Walking from the bright day into the dark hospital lobby, Jill was unsure of where to go. Jacob said that Katy had been moved to a private room. Stepping toward the reception area, Jill opened her mouth to ask for Katy when she heard:
Trailing an attending nurse, Katy ran down a hallway toward Jill. In a rush of emotion, Jill lifted her precious daughter into her arms. For one moment, for a lifetime, sensation and sound slipped away in a cloud of joy. The world stopped as a mother held her small child.
“What does this mean in reference to our….” Trevor corrected himself. “I mean honey bunny’s financial support? It was her understanding that her father was going to support her.”
Valerie took a breath to remind the little malicious ‘honey bunny’ that her father was in prison, but Jacob placed the toes of his boot over her shoe. Val nodded. I can do this.
“The trust attorneys will discuss the nature of the trust. I am the Marlowe-Lipson’s contract attorney,” Max Hargreaves said. “The final contractual issue is that the trusts are payable at the age of twenty-five. I believe you are….”
“Twenty-one,” the step-sister said with a flip of her hair.
“According to this contract, you are not able draw from your trust for four more years. You will note here that your mother is the one who specified the age. I believe she thought the trust would give you financial support after you graduated from college.” Max pointed to a handwritten addition made by the step-sister’s mother. “I don’t think anyone could have foreseen….”
Max looked from the step-sister to Trevor then stopped talking.
“I’ll just talk to Mommy. She’ll change this in an instant,” the tiny blonde said.
“These contracts cannot be modified without voiding the entire agreement. I’m fairly certain that the parties involved, including your mother, will not renegotiate.”
“We’ll see about that,” their step-sister smirked at Max.
There was a tap at the door and Jill’s lawyer, Diane Radman, stuck her head in the conference room.
“Excuse me for a minute,” Max said.
Max and Diane whispered back and forth near the door. Max nodded, then shook her hand and she left the room.
“Why is she here?” Trevor asked.
“Who is that, Trevy?” the step-sister asked.
“That’s Jill’s attorney,” Trevor said.
“This is an outrage. What bullshit is that trailer trash pulling now?,” the step-sister jumped to her feet. “That bitch can’t take care of her own child! My God, her negligence put her child in the hospital and she wants to horn in on MY business.”
Val put the pointed toe of her Jimmy Choo’s into Jacob’s calf to keep him from exploding. He grimaced his thanks to her.
“Now smoochums,” Trevor said. He stood to wrap his arms around tiny woman. “You just have to be patient. We’ll have custody soon enough.”
Max set a piece of paper on the table.
“This is an ex-parte restraining order. Signed by the judge a half hour ago after the testimony of a Homeland Security Agent, a hospital social worker, as well as a neighbor from your old apartment building. This order says that Trevor may not cause physical pain or injury or the threat of pain or injury to Jillian or Katherine Roper. Further, Trevor is not allowed any contact with Jillian or Katherine Roper. You may wish to hire an attorney to explain the ramifications of this agreement. There will be a permanent order hearing in fourteen days.”
“What?” Trevor’s face flushed bright red with fury.
Unable to rip their eyes away, Valerie and Jacob watched Trevor flash into full blown rage. As his voice raised and his entire body went red, Max touched their shoulders. The contract portion of the meeting was over. They stood to follow Max out of the room. Trevor would need to calm down before he learned about honey bunny’s trust.
“I waited for you for about forty hours, Mommy,” Katy said.
Katy walked between Jill and Mike toward her room. The nurse said that Katy was well enough to go home, but they needed the doctor to release her.
“Maybe fifty. A long time and I’m really little. That’s most of my life! I woke up and missed you. Then that nice lady? The one I was walking with? She said I was really, really, really sick but I don’t remember being even a little sick. Was I really sick, Uncle Mike?”
Mike held Katy’s other hand as they walked toward her hospital room.
“You were very sick, baby,” Mike said. “We were really scared for you.”
“Mommy? Do you like that guy who took us to the zoo? Do you think he would take us to the zoo again?”
“I don’t know, Katy-baby. Probably.”
“I really liked him. I thought he was nice and cute too. Plus he likes ketchup on his French Fries like I do and he bought me a green balloon. I love green AND I love balloons. A green balloon is the best balloon. Mommy, what happened to my balloon?”
“I don’t know, sweetie,” Jill said.
She hoped Katy wouldn’t be upset by the loss of her balloon. Sometimes, Katy could intensely focused on a single object. She would cry uncontrollably until she had that specific thing. But today, Katy shrugged.
“I bet that guy… Mommy, what was his name?”
“Jacob,” Jill said.
“I bet Jacob can find me another balloon. Don’t you think Jacob can find me one, Uncle Mike?”
“I’m sure he can, Katy,” Mike said.
“He’s going to be my Daddy.”
Shocked, Jill’s head jerked to look at her daughter.
“And THEN he’s going to make me a little sister!”
Jill burst out laughing.
“A million dollars? I get a million dollars?”
The step-sister squealed with delight. She clutched Trevor and they kissed. Valerie snatched Jacob’s hand in an effort to remain silent.
“Yes and no,” the trust attorney said. “You get the annuity on one million dollars.”
“What does that mean?” Trevor asked. After his rampage, Trevor was eerily reserved and calm.
“You receive the interest generated from the trust’s investments. The trust is currently making around four percent.”
“What does that mean in dollars?” The step-sister said.
“You will receive forty thousand dollars,” the attorney said.
“A month?” Trevor asked.
“WHAT?” The step sister launched to her feet. “I can’t live on forty thousand dollar a year!”
Valerie had to take a few deep cleansing breaths to keep from beating the crap out of the step-sister. The paltry forty thousand came from her parent’s blood, sweat and tears. Jacob put his arm around her to reassure her. Valerie looked at him and nodded.
“Why don’t I get the million dollars?”
“The principle of the trust cannot be touched. In the event of your death, the trust will become property of the primary owners.”
“Who is that?” Trevor asked.
“Jacob and Valerie Marlowe-Lipson.”
“What do butt-boy and sluttina have to do with MY money?” The step-sister screeched.
“Jacob and Valerie Marlowe-Lipson are the only people who can negotiate any of the details of the trust.”
“What does that mean?” Trevor asked.
“The trust is set to begin annuity when your fiancé is twenty-five. It is our understanding that you wish to begin payments now. Jacob and Valerie are the only ones that can change that date.”
“Oh,” the step-sister said. She plopped back into her chair. “Can they change the amount?”
“No,” the attorney said. “The only thing that will change your annuity is a significant change in the stock market.”
“Oh,” the step sister said. “What about my wedding?”
“Jacob Marlowe-Lipson promised his father at the time of sale of Lipson Construction that he would pay for your mother’s children’s weddings,” Max Hargreaves said. “He has already paid for your engagement party and will make the final payments on your wedding after Sunday.”
The step-sister was slow to process the information. Nodding, she looked from Valerie to Jacob as if to assess what to do next. When Valerie looked at Trevor, she felt a chill run up her spine. He was working something else out.
The step-sister’s face shifted to a big, charming smile.
“Ah come on. Val? Jake? You have lots of money. This little trust is just sitting there. Everyone knows how generous the Lipson’s are. Why not show your sister a little generosity and give me my money now?”
“Lots of water, rest,” Jill said to the doctor.
She held Katy in her arms while Mike carried Katy’s car seat and her medications. After her initial burst of conversation and activity, Katy was worn out. Katy pressed her face against Jill’s neck.
“Meds every four hours,” the doctor said.
“Yes,” Jill said. “I… Thanks.”
“She’s a great little girl,” the doctor said. “We’re going to miss having her around. Were you able to schedule the follow ups?”
“I… I have the list of people. I’ll call when Katy’s settled.”
“Perfect,” the doctor said. “Bye Katy.”
Katy lifted her head from Jill’s shoulder and waved to the doctor. They walked out of the hospital toward Mike’s Bronco.
“Yes, Katy-baby,” Jill said.
“I think I’m sick,” Katy said.
“I know, Katy-baby,” Jill said. “We’ll get you home and you’ll feel better.”
“Oh… home… how nice,” Katy murmured.
Katy was sound asleep when Jill settled her into her car seat. Katy slept through the drive to the apartment, the trip upstairs and her return to her own bed. Jill left her door open so she could hear Katy if she needed anything.
“I’ll leave the car,” Mike said. “That way if you need to go to the doctor or get something, you can just get it.”
“Are you sure?” Jill asked. “I don’t want to take your wheels.”
“I’m sure,” Mike said. “Trevor took your car?”
“You can keep this one,” Mike said. “If I need it, I’ll come get it. The Castle’s only a couple blocks from here. You’re all right here?”
“Val and I want to have the family over for dinner tonight… you know, to talk about being married and all. Do you think that will be too much?”
“No, I think that will be nice to get together around something happy. Is Meg planning a pot luck?”
“Great, I’ll bring some pot.”
Jill made their usual joke and Mike laughed.
“Love you, Jilly.” Mike hugged his sister.
“Love you, Mikey.”
Jill walked Mike to the door then stood behind it when he left. Leaning against the door, she almost collapsed to the floor in sheer relief. She and her baby girl were finally safe and sound at home.
Valerie and Jacob stood at the elevator outside the attorney’s office. Exhausted from emotional meeting, they leaned against each other in silent support. Expecting Max, they turned to look when the office door opened.
“May I speak to you for a moment?” Trevor asked. “No, just Jacob.”
Valerie watched Jacob walk to the door of the attorney’s office. She couldn’t see Trevor’s face to read his lips or hear what he said, but when Jacob stumbled back from Trevor, she caught Trevor’s eyes. Pure evil shone clear and cold in that man’s eyes. Trevor nodded in satisfaction. Jacob shook his head as if he didn’t understand what Trevor said. Trevor put his hand on Jacob’s shoulder.
“Jacob Marlowe, the elevator is here,” Valerie bellowed in her bossy older sister voice.
Jacob jerked at the sound. When he turned, she saw that he was blanch white.
“Get. Your. Ass. On. This. Elevator. NOW,” Valerie said.
Jacob walked toward her as if he was in a trance. Trevor looked like the cat who at the canary.
“NOW,” Valerie commanded.
Jacob jerked out of his trance and trotted to the elevator. When the doors closed, he all but collapsed to the floor. Valerie bent to him.
“What is it?”
“He said… he could smell Jill on me… But I showered, Val. How?…. He said… He’s going to tell Jill that I set this whole thing up so that I could fuck her…. I …. I orchestrated everything… even Scooter… and the pregnancy… and the tattoo removal and…. Val, even Scooter. And… and… she’ll believe him because… they’re soul mates…. I… Jill loves him…I….”
Valerie’s lip curled. Half carrying, half dragging her little brother to the car, she stuck him in the passenger’s seat. She wrenched the keys from him and started the Jeep. Jacob mumbled something. The tips of his fingers came together then open over and over again. Valerie leaned her head to his mouth.
“She’s all I ever wanted and, poof, she’s gone. She’s all I ever wanted and, poof, she’s gone. She’s all I ever wanted and, poof, she’s gone.”
“STOP IT!” Valerie commanded.
Jacob jerked present.
“I’m here now. No one is going to shit on my little brother and get away with it. We will go, right now, and talk to Jill.”
Jacob moved his head up and down as if he understood but he was too horrified to understand what she was saying. Val drove the Jeep through the parking garage. Stopped at the sidewalk, she saw what she expected - paparazzi. Max told them that the step-sister called Star Magazine to calm Trevor’s restraining order rage.
“There she is! Val! Over here! Val!”
The photographers jogged toward the Jeep. Valerie smiled her movie star smile and waved as she drove off. Turning left on Colfax Avenue, Valerie laughed.
“Guess that’s the end of the step-sister’s trust! Break the confidentiality agreement? Lose the trust! I KNEW it!”
Valerie expected Jacob to laugh with her but he was off in his own world. Continuing up Colfax Avenue past the Colorado State Capitol building, she shook her head.
Ain’t love grand?
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