“Have you heard from Emily yet?” asked Sean, as he was putting on his shoes.
“No, she told me that she’d let us know when she got back,” said Mary, “She said ‘nice girls don’t stay for breakfast.’ She is a grown up, after all.”
“She’s the only grandmother I have,” said Sean, rising, “I’d feel terrible if something bad happened to her.”
“She knows what she’s doing. She’s old enough to take care of herself. By the way, did the lawyers say why they wanted to meet with you this morning? Did they give you a reason why they didn’t need me?”
“All they would say is that it concerned my family relationships. Tina will be notified as well,” Sean turned and looked back at Mary from the bedroom doorway, “They did say that they had extremely sensitive information. When Emily arrives, would you text me?”
“Will do, o man of mystery.”
Mary was more concerned about Emily than she let on. Mary, through the time spent with Emily in deep trances, had learned a lot about Sean’s grandmother. There was a darker side to Emily—a ruthlessness which even surpassed Mary’s not inconsiderable drive. Although Mary hadn’t talked to Sean about Emily’s inevitable death, if she continued aging at her accelerated rate it would be coming soon. Emily had no identity in the modern world, were she to be exposed no one would believe that she was 113 years old. Her death or, more precisely, the reality of her corpse, could also complicate the birth of Mary and Sean’s baby. The birth was yet another thing. The clinic offered what they termed ‘birthing options’ but Mary was leery of an institutional setting for what might prove to be a most unusual event. She had begun to explore midwives, some of whom were adjuncts of the clinic, and others who had a reputation of being on the ‘fringe’ of respectability. Seattle had no shortage of ‘alternative’ practitioners.
The lawyers that Mary and Sean had employed had done a good job throughout the ‘Billygate’ affair, the sale of ADR, and their various dealings with the FBI and The Brotherhood. They were normally very serious but when Sean faced them he thought they were almost giddy, as much as could happen in such a serious group.
“What’s this about then, gentlemen?” asked Sean.
“We’ve been in contact with the agents for the estate of the late John Regelind III. After his fragmentary remains were determined to be him, a death certificated was issued and his will was read,” said the lead lawyer, “His will had been amended shortly before his death. In the will, as well as in accompanying documentary proof, you and your aunt Tina are named as the only living relatives of the Regelind fortune, Tina is the daughter of John Regelind I and the presumed deceased Emily Carroll, you are the grandson of John Regelind II and the aforementioned Emily Carroll, through your late mother, Marilyn. The estate, although quite large, is a relatively simple one. It consists of certain properties in Virginia and a portfolio of well-managed mutual funds.”
“And this means?” asked Sean.
“Well, after the property has been sold and, depending on the actual value of the funds on any given day, I would say that you and your aunt would share an amount in the range of the mid to upper nine figures.”
Sean’s phone buzzed. He glanced at it; it was Mary. Emily had returned.
“Tell me everything,” said Mary, who had just poured Emily a cup of tea.
“Well, I’m not one to kiss and tell, but I will tell you this: M. DuPage was an attentive and unselfish lover," Emily said. She was wearing a sweatshirt and running pants, courtesy of Marcel. Her Schiaparelli was in a garment bag, also courtesy of ‘M.’
“I really can’t imagine experiencing intimacy on a first date, much less with someone I just picked up,” said Mary. “Wasn’t there even some awkwardness, some… friction?”
“Nothing a little coconut oil couldn’t overcome,” laughed Emily, “He must have been a boy scout—he was very prepared.”
“Erica Jong’s zipless fuck,” said Mary, shaking her head.
“I’m sorry, she was an author from the 1970s. I read her when I was a teenager. I was totally aghast at her libertine ways,” said Mary, “I didn’t date much when I was younger. But then I didn’t date much when I was older either.”
“Well, it was hardly a ‘date.’ By the third dance, the outcome of the evening was quite well known—to both of us,” said Emily.
At that moment, Mary’s phone rang. Mary looked at the caller’s ID on the screen and she made an involuntary look of disgust. “It’s my stepmother,” she said as she pressed ‘talk.’
“Hello, Harriet,” Mary said, using a non-committal tone of voice, “You’re in town?” Mary paused and listened, then said, “Yes, you can come over,” Mary gave her the address and said, “See you soon,” and then hung up.
“Shit,” she said.