Catherine, Mr. Masters' secretary, saw
as we entered the bank. She looked as crisp and efficient as the
first time we had met her; and she stood, smiling, as we approached her
"Good morning," she said, "Mr. Masters is waiting for you. He has
coffee and pastries in his office; but, if there is something else you
would like, I can bring it in?"
"Thanks, Catherine; but I don't think so," Derek said glancing at me
before asking, "Is Mr. Winters inside with Mr. Masters?"
"Yes, he is," she answered, picking up her notepad and walking with us
toward Masters' office door.
I opened the door and held it for her and Derek before following them
in. When Masters saw us entering the office, he stood up behind
this desk, and said, "Good morning, Derek, Larry, you're right on time;
have a seat. I think you know everyone, but maybe you would like
something before we get started. There is coffee on the bar, and
we have left a few slices of apple crumble coffee cake that you might
Merrill Winters had stood up as Masters was speaking, but I didn't
recognize the older man who was sitting next to Derek's father.
They both remained seated; but, when Derek's father turned and looked
us, Derek froze, glancing at me with fear in his eyes, his voice
trembling as he said, "Dad."
"Easy, D," I whispered, looking at Merrill who had turned around to
face Masters, asking angrily, "Didn't you tell Derek that his father
going to be here?"
"I..I'm sorry; but, under the circumstances," he stammered, "I didn't
think it was advisable."
"You didn't think it was advisable," Merrill said glancing at us, with
anger in his eyes. "After what has transpired between them, you didn't
think he should have known?"
A dead silence fell over the room, and the tension that had developed
that brief instant could have been cut with a knife until Derek
suddenly moved toward the group saying, "It's all right, Mr.
Winters. It surprised me for a moment, that's all. How are
Derek's father sat stone faced, not answering until we were about to
sit in the chairs Masters was indicating; whereupon, he said
"I see you had to bring your faggot friend with you. What's the
you afraid to face me without him?"
The sarcasm and menacing tone in his voice hit me like a sledgehammer;
and, feeling a surge of anger wash over me, I started to answer when
"Mr. Kingsley, that kind of talk will get us nowhere," he said
icily. "If you want to resolve the issues we are here
suggest you stop the insults and use a different tone of voice. Any
other feelings you may harbor are totally irrelevant."
The, as yet unknown to me man sitting next to Derek's father leaned
and whispered something in his ear. Kingsley glared at him for a
brief moment before screaming out, "Why in the hell should I, the
little faggot is trying to take what I've spent twenty years of my life
Kingsley's words dripped with venom; and, even though the anger was
still boiling in my gut, Derek sat quietly looking at his father.
Looking at me, he reached for my hand; and, I saw the fire burning in
the deep indigo blue of his eyes. Squeezing my hand, he calmly
said very clearly, "Dad, you can call me and Larry all the names you
want, but there is an old saying, 'sticks and stones may break my
but names can never hurt me'. You went past that point last
week, Dad; and you can't hurt me anymore than you already have."
"Why, you insolent little bastard, I'll...I'll...," he said stammering
searching for even more malicious words when Merrill cut
"Mr. Kingsley," he said icily. "Do you know what physical assault
with the intent to do
bodily harm is? If you don't, I suggest you ask Mr. Conklin, your
attorney. He will advise you that the assault that you
perpetrated against your son amounts to a felony. As
Derek's attorney, if Derek wants to file those charges
against you, I'll be very happy to
file them for him."
Derek's father sat glaring at us, his face crimson with rage.
Masters was sitting at his desk with a look of astonishment on his
and Catherine, sitting behind him, was looking down at her
notepad in an attempt to hide her obvious embarrassment. There
was nothing I could say that would have alleviated
the anguish I was feeling that Derek was again being subjected to the
of his father.
For what seemed an eternity, everyone sat silently
until Mr. Conklin cleared his throat and said, hesitantly, "Morrison,
Mr. Winters is right; your anger with Derek is not appropriate, and we
are not here to discuss your personal or moral differences with each
if what Mr. Winters has charged is true, I am advising you that what he
has said, is correct. You could be in a lot more trouble than
you have told me, and my firm is not prepared to represent you in a
criminal court action."
"But...but, Charlie, he's trying to take my company from me," Derek's
father wailed weakly, his earlier bluster draining away.
Merrill sat down where he had been sitting, next to Conklin; and,
glancing at Derek and me, he gave us a sly wink and waited while
talked with Derek's father.
"I think, Morrison, that you should be more concerned with what Derek
can do than what you believe he is trying to do," Conklin said quietly.
"Charlie; don't you understand, that if he gets his sister and the bank
go along with this nonsense, I could lose everything; and
that would be worse than going to jail," he answered, glaring at
"The bank does not make decisions based on emotions, Mr. Kingsley,"
Masters said calmly as he slid a sheet of paper across his desk.
"Yesterday, your daughter faxed her proxy to us, giving Derek full
control of her shares in any action he and the bank believes are in
their best interests. After Derek was here and we had discussed the
trust, I contacted her as an interested party since we still administer
her trust in conjunction with Derek's. The bank's involvement are the
Mrs. Worthington insisted on when she established the trust. You were
well aware that, when Derek reached eighteen years of age, he legally,
in concert with the bank,
assumed control of the trust and that your control as a trustee
ceased at that time."
Merrill sat back in his chair while Conklin scanned the document that
Masters had slid toward him. When he had finished reading it, he
inhaled deeply, exhaling as he glanced at Derek and then at his
father. "Morrison," he said in a conciliatory tone. "I've gone
over your deceased mother-in-law's last will and testament, and the
trust she set up for your daughter, Charlene, and Derek. I'm
afraid with Charlene's proxy there is very little you can do
unless you want
to protest the contents of Mrs. Worthington's will in what could be a
very expensive and
protracted civil attempt to break the conditions she has set forth.
Frankly Morrison, as your friend and attorney," he said looking quickly
at Merrill as he spoke. "I
don't recommend that you do that, but it's up to you."
Derek's still somewhat defiant father said without looking at him,
don't want that, Charlie; but, I can't believe my son and daughter
would do this to their mother and me."
The only sound was Catherine's pencil furiously scribbling notes on her
pad. A feeling of apprehension had replaced my anger and when I
glanced at Derek, I saw that the indigo blue shade in his eyes had
changed to a soft azure blue. I breathed a little easier until
Merrill started to say something and then stopped when he saw Derek
look at him pleadingly and then at his father.
"Dad," he said softly. " I never wanted it to come to this; all
ever wanted was for you to listen to me when I tried to tell you how I
felt inside of me, but you were always too busy or were away on a
business trip. You had no time for me, Dad; but you had plenty of
hold cocktail parties. After you showed me off and bragged about
that you had planned for my future , it was back to the kitchen with
Henry. Out of sight and out of mind until the next party," Derek
whispered, his voice quivering with emotion.
"Well, what in the hell did you expect," he exclaimed, glaring at Derek
and then at me. "No man wants to hear his
only son is a faggot. Christ, Derek, your mother and I will be the
laughing stock of the country club."
There was an audible intake of breath by everyone at the viciousness of
the outburst. Glancing at Derek, I could see the tears welling up in
his eyes and I turned toward his father. "Wait just a damn
minute, Mr. Kingsley. Derek doesn't deserve it, I don't deserve
it and these people don't deserve hearing you spewing garbage.
You've been all over him ever since we got here and he hasn't said
anything other than you wouldn't listen to him. I was there that
night, remember; I saw you kick him down the stairs, and I heard
everything you called him. It was my Mom and
Dad who nursed the bruises from the beating you gave him, and you're
lucky the police were not called that night. So let's
knock the crap off before I do something I'll regret," I said,
clinching my fists and starting to stand up.
Merrill placed his hand on my arm; and, squeezing, he whispered, "Easy,
Son, we all are a little upset; and I know how you feel, but we don't
"Yes, Sir," I replied, settling back in my chair and breathing heavily
as I tried to regain my composure.
"That's better," Merrill said to me as he leaned over and asked Derek
if he were all right.
"I'm all right, Sir; but, Mr. Winters, I don't want my Dad going to
prison or anything like that," Derek answered softly, looking down at
"I can't blame you for that, Son; but, for now, both of you just relax
and listen. Don't say anything," he said softly as he stood up.
Moving to the end of Masters' desk, Merrill looked at a very flustered
bank vice-president before turning to face Derek's father.
"Mr. Kingsley, I thought you were more sensible than you seem to
but it looks like I was wrong. Derek has tried to tell you how
he has felt, but you have ranted and raved about the morality of what
he has tried to tell you. All he has asked is that you listen,
but you haven't heard a word he has said. He hasn't mentioned
anything about taking the company away from you, but you are obviously
more concerned with that aspect of this meeting than his welfare.
Mr. Masters told you
what the bank's obligations were under the terms of your
will and that the bank was still administering your daughter's trust
in conjunction with Derek's. You don't seem to understand that he
was obligated to advise her of the
change that relieved you of your trusteeship over the trust. You
obviously haven't heard any of that even after Charlie tried to
explain where you stood," Merrill said, sitting down and
breathing in deeply as he gazed at Derek's father, waiting for him to
Derek's father sat quietly, looking at a spot on the wall. Mr.
Conklin, looked at him, turned and started to say something to
but he waved him off saying. "Charlie, I think I know what you are
going to say; but we wanted to hear it from your client. Since he
doesn't seem to have anything to say..., Henry, where does the bank
"If you mean has the bank lost any money, the answer is, no, we
Our internal audit shows Derek's and Charlene's trusts are quite
solvent. Fortunately, the shares of Worthington and Kingsley are only a
small part of the overall worth of the trust," Mr. Masters answered,
looking at Derek's father before adding, "As for any irregularities in
the drawing accounts, I can't say. We disbursed funds as
requested by Mr. Kingsley, but that would be between Derek and Mr.
Kingsley. The bank, however, does have complete records of all
withdrawals that have been made; and copies of them along with a copy
our audit are in the packet we provided to you and Mr. Conklin."
"I know, Henry, I looked them over while we were waiting; and there are
several large withdrawals that need explaining. They seem to be
more than what would normally be required unless they were used for
purposes other than Derek's needs. Would you care to offer an
explanation, Mr. Kingsley; or, if Derek agrees, I can ask for an
audit of your personal and company finances," Merrill said, glancing at
"Mr. Winters, I don't care about the money," he said softly. "Do
what you think is necessary, as long as my Dad doesn't go to
jail. If that should happen, it would break my mother's heart and
I couldn't stand that."
"Okay, Son," Merrill replied, squeezing Derek's shoulder and looking at
"I'll take care of it," he said, breathing in deeply.
I hesitated for a moment, looking at Derek and then I asked,
"Mr. Winters if you don't need us for anything else, I'd like to take
"Go ahead, Larry, take him home. We've done all we can do for
now. I'll call when everything is in order; and, if there is
anything that needs his signature, you can come to my office," he said
turning to Mr. Masters and Mr. Conklin to see if they had any
The afternoon sun was low in the sky
when we stepped outside of the bank. When we got into the truck,
Derek lay across the seat, with his head on my thigh. His body shook
violently as he cried, his chest heaving as he gasped for air.
There was a huge lump in my throat as I felt the anguish he was
and, stroking his hair, I said softly, "Let it all out, D."
It was several minutes before his sobs subsided and he sat up.
HIs soft blue eyes were red rimmed from crying; but he looked at me and
said, "Let's go home.