After Dad said grace, we ate silently
for a few minutes; but I could tell they were waiting for me to say
something. I think that Derek knew they would want to know what
had transpired in Masters' office, and that was one of the reasons he
had left, leaving me in a quandary as just what to tell them. "Oh
well," I thought to myself, "it would be better to tell them
Breathing in deeply, I took a long drink from my milk glass and
said tentatively, "I guess you're wondering what happened today."
They both looked at each other; and then Dad, setting his coffee cup in
its saucer, said, "It has been on our minds, Son."
Thoughts of the afternoon flashed through my mind; and, breathing in
deeply, I said, "It wasn't very nice; Derek's father was there, and I
thought Derek was going to panic when he saw him. When Derek
called Mr. Masters this morning, he should have told him or told you
yesterday when you spoke with him. When Mr. Winters
asked him why he hadn't, Mr. Masters told him that, considering the
circumstances, he didn't think it was advisable. Mr. Winters was
really upset, but you would have been proud of Derek. He told Mr.
Winters it was all right, and then he looked at his father and said,
'How are you Dad'?" Derek's father didn't say anything at
when he did respond, it wasn't nice. I won't tell you
exactly what he said, but it made me very
"I hope you kept your temper," Mother said quickly.
"Yes, Ma'am, I did; but, if Mr. Winters hadn't stopped me, I probably
would have said a few things I shouldn't have. Mr. Winters
told Mr. Kingsley that we weren't going to get anywhere if he kept on
talking like he was, insulting Derek and being sarcastic. Mr.
Kingsley didn't pay any attention; and, even after his lawyer said
something to him, he kept on calling Derek names and accusing him of
trying to take his business away from him."
"Who was Kingsley's lawyer," Dad asked when I hesitated.
"His name was Conklin, Charles Conklin I think," I replied.
"I've heard of the firm, Conklin, Watts and McPherson," Dad said,
glancing at me. "Their offices are in the Tradesmen Towers
downtown; they are pretty heavy hitters from what I've been told."
"They might be, Dad; but, you would have been proud of Merrill...err
Mr. Winters." I said quickly correcting myself. "He reminded me
when you get mad."
"If Merrill believes he's right, he won't back down," Dad said,
grinning at my confusion when Mother spoke.
"Were you called any names?"
"Yes, and it made me mad; but I wish you could have seen Derek; he
stood up to his father. He told him that he could call us all the
names he wanted, but it didn't bother him anymore. He told his
father that whatever he said; he couldn't hurt him anymore than he
already had. That made Mr. Kingsley really mad, but Merrill shut him up
real fast. He asked him if he knew what physical assault was and
that if he didn't he should ask Mr. Conklin, who could tell
him. If Derek had told him to, Merrill was going to file charges
against him for the way he had beat Derek. Derek wouldn't
let him do it though. Mr. Conklin explained a few things to Mr.
Kingsley and he got less belligerent, but he was still angry," I said,
breathing heavily from remembering what had been said.
"Well, at least he stopped calling you boys names," Mother said.
"No, Mother, he didn't, not then," I said glancing at Dad. "They
were talking about the way Derek's grandmother had written her will and
the different things she had told the bank she wanted in the trust
funds that she had set up for him and his sister. Mr. Conklin told Mr.
Kingsley that there was not much he could do about it and that trying
contest the way Mrs. Worthington had established the trusts would he
long and expensive. Mr. Kingsley admitted he didn't want to do
that; but he just couldn't understand why Derek and his sister were
against their mother and him, especially after he heard that Derek's
sister had given the bank and Derek a power of attorney to act for
her. I think what really blew his mind was losing control over
Derek's trust fund even though he knew he would lose control when Derek
"Some men don't like losing control, Larry," Dad said
contemplatively, "especially where money is involved."
"Well, Mr. Kingsley didn't like it. Derek tried to
talk with him and explain how he had felt, but his father wouldn't
listen. He seemed to be more worried about what people were going
to say when they found out Derek was a fagg...gay, and that they would
be the laughing stock of their country club. That's when I
got real angry and I probably shouldn't have said anything, but I told
Mr. Kingsley off," I said, the anger building inside of me again from
thinking about it. "Derek didn't deserve to be talked to like
that, Mom, Dad. It made me mad as hell."
"Easy, Larry, don't go getting yourself upset," Dad said, placing his
hand on my arm.
"Well...," Mother said indignantly. "I'm proud of you for
standing up for yourself and Derek."
"I'm sure, from all that Larry has told us, that it didn't make a whole
of difference at that point, Mother," Dad said softly.
"Maybe it didn't, Dad, but I sure felt a lot better afterwards," I said
"No doubt, Son, we all do when we get something off of our
chests. What's going to happen now?"
"I don't really know, Dad, at least not now. I was concerned
about Derek, and I wasn't really listening, but they were
about irregularities in the accounts that needed to be explained.
Merrill was going to have an audit or something like that done if Derek
agrees to it. Derek told Merrill to do what he thought was
necessary as long as his Dad wouldn't go to jail. Can you believe
that? After all his father has put him through, he was still
concerned about him."
"You can't really blame Derek for that, Lawrence," Mother said softly,
showing her compassionate nature. "No son, or daughter for that matter,
wants to see a parent in prison."
"I guess you're right, Mom," I said looking into her soft eyes. "Doing
be kind of hard, and I don't see Derek doing it even after all that
"It takes a lot of guts to do that, Larry. Tell me though, could
Mr. Kingsley have gone to prison?"
"I guess he could have, Dad; at least I think so from hearing what they
were talking about. Mr. Masters said that the trusts, Charlene's
and Derek's, were solvent except that there were some withdrawals
that had been made by Mr. Kingsley from Derek's account that needed to
be to be explained. Mr. Masters
said that the bank was not really involved in it since Mr. Kingsley was
trustee when they were made. I got the impression that he thought
they were excessive and that's why he mentioned it. Merrill told
Mr. Masters' he already knew all about it from the information the bank
had provided, and
that's why he asked Derek if he would agree to an audit of his fathers
personal and company finances. I told you what Derek said about
not wanting his father to go to jail, and
Merrill said that he would take care of everything. He's supposed
to call us when everything is in order. There is a lot of money
involved, Dad; but, I don't believe Derek is worried about that; he
doesn't want his parents hurt," I said wearily, looking at Mom
preparing a covered plate.
Squeezing my arm, Dad said softly, "If Merrill said he would take care
of it, he will. For now though, we don't need to talk about it
anymore. You take that plate your mother is fixing to Derek and
be sure he eats. He was tired when he left here, but he'll be
waiting for you."
"He probably is, Dad, but there is one thing that really bothered
me. Derek's father acted like he hated him for being gay, and I
don't understand how a father could talk to his son like he did to
Derek. You and Mom never talked to me like that or called me
like he did."
"Not many people do understand it, Son," he said quietly, his eyes
radiating love. "The big difference between the Kingsleys and
your mother and I is that we know you, and who you are. They
obviously didn't know Derek."
"And...,they didn't love him like we love you, both of you," Mom
said as she set Derek's plate in front of me. "Make sure he eats.
I know you love him, but make sure he knows it; he needs reassurance
"Yes, Ma'am," I whispered, tears welling up in my eyes.