a heat index of 105 today. As soupy as it felt, I believed him. It's time, I thought to myself. With that, I headed back in, grabbed my keys and headed on my way. It was a long trek to my brother's side of paradise.
As I drove, I wondered how my brother had faired the last 13 years. I didn't want us to lose touch, and I thought he'd eventually come around. But after five years of effort and unanswered phone calls on my part I finally got the message. He really was done with me. It was unfortunate. I was only looking out for him when I warned him about his choice of a bride. My intentions were good. I loved my brother. I guess, I didn't have to be so cruel about it though. But I didn't know how else to get through to him and I'd never been one to lace cinnamon and sugar in my words. Shoot straight and honest, my dad would always say. Like pulling a band-aid, the truth is always easier that way. Maybe I could have laced in just a little sugar.
After 10 hours on the road with only one potty break and one quick stop to top off my tank, I was ready to stretch my legs. I was about 30 minutes from the exit that lead to the gate of my brother’s massive mansion and cotton plantation. I decided to stop and take a walk and a few deep breaths. I clipped my way along the sidewalk and off into some trees. A bit of a task in my two inch heels. I wore those for the height. I was hoping to put on a good intimidation factor. Looking up I saw feeders placed up in the trees here and there. Some were filled with bird seed, some held dried ears of corn. I walked a few trees further into a shaded area. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a flip of something. A squirrel sat feeding on a half eaten cob, his tail flipping left and right in delight. "Quite the life." I hollered up to him. "All the trees one can wish for to live in, and meals provided for your fill at your liking."
I thought about my mission today. I thought about my brother. I wasn't even invited to the funeral. That hurt. After all this, if he hated me so much or found me so unforgivable why would he leave his entire estate to me? He was obviously still married to that diamond digger. I could see leaving me something, a letter, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around this concept. 'Estranged Sister Inherits All' the headlines would read. My brother's death and amassed wealth was definitely something for the headlines. "Well, I'd better be going." I said to the squirrel. His tail twitched, slightly annoyed that I was interrupting his feast. I turned around and clipped my way back to my car.
Driving through my brother's estate was like site seeing. Everything was lush and beautiful. He loved nature so it was befitting that the drive in was lined by trees and plants and flowers of multiple variety. Lush greens, purples, reds, blindingly bright yellows, pinks, oranges and corals. You name a plant or flower, I bet it was there. Up to the left and right the horizon was decorated in orchards with fruits of all varieties. I passed a tank as a few deer stood lapping a cool drink. A swim would feel good about now. How I would love to kick off these heels, drop this dress and jump in for a swim. Like the old days when my brother and I would race, stripping as we ran down the back hill at mom and dad's, to see who could jump in first. I miss him.
I approached the main entrance to the house, which was surrounded by a limestone and shell rocked wall. An electric gate guarded the drive up. There was a key pad and a call button. I still remembered the code from 'pre-exile-ation' and tried it for the heck of it. It worked. 'Star'. That was the meaning of my name. He'd never changed it, even after he married that, that, her... I sighed to myself as a tear tugged at my eyelid, finally making it's way down my cheek. Dammit! I thought to myself. This is not the time to be sappy. Save the breakdown and mourning for later. I wiped at the tear on my cheek and checked the mirror to be sure my mascara hadn't ran. Then, I drove through the gate.
There was an area for cars to park, designed for when one was entertaining for large parties. But, I drove right on up to the front walk and parked, blocking any other visitors that might drop by. My hope was to piss off the Queen Bee. A young boy, obviously freshly post-pubescent, approached me. "Ma'am, Let me help you unload your things and I'll park your vehicle in the designated location." A valet. She hired a fricken' valet. You've got to be kidding me.
"I don't have any things to unload, I'm here to sign a few pieces of paper and be out of here. But, here are the keys," I said as I tossed them to him. "Feel free to wash and wax." I added. That'd give the boy something real to do. I wonder if my brother's wife was a closet cougar. I'm sure she'd invested in enough plastic and Botox to make her look 'cougar-able'. I placed my clutch under my arm, threw my shoulders back and stood tall. Now to ring the doorbell, I was not looking forward to this.
A sweet, well-rounded woman in her late 50s or early 60s greeted me at the door. "Why, hello Ms. Layton, we have been expecting you. Did you bring a bag?"
"Um, no, just my clutch and my pen. Apparently, I have some papers to sign." Why would I be bringing a bag, I mean this ain't a slumber party for crying out loud.
"Fine then, the Misses would like you to wait for her in the den. Could I get you a refreshment, some tea possibly?"
"No, thank you. Wait, on second thought, where's the bar?" My brother always had a fine appreciation for the spirits. And, right now my spirits needed some lifting. The portly lady showed me to the bar and I politely waved her away. I could find my way around it blind folded, I knew my brother so well. Did I mention we were identical twins?
I found a nice aged scotch. Not my flavor, I've always been a vodka kind of girl but he loved well aged scotch. His evil half loved bourbon. Yeah, that's sounds like what I need. I found a bottle, probably cost $250.00 on the low side. I broke the seal and poured a finger pull into a high-ball glass. Swirling it, I brought it up to my nostrils. It stank. I threw it back anyway, the burn almost making me cough. Enough of that, I thought just as I heard the clicking of devil's claws coming down the hall.
"You were never much of a bourbon lover." She purred.
"Yeah, well. Time to make a change," I replied, and then took a pull straight from her fancy @$$ bottle. "It grows on you," I added as I tried not to wince.
"Feel free to keep that one considering you've contaminated the flavor with your low class back wash."
"I plan on keeping all of them, seeing as everything now belongs to...ME." I swear I saw flames in her eyes and horns begging to protrude through her unnaturally black hair. I bet her stilettos hid her emerging hooves.
"Lets not make this harder than it has to be." She tossed two packets across the table at me. "The first one is a copy of the will, of which I'm not included. The second one is the deed. Well deeds, to everything as you so well put. Read them, sign them, and get out. I have 30 days to relocate." She spun on her heels and began clicking away. So much for conversation I thought to myself, knowing we were both better off without conversation.
Suddenly she spun back toward me, "They are completely legitimized. He had an air tight pre-nup, thanks to you."
"You mean legitimate. Never did take that English course, huh?"
"F^ck you." She said, bluntly. I wasn't expecting that. "You've always had the best part of him. Now you have all of him. And by the way, I really did love him you self-righteous b!tch. I wanted his money, yes. But, I wanted his love more." That, I didn't know. Sorry little brother.
My character is a little sassy. Though, I'm not thrilled with my story this month I really like her. Funny thing is, one of the books I'm currently reading has a really sassy character. I think my reading sometimes influences my writing. What about you?
Link your story here!