Lake House

The house sat on a wide dock over the lake. Michael stood leaning against the railing looking out over the water. It was the first time he had been here since his parents had been killed five summers before. The place was going to need some hard work to get the place back into the shape it had been when his parents had summered here. The outside walls were weathered and in desperate need of sanding and resurfacing. He was looking forward to it. 

The water was still as glass as he watched the clouds float across the sky. A voice interrupted his thoughts. “See you made it. Good to see you out here, Michael.” The woman said, coming around the side of the house on the deck. 

A smile lit Michael’s face as he said, “hey sis. I figured it was about time to. I know you aren’t able to do the repairs on this place.” He looked at the weathered surface of the outside walls. 

“Yeah, sorry about that. It gets a little hard to keep up with it now.” She pushed her wheelchair closer to the railing and poked him in the side with her finger. 

“Where do you want me to start?” He asked. 

She looked around. “You want me to answer that honestly?”

He nodded having a feeling he knew just what she was going to tell him. 

“How about we start with making this dock a bit safer and more accessible? Some of those boards are warped,” she said.

Michael ruffled her hair with affection. “Be done by the end of the day. You going to make me lunch?”

“Always. You want the usual or something special?” She asked.

He laughed, moving away from the railing headed for the small shed tucked into the trees on the shore of the lake. “The usual is fine. As long as you can bring me out a cup of coffee when you can.” He didn’t pay attention to her as he walked down the dock. His family had always kept the tools to repair the place on dry land. It seemed the best way to do it.

As he reached the shed, he pulled the old keyring out of his pocket and unlocked the master lock hanging on the door. The door creaked as he pulled it open. “Damn that’s loud.” He laughed at the sound.

He went into the room, grabbed some of the boards and a hammer. On this way out, he made sure the door was blocked open by one of the little bricks always left nearby. Walking down the dock, he thumped a foot on each board as he moved. Checking for anything rotting or loose. It would only take a couple of hours to replace the few boards that needed repair. 

Just as he was finished with the third board, he heard the door open. “Coffee’s ready.” She called from the doorway. 

He stood and walked over to her. She handed him the cup and wheeled out onto the deck. “I’ve only gotten three of the boards replaced. Have about five or six more.” 

“Thanks, Mike. You want to stay the weekend here?” She asked, moving across to the railing again. She sat looking out over the water.

“I would love to, but I have to meet with the lawyers this evening,” he said. 

“What’s the topic?” She asked.

He laughed, “he wants to talk about the company. Something about time to step up and lead the family company.”

She looked back at him as he went back to working on the boards. “We knew we couldn’t get away from it forever. What do you want to do about the company?” She asked.

“If I had my way, I would cut it into pieces and sell it off. I still think it’s part of the reason mom and dad wouldn’t have gotten killed,” he said.

“The lawyer won’t like that.” 

“Him I’m not worried about. What do you think? What do you want me to do with the company?” He asked.

She thought for a long moment, sitting there looking out over the water where they had played at children. “After everything that’s happened, the only thing I can say is I will support any choice you make in this. I can’t tell you to sell it and I can’t tell you not to. As the oldest, it’s up to you.” She told him. 

“Thanks.” He pounded on the next board. “So you know, I’m going to cut it up and sell it. I want nothing to do with it,” he said.

“Fair enough.” Her voice caught. “I don’t think you are going to get to wait for that chat. I would know that ugly Mercedes anywhere.” She pointed toward the drive as he looked at her. “Your lawyer is here.”

Michael stood, moving the tools out of the way. He looked at the car while a man climbed out of it. “Hello Michael, Amy.” He said with a nod as he got closer. Focusing on Michael, he continued. “I know we had a meeting scheduled for later today, but I needed to move it up. Can we talk?”

Michael sighed. “Of course. Do we need to go inside or can we talk here?” 

The lawyer glanced from him to his sister and back before answering. “Here is fine. This involves both of you.” He hesitated at the end of the dock.

Michael forced the smile from his lips. “It involves the company, right? The fact we are out of time and have to take a place at the top.” He said.

“That was supposed to be the topic, yes. However, the board has an offer for you.” he paused. “They want to offer you a way out. Since you haven’t wanted to step up in the five years since your parents were killed,” he said.

Before Michael could answer, Amy spoke up. “What’s their offer?” 

The lawyer blinked. He hadn’t expected her to be the one to answer him. He regained control of his thoughts. “They want to buy you out.” He said simply. “Two million and stock options.”

Michael and Amy exchanged a glance. He gave her a nod and spoke to the lawyer. “No.”

The lawyer gave a nod. “That’s about the answer I expected. So are you going to take your place at the head of the company?” He asked.

A smile touched Michael’s lips. “Nope, as it is my company, I plan on cutting it up and selling it off piece by piece. It’s an option buried in the small print of the company charter. The board can’t stop me.” He said.

The lawyer’s face paled, and Michael knew he was going to be making the right choice. His grandfather’s company would be no more, and then he could focus on finding out what had happened to his parents. The future was looking bright.

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