Once everyone had started to make their way home or back to the office and station in the case of the police Skye looked at Etta, Travis, George, Cormack and obviously his household staff, “While I have everyone’s attention, let’s talk about this series and how to move forward.”
Etta seemed to have cooled of considerably compared to the last few days. “You have our attention sweetheart. I want to apologize as well, with Rory as he was it was rubbing off on all of us.”
Skye looked at her as Travis jumped in. “I agree, we have all been short with you. He was treating you like a slave and it sort of rubbed off on us all. I’m sorry we were wrong.”
Skye looked at them. “We need to move on and forget. Now, if we are still determined to live in Los Angeles where the work is then we need to talk about where we live as things have obviously changed.”
“Because I refuse to live in anything that was ever connect to that monster that tried to murder me. If we were going to live in that man’s house, the answer is no. If that is the case, I would rather not move. I want a property of my own with my own staff, not just Mark and Ryan but staff that report to them and when we’re away and the other staff cover the household.
“As for my home it should have at least two wings so that we have space, with obviously room for staff apartments or suites. That would mean that we all have our own space but still live as a family. Maybe it is from being locked in one room most of my life, but we need loads of bedrooms. I also need a gym so I can work out, with a pool so my exercise regime remains intact.
“If I’m working for your production company my tutor is also hired and lives with us as I know he struggles. I need to keep up with my studies and I’ll be taking the placement test to see exactly where the school system would place me…forgetting what age I am.”
Travis smiled, “I’ll get pops to sell the house in Los Angeles. We never liked it. We’ll move into mum’s old house temporarily until we have our own place… No actually, you own a nice place over there. An estate in fact.”
“Yes you! My grandparents invested in property and other things. When you were born, I told them all about the situation and they tied everything up in a living will. The conditions are so tight that it is completely unbreakable.”
“You tried then.”
Etta shook her head, “No, but we know that Rory and other did.”
“Anyway because of Rory and Marcy and the control over you my grandparents refused to allow their will to be activated until you were free of their influence. Grandmother’s home was not far from Mulholland Drive; with everything that happened she transferred it into your name so that they could not get a hold of it.”
Skye looked shocked, “Mulholland Drive?” He turned and whispered to Cormack, “Do we know about that?”
“Yes captain, it was Countess Zuniga’s house, Slazenger built it for her. Area code 90210.”
Skye laughed, “You are kidding!” Cormack just had a silly grin all over his face trying not to laugh at Skye’s reaction.
Skye turned back to the rest that were in the room. “Sorry dad, carry on.”
“Grandma Doony was old money, so we never asked. We had it valued the other month as Rory wanted to sell it. It’s worth well over $150 million.” Cormack sighed and wrote ‘+30 and more’ on his pad and showed it to Skye who just smiled and nodded that he understood.
Travis was in the zone though and continued. “Being French, she had it designed to copy her family’s grand Chateau in her homeland. It’s a grand gated estate of more than twenty acres, which includes an established vineyard. According the real estate agent, and I quote…” He pulled out an envelope and read a sheet of paper that had pictures on it. “Once you get expansive wrought iron gates you enter into an authentic French village in the center of 90210. Spread over more than twenty acres it is accessed by its own street which has three workers cottages in the style of the French village that you are approaching.”
He looked up and smiled. “This one-of-a-kind estate which once belonged to the famous fashion designer Countess Zuniga herself. Once you get through the gates you have a courtyard of many features; not least are the stables on the far side, the parking for 30 cars and the fountain in the center of it. Connected to the mansion is the world-famous countess equestrian Center which can also be included in the sales.”
He looked at Skye, “We never said that, I do not know where he got it from.”
“Rory, obviously!” Stated Etta.
Travis nodded and continued to read. “The estate and its setting are truly worthy of the best French Chateau. Inside the mansion, the 28,000 + square feet afford every possible amenity from high ceilings to large formal gathering areas to small intimate spaces. A four plus acre backyard offers views to a pool with a pool house, two five-bedroom gatehouses, tennis court and a walking / jogging / riding trail surrounding the estate. In total in the mansion there are over sixty rooms and twenty-five bedrooms. This is truly French splendor at its best.”
Travis looked around, “The agent didn’t include that there are two pools one inside and one outside. The outside has its own pool-house with even more apartments above it.”
“God come on, he must have been exaggerating. Twenty-five bedrooms?” Skye asked.
Travis laughed. “Nope, I counted them when we found about it. Twenty-five fucking bedrooms! Son it’s a palace fit for a ruddy king. It copies much of the old French craftsmanship; marble and gold everywhere. As for exercise space, you have two pools; one inside and one outside, a pool-house with a weight room come fitness center. Which has a sauna and spa included. The mansion is spread over four floors and has its own elevator."
He went silent and then hit he head and said. “Oh, I always forget this bit… On some separate land that you own next to it you also have a mature vineyard. Countess Wines. I was thinking, the gatehouse it talks about could be Nanna’s if she wants her own space. There’s another guesthouse at the side entrance that my parents live in as they’ve been your caretakers since Grandma died in the car accident.”
“I own it? Daddy why did they…?”
“I don’t know.” Travis snapped. “Grandma knew you would need help, so all of what she had is in a trust fund for you. Believe me, no one can get to it other than you. Even Grandpa left you everything he had. How do you think it made us all feel?”
“Hardly my fault! I never fucking asked for any of it and I still don’t understand it. You say all of what she had?”
Travis glared at Skye as he said, “There’s the house in Hollywood and then houses in New York, Boston, Chicago, London, Paris and Rome. You own them all. You also own Countess Zuniga Fashion House and the Countess Hotel Group. All of these she placed a management company to look after for you! They all now report to your attorney, Cormack.”
Skye looked at Adam who had arrived just as Rory was being taken away by the police. “You knew about this?”
“I’m sorry. While they had control, her will would not allow her attorney to mention anything. Cormack and I have worked closely with him since the court case. The instructions of the will of Countess Zuniga were specific, do nothing until you came of age or they were out of the picture.”
“Who was her attorney?”
Cormack smiled, “Kerfriden, a Jew called Yekel Kerfriden. You will meet him one day, do not worry.”
“Is there anything else?” asked Skye.
Travis nodded, but Adam spoke as Cormack looked on. “The fashion house is world famous, you even have your own Countess perfume; complimented by the man’s after shave range, they call The Grand Duke. If you remember Cormack gave you some as a gift when you appeared in court.
“You have seventy-five hotels across America and one hundred and ninety hotels around the rest of the world. It’s estimated your net worth is over eighty-seven billion dollars. Your grandfather invested well and you have a good property portfolio,” Adam finally went quiet.
“That will do for now, but there is more,” stated Cormack.
Travis took over, “If this series takes off, like I think it will, you’ll be a star and in demand. You’ll be seen and the public will love you. We have scheduled filming to start in six months, so I’d like you to appear in a Disney film I’m doing the music for before that. I know the director and he loved you in ‘Forever the Nay’.”
James laughed. “He should do! He fucking well directed him in it.”
Skye was smiling, “Grandpa Jimmy, you?”
Travis nodded. “Yes, your Grandpa Jimmy will be your new director. The film is an animated musical, except your character. As you move on to the series, Petrov as producer and James’ people will complete the film as James moves with you to the series. He’ll bounce between the two until we release the film.”
“So, it’ll be like Roger Rabbit?” Stated Skye.
James was nodding. “Exactly! I love the script and I hope you will. You’ll also feel at home, as we’ve done extensive green-screen work in the past with you.”
“I’m biased as I wrote the music with you in mind. It’s the sequel to Forever,” Travis said hoping it would hook Skye.
Skye thought and went silent, “George I’ve made a decision. I want to continue working. Do I have anything else booked? As Mark will need to know going forward.”
“Good boy! You have a magazine shoot here in New York on Monday and an interview with Ella on Thursday also here in the city for some reason. I know you love being on her program and she loves you. It was hilarious seeing the two of your together when you were on about ‘Forever the Nay’. She wants to talk about the announcement Disney is making this afternoon since you’ve just confirmed you’re the next Disney star. It’s more special as she’s the voice of one of the animated characters this time. If you’re in Los Angeles by then you will fly back on Saturday on your company plane with one of your grandparents as your companion.”
“How does she know about the Disney offer?” Mark asked.
“Worst kept secret in the business mate.” Laughed George, “Good things tend to leak into the public domain. I think Marcy and Rory leaked it some time ago. To make the best use of the week we have you scheduled on Wednesday late afternoon to be the guest star for the Countess Zuniga Fashion Launch, following that on Friday you have photo shoots for their new catalogue. You’re free all Monday PM, Tuesday, and Saturday. Flying home on Sunday.”
Skye thought for a moment. “Can we make sure that we invite Colton and his family to the fashion show, and that they are there for the Ella interview? Having said that don’t contact anyone to let them know we are on our way. I want it to be a surprise for everyone concerned!”
Travis smiled, “You bet! Actually, I’ll be going with you. Monday the shoot is in the morning only, so we’re hitting the shops in the afternoon maybe they can join us. You need to look the part now as you’re a star and I need new duds too. We’ll see all the designer styles… If we need them making, they’ll measure us, then we’ll have them delivered and fitted on Saturday. Saturday evening, we are going to a Broadway show.”
“Nanna, remember the new full-length collarless jacket I had on the last fashion shoot?” he asked his Nanna,
“Yes, I thought it looked just right on you.”
“Well, I’d like some of them. If I have to dress posh, I dress in what I like! All different colors with matching trousers and colorful jazzy vests; you know them things the brits call, waistcoats. I’ve kept pictures of the styles I’ve liked from the different shoots, so we need to make sure we head to those shops. The waistcoats were with a British designer and I fell in love with them.”
“There will be one’s made in the States, as well dear,” smiled Etta.
“I bet there is, but are they as nice?”
“Well we’ll take the pictures with us and have a specialized shopper work with us to get what we need.” Stated Nanna Etta. idiom
“I can send my measurements to him, as I have to keep them up to date for clients so I can send updated measurements before any photo shoot. I’ll also want some nice clothes for Mark and Ryan and the staff that we get so that they always look right for the part.”
“Excellent. Then we will also hit Beverly Hills and some stores there when we get home. I feel like spending on my son.” Stated Travis.
Skye laughed, but then looked serious. “What about my name? I’m not McElory anymore.”
George looked at them and saw the look on Nanna’s face as she said, “Most actors have a stage name, but your father’s real name is Travis McElory. Rory? He was Rory Wimpert until he and Travis got together. You were always Skye McElory, even on your birth certificate.” Skye looked at Etta and realized she must be a Wimpert then and not McElory. “Nanna?”
“Rory was from my first marriage. I remarried Travis’ distant cousin when they were all in college.” Skye shook his head, sad as he knew she was lying to him.
“I will have to look at the family genealogy again.” He looked at Travis, “Dad, you said something just then. Do I have grandparents other than Nanna Etta?”
Etta sighed, “I’m not your Nanna anymore dear; I’m just the mother of the monster that tried to kill you.”
“You are my Nanna and always will be. You’ll be living in our new house. You know how to run a household so can work with Mark to make sure that everything runs smoothly. At least with you Mark knows who is helping him. I know you know about running a big house because I know the one you had when Gramps McElory was alive.”
She smiled, “I’d like that. You know he left everything to you? My house is really yours, but we never said anything while that woman was around.” As he was looking at her, he could tell there was something she wasn’t telling him. His private investigator had found no details about her marriage to his Grandpa so that was still unknown.
Travis smiled, “George get back to the office and pull all the contracts together amending them for the fees and royalties we agreed. If you feel Skye would be happier with more, you a have a twenty-five percent leverage on all areas of his contract. We’ll be moving into the house tomorrow. The plane will leave mid-morning, so we’ll be there early evening time if you need us. I think your idea of getting Skye his own PA is exactly what we need as he’ll be busy once this film is complete.”
Skye looked at him and looked at Mark. “Dad I have Mark and he’s more than sufficient.”
Travis shook his head. “No. Mark is your butler Skye. He and your footman or whatever you want to call them are responsible for knowing what your personal daily needs will be, your personal assistant however, will be in charge of your diary and making appointments for you. He or she will be working with George to allocate your time to the different projects that you work on.” He picked up his IPad and made a note, “That reminds me, we have to contact the bank to organize your finances. Monique at the bank is your personal account manager and will organize everything for you. It will be her that monitors your investments, so that your accounts are always operating at maximum efficiency.”
Skye smiled, “Which bank?”
“SCM, Manhattan of course.”
George smiled, “I’ll get Shane to come over from the office. He’s used to my way of working, I think he’ll be perfect for you Skye.”
Travis nodded and seemed very eager to have Shane around. “Agreed, send him to the house tomorrow afternoon, he needs to move in with me… I mean us! We can convert the antechamber of the small library into their office, so they’ll have the small library if they need more space.”
Skye looked at his father, “We are talking about my house dad. Allocation of rooms will be agreed between Mark and myself when and only when I have gone through the house with my butler. You said there are twenty-five bedrooms, so one could easily be converted into an office. What about my lessons?”
“Schools are out for holidays at the moment in Los Angeles. You’ll start again when we get back there. Your tutor can organize his office while we’re away. Then wherever you work, he’ll be there as normal to make sure you get your lessons,” Etta stated.
* * * * * * * * * *
That afternoon people arrived, to pack everything they were taking. Mark and Ryan worked hard organizing the move as Etta and Travis did not get involved at all. Skye packed his few clothes and then went around the house looking for things that meant something to him. As he was searching the attic, he came across a box full of what he thought were baby items.
The box was strong and well made, out of polished oak. He liked the box and thought it would be good to store his scripts and sheet music in, so he cleared it of what was already in there. As he sat looking at the different things and found and old book titled ‘Coven 397’ at the bottom of the box. It was clearly a ledger of some kind, it had a subtitle that read “Whimperson Adoptions.”
“What the hell?”
As he opened the ledger, he was shocked to find Marcy and Rory listed at the front with bank details and a list of assets which was basically two properties. Attached to the next page was a pocket that held the deeds to the houses. As he looked through the ledger the first page was headed “Marcus Jenkins – New parents Eleanor Cornwell and Theodore Cornwell.”
On the page below the heading it stated, “Marcus Jenkins born xx/xx/xxxx, weight 8Ibs 2oz … Mother Tammy Jenkins raped and unmarried, willingly gave up the baby for adoption. Cornwell contacted … Sale total agreed $175,000”
“Mark, Ryan can you come up here, please?” Skye called down to the bedrooms below.
They soon arrived and with them was Travis. Skye handed Mark the ledger. As he read book both Ryan and Travis were reading over his shoulders. Travis sat down quickly so quickly that he nearly collapsed. “Tammy was in school with us. Someone attacked her one night and raped her. They told us she had her child adopted. Marcy and Rory were her friends. How could they do this? Connie Watson? Is there a page for Connie?”
“She was my cousin. After she was attacked, she killed herself… We never knew why.” Mark looked through the ledger and sure enough there was a page that instead of listing a value stated, ‘Collateral Damage’. They were shocked because they knew in their minds that Travis was involved with it all, but here he was visibly crying now, “Call officer Jake and Adam…”
Mark took out his phone. “We’ll call Cormack. We will not be calling Adam.”
Travis sighed. “If you must.” He was looking at the book now. “It looks like these are still active. These properties are children’s homes run by the Whimperson Foundation.”
Ryan agreed and then said, “I’ll call Judge Radnor, he needs to see this.” Travis’ head shot up and then he nodded.
The Judge Radnor, Cormack, Adam and Jake arrived shortly after and were let in by Mark. Ryan had carried the trunk downstairs, everyone was waiting for them. Skye sat and watched as the Judge and Adam looked through the ledger, he wondered what it all meant. “You’re lucky, did you see the name on page ten?” A visibly shaken Colm asked. Skye shook his head as the Judge turned the book towards him.
“Skye Masterson, mother Paula Masterson. Died in childbirth, homeless girl resident at children’s home. Child placed with Whimperson Homes. Collateral Damage – SLAVE.”
Travis looked shocked, “We never saw Marcy pregnant. They went away for six months. When they came back, they were married and had you. I swear they had a birth certificate with my name on it… God, Paula was in our year; not our school, but one nearby. I always thought she had a family. Colm can you investigate?”
Skye looked at Etta. “You said that they flew you out to the wedding. You said Marcy was heavily pregnant.”
Etta looked at him, “They did and she was, or at least she appeared to be pregnant.”
Travis looked at her, “None of us saw her pregnant.”
Skye just glared at her, “We now know that she couldn’t have been pregnant, don’t we? That also means she was never my mother, so who am I? Exactly who were my mother and father?”
Travis just looked at him… “But I’m your father.”
“You couldn’t have been. I don’t care what the DNA tests show, you just couldn’t because Marcy was never my mother.”
Suddenly they heard a sobbing noise; Adam had a picture in his hands and was in tears. He handed it to Travis. “My baby brother was Quentin Masterson; his wife was Helen. They were married for a year when they had a little girl called Paula. Oh god, she was such a sweet child. She was fourteen when she disappeared.
“We thought someone had kidnapped her; but no demands, no phone call, no ransom. She’s still classed as officially missing. That was seven months before the date of Skye Masterson’s birth in the ledger.” He looked at Travis who looked devastated, “I don’t blame you, you were used just like they used Paula. It means Skye is my great-grandson and we don’t know who his real father is.”
Skye looked at him and then Mark as they had just known that he would twist it around so that somehow, he would be connected to Skye. “Are Quentin and Helen still alive? They’d be my Grandparents?”
“Helen had a complete breakdown when Paula went missing, she killed herself. Quentin never recovered from his loss and was found dead at the wheel of his car soon after she died. I think they both died of broken hearts.”
“I’m sorry Grandpa… Uncle Colm, we need the police to raid these homes and break this adoption racket once and for all. Too many people have suffered. Then since I own the properties, I want them donating to the Trenshaw & Patterson Foundations for homeless children. Lets make sure some good comes of this,” Skye as ever was all business and determined to get it sorted.
Mark looked surprised. “What’s wrong Mark?” asked Skye.
Talking so Adam could not hear them Mark said. “I wasn’t a direct descendant of her, but I am a distant cousin of Mabel Patterson who founded the Trenshaw Foundation for boys, her heir went on to use her legacy to continue her work and created the Patterson Foundations making it so that there are Boys, girls and sibling homes. Basically, we were the American Patterson clan and she was the British Patterson clan.”
Skye looked at him. “That means her ancestor…”
Cormack nodded and smiled, “Quartermaster Quint Patterson no less.”
Adam looked at him, “I think that’s a good move. I need to go… I need to update the police so we can raid these places. Skye, I’ll always be there for you. This changes nothing, except that you are now my heir and can call me Grandpa Adam instead of Judge Adam.”
Skye hugged him. “Judge Adam?” He smiled. “I mean Grandpa, I am so sorry.”
“I know, son. At least you’re MINE and no will ever hurt you again. You were never a slave, they thought to use you but you were bigger than they were from the very beginning. I’m glad Marcy bought the case, as I found my Great Grandson because of it.”
“So am I grandpa. So am I.” Mark looked at Skye knowing that that latest twist was yet another lie.
That’s all for now folks ... Chapter 8 will follow soon. I will continue to try to get at least one chapter posted per week as promised...
Let me have your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org ... All suggestions considered.
I have to say a huge thank you to Nigel Gordon for his guidance and editing that has helped me so much.