14
Jul
08

Family Secrets Lies & Alibi’s- Chapter 1

Title: Family Secrets Lies & Alibi’s
Author: Nanette M. Buchanan
ISBN:13 978-0-9793883-0-9
10 0-9793883-0-9
Publisher: I Pen Books/Nanette M. Buchanan
Contact: ipendesigns@gmail.com
http://www.ipendesigns.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/ipendesigns

Chapter 1

The phone rang. It was early. The April mornings were still chilly and the phone beside the bed roused Darrell Mince from his deep slumber. He had slept under the quilt and left the windows open. The street was quiet, he noted, the dawn’s light was making only a bleak attempt to crowd in through his blinds. It was not the time for phone calls, at least not as a start for a Saturday morning. On weekends, away from his desk, away from crunching numbers for faceless clients, away from the constant conference calls allotted to his position as a top CPA at Sheldon Finance, sleep was sacred. But the ringing was insistent, and Rell lunged at the receiver, exposing only his arm to the chilled air.
“Yes?” he croaked.

“Mr. Darrell Quincy Mince?”

The voice had a professional quality, detached, impersonal, and no one had called him Darrell since he was six-years-old.

“Who is this?” he asked.

“Good morning, Mr. Mince. My name is Stan Simpson. I apologize for calling you so early on a Saturday. Did I wake you?”

“You did in fact”, he said, sorting it out. “Whatever you’re selling, I don’t want it.”

Ignoring the man’s protests, Rell slammed the receiver back in the cradle. His arm was just getting warm again under the quilt when the phone rang again. He swore and picked it up on the first ring.

“Hello?”

“Mr. Mince, it’s Stan Simpson again. Please don’t hang up. I’m not a salesman. I’m an attorney.”

Rell turned over; the remnants of his dreams lifting like fog.

“Ok, you’ve got my attention. What do you want?”

“Well sir, we haven’t heard from you regarding your father’s requests and I’m simply calling to make sure you sign and return the paperwork we sent you. No later than Wednesday if possible.”

He paused and drew a rehearsed breath to signal concern.

“And. Mr. Mince, I’m quite sorry for your loss.”

Rell struggled to sit up fully, the importance of the words weighing him down.

“What loss, Mr. Simpson?”

There was a long silence.

“Didn’t you get our certified mail?”

“I was away.”

There was a stack of mail on his kitchen table, left there after he’d come in late the night before from the airport, bills unopened, personal letters unread. He’d planned on making a morning of it over breakfast.

“And has no one told you?”

Mr. Simpson spoke slowly, tentatively. The way one would speak to a child who had just lost his dog.

“Look, I haven’t talked to my father in quite some time,” replied Rell. “Can we get on with it?”

“Mr. Mince, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but your father passed away last week.”

Rell was more than stunned. He hadn’t heard from any family members in the past week. He had let them know he would be away on business but they could have contacted him by phone. Mr. Simpson allowed the pause in the conversation realizing the news had left Rell at a lost for words.

“Mr. Simpson, I must apologize for my rudeness when you called. I had no idea of the importance of the call.”

“No need to apologize Mr. Mince, however, I must repeat the importance of you reviewing the papers that were mailed to you.”
“Mr. Simpson, if it is not asking too much may I have your number to return your call. I have not had a chance to go through my mail, as I mentioned I was out of town.”
“Certainly, the number is on the letter introducing myself and the need for your attention to the enclosed papers. I will wait to hear from you.”
“Sir, I will definitely call you.
I will need time to confer with my family.”
“Of course, shall we say we will speak shortly after the funeral?”
“Yes, unless of course I have questions before hand.”
“Yes, that is understood. Again, Mr. Mince I’m sorry for your loss, your father was a good friend of mine. I hope to speak with you soon.”
“You will, Mr. Simpson. Thank you for the call.”Rell got out of bed, now fully awake he noticed the chilled air more. He pulled down the bedroom windows and put his bare feet into his slippers. The bathroom was giving him a wake up call which delayed his intentions of opening the mail right away. Rell paused while in the bathroom and gave more thought to his father’s last thoughts of his son not visiting him at the hospital. Rell washed the morning sleep from his eyes and rinsed his mouth with mouthwash. He realized he was only prolonging opening the mail and wiped the tears that welled in his eye.
The letter was addressed, “Mr. D. Quincy Mince”, knowing what the envelope contained Rell hesitated and took a deep breath before opening it. Rell read the letter over slowly wondering with each word why he hadn’t been called. He laid the letter on the kitchen table and held his head between his hands. Rell had never thought about losing either of his parents. The letter gave little details and mentioned only that it was imperative for him to contact the Office of Simpson & Simon Attorney’s At Law. The papers requested his current contact information and explained that he was named in his father’s will as the executor of his estate. If Rell had any objections there were directions and more forms for him to fill out. In reading the papers he realized they were mailed while his father was in his final days. Rell’s father, Derek Quinton Mince, better known as D.Q., had always hinted toward Rell taking his place one day, but Rell never thought about his death. Rell realized he needed to talk to his mother, his grandmother, or someone who could explain why no one called him. As he reached for the phone, it rang.
Rell answered, “Hello”, trying not to sound as depressed as he felt.
“Baby what’s wrong? You must have gotten the news.”
It was his mother, Nikki. She sounded as though she had been crying.
“Ma, you knew? You knew dad was sick? You knew he died?”
“Rell I,” sobbed his mother. “I got a letter from an attorney today.”
Rell cut her off saying, “Dad died from respiratory failure after a long hospital stay. Are you saying you didn’t know he was in the hospital?”
Nikki thought it best not to mention that she did go to the hospital two days before D.Q. died. She knew that would only spark an argument with her son and she wanted him to come home without the bad feelings coming between them again. Since his move to Maryland they had rekindled the relationship that had been lost. She had hoped D.Q. would have gotten better and then she would have coaxed Rell into visiting him in the hospital. She couldn’t tell him that his father had been sick for at least three months off and on or that this was his second hospital stay.
“Yes, you got the same letter?” Nikki questioned, ignoring his question about D.Q.’s hospital stay.
“What else did your letter say?”
“I guess it’s the same as yours.” Rell wasn’t interested in discussing attorney’s letter. He wanted to know why no one contacted him.
“Why didn’t we know he was sick? Why didn’t Nana call us? Mama, both you and Nana had my number to call if anything came up. Why didn’t you call me?”
Rell was feeling the pain of his father’s death fully now. Tears began to run down his cheeks. He didn’t know if he could have handled the information being away but it hurt him deeply that he wasn’t by his father’s side. The distance he felt now was more than the pain of their distant relationship. Rell hurt now knowing it was a relationship that was permanently lost.
“I don’t know baby, but I did call Nana after I got this letter. She said he died three days ago and no arrangements have been made. I guess she is waiting for your Uncle and Aunt to fly in from Detroit to help her with the arrangements. Rell, your grandmother said she wanted you home too.”
Nikki hadn’t called him sooner because she was in shock. She promised Nana she would call Rell right after she knew of his death. That was yesterday, her letter from the attorney’s office brought her to reality. She knew if she didn’t call him Nana would.
“So does this lawyer. This letter says nothing from his will or estate can be released without my signature. I was named executor of all his possessions. What was Dad thinking? We haven’t talked for at least a year.”
Rell let the words fade to a mumble regretting to have to admit that he and the only man he loved had a wedge between them. Somehow now it seemed as though he built the wedge and his father just gave him the space he needed.
“Rell, Rell”, his mother repeated softly, “You are coming home aren’t you? I need you by my side for this Rell, come home baby please.”
Since Darrell’s move to Maryland, Nikki had not seen him long enough to consider it a stay. Even when he visited, he would only stop in for a day and it was always on his way back home. Darrell’s thoughts drifted back two years to what led him to leave the home he knew in Richmond, Virginia and move to his new home in College Park, Maryland.

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