Dealing with Rhiannon’s questions and their mother’s attitude about Regan’s death isn’t the only stressful situation for Rosalind. A few weeks after the funeral, she’s home alone when the phone rings.
“Good morning, may I speak to Miss Regan Worthy, please?”
Who is this now? I don’t recognize your voice and it’s obvious you’re not up to date about our family.
“May I ask what this in reference to?”
“This is Scott Pendleton. I’m an attorney. Miss Worthy asked me to contact her.”
Not likely. At least not recently. Keep your cards close to the vest until we figure out what he’s up to.
“Regan asked you to call her. When was this?”
“About a month ago. Is Miss Worthy available?”
Okay. Perhaps the direct approach.
“Mr. Pendleton, this is Rosalind Worthy — Regan’s sister. Regan took her life several weeks ago, probably around the time you spoke.”
There is a long pause at the other end of the line.
Are you still there? Did he hang up?
Mr. Pendleton’s voice is subdued. “Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss, Miss Worthy. Given this information, it’s you I need to speak to, then.”
What the hell? What’s going on, Big Sis? What have you gotten me into?
“Why would you need to speak to me?”
“I’d rather not get into that over the phone. Would you be available to come to my office this afternoon?”
Not without something more from you, that’s for sure.
“Can you at least let me know what this is about?”
There’s a pause. “It concerns your sister’s estate.”
“Her estate? Regan left a will?”
Another pause. “Yes, that was her business with me. I would prefer to discuss this in more detail with you in person, if you’re available.”
I have nothing but time. Does Mother know about any of this?
“Yes. This afternoon is good. Where’s your office?”
One-o-clock, one-o-clock. What’s appropriate to wear to a reading of your sister’s will? Do I need to change? I don’t think I need to change. I don’t want to change. I’ll see what’s in the closet. What the hell were you thinking, Big Sis? A will? That means you knew. You planned it, didn’t you? Time? Eleven thirty-five. I’m not dressing up for this. I don’t care who this guy is.
She goes upstairs to her room and rummages through her closet.
You planned this out and the best you could come up with was drain cleaner? I guess it was final. Decisive, if inelegant. Poor Mother. I guess you succeeded in making me feel sorry for her, didn’t you, Big Sis? Eleven forty. I should have said noon or twelve thirty.
She takes out a modest, striped dress.
No. Slacks. Slacks are better. I have decided to wear slacks for the reading of my Big Sis’s will. Eleven fifty. Yeah. Slacks. How am I getting there?
Around 12:55, she enters an office on the sixth floor of a building near the riverfront and presents herself to the receptionist. A few moments later, a stout, balding man in a three-piece charcoal suit enters and approaches her.
“Miss Worthy, I’m Scott Pendleton. I’m sorry to be meeting you under these circumstances.” He motions toward his office and Rosalind takes a seat before the desk. Mr. Pendleton continues as he sits. “I must say, I did feel it was a bit unusual for a young woman like your sister to be making out a will. I only wish I had inquired more into the situation at the time, especially since she left me with the papers from her psychiatric evaluation.”
“Don’t beat yourself up over this, Mr. Pendleton. I was a lot closer to Regan than you and didn’t see this coming either.”
“Thank you for saying that. She told me she was traveling abroad to rest after her confinement and wanted to be prepared.”
More than she told me.
He opens a file and removes some papers which he hands to her. “The top document is the will your sister had me prepare. It’s fairly straight forward. She names you as her executor and leaves everything to you. The second set of papers are her evaluation following her convalescence, indicating she’s competent to carry out her own affairs.”
“I hope you’ll be able to advise me on this,” Rosalind says, looking over the papers. “It’s not something I have much experience with.”
“Of course. She mentions some money which was due to her from, I believe, your father.”
“Yes. Father left a considerable sum to the three of us.”
“She entrusts that to you, when the time comes. Like I say, there’s not much to discuss. If you’d like, I can take care of filing it with the probate office and offer any other advice you’ll need.
“Thank you, Mr. Pendleton. I’m not sure how urgent this is, given the circumstances.”
“If your sister left behind any property, you’ll probably want to deal with it rather quickly. In case any questions arise.”
“Then, by all means, do what needs to be done. There’s a loft that houses all her things. Our mother’s been paying for it.”
“Is your name on the lease?”
“No. It’s not.”
“If you’ll give me the details, I’ll handle having it switched to your name. That should prevent them removing any of your sister’s property before you have a chance to inventory it.”
Rosalind nods. “That will be fine. I’m taking a break from school and don’t have much time currently.”
“We will also have to file notice to determine if there are any claims to the estate. This is routine.”
“I’ll follow your guidance.”
Rosalind chooses not to bring up the matter with Abigail, given all her mother is already handling. The loft is funded by an account with ample funds in it to sustain it until Regan would have graduated and Abigail is too overwhelmed with the aftermath of Regan’s death to take any action with it. By the time Rosalind’s packing to head back to school a month later, no one has come forward with any claims, so she puts the situation out of her mind.