Hello beautiful people!! May is turning into a very busy month, but I haven’t forgotten about you!! No snippet from Castaway 3 this weekend, but I do have something else for you. There’s so much history about the Hamiltons in my head I could write an entire encyclopedia based on them alone!!
For now, I give you yet another small snippet into their history.
If it had been a week earlier, Jeremiah would have been on maneuvers and could have had a valid reason to skip his father’s funeral.
Even from the grave, Rufus Hamilton still played the lives of his family like a symphony.
“Ah, the prodigal son returns.”
Jeremiah ignored his brother’ comment, keeping his position against the back wall as the current CEO entered the small office with his entourage. Lucas was dressed in an expensive suit befitting his title and seemed quite at home taking the chair nearest the desk. He studied Jeremiah before adding, “We missed you at father’s reception.”
It was difficult to get a rise out of someone who didn’t care. Jeremiah knew Lucas meant nothing by his comment. Both of Rufus Hamilton’s sons hated their father, even now after his death. Being the newly minted head of Hamilton Industries however meant that Lucas had to keep up certain appearances.
Jeremiah was free of such responsibities, and thanks his lucky stars every day for that freedom.
“It’s been a long time, brother,” Lucas mused, smoothing down the suit jacket absently. “I forget the last time we were all together.”
Jeremiah didn’t. He remembered with vivid clarity the last time he’d seen his father. Alive, at least. The Hamilton family patriarch had been livid when he’d discovered his youngest son had enlisted in the Army. Jeremiah had avoided any contact with his famiy for nearly two years, until he’d joined the Rangers. They’d required him to tie up loose ends which included wills and personal affairs.
Unfortunately, it also meant returning home, and having his last encounter with his father.
*”I have no use for you anymore. You’re already ruined.”*
How strange that some things stuck with you forever. Jeremiah couldn’t even remember what they’d been arguing about, and yet that phrase stayed with him. They were the final parting shot by the old man, and the last words Rufus ever said to Jeremiah. While he’d brushed off the words at the time, believing that they meant nothing, they stuck to Jeremiah’s soul like a brand. *You’re ruined.*
His lips thinned. A psychiatrist would probably have a field day with that one.
“So sorry I’m late. Oh, hello darlings.”
Jeremiah didn’t even bother to greet his mother as Georgia sashayed into the room. She was elegantly coifed in black chiffon with a veiled hat, making the grieving process look positively elegant. Despite her words, she ignored both her sons, and neither acknowledged her entrance. A few older members of Lucas’ entourage expressed their condolences; Georgia preened and pouted at the attention.
Beside her, Lucas lips compressed into a thin line. He looked bored, staring idly at his fingernails and picking lint from his pants. Jeremiah had grown up with the other man and could see the nervous tension emenating from his brother. Familial duty hadn’t brought him to this room any more than it brought Jeremiah. An empire was at stake: Rufus Hamilton had been worth billions, and that money had to go somewhere.
“Thank you everyone for coming.” The lawyer closed the doors to his office and returned to his desk, flipping out papers. “I’ll be brief and concise, and will answer any questions you may have after the reading is done.”
He held up a small manila envelope. “First, I would like to declare, as per my late client’s wishes, that I have three signed affidavits from psychiatric professionals proclaiming that Rufus Hamilton was indeed of sound mind when creating this will. Apparently, he feared it would be necessary.”
Jeremiah snorted as the lawyer began reading. Rufus never feared anything, he merely calculated all possibilities to maintain the outcome he wanted. The man had always been a master manipulator; it didn’t surprise Jeremiah that this continued beyond the grave.
“To my son Jeremiah…”
Jeremiah’s head snapped around at the sound of his name. He honestly hasn’t expected to hear his name called, given his father’s obvious contempt. The lawyer did a quick scan of the room and cleared his throat before continuing. “To my son Jeremiah Hamilton, I bequeath all shares and holdings of Hamilton Industries Corporation.”
A collective gasp came from around the room. The lawyer continued in the stunned silence that followed. “Pursuant to this, Jeremiah Hamilton must take over as action CEO immediately. If this condition is not met, then all holdings, institutions, and businesses are to be liquidated…”
At that point, Jeremiah tuned out. He stood there, stunned, as several people surrounded him. They were asking questions but nothing got through the fog surrounding Jeremiah’s mind.
“What about me?”
The strident tones of Georgia Hamilton had the lawyer looking through paperwork on his desk. “Ah,” he said, brandishing a sheet. “Apparently you had a signed prenuptial agreement which released any entitlement to future holdings…”
An outraged shriek filled the small room, but Georgia’s protests were drowned out by the myriad of statements from the men surrounding Jeremiah. Phrases like “Thousands of jobs lost” and “Billions of dollars at stake” were being tossed around. Jeremiah idly noted that the fancy suits clashed with his military BDU’s. That thought was almost amusing.
As if a giant eraser had fallen into his life, Jeremiah watched helplessly as the future he’d planned was wiped away in an instant. For the first time in his life, he’d found a purpose; the military had given him the stability and family he’d always craved. The decision had already been made for him to re-enlist; he was to sign the paperwork immediately following his return from New York. What had been a way to rebel against his father, slip free of the chains, had blossomed into so much more.
That life he’d wanted for himself, gone in the blink of an eye.
Off to the side, Lucas sat alone in the same seat, staring straight ahead. The men who had only moments before stood around him had abandoned the man in favor of the new scion, flocking to Jeremiah and all talking at once. Between their questions and wheedling tones, combined with his mother’s shrill protestations as to her own lack of inheritance, Jeremiah found it difficult to even think. Lucas’ face was partially turned away, so Jeremiah couldn’t make out his expression, but there was a stillness there that he’d never associated with his normally frenetic brother. Finally, unnoticed by everyone in the room except Jeremiah, Lucas stood and quietly left the room.
Well played, father, Jeremiah thought bitterly, watching as the last vestiges of his dream flowed away. Well played…