Matt dropped her off at her apartment at seven o’clock that evening. They spent a wonderful day together and both of them were sorry for it to end. They had become good friends in the last two days.
She spent Sunday recuperating on the couch and late afternoon she ordered her favorite food. Chinese. She started to feel normal again, and it was hard to believe how much her life had changed in just a matter of days. She thought about the new friend she had made and all the fun they had the previous day.
Sarah checked her phone for messages and then switched on the television to watch a movie. She fell asleep on the couch but her relaxing sleep was brought to a halt by her phone ringing next to her head.
” Hi Sarah, I hope I am not disturbing..” It was Matt.
“No, you actually saved me. I fell asleep on the couch and if you hadn’t phoned, I probably wouldn’t have slept a wink tonight.”
“I just wanted to confirm the time for tomorrow. Would it suit you to meet us earlier… say about one o’clock?”
“That would suit me just fine. I was dreading going to the office tomorrow, but you’ve just saved me twice in one day. If I meet you earlier I will definitely not be stuck at the office tomorrow evening.
Matt laughed. They spoke for a few minutes and then hung up.
Sarah totally overslept the next morning and only woke up at nine ‘o clock. She phoned the office to inform them that she would be working from home today. She asked her secretary to forward all her messages to her laptop and to postpone her eleven o’clock meeting. She was all set. She took a quick shower and dressed in a casual pant suit. She was suddenly ravenous.
She decided to stop by the delicatessen on her way to the house and bought some classic French croissants and three cups of coffee.
She devoured the croissants on her way to the house and nearly spilled all three cups of coffee on her when the cab stopped at the house. Matt and Fred were already waiting for her and she was relieved to hand over the coffee to them. She was a few minutes late but it was worth it.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. I had to stop to pick up something on my way here.” Matt smiled at her and took out his handkerchief to wipe the crumbs of her face. “Must have been a good croissant.” Matt said and she blushed.
“Come, you have to meet Fred.” Fred was the total opposite of Matt, but he was equally excited about the house. He spent nearly an hour inside the house and Matt and Sarah waited outside on the porch to discuss the possible outcome.
“This is a stunner! I wish I had the money to put in here. This is going to be a beaut when it is done! I won’t beat around the bush…it’s going to be pricey. If the owners decided to fix the house themselves, the cost might be less but everything seemed to be in a fairly good condition, despite the lack of maintenance over the years. I would estimate the costs of renovations between 350 000 to 500 000 dollars. I could write you up an estimate and have it on your desk first thing in the morning.”
Matt whistled “That is quite a number. I would give my front teeth for a shot at renovating this house but at that price it’s going to be a bit steep.”
Sarah was already calculating amounts in her head, but she figured she would need more than one and a half million dollars to buy and fix this house.
That is to say IF the heirs decided to sell the house. Perhaps they would want to renovate it before they sell..or perhaps not.. she wondered what the outcome would be but she’d have to run it by them on Wednesday.
Tuesday went by like a flash and before she could even prepare herself it was Wednesday.
At one o’clock Wednesday afternoon Sarah walked into the conference room. Her secretary set up the room with coffee and Danish pastries.
When she walked in, everybody was already there. In front of her sat the four heirs to Rich’s fortune, unaware of the unexpected windfall that was about to blow them away. It was dead quiet in the room and Sarah wished that Rich could be there to meet his children.
The three of them sat there totally unaware of the fortune their father left for them. On her left was Jake, his eldest son and now nearly in his mid fifties. In the middle sat Rich’s daughter Sylvia. She was in her late forties and seemed like life has treated her well. On her right was his youngest son Jeffrey. Ursula sat opposite her and smiled at her nervously when she entered the room.
They all looked attentive as Sarah called the meeting to order. She had all the documents in front of her including the sealed blue envelope that Rich handed her the day before he died.
Out of respect to Rich, Sarah had left the envelope sealed and planned to read it after the will.
” I want to thank you all for coming. It is an honor to meet all of you, and I am saddened by the fact that you never got to know your father. He was a remarkable man. In the years that we worked together I came to admire and respect him a great deal. It is a pity that you never had the opportunity.”
She opened the file and took out the will. She read everything to them and explained the content as she went along. None of them understood the tax implications but Rich made provision for that too. In the end each of his children would get a sum of twelve million dollars. Ursula received a sum of two million dollars which would provide her with security for the rest of her life.
When she finished the will, she told them about the house and the costs involved to fix the house. They all shook their heads and Sarah knew that they were not prepared to spend money and time on the house.
” How on earth did he make all that money? ” Tom the eldest asked. “We were not aware that he was even alive….. When we left with our mother she told us that he would visit often but after a while she told us that he had died.”
“Why did he never contact us? He was our father…if we had known that he was still alive we would’ve….”
Tom was totally overwhelmed and started crying. Jeffrey the youngest got up to comfort his brother and Sylvia joined in.
It was sad to see the lot of them crying and mourning the death of the father they never really knew. Ursula felt out of place and asked if she could be excused.
She hugged Sarah and thanked her for everything. Sarah could see how relieved Ursula was although she knew that Ursula also struggled with the recent loss of their dear friend Rich. She had looked after him for many years and was in some ways even closer to him than any of them was.
When the scene quieted down, they took their respective places again and Sarah continued. She told them about the house and suggested that they all came down to the house the following day to make their final decision. She told them about the costs involved for the reparations and she could almost see the outcome before she finished her sentence.
It’s funny how money could change someone’s mind so suddenly. They all agreed to sell the house without doing any renovations. Because they didn’t live in Chicago, none of them had any real interest in moving there.
Sarah felt sad about the outcome. She really wanted them to see the house but the decision was unanimous. She told them that she had a realtor in mind and she would get the best possible price and split the money three ways. They seemed happy with this decision and told her that they would leave everything up to her. It was like winning the lottery for them.
Before you leave, there is just one more thing. Her secretary handed her the blue envelope.