#22 (Alison refuses to take no for an answer…)
“I’m not upset, Billy, I’m miffed.” Alison Farrell Montgomery stirred a splash of cream into her ink black coffee. She sighed with mild irritation before adding, “I don’t understand why you wouldn’t tell me about your engagement before you alerted the press. It seems the only time any of you want to talk to me is when you’re having a crisis.” Alison took a long, protracted sip of her coffee. “I am your mother, Billy.”
Will Montgomery lowered his eyes to avoid his Alison’s contemptuous gaze. He looked at the patterned carpeting in the sitting room of her bedroom suite before saying, “I’m sorry. I was caught up in the moment.”
“That’s really no excuse,” sniffed Alison, haughtily.
“Mom, I’ve been apologizing all weekend. You barely talked to me at the Independence Day party. Do you have any intention of forgiving me?”
Alison’s face was a stony, unreadable mask. She wouldn’t ever let her children know when she had forgiven them because it always allowed her to have the upper hand in all of their interactions. She merely said, “Do you need help financing the wedding? I know the Windsors aren’t as financially abundant as we are, so it may be best if your father and I paid for the affair.”
Will could feel the heat rise in his cheeks. Ever since he was a little boy, he had been wholly aware of the enormous generational wealth his family had which never seemed to deplete. Rather, it grew and grew with very little work or effort. He was always wary about the subject of his family’s money, even though his parents both loved talking about it. “Actually, I was going to pay for it. I barely the income from my trust fund, so you and Dad are off the hook.”
“Well, that’s very mature of you, Billy.” Alison fiddled with the diamond watch on her wrist. “I think we should discuss another matter.” She cleared her throat before saying in a low, hushed voice, “I’m concerned about how your wedding to Connor will affect India.”
Will rolled his eyes with annoyance. “I wish everyone would stop wondering how India’s going to feel when Connor and I get married. She’s obsessed with him. He doesn’t even like her.”
“You needn’t be so flippant; she’s your sister.”
“Billy, you have to consider how India’s obsession with Connor will color your marriage. She’s not going anywhere. When she was with me in Paris, I thought she was getting better. However, she’s self-destructive. Any time she would meet a nice man from the right background, she would find a fault with him, create unnecessary drama, and cry about how nobody loves her.” Alison shook her head wearily. “I don’t know if there’s any hope for her, but I want to ensure that you and Connor are prepared for her presence in your life.”
Will pondered his mother’s words for a moment. His mother rarely spoke so candidly about anything, especially when it came to her children. Either she was worried about Will or she was concerned about India. He couldn’t tell. “Connor and I will be fine, Mom. I think moving off the estate will help a lot. Connor and I are talking about living in his house.”
“That little house at the back of the Windsor Mansion? Oh, Billy, you can do better than that! I’ll call my estate agent to see if we can find a suitable mansion for you and Connor. It’ll be my wedding present to you, held in trust, of course. We don’t need the local papers in our private affairs,” stressed Alison.
“Mom, you don’t have to buy me a house!”
“Billy, I want to do this for you. To be honest, there were times when I didn’t know if you’d ever find someone to make you happy. If Connor is that person, then I will be here to celebrate your love until the wedding.”
Will looked at Alison with a mix of shock and surprise. “You’re staying in Kingsport until the wedding?”
“I intend to. Have you set a date?”
“We’re thinking of September after the end of the Season.”
“That’ll be fine, Billy.”
Alison rose from her chair and walked over to the windows which overlooked the rose garden. Her mind raced with so many private worries which she couldn’t share with anyone. Being in Kingsport until her son’s wedding would be hard, but going back to Paris right now would be even harder. Whether she liked it or not, Kingsport was her home. The Montgomery Estate was her rightful residence. It was safe. As she tried to forget about the events of the recent past, all Alison could think about was the pain, hurt, and sorrow which had haunted her for her entire life…
Nicholas Davenport sat at his computer in his Manhattan co-op apartment with a sense of dread in his heart. He re-read the email which stated that his latest investment, a dating app which used astrology to match partners, was closing down. His entire investment of five hundred thousand dollars would be lost. Nicholas knew his accountant could write it off on his taxes, but that wasn’t the point. It was one more thing that proved his mother right about his lack of savvy business or financial acumen. A moment later, Nicholas logged into his bank account and let out a little sigh. He had two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in cash, ten million dollars spread across various savings accounts, thirty million dollars in money market funds, a twenty-million-dollar investment portfolio, one million shares of Davenport Technology stock worth eighty million dollars, and a recent dividend payment of five hundred and sixty thousand dollars. Nicholas Davenport, like his mother and siblings, was one of the richest, yet unknown black people in America. He knew he was a long way off being broke or poor, but because he had so little access to so much of his money, he felt trapped and yoked to his family.
He walked into his pristine kitchen, turned on the kettle, and waited.
Nothing in Nicholas’ life made him feel at ease. He always felt rudderless. He felt like a child even though he had lived quite a life. His encounter with his mother the other week was just another incident where he felt powerless and voiceless. For the first time in his life, Nicholas needed something to happen. His writing career had stalled, his investments outside of his trust fund were failing, and he was practically estranged from his family.
The sound of the wailing kettle brought Nicholas back to life.
Suddenly, something in his mind told him what to do next.
It could be risky. It could pay off. Or, it could explode in his face.
Despite the risk, Nicholas pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed a familiar number which was answered after one ring. “Hey, it’s me,” he said quickly. “I’d like to come visit you on Wednesday. It’s important.” Before receiving an answer, Nicholas ended the call and dialed another number. “Hi, this is Nicholas Davenport. I’d like to charter a plane for tomorrow night from New York City to San Francisco.”
In our next installment, Barbara receives life changing news…
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