Rhiannon Worthy enters her home in Seattle, Washington, and slips out of her Crocs, then pads across the living room, sorting through her mail. She’s been on a 48-hour rotation at the hospital, where she’s a nursing supervisor, and she’s looking forward to some down time. It’s been a week since her daughter, Abigail and niece, Genevieve left for Atlanta, and Rhiannon is hoping for a phone call updating her on their progress later this evening. While Genevieve has gone there to possibly start school at Georgia Tech, Abigail tagged along for moral support, and will most likely be back in a week or so.
She hears a delivery truck pulling up near her home, but thinks little of it, until her doorbell rings. She answers to find a Fedex driver outside with a medium-sized parcel. “Rhiannon Worthy?” She signs for it, and thanks the driver, then takes the package to the dining room table. She does not recognize the shipping address, which appears to be a realty office in Massachusetts.
Rhiannon gets a utility knife, and opens the box. Inside, she finds an off-brand cell phone with its charger, sitting on top of an envelope addressed to her, and two individually-wrapped packages. There’s a post-it on the phone that reads, “Start here”. The phone is dead, so she plugs it in. Once it comes on, she checks the directory and finds a single phone number programmed in. She hesitates a moment, then clicks to dial. After six or seven rings, a man answers, “Ms. Worthy. So glad you called.”
“Who is this?” Rhiannon says.
“My apologies,” he says. “This is Marcel Duchard. Paul’s brother. We met, once, years ago, at Rosalind and Paul’s wedding.”
“I remember,” she says. “You’re not in the US are you?”
“No, I’m in Mozambique these days,” he says. “My Portuguese is still a bit rusty, but I like the climate. I won’t elaborate further on my whereabouts, for obvious reasons.”
“Why have you contacted me?” she says.
“I realized I had some unfinished business with regards to Rosalind’s estate, so I had the package sent to you with a means of contacting me,” Marcel tells her. “Once I’ve explained everything, you’ll never hear from me again.”
“Okay, why all the cloak and dagger?” Rhiannon says.
“I apologize for the intrigue,” he says, “but, as you might imagine, I need to be somewhat discrete in my dealings within the US. It’s for your protection as much as mine. The cell phone you’re using is a burner, and I strongly recommend that you discard it once our call is done.”
“Fine,” Rhiannon says. “What’s this all about? What do you mean by unfinished business?”
“You’re Rosalind’s executor,” he says, “and have probably noted, her estate was fairly straight forward. Everything goes to Genevieve.”
“Right,” she says.
“Well, there’s one piece of property she left out of the copy of her will that you have,” he says. “That, she left to you. In the package, the very next item will be an envelope with your name on it. That contains an updated copy of her will, with details on the property. I suggest you file that as soon as possible.”
“What property?” Rhiannon says.
“It’s an old waterfront warehouse Rosalind paid five thousand for around 1972,” he replies. “Rather astute move on her part, actually. The building’s part of a riverfront development now. Worth millions.”
“Rosalind owned that?” Rhiannon says.
“Yes. She’s been leasing it out to an art academy since she’s had it,” Marcel says.
“I don’t understand any of this,” Rhiannon says. “Why wasn’t this in her original will?”
“She didn’t want you to know about it until she was gone, for reasons known only to her,” he says. “Again, I apologize, as I should have gotten this to you sooner, but news is sometimes hard to come by when one is running from authorities. I only learned of Rosalind’s death when I tried to contact my neice a month ago. By the way, I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thanks,” she says.
“The other packages contain information which should tell you everything you need to know,” he says. “They’re Rosalind and Regan’s diaries.”
“Regan?” Rhiannon says to herself.
“Rosalind left them with me for safekeeping,” Marcel goes on. “When I had to leave, I gave them to an attorney friend of mine. She saw to it they were delivered to you, along with a method for contacting me. She can also put you in touch with the witnesses to the will.”
“Why didn’t Rosie just give them to me?” Rhiannon says.
“I’m afraid I’ve told you everything I can.” he says. “As you know, Rosalind could be rather mysterious in her dealings for no good reason. She set this up with me about a year after Paul died, and as her attorney, I couldn’t disclose anything about it until the time was right.”
“Okay, thanks,” Rhiannon says.
“Now, if there are no more questions, I’ll conclude our business,” Marcel says. “If you should speak to Genevieve, send her my regards. I’d contact her myself, but the last time we spoke, she told me she’d turn me in if she knew my whereabouts. I was a bit disappointed, but I understand.”
“What if I have other questions?” she says.
“I’m afraid you’re on your own,” he says. “I plan to lose this number as soon as I conclude this call, which I’m doing now.”
With that, the line disconnects.