No need to feel anxious, Joanne reminded herself for the tenth time.

Sheryl’s Daily Prompt

No need to feel anxious, Joanne reminded herself for the tenth time. Although she fervently wished to believe it, a niggling doubt remained.

Gerald Forman was to meet her for lunch to discuss their impending wedding. He’d begged to be as involved as she’d allow. He’d reasoned that it was his wedding too and he should have some say in the festivities and colours (i.e. no pink for him or the guys). With that she agreed. She wasn’t a pink fan herself. It was good in small doses or in a garden but not for her wedding.

When a half hour passed and he hadn’t arrived, she was becoming annoyed. This was his idea and she’d fitted the appointment around his schedule so he should be here. It was rude and inconsiderate both of her and the florist. She sighed then rose and asked the florist if she’d like a cup of coffee as there was a kiosk a half a block away and she wanted one for herself. The florist happily agreed and Joanne smiled and turned to leave.

She was in line at the kiosk when she noted a tall handsome man peering at her from in front of the florist shop. Paying for the coffee, she headed back to the shop. At first she thought it was a flight of fancy but the man was definitely looking directly at her.

As she approached, he asked, “Joanne Marron?”

“Yes,” she replied hesitantly.

“Marcus Bently.” He would have offered a hand, but hers were full. “Can I take one of those for you?”

“Thanks, that’s thoughtful. It’s for the florist.” Why she felt an explanation was required baffled her. He took one, opened the door and followed her inside.

“Jessica, here’s a black tall,” she remarked handing the coffee to the woman in question.

“Thanks, appreciated. Listen, do you think you’ll be much longer, I have another appointment in fifteen minutes.”

“Sorry to interrupt, but perhaps you could postpone your arrangements until after we have talked. It’s important.” Both Jessica and Joanne looked at him quizzically. They re-booked the appointment after which Joanne accompanied Marcus Bently outside into the lovely warm sunshine. “There’s a bench over there, perhaps we could sit?” he suggested.

“This is discomfiting, to be honest. What’s this about?” Joanne asked between sips.

“I’m a lawyer for the firm of Bently, Standish and Markham,” he explained, “and I’m here to show you some papers and hopefully a signature.

Looking baffled, she asked, “Papers, what papers, pertaining to what exactly?”

He cleared his throat then continued, “Your grandfather, Harold Marron, has left you a considerable sum of money and an estate as well as his business.”

You could have heard a pin drop along with her jaw. “Harold Marron, my grandfather?” she squeaked. “I don’t have a grandfather. Or at least I wasn’t aware that I did. I was told he’d passed many years ago.”

“Unfortunately you received some bad information. Mr. Marron has been living in Oregon for the past 80 years and passed recently. He sent several letters and had me email over the years, but we never received a response and couldn’t understand why. We knew your father hated him, but we never suspected that he would have diverted the letters.”

“I can’t believe this. I don’t understand.”

“That’s why I’m here. I have a letter from your grandfather outlining what happened. I also have his will which you must read. There is an addendum to the will that requires you visit the estate and live there for a full year before receiving your inheritance. You will receive a generous monthly sum to run the estate and should you require it, he made provisions for a substantial amount of money that is set aside should the business require an infusion of money, but that would be at my discretion. I’ve been involved with the business for ten years and Mr. Marron’s personal lawyer for fifteen.”

Sipping her coffee she remarked, “You don’t look stuffy.” Then she smiled.

He smiled in return. “Thanks, I think. I’m not sure what stuffy looks like, but I’m glad I don’t look, stuffy.”

In fact, he was well built, model tall, stunning blue eyes and one of the most beautiful smiles she’d ever seen. He had to be 35 or so and she couldn’t help but wonder if he were involved with someone. He certainly made her heart beat a little faster.

“Ok, let’s take a look at the paperwork while I clear my brain. It’s a little befuddled at the moment.”

“I certainly understand why. It’s a surprise learning you have, had, a grandfather, let alone one you never met and you have an inheritance and business to run. Quite a lot to become aware of and accustomed to all at one go.”

“Out of curiosity, what would happen if I chose not to run the business?”

“It would be sold, you’d receive the money from it and the estate would be yours to live in or sell.”

“I see.”

She took file and opened it, scanning it’s contents. Her eyes widened when she reached the explanation pertaining to the business, how extensive it was, and how detailed the report.

When she finally finished reading all the paperwork, a tear slipped down her cheek. Her grandfather was an excellent businessman, but more, the contents of the personal letter were heartfelt warm and caring. He was sorry he’d missed out on her life and would have enjoyed the opportunity of meeting her, getting to know her.

He didn’t spare himself when explaining about the cavern between him and his son, he took responsibility for his part in the situation and sorely regretted he hadn’t been the bigger man and reached out to make amends.

“This must be heart-wrenching for you.”

“It is. I loved my father, he was good to me, cared was involved, but to do this, to deny me a relationship with my grandfather, out of spite, well, I don’t know what to do with that.”

“It wasn’t about you, but it affected you. ” He paused, “I suggest you come with me, take a look at the estate, visit the business, get a handle on that aspect and let the rest settle into place.”

“I really want to. I need to take a leave of absence from my job, and I need to contact my ‘fiance’ find out what happened here today. Can I get back to you in a couple of days?”

“Certainly, here’s my cell number, you can reach me with that number at any time. As soon as you do, I’ll make all the travel arrangements.”

“Thank you very much, Mr. Bently. I appreciate this. I’ll get back to you tomorrow, day after at the latest.”

He rose with her, shook her hand and said, “I’m sure everything will turn out as it should.”

“I hope so,” she remarked, and as he left whispered, “I surely hope so.” Now to find her errant fiance and find out what happened.

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