Chapter 10: In the bank, the showdown and a happy ending
October 19, 1968
The next several days were busy for Garfield with regards to his involvement in the mystery behind Bruce Stevenson's last will.
Shortly after he and his schoolmates made the surprising discovery that Monday early afternoon, Lenny spoke to Nash on the phone about the discovery and the two men made some arrangements.
The following day, Garfield was excused for the training night as he accompanied Nash to the Ottawa South branch of the Dominion Capital Bank with a court order, where they were then lead to a conference room where the bank president was expecting them.
"Bruce Stevenson's old friend Judge Adam Taylor explained everything to me." The president explained upon doing a quick read-through of the court order, referring to the judge who Nash has frequently worked with in the legal circles and was an old friend of the late entrepreneur. "The order wasn't really necessary, though for the sake of formality and legal reasons, it was good to have one issued by the judge. I'll send in Mr. Branson, our trust officer."
After Mr. Branson arrived and read through the notebook Garfield provided, he nodded and reckoned them to follow him to the safe.
The duo followed the two men to the safe, where Branson first took out the safe-renting record book and found the record for Brandon Sanders.
"It's safe to say that 'Brandon Sanders' and 'Bruce Stevenson' are one and the same." Branson remarked after the comparison, and the president, Nash and Garfield all nodded in agreement.
"Of course, you gentlemen do understand that the contents inside the deposit box can't be removed, right?" The president asked.
"We're just here to take a look at the will, gentlemen." Nash said. "Check and verify the date, witnesses and executor."
"Right, then." The president nodded with a smile.
Using the key from the notebook and the key kept by the bank, they were able to retrieve the deposit box that Stevenson had rented under the name of Brandon Sanders and carry it to a nearby private cubicle.
As the president opened the deposit box and removed the large envelop inside, Garfield held his breath in anticipation and anxiety.
The reason for his anxiety was because of Nash's story on Bruce Stevenson's known tendency to do things in a weird way. There was a good chance that whatever was in the envelop wasn't a will, but rather more directions leading to the will.
Nash cited the case of an eccentric Quebec-based businessman who recently passed on and his relatives ended up having to follow directions specified in his notes for his will and fortune, among them being the completion of a Chinese word puzzle.
"At least they found the fortune." Garfield remarked after the story.
The president then opened the envelop and took out the contents, revealing a large, bulky document.
"Is it a will?" Garfield finally asked as the president, Nash and Branson scanned the document.
"Indeed it is." The president spoke after scanning a few passages before passing it to Nash.
"The last will and testament of Bruce Henry Stevenson, dated February 29th, 1968." Nash added as he took the will and continued reading. "Which is later than the will the Ewells submitted for probate."
After scanning a few passages, Nash said, "Mr. Branson, or rather, Mr. Mackenzie, your bank has been named as the executor to the will."
"Ah, very good." Mr. Mackenzie, the bank president, smiled. "But I expect Mr. Ewell won't be happy to hear about this."
A quick glance at the final page of the will, produced three signatures: That of Bruce Stevenson's and the two witnesses.
However, both two witnesses passed away not long after Bruce himself passed on, hence the reason why the will never came to light.
Upon finishing examining the will, the bank offered Nash to help them handle the case, an offer which Nash happily accepted.
Due to the rather unusual circumstances behind the case, Nash decided that the first order of business was to request that the bank use a Photostat machine to produce copies of the will so he can then bring them back to his office, have them typed up and then examined, a request which the bank happily obliged.
The two days that followed were spent as Nash examined the typed-up copy of the will while Garfield went on with his usual daily business at school, awaiting the news on the will.
Then, during that Thursday's cadet training night, Garfield met with Nash, who revealed that upon extensive reviewing of the will, they can conclude that the will is legitimate enough to be submitted for probate and result in the annulment of the previous will.
Nash also confided that he will be notifying the relatives and friends named in the will, with the purpose of a Saturday gathering where they'll learn about the the contents of the new will.
He also invited Garfield to be there, an invitation which he happily accepted.
"I sure can't wait to be there when the Ewells receive the surprise of their lives." Garfield said. "Especially since word has it that Jason Ewell has been losing on the stock market lately."
"Yes indeed." Nash nodded. "He's been getting credit on a number of places based on the strength of inheritance, so with the latest news on his loses on the stock market, there's no doubt that he will be making efforts to speed up the settlement of the estate."
And that's how exactly that Saturday morning, Garfield found himself dressed formally with a suit and tie and seated in a meeting room at Nash's law firm, together with Nash and Mr. Branson from the bank.
Glancing at the clock, Garfield noted that it was 9:25.
"The relatives and friends should be arriving any moment now, sir." Garfield remarked.
"Yes indeed, and so are the Ewells." Nash nodded. "And if I'm not mistaken, they will be accompanied by a barrister. Once they hear about the discovery of a new will, no doubt they'll worry and be seeking the advice of one."
"Are you sure that everything in the will is legal and cannot be broken, sir?" Garfield asked.
"I've gone through everything." Nash replied. "Mr. Stevenson certainly knew the phraseology related to drawing up a will, and while I can't be sure about whether the will can or cannot be broken, as far as I know, everything's technically perfect. I've asked for input on the case from a handful of lawyer friends, and they also agreed with my analysis. Bruce Stevenson may have a peculiar way of doing things, but one thing for sure is that he's a very smart man."
"Which means that if the Ewells decides to contest this will, they'll have a lot of difficulty doing so." Garfield interjected.
As Nash nodded in agreement, Mr. Branson added, "And the bank will help you fight."
Nodding, Garfield turned and looked out the window and saw two elderly women with a pair of five-year old twins at the doorstep. "I think four of the relatives are here."
Opening the door and letting the four in, Garfield, Mr. Branson and Nash promptly introduced themselves.
The older of the two women introduced herself as Jessica Stephenson, one of Bruce Stevenson's cousins.
"This is my younger sister Margaret Stephenson." Jessica introduced her younger sister before turning to the twins and added, "And these are our grandnephew and grandniece Nicolas and Nicole Murdoch."
As it turned out, the Murdoch twins were orphaned three years prior when their parents were killed in a train accident during a trip to the UK. Their mother, whose name is Nancy and is an only child, likewise, was orphaned when her own parents were killed in the Halifax Explosion decades ago.
The twins had no close relatives other than the Stephenson sisters, so the elderly sisters brought them up. The family of four hailed from the village of Metcalfe, which is located in Osgoode Township in the District's southeast.
"Is it true that a new will by Cousin Bruce has been unearthed?" Margaret asked.
"You folks will soon find out." Garfield reassured them with a smile.
A few minutes later and another two of Bruce's other relatives and friends arrived at the law firm. The Stephenson sisters introduced them as Barbara and Anita Brooks, who were not related to Bruce Stevenson but were of great favourites of his.
"Uncle Bruce promised me that he'll have me set up for piano lessons at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto." Anita said. "I hope the new will will do just that for me, in addition to providing the needed money for me and Barbara as we struggled to make ends meet."
"And by the way, Mrs. Janet Wagner, who's the first cousin of Uncle Bruce's late wife and is living off a small pension with no telephone, can't make it to the meeting due to her hip injury." Barbara said.
"That's a shame." Nash said sympathetically. "I'm sure she'll be delighted to hear about what the new will provides for her."
Like the Stephenson sisters, the Brooks lived in Osgoode Township, though their residence is in Greely.
Another minute went by before two more relatives arrived. The Stephenson sisters introduced them as George and Henry Stevenson, who were Bruce's second cousins.
As it turned out, George and Henry Stevenson both had proposed to the Stephenson sisters years ago. George to Jessica, Henry to Margaret.
However, before the Stephenson sisters were prepared to say yes, tragedy struck the family when the Stephensons' older brother and his wife were killed in the Halifax Explosion, orphaning a young Nancy Stephenson.
As a result of the tragedy, the Stephensons and the Stevensons both decided to call off the marriage and focus on rearing Nancy.
The Stevensons lived in North Gower Township and relied on farming to get by. However, they weren't able to afford the cost of help and new farming equipment and the brothers have always longed to travel abroad.
"It's good to see that you gentlemen plan to see the world." Nash remarked.
Everyone named in the will are present, except for the Ewells. However, there wasn't a need to wait any longer, as a minute after Nash made the remark, Garfield saw the Ewells arriving at the doorway to the law firm.
As Nash have predicted, the Ewells were accompanied by a barrister, and the Ewells hastily nodded to the others in the room as they entered.
Garfield can sense the flames coming up as he watched Mrs. Ewell leading the way. She certainly looked just like her two unreasonable daughters, while by contrast, her husband certainly looked shy with a nervous manner. You sure can see hints of grey in his brown hair.
"Now I figure where did those sisters got their rude, spoiled personalities." Garfield thought to himself. "And I sure wonder what had possessed Mr. Ewell in marrying someone like Mrs. Ewell. One thing for sure: I probably don't envy him."
"What's the reason for us to be dragged here?" Mrs. Ewell asked sharply, addressing Nash as she spoke. "Have you got the audacity to claim that another will has been found?"
"What I've got here, Mrs. Ewell, is a will written by the late Bruce Stevenson dated this past late February." Nash replied evenly before gesturing towards Mr. Mackenzie and added, "And I'll like to introduce you all to Mr. James Branson, the trust officer of the Dominion Capital Bank branch in Ottawa South, which has been named as the executor of the Stevenson estate."
"This is preposterous!" Mrs. Ewell stormed as she slammed her hand down on the conference table. "Bruce Stevenson made only one will, in which my husband was named the executor and it left everything to my family!"
"Sounds more like a conspiracy to commit fraud to me, Mother." Rona said as she eyed Garfield.
Kellie didn't say a single word, though she glared at the other relatives and friends seated in the room.
Likewise, Mr. Ewell didn't spoke a single word, though he uneasily seated himself in a conference chair, right beside his barrister.
"Mrs. Ewell, if you could please sit down." Nash suggested. "That way, we can get started."
Reluctantly, Mrs. Ewell sat down, followed by her daughters.
Garfield folded his arms across his chest as Nash continued.
"Anyways, as I said before, a new will and testament by the late Bruce Henry Stevenson was found this past late February, ladies and gentlemen." He said. "It was stored in a safe deposit box in the Ottawa South branch of the Dominion Capital Bank. Due to its unusually long length, with your kind permission, I'll only read portions of the typed copy that has to do with the distribution of his property. But before we get started, I will like to ask Mr. Ewell how much value he has placed in the estate."
"Five hundred thousand dollars after taxes." The old man responded.
There was a whistle and Margaret gasped. "I never realize that Cousin Bruce worths this much!"
"Nor do I." Barbara agreed.
Nash nodded as he picked up a few pages and began reading in a clear voice.
"'I, Bruce Henry Stevenson, do make this my last will and testament, hereby having all former wills by me at any time made declared void.'" Nash read. "'I give and bequeath all my property, real and personal, as follows:'"
The relatives and friends all listen anxiously as Nash reached the first benefactor of the new will.
"'To my dear friends and neighbours Barbara and Anita Brooks:'" Nash read. "'Twenty percent of my estate, share and share alike.'"
The Brooks both gasped in excitement.
"This has got to be a dream!" Barbara exclaimed.
"I now can go to Toronto to attend the Royal Conservatory and pursue my dreams as a concert pianist!" Anita said.
"Hmph." Kellie snorted before saying maliciously to Anita. "It'll take more than fifty thousand dollars and talent for you to become one!"
"Silent!" Her father barked. "Let's not interrupt the proceedings and listen for what else this will provides!"
Kellie, who was glaring disdainfully at the Brooks, shut her mouth, but her mother raised from her seat.
"This is a total fraud!" Mrs. Ewell said sharply. "The Brooks aren't even relatives."
"Unless you have concrete proof that this is fraud, I don't see the need for you to keep interrupting." Nash said quietly before picking up the page and continued. "'To Janet Wagner, my late wife's cousin, in consideration for her kindness to me: A sum equal to ten percent of my estate.'"
"Oh, how wonderful." Anita smiled. "Now she can afford all the care she will need and have someone live with her to take care of her."
"You're kidding me." Rona said harshly. "That forgetful old lady gets fifty thousand dollars?"
Kellie turned to her mother and said, "Where was she when Cousin Bruce became ill?"
"We were the ones that took care of him!" Rona agreed. "Not her!"
"'To my second cousins George and Henry Stevenson: A sum equal to twenty percent of my estate, share and share alike.'" Nash read.
"Oh, this is unbelievable!" George smiled. "We always knew that Cousin Bruce was very kind. Now we can go on a trip like we always wanted to, Henry."
"Indeed." Henry nodded in agreement. "A trip to Europe and Australia would be amazing."
"'To my cousins Jessica and Margaret Stephenson: A sum equal to twenty percent of my estate, share and share alike.'" Nash read.
"How generous." Jessica smiled. "Now little Nick and Nicole can have the things they needed and wanted."
"It sure feels great to get a large weight like that off our chest." Margaret agreed.
"Aren't we mentioned in this new will?" Mrs. Ewell asked sharply, clearly fed up by the waiting.
"Yes. I was getting to that." Nash smiled. "'To my first cousin-once removed Jason Ewell, in consideration for the fun memories we shared: Ten thousand dollars. To Anita and Barbara Brooks-'"
"Hold it!" Mrs. Ewell exclaimed. "What about me and the girls?"
"I'm afraid he didn't leave any money to you." Nash said simply.
The girls shrieked.
"No!" Kellie shrieked. "This can't be true! What are we going to do with all those bills, Mother?"
"Oh, I'm going to have to go to work!" Rona broke down. "I can't bear the thought of that!"
When the room calmed down, Nash continued, "'To Anita and Barbara Brooks: My household furniture now in the possession of Mrs. Jason Ewell.'"
There were gasps of surprise as Mrs. Ewell half arose from her seat. There had been rumours around town that she had confiscated all of Bruce Stevenson's furniture after the entrepreneur was induced into making his home with the Ewells.
"What an insult!" Mrs. Ewell exclaimed. "Does Bruce Stevenson have the courage to hint that I took his furniture?"
"I'm sure it's safe to say that I have no idea what exactly was in his mind when he wrote the will, Mrs. Ewell." Nash said with a smile.
Anita got up from her seat.
"Barbara and I have enough furniture in our house right now, Mrs. Ewell." She said.
"So you can have that section of the will declared void, Mr. Nash." Barbara nodded. "We won't be taking any furniture from you, Mrs. Ewell."
After the contents of the will were went through, in addition to Stevenson leaving the remainder of his fortune to various charitable causes and scholarship funds, Nash concluded that the benefactors can draw at their inheritance all at once as a result of Bruce Stevenson keeping his assets at a liquid state.
However, it was clear that the Ewell sisters and their mother were not satisfied by how the new will distributed his estate.
"You engineered all of this, Garfield Wu!" Rona said accusingly to Garfield.
"Perhaps I did." Garfield replied evenly with his arms still folded. "I only played my role."
"That's it!" Mrs. Ewell thundered. "We're filing a claim to have this will declared void!"
Nash narrowed his eyes. "You can do that if you want, Mrs. Ewell. However, I have to warn you that it's going to be a waste of your time and money."
"If you don't want to accept Flying Officer Nash's judgement, you should consult your own barrister." Mr. Branson added.
Immediately, the Ewells' barrister took a typed copy of the will and carefully read through the contents. Then, he looked up at Mrs. Ewell.
"I'm afraid Flying Officer Nash is right, Mrs. Ewell." The barrister replied.
"Oh, is he?" Mrs. Ewell said viciously. "If that's all you know about law, then as of this moment, you're discharged, Mr. Gorman! We'll take this to the court and fight to the bitter end!"
With that remark, Mrs. Ewell got up from her seat and stormed her way to the door, followed closely by her daughters with Rona sending Garfield a glare and then Mr. Ewell.
After the Ewells were out of the office, Mr. Gorman picked up his briefcase as he, too, stood up.
"Well, I certainly can't say that I'm sorry to be taken off this case." He said as he placed both hands onto his briefcase and sighed. "However, I advise you all to be on your guard. That woman is certainly belligerent."
Once the barrister left, there was less strain in the room as the other relatives and friends celebrated the discovery on the new will and gave their thanks to Nash for his work.
"Don't give me all the credit." Nash said before gesturing towards Branson and Garfield. "These two gentlemen, especially Mr. Wu here, are the ones you should thank as well."
"Indeed." Mr. Branson nodded in agreement. "If it wasn't for Mr. Wu's actions at school, where he became curious about the string of thefts that occurred, he will never had thought of finding the notebook in the school's grandfather clock, and as a result of that, we wouldn't have been able to recover Mr. Stevenson's last will in the first place."
"Oh, young man." Margaret said as she ruffed Garfield's hair. "Your actions deserve a reward."
"Indeed." Anita agreed. "We all have you to thank for helping us finding the will that rightfully distributes Uncle Bruce's fortune to those in needed."
"Oh, it was nothing, really." Garfield smiled shyly as his cheeks burned while he rubbed Nick's hair. "I was simply following my instincts, plus all of this was a group effort, really."
It was at the tip of Garfield's tongue to add that he didn't really want a reward when Nash turned the conversation to a new channel.
"I have to warn you all about Mrs. Ewell." Nash said, his face expressions turning serious. "She certainly wouldn't give up the fortune without a fight, so until things settle down and the courts accepted this will as the final one, I advise you all to carry on with your lives as normal."
Everyone nodded in agreement, having had witnessed first hand just how belligerent Mrs. Ewell was.
"However." Nash continued, now breaking into a small smile. "If Mrs. Ewell and her daughters do drag this into court, I'll see to it that they end up fighting a battle they'll never forget."
Anita and Barbara have both considered telling Janet about the good news first thing when they return home, but upon listening to Nash's remarks, they decided against the move until things have settled down, especially in case the Ewells managed to upset the whole case.
October 21, 1968
That day, the main talk in school was about the recent court claim Mrs. Ewell have launched with regards the the Stevenson estate case.
As Nash have anticipated, Mrs. Ewell launched the appeal on the basis that the will Garfield had helped unearthed was a forged document. And it was one bitter court battle as Mrs. Ewell fought bitterly for the Stevenson estate.
As the weeks dragged on, Garfield felt a growing wave of suspense growing inside him.
November 19, 1968
That training night, Garfield ran into Nash and Lenny during break time.
"The suspense is just awful, sirs." He remarked. "I sure hope we will get the final word soon."
"Yes indeed." Nash nodded. "However, Mr. Ewell think that it's a losing battle. Have you heard about the family?"
"No, sir." Garfield arched his eyebrows. "What happened?"
"The family is practically bankrupt." Lenny replied. "Jason Ewell has been losing heavily on the stock market, and as a result of his failure to recover the Stevenson estate, the banks have reduced his credit."
"As a result of that, the Ewells have been forced to give up their manor and move into a small house on Alta Vista Drive." Nash added.
"Holy cow." Garfield remarked. "That's got to hurt, especially for Mrs. Ewell and the girls."
"Indeed, Mr. Wu." Nash nodded. "No doubt that it's a bitter pill to swallow, but with both girls now having to start working, I think it's going to change them for the better."
Garfield nodded thoughtfully at the remark.
November 28, 1968
That night, the cadet squadron training night went by as usual.
That is, until the closing parade when the officers made their announcements.
Nash, upon finishing his usual announcements on upcoming training, called Garfield out onto the front of the parade square.
Garfield, who was second-in-command of his flight, arched his eyebrows before immediately stood at attention, yelled, "Sir!", and marched his way to the front while most of the squadron's eyes were on him.
When Garfield arrived at the front of the parade square, Nash made his last announcement for the night.
"Earlier this afternoon, I have received good news from the Superior Court with regards to the last will of the late Bruce Stevenson, which I'm sure all of you know about." Nash began.
Everyone on parade, as well as the parents at the back and the officers at the front, all nodded. One thing to note was that Bruce Stevenson was also a member of the Ottawa Capital Optimist Club, who is the sponsor of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets 6th Wing.
As a matter a fact, the entrepreneur was instrumental in the establishment of the squadron at Uplands and was well known and respected and liked by the air cadet community in Ottawa.
In addition, many in the squadron, or rather, the wing, heard about the Ewells treatment of Bruce Stevenson and the other relatives and friends planning to file a claim that the late entrepreneur had wrote another will after the presented will awarded all of his fortune to the Ewells.
"Anyways, the good news is that the court has agreed to have that last will declared void." Nash continued. "And Sergeant Garfield Wu here was instrumental in unearthing the will that rightfully distributed the Bruce Stevenson estate and fortune to his more deserving friends and relatives, and it was the will he helped unearth that was accepted by the court for probate."
Everyone cheered upon receiving the news, and Garfield could hardly believe the news as the officers walked to him and gave him their praises.
Then, the cadet squadron commander WO1 Jerry Lacombe walked over to Garfield and shook his hand.
"Way to go, Wu." He spoke with a smile.
"Thank you, chief." Garfield nodded as he smiled back.
November 29, 1968
That day, as the news of the Ewells losing the court battle spread around the school and the relatives and friends being notified of the news, Garfield found himself becoming a celebrity in school amongst the students.
At home, his family praised him for his actions and Dave also slapped his back gently in approval.
Of course, Garfield had taken to give Jill the credit for pointing out the peculiarity in the grandfather clock that led them to the notebook, though the juniors didn't mind him taking the credit.
After all, it was his curiosity on the string of thefts in school and the unusual bookshelf in the library that got the ball rolling on the discovery of Stevenson's new will in the first place.
During the lunch period, Garfield does his walk around the school block as usual after he finished his lunch.
As he walked by the main entrance, he paused to take a look at the grandfather clock.
Watching the pendulum swinging back and forth, Garfield compared the time displayed on the clock to that on his watch.
Nodding, Garfield looked back at the clock face.
Eyeing the spot where Jill had spotted the notebook, Garfield nodded.
"Bruce Stevenson sure picked a weird spot to hide his notebook." He thought to himself. "No doubt he must've owned this clock before donating it to the school."
He then remembered the school principal mentioning that the late entrepreneur had made a trip to the school a week before his death, and he had no trouble picturing the man secretly hiding his notebook, with the safe deposit key attached, into the grandfather clock.
Noting the time, Garfield nodded at the clock again before turning towards the stairwell and made his way up the stairs.
The scene then shifts to the back of the grandfather clock, where it then reveals the name of the maker of the grandfather clock.
Garfield & Stephenson Clocks Ltd., 1895.
And so concludes the first story of Garfield Stephenson Wu, folks!
The adventures of Garfield Stephenson Wu continues in the FanFiction story D4 Scooby-Doo! A Haunting at the Ottawa SuperEX!
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