Peeling myself out of the chair, I walk upstairs and step in the shower, but no amount of cover up can cover the blackness under my eyes or their puffiness. I slide into my black jeans that had fit me tight at one point but now are a little baggy. I pair it with a white V-neck sweater and grab my black jacket off the hanger. I slide into my black heels and throw my hair in a bun on the top of my head.
Grabbing my purse, I make my way over to the lawyer’s office. Stepping in, I smile at the receptionist and give her my name.
“Mr. Feldman is ready for you.” She escorts me down the plush beige carpeted hallway to the corner office.
Knocking, she gestures for me to enter. The man sitting behind the desk rises to his feet and walks around the desk, his salt and pepper hair matching his mustache.
“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Schneider.” He extends his hand, and I shake it, just nodding at him. “Please have a seat.” He points at the two chairs facing his desk. I look at the family pictures on the bookshelf behind his desk—the one of him and his wife, the one of him with his children, the one with him and who look like his grandchildren. My eyes go back to his as he puts on his glasses. “I’m so sorry about your loss. Eric was a great man.” I’m almost tempted to roll my eyes or pfft out. Please fucking spare me; if he was such a great man, then why the fuck did he feel the need to live a double life? Why?
I have a box full of questions, but the only one that keeps repeating is why? Why the fuck would you do it? Why would you? And then it was always how could you do this to me? To the girls?
“So,” he starts, “Eric’s will is pretty standard. Everything is left to you, of course.” He turns the papers, explaining his stocks and everything that I am inheriting. “He did have in here that his father is the one in charge of the money to be issued out on behalf of the girls.”
I look at him. “I don’t understand?” I ask him.
“It means that the girls’ money is in a trust, and the executor is Mr. Schneider. So if you would want something for them, it would have to be approved by him.”
“I’m sorry, that is wrong because we both had the same will.” I think back to when we signed the will. We were both in charge of everything if the other one left. “If you can check mine, you will see that it isn’t like this.”
“He amended his copy six months ago,” he says, and my heart beats so hard and fast, I’m pretty sure that he can hear it. The sound must be filling the silence of the room as he looks at me. “It’s really just a precaution to make sure the girls’ needs are met, and that the money is allocated.”
“Unbelievable,” I say under my breath. “Is there anything in there about his other wife?” I ask him with a sneer. “You know, just as a precaution?”
He must be shocked that I would say anything. “I was brought up to speed with the other wife, and I can say that all requests have been denied. Her account is now frozen, and we will be requesting the funds be transferred to you.”
“What?” I whisper. “You’re taking her money?”
“Well”—he closes the folder—“it’s half Eric’s so…”
“No,” I snap. “I don’t want it. Cancel whatever paper you submitted.”
“Well, it seems that Mr. Schneider is in charge of that.” I smile as he says that, and I’m pretty sure I look like I’m losing my mind.
“I don’t give a shit,” I say, getting up. “I don’t want anything that he had with that woman, not one fucking penny. So you can either listen to me, the executor of his will, or I can get another lawyer.” My hands are opening and closing. “I think her finding out that her husband wasn’t her husband and that everything they had was a lie is enough, don’t you think?”
He just leans back in his chair as he looks at me, and I continue, “I mean, she filed for his insurance papers and those got denied, right?”
“They got denied because the case was fraudulent since he used his middle name and the information he used to apply wasn’t truthful,” he tells me, crossing his hands on his desk. “Mrs. Schneider, it is my duty to make sure you are taken care of, you and your children.”
“Stop the paperwork, Mr. Feldman,” I tell him, and he just sighs. “It’s enough, don’t you think?”
“Fine. I will pull the complaint, but it may be too late.” He takes off his glasses.