Home hadn't been home for quite some time, because Harry, unlike his brothers, wanted to distance himself from his father, and the family business.
He didn't have to, but inside that home was a stifling effect that cast a pall over any form of resistance, and it despaired him to see his brother's becoming their father.
His father was not a good role model, because of his disregard for the sanctity of marriage, he was less scrupulous when it came to taking on clients, cherry picking the most lucrative, rather than on merit. Admittedly that attitude started with his father, but there had been an opportunity to change it, and he hadn't.
Then there was his mother, though he was not sure the description fitted, because it seemed she was devoid of any form of emotion or attachment, except for Corinne, though that was not as good as a daughter needed.
It might be why Corinne was detached herself.
But he had never considered the whys and wherefores of how the family had got to this point, he had just accepted that rich people were all dysfunctional, that his parents went their own separate ways, and the kids were left to fend for themselves, provided they did as was expected.
If he had a choice, though, he would prefer not to know anything about his parents, other than what they had told them over the years, which was precisely nothing. Admittedly, none of them asked, so perhaps it was on them that they knew so little.
Now, with his father missing, he was about to a deep dive into their history. Already there was one secret about to come out of Pandora's box. His mother’s relationship with Florenz.
There were four of them, back in university days, who called themselves the four musketeers. This revelation was from Felicity who had done the initial groundwork from school papers, and it gave a more lighthearted view of their time at law school, and two of whom were also looking at accounting and business management
What was clear, to both of them, that his mother was, back then, more involved with Florenz than his father, and if the reports were true, his father was the weakest of the four study wise, and now Harry realised he was lucky to pass the bar exam.
And surprised that his mother was the best and smartest of all of them. Harry had questions, some of them she was going to get annoyed with. He was going to need a plan to manage her, which was odd when he said it in his mind that he would have to.
Which, standing outside the front door, Harry was trying to come to grips with. There was a strong possibility she might cancel his commission if he pushed too hard, but that was the only way he was going to get a result
Harry had a key to the door, thought about knocking in the door, but then decided the surprise factor was more important.
Inside the door in the little anteroom, he stopped to listen, but it was silent. He wondered where [name] was, she was usually bustling about making herself look busy, even if she wasn't. His mother could be a pain sometimes, and he had wondered more than once why she stayed.
Out into the formal living area, he noticed several subtle changes in the decor, the old leather chairs had gone, the chairs his father said had been handed down through the generations and were, in his opinion. heirlooms.
My mother considered them junk, and knowing the family she came from, she would know what and what was not an heirloom. Was it tine for a change now my father wasn't here?
"Harry, what are you doing here?"
His mother had come up the passage, possibly from her office. She stopped when she saw him.
"I came on the off chance you would be here. I have a few questions."
She looked at me in that witheringly manner she used on his father when she could tolerate his presence no longer.
"I did not kill him, nor do I know where he is. Nor do I have the time to participate in whatever it is you have planned."
She was dressed to go out, perhaps a lunch with her friends, or an assignation. Now that her husband was not looking over her shoulder, maybe she was taking advantage of his absence.
"Now, if you don't mind," she picked up her handbag from the coffee table and started walking towards the front entrance.
I expected as much.
"We can do this the hard way or the easy way," I said.
Two more steps, then she stopped and turned. "You can discontinue the assignment. Tell me how much I owe you."
Not unexpected either. "Then it's the hard way. You can dismiss me from the case, but that doesn't mean I'll stop, in fact, it'll simply move you to the top of the suspect list, and I'll start by take a deep dive into your life."
"And why would you do that?"
"Well, that meeting you had with Emile Florenz the other morning, where he all but told you that asking me to investigate was a mistake wouldn't have anything to do with it. Or did you get him to remove Dad from the playing board? After all, you've been having an affair with him off and on since university days."
Harry expected vehement denials, or a flash of that temper she had exercised on her hapless husband after being caught out yet again, not the tilted head and wry smile. "My God, you're good. He was right, but I figured at some point you were going to draw one of several conclusions. I hope you're not going to be sanctimonious about what you're labelling an affair."
"To be honest, I don't care what you do, so long as there's no repercussions on Corinne or me. The other boys are clones of their father which is disappointing, so they probably wouldn't understand what was happening anyway."
"If it's any consolation, I would never let that happen, unlike your father who it seems doesn't care. It was not always like that."
She obviously changed her mind, and headed back to one of the lounge chairs, and indicated that Harry should sit in another.
"So, what are your questions?"
© Charles Heath 2020-2021
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