Chapter 10: Good Intentions
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
In all his years, Desmond Cataliades had rarely been as troubled as he was in that moment. John Northman had been a few years older than he was, but since their parents were best friends, the boys had grown up as best friends too—with Desmond looking up to John like a big brother. Niall’s parents had moved from Boston to New York when Desmond was ten and John was twelve, and the three boys had become inseparable after that.
And, while many people drifted apart with age, they had stayed close.
While Niall had gone into pharmaceuticals, John had taken over his family’s businesses, which had included a real estate firm and the publishing house. Eventually, John had shifted most of his attention to the publishing house, selling many of his real estate holdings to Copley Carmichael, who had been looking to grow his own investments. In turn, John had used his new capital to triple the size of his publishing house.
Meanwhile, Desmond had taken over his father’s old and established law firm, and his daughter Gladiola had basically taken the reins from him almost twenty years before; now, his granddaughter, Diantha, had joined the firm too, and, though she was only thirty, she was already managing partner since Gladdy had wanted to cut back a bit. However, despite his age, Desmond still practiced law for a few people—with his oldest living friend Niall Brigant being one of them.
Not surprisingly, John Northman, Eric’s grandfather, had been his client as well—and his closest confidant, even closer than Niall. Every secret anxiety or fear Desmond ever had was shared with John, and Desmond had heard most of John’s too. When Desmond had been unsure of whether to take over the family firm, it had been John he’d talked to. When John had cheated on his cold-fish of a wife, it had been Desmond who had listened to his guilt and suggested that he come clean to Grace. Desmond and John had seen each other at their worst—and their best.
The dilemma Desmond now faced was because of a promise that he’d made to John—a promise he’d sworn to his dying friend that he would keep no matter what.
Desmond did not know the whole story of why Niall’s newly found relative, Sookie Stackhouse, was essentially hiding out. He also didn’t know why Eric Northman now seemed to be hiding out in Niall’s home with her. Like seemingly everyone else in Manhattan, he’d seen the news of Eric’s “breakdown” in the gossip rags, but the young man sitting before him was happy and mentally sound, though clearly concerned for the woman next to him.
Niall had simply told Desmond that Eric and Appius Northman were having “issues,” and that he shouldn’t mention having seen Eric or Sookie to anyone. The lawyer couldn’t help but to wonder what those “issues” might be. In truth, he’d been keeping an eye on Appius Northman for a long time, ever since John had come to him sixteen years before.
“So?” Niall asked looking at Desmond.
“I’m sorry. What were you saying?” the lawyer asked. “I was lost in my thoughts.” He glanced over at Eric and saw the young man looking back at him with a question in his arrestingly blue eyes.
Niall chuckled. “I was asking if there was anything else we needed to go over—as far as the estate goes.”
“No, all Sookie needs to do is sign the papers,” Desmond said, shaking his head a little. As he looked at Eric, his mind warred; however, his belief in right over wrong finally overcame his belief in the rule of attorney-client privilege and his long-ago promise to his friend.
He just prayed that John would understand.
Desmond sighed and looked around the room before settling his gaze back onto Eric. “Will you tell me about what is happening with Appius? I might be able to help you.”
Having studied the lawyer as he’d been lost in his thoughts, Eric didn’t hesitate, especially given the guilt and the regret that flashed over Desmond Cataliades’s face whenever he looked at Eric.
“My father, after treating me like shit most of my life, is currently blackmailing me,” Eric informed. “He’s threatened everything I care about—unless I do as he says.”
Cataliades closed his eyes as if in pain and sat forward. “Will you tell me everything?”
Niall also sat forward. Sookie had told him a lot about what was going on, but he was anxious to hear it from Eric’s perspective.
Eric looked at Sookie. “Are you up for listening to this, min älskade?”
She nodded. “Are you up for talking about it?”
He looked at Cataliades. “I think I need to talk about it.”
The two older men exchanged a glance and then watched as the couple in front of them seemed to lean into each other’s’ sides even more.
Eric started. “Did you know my mother?”
“Yes,” Desmond responded. “Both Niall and I liked her very much. She was lovely and a good friend to my own daughter, Gladiola. Her death was a great blow to Gladdy.”
Eric nodded. “I’ve heard that my father was very much in love with my mother.”
“Yes,” Desmond agreed. “Appius was devoted to Stella, even though—from what John told me—they had something of an unconventional marriage.”
Eric laughed ruefully. “That’s an understatement. As far as I can tell, their relationship was a study in contradictions. They do seem to have loved each other, but they made an arrangement when they got married. You see—my father prefers sex with men.”
“I have heard rumors to that effect over the years,” Desmond admitted.
Eric sighed. “My mother and Appius agreed to have an open marriage; however, there was a caveat: she would wait to seek out her own affairs until after they’d had their children. And—surprisingly enough—it seems as if Appius was more-less faithful to my mother during that time. However, despite their agreement, my mother was not faithful to him.” He paused for a moment. “She had an affair with someone they had both met—and loved—in college, a man named Peder. Appius had no idea that Stella and Peder still saw each other after he’d asked her to give him up. In fact, that secret was not discovered until after my mother died.”
“That is why Appius doubted your paternity,” Desmond said with realization.
“You knew of that?” Eric asked.
“Yes,” Desmond admitted. “John came to me a few months before his death. The week before that, he’d confronted your father about the way he treated you, and Appius told him that you were not his biological child. Appius said that you were lucky he paid for your education and kept you from starving, and he told his father to butt-out of the situation.” Desmond sighed. “John found out that same night that Grace had known all along—ever since your mother died. And she’d helped to cover up the fact that Appius treated you poorly by always insisting that she and John spend their holidays with her relatives in California. So John rarely got to see you since you were either at school or in Sweden most of the time. On the few occasions when he did see you, it wasn’t for long enough for him to understand that there was a problem. But that ignorance was obliterated when the cook in your father’s household visited John.”
“Margaret?” Eric asked. “She visited my grandfather?”
“Yes. She took a box of old trains to John.”
“The trains,” Eric said in a quiet voice.
“Yes,” Desmond replied gently. “I was with John when he bought those for you. You must have been only two or three at the time. He told me about how you and he had spent hours playing with them.”
Eric closed his eyes. “You’re right. I don’t remember spending much time with Grandfather John. But he called me to him before he died, and he gave me those trains. I remember them being in my room before I was sent to boarding school.”
Desmond nodded. “John told me about that visit with you.” He shook his head sadly. “You see—Margaret had told John about how Appius treated you—about how things were for you in Appius’s household. She couldn’t give him many specifics, but she told him enough to cause him to become very concerned. John admitted to me that he’d disapproved of Appius not spending more time with you, but—like most people—he’d assumed that it was because you reminded your father so much of Stella. And Grace had John convinced that Appius had to keep his distance from you or he would fall into depression because of his enduring grief over Stella’s loss.”
“I am like my mother according to Appius,” Eric commented.
Desmond nodded. “Yes. I can see that you are like her in many ways—good ways. She too was charismatic and intelligent—a natural leader. And, by all accounts, Appius did change after she died. Everyone assumed that was from grief, and John was no exception. But he was convinced otherwise after his conversation with Margaret. As I said, he went to confront your father, which was when he learned of the affair your mother had had. Your father even showed John a letter proving her infidelity. Around that time, John’s doctors told him that he was losing his battle with the cancer that was eating away at his body. Not long after that, Appius came to see his father, demanding that John cut you out of his Will. John promised Appius that he would be changing his Will, but he didn’t clarify how.”
Eric gasped. “That’s why Appius was so angry when Grandfather left me extra stock in the company.”
“Yes,” Desmond confirmed. “I remember that Appius didn’t even want you at John’s funeral or at the reading of the Will, and he was furious when John left you a monetary inheritance as well a good deal of his stock. By then, John was concerned that Appius would withhold your trust fund from you, and he wanted to mitigate the effects if that happened. Has Appius held back the trust fund?” the lawyer asked with curiosity.
Eric closed his eyes tightly. “Yes. And more.”
“What has he done?” Desmond asked, the concern clear in his tone.
“He manipulated me into officially merging my maternal grandfather’s company—which was part of the trust fund and being overseen by Appius at the time—with NP. And, as soon as that was official, he confronted me about my mother’s infidelity.” Eric dragged his free hand through his hair even as Sookie squeezed his other—held firmly in hers. “I met Peder. There was a paternity test. While we waited for the results, Appius celebrated his ultimate revenge over my mother. He had managed to take her family’s company—using me to do it.”
“But you were Appius’s son,” Desmond stated flatly.
“Yes—much to my father’s disappointment. After that, Appius demanded that he and I sign a contract. There were threats and blackmail then too.” Eric sighed and closed his eyes for a moment before going on. “Bobby helped me to make the contract livable—or, at least it seemed to be livable until I met Sookie.” He leaned into her a little more. “Strangely, Appius had always made it clear to me that I had no choice but to take over as CEO of NP on my thirty-fifth birthday, though—for a long time—I figured that was just one of Appius’s lies to make me think I had a place in the family. And, before the paternity test, I had almost convinced myself that I did have something of a place. Appius was even treating me a little better as I was finalizing the merger with Larsson’s. But all that ended abruptly with the paternity test.” Eric paused. “After Appius found out that I was his, things became worse. You see—that fact seemed to make him hate me even more.”
“What is in the contract?” Desmond asked warily.
“Under its terms, I am to stay at NP, running the international division until I turn 35. Then I am to take over as CEO for a period of twenty years. Appius will maintain some oversight even then, however. I will have to report to him once a year and maintain a certain profit margin. If I stay above it, then I will retain the power of CEO and remain autonomous. If I fall below it, Appius will come in and virtually take over for a year, though I will stay CEO in name. When I step down as CEO after my twenty year term, I will get my trust fund—finally.” Eric sighed, once more dragging his hand through his hair. “Despite being blackmailed to stay at NP, I thought the contract would protect me. I knew it would give me job security for much of my life—if nothing else.”
“What did you have to give up for that security?” Desmond asked suspiciously.
“Some of the stock Grandfather John left for me,” Eric answered.
“What else is in the contract?” Desmond asked, his tone becoming angry.
Eric sighed deeply. “Before Sookie, I figured that the best I could hope for was to be the CEO at NP, and—to be truthful—it’s a job that I want to do and would likely love if Appius would leave me alone to do it. Several things are required of me in order for me to become and stay CEO, however. First—as I said—I will have to submit a yearly report to Appius and keep the company growing. Another thing is that I must allow Appius to buy all my NP stock when I step down as CEO. A third condition is that I had to agree to forfeit any inheritance of NP stock from Appius’s estate—not that I ever expected to get anything from him anyway. A fourth condition is that I must be married by the time I’m 35.”
“A marriage,” the lawyer stated. “You said something about Sookie fulfilling the requirements now. I take it that she didn’t before?”
“No—she didn’t,” Eric answered with sadness in his tone.
“And if you aren’t married by 35?” Desmond asked.
“Then Appius will choose for me. He has indicated that his choice will be Freyda de Castro or my stepsister, Nora.” Eric sighed. “Before I met Sookie, I honestly didn’t believe in love—at least not for me. And I figured that an arranged marriage would do just as well as anything else.”
“I have heard that you are engaged to Isabel Edgington,” Desmond said cautiously, not wanting to upset Sookie.
“We had made an arrangement.” Eric sighed as Sookie unconsciously squeezed his hand a little tighter. He returned the gesture, trying to comfort her. “I have already contacted Isabel, and she knows that I’m not going through with it. And she knows why.”
“What of Russell? I believe that he was excited about the prospect of having you as a son-in-law,” Desmond said warily.
“Russell’s a good man—and a reasonable one. I hope that when Isabel and I explain the situation, he will understand,” Eric sighed.
Niall spoke up. “He will—especially if Isabel held no false expectations about your relationship.”
“She didn’t,” Eric confirmed.
“Can you tell me anything more about the contract?” Desmond asked.
“It can be broken only on my 35th birthday. Either Appius or myself could break it, but there are repercussions. I will lose my trust fund and my remaining NP stock. My grandmother will also lose her pension and her home. And my division of NP will be dismantled; plus, my team will be fired. And there are other penalties too—though those are not spelled out in the contract.” Eric sighed. “Suffice it to say, Appius has accumulated evidence—most of it false—that could hurt most of the people I love.
“What if the contract is broken before you are 35? Or after?” Desmond asked.
“A ten billion dollar fine,” Eric said shaking his head. “Of course, there’s no way I could afford that.”
“And if it’s not paid?” Desmond asked.
“The contract states that if it’s not paid, the person who broke the contract can be brought up on charges of theft. The contract serves as evidence, and the guilty party must not contest the maximum prison sentence.”
“Do you intend to break the contract?” the lawyer asked.
Eric shrugged. “I don’t know. Sookie and I can now marry according to the contract’s stipulations, so—theoretically—I could take over as planned without facing Appius’s wrath. But my father will not like seeing me happy.” He unconsciously placed his free hand onto Sookie’s belly. “I cannot protect the world from Appius, but I’m going to fight my damnedest to protect the two people that matter the most to me within it. And I’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal—whether that involves breaking the contract or not!”
Sookie sniffled a little at Eric’s proclamation.
“When Sookie and I first got together, I imagined that I could give her up, but last September, I realized that I couldn’t do that,” Eric continued. “Still—we decided to hide our relationship for as long as we could so that things would be,” he paused, “easier for everyone concerned in the time remaining until my thirty-fifth birthday—when I did plan to break the contract.” He sighed. “Isabel and Amelia Broadway, Copley Carmichael’s daughter, helped me to maintain the illusion that I was going along with the idea of getting married to someone other than Sookie before I turned 35, but Appius found out about Sookie last January. After that, Sookie and I decided that since Appius knew anyway, there was no longer any need to hide, and we were planning to officially come out as a couple at the NP party last January.”
“Was that where the blackmail came in?” Desmond asked perceptively.
“Yes. I told Appius that I would be marrying Sookie and that I would be breaking the contract on my 35th birthday. He just laughed at me. Of course, he threatened to fire everyone on my team at NP—as well as Pam since she’d helped me.” Eric sighed. “But he didn’t stop there. He had used Franklin Mott to hire someone to make it look like my counterpart in a deal with a Chinese publishing house and I were guilty of stealing profits. He threatened Guo Li and his team and made it clear that he had evidence that would ensure that I would go to prison. He also informed me that my grandmother’s property in Sweden was actually a part of the trust fund, so if I broke the contract, he would kick her out of the home she loves. To that, he added threats that I would never again see my siblings. He also told me that he’d hired a ghost writer to help Sookie’s mother turn Sookie’s life story into something out of a tabloid.” Eric pulled Sookie closer to him. “He also threatened Sookie’s freedom.”
“How?” Niall asked with a growl, not having heard this part of the story before.
“At the NP party two Januaries ago, I spoke to Sookie for the first time,” Eric reported. “We—uh—connected and were getting ready to leave when Sookie ‘overheard’ de Castro and Madden scheming.”
“With her ability,” Niall said.
“Ability?” Desmond asked.
Sookie sighed. “It’s a long story, but I can lip-read.”
“Oh?” Desmond asked with interest.
Seeing that Sookie was obviously beginning to tire and because the topic of Sookie’s lip-reading could be saved for another time, Eric went on without responding to Desmond’s curiosity. “The first night we spoke, Sookie informed me that there were spies at NP. Appius decided that he wanted to keep the matter quiet. De Castro had also bought up a substantial amount of NP stock, and Appius used the situation to get his hands on it, though he bought it in Sophie-Anne’s and Andre’s names. The spies were let go and a scandal was avoided. However, Appius apparently tucked the evidence of the spying away for a rainy day.”
“He has threatened to implicate Sookie with that evidence—hasn’t he?” Niall seethed.
“Yes,” Eric confirmed. “But if that happens now, I’m going to take the blame for any wrongdoing.”
Sookie shook her head. “I wouldn’t let you do that.”
Eric gently placed his hand over their child, and the couple shared a look but no words.
After a few moments, Sookie seemed to accede to something Eric had been silently begging for and she nodded as he bent down to kiss her forehead.
Eric looked back at the two elderly gentlemen and sighed. “Appius has also threatened Pam’s freedom as well as other people I care about.” He sighed. “I don’t know how to fight Appius,” he added with a touch of defeat in his voice. “I never have. I have tried thinking one step ahead of him—employing countermeasures that will block the threats I know are coming, but at every turn, he seems to have the upper hand.”
Eric looked back at Sookie and then smiled when Johan began kicking. “Before Sookie and Johan, I never had much to fight for. Maybe the key to defeating Appius is knowing that I no longer have a choice. I have to win.”
Desmond studied the young family before him, his choice solidifying in his heart and then his head. “Eric,” he said, “I know how you can defeat Appius.”
Eric, Sookie, and Niall quickly turned their eyes to the lawyer.
“You know something that I can use against him,” Eric stated. “It’s why you’ve been looking at me with regret ever since you got here today.”
“Yes,” Desmond confirmed, “And I’m about to break the most important vow I made when I became an attorney—as well as a promise to one of the best friends I have ever had.”
“Desmond?” Niall asked in question.
The attorney sighed but kept his eyes on Eric. “When your grandfather John came to me with the changes to his Will, he told me that he knew without a shadow of a doubt that you were Appius’s son—his biological son.”
“What?” Eric asked incredulously.
Desmond sighed. “John was able to get a hair sample of yours from Margaret, and he had DNA testing done. It showed with certainty that you and he were related.”
“He didn’t tell Appius?” Eric asked.
Desmond sighed. “He was going to. By then, the cancer was spreading rapidly. In fact, John’s last trip out of his own home was to speak with Appius. I drove him to Appius’s house. It was during your winter break. Do you remember seeing us?”
Eric nodded. “Yes. I didn’t even know that Grandfather John was sick until then. He talked to me for a while before Appius got home from work.” Eric closed his eyes and smiled a little. “He asked me about school and the things I liked to do. It was nice, but I . . . .” He stopped midsentence and opened his eyes, but only to look down at the floor.
“But your father came home and asked to see you for a moment,” Mr. Cataliades said, remembering the day clearly.
“Yes,” Eric confirmed.
“I heard what he said to you,” Desmond said stiffly. “The office door was left cracked, and I stood outside of it and listened.” He sighed. “And then I told your grandfather what Appius had said.”
There was silence in the room for a moment as Eric lifted his head to look at Desmond.
“After he heard what Appius told you,” the lawyer relayed, “John decided not to tell his son about your true paternity. He decided that Appius didn’t deserve to know that you were his son. He decided that you were better off without him.”
“What did Appius say to you that night?” Niall asked Eric, the emotion thick in his voice.
“I can’t,” Eric responded, his voice thick and his eyes closing tightly.
Desmond spoke for him. “Appius told Eric that his grandfather’s illness had been brought on by John’s disappointment in him. He said that Eric was the true cancer. He said that Stella had died because of him. He said Eric was why his other grandfather had died of cancer too. He said that he was afraid of Eric infecting everyone in their family. He told him that he wished he’d never been born.”
Sookie buried her face into Eric’s chest and cried for a moment as Eric soothed her.
“Shhh,” he comforted. “It’s okay, min sol.”
“Goddamned bastard,” Niall cursed under his breath.
Desmond sighed. “That night, John realized that Appius was so lost in his hate that nothing would have eased his venom against Eric. That night, he changed his Will and added a codicil.”
“A codicil?” Eric asked.
“Yes,” Desmond confirmed. “As you know, John held onto the majority of NP until he died. He thought about passing everything he had to you, but he knew that would enrage Appius even more. John also posited that even if Appius eventually discovered that you were his biological son, he would prevent you from taking over NP. Knowing that he’d failed to protect you during his life and feeling the weight of that on his shoulders, John took steps to protect you after his death.”
“How?” came Sookie’s voice.
“First, he wanted to make sure that Eric had his own holdings, independent of the trust fund, which he guessed that Appius would withhold. That’s why he made sure that you had more stock than the other children,” Desmond said directly to Eric. “And that was why he left you pretty much every cent that he had left in his personal portfolio. The majority of his stock was still passed to Appius; however, there were certain conditions in the codicil.”
“Conditions?” Niall asked.
“John had spoken with Godric and knew of Eric’s aptitude for business. Not foreseeing the problems it would bring, John wanted to ensure that his grandson was brought into the family business. So there were directives set up in the codicil, which Appius would have to follow in order to keep the stock that John had left to him.”
“Directives?” Eric asked.
Desmond nodded and looked at Eric with regret. “First, Appius must step down as CEO of NP before he is sixty years old and allow you to take that role. After that, you cannot be removed from the position—until you choose to retire. And upon his death, Appius’s remaining NP stock was to be split evenly between all of his children. If any of those conditions were not met, all of the stock originally given to Appius would be forfeited to you immediately, which would give you controlling interest in NP.”
“So if Eric did back out of the contract . . . ,” Niall began.
“From what I understand, if he did that on his thirty-fifth birthday, Eric would still end up with every bit of stock Appius still owns,” Desmond completed. He shook his head. “Appius has done a lot throughout the years to try to get out of the conditions of John’s Will and codicil. Since the language of the codicil indicates your name as Eric Northman and your relationship to John as ‘grandson,’ Appius wasn’t worried at first—just angry. I suppose that he figured the DNA test would nullify the codicil. John knew better. Next, Appius seemed to hope that taking the company public would annul the terms of the codicil. Officially, he owned only ten percent of the company outright before John died. John split 23% among his grandchildren and gave his remaining 67% to Appius as he’d always promised. That left Appius with 77% total. Of course, to be publically traded, no one individual could hold more than 30% of the company’s stock, and at least 45% of the stock had to be available for trade, so Appius initially sold the bulk of his 77%.
Desmond continued, “He kept his original 10% and 20% of what his father had given him. And he sold the other 47%. However, John foresaw that Appius might try to transfer or sell his stock to avoid the codicil’s provisions, so there’s a clause in the codicil that says that in the event that Appius has sold his stock so that it is under the 67% he initially inherited, he must give you all he has and pay you the current market value of the rest—unless you are made CEO, that is.”
There was silence as Eric and Sookie processed what Desmond had said.
“So all I have to do is to not become CEO, and Appius will have to give me all his stock plus money—so that it all adds up to 67% of NP’s worth?” Eric asked.
“Yes,” Desmond confirmed, “so—you see—you have the power here. Even if Appius gave away every bit of stock he had, he’d have to pay you so much money that it would drain him dry. And if he tried to put all his property into others’ names, you could sue him for evasion, and he would likely be arrested.” Desmond sighed, “However, it seems that Appius is sneakier than I gave him credit for being.”
“The terms of the contract,” Eric sighed. “I inadvertently agreed to extra provisions for my being CEO.”
“Yes,” Desmond agreed. “Your contract with Appius sets up a level of competency that you will have to meet in order to stay ‘acting’ CEO, and since you have already agreed to those stipulations, it would be difficult to argue around them in court. The same holds true for your giving up the right to inherit any stock from Appius upon his death.”
“Why didn’t Appius just have me sign away my right to becoming CEO too?” Eric asked. “I would have done it in order to get out of his hold.”
“That was one thing Appius could not do. It was expressly against the codicil’s rules.”
“The conditions of your contract also set up a tenure for you—one which you have agreed to, so it would be difficult to fight against that as well,” Desmond said.
“And I have no decision-making power to determine who takes over after me,” Eric sighed. “Appius saw me as a placeholder, a necessary evil.”
“Fool,” Niall said angrily, his fists balled.
Desmond sighed. “John was also a fool in his way. He was an optimist to the end, hoping that Appius would come around, accept you, and love you whether you were his biological son or not. On his death bed, he wrote his son a long letter to that effect, but I witnessed Appius tear it up after reading it. And in his foolishness, John made the codicil secret. Only Grace, your father, and I were to know of it. John thought it would hurt you if you knew that the only reason Appius accepted you into the company was because he literally had no choice but to do so.”
Desmond shook his head. “But please do not think too poorly of John. He was very proud of you and felt extremely guilty that he’d not done more to help you. He knew that you would do well at NP; he sensed it in you. You had the perfect combination of your father’s business savvy and your mother’s vision and ethics.” He sighed. “They were a perfect couple in so many ways, Eric. Everyone who knew them could see that. And you were the best parts of them in one body.”
Everyone was silent for a few moments until Sookie’s stomach growled. Eric glanced at the clock and noticed that it was well after 2:00 p.m., and they’d not had lunch yet.
“Desmond,” he said to the lawyer, “thank you for telling me all this.”
“In light of everything, I know it’s what John would have wanted,” Desmond replied. “I’m just sorry that I didn’t tell you before. John was trying to do his best for you, even if he did go about it in an imperfect way. And I was trying to keep my word to a friend.”
Eric smiled sadly. “I know. And one day when I give my son the trains that Grandfather John gave to me, I’m going to tell him what a generous man my grandfather was. But for now, I’m going to feed my son by feeding his mother.”
A/N: Hello all—I did some major revising to this last minute and I really hope I caught all the typos. Fingers crossed. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. A lot of you thought—a long time ago—that Desmond would be the source of the information about the codicil. Good guessing! As you can see, Eric finally has the upper hand. He can marry Sookie freely! And he can just break the contract at age 35 and let the chips fall. Appius will have to make him CEO-or Eric could just refuse and take all the money and the stock. The question is: how will Eric use this information? And what will the snake do when it’s cornered?
Thanks for all the comments about the last chapter! Y’all are awesome!
I’ll be moving to Uncharted starting Thursday (tomorrow and Wednesday’s workdays are too hectic for any fun). But I’ll catch you in about a week (or a bit more) w/ more of this story.