Resurrection 38Posted: November 20, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
“Hey, Jack, what’s up?” Jon wasn’t used to Jack calling, it was usually the other way around.
“Hi Jon. Listen, will you be free later this afternoon?” Jack’s tone seemed more serious than usual.
“I can be. What’s this about?” Jon had dozens of people working for him and his time was his own, but he was a hard worker and packed his days coordinating the various parts of the Langford empire. He had decided never to take a meeting with anyone unless they were writing a check.
“I would rather not go over it on the phone. All I can say is I think it’s important. Can you come by my office at 5? I wouldn’t ask you to come here, but it’s better if I’m not seen at the farm after I leave there this afternoon. In fact, don’t mention to your father-or anyone-you’re meeting me. I will be meeting with him at 1pm and I’m pretty confident you will want to know what we discuss. I’ll be able to tell you more at 5.”
Jon felt a little jolt of anxiety. He knew his father was a hard man and made his own way in life, not being loyal to anyone but himself. If his father was going to meet with Jack, and Jack thought it necessary to have a meeting with Jon after, this must be significant.
“I’ll be there at 5,” confirmed Jon.
As Jack drove his Mercedes S550 through the gate, he was in awe once again of Langford Farm. No matter how often he was here, it never failed to impress.
He parked and was welcomed inside by Thomas, Langford’s driver and bodyguard.
“Mr. Langford is in his study.”
“I know the way, thank you, Thomas.” Jack walked across the expansive entry and knocked on the door to the study.
“Come in,” Dick projected to the door. Langford was standing at the large bank of windows, admiring the thoroughbreds.
“Good to see you, Mr. Langford.” Jack said as Dick turned to face him. Dick motioned to the two couches and low table between.
“Please have a seat.”
“Jack, I have decided I want to make a change to my will. There is something I’ve never told you, never told anyone.”
“Certainly, sir. Everything you tell me is of course confidential.”
“Good. Many years ago, in the 80s I had a little indiscretion…”
This was no surprise to Jack, he was well aware of many of Langford’s indiscretions over the years, and he had been the one to create the non-disclosure agreements and pay the hush money.
“…and I got a young lady pregnant. I tried to get her to abort, but she chose to have the child.
“I’m not going to live forever, and I would like to know if I have a child out there. I have few regrets in life, but condemning that child to a life of poverty is one. I want to amend my trust to include the child, if it is still living, to my beneficiaries.”
Jack was astonished. He had never seen Langford be benevolent without some hidden motive and certainly not for an unnamed, unseen child – who was now most certainly an adult in their 30s.
“I understand. You want me to have this person found and then what would you like me to do, sir?” Jack was wondering what he wasn’t being told. He thought it quite possible Langford intended to have the person killed. He had done so before.
“Nothing else, yet. All I want to do is know if I have an heir out there. Once you find out what happened to the child, report back to me. If the child is still living, I will have you amend my will.”
“You may go now.” It was Langford’s way of dispatching underlings. “Oh, and one more thing,” he added, “no one, not your staff, not Jon, no one is to know about this.”
“Certainly, Sir.” Jack let himself out of the room.
When he got back to his office, Jack thought through the conversation and what Langford’s true motives might be. He was getting older, maybe the idea of dying left him thinking about his legacy, including his heirs. Maybe he wanted to tie up any loose ends in his life to keep the estate intact if, when, he died. A bastard heir could possibly contest the will to break the trust.
Jon Langford appeared at Jack’s office promptly at 5pm. Mary, expecting him, showed him immediately back to Jack’s library panelled office.
Jon got up to greet him and they both sat in the leather chairs across from his desk.
“Mary, bring me a bourbon, neat. Jon, can I get you anything?”
“Yes, a water would be nice.”
“A bourbon for me and water for Jon, thank you Mary.”
Jon differed from his father in one significant way. Dick had been a heavy drinker all his life. After Barb’s death, Jon had sworn off drinking for good.
“So what’s this all about, Jack?” asked Jon.
“Let’s wait until Mary gets back with the drinks. I don’t want anyone, even Mary, hearing what I need to tell you.”
They made tense small talk while they waited the few minutes for Mary to return with their drinks, placing them on the table between the chairs. Jack stood up and walked after her as she left the room. He locked the door then returned to his seat.
“Jon, I want you to know how much I value you, our friendship and our work together over the years. What I am about to tell you could not only get me disbarred, if your father found out, it could get me far worse.” He leaned in toward Jon, almost whispering.
“I need to ask you a question first, though. Did your father tell you he was meeting me today or about what?” Jack wanted to make sure this wasn’t a trap of some kind.
“No, he didn’t mention it to me. It’s odd, he normally would let me know about any pending legal changes.”
“Are you aware of the details of your father’s will and trust?” Jack asked.
“Certainly, he and I drew up the specifics together. You know that, I was there when he signed the documents.”
“So you are aware you are the sole beneficiary and you are specifically named as the sole beneficiary?”
“Yes,” answered Jon
“Does your father have any other children you know about?”
“No, I am his only child. With Mom gone, the estate, well, the trust, goes to me along with all the businesses. Jack, it sounds like you’re telling me I’m getting cut out of the will. Tell me you’re not saying that…”
“No, no. Not exactly.” Jack reassured. “Your father…your father believes he has a child, now grown, he had with a girl in the 80s. He wants me to find that person.”
“How does that affect me?”
“Well, right now, it doesn’t. We wrote the will and trust documents to be crystal clear that no other person can inherit other than you per stripes…”
“Speak English. I went to business school, not law.” Jon interrupted.
“It just means the estate goes solely to you. If you predecease your father, then it will go to your heirs. In this case, Trevor.” Trevor was Jon’s only child. Jon had been divorced for a decade.
“If for some reason you died almost simultaneously, like in a car wreck together,” Jack just realized what he said but Jon didn’t seem to take note, “then the law assumes you predeceased your father and it would also go to Trevor.”
“OK, so what’s the problem?” asked Jon.
“I don’t know why your father wants me to have this person found. Maybe he wants that person to, um, never be a problem in the future…” Jack used a euphemism, but it’s meaning was clear to Jon, problem people had disappeared before. “But he may have other plans. I thought you should know.”
“Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Jack. We certainly don’t want this to be a problem. May I ask two favors?”
“Once you get the details on this person, if they can be found, share them with me as well as my father. And Jack,” Jon leaned in closer, “be sure to let me know if my father makes any changes to the will.”
Jon stood, “I must be going now. Thank you again. Your loyalty is appreciated.”