At nine on the dot, the man the suit sat down at his desk. He was sweating, and seemed to be short of breath. "I apologize," he began, and voice cracked. "This isn't exactly standard procedure," he said, waving a hand at the officers, who were standing stiffly by the wall. "I am Dr. Murray, standing in for my father, Murray Senior, who was Charlie's lawyer."
The priest had seated himself by my Grandma, but hadn't said a word. He seemed nervous.
"We are gathered here to read the last Will and Testament of the late Charles Irvine." He smoothed his hands over the papers scattered across his desk. "My father was not just Charlie's lawyer, they were good friends. I have known Charlie since I was a boy, and I never…" he stopped. He glanced up at the priest. "Did you know?" The priest said nothing, but dropped his gaze to his lap.
My mother spoke up. "What's going on? Are you going to read the will, or not?"
Dr. Murray laughed strangely. "Sure, why not? Let's just dive in, shall we?" He sounded a little crazy. Sandra and Sharon held Grandma's hands, and Patricia dabbed her eyes with a tissue. Dr. Murray held up a stack of paper and took a deep breath and began to read: "I, Charles D. Irvine, being of sound mind, declare this to be my final Will and Testament. To my wife, Patricia, I leave our current home, should she choose to remain there." Patty sighed and closed her eyes. "To Sandra, I leave my custom Lincoln Towncar." Sandy made a sound in her throat, somewhere between a laugh and a sob. I could see my mother and Sharon drop their shoulders in defeat. Sandy was the youngest, which meant they'd been skipped over.
"To Emily, I leave my vacation property in Florida." Everyone's heads shot up. Who the hell was Emily, and why did she get the beach house? I looked at the girl sitting in the back. Her mouth was hanging open in shock.
Dr. Murray continued: "My other properties will be sold and divided equally into trust funds for all my living grandchildren." I cringed. That money would be nice, but it felt dirty. Maybe I would just donate it to some charity.
"My financial assets, including bank accounts, investments, and stocks, will be signed over to the St. Luke Chapel, in care of Father Lindsey." Dr. Murray put down the sheet of paper.
"That's it?" my aunt Sharon hissed. "What about my mother? Did that bastard completely forget about her? After all he put her through!" My grandma reached over to stop Sharon, but Dr. Murray interrupted.
"No, that's not it. Not by a long shot." He nodded to the cops by the door. Then he slowly turned over the top page of the stack and picked up the next.
"To Doris," he nodded at my Grandma, "I give the deed to my parents' home and farm property in Kansas. I also leave to her my record and journals, to do with as she deems fit."
"Kansas!" my mother blurted out. "What on earth is she going to do with a farm in Kansas?"
My grandmother finally spoke up. "Journals? I never knew he kept journals. Do you have them here?"
Dr. Murray kept his gaze down as he answered. "The journals are in his safe deposit box, which I have the key here for you. But the records…."
For the first time I looked, really looked, at the papers scattered across his desk, and I got a shiver up my spine. The two sheets he had read were crisp gray parchment with typed words. All the others were odd and random, all handwritten. Some pages were white notebook paper, a few were long yellow legal sheets, others were small stationery pages, even some post it notes. They were all covered with neat, square print, my Grandpa Charlie's handwriting.
I found myself walking towards the desk. Dr. Murray didn't look at me as I approached. I picked up a page at random. It was a page from a notepad, with a Motel 6 logo at the bottom. June 28, 1962 was written across the top. Rebecca, age 27. Brown hair, hazel eyes, chubby. Waitress at Big Boy in Cincinnati.
Was this a list of his affairs? Gross. We all knew he had cheated on my Grandma regularly. It was the reason they had to move so often. Every time he created too much of a mess, he would make the whole family pick up and start over in a new town.
I picked another sheet. This was a green piece of paper with a floral border. Smyrna, TN. April 11, 1976. Lois, appx 20. Short, blue eyes, redhead. Secretary. Took to new construction.
He always went for the young ones. I picked up another. December 14, 1958. New Philadelphia. Joanne, age 14. Church rec room.
Basement? What was he doing with a 14-year-old girl in a rec room? I felt like I was going to throw up. I realized Sharon was next to me, staring at the desk. I handed her the page I just read and grabbed another, and another. Dates, places, names, ages. My head was spinning.