Yesterday's Giant

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1) - Twenty years later

Submitted: September 09, 2019

Reads: 5

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Submitted: September 09, 2019

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Twenty years later

 

Ralph Ogden lived up to the letter of his agreement with Lily. He dropped Cory off at the cabin every morning and picked him up every night, always addressing her with respect as Mrs. Hunter. The payroll checks for both Johnny and Lily arrived every month like clockwork.

People all over town were constantly remarking on the positive changes in Ralph’s life. He had stopped drinking, becoming a fervent supporter of the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. He joined every charity in town, offering hours of personal time in addition to money.

He coached the local kid’s baseball team and sat on the hospital building fund committee as Chairman. He even committed the Green Mountain Sawmill Company in support of the environmentalist movement against the cutting of old-growth redwood timber.

Ralph was particularly proud of the way his only son Cory had grown up. Over the twenty years, Lily had done a fine job of raising him. Ralph knew that Cory looked on Lily as a substitute mom. Ralph was very excited because Cory was due home today. Cory had been attending an exclusive boarding school in England, rarely making it home over the past four years.

Ralph drove to the San Francisco Airport in a daze, thinking about the return of his son and the things they would do together. He was hoping to talk Cory into taking the helm at the Company. It seemed like ages as he paced back and forth, anxiously awaiting Cory's arrival.

His heart filled with pride when he saw his boy walking through the exit gates. At twenty-three years of age, Cory made quite an appearance. He was over six feet tall, slimly built with fair curly hair and a brilliant smile. He hugged his dad then the two had an animated conversation, all the way back to Davenport.

After dinner that evening, Cory said, “I think I’ll run up and say a quick hello to Mom Hunter. I haven’t seen any of the Hunter family for ages.”

Ralph handed over the car keys, telling Cory to drive safely and have a good time. When Cory showed up at the door unannounced, he created a shock wave of excitement in the Hunter family. Johnny shook his hand and pounded him on the back. David did the same.

Lily hugged him tightly, but Cory was staring intently over Lily’s shoulder. His total attention centered on Tammy. She had been away on a school trip the last time he was in town, so he hadn’t seen her since she was a skinny little teenager.

Now she was a bombshell. At almost twenty, Tammy was most definitely all woman. Her beautiful, creamy complexion, was highlighted by her long curly fair hair. Her eyes were extraordinary in their color and depth. She was a stunning creature, and her radiating self- confidence showed that she knew it. She came over to Cory with a half-smile, gently extending her hand in greeting. It took all of Cory’s restraint to keep from planting a robust kiss on those smiling lips.

David, like most of the young men in town, was working at the sawmill. He had known Cory all his life and took great delight in filling him in on all the latest town gossip. "The biggest shock around this burg, Cory, is the incredible change in your old man. He's gone from being hated to becoming the most popular guy in town. Nobody knows what happened to make him change and, frankly, no one cares. The results tell the story.”

With Cory back in Davenport for good, the visits increased and gradually Cory and Tammy started to get closer. It was inevitable at some point that he would start a serious courtship. Lily was in a panic. Tammy might be Cory's half-sister, or she was not. David might be Cory's half-brother, or he was not. Lily's head spun with all the potential problems on the horizon. She decided to do the unthinkable.

Ralph Ogden was stunned when Lily showed up at his house. He hadn’t exchanged more than a simple greeting with her in over twenty years. She was clearly in a panic when she entered the house. Ralph poured her a glass of cold water and insisted that she sit down. “Now tell me what’s gone wrong, Mrs. Hunter?”

Lily started crying. The held back dam of emotion broke. “Ralph, I have confirmed test results. Either David is your son or Tammy is your daughter. But I don’t know which one is true.” She explained how she had purposely not identified the DNA samples.

Ralph shook his head in disbelief until Lily explained the concept of superfecundation, twins by different fathers. The news shook Ralph, “What can I do, Lily? This is all my fault.”

Lily was firm in her resolve, “Ralph, you must somehow persuade Cory to stop seeing Tammy as a potential life partner. There is at least a 50% chance she could be his sister.” Ralph promised to do everything in his power to help.

That night in bed, Ralph reflected on the monstrous circumstances his one moment of madness had caused so many innocent people. Despite his good works and other efforts at redemption, Ralph could not forgive himself completely. The guilt still gnawed at him every day, without fail.

But despite the guilt, he did feel a small pang of perverse pleasure in the thought that he had another secret son or daughter. He resolved to talk to his son as soon as Cory came back from his fishing trip to Canada. In the meantime, Ralph decided that he needed to talk to Dennis Underwood, his lawyer.

The next morning, Ralph headed over to the legal offices of Underwood & Scully for his 10:00 a.m. appointment. Dennis Underwood, the senior partner, poured two cups of coffee before asking Ralph what he wanted to discuss. Ralph replied, “Denny, I think I need a new will, and I need it fast.”

Underwood jokingly said, “I don’t want to turn away any business, Ralph, but as far as I know your current will is perfectly adequate.”

Ralph asked for assurances that any discussion would be kept strictly confidential. When the lawyer nodded his agreement, Ralph began to tell him the whole story, holding nothing back. Underwood stared at Ralph for a moment, “Yes, Ralph, you certainly do need a new will. We can do the changes right now so you can sign it in front of our witnesses.”

Ralph went to bed that night confident that he was doing the right thing. Cory was due back from his fishing trip the next day. Ralph was determined to sit him down and tell him the whole sordid story. He was sure the act of telling Cory the truth might finally rid him of the overwhelming sense of guilt. He just hoped his son would forgive him.

Unfortunately, Ralph never had the opportunity to find out. Sometime in the night, Doctor Porter's dire predictions came true, and Ralph died from a massive heart attack. He was all alone when Cory found him cold and still in the morning. Word spread like wildfire through the town. Ralph Ogden, leading citizen and benefactor was gone.

(Continued in chapter six)

 

 

 


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