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    Mark Arbour
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Paternity - 83. Chapter 83

December 14, 2000

 

I walked out of school, expecting to find Tish waiting for me, but instead I saw my dad standing by the big Escalade limo he used when he was being driven around. I secured my bookbag on my shoulder and went running over to him, mentally pausing to wonder if this was just some big tease on his part, and if he’d actually come down here to see JJ. “Hey there!” I said, giving him a big hug.

“Hey,” he said warmly.

“I wasn’t expecting you to be here.”

“I thought I’d come pick you up. I told Tish. I hope that’s OK,” he said, even as he led me into the big limo.

“That’s awesome!” I said enthusiastically. “It’s good to see you.”

“How was your day?” he asked me, making small talk.

“Fine,” I said, even as I watched him carefully. “What’s wrong?”

“You haven’t talked to Stef or Wade lately?” he asked.

“No,” I said nervously. “Should I have?”

“Robbie came up to Escorial on Tuesday night, and dinner wasn’t very fun for him,” he said. “Everyone pretty much ganged up on him for being an asshole.”

I shrugged. “He has been an asshole. He deserves to be called on it.”

“Well, he was. By everyone. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it, but it was kind of overkill.”

“What did they say?” I asked curiously.

“Jack ripped into him for uninviting you to JJ’s celebration,” he said.

“Uncle Jack did that?” I asked, totally shocked. My uncle rarely got that vocal about things.

“He did,” Dad confirmed. “It’s a hot button issue with him. He works really hard not to play favorites with Marie and John, and now Ella.”

“Does he have a favorite?” I asked.

“It’s hard to say, and that was his point. It was a pretty clear mirror he made us all look in, when he told us that even if you have favorites, the kids aren’t supposed to know it.”

“Kids know it anyway,” I said fatalistically.

“There’s a difference between liking one child more, and wanting to spend more time with that child, than loving a child more,” he said firmly.

I thought about that for a bit. “I can see that. With us, it’s always been pretty obvious who liked who better. At least until recently, when you couldn’t stand me.” I grinned at him to try and cheer him up. It didn’t work. “I guess Robbie isn’t even close to even liking me now, and he has no problem making sure that I know that.”

“He’s just really focused on trying to help JJ through this tough time,” he said, trying to stick up for Robbie.

“So he has to hate me to do that?” That’s what I didn’t get. Why did helping JJ have to mean hurting me?

“That seems to be the point that he doesn’t understand,” Dad said sadly. “Even Wade’s grandmother called him on that.”

“Nana jumped into the fight?” I asked, surprised.

“She’s pretty outspoken,” he said with a smile, making me chuckle. We got to the hotel and I led him through the gardens to my room.

“Nice digs,” he said. I led him into the living area and we had a seat.

“Yep. I should send Robbie the bill for it, since he and JJ drove me out of the house.”

“You probably should,” he said, but he was deep in thought, and not really paying attention to my comment.

“What about you? Are you doing alright?” I asked, worried. But he wasn’t ready to go there yet.

“Stef is absolutely beside himself with anger that Robbie banned you from Anders-Hayes. He’s threatening to vote Robbie out as CEO.”

“Wow,” I said. “It was pretty raw. I figured Pop would at least hear me out. I went there with a bunch of schoolwork, ready to camp out in a corner and wait until he was available. I never thought, not for a minute, that he’d refuse to see me.” I felt the anger and sadness return as I remembered my Monday afternoon.

“I kind of figured he’d try to call you,” Dad said, but it was more of a question.

“Nope,” I said. “I got nothing.” He shook his head sadly.

“Stef is planning to come down here tomorrow, and has demanded a board meeting to discuss the future of Anders-Hayes,” he said. His stress levels were very high.

“How is the company doing?” I asked.

“Very well,” Dad said. “You’ll get to hear about that on Friday, if Stef has his way.”

“What?”

“Stef wants you to come to the board meeting on Friday, and then if you want, you can fly back up to Palo Alto with him for the weekend. He assumed you’d want to do that.”

“He assumed right,” I said. “Why does he want me to go to a board meeting?”

“I have never seen Stef quite as mad as he is right now, with the possible exception of how angry he was at Grand over that nightmare with Brian. He sees Robbie’s actions toward you as a major lapse of judgment, and he takes it as a personal insult.”

“Christ!” I said, frustrated. “This time, it’s not my drama causing this. Shit, I was trying to do the right thing, to mend fences and apologize to him.”

“Maybe that wasn’t the right thing, maybe it was just the easy thing,” he said.

“What do you mean? You told me to try to talk to him.” He was really frustrating me. I’d done what he told me to do, and now he was telling me that it wasn’t the right thing to do?

He sighed. “I did. I asked you to take the first step to make things easier for me.”

“And that was a good enough reason,” I interjected.

“I appreciated that you did that, that you swallowed your pride to try to repair the damage in my relationship,” he said.

“I love you, Dad. It wasn’t that big of a deal,” I said, trying to prop him up.

He turned away from me, and I could see him try to wipe a tear away so I wouldn’t see. “Stef wants you at the meeting to demonstrate that you are a part of the family, and that Robbie can’t simply brush you aside like he’s tried to do, both with the parties, and when you came to see him.”

“Should I go?” I asked.

“I don’t think that you being there will hurt things, and you can sometimes have a stabilizing influence on Stef,” he said, but that wasn’t really an answer.

“Do you want me to go?” I asked directly.

“Yes,” he said.

“Then I’ll go,” I said simply.

“How has your week been?” he asked. He’d ignored the big issue, over how he was doing, and I figured that was because he was trying to keep his emotions under control. He’d come back to it.

“Weird.”

“Weird?” he asked, and seemed relieved to talk about something else.

“I pretty much do my thing,” I told him. “It’s like I’m at this school with all these other kids, but I’m really all by myself.”

“That doesn’t sound like much fun. What about Ryan?”

“We hung out on Tuesday, but it was lame. He didn’t really want to be here, and I was mostly bummed that we weren’t friends like we were before. And I’m not talking about messing around; I’m just talking about being friends. So we smiled and pretended like we had a good time.”

“That’s too bad,” he said sympathetically.

I shrugged. “It’s alright. Makes it easier to leave. I was hanging out with this kid named Alistair. He came over and played video games with me last week. But he’s blown me off lately. I think JJ told him not to hang out with me.”

“What makes you say that?” he asked, and just remembered not to sound too accusatory, as he tried to practice what he preached and tried to keep an open mind about JJ.

“JJ doesn’t say anything to me at school; he just gives me dirty looks. When I talk to Alistair, JJ seems to corner him afterward and it looks like he’s bitching at him. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going on.”

“I’m sorry,” he said sincerely.

“Like I said, it’s no big deal. I’m just marking time. On December 22nd, I’m finished, and I’m out of here. I’m trying to see if I can get done a little early, and I may be able to pull that off.”

“I’m supposed to go to DC on the 21st. Wade’s father is having a big holiday party. I thought I’d go. Good for business.”

“That’s fine,” I said. “Don’t think you have to stick around because of me. I don’t have that much stuff to move up there.” He nodded. It’s not like he’d have to help anyway. The hotel staff would load all my stuff into the limo, the pilots and ground crew would load it into and out of the plane, and the staff at Escorial would get it to my room once I got there. “So are you going to answer my question?”

“Which question?”

“The one where I asked you how you were doing,” I said firmly, letting him know that a clipped answer wasn’t going to work.

“This is really hard on me,” he said, opening up. “I’m watching the man I love make really bad decisions, and I’m dealing with the fact that he’s rejecting me, only in this case, he’s not doing it for another man, he’s doing it for one of my sons.”

“That’s pretty intense,” I said. “Are you still together?”

“We haven’t formally ‘broken up’, but he doesn’t want me around, and I don’t really want to be around him. So I’d say that we’re technically together, even though we’ve drifted pretty far apart.”

“Is he seeing other guys?” I asked. “Are you?”

He looked at me like he was going to give me that parental bullshit about it not being something he wanted to talk about, and then wisely thought better about it. If he didn’t want to talk about it, he should just say so. “I don’t know if he is or not. I’m not.”

“What are you going to do about it?” I asked.

He shrugged. He had ceased to be the high-powered corporate mogul, and now he was just a guy, talking to me. “I’m going to see how things go on Friday. Then I’m going to have to make some pretty hard decisions about what to do, going forward.”

“I won’t be around here, Dad. You don’t have to worry about me after Christmas. You can go back and pretend I’m not even in the picture,” I said plaintively. I so didn’t want to be the cause of their problems.

“Will, this issue between Robbie and me isn’t your fault. It’s no one’s fault. It just is. There’s no reason for blame, or for guilt.” He was really upset. I could tell, since he was talking like he was stoned when he wasn’t. I nodded thoughtfully.

“Did you just fly down here?” I asked, changing the subject. He’d delved deep enough into his psyche, and I could tell he needed to think about something else.

“Yeah, I landed and came straight to the school.”

“What are your plans for tonight?” I asked.

“I figured we’d do dinner and hang out. I assumed you’d have some work to do, and I’ve got some things to go over,” he said.

“You can stay with me if you want,” I offered. “Lots of room.”

He laughed. “You’re certainly not roughing it.”

“Maybe you’ll get luckier with room service than I have,” I teased. He chuckled. We ended up having dinner at the hotel, and then we just hung out in the room with our laptops, doing our work. It was one of the best evenings I’d had in a long time. I was productive, and I wasn’t alone.

       

December 15, 2000

 

I walked out of school, relieved to be done for the week, but dreading the meeting in front of me. I saw the familiar Escalade limo and walked toward it. Jeff got out to greet me.

“How have you been?” he asked.

“Shitty,” I said. “But it’s good to see you.”

“I know,” he said with his cute smile, making me laugh, and doing a lot to cheer me up. He opened the door for me and I hopped in to find my father and Stef sitting there, looking irritated.

“Hey!” I said cheerfully, and gave them both big hugs.

“It is good to see you,” Stef said, trying to be pleasant.

“It’s good to see you too,” I said. “Guess who I slept with last night?”

“There are so many possibilities, I am reluctant to even venture a guess,” Stef teased.

“With him,” I said, gesturing at my dad.

“I think he kicked me at least five times,” Dad grumbled. “He’s a pretty active sleeper.” We’d shared the bed, so we didn’t have to use the fold out couch, and he’d woken me up twice to tell me to quit moving around.

“I’m a wild man in bed,” I joked, cracking Stef up.

“Thank you for agreeing to join us today,” Stef said formally, getting back to the topic at the top of everyone’s mind.

“I figure it will be interesting, and then I can head straight back to the Bay with you,” I said.

“I think you are right on both counts,” Stef said.

The ride to Anders-Hayes was thankfully short, since we were all so tense, despite my efforts to make small talk. I occupied most of my time by changing clothes as we drove there, putting on the suit the tailor had finished, and Stef had brought down with him. When we arrived and got out of the limo, Stef stopped me and straightened out my jacket. “I think that fits you perfectly.”

“It fits great, right now. Give me another couple of weeks and I’ll probably grow out of it,” I said ruefully. This growth spurt I was going through was kind of freaking me out.

“That is what alterations are for,” he said, then led us through the doors. I always wondered how he felt, coming back to this place that held so many memories for him.

Evelyn was waiting to greet us, and looked very nervous. “Good to see you, Brad,” she said, and gave my dad a nice hug. “And good to see you too,” she said to Stef. “You look fabulous!”

“Of course I do,” he said.

“Hello Will,” she said apprehensively.

“He is with me,” Stef said firmly.

“No problem,” she said, and then turned back to me. “I really am sorry about your last visit.”

“It wasn’t your fault,” I told her. “I didn’t blame you at all.” That seemed to make her happier. The guards avoided making eye contact with me as we breezed past them and entered the elevator for the quick ride up to the Board Room, which was adjacent to Robbie’s office.

We walked confidently into the Board Room. Robbie was there, and got really pissed off when he saw me, but after he caught Stef’s mood, his attitude lightened up pretty fast. “Welcome, gentlemen,” he said formally, which sounded ridiculous since he was addressing the man who was presumably his partner, the man who was presumably his father-in-law, and the guy who was presumably one of his sons. “What are you doing here?” he asked me.

“He is here with me,” Stef said.

“Only board members are permitted to attend these meetings,” some guy said. He must have been their lawyer.

Stef handed the man a paper. “Here is a power of attorney, authorizing Will to exercise voting control over half of my stock, which represents 17.5% of the company.” I stared at Stef in shock, wondering what the fuck this power of attorney meant, and what I was supposed to do with it. I decided to keep my mouth shut and just go with the flow, even though I felt like I was a foreigner in a strange land, and didn’t speak their language.

“A minor cannot exercise this power of attorney,” he said officiously.

“I’m not a minor,” I said to him politely. “According to the laws of this State, I am an adult, and can enter into contractual relationships.” That was the language I’d learned to use since I’d gotten emancipated.

“I see,” he said.

“It seems that you people enjoy making a hobby out of harassing my grandson. When you are done amusing yourselves, I would like to get down to business,” Stef said rudely. That certainly got Robbie back on track.

“You requested an update on the company’s performance,” Robbie said. “This year has been a much better year for us than 1999. In fact, it looks to be our best year ever.” He went through a battery of financial statements, and even though I didn’t have any formal training in reading them, I’d been raised around them, and was able to understand most of what he said. He talked about how they’d substantially increased revenues, while maintaining expenses at 1999 levels, which had obviously resulted in much better results. It was hard to know if they were doing well or not, though, with nothing to compare it to. He paused as if waiting for questions, so I obliged him.

“How does this compare to other companies like Anders-Hayes?” I asked impulsively.

Robbie gave me an annoyed look, but only for a brief second. “That’s actually on the next slide,” he said, advancing his PowerPoint presentation. It looked like Anders-Hayes was doing pretty much like the other production companies they competed with. Robbie rambled on about how they were performing, making a big deal out of what seemed like insignificant differences to me.

“So we’re pretty much doing as well as the other companies,” I concluded. I probably should have kept my mouth shut, but if I was going to be here, I might as well make it a learning experience.

“Our performance this year is on a par with our competitors,” Robbie confirmed.

“We have been approached in the past with offers to buy us out,” Stef said. “We have rebuffed those offers. I am questioning whether, with these ROE figures; we would not be wise to welcome them instead.”

“You want to sell the company?” Robbie asked, stunned.

“I think that if we get a good offer, it bears consideration,” Stef said. “I have seen nothing here to convince me we have anything extraordinary that warrants us retaining a privately held, and thus illiquid, investment in this company.”

“While this year has been relatively normal, compared with where we were last year, the differences have been phenomenal,” Robbie objected.

“I am concerned that the same flawed decision-making that left us with a near-disaster in 1999 is still operating at this firm,” Stef said, with considerable animosity. He could have slapped Robbie in the face and gotten less of a reaction. Robbie and the two guys with him were both floored by how adversarial and cold Stef was.

“What about the future?” I asked, to move us beyond that unpleasant statement.

Robbie actually gave me a pleasant look, the first one I’d gotten from him in a long time. “That is where we really have some potential. That’s where we really have an opportunity to shine.” He went through a litany of the projects they had in the mill. He was involved in the Harry Potter movies, and I knew that was a big deal in some circles, so it made sense that project could be a big winner. I wondered if it would do as well as he thought it would. It was kind of cool to hear him talk about all the different projects and it was even cooler to see how animated he got when he did. He was really fired up about the business, and it was clear that this was what consumed him. No wonder we really didn’t see that much of him on a regular basis, and no wonder that he didn’t seem to have much of a handle on what was going on in our lives. I glanced at my dad, and at Stef, and realized they were just as busy as he was. They were grappling with all of this shit that JJ, Mom, and I were throwing in their laps when they already had super-stuffed schedules.

Only after he was done, and he looked out at the dour faces staring back at him, did Robbie’s enthusiasm fade. “The bottom line is that I think that to sell the company now would be to take a considerably lower price than we could get even a year from now.”

“So you are asking us to continue to discount the possibility of a suitor for another year, to more fully realize the results of the plans you have laid out?” Dad asked, the first thing he’d said.

“I think that unless someone was willing to appreciate the potential of the projects we have in the mill, we’d end up selling for much less than we’re worth,” Robbie said, more or less agreeing with Dad.

“I am unconvinced,” Stef said.

“Look Stef,” Robbie said. “You’ve made your point.” His eyes flickered briefly toward me, which was pretty freaky. I didn’t want to be the reason this huge company was sold off, or that all of these employees either lost or kept their jobs. “Give us this year to bring some of these projects along, and to complete our turnaround. Then if you want out, we can either sell, or maybe I can figure out a way to buy you out.”

“You own 35% of the stock. Leveraging a buyout for the other 65% is unrealistic, don’t you think?” Dad asked. He was pissed, and I knew why. Robbie was taking him for granted, taking his support as a given. Dad was explaining that it wasn’t. I could see Robbie reeling from that statement. It was like all the shit people had been throwing at Robbie hadn’t really impacted him. Not Jack, not Dad, not Stef, not Grand; none of them had registered on his radar. But now, faced with the possibility that his company would be sold out from under him, and that the man he relied on as a stalwart partner in this venture may not be there to back him up, he finally seemed to get it.

“Then I’ll have to rely on our results,” Robbie said. “I’m completely confident in them, and I’m comfortable doing that.” He said the words, and he meant them, but he was totally freaking out. I felt sorry for him, but what’s more, I believed him. I thought that he really could deliver on what he said. This was important to him, probably more important than anything else. He’d make this work. Besides, this was a business, and there was no good business reason not to give him the year he wanted.

“It seems to me that the logical thing to do is to give them the year to show better results. If they do, we all win. If they don’t, then this decision will be a whole lot easier next year,” I said. This was such an easy decision, it was all I could do not to look at them all and give them a big teenage “duh”.

“Is there a motion on the table?” the attorney asked.

“I move that we focus on building our company, and that we forestall any talks of selling until this time next year,” Robbie said, formalizing what we discussed. Nothing happened for a bit. “I’ll second that,” the marketing guy said.

“All in favor?” Robbie asked. “I will vote ‘aye’.”

He looked at me, all but telling me to put my vote where my mouth was. “Aye,” I said, unsure if I even got a vote, but I figured that even if I didn’t, he could use the support.

“As that constitutes 52.5% of the voting shares of stock, your 35% of the company plus the 17.5% Will is voting on my behalf, it would appear that we have no choice but to go along with this motion,” Stef said.

“So it would seem,” Dad said, just as severely. Now it was my turn to stagger from the events. Stef had set it up to show Robbie very clearly that he was going to have to do a better job of dealing with me, and by extension, Darius, if he was going to reap the benefits of being a member of our family. He’d told Robbie that if he was going to treat us like shit, and disregard us, he may very well end up without his company.

“There being no further business, I move that we adjourn,” Stef said.

“Second,” my father said. We all voted ‘aye’ to that. The three of us got up, nodded to Robbie and the rest of them, and walked out of the Board Room, and out of the building.

“That was interesting,” I said as we sat back in the limo.

“This much is true,” Stef said. “You comported yourself quite well in there, and asked very good questions.”

“Thanks,” I said, even though I had the feeling that I was nothing more than a pawn in this whole exchange. “Robbie seems really enthusiastic about the direction of the company.”

“He does,” Dad agreed. “I think this time his enthusiasm has a solid foundation. I think they’re doing the right things, and making good decisions.”

“It is refreshing to see that he is not a complete idiot when he is at the office. I was concerned that was not the case,” Stef said.

“And I think it was very nice of you to give him a chance. Even if we weren’t all that graceful about it, it was a vote of confidence,” Dad observed.

“We will see how wise it was a year from now,” Stef said.

“I wonder if he’ll bother to call me now,” I mused. They looked at me, concerned more for my feelings than anything. “It’s not a big deal. I’m fine. I was just wondering.”

“It would be the honorable thing to do,” Dad said.

“And the smart thing,” Stef noted.

“We’ll see,” I concluded. I’d made the first effort, and he’d slapped me down. Now I’d made another effort, backing him up when Stef was ready to fry his ass. If he didn’t respond this time, I’d have to write him off.

“Are you going back to the Bay?” Stef asked my dad.

He didn’t say anything for a bit; he just sat there quietly, even though we both knew he was deep in thought. “I think I will.”

“Then it is most convenient for you that we are going to the airport,” Stef said with a smile.

The three of us boarded the plane and it took off promptly, which wasn’t always a given, what with LA’s crowded air space. Stef and Dad both pulled out things to work on, so I did the same thing, plowing through some studying. We were all pretty focused, so it was almost a surprise when we landed.

“What did you have planned for the weekend?” Dad asked me.

“Dunno,” I said. “I haven’t made any calls yet. Why?”

“Just curious,” he said. “Maybe we can do something tomorrow or Sunday.”

“Sounds great,” I said. It was so awesome to spend time with him. “We should go up to the City.”

“You were just there,” Stef said.

“I was there to shop, not to see the sights,” I said. I didn’t really want to ‘see’ anything anyway. I just liked walking around. San Francisco was such an interesting place, you could just wander around and find cool stuff to see and do.

“Let’s see if we can work that out,” Dad said. We got to Escorial and I was kind of surprised to see Gathan there.

He gave me a big hug, and I playfully squeezed his ass. “Dude, what’s going on?”

“School’s out!” he said triumphantly. “I made it through my first quarter.”

“Congrats! So you going to party and celebrate?”

“Some people are coming up here,” he said with a grin.

“Kick-ass!” A party with a bunch of college boys: How fun would that be?

“Most guys couldn’t get flights out until tomorrow morning, so we were all hanging out in the dorms. Matt and Wade invited us up here instead. Food’s better.”

“No shit,” I agreed. I took my bag and headed down to my room.

I was just about to open my door when a familiar voice said “hey”. I turned, and there was Tony, standing in front of me. I opened my door and motioned him in, then closed and locked it.

“Hey,” I said. That’s all I got out. His lips were on mine as he moaned into my mouth. I was all but tearing my clothes off, even as we were making out. We finally broke off our kiss and then fell onto the bed, with him on top of me. “God, how I missed you,” I said to him in my quiet voice, the one that drove him nuts. “I need you inside me so bad.”

“Oh yeah,” he said in his husky voice. I ignored the fact that he put a condom on, and handed him the lube, which he slathered all over his dick. I felt his hand on my ass, sensuously massaging the lube in, then he was on top of me, and then he was in me.

“Fuck yeah,” I muttered softly. “Spear me with that big fucking cock! That’s it Tony. Fuck my brains out,” I said. He growled, and did just that. I don’t know how long we fucked, but when I came, it was like my whole body exploded. I lay there, limp, even as he was sprawled across me, spasming and panting from his own orgasm. Our bodies were slick from the sweat that had pooled between us, but I didn’t let that bother me, I just wrapped my arms and legs around him, pulling him in even tighter.

Only this time, he pulled away quickly and nervously. It was the same way he’d reacted after we had sex the first few times. “I, uh, gotta go get cleaned up for dinner,” he said nervously.

Internally, I sighed. I thought we’d gotten past this, thought he’d finally gotten comfortable holding me. But, I’d dealt with this before, and I’d deal with it now. “Sure. I’ll see you in the dining room,” I said. He all but jumped off of me and put his clothes on quickly, then snuck out of my room, looking around before he exited. I shook my head, even as I got up and hopped in the shower.

Copyright © 2013 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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I think I would be far more concerned about the intelligence of someone who thought putting a 14 year old on a board was a particularly sane endeavor, than of someone making profitable decisions who's in a family tiff with no bearing on the business. But then, Stef is nothing if not over dramatically petty.

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Great Chapter Mark!

It was good to see Brad and Will having a real conversation. Not surprised that Stef gave will partial control of the stocks to make a point to Robbie. It also sounds like Will is turning into quite the little business man.

I hope Robbie doesn't continue to need a "clue by four" beating to figure out what is going on and how to resolve it.

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The important thing Robbie learned in the board meeting was not that Will was included, but that he could not assume he had Brad's vote. The message was clearly sent and received. While they discussed in the limo on the way to the airport whether Robbie would call Will, the more important question was what was Robbie going to do with his relationship with Brad.

Other's have remarked that Robbie may be in NYC on 9/11 including our tongue-in-cheek author. But will he be missed?

As usual, another compelling chapter.

Thanks for the early posting!

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So - perhaps Robbie's eyes have finally been opened? I don't see him calling Will for a few days. After all it has been mentioned that Robbie needs time to think things through.

 

Tony, Tony, Tony...heavy sigh...

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Even though chapter 82 is still my favorite, the chapter layed out some feelings that were not layed out before. Brad and Robbie's relationshjp is in much worse condition them any of us thought. Some wonder about Stef and his wisdom in this matter. First it needs to be pointed out that Stef is richer than all of the others put together. He started with nothing and became one of the riches people in the world. The idea of giving Will voting control of 17.5 % of Robbie's company is not as dumb as one thinks since Brad and Stef still control 47.5 %. It gave Will the ablity to save Robbie's job. Which is not bad for a 14 yo kid. Thanks Mark for another great chapter.

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I have really appreciated the most recent series of chapters, both from Will and Wade's POV. I feel, however, that this chapter is an especially notable success at showing WIll at his most "developing". There is a bit of self-absorption (with his worry about how he is impacting Brad and Robbie's relationship) mixed with moments of true clarity (where he realizes that the adults in his life are people with outside pursuits aside from him). He also seems to be able to understand the situation with Ryan and Tony (in terms of relationship issues) while only partially grasping his role in the board room scenario (he feels like a pawn without understanding quite why that might be so). It reminds me of what became the major theme of my own teen years: going from knowing I knew everything to understanding I know very little, while trying to constantly bridge the gap between those two extremes. I think that this chapter, more than others, gives us a very realistic portrayal of what it might be like to live in the mind of a teenager. I've often thought that you have a singular ability to convey that reality to the audience through your words. Love him or hate him, Will comes across as any other mature teen that I've met in my life. It's a triumph of subtlety in the midst of fiery times, a marked departure from Chapter 82 (which I also loved)!

 

I share Rjo's concern over the issues between Robbie and Brad. I never really thought that they'd break up back in Millenium, but I really wonder how they'll manage to get through this latest storm. I do hope it works out in the end, though...as much as Robbie usually manages to intensely irritate me, I still feel like he's a good match for Brad. Thanks for all the great writing you do, Mark!

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Everyone has these really long reviews and I feel bad cause I am utterly and completely speechless. Uhm... Wow! Like... What's up with tony?? Besides his dick of course

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On 01/05/2013 01:52 PM, Hermetically Sealed said:
I think I would be far more concerned about the intelligence of someone who thought putting a 14 year old on a board was a particularly sane endeavor, than of someone making profitable decisions who's in a family tiff with no bearing on the business. But then, Stef is nothing if not over dramatically petty.
Stef's points were very valid, both from a business and personal perspective. It doesn't make sense to maintain an illiquid investment unless you expect higher returns. And he was very clear in sending a message to Robbie that you can't shit on other family members. I think that it was Stef at his most masterful, killing two birds with one stone, and grooming his grandson along at the same time.

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On 01/05/2013 02:56 PM, Edward said:
Great Chapter Mark!

It was good to see Brad and Will having a real conversation. Not surprised that Stef gave will partial control of the stocks to make a point to Robbie. It also sounds like Will is turning into quite the little business man.

I hope Robbie doesn't continue to need a "clue by four" beating to figure out what is going on and how to resolve it.

I think that Brad and Will are at a good place. Will has been fighting for control of his own life, and now that he has that, he's much more relaxed.

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On 01/05/2013 03:00 PM, Daddydavek said:
The important thing Robbie learned in the board meeting was not that Will was included, but that he could not assume he had Brad's vote. The message was clearly sent and received. While they discussed in the limo on the way to the airport whether Robbie would call Will, the more important question was what was Robbie going to do with his relationship with Brad.

Other's have remarked that Robbie may be in NYC on 9/11 including our tongue-in-cheek author. But will he be missed?

As usual, another compelling chapter.

Thanks for the early posting!

That had to really piss Brad off, to be taken for granted like that. I'm not sure if Robbie really gets it, but he's probably partially neutered at this point.

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On 01/05/2013 03:06 PM, KevinD said:
So - perhaps Robbie's eyes have finally been opened? I don't see him calling Will for a few days. After all it has been mentioned that Robbie needs time to think things through.

 

Tony, Tony, Tony...heavy sigh...

Robbie is definitely one to think about things that are important, because his impulsive decisions aren't usually the best.

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On 01/05/2013 03:50 PM, rjo said:
Even though chapter 82 is still my favorite, the chapter layed out some feelings that were not layed out before. Brad and Robbie's relationshjp is in much worse condition them any of us thought. Some wonder about Stef and his wisdom in this matter. First it needs to be pointed out that Stef is richer than all of the others put together. He started with nothing and became one of the riches people in the world. The idea of giving Will voting control of 17.5 % of Robbie's company is not as dumb as one thinks since Brad and Stef still control 47.5 %. It gave Will the ablity to save Robbie's job. Which is not bad for a 14 yo kid. Thanks Mark for another great chapter.
You got the point that Stef was making. By giving WIll half his shares to vote, he made Will the kingmaker. Will didn't do anything he wasn't "guided" to do, so there really wasn't some major risk there. Will wouldn't defy Stef in a board meeting. But it clearly laid out Robbie's position, and the risks he was taking by being a douche.

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On 01/05/2013 04:27 PM, samjones1 said:
I have really appreciated the most recent series of chapters, both from Will and Wade's POV. I feel, however, that this chapter is an especially notable success at showing WIll at his most "developing". There is a bit of self-absorption (with his worry about how he is impacting Brad and Robbie's relationship) mixed with moments of true clarity (where he realizes that the adults in his life are people with outside pursuits aside from him). He also seems to be able to understand the situation with Ryan and Tony (in terms of relationship issues) while only partially grasping his role in the board room scenario (he feels like a pawn without understanding quite why that might be so). It reminds me of what became the major theme of my own teen years: going from knowing I knew everything to understanding I know very little, while trying to constantly bridge the gap between those two extremes. I think that this chapter, more than others, gives us a very realistic portrayal of what it might be like to live in the mind of a teenager. I've often thought that you have a singular ability to convey that reality to the audience through your words. Love him or hate him, Will comes across as any other mature teen that I've met in my life. It's a triumph of subtlety in the midst of fiery times, a marked departure from Chapter 82 (which I also loved)!

 

I share Rjo's concern over the issues between Robbie and Brad. I never really thought that they'd break up back in Millenium, but I really wonder how they'll manage to get through this latest storm. I do hope it works out in the end, though...as much as Robbie usually manages to intensely irritate me, I still feel like he's a good match for Brad. Thanks for all the great writing you do, Mark!

Thanks for such an insightful review. And for your kind words.

 

I agree that Robbie and Brad make a good match. Robbie strikes me as a guy who can drive you nuts, but can also be a lot of fun to be around when he's not whining.

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On 01/05/2013 05:28 PM, Sandyraz said:
Everyone has these really long reviews and I feel bad cause I am utterly and completely speechless. Uhm... Wow! Like... What's up with tony?? Besides his dick of course
LOL. Size matters, but not in this case. :-)

 

Tony is probably the easiest person in the story to understand: he's gay, but he doesn't want to be, so he won't admit it.

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Another great chapter, Mark. It also shows a bit of the structural thought you put into choosing the narrators, as the impact of this story, from Will’s point of view, would not have been nearly as great if we had not seen the big family meeting Will did not attend, in the last chapter from Wade’s point of view. It is especially nice, as an illustration of how Will is developing, to see him start to understand that he is not privy to everything that is going on behind the scenes. It is also nice to see that he has matured enough, and has enough trust in his Father and Stef, that, even though he knows that he is being manipulated, he trusts that they are doing it for his benefit.

 

Also I found very interesting how much pleasure Will derived from having a productive evening with his father. Not many people at fourteen would consider, “I got a lot done while my dad was around also getting a lot done”, to be a fun way to spend an evening. That kid is going to be a beast of an adult if he keeps those traits.

 

One thing I find very interesting about Brad and Robbie’s current fight is that it is a fight about family. It is not a fight about outside influences which causes one party to question whether they want to be in a family (as is the case with infidelity). Although the feelings are obviously intense, and whenever the feelings get that intense in a fight there is always the danger of a relationship dissolving, in the end, there is no possible outcome anyone is fighting for (consciously or not) which would result in them breaking up. They each want their family to be a certain way, neither of them wants a different family.

 

Although Brad told Will that he should place a premium on repairing his relationship with Robbie before everyone else did for tactical reasons, I think, from a psychological point of view, the greatest potential danger is for Robbie. Obviously no one knows what will happen in the future, or what the outcome would be (other than you, of course, as the author),but, in real world analogues (which I feel comfortable discussing because you have such realistic characters, from a psychological point of view), someone like Robbie would suffer terribly if something seriously bad were to happen to Will before their relationship could be repaired. Illness, accident, or (given their families many enemies, as well as the fact that he is an openly gay teenager) deliberate harm are all real possibilities. In that case, the guilt affect, combined with the alienation from his family, would be terrible things to bear. It is a hard thing to be angry at someone you love when something bad happens. It is also, I have found, when brought up, one of the best exercises to help people who are lost in their anger with someone they love, to gain a little perspective.

 

All the Best,

S.R.

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Another well written chapter that is laying the foundation for Will to become the next major player in this saga. Stef is grooming his grandson for the fortune he is likely to inherit. While some may think Stef is 'petty', he has become one of the worlds richest men because of his business acumen. Giving Will a share of Anders-Hayes is small change from Stef's personal wealth. Allowing Will to make a decision in the board room is part of Will's education that you can't get from a textbook. The way to get Brad's attention seems to be thru his passion for Anders-Hayes. The rug has not yet been pulled out from under Brad, but Stef has shown him how easily he could be shut out.

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It looks like Stef is staking the deck to help (make) Robbie see what an ass he has been. While Will is only 14 he appears to know how to handle himself and with Stef and JP there to guide him I think that he will be more than successful. I am sure that there will be times that he makes a wrong decision, but that is life.

 

Thanks for sharing your talents with us.

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It is always such a pleasure to open GA and see a new Paternity chapter. Sometimes I click on GA two or three times a day and more often than not I am disappointed, which makes the arrival of a new chapter that much more pleasurable. Kind of like "edging with literature". :P

 

I don't find Stef's giving Will half his Anders-Hayes a big deal. As a percent of his portfolio it is certainly small bananas and when you are ungodly rich you can make dramatic, expensive gestures just because you can.

 

Dang, where is Jeff Gillooly when you really need him? In my current frame of mind I am thinking JJ and Robbie having breakfast at Windows on the World with Tony as a waiter could end several irritants for me, but that is too easy. Maybe better would be having Will have a breakfast scheduled there that he misses, but no one knows that for several hours. Tragedy can clearly focus the mind on what is really important. But I really don't want the Robbie/Brad/Will drama to run for another 11 months and I don't think it will. I think this meeting opened the eyes of several people.

 

Tony is being Tony and I hope Will relegates him to good FB status and moves on. I am really hoping we can find out more about Noah in the next Will chapter and maybe a little Alistair too. I think Alistair is too strong willed and independent to let JJ's whinings sway him.

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Mark,

Whereas Millennium was about the outside forces that could damage a family, Paternity is geared towards the inner workings that can physically/psychologically harm them. Since I did not review the last chapter I will in this review since both intertwine.

I loved the reasoning of the situation from Jack and Nana. You really damage a child when you show that one is loved more than the other. It is interesting that while Will his more mature Robbie has never fully acknowledged it. His actions on the other hand show that while JJ is older than Will Robbie babies JJ more as if he were biologically younger. Brade on the other hand realizes the impact this situation has on both Will and JJ. He may be spending more time with Will, but it is more that Robbie won't let him have a word in the conversation. I think it would still benefit JJ to remove Robbie from the picture, but it would need to be at a point where Brad has hit a bottom. I think it would do Brad some good to move either to Palo Alto for a time or copy Will an go to a hotel. He needs time away from everyone to evaluate his relationship.

I have to say that Will was most reasonable in the meeting. He really cold Stef down. It shows maturity that even though he and Robbie are strained it does not impact his judgement. I would have to agree that it also implies a time frame to Robbie. Get some common sense or lose everything in a year. While I still want Brad and Robbie to pull through this there is only so much he can take.

Stef's points out a good question. Greg let his private life crumble due to work and Robbie is a lot like him. Robbie has always had trouble in his private life decisions and it is not implausible that he could carry his emotions into the firm. Since both Stef and Brad have ample amounts of money and savings and neither really need Andres & Hays I like that they used it to send Robbie a Message. Greg always learned more when you applied issues to his work and it may help Robbie see reason.

I know that Paternity is in Will and Wade's POVs, but I would love to see the inner mental workings of Brad or Robbie's views of the situation. While Will and Wade do a great job reading Brad's views and pondering; I am completely out of will to comprehend Robbie. I understand that he may be transferring JJ's situation from his own past. Robbie was left by his mother, ignored by his siblings, and was a favorite of his fathers. While this seems to fit Will more Robbie may see his own guilt with his mother in Jeanine's absence. Maybe he believes that Will will survive since Robbie did and he has Brad, but JJ may not.

Can't wait for the next installment,

Kody

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On 01/05/2013 10:32 PM, said:
Another great chapter, Mark. It also shows a bit of the structural thought you put into choosing the narrators, as the impact of this story, from Will’s point of view, would not have been nearly as great if we had not seen the big family meeting Will did not attend, in the last chapter from Wade’s point of view. It is especially nice, as an illustration of how Will is developing, to see him start to understand that he is not privy to everything that is going on behind the scenes. It is also nice to see that he has matured enough, and has enough trust in his Father and Stef, that, even though he knows that he is being manipulated, he trusts that they are doing it for his benefit.

 

Also I found very interesting how much pleasure Will derived from having a productive evening with his father. Not many people at fourteen would consider, “I got a lot done while my dad was around also getting a lot done”, to be a fun way to spend an evening. That kid is going to be a beast of an adult if he keeps those traits.

 

One thing I find very interesting about Brad and Robbie’s current fight is that it is a fight about family. It is not a fight about outside influences which causes one party to question whether they want to be in a family (as is the case with infidelity). Although the feelings are obviously intense, and whenever the feelings get that intense in a fight there is always the danger of a relationship dissolving, in the end, there is no possible outcome anyone is fighting for (consciously or not) which would result in them breaking up. They each want their family to be a certain way, neither of them wants a different family.

 

Although Brad told Will that he should place a premium on repairing his relationship with Robbie before everyone else did for tactical reasons, I think, from a psychological point of view, the greatest potential danger is for Robbie. Obviously no one knows what will happen in the future, or what the outcome would be (other than you, of course, as the author),but, in real world analogues (which I feel comfortable discussing because you have such realistic characters, from a psychological point of view), someone like Robbie would suffer terribly if something seriously bad were to happen to Will before their relationship could be repaired. Illness, accident, or (given their families many enemies, as well as the fact that he is an openly gay teenager) deliberate harm are all real possibilities. In that case, the guilt affect, combined with the alienation from his family, would be terrible things to bear. It is a hard thing to be angry at someone you love when something bad happens. It is also, I have found, when brought up, one of the best exercises to help people who are lost in their anger with someone they love, to gain a little perspective.

 

All the Best,

S.R.

A long, lengthy, and incredibly insightful review. Thanks! I really like how you picked up on the differences between this story and Millennium, and how this one contains more internal conflict and fewer internal influences.

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On 01/05/2013 11:27 PM, davewri said:
Another well written chapter that is laying the foundation for Will to become the next major player in this saga. Stef is grooming his grandson for the fortune he is likely to inherit. While some may think Stef is 'petty', he has become one of the worlds richest men because of his business acumen. Giving Will a share of Anders-Hayes is small change from Stef's personal wealth. Allowing Will to make a decision in the board room is part of Will's education that you can't get from a textbook. The way to get Brad's attention seems to be thru his passion for Anders-Hayes. The rug has not yet been pulled out from under Brad, but Stef has shown him how easily he could be shut out.
I think that people may think Stef is petty, but if you notice, there is usually a motive behind his actions. in this case, he was doing a lot to validate Will as a full-fledged member of the family, and not just a tempestuous teen. That Will rose to the occasion (um, probably not a good choice of words where he is concerned. ;-)) shows it was a good strategy. For Stef, this was probably a test of Brad, Robbie, and Will. They all passed. For now.

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On 01/06/2013 01:29 AM, Six.Gauge said:
It looks like Stef is staking the deck to help (make) Robbie see what an ass he has been. While Will is only 14 he appears to know how to handle himself and with Stef and JP there to guide him I think that he will be more than successful. I am sure that there will be times that he makes a wrong decision, but that is life.

 

Thanks for sharing your talents with us.

Everyone makes bad decisions: good point. I think that Stef is giving Will a glimpse into the world beyond his safe shell at Escorial or Malibu, and a peek at what goes on to support the lifestyle he enjoys.

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On 01/06/2013 04:06 AM, PrivateTim said:
It is always such a pleasure to open GA and see a new Paternity chapter. Sometimes I click on GA two or three times a day and more often than not I am disappointed, which makes the arrival of a new chapter that much more pleasurable. Kind of like "edging with literature". :P

 

I don't find Stef's giving Will half his Anders-Hayes a big deal. As a percent of his portfolio it is certainly small bananas and when you are ungodly rich you can make dramatic, expensive gestures just because you can.

 

Dang, where is Jeff Gillooly when you really need him? In my current frame of mind I am thinking JJ and Robbie having breakfast at Windows on the World with Tony as a waiter could end several irritants for me, but that is too easy. Maybe better would be having Will have a breakfast scheduled there that he misses, but no one knows that for several hours. Tragedy can clearly focus the mind on what is really important. But I really don't want the Robbie/Brad/Will drama to run for another 11 months and I don't think it will. I think this meeting opened the eyes of several people.

 

Tony is being Tony and I hope Will relegates him to good FB status and moves on. I am really hoping we can find out more about Noah in the next Will chapter and maybe a little Alistair too. I think Alistair is too strong willed and independent to let JJ's whinings sway him.

It gives you something to log onto GA for, what with the Soap Box closed, so you can't swipe at the liberals here. ;-) Glad I can help!

 

I think that Will understands where Tony is better than Tony does. That probably will help him guide his relationship along the lines you mentioned. I think that Alistair will be swayed by JJ's whining, primarily because he's a good friend to JJ. I see him as a steadfast and loyal guy, and I can see that he'd forego his lustful urgings so as not to hurt a friend. I have such a hard time relating to him (j/k).

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On 01/06/2013 07:01 AM, KodeOwl said:
Mark,

Whereas Millennium was about the outside forces that could damage a family, Paternity is geared towards the inner workings that can physically/psychologically harm them. Since I did not review the last chapter I will in this review since both intertwine.

I loved the reasoning of the situation from Jack and Nana. You really damage a child when you show that one is loved more than the other. It is interesting that while Will his more mature Robbie has never fully acknowledged it. His actions on the other hand show that while JJ is older than Will Robbie babies JJ more as if he were biologically younger. Brade on the other hand realizes the impact this situation has on both Will and JJ. He may be spending more time with Will, but it is more that Robbie won't let him have a word in the conversation. I think it would still benefit JJ to remove Robbie from the picture, but it would need to be at a point where Brad has hit a bottom. I think it would do Brad some good to move either to Palo Alto for a time or copy Will an go to a hotel. He needs time away from everyone to evaluate his relationship.

I have to say that Will was most reasonable in the meeting. He really cold Stef down. It shows maturity that even though he and Robbie are strained it does not impact his judgement. I would have to agree that it also implies a time frame to Robbie. Get some common sense or lose everything in a year. While I still want Brad and Robbie to pull through this there is only so much he can take.

Stef's points out a good question. Greg let his private life crumble due to work and Robbie is a lot like him. Robbie has always had trouble in his private life decisions and it is not implausible that he could carry his emotions into the firm. Since both Stef and Brad have ample amounts of money and savings and neither really need Andres & Hays I like that they used it to send Robbie a Message. Greg always learned more when you applied issues to his work and it may help Robbie see reason.

I know that Paternity is in Will and Wade's POVs, but I would love to see the inner mental workings of Brad or Robbie's views of the situation. While Will and Wade do a great job reading Brad's views and pondering; I am completely out of will to comprehend Robbie. I understand that he may be transferring JJ's situation from his own past. Robbie was left by his mother, ignored by his siblings, and was a favorite of his fathers. While this seems to fit Will more Robbie may see his own guilt with his mother in Jeanine's absence. Maybe he believes that Will will survive since Robbie did and he has Brad, but JJ may not.

Can't wait for the next installment,

Kody

Thanks for such a great review! I think that it is not unusual for people who are successful in business to be failures in their family life. It really doesn't surprise me that Robbie would struggle with one or the other. Stef sent him a series of strong messages, and a core one was that he better keep his head out of his ass at work even if he can't do it when he's dealing with his sons.

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Hi Mark, I've been an avid CAP reader, but just started following the forums, so this will be my first time weighing in. What strikes me the most is the difference in how the family deals with Brad's and Robbie's mistakes. I guess I see this all a bit differently than some of the other reviewers. Though for the most I understand their points and completely agree that this was a great developmental chapter for Will.

 

Up until the last stuff with Jeanine's treatment post-thanksgiving it seems clear that most of the bad decisions were Brad's with Robbie standing by as a loyal partner. Brad even acknowledges that when they disagreed about the emancipation Robbie publicly stood by Brad and then pushed him in the right direction when he was able to listen. The family discussed doubts as to Brads ability to lead, but not his legitimacy as part of the family. Furthermore, even though Brad's mistakes seem to be tied more closely to his mindset at work, his need to win and his absence from home because of work, Stef never seems to consider a leave of absence, let alone Brad leaving the Schlutter group.

 

With Robbie, however, he has now made a couple mistakes (and I completely agree they are mistakes), at least one of which neither Stef, Brad or Will really recognized as problematic for a couples days, and here's what he faces: Brad, once he jumps on board, has no problem joining the family in berating his decisions, or help pull any punches by acknowledging he didn't see the problem either initially; The family informs Robbie that they never really loved him, but tolerate him for Brad's sake; And Stef dangles his job in front of him despite the lack of relationship between these mistakes and his job performance - and then Brad sides with Stef on that.

I think with or without the board meeting Robbie and Will would have made-up or at least come to a detente pretty quickly, they both can get riled up, but just as quickly can remember how much they love the other person and let the anger fade. Brad and Robbie need, want and love each other, so I think Brad will likely forgive Robbie's mistakes and Robbie will likely forgive Brad.

 

What I question is how Robbie can ever feel like part of the family again? He may not be a teenage boy, but finding out your family doesn't like you that much is a pretty tough blow to take. And I don't know how he can continue in his relationship with Stef knowing that when they have family disputes, Stef has no problem threatening his career in a pretty public way. There doesn't really seem to be a way forward for Robbie and the larger family. After 20 years most of which he spent being a loving, kind and dedicated member of the family, should Robbie really have to beg to be merely tolerated by this group of people?

 

One more thing from the last chapter, this JP seems a lot less concerned with trying to be less confrontational in family disputes then the JP at thanksgiving. Since its been a while since we've seem JPs POV, it becomes easier to see him as infallible. If his goal was for Robbie to see his mistake he must have known that allowing the family to attack him all at once like that wouldn't make any forward progress. Like the rest of the family, he seemed more concerned with venting their anger than actually improving things.

 

That being said, as this is my first review I also have to say that I have absolutely loved your work and have re-read them often. Getting the notification that a new chapter is posted is absolutely the highlight of my day!

 

Thanks!

Rachel

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