Stacie woke up and sat on her bed. She groaned in pain as she touched her head.
“Hangover, huh?” Stacie looked up and saw Jason sitting across her, reading a newspaper.
“What are you doing here?” she asked as she collapsed back on the bed.
“To make sure you’re still alive,” Jason said as he folded the newspaper and got up. He walked towards the bed and sat on it. He touched her face.
“Hey, I’m sure I said some stupid things yesterday and I want to apologize…”
“It’s okay; we both know it was the alcohol talking. But there’s something we need to be clear about, Stacie.” She looked at him.
“The fact that dad is gone doesn’t mean you don’t have anyone else to take care of you and that no one else cares.”
“Jay…. I’m sorry…”
“Let me finish. I know people of your age rebel to get the attention of their parents and guardians and in your case, our father but guess what, nothing is going to bring him back. He’s gone; Stacie and someway somehow, you’ll have to live with that. It’s going to be easy but it is necessary. I’m not saying you should forget our father; no, do hold on the memories you have of him but don’t be in denial that’s around somewhere and that he’s going to open the door and say “I’m home” because that’s not going to happen. I know I can’t replace dad but I’m going to do all that I can to make you feel safe and protected.”
“You’re going to be a father very soon, Jason. I doubt you would have time for me.”
“Don’t say that; you’ll always be my little baby sister. I’ll never leave you.”
“Dad said the same thing but guess what, he’s gone,” Stacie said. Jason pulled her into a hug.
“He’ll watch over us sis; I know he will.” He withdrew himself.
“Now go and take a shower. I’m going to work.”
“Let me escort you to your car.”
“Brush your teeth first.”
“Okay.” She got up and entered the bathroom later. Moments later, she came out.
“Yeah.” He got up.
“Won’t you eat breakfast?”
“And to have to listen to mother blab about nothing? No, thanks; I’ll grab something at work.” Stacie chuckled. They walked downstairs. Susan was eating breakfast.
“Good morning, mum,” Jason greeted.
“Good morning, Jason. Are you off to work already?”
“Oh, but you can’t today.”
“And why not?”
“The lawyer is on his way here to read the will. Don’t worry; I already called your secretary to tell him you might arrive late today,” Susan announced with a smile. When Jason made a face full of confusion, she added, “You are welcome, son. And you, you were not intending to go to campus today, right? I guess you have a hangover.”
“It’s not that bad, mum.”
“And since when did you start drinking?”
“I just took wine, mum.”
“Why, you drank a whole bottle?”
“I’ll go and take my bath,” Stacie said and walked back upstairs.
“Why don’t you join me for breakfast, Jason?” He sighed as he put his brief case on the couch and walked towards the table. He sat.
“How was your night? Hope you slept well.”
“Yes I did.”
“And work? It’s getting better, right?”
“Why all these questions, mum?”
“And what’s wrong with a concerned mother inquiring about the welfare of her only son? Besides, your father used to do so. Isn’t it normal if I do same?”
He glanced at her.
“Well, the thing with you is, you never ask a question without a motive.”
“And what motive could I have?”
“How will I know? You seem to surprise me every day,” Jason said, spreading his bread.
“Ah well, I’ll take that as a compliment,” Susan said and sipped her tea.
“Please do; that’s how I meant it by the way.”
After breakfast, Jason called his secretary. When the call ended, Susan commented, “It’s such a delight seeing you all serious, Jason. I remember your ‘hay days’, when you used to party like no one’s business. Never knew you had a serious trait in you.”
Jason turned to look at her, puzzled.
“I am your son, and you don’t know me? Well, I can’t say I’m surprised because I feel likewise about you.” Susan was about to say something when Stacie came down.
“He’s not in yet?” she asked.
“He’ll be in any minute.” She took her phone to dial a number when they heard a car pull up in the driveway.
“It must be him. Settle down, guys. I’ll meet him at the door.” They sat whiles Susan walked to the door.
“What’s this whole fuss about the will? Who cares about it by the way?” Stacie asked.
“Obviously mum does.” Susan came in with the lawyer with smiles.
“These are my two lovely children, Jason and Stacie.” They stood and shook hands with him.
“Please to meet you two. I’m barrister Anderson.”
“Barrister, did your secretary by any chance inform you of my need to meet you?” Jason asked.
“I believe she did.”
“So why didn’t you get back to me?”
“I’m sorry but you see I’ve got a lot of clients to attend to.”
“Wasn’t my dad your client too? He was on his dying bed and needed to meet you urgently,” Jason insisted.
“Jason…” Susan started.
“I’m sorry young man but I arrived after he passed away. Don’t worry; I’ve been communicating to your mother…”
“My daddy wanted me to see you personally.”
“I’m sorry about that but after today’s meeting, we can decide on a date. Is that okay with you?” Jason glanced at his mother and back at the lawyer.
“I believe it’s no longer necessary.” He sat, so did Stacie.
“Please have a seat, barrister. Rose!”
“Please serve us with the juice I brought home yesterday.”
“Yes ma’am,” she replied and left the room. Stacie leaned close to Jason and whispered, “And since when did mum start saying ‘please’ to Rose?” Jason chuckled.
Rose came in and served all of them.
“Thanks Rose; you may excuse us now.” She excused herself.
“So the time has come for the reading of the late Gordon Archer’s will and I would plead for your attention.” Stacie sipped her drink. He put on his spectacles and opened the document.
“This is dated 23rd September, 2011 and it reads as follows:
The following outlines how my properties would be shared and I attest surely that this is not done under influence or any coercion.
Beginning with the shares that I have at the Global Corporate Company, I give to Susan my wife 20%, Stacie my daughter 30% and Jason my son 50%.”
Stacie beamed and elbowed her brother. Jason smiled. Susan sipped her drink.
“The house the family resides presently belongs to my wife, Susan. The other two belong to my two children. My personal car belongs to Stacie, my daughter.” Stacie gaped in shock.
“When Stacie turns 26, she will be entitled to 2000 dollars per month; my wife is entitled to a fund of 250 000 dollars for her lifetime which should be readily available upon request. Jason is entitled to a trust fund of 3000 dollars every 3 months after he settles down in marriage. All other little properties belong to Susan my beloved wife.” Stacie nearly choked on her juice. Susan shot her a glaring look.
“Any inquiries should be made with barrister Anderson whom I believe is reading to you this will. Have a good life, everyone.”
Jason realized he was holding his breath during the reading of the will. He sighed.
“Any questions?” the lawyer asked. Stacie looked at Jason.
“No; I’m good.”
“So am I.”
“Good; the content of this will is effective as from today.”
“Thanks barrister. It’s rather unfortunate it’s quite early, we would have invited you to have lunch with us,” Susan said.
“It’s okay; thanks for the offer, anyway. I have other businesses to attend to. Have a good day, everyone.” He got up.
“Let me escort you to your car, barrister.” They walked outside.
“It’s not that bad; I thought mum would have everything,” Stacie commented.
“She does; you just don’t realize it.” Stacie shrugged. Susan entered.
“Is everyone happy?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Stacie replied.
“Okay, I’ve to rush to work now,” Jason said as he got up. Stacie stood up.
“Mum, can I have my car key?”
“What car key?” Susan asked.
“Dad’s personal car, remember? It’s mine now.”
“What will you be doing with such a big car? You don’t even like to drive.”
“It doesn’t make the car any lesser mine. Hand it over, mum.”
“I’m going out with it; I’ll give it to you when I get back.”
“Mum…” Stacie gestured with her hand, “The key.”
She sighed and gave them to her.
“Jason, wait!” Stacie ran after her brother. He had opened his car door.
“What is it?” Stacie raised the key. “Catch it,” she said, throwing it. Jason caught it.
“What? It’s yours, Stacie.”
“Come on brother, what will I be doing with such a big car? It fits you better. You can give me yours…a fair trade is better, isn’t it?”
“No Stacie; mum won’t like it.”
“Excuse me…I’m 21 and the car is mine; mum has no business with what I want to do with my car,” she said, walking to him.
“I don’t think so…”
“Just give it to me,” Stacie said, snatching his from him.
“Hurry up and get to work,” she said with a wink and walked away. Jason who was stunned, chuckled.
“What? Get in and drive away.”
“Come here, sis.” She walked to him and he gave her a tight hug.
“Mum will definitely go red if she finds out,” he said.
“Why do you think I’m doing it? I love it when she goes red.” They both laughed.
“Okay, I’ll be gone now. Take care of yourself.”
“Yeah you too and say hi to my nephew or niece for me.”
“I will; what about your sister-n-law?”
“What? I didn’t think I had one,” she said mockingly. He chuckled as he sat in the big car and closed the door. He started the engine. They waved at each other and he drove off. She entered the house.
“Did I just see that or was I dreaming?”
“Did you just give your father’s…”
“Point of correction mum….it’s mine now.”
“Did you just take out of my hand and give it to him?”
“He’s my brother, mum and besides, the car suits him best.” She started climbing the stairs.
“And where do you think you’re going?”
“I’m going to campus, mum. I’m going to change.”
“Well, I’m talking to you right now.”
“Can we do that later? I’m kind of late right now.” “Stacie…” Her door closed before she could end the statement. She sighed and walked out of the house.
A month later…
“Are you sure this is the best decision to make at such a critical stage?”
“Yes; I’ve consulted with the some of the executives and this, I believe is the best option.”
“If it goes south, the whole company could cripple, do you know that?”
“Yes, I’ve considered that as a risk option but this is what I stand by.”
“If that’s what you’ve decided.”
“All right; I’ll excuse myself and check up on other things.”
“Okay; please tell the secretary to see me on your way out.”
Susan received a text message which read ‘Emergency meeting.’
Two days later, Jason was in his office when his secretary entered.
“Sir, I’ve been told to inform you of an emergency meeting in the conference room.”
“Emergency meeting by whom?”
“By the board of directors.”
“Do you have any idea what this is about?”
“I believe it’s about your decision on the policy on the next contract, sir. Can I say something in confidence?”
“I’ve seen this happen before; just make sure your back up is intact.”
“How do you mean?”
“Just in case you need to ‘top up’ your shares,” she said with a wink and left the office.
“Top up?” he wondered to himself. He took his phone and sent Stacie a text message:
“Need your help urgently, honey…”
When Jason walked into the conference room the one he saw shocked. He stopped so abruptly that his secretary who was close to his heels, bumped into him.
“Mother!” he exclaimed. Susan was seated with such a calm composure and a tight smile.
“Yes son; something critical has been brought to my attention and that is why I am here.”
“Couldn’t you have informed me of it at home?”
“You left early this morning…..but that is not the issue here, Jason. Have a seat, please.” He sat.
When the others settled down, Susan started, “Well, as the wife of the late chairman of this board, I am privileged to be informed of the happenings going on in this company. I was informed that you have taken a drastic action concerning one of the biggest contracts this company has ever gotten in its history. According to reliable sources, efforts have been made to plead with you to reconsider your decision but to no avail. Hence, I have been asked to intervene.”
“Where intervene means take over, I presume?” Jason cut in.
“I don’t want you to take this personal, okay? It wasn’t my idea; it was proposed to me.”
“So…it has been decided I take over the management of this company…” Jason smiled knowingly.
“And how are you going to do that? I’ve more shares than you do, Mrs. Archer,” he said.
“Yes I realize that but some generous shareholders are willing to ‘lend’ me their shares. Mr. Simpson is willing to give me his 20% shares….” Jason started laughing.
“As well as Mr. Kudjoe, 20% shares; that gives me 60%.” Jason stopped laughing and sat up.
“So…officially, that makes me the next manager of this company.”
“You may call me Mrs. Archer, Jason. This is business. So please go to your office and hand me the documents of the contract immediately…”
“Not so fast, mother….” Stacie said as she entered. Jason stood.
“Stacie….what are you doing here?” Stacie stood beside her brother.
“Or should I call you Mrs. Archer since we are talking business now?” She turned towards Jason.
“I’m sorry I’m late; I was caught up in traffic.”
“Don’t worry dear; you came in at the right time. Mrs. Archer wants to take over management by ‘borrowing’ the shares of two others of 20% each, making hers 60%,” Jason informed her.
“I see; since we’re in the process of lending and borrowing, how about I lend you mine? Will that be okay?” Stacie asked.
“You will do no such thing, Stacie!” Susan bellowed, standing up.
“And why not, mother?”
“She prefers to be called Mrs. Archer, Stacie,” Jason reminded her.
“Whatever it is, that’s my decision. I’ll lend my 30% shares to my brother. 30 plus 50 equals 80, right? And in math, 80 is greater than 60, right?”
“Exactly; so unless anyone wants to join the lending-borrowing game…” Jason looked around. No one spoke.
“All right then; it seems I’m still in control of this company. Have a good day, everyone. I believe this charade of a meeting is over. Let’s go, Stacie.”
“Stacie, wait behind; I need to talk to you.”
“Sorry mum…I mean Mrs. Archer; I need to rush back to campus. We’ll meet at home and perhaps talk about this as a family….” Stacie said with a wink and left with Jason.
They entered Jason’s office.
“Thanks for the mighty save, sis. I don’t know what I would have done.”
“It’s okay; seriously, mum is going too far. Why is she here too? Isn’t it enough that she owns the house we live in?”
“Mum wants everything. She’s so full of surprises.”
“She is the mother of surprises. I’ve got to rush back to campus. I have some group assignments to take care of.”
“All right; let me escort you outside.” They walked outside. She unlocked the car door.
They hugged again. “Thanks again, sis. I owe you one.”
“I will keep that in mind; see you at home, brother. I’m sure we’ll have a long family chat tonight.”
“I’m looking forward to it.” Stacie sat in the car and drove away. Jason walked back into the office. On his way, he met his mother coming out with the two ‘generous’ shareholders. They exchanged a glance and Jason passed them by.
“See you at home, mother.”