Mr. Edward Grey was a handsome man. He was at least 6’4” with dark brown hair that had just started to go gray. His dark green eyes sparkled when he smiled at me as I entered his office. His suit was even tailored to fit him perfectly.
“Ah, Miss Rogers, it’s nice to finally meet you. Your godfather spoke of you often. And you are just as lovely as he said.” His hand gripped mine, firm and warm.
I smiled back at him. “I wasn’t aware that Bill even had a will, or planned to leave me anything. I know his sister has a couple of kids…” I shrugged as I trailed off.
“Yes, I met with Olivia a few days ago. Bill thought her children were spoiled, and I don’t think he got along with his sister very well. She was rather upset that Bill only left her a few of the stocks in his company. But down to our business.” He motioned me into the chair across from his at the huge oak desk.
“Other than the stocks that he left to Olivia,” he started as I took my seat, “Bill left you everything.”
My jaw dropped open. “Excuse me?”
“He never married, or had children, and said he looked at you as one of his own, for the most part. He left you his entire estate. House and property, his company, a fairly large trust, vehicles, stocks and investments. It’s quite a large sum of money. His company has a board that pretty much runs everything. He set that up a year or two ago, when he realized that you would rather be an artist than sell model airplanes and cars. There are a few conditions to your inheritance. If you fail to complete the conditions, the sum of the inheritance gets donated to charity, and the board gains full control of the company. Your inheritance in this case would be the same as Olivia’s.”
“Conditions?” I asked, somewhat shakily. I was still completely blown away. His entire estate?? “What kind of conditions?”
“You must live in his house for at least six months, without selling or disposing of the contents. There are a few houseguests already there, or planning on arriving soon. These guests must be allowed to stay. You are two host three functions in his place, one every other month of your stay. The instructions for these are with the staff at the house. There are also conditions on your behavior and attire for these events with the staff. While you are living in the house, the staff will treat you a certain way, teach you how things are run. I don’t have the details here. You are free to leave at anytime you wish. But if you stay, there are no negotiations on any part of the conditions. Do you understand?” He looked over the desk at me, a calm expression on his face, waiting.
I blinked a few times, trying to get my thoughts in order. Houseguests? What kind of functions? What the hell? “Why….?” My voice trails off…
“It is what he requested. My secretary has the address for you at her desk. She or I will check in on you, occasionally, and provide an allowance according to the will. You have two weeks to make arrangements and show up at the given address. You may continue at your job, and transportation will be provided should you choose to.”
He was obviously finished with me. He rose as I did, shook my hand at the door, and shut it firmly behind me. I was left, staring, mouth slightly agape, at his beautiful secretary. Her red lips smiled, and she handed me a bottle of water, and a card with an address printed in beautiful script on it.