Jocelyne shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she looked around the tiny waiting room, desperate for anything to entertain her. She hadn’t even brought her cellphone with her – she was in too much of a hurry to make her appointment… Only to find that they were running late.
She’d forgotten all about her meeting when she’d gone to Mark’s place the night before. It wasn’t until her eyes fluttered open the next morning that she remembered.
At least it was an excuse to slip away. She thought.
Facing Mark that morning would have been too uncomfortable. Too painful. Too awkward.
It didn’t mean anything anyway. Jocelyne told herself firmly.
Still, she had no regrets. It had been exactly what she needed. And what Mark needed too. But it was a moment of comfort, nothing more.
Leaving that bed was so much easier than she’d thought it would be. And Jocelyne was able to slip away before he even knew she was gone.
Thankfully her parents did not question her when she returned to their house in the same dress she’d been wearing the night before. That was a welcome surprise. Maybe after all these years, they’d finally accepted her as an adult. Maybe they’d decided to stop judging her for her choices, or treating her like a child.
At least, Jocelyne certainly hoped so.
“Ms. Rosebrook?” A soft female called from the doorway across the room. Jocelyne rose to her feet, nodding.
“I apologize for the delay.” She continued. “Please, step into my office.” The woman gestured toward the door as she spoke.
With a deep breath, Jocelyne accepted her invitation.
She’d been so puzzled when the lawyer’s office had contacted her, before she’d even gotten on her plane to Windenburg. She was in the car on the way to the Willow Creek airport when she’d gotten the call.
They hadn’t given her many details, just that it concerned her brother’s will.
What could he have left me? She wondered. Why would he think of her, of all people?
Today, perhaps she would find out.
“So, Ms. Rosebrook.” The lawyer said, clearing her throat softly. “Let me start by extending my deepest condolences to you.”
“Thank you very much, Ms…?” Jocelyne hesitated, biting her lip uncertainly. She’d already forgotten the name written outside the office door.
“Lange.” She replied. “Roberta Lange.”
“Ms. Lange.” She finished, trying to smile.
“If you don’t mind, I have a few questions for you before we get down to business.”
“O-of course.” She muttered. What could this be about?
“I understand you reside in the United States, Ms. Rosebrook?”
“Yes.” She confirmed. “In Willow Creek.”
“And are you a United States citizen?”
She shook her head. “I have a green card.” She explained. “But my children are full citizens, like their father.” Why is she asking me this?!
“Ah, children?” Somehow, that seemed to grab her attention. “How old are the little ones?”
“Six.” Jocelyne smiled as she spoke. “They’re triplets, actually.”
Her eyes widened.
“I know.” The younger woman laughed. “They’re quite the handful… But their father and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” She assured her.
“And… You aren’t married, is that correct?”
“N-no… Their father and I aren’t together.” Jocelyne’s brow furrowed. She simply couldn’t take this strange questioning anymore. “Ms. Lange, may I ask what all this is about?”
“Of course, of course.” The lawyer cleared her throat softly. “Just addressing the… circumstances of you and your… sons? Daughters?”
Despite her nerves, Jocelyne couldn’t help but laugh. “That always confuses people. Elliot and I thought we were being so clever… Our girls are Charlie, Alex, and Tony.” She explained. “Short for Charlotte, Alexandria, and Antoinette. Cute, right?” A small smile came to her lips. “It was his idea.”
Ms. Lange seemed thoroughly unamused by the girls’ nicknames. “Ms. Rosebrook, as you know, I’ve called you here today to discuss your brother’s will. Though I’m wondering if, given your circumstances, we may wish to reconsider this particular decision…”
“Reconsider what decision?” Jocelyne sighed heavily, her smile fading as her nerves finally got the better of her. “Please, Ms. Lange. What is this about?”
The woman took a deep breath. “Ms. Rosebrook, in the event of his and his wife’s deaths, Lucas has named you guardian of his son, Zayne.”
Ms. Lange cleared her throat once more, reading from the crisp white paper on the desk in front of her. “In the event I am the sole surviving parent of any minor children at the time of my death, I appoint my sister, Jocelyne Rosebrook, to serve as their guardian.”
Jocelyne felt like she couldn’t breathe. “S-so… So you’re telling me… This means…?”
“Should you accept… you will have full legal custody of your nephew. And, for all intents and purposes, he will be…”
And with that (and yes, bending my succession laws a bit 😛 ), I welcome you all to Generation Five: Zayne 🙂