Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
Claire Westbrook is really gone ...
The undeniable voice of Claire Westbrook has been silenced forever. But not however, her dominant influence over both the Osbourne and Anderson families. That legacy will continue to be felt long after her harsh words have faded.
By the time Claire reached the age of thirty-nine, she has made many enemies. Then one month after her fiftieth birthday celebration, an energetic and contentious existence is cut short by an aneurysm in the brain. Very few are allowed to be present at this final memorial service. Claire’s family, a few very close friends and business associates are in attendance at the magnificent cathedral where the last rites are being held.
The services are both intricate and private for this inexplicable individual. On a marble table sits an extremely sophisticated representation of Claire along with a single deep red rose captured for all eternity in solid gold. The remains of the woman who was cremated the day before are contained in a golden urn lined with crimson velvet. Her ashes are a final reminder of someone who was once a multifarious and vibrant personality.
Reverend Patrick Westbrook begins his oration.
“There are few who will deny that Claire Westbrook was a formidable woman. Her influence is obvious in this cathedral, in the community, as well as immensely felt in the lives of each and every one of us!”
Those in company nod silently and even the chandeliers appear to sway a gentle “amen” as a sudden gush of cool air rushes in to fill the almost empty edifice. As always, Jonathan Anderson arrives late.
“Claire made many contributions to this cathedral. She was also generous with the scholarships she created for Claire’s Ultimate Allure and the Maple Grove Preparatory Academy. These endowments assist countless deserving recipients both young and old.”
Rev. Westbrook continues his rhetoric oblivious to the knowledge that all eyes are still focused in disbelief at the picture of the smiling face of Claire Westbrook. It is remarkable how the artist was able to capture the essence of the woman on canvas! This smaller portrait is an identical replica of the much larger original oil painting hanging on the wall just to the left of Claire’s elegant king-size bed. No one dares makes a sound. Even the small children respect the reverence of this commanding creature!
Definitely Not a Convivial Visit ...
The contributory circumstances that are foremost prior to Claire’s untimely demise begin with yet another volatile controversy over her niece Karen. Rachel Westbrook Osbourne is Karen’s mother. Rachel is also firmly against her older sister’s continuous interference in the personal affairs of her eldest daughter.
“Claire, I believe you should allow Karen the luxury of making up her own mind when it involves who she wishes to be romantically entangled?” Rachel retorts for the 100th time.
“My dear naïve Rachel, how can you possibly understand such things? You also were young, beautiful and very impressionable. You have always been fortunate enough to have been exposed to the very best life has to offer. It is because of my influence you have never lacked anything! Even now, my hand is firmly placed in your life—molding you into the successful woman you are today! And this the gratitude I reap for such dedicated service?” Claire declares in disdain.
“All I am saying is that the controlling impact that you render is neither welcomed nor needed in the lives of my daughters.” Rachel confesses while fearing her sister’s wrath again regarding such a bold statement.
“You dare to speak to me in such an insolent manner? You are an ungrateful urchin.” Claire rejoinders smugly.
“But I do appreciate all you did for me after mother’s death—”The demure Rachel can go no further; she burst into tears.
Total exhaustion and suffocation lay claim to the emotions of the very attractive woman. However, it is her husband Cedric Osbourne who finally intervenes when he is no longer able to contain his repulsion.
“Please don’t let the door hit you on your way out, Claire! I could say that it has been a pleasure having you over—but that would be the biggest lie ever told!” Cedric strong British accent permeates the room as he verbally attacks Claire.
“Why Cedric … I have NEVER known you to be so abrupt!” Claire retorts in complete surprise.
“And … I have NEVER known you to be civil, Claire Westbrook! Good day!” Cedric erupts, then grabbing Claire by her elbow he ushers her to the front door. Opening it, he bows politely as Claire exits. After slamming it shut, he returns to his beloved Rachel who by this time is now near hysterics.
“This isn’t over, Cedric!” Claire screeches to a closed door. “No, this is not over. My shadow is lengthy and can be stretched anywhere.” Claire screams as an afterthought before turning her back to both the door and Cedric’s behavior.
A Very Unhappy Vicar ...
Moving quickly to her Pink Porsche, Claire closes the car door with great determination and speeds down Chadwick Lane in the direction of the Vicarage. It is a 20 minute drive, but Claire makes it in 12 minutes. When she arrives, church treasurer Vivian Abernathy is just leaving. Claire pushes past the exiting figure and invades the dwelling with a proprietary gait.
“Dear Claire, how wonderful it is to see you again!” Her brother Rev Westbrook lies. “I was just about to give you a call.”
“I hope it is regarding that urgent matter I conversed with you earlier today, Patrick.” Claire reproaches not too happily.
“Ah yes, that little matter of the eight thousand, well I—” Rev Westbrook lowers his gaze and begins to shuffle his feet back and forth much like a three year old child.
“Patrick, I don’t consider eight thousand to be a little matter. And quit shuffling your feet!” Claire demands.
“When I covered that gambling debt of yours, it was with the understanding that my money would be paid in full within 48 hours!” Claire’s whole demeanor is tense, and her gorgeous face shows utter contempt and animosity toward her younger brother, the Right Reverend Patrick Marcus Westbrook III.
“Yes … yes I know Claire. Surely, you must understand that withdrawing an amount of money that large from the church’s treasury will raise a few eyebrows.” Rev Westbrook tries to justify as he silently reflects over his previous conversation with the church’s treasurer only moments ago.
“Even more than just eyebrows will be raised if I tell your congregation about your extra curriculum activities.” Claire threatens as she glowers contemptuously at the cleric.
“Surely Claire— you wouldn’t do that … it would ruin me.” Rev Westbrook confesses, following after his sister as she now rushes toward the door.
Since Rev Westbrook is a man of short statute, it is with great effort that he attempts to apprehend Claire. Nevertheless, he finally manages to reach her as she sits waiting in her Porsche.
“Oh but I would dear brother. Either you provide me with payment in full by this time tomorrow or I will go directly to the Board of Trustees.” Claire proclaims to the unhappy reverend. After letting her window up, she speeds toward her manor.
“I will personally see you in Hell first dear sister!” Rev Westbrook spits back at Claire before hurrying back to the Vicarage. Once inside he rushes to the telephone to make an urgent phone call.
To Be Continued …
Requiem for Claire 2
- Requiem for Claire 2
One by one it becomes very obvious that Claire Westbrook is collecting quite a entourage of haters. As the story unfolds, each individual has a motive for wanting to silence her. Still, there is the question of who has the courage to do it?
© 2013 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS
Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on September 03, 2019:
Now, a new series!
Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on October 25, 2018:
Murder … short and sweet!
Lion Child on November 09, 2013:
Wow, this story is brilliant, I found myself caught up in the ride and completely shocked when it ended. Thank you for sharing!