He slowly climbed the stairs, pausing on the landing to look out the large half-round window before continuing, anything to delay the inevitable. He paused again at the top of the stairs, scanning the portraits of his ancestors that lined the hall, illuminated by brass sconces. He always felt his elders gazed disapprovingly upon all who dared to dwell in their former glory.
He proceeded down the hall, conscious of his shoes sinking into the thick carpet, as he headed for the carved mahogany door at the end of the hall.
He knocked and waited to enter until a female voice beckoned him in.
She sat behind a large oak desk framed by two computer monitors, a keyboard, and a large portrait of his grandfather above and behind her. She looked at home in the large office.
Roger walked up the desk without so much as a glance around the ornate room. He didn't need to look. It had been his office until recently.
“Roger. Don’t start. The board voted that you're out.” Helen stood and handed a paper to him.
Roger read the final votes and minutes of the last board meeting. Tossing it on the desk, he pulled a of document from inside his jacket.
“This undoes that.”
Snatching the papers from his hand, Helen read through them. Her face screwed up into a variety of shapes in the span of a couple of minutes. The glare she shot Roger was enough to kill.
“So you want to try to blackmail me?”
“No—only reminding you that you have a lot to lose too. If you force this, I’ll make sure the world knows how you arranged for our father’s death while you were on the other side of the world. I know the man you hired will talk if pushed. The Feds would love to get their hands on him.”
“No, I wouldn’t, but I can make it happen. Here’s the deal. You tell the board of directors that you’ve reconsidered, and after much discussion with me, we’ve come to a mutual understanding, and I will return as chairman of the board. We’ll continue to run the businesses together as we have right along. You will continue in your usual roles. However, you'll get a pay increase of, say, ten percent, which should make having to work with me a little easier.”
Helen glared at him, then at the papers he’d shown her. “All right. It's a deal, but we don’t talk or see each other outside of the office.”
“Oh, and I want my office back.” Roger turned and left the room.
He had no idea how his father died. He suspected that she might have had a hand in it but had no actual proof—until now. Pulling the tiny digital recorder from his pocket and played the file back. She had all but admitted to having their father killed.
He smiled, time to put the memory card in his safe deposit box. Proof was his.