Willow & Aiden After Forty

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Chapter 30

Aiden

“So, tomorrow you get to meet Jake the snake. Do you think her boys are going to ride you in front of him?” Lamar asks me, hardly containing his laughter.

“Wipe the smile off your face, asshole. Everyone will get used to me. I’m not going anywhere.”

He laughs, “I have to admit, man, I didn’t see the step grandpa thing coming so soon.” His bald head shakes.

“I find myself surprised by how quickly this happened sometimes.”

“So, she’s moved in, you having second thoughts already?”

I chuckle, “No second thoughts, but I admit, I’m not used to sharing my bathroom. Her shit is everywhere, and no, she’s hasn’t moved fully in. We still spend the night at her place a few nights a week. I’m putting an end to that after we get through this family gathering in Roseway tomorrow night.”

“I think you’ll get through it, and I don’t feel sorry for your ass. I think I’d put up with shit on the bathroom counter to sleep beside that every night.”

I scowl, “As much as I love the topic of Willow, I want to know what your thoughts are on the Wendle’s Plastic’s case.”

“Now this, I saw coming. I knew you’d never slow down at work. I’ve looked it over I can see why your pretty boy golden face won’t take it. The PR is going to get nasty, but it makes sense why Glassman wants to take it on. I can name two corporations who have done similar shit but have managed to come out on top. There are a few loopholes. From the notes you sent my way, I’d say it’d be good if the Wendle Family would come out now, eat some crow and get in front of this shit. Start throwing cash to every climate and environmental group on a state and national level. It can be won. What’s you’re real problem with the case? It wouldn’t be you or your team, what’s the deal with the firm handling it? I have a feeling it’s something.”

I stare at him for a minute. I’m still debating with myself if I really want to get into this. Hell, I haven’t even scratched the surface with Willow yet. She just knows my dad was mixed up in a Ponzi scheme, and I was ashamed and embarrassed about his choices when it came to business. She went from skeptical about dad to walking out of mom’s after their first meeting, talking about how much my parents loved each other and on and on and on about all the good.

“How many times have you asked me questions about my father?” I raise my brow. Lamar’s shocked face lets me knows he has an inkling where this is going to end up.

“Too many to count. What does your old man’s crooked shit that’s been buried and over for more than a decade have to do with Wendle?”

“Cut the shit, Lamar. The fucking gossip, assumptions, and rumors are true for the most part. You know it, everyone knows it.” I lean across the table and keep my voice low, “The fucking FBI knew it. I’ve spent my fucking adult life trying to reconcile how my father, the man who doted on my mother and boasted about his son and loved us both fiercely, was a crooked piece of shit. My no vote to take the case has more to do with my dad. I’m leaving my practice, I am taking a few years off from the nonstop work but, until this is settled, I can’t get the fuck out of there. You are right about my dad’s shit being buried, and over, I worked my ass off to make it that way. Some of his associates have gone down, but most have died. The companies have all change hands. All but one, one of his favorite companies to use to funnel cash out of the country, is alive and thriving. Well, it was until the EPA started breathing down their backs.”

I sit back in the chair at my table and take a sip of my whiskey. I don’t say anything else, because Lamar is smarter than me. I don’t need to say anything else out about the situation.

There is one other thing I want to let him know and get his thoughts about. “Willow and I had dinner at The Table before Thanksgiving and ran into Glassman dining with Gerald and Gus Wendle. This was after we had met and decided not to take the case. Some words were exchanged. I was fucking pissed that John would go behind our back. I know shit about Gerald and Gus Wendle, and I’d rather take a bullet to the head before I’d ever had my name attached in any way to that fucked up corruption. Three weeks before Christmas that shady fuck, Gus Wendle shows up at Vine’s Bridal, talking up Willow while his sister tries on wedding dresses.”

I down my whiskey and stare Lamar in the eye, “Gus Wendle doesn’t have a sister, Lamar. When I ask you to look over the case, it wasn’t your opinion that it’s winnable. Everything my friend is winnable with enough money thrown at it. No, I want your help finding out every fucking thing Gus Wendle has ever touched. Gerald Wendle and his father are known publicly to be rule followers. Gerald has inside people in government, and he’s been known to be proactive in government procedures. Why on the third generation has that changed? The answer is Gus, of course. He fucked up not only in his stupid decision to dump shit into our river, but he fucked up by calling my attention to him. He involved Willow. He wants to play a game with me. We will. I have no doubt who will win.”

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