It all started when my Grandpa Charlie died. None of us were really upset. I wanted to go to the funeral, mostly to make sure he was really gone, than to pay him any respects or mourn his passing. My mother and her sisters were tearful, but I doubt it had anything to do with missing him. We asked the preacher not to speak of heaven at the service. It seemed wrong to pretend that Grandpa was going to a better place. Both his wives were at the ceremony, they sat side by side but never looked at each other. My Grandma looked beautiful, a floral silk scarf covering her hair loss from the cancer treatments.
After the funeral, his body would be sent back to Tennessee. He had a burial plot up north, paid for decades ago, but Patti, his second wife, requested that he be close to her. We decided to sell the plot and let Grandma have the money.
The next day was the reading of the will. I wasn't required to be there, but curiosity won out. I knew he died rich, but I had no idea how much money he had, or who would get it. My mother had grown up believing they were dirt poor. My Grandma made all her kids' clothes, never knowing her husband kept a secret bank account. He hoarded money throughout their marriage, while she sacrificed and scraped by. When he left her for Patti, almost 15 years younger, they lived the comfortable life that my Grandma deserved.
I thought something was wrong when we arrived at the lawyer's office. The secretary led us to the back room, where a man in a suit was pacing behind his desk. My aunt Sandy was sitting in a chair. Her dyed red hair was over-styled, and she clutched a leopard print purse in her lap. She turned and gave us a worried look. She had on way too much makeup for the occasion. Patti was across the room, staring at out the window. There was another girl I did not recognize, sitting by the back wall. She was not much older than me, but we had never met. Maybe she was here with Patti?
My Grandma came in next with my aunt Sharon. It was two minutes until nine, and we were all seated. The man in the suit was still pacing.
Sharon cleared her throat loudly. The man stopped pacing but didn't face us. He patted his face with a handkerchief and coughed.
"We're all here," said Sharon. "Can we get started?"
The door opened again and three more people stepped in, and my heart sank in my chest. One of the men was a priest. No one is our family is Catholic. I glanced around at the other ladies, but no one seemed to recognize him.
The other two people were cops.