Chasing Vivi(6)

By: A.M. Hargrove



Then as I was heading for the door, I heard my grandfather say, “If he goes, so do we. And you may have forgotten something. The Whitworth name is what made you, Jeff. As for you, I don’t know what game you’re playing at, but I would caution you. My daughter, with our advice, locked up her will as tight as a drum. My grandson’s inheritance is unquestionably his, no matter how hard you try to change that.”

I was waiting at the front door for them. My grandmother hugged me when she got there.

“Grand, I never touched her, I swear. I may not be the most stand-up guy when it comes to the opposite sex, but I’d never do that.”

“Let’s get out of here, Prescott. That woman is a viper.” She took my large hand into her smaller one and we walked down the porch steps. My dad’s house is out in Westchester County, and so is my grandparents’. “Come to our place. I think we have some hotdogs in the fridge.” The three of us laughed.

However, it wasn’t funny and it still isn’t. Dad has yet to come around and nothing I say or do will change his mind. He believes that plumped-lipped wife of his. Now he keeps trying to make me look like a fool. Every opportunity he gets, he tries to belittle me in front of business associates or at public functions. It’s getting old and grating.

The phone on my desk buzzes and jars me out of the contemplation.

“Beckham.”

“Prescott, do you have a minute?”

“Hey, Granddad. I have hours for you.”

His warm chuckle makes me smile. “I’ll be down there in a few.”

My grandfather is in his early seventies, but he acts like he’s forty. I adore him. He’s the one I look up to as a father, more so than my own. After I lost Mom, he stepped in because Dad was never around. And I didn’t blame him for that. Dad was blown away by everything. So was Granddad, but he handled it a lot better. He took me under his wing and guided me. When Dad finally had his fill of that, because he resented the closeness between my grandparents and me, he sent me away to boarding school. That’s when I met Harrison Kirkland. The two of us became fast friends and the best troublemakers Crestview Academy had ever seen. That is until Weston Wyndham showed up. It took a while—and some ass kicking—before he joined us and our duo turned into a trio, but we’re family now. If not for my grandparents, Harrison’s dad, and those two, I’m not sure where I’d be today.

Granddad pokes his head in the door and says, “Knock, knock.”

“Get in here. Since when do you knock?”

“Since today. I want you to know that I’ve run over the final figures of franchising A Special Place. Scotty, I’ve run them up, down, backward, and sideways, and I believe it’s a go. The contracts should be ready to go, as well, so you can call Weston with the news. You, Weston, and Special have a great opportunity here.” Special is Weston’s wife and the love of his life.

“You honestly think so?”

“No, I’m lying through my teeth.” He taps me on the side of the head. “Of course I think so. I’ve had some of my best people look at it. It’s excellent. Any venture capitalist would jump in on this with both feet.”

“Carpe opportunitas.”

“Yes! Now get the damn contracts signed so you can start seeing the money roll in.” He sits on the side of my desk. His white hair gleams with a bluish tint in the morning sun. “I don’t tell you this nearly enough, but your mother would be so damn proud of you.” He gets up then. “Oh, and brush your teeth. You smell like bourbon.” He leaves me with those words, and I wonder if Lynn told him I’m drinking too much. I go brush my teeth for the second time since coming to work.

Then I call Weston and tell him the news so we can get moving on finalizing the franchise. His parting words are, “I’ll pass the news on to Special. She’ll be happy because we thought it would take much longer. I know nothing of this stuff. You’re the financier; I’m the architectural engineer. Do your magic and shoot the contracts over to me so my attorneys can check everything out.”

I get that ball rolling as soon as I hang up. In the meantime, I devise a plan on how to get Vivi to go out with me. She’s presented a challenge I can’t seem to get off my mind.

It’s five after twelve when I grab Lynn to take her to lunch. I let her choose the place and she picks Nikki’s. It’s close and the food is good, so we walk, though I initially object to that since it’s so cold.

“You need the fresh air,” she says.

“About that. Did you tell Granddad that I needed to brush my teeth?” I elbow her in the side.

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