Always and Forever: A Serialized Novel (Book #1)

CHAPTER ONE

William Montgomery sipped a dry martini as he watched the great and good of Kingsport society filter into the Bradford Bar at the Kingsport Country Club. He glanced at his watch for the eighth time in as many minutes. Although his fiancé, Dr. Connor Windsor, was running late for lunch, Will knew he had to put on a brave face. Connor had been in surgery since 6AM and saving the life of a teenage girl was more important than lunch at the country club.

“Drinking alone, Billy? You’re turning into our parents.”

Will looked up to see his older brother, Warren Montgomery, standing beside him. “Don’t judge me, Warren,” cracked Will.

“If I can’t tease my little brother, then something’s wrong with the world.” Warren joined Will at the table, waved over the waiter, and ordered a dirty martini. “Where’s Connor?”

“At the hospital, saving a life…” Will took another sip of his ice cold martini. “I hope he isn’t called into surgery on our wedding day. That would be a horrible omen.”

Warren smirked. He loved that Will was worrying about his wedding day, because, for a while, it seemed like Will would never settle down. “Is everything in place for the big day?”

“Almost. The wedding planner is great… All we have to do is show up.”

Warren sighed. “It’ll be fine, Billy. Are you and Connor having an engagement party?”

“We may throw a party our house, but I need to see if Dad’s up for it… He’s been a little — out of sorts — lately.”

“Lately,” snorted Warren.

“Be nice,” said Will. “I really hope you two have stopped fighting.”

“Dad’s…” Warren felt his voice break. He hated talking about their father, Charles Montgomery, IV. For all of Charles’ power, majesty, and mind boggling wealth, Warren knew a different man…a man who was cunning, unkind, and deceitful. That man, his real father, was someone Warren almost hated. “Billy, I don’t want to talk about Dad.” Warren licked his lips. “Especially after…”

Will eyed his brother carefully. “What happened, Warren?”

Warren leaned into Will with a devious smile. “Wouldn’t you like to know…”

“Come on!” pleaded Will.

“Someone may be in town soon…” Warren polished off his dry martini. “Guess.”

Will’s mind spun in a thousand different directions. If it were the person he was thinking about, it would spell disaster for everyone in their family. “Who is it, Warren? — — Is it…?”

Warren narrowed his eyes with grave sincerity. “No, Billy… No…”

“Then who is it?”

“It’s Mom,” replied Warren, softly.

***

Six miles across Kingsport in the well-manicured business district, Dylan Davenport sat at his desk in the executive offices of his family’s company, Davenport Technology, Inc. He removed his glasses, rubbed his eyes, and sighed quietly. No matter how many times he read the report before him, he wanted it to change. Dylan wished it was false. However, an Ivy League graduate like Dylan knew the numbers didn’t lie. In fact, he saw this coming. He knew it was coming, and he had to stop it. He quickly stood up, grabbed the report, and marched out of his cluttered office.

A few moments later, Dylan walked into the plush, luxurious offices of Meredith Jones, the Chief Executive Officer of Davenport Technology. She stopped typing, looked up at Dylan with a tight smile, and said, “Dylan. How nice to see you.”

Dylan hated her. He did everything he could to contain the rage bubbling within his soul. “I’ve read your latest report. It’s a mess.”

Meredith drummed her fingers on her glass desk. “I disagree… It seems…to me that you’re upset about, well, issues that you don’t control anymore.”

“This isn’t an ego trip, Meredith. You’re systematically killing our research and development division.” Dylan pointed to a line in the report. “You can’t cut fifteen percent from R&D and expect us to keep innovating. It’s an impossible task.”

“I’m not cutting the entire budget for your department…just a portion of it.” Meredith took a long sip from a glass of sparkling water. “Everyone must make sacrifices, Dylan.”

“You don’t seem to get the gravity of this decision, Meredith. Research and development is the lifeblood of this company, and — -”

Meredith quickly raised a dismissive hand. “My decision is final. I must take a call with the marketing department.”

Unwilling to start an internal war at the company, Dylan walked out of Meredith’s office. Once inside of his office, Dylan considered what Meredith’s proposal to cut the research and development budget would have on the company. Surely, it was a shortsighted plan. He could see that, but she couldn’t. Dylan knew there was only one way for Meredith to listen…but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to play that card just yet…

***

“Mom? Mom’s coming back to Kingsport?”

Warren nodded. “She called me this morning from her jet. She should be in Kingsport later tonight, Billy.”

Will took in the news for all it was worth. Their mother, Alison Farrell Montgomery, rarely came to Kingsport, which made the news even more surprising. However, Will knew better than to second guess such a wonderful development. “I can’t wait to see her. Is she staying with you, Jill, and the girls?”

Warren bit his lower lip. He had a good relationship with his mother, however, his wife, Jill, was not on the best terms with Alison. Warren didn’t know why, but he stopped trying to figure it out years ago. It was better left as it was. “No… She booked a suite at The Kingsport Inn… She said she’s staying through next week.”

“That’s really great,” smiled Will. “I can’t wait to see her.”

“Yeah… It’ll be good,” stated Warren, firmly.

“Hello, Will. Warren.” Dr. Connor Windsor appeared behind Warren and kissed Will on the forehead. He ordered a Scotch from a passing waiter as he sat in the chair next to Will. “What have I missed?”

“For starters,” began Warren, “our mother is coming home. And… Ugh.” Warren looked down as his mobile phone began to ring with reckless abandon. “It’s my office. Billy, Connor… I’ll see you guys later.”

Connor watched Warren walk away before he turned his attention to Will. “So, your mother is coming back to Kingsport.”

Will sucked on a gin soaked olive. “Yup. My mother is coming back to town… At least that’s what she told Warren.”

“Ah…” Connor eyed Will with great caution.

“What?” said Will.

“Nothing… It’s just… I take it no one’s told your dad…”

CHAPTER TWO

“I take it Warren hasn’t told Charles your mother is coming back to town.” Dr. Connor Windsor cut into his steak as he glanced at Will. “Has he?”

Will Montgomery pushed around the steamed broccoli on his plate. He hated talking about his family to anyone other than his brother. Yes, they had their problems, but they were raised to keep their dirty laundry private — no matter what. “I don’t want to talk about it…”

“Will…”

“I don’t know! Connor, I don’t… Let’s talk about something else.”

“Will, it’s a simple question.” Connor rubbed Will’s hand to soothe his nerves.

“I don’t know if my dad is aware that my mom is coming back to town. I… They have their own issues. She lives in London; he lives here. He dates other women; she pretends not to notice. They… I can’t get in the middle of their private lives. — — But I’m sure they’ll deal with it when they see each other.” Will pushed his lunch to one side and finished his second gin martini.

Connor sighed quietly. He knew better than to push Will, but Will kept so much bottled up inside that sometimes he had to push him to the brink in order to gauge how he really felt about anything. “I’m sorry, Will.”

“It’s fine. I’m not hungry now.”

“Let’s go out for dinner tonight. Chez Julien. My treat.”

Will looked up and gazed into Connor’s soft brown eyes. He knew it was a small gesture and he appreciated that more than anything else. “Thanks, Connor…”

“I love you, Will… And whatever happens with your parents, well, doesn’t concern you or Warren. — — Let your parents handle it. Can you do that, Will?”

“I’ll try, Connor, but they’re so damn stubborn.”

“So, that’s where you get it,” joked Connor.

***

“That’s the last of it.” Stavros Ropolidis kicked the door to his apartment shut as his wife, Barbara, sat on the couch with a huff. “I have to get to the polo club soon.”

“Already?” Barbara Wilkes Ropolidis scrunched up her nose with disgust. “We just got here! You shouldn’t have to work already.”

Stavros pulled on his dark green hunting coat. “I have to check out the horses before I start tomorrow.”

Barbara walked around the hastily packed boxes with defiance in her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to run for the hills. She was perfectly happy in their old town, but Stavros took this better paying job at The Kingsport Polo Club. Yes, she was glad he was making more money, but why did she have to give up her life, too? “Then what I am supposed to do until you get back, Stavros?”

“Well,” he said briskly, “you could look for a job today.”

Barbara scoffed. “I’m tired. I’ll do it later.”

Stavros started for the door as he said, “Look, we need to make this work, Barbara. This job came at the right time.”

“For who?”

“Us,” replied Stavros, firmly. “I just hope…this is the right move for us after everything that’s happened.”

Barbara sat on the couch for an hour after Stavros went to the polo club. Yes, moving to Kingsport was the right thing to do, but would it change what had happened? Barbara didn’t know, but she prayed that the past would simply melt away…

***

Dylan Davenport turned the events from earlier this afternoon over in his head. He couldn’t fathom why the chief executive officer of a technology company would cut the research and development budget. To Dylan, it smacked of arrogance and a disregard for the heart and soul of his family’s company. He rarely ever spoke out against Meredith. Hell, he hadn’t accepted his family’s nomination to be their voice on the board of directors because he saw it was a conflict of interest. Anyway, his sister, Lisa, was much more capable of ensuring the family’s voice was heard in board meetings.

As the minutes ticked by, Dylan couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t entirely right at Davenport Technology. Against his better judgment, he picked up the telephone and dialed a familiar number. A few seconds later, he said, “Hi… It’s me… Can we meet? — — It’s very important…to all of us…”

To read what happens next, click here to read the rest of Always and Forever: Book #1 while it’s free on Amazon.com. Don’t miss a day!

Copyright 2015; Andrew Pemberton-Fowler. All rights reserved.

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