Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
Where There’s A Will …
Within three days’ time, the family and close associates of Claire Monique Westbrook are assembled in the waiting room of the Law Offices of Warner, Wilkinson and Snyder. Rachel is nervously twisting a silk handkerchief in her hands while Patrick is unable to keep still. Jonathan has come to offer Karen his moral support while Kate sits patiently with Wyatt. Even Pau Cunningham is there as requested. Finally, the receptionist receives the anticipated buzzer alert. She looks at the family and then nods as she hears the instructions.
“You may enter now.” The receptionist Janet Gilmore replies as she rises to open the door to Judd Warner’s office. He is shuffling several documents on his desk, then looks up.
“Please, have a seat. I will be with you in just a moment.” Judd responds, returning to his paperwork. Everyone looks for a convenient place to sit in the spacious office. It would be an understatement to say that the law firm is successful.
Moments later, Judd is ready to commence.
“First, let me express my condolences to you, Rachel. Your sister has been a tremendous influence in your life.” Judd begins.
“Thank you, Judd.” Rachel’s voice is just over a whisper.
“Now, where shall I begin? Yes, I am going to skip over the preliminary introductions that last wills and testaments usually have and gets to the “meat” of the contents.” Judd glances over his glasses as he observes the faces of his late client’s family. He can’t help but notice the pacing of Patrick and recognizes why.
“Sit down, Patrick. This is the reading of Claire’s Will not courtroom drama.” Judd orders.
“Sorry.” Patrick is embarrassed and finds a seat next to Cedric and his sister.
“Rachel, your sister made sure that you were definitely well provided for. She left you the bulk of her estate.” Judd retorts.
“I see.” Rachel seems as if she is miles away from the present situation.
“Are you alright, Rachel?” Judd inquires
“She hasn’t taken Claire’s death very well.” Cedric intervenes.
“I’m fine Cedric.” Rachel declares abruptly, surprising everyone by the tone of her voice. Judd continues.
“Claire left you a million dollars Patrick with the stipulation that you seek help for your chronic condition.” Judd eyes Patrick knowingly.
“You mean I don’t get a penny until—” before Patrick can finish, Judd gives him a sinister look.
“You know then.” Patrick states.
“Yes, I know.”
“What are you two talking about?” Cedric becomes slightly annoyed by the conversation between Patrick and Judd.
“It’s a matter that is best left between the parties involved.” Judd expresses his need for confidentiality, much to the relief of Patrick. Then he continues,
“See me afterwards, Patrick.” And Patrick nods in agreement.
Everyone knew that Claire has been a very astute businesswoman, but no one knew the depths of her wealth until now. It seems that she is worth several billion dollars. It is obvious that Claire’s involvement in many successful corporations approved lucrative and Cedric Osbourne is just the person to oversee her vast assets in the interest of Rachel Westbrook Osbourne and The Westbrook Dynasty, of course.
Claire’s two nieces Karen and Katherine Osbourne are given generous endowments and Karen’s includes the house. There is even a $500,000 stipend presented to Paul Cunningham.
“It would seem that Claire was quite taken by you Paul, in spite of the fact that she disapproved of some of your business practices.” Judd is never one to mince words.
“I don’t know what you mean, Mr. Warner?” Paul moves in his chair uncomfortably.
“I think you do, Paul. We will talk later.” Judd dismisses the conversation.
Judd calls for his personal secretary who enters the room with numerous sheets of paper in her hands. Audrey Stewart begins to distribute them to each of the recipients of Claire’s Will and as she does Judd informs them of what is happening.
“Audrey, my personal assistant, is giving each of you a copy of Claire’s Will as it affects you. Those are the wishes of Claire Westbrook. I will not go into details any of the stipulations now as some are of an extremely personal nature. However, I have reserved slots in my schedule to discuss in more detail any questions that you may have regarding the quid pro quos.” Judd pauses once again to gauge the reactions on the faces of those involved.
“Even in death, Claire manages to manipulate the lives of everyone.” Patrick complains while examining the documents in front of him.
“You could always refuse the award and suffer the consequences.” Judd responds smiling justifiably.
“You know that’s not possible.” Patrick rejoins. Cedric is still trying to understand the communications between the two men and when he looks up at Judd, he sees that Judd is slightly shaking his head.
“Some things are left unsaid for now, Cedric. If you have any queries regarding your bequest; I have your time scheduled.” Judd firmly adds. Cedric concedes.
“Now everyone, please see my receptionist Janet. She will inform you of your appointment date and time. Again, I will answer any questions regarding Claire’s wishes. Enjoy the rest of your day and Patrick, please remain.”
One by one, family members and those close to Claire leave Judd Warner’s office until one solitary figure remains—Patrick Westbrook. He takes a seat closer to Judd’s desk. After informing his receptionist to hold his calls, Judd begins to speak to Patrick.
“Let’s get down to business Patrick. I know all about your gambling addiction. Claire told me months ago.” Judd initiates the conversation.
“She told you?” Patrick responds incredulously.
“Of course. Not only was I her attorney, I was her most trusted confidant. She often stated many concerns she had regarding her family. The fragile Rachel—however, I think Claire gravely underestimated that one. At any rate, this is about you, not her.” Judd admonishes then starts hammering his point.
“Although you are no longer under any obligation to restore the $8,000 to the estate—you will under stipulations of Claire’s Will submit yourself to systematic therapy for your problematic gaming issue.”
“That’s not fair.” Patrick tries feebly to protest. “I have a right to some entertainment. I’m not made of stone!”
“I thought Claire exaggerated when she said you were spineless and weak, but I see she wasn’t. I am a member of the Board of Trustees at St. Andrews Cathedral and I will have you relieved of your cleric duties so fast you won’t be able to preside over an ant farm.” Judd threatens, unable to hide his repulsion.
“Okay. Is there anything else?” Patrick is in a hurry to be away from this line of interrogation.
“No, just remember—I will be watching you.” Judd moves his hand in a dismissing manner. Looking over his schedule, he realizes that Rachel and Cedric are his next appointments. Contemplating this meeting, he realizes that Cedric is as shrewd in business as he is in law. They both are great readers of people.
“This should be a very interesting meeting.” Judd thinks to himself. Pulling open his middle draw, he retrieves a small picture of Claire. He begins to wonder about the circumstances surrounding her demise. Then he picks up the telephone and punches the number of a good business associate and colleague.
To Be Continued ...
Requiem for Claire 6
- Requiem for Claire 6
Detective Jesse Hodges drops by to inform Rachel regarding the Coroner's Inquest into the circumstances surrounding Claire Monique Westbrook’s demise—she is shocked to learn that it is a probable case of homicide. But who has both motive and resource
© 2019 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS
Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on September 13, 2019:
Judd makes it very clear that he will be monitoring Rev Patrick Westbrook. As Claire stated … her shadowy influence stretches far! Even beyond the grave it would seem!