Previously on Harpers Falls:
- Violet Wheeler Harper died in her sleep.
- Aileen Harper skips out on her funeral to her family's ire.
- Chris and Alex's romance is made family knowledge.
As the autumn leaves fell on the Harper Academy campus, Sheila Wainwright was worried. With her grandmother, Violet Wheeler Harper, having died recently, things were in a state of flux. Pretty soon, her will would be opened and read to the family. All during her classes, word had been spread about the will. Hushed whispers were all over the halls; the cafeteria and other buildings.
Sheila had a funny feeling that the gossip was spread by her malicious cousin, Aileen Harper, and her equally scheming friend, Hannah Anderson. The headmaster, Aileen and Sheila's grandfather Richard, had ordered that nothing be said about the death of Mrs. Harper, but that didn't stop Aileen from blabbing all the family's secrets.
Dylan Harper, Aileen's older brother and Sheila's closest cousin (they were considered to be as close as twins), was just as disgusted with his sister's tactics, and tried to quell the speculation, but to no avail. Thoroughly worried, she went to her cousin, Rosemary, a fellow student at Harper.
"Rose, I don't know what to make of this," Sheila said, "Word has been leaked about Grandmother's will, and I know Aileen spread it!"
Rosemary nodded sagely, "I know she did too, Sheila" she said, "and that conniving Hannah did her share of rumor mongering too! We have to stop them both, Aileen isn't the only Harper on this campus, you know."
Sheila nodded, "But how are we going to do that?" she asked, "Aileen is formidable, and her and Hannah's words are gospel to this school. People are scared of her and Hannah. They will hurt someone with no remorse."
Rosemary admitted that was what scared her too, "However," she said to her cousin, "she can't stop us."
Meanwhile, at the Harper mansion, the lawyer, Mr. Sawyer, had all the family come in. Sheila and Rosemary had arrived after their last class; Dylan had arrived as well, the resourceful Dylan worked at a new-age bookstore in Boston, and his boss had allowed him time off for his Grandmother's death. Sheila's brother, Christopher and his lover/roommate Alex Warren, had rode with Dylan as they arrived. Michael, his wife, Shelby, his sisters Erica and Michelle and their twin brothers, Aaron and Jason had also arrived. Michelle's husband, Joe, was working at his office in Providence; and Violet's brother, Jeff and sister Patricia had also attended the reading. Samantha was attending via internet link-up. Sheila smiled at Dylan and the two sat together.
Aileen sauntered in with a smug look, as she thought she would be having all of her grandmother's shares of the Harper Industries stock, which would have allowed her to leverage Dylan, her parents and Rosemary out of their shares and she would be the biggest stockholder of the family business. However, she was in for a severe shock.
The will was read, Dylan, Rosemary, Sheila and Christopher would be receiving their trust funds, which their great grandfather had set for all of them when he died. Aileen began to sweat when she hadn't heard her name mentioned for a trust fund, but she dismissed it as she thought she would get the precious stocks.
It turned out that her trust fund, which she thought she would get, was merged into Dylan's trust fund, apparently Violet knew what kind of conniving her granddaughter was capable of. The stocks, to Aileen's horror, was given to both Dylan and Rosemary! Aileen didn't get anything! When the will was read, she was furious!
"This is an outrage!" she screamed, "Dylan is nothing but an airhead, and Rosemary can't make a good decision if her life depended on it! I am the only one level-headed enough to be able to deal with the family business!!"
Mr. Sawyer glared at Aileen, "Your grandmother made this will a few weeks before her death!" he said firmly, "and she was in sound mind, and there is a paragraph in her will that applies to you, missy!"
Aileen glared at him, "What did that old bat write about me?" she spat furiously, which earned her a vicious glare from both Dylan and Rosemary.
"Aileen Harper, the granddaughter I can't deal with," the lawyer read, "I have given my stocks to your brother and sister, as they understand the meaning of the word compassion. Sure, Dylan is free-spirited and often has his head in the clouds, but he is a sweet and good natured soul and takes being a Harper seriously; and Rosemary is a soft-spoken girl, who is sweet and kind as well. Aileen, you would have used these stocks to grasp power, which was not how your grandfather and I would have wanted it. The Harpers stand for integrity, and you, my dear girl, have nothing of the kind. Hence, you lost your trust fund, which goes to Dylan; and the stocks which goes to him and Rosemary."
Aileen screamed, and grabbed a vase from the mantel, she threw it at the lawyer with all her might, "You creep!" she screamed in rage, "You cretins will all pay for this! Nobody spurns Aileen Harper and gets away with it!"
She then stormed out of the mansion. The fools! They're all fools! They can't shut me out of the family business like that! she sulked, That wretched family of mine will pay for humiliating me like this! Not even my stupid parents stood up for me! They don't love me! They never did!
Meanwhile, Dylan felt bad, "Aileen looked like she was about to kill everyone here," he said worriedly, "maybe I shouldn't take possession..."
"Nonsense, honey," Shelby said to her son, "your grandmother was right in willing the trust fund and the stocks to you and Rosemary."
"Dyl," his father said kindly, "I know you are worried about Aileen and what she could do to us, but you don't have to worry, son. Aileen has to learn she can't always get her way."
"Dad's right, Dyl," Rosemary said sensibly, "Grandmother knew we can handle the business, and if you want me to vote your share of the stocks, I am fine with it. You don't have to worry about it. And your trust fund, you use it as you see fit. Grandmother said it was to be used as you see fit. Maybe you can buy part of the bookstore you work at."
Dylan brightened at that. However, his cell phone rang. It was Marcus, his boss in Boston, he was in a panic, "The store has burned to the ground, nobody knows what happened."
However, Dylan had a sinking feeling that he knew who had done this. That explained Aileen's quick departure after her explosive tirade. She vowed to get even, and he thought that this was part of that revenge.
"Marcus, was my sister, Aileen Harper, there a bit ago?" Dylan asked sensibly.
"Yeah, she was here, screaming rage, and dumping something around the trash cans, I was lucky to have gotten out of there with my life," Marcus said, "I smelled something funny, like gasoline, but I wasn't sure of the smell. But I ran out when it started to really stink."
"That is all I needed to know," Dylan said, "I need to go here, I have to talk with my parents. Call me later, all right?"
Dylan pulled his parents aside. "Mom, Dad," Dylan said, "I have a sinking feeling about something. Marcus, my boss, called me, and his business is gone, burned to the ground. And I have a sinking feeling that Aileen had a hand in this. I don't dare confront her, as she is mad at me as it is. May I ask you to talk to her?"
Michael nodded, "Of course, Dylan," he said softly, "I'll talk to your sister. Both your mother and I will. Are you all right?"
Dylan nodded, "Yeah," he said softly, "I'm just worried about what she could do to me, for telling my suspicions."
Shelby took over, "Honey," she said to her son, "I know you love your sister, and I am sure you are just as disgusted with her behavior as we are, but you don't have to worry about what she does, all right? Let Dad and I handle her, ok? Now, you and Rosemary go and enjoy yourselves. We'll talk to Aileen when she dares show up."
Dylan smiled, and he, Rosemary, Christopher, Alex and Sheila went to Boston to the theater.
Aileen sneered, I got my edge on those losers! she gloated, Burning down dear brother's place of employment! I wish I could slash dear sister Rosemary's tires on her car, but she would have my head! She may be a wimp, but she can stand up to me. Dylan is more of a wimp than she is, and I can manipulate him!
However, before she exited her room, her mother caught her. "Going somewhere with that knife, Aileen?" she said acidly.
Aileen looked sheepish, "This knife?" she said innocently, looking at the stiletto knife she prized.
"And where do you think you're going with that knife?" she asked coldly.
"None of your business!" Aileen spat, "How dare you make me a fool at Grandmother's reading!"
"If anyone had made a fool of anyone," Shelby yelled, "It was you making the fool of! Dylan and Rosemary got what they did, because they deserved it! And you got nothing because of all the heartache and misery you've caused to everyone in the family."
"Speaking of, where are the dear little siblings at?" Aileen said sarcastically.
"They are away from you, that is all that matters," Shelby said acidly, "and you leave them alone!"
"Oh, why should I?" Aileen said, "and you get out of my way, woman, or I will cut your throat!"
"Enough, Aileen," Michael stormed in, hearing the threat against his wife, "you apologize to your mother!"
Aileen stood and said nothing. "I order you to apologize to her!" raged Michael.
"Shut up!" Aileen said nastily, "I don't have to apologize to anyone."
"Then you get out of this house!" Michael said coldly, "and don't ever come back."
"I will not!" Aileen said coldly, "You can't make me move!"
"Oh yes, he can," chimed in Dylan. He, along with Christopher, Sheila, Rosemary and Alex were standing in solidarity with Michael and Shelby.
"I never thought you hated me as much as you do," Dylan said, his calm and assured voice giving his family comfort, "I knew you and I never got along, but I never thought you would stoop so far as to arson to get what you want! My boss lost his business, which he had spent a good deal of his life making, and thanks to Grandfather, he will be able to rebuild; and I am going to help him with that. Mom and Dad are right to throw you out, and I agree with that decision! Get out, Aileen! And I would watch out, dear sister," he warned her, "I am going to call the police in Boston and have you arrested for burning my place of employment down!"
"I came to pick up some overnight clothes, we're staying overnight," Rosemary said, "Dylan had his bag, and Chris and Alex will stay in their dorm."
"That's fine, honey," Michael said, as if Aileen wasn't even there. This infuriated Aileen all the more. Aileen marched out of the hallway and slammed her door as hard as she could. The lot of them will pay for this humiliation! Bet on it!
- What will happen next?
- Will Dylan help Marcus get his business back in order?
- What will come of Chris and Alex's relationship?
- What new trouble will Aileen cause and will she be arrested for arson?
- What will the fall out be from the reading of Violet's will?