An Unnatural Influence 16
Asking A Special Question ...
“I’ll be alright.” Renée said half heartily.
Then the discussion moved on to other things. It was an exceptionally lovely night in San Francisco and the atmosphere was conducive to dining and dancing. Except for the conversation regarding Sadie, everything was fine.
“Renée, there is something I have been waiting over fifteen years to ask you. But it seemed that Sadie Bakersfield was always there to prevent me.” Lee finally said.
“What do you want to ask me, Lee?” Renée asked.
“My life would be meaningless without you, Renée. I kept hoping that one day we would be together like this. But dad told me to face reality.” Lee replied moving closer to Renée.
“Lee, I never forgot you either. Marme …” But Lee cut her off before she could finish the sentence.
“Yes, I know, Marme didn’t want you to get too involved with a guy that wasn’t southern fried.” Lee said with a passion.
“I know. Marme hurt a lot of people, didn’t she, Lee?” Renée said sadly.
“Yes, she did.” Lee replied.
“People do strange things in the name of love.” Renée said.
“Or in the name of control, revenge or any of those other strong emotions. I can’t help but think that Sadie Bakersfield had a long line of hidden agendas.” Lee said in deep thought.
“It’s over now.” Renée replied with finality.
“Renée, will you marry me?” Lee asked.
“Yes, I will.” Renée said. Lee took the ring from his pocket and placed it on Renée third finger. It was the same ring that he had given her on the night of her graduation. He had kept the ring all those years.
The Night Is Still Young ...
Lee knew where there was a late-night party and they danced the night away looking dreamily at each other and reveling over their love for each other. Lee would whisper something in Renée’s ears and she would smile and whisper something back.
Renée hadn’t enjoyed herself in years. The last time she had danced was during her “coming out” cotillion celebrating her sixteenth birthday. She remembered Marme’s watchful eyes during every dance—making sure that none of the young men got what she called “the wrong idea about what to expect after a dance.”
“Girl, you be careful slow-dancing with Tyrone Philips. He’s got himself a reputation as being a player. I don’t want him putting no notch on his belt with your virginity.” Renée could hear Sadie saying in her mind.
“Will it ever stop?” Renée thought to herself. Then she remembered how Sadie ended the letter …
“Good-bye Renée and know that my love for you is eternal—
Lee asked Renée if anything was wrong and she lied and said that she was just a little tired. They decided that she need to get to the hotel and rest so that she could tackle tomorrow’s agenda fresh. When Renée arrived at the hotel Katie was still up.
“I’ve just finished talking with my mum and dad and they are thrilled that I am home.” Katie said.
“I bet they are.” Renée replied.
“So, tell me what happened tonight?” Katie said.
“Oh, it was just the usual thing. You know, dinner he asked me to marry him, dancing …” Renée knew that Katie would stop her.
“Hold on … he asked you to marry? Katie asked, and her eyes became very large.
“Yes, he asked.” Renée replied.
“And, you said …” Katie coached.
“I said yes!” Renée and Katie both screamed with delight!
“Okay, so when do we start making wedding plans?” Katie asked.
Starting Another Chapter ...
The next day Renée and Katie were in Lee’s office. Renée wanted her good friend to join her and Lee was delighted that Katie was there.
“So, I guess my bride-to-be told you about what our engagement?” Lee asked sheepishly.
“Now, Lee how do you expect Renée to keep something like that a secret from her best friend? When is the big day?” Katie asked.
“Well, what do you think, darling?” Lee asked Renée.
“After waiting all this long time, I want something with all the bells and whistles. Come with me to break the news to my father and maybe we can plan something there? You know, after we get this inheritance business over?” Renée replied.
“Sounds like a good idea. I have been looking over Sadie Bakersfield’s will and there are some quid pro quos that need to be addressed.” Lee said with a very concern look on his face.
“It seems that Sadie anticipated that you may want to leave Bakersfield. Your inheritance of the town has the stipulation that you remain there and become its new benefactor for the next twenty years.” Lee said.
“I have to live in Bakersfield at least twenty years to inherit it?’ Renée was stunned. She had no desire to spend the next twenty years of her life in Sadie’s town.
“Yes, it was Sadie’s desire that you live in the old mansion as well. It seems that she had hoped that you would stay and continue the legacy of the Bakersfield Foundation.” Lee said.
“And, if I decided to leave?” Renée asked.
“Then the town would become the property of Curtis Bakersfield and you would become a major stakeholder of the Bakersfield Foundation. Curtis would have the power of attorney to appoint an executor to handle the business affairs of the Bakersfield Foundation and you would receive monthly dividend checks. Neither you nor Curtis would be given the power to sell the foundation or to change it.” Lee said.
Renée turned to look at Katie whose mouth was still opened in shock.
“It would seem as if Sadie Bakersfield’s arm is reaching from beyond the grave to control your life for another twenty years.” Katie said with a grimace.
“Yes, now I understand why she had been trying to persuade me to give up my mother’s inheritance all those years. I remember a few weeks before she died she became obsess with me giving it up.” Renée said reflecting back to that confrontation.
“Child, I just don’t see why you need to keep your mother’s inheritance. Everything you have and could ever need is right here in Bakersfield. You don’t need to be writing or any of that nonsense. You need to learn what I’m doing and be content with that.” Sadie had said frowning.
“But I thought you understood my need to write?” A shocked Renée stated.
“I was just humoring you about that writing, girl. Acting and writing are just nonsense work. I believe that helping the poor cripple children of Bakersfield is the only real work worth doing. And the tax man will just eat up your money anyway. Do yourself and me a favor and just get rid of that money, do you hear me?” Sadie became so upset she rose from her chair and pointed a plumb finger at Renée.
“I want you to get rid of that inheritance money right now. Call that lawyer’s office and tell them you don’t want the money anymore. Here, you can use my phone.” The veins on Sadie’s neck were standing out and Renée was afraid she was going to have a stroke.
To Be Continued ...
An Unnatural Influence 17
- An Unnatural Influence 17
Suddenly, Renée became hysterical, choking violently and uncontrollably sobbing while trying to tear the pendant from its evil grasp around her neck!
© 2018 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS