Chapter 38: Week 10 - The Meeting
Friday morning arrives. Pippa and Sebastian are due at the lawyer's office at 9 o'clock to meet with Mr Payne who will tell them whether they have succeeded in meeting the terms of the will. This is the moment they have been looking forward to ever since they were expelled from their parents' house and forced into a life of poverty and deprivation. Pippa takes the day off work. For today, City Hall can get along without her. She has more important business to attend to.
Sebastian: Are you ready?
Pippa: I'm ready.
Sebastian: You're sure?
Pippa: Absolutely sure. You?
Sebastian: Oh, yes. Let's go.
They make their way downtown and enter the building that houses the Payne and Fears Law Office.
Mr Payne beams at them as they walk into the familiar office. He says: Welcome, welcome, children! It's good to see you.
Mr Payne waits until Pippa and Sebastian are seated, then says: I think we should start this meeting by reviewing the terms of your father's will. You were charged with making a living, reaching the top of your careers, taking in orphans and giving them a good start in life, donating to charity, and achieving your LTW. Let's see - Sebastian, you're a five-star chef, and I understand your key lime pie is a favourite at political fundraisers. Pippa, congratulations on becoming leader of the free world. I understand there were a number of write-in votes for you at the recent Canadian election even though you missed the deadline for getting your name on the ballot. Never mind, next time.
Mr Payne continues: Thanks to you, ten orphans have been given a very good start in life. They've all had enough happiness points to buy Dirt Defiant and Steel Bladder, and several of them had other rewards as well. You both completed your LTW, and a number of charities have sent me letters expressing their appreciation for your generous support. In short, children, you've done very well. Your parents would be proud of you.
Sebastian: I wish we could have done all this before Mother and Father died.
Pippa: Yes, it's sad that we never got to prove ourselves to them.
Mr Payne: Your parents always knew you were capable of it, you know. They had faith in you. You just needed a push in the right direction. One thing I'm wondering - do you think you've learned anything over the last 10 weeks?
Sebastian: Oh, yes. I've learned that money means a lot more when you've worked to earn it. And there's a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you've earned something, not just had it handed to you. I felt really proud when I got my first promotion. I got that promotion because I deserved it, not because of who my father was.
Pippa, to Mr Payne: That day when I was complaining about how horrible everything was in our house, and you asked me if that included Debbie and Graeme - you made me look at myself, and what I saw made me feel ashamed for the first time in my life. I suddenly knew that the most horrible thing in that house wasn't the cheap furnishings - it was me. That was when I started to realize that pretty, expensive things weren't what mattered - what matters is the people you love.
Sebastian: Yes, you helped us a lot, even though we didn't always realize it at the time.
Pippa: We both owe you our thanks.
Mr Payne: Not bad for an old Payne-in-the-Neck, eh?
Sebastian: You knew that we called you that?
Mr Payne laughs: Oh, don't worry - I've been called worse. Now, I think you'll be pleased at how well the estate has been doing. It's increased in value by quite a lot over the last 10 weeks, you know. The weekly rents have really added up, and the money tree plantation in Twinbrook has been doing very well. The canning factory in Riverview has a new product line that's proving to be very popular, particularly the Flame Fruit Jelly, which is really a hot item. The current value of the estate is - let's see - $57,384,028. And, of course, Mr Skills has been taking very good care of the mansion. He assures me it's ready for you to move back in any time. There are some papers to sign -
Sebastian interrupts: We don't want it!