“I will hurt you two.” Ian raised that one eyebrow and pointed a Reese. “I will come after you with a big stick, and then go after you with a bloody stick!” He looked at Jesse.
“Children!” Colton warned with a grin on his face. “Do we need a time out? Now…we’re all a little quirky. Ian, do you feel a little better about this now?”
“Uhm…” Ian sat back down again on the couch, resigned. “…Right now I’m going to put it down on the list of things I still need to figure out about Elizabeth Elysian but can wait until I figure lots and lots of other things out.”
“Other things?” Tippy piped up. “There are other things about Miss Elizabeth that unsettle you?”
Ian looked at Jesse, whose head was poking out from behind Ripley. Ripley looked at Ian and took another big step to the left exposing Jesse Shores. “You didn’t tell them?”
“You told me not to until you figured out why she did it.” Jesse tried to grin. “See, I’m the brother you can trust with a secret.”
“Hold it!” Tippy demanded. “What else has Miss Elizabeth done that we may or may not know about?”
“What do you know about the sale of the house?” Ian said.
Tippy looked at Colton, who shrugged and answered. “That she sold it to you at a bargain price and disappeared almost before any of us had a chance to ask any questions.”
“And that’s all?” Ian tried not to be accusatory.
“Is there more?” Tippy looked at Ian and then at her youngest son.
“Yeah, Mom.” Jesse admitted. “There’s more…a whole lot more.”
“There’s not a problem with the sale, is there?” Colton was worried.
“No, nothing like that.” Ian assured him. “In fact everything is signed, delivered and air tightly legal.”
“So what’s the problem?” Reese was interested.
Ian stood again and turned to face the family, less to face them than to see if he could tell if any of them knew more than they were letting on. “So none of you actually know about the transaction, the whole transaction?”
Tippy was obviously nervous. “The whole transaction? Baby Doll, that sounds ominous.”
“Ominous? No, and maybe just another one of those little quirks of hers, one that makes me wonder why she would do such a thing.” Ian said out loud.
“Just spit it out, Ian.” Ripley said. “It’s weird, but maybe these are the people that can explain it.”
“So you know what he’s talking about.” Reese looked to Ripley, who nodded.
“I told Ripley they day I found out, and Jesse was my driver the day I had the meeting with my lawyer and accountant and discovered the…quirk.” Ian scratched the back of his head.
“It’s some quirk.” Jesse admitted. “Even I’m not sure why she did it.”
“Did what?” Tippy couldn’t stand it anymore. “Did what?”
“Without his realizing it, Elizabeth Elysian sold Ian more than the house.” Ripley mumbled.
“What?” Colton asked.
“Colton, maybe I misunderstood the offer, and I should have done more than take all the paperwork to my lawyer, I should have read it in detail…”
“So much for being anal retentive.” Jesse said quietly making Reese snort.
“Yeah, yeah…in my defense for the price I paid I could hardly believe I was getting this house, there’s no way I could have imagined what I was buying. I took it straight to Jerry Wolfe just to make sure there wasn’t something I wasn’t seeing, like more money down the road…blah blah blah…”
“It’s pretty hard to believe but by the time you found out the deal was done, way too late for questions.” Ripley added.
“Okay, okay…” Colton was losing patience. “Enough with the reasons why whatever slipped you by, I take it that there was a surprise in the real estate deed.”
It was Ian’s turn to snort. “Little surprise? Colton, she sold me everything.”
Ian nodded his head. “My accountant picked right up on it and thought I knew what I’d purchased. He kept making comments and they kept going right over my head. Now I truly know what the term ‘caviar at bubble gum prices’ means.”
“Baby Doll, we still don’t know exactly what you are talking about.” Tippy looked at Colton and then back to Ian. “She sold you everything. What do you mean by everything?”
Ian crossed his arms. “Most of the block.”
“Most of the block?” Tippy’s mouth dropped open.
Ian nodded his head. “Kellen’s house, the apartment building next door, the two at the beginning of the cul-de-sac…”
Ripley jumped in, “And from what we can tell every business and company she owned.”
“And all her stocks and share holdings.” Jesse finished up.
“Basically by the time I made the first payment on what I thought was the house and just under two acres of land, I had accrued enough profit to pay off the loan…” Ian’s trademark right eyebrow went up, “…from just the interest off the bank cds, that somehow were also part of the deal.”
“Oh…my…God…” Tippy had to sit slowly down on the couch. “Why would she do that?”
“How could she do that?” Colton joined his wife, stunned, on the couch.
“She used a codicil that’s basically used for relatives so they don’t have to pay inheritance tax. It’s perfectly legal, but rarely used for someone who’s not an intended benefactor in a will.”
Ripley added, “The only thing that wasn’t sold to Ian for the bargain price of $500,000 was her personal bank account that we know of. Everything else either became Ian’s or Ian’s name replaced hers as the bearer effective 90 days after they both signed the paperwork.”
“I don’t know what to say.” Tippy blurted out.
“Congratulations?” Reese managed.
“Which brings us back to the original question,” Ian said. “Actually two original questions; why would Elizabeth Elysian do something like that and maybe most important of all, why me?”