Murdoch & Ryan

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry
2009 All rights reserved

Part 5

"Ryan, I won't be in class tonight," Murdoch said. "My mother was rushed to the Memorial Hospital a few minutes ago, she had another stroke. I'm heading over there now; I'll call you from the hospital as soon as I know her condition."

"I'm so sorry to hear that, Murdoch. Why don't we stay at our apartment tonight? I don't want you to be alone."

"Thanks, Ryan; it may be late, depending on her condition."

"Look, I'm taking off tomorrow, I suggest you do the same," Ryan said.

"See you later, Babe."


 

Ryan stopped off at his penthouse after class to pack an overnight bag and picked up his computer. He checked his answering machine for messages and left. He parked his BMW at a garage downtown and took a cab to their apartment. He was surprised when he unlocked the apartment door to see Murdoch sitting on the sofa watching the TV.

One glance told Ryan that Murdoch had been crying. Ryan walked over to him, embraced him, kissing him on the cheek. Murdoch laid his head on Ryan shoulder. "Mom died two hours ago."

"Oh, Murdoch, I'm so sorry. I should have been there with you," Ryan said.

"In a way I'm glad you weren't, for then I would really have lost it, for sure. Let's have a glass of wine and just cuddle. I have some news to tell you."

They got comfortable on the sofa. "By the time I arrived at the hospital, Mom was in the intensive care unit, in one of those small glassed-in cubical rooms. They had no objections to my staying with her. The doctor had told me that she had a mild heart attack and they were awaiting the specialist to evaluate her.

She had some trouble breathing, but she wanted to talk anyway. She told me that after her death, she wanted to be cremated and to have her ashes, along with my Dad's and my brother's and sister's, interred in Scotland in my father's family estate. Mom said I was to contact Mr. Bell, her lawyer, who handled her affairs. He had her will and all the papers that I would need to contact the McDonald family."

"I talked to Mr. Bell after mother died, while I was still at the hospital, and I have an appointment to see him tomorrow. I'm having a small ceremony at the crematory in two days, it will take that long for the funeral director to process the paper work."

"I would like to attend the service, Murdoch."

"Thanks, Babe, I could use your moral support, but don't bother to send any flowers. If you feel you must do something, send a donation to the American Heart Association in my mother's name."

"How do you plan to get the ashes to Scotland?"

"That's the least of my worries right now. I don't plan to make the trip until after our Graduation next month. At this point I don't even know if the McDonald family will allow me to bury the ashes in the family plot. I won't know anything until after I contact Mr. Bell tomorrow."

"You never mentioned that both your parents were born in Scotland." Ryan said.

"It's an interesting story alright. My Mom, bless her soul, told the story many times, and each telling she tended to embellish on the story a little more. I don't know if it's a case of her fading memory of the early days, or not. The story she had told me centered on my Dad's family in Scotland. According to Mom, my grandfather was a Lord and my father was the youngest of four brothers. There were quite a few years separating the boys. My uncle took over the family estate upon his father's death. In Scotland, the eldest son inherited the family estates and the other children received a cash settlement and a yearly stipend from the estate. My dad was third in line to inherit the family estates. My grandfather died when my dad was in his senior year in Edinburgh University. He had met my mother in his junior year and married her after he graduated. They both could see that there was no future for them in Great Brittan, so they decided to migrate to the United States. That suited his older brother just fine, because he preferred that my parents not live in the manor. My uncle was a snob and thought my mother's family was socially beneath him. From what I understand, my uncle wouldn't even allow my parents to be married at the local family church. It was kind of sad in a way, because none of my father's family attended their wedding.

My father and mother severed all ties with my father's family after they moved to the United States. My mother was an only child and her parents died years ago. As far as I know, she had no living relatives when she left Scotland. Mom didn't know what was the net worth of Dad's family. Even my father never knew that figure. All he knew was that his brother settled $100,000 dollars on him, and paid for their trip to the United States. They never heard from the family again.

"I didn't know I married a member of the aristocracy." Ryan said. "Under different circumstances, my stepmother would be delighted with that news."

Murdoch laughed, "Eat your heart out, Vera. While I'm on the subject of Vera and that crooked brother of hers, I wanted to tell you I had another meeting yesterday with John Goodall, Lattimore's agent. He is the agent that has been assigned to handle the Nat Rollins investigation. I must say I was impressed with him and his organization. They are worth every penny you are paying them."

"What did he say to you?" Ryan asked.

"You remember in our last meeting with Jack Harding, the special agent on the Templeton account, he had asked me to send him Nat's email address and his account number, passwords, and any other codes that Nat used in accessing the Spencer, or Templeton Industries accounts?"

"Yes, I remember," Ryan said. "He also asked you to send him any data in your main frame computer files that Nat had access to since he began working with Spencer Industries."

"Murdoch, will this cause you any ethical problems?"

"Not at all, both Spencer and Templeton Industries are our clients. If a representative of Templeton is questioning an invoice or a payment, we are obliged to delve into those accounts to find the answers regarding those entries in question. They don't have to explain their reasons. It's an accounting practice; in most cases clients do this because some VP in making a survey, or Uncle Sam is looking for answers. My accounting firm is only interested in billing their fees for my time. In this case, you must have given them an account Job Order to bill against."

"In any event, John wanted me to down-load a number of folders in our back-up computer that is not on line. Our firm has a policy of only keeping three years in our on-line main frame. Any prior record years are stored in an archives computer system. It's a real pain, because the computers are controlled by our I.S. Department which is housed in a concrete building we lease at the Martin-Marietta facilities in Georgia. If the records go back beyond five-years you are really in deep do-do. They changed the main program since then and any records have to be translated into the new software before they can be down-loaded onto a CD."

"I don't know what his snoops have come up with, but I'm sure they have found something, judging from the files they are requesting. Anyway, I sure hope they find everything they're looking for. It's none of my business, but I have the feeling they have recruited my boss to their cause. He has questioned me about some of the transactions that were made against the Templeton Agricultural account."

"I don't know if your boss is working for us at this juncture, but if you'd like I can find out?" Ryan said.

"No, don't; I'd rather not know."

"I can tell you he is on the cleared list," Ryan said. "All of my staff and the people that work for me have been cleared. They have bugged my father's home and office and Nat's office and his home as well. They are monitoring my apartment, my office, this place and our cars also. I don't know how they do it, but they have our cell phones bugged, too. So Babe, be careful what you say. As an extra measure, they have bugged my shrink's office and home. Lattimore has agents following Vera and Nat, and as soon as Dad returns from overseas, he, too, will be followed.

They found out which private security agency Nat and Vera are using to follow my movements. I'm glad we have kept our relationship secret. Jack said that they don't suspect we are anything more than college acquaintances. They are looking for any guy that I may be intimate with."

"Thank God for your security people, I'd die if anything happened to you, Babe."

                           

After their graduation party at the Ritz-Carlton, Ryan and Murdoch met at their love-nest apartment. Murdoch had opened a bottle of Champagne for their own celebration. After they changed into their lounging robes they returned to the living room, where Murdoch poured each a glass and he made a toast. "To my loving spouse, may you always be as happy as you are today."

"Thank you, my love," Ryan said. He raised his glass, "To my loving spouse, may you always be at my side as we walk together throughout eternity."

They sipped their wine and kissed.

"Thank God, my father and step-mother were in Europe and didn't attend the ceremonies tonight. The only two people that are important to me were there, you and Annie. I only regret that your mom couldn't have been here to see you receive your diploma."

"Yes, she would have been proud of me tonight," Murdoch said. "Let's sit on the couch and make out, Babe." They got comfortable on the couch. "In all the excitement, I forgot to tell you I received a letter from Bryan Steward the family Solicitors in Edinburgh. His letter was very friendly and he told me that I shouldn't have any problems burying my family in the McDonald family crypt. Of course, they will need to verify the documents first. They told me the copies I sent were fine, but they need the originals. The Solicitor would like me to fly over ASAP. They couldn't tell me anything over the telephone; it has to be a face-to-face meeting. Now, what do you make of that?"

"I don't know, but if they sent you the tickets and said it was alright to bury your family on the estate, why don't you go ahead. I would love to make the trip with you, but I don't want to leave right now with this investigation going on with my father and Vera," Ryan said. He turned the volume up on the stereo and laid his head next to Murdoch.

"I don't want anyone but you to hear this. Charles Lattimore called me this morning to report that his agents had uncovered some very damaging information not only on Vera and Nat, but on their family as well. Charles didn't think my father was directly implicated, but at this point he was not ruling anything out. He feels that Vera and Nat had to have your father's permission to put the pressure on you. He said his job is to dig up the information and it is up to me, and my lawyers, to decide how to use the information. My father's company is traded on the stock market, so if there is any funny business going on my father will be in deep doo-doo. I've been in touch with my lawyers and have instructed them to buy as many shares of my fathers company as they can. I already own 25% of the stock, and as far as I know, Vera and my step-brothers do not own any shares of the stock."

"This whole thing sucks and I have a feeling that your father knows everything that is going on. He claims he loves you, but it's a conditional love, he stops loving you if you're gay. How can he sacrifice you, his own flesh and blood, for the sake of his social standing and business interests? I'm really worried that something could happen to you while I'm away."

"Put your mind at rest, Murdoch; I have my own private CIA people watching over me and I have the utmost confidence in Charles Lattimore. If anything happens to me, you will be empowered to act for me in all matters. Charles and my trustees will track you down and notify you immediately. I trust you with my life, Babe, remember the password is Lancelot."

"Ryan, if anything ever happened to you, I don't think I would want to go on living. You're my world; you are the sun, the moon and the stars to me. Don't ever leave me, my love."

"I never will, Murdoch."

"Look, if you're sure it's alright, I'll clean up my desk and make arrangements to fly to Scotland a week from this Sunday. I'll also make a reservation at the Airport Marriott for that Saturday for a day of loving."

"Great, I'll be there, Babe."

Murdoch pulled Ryan in his arms and kissed him passionately. He slipped his tongue into Ryan's mouth and his hand under Ryan's shirt until he reached a nipple. He tweaked each one as Ryan softly moaned and his nipples hardened. He moved his hand down his lover's chest and slid his hand to the hardened penis. He slowly stroked it.

Ryan broke the kiss, "Oh, Murdoch; I want you to make love to me. I want to feel you deep inside me."

Murdoch stood and helped Ryan up from the couch, placed his arm around his waist and lead him into their bedroom.

                           

"Sweetheart, its time to rise and shine," Murdoch said. "You've got to get back to your apartment to change."

Ryan opened his eyes, "You know, one day, we will be able to sleep as long as we wish and not worry about making appointments."

"Here, Baby, drink your orange juice."

"I hate the thought of your being away for two weeks."

"It will only be ten days, Baby."

"Oh, before I forget," Ryan said, as he reached over and pulled a slip of paper from his wallet, "in case of emergency, contact Gordon Miller, the Templeton attorney. I gave you my code so you can access the mainframe on the Templeton computer. Just go to my folder and you will find everything you will need. He knows that I have given you my power of attorney. Charles Lattimore also knows that you have the power to act on my behalf, and he will contact you for orders if I'm missing for more than two hours."

"Okay, before I leave this morning I will give you the information for Bryan Stewart, my contact in Scotland. Now, Baby, it's time for you to get your sweet ass in gear and get ready." Murdoch kissed Ryan tenderly.

"That's better," Ryan said.

Edinburg, Scotland

Murdoch checked in at the Hilton and called Bryan Stewart's office. "Mr. Stewart, this is Murdoch McDonald. I thought I'd give you a call to see if you had any plans for this afternoon."

"Thank you for ringing straight away, Mr. McDonald. I'm sorry I was unable to meet your flight, but I was tied up in court. If you could come over now, I can see you straight away."

"No problem, if you would give me directions, I will be happy to join you."

"We're about four blocks from your hotel," Bryan said. "Make a right as you leave your hotel and walk two blocks to Whitehall, make a right on Whitehall and down two blocks. We're at number 136 Whitehall, in suite 412."

"I'll be there in bit," Murdoch said.


 

Bryan's secretary introduced Murdoch to Bryan. "Mr. McDonald, this is a pleasure," Bryan said as they shook hands. "Please sit down. Well, I suppose we should get down to business. Do you have the original documents with you?"

Murdoch opened his brief case, and handed over the documents.

"Ah, good, they are in order," Bryan said. "May I see your passport please?" Bryan studied it for a few seconds. "Well, everything appears to be in order. The reason for all this verification, Mr. McDonald, is because I must make sure you are the nephew of the late Earl, Edward Spencer McDonald. Your uncle passed away rather suddenly five months ago and we have been searching for his heirs. It was a stroke of good luck that you turned up when you did. Our firm has conducted an exhaustive search since his death, trying to track down all his heirs. We know for certain that no legal heirs are living in Great Brittan, Europe or Asia. We had started our search in the United States and Canada when your letter arrived."

"Since that time, our agents have thoroughly investigated you in America and have concluded that you, Mr. McDonald, are the only living heir to the Edward Spencer McDonald estate. Of course the title cannot be passed on to you, since you are not a citizen of this country. However, there is no impediment to your inheriting your late uncle's estate."

Murdoch was shocked, "You've got to be kidding!"

"I'm quite serious," Bryan said. "I realize this comes as quite a shock, be prepared for an even greater shock. The McDonald estate, by conservative estimates comes to a little over 500-million pounds after taxes. The trustees have opened up an account in your name in the amount of $25 million dollars. Before you leave this afternoon, you must sign the bank documents and signature cards so that you can draw against that account starting tomorrow. It will take us several days to go over the list of securities and holdings you now own. If you are free tomorrow, I'd like you to take a helicopter tour to view your estate here, in Scotland, and the other properties you now own in England."

"That's an excellent idea," Murdoch said. "I would like to stop off at the bank first thing tomorrow before we begin the trip."

"No problem at all," Bryan said. "Why don't we have breakfast at your hotel tomorrow morning. After breakfast, I can take you around to the bank and introduce you to the bank President. You may wish to buy some travelers checks and also request a Zenith credit card."

"I don't think I heard of a Zenith card," Murdoch said.

"Most people haven't," Bryan said. "I looks like any other card and scans like any other card, except for large purchases. Any purchases over $10,000 dollars will automatically trigger a special verifying operator, who will ask the vending machine operator to speak to you directly. Once on the phone, he will ask you a few questions to verify you as the owner of the card. This is a voice verifying process that scans the voice print that is in the master computer. Once your voice print has been confirmed, the purchase is approved. You can only draw a maximum of five million dollars in any given week. For larger amounts you must use a bank draft."

"Absolutely amazing," Murdoch said. "Would you mind giving me a brief rundown on my family background?"

"My pleasure," Bryan said. "Your ancestry can be traced back to the 15th Century. Your ancestors, up to the present earned a comfortable income from their farming and property interests. They were tied to the land and made enough of an income to increase their holdings over time. They were careful in their investments and were not lavish in their spending, like many of the landed gentry were. That all changed when the 4th Earl, James McDonald, your grandfather, took over. He was a clever businessman and a visionary for his time. He was the one responsible for your present wealth. When he became a Lord, your family owned vast amounts of land in Scotland, England, and Australia. The family was land poor."

"In the early 1900's he felt that the British Empire had reached it zenith and it was a good time to sell off the land and invest it into more promising ventures. Of course, he was warned by his advisers that he was making a big mistake selling off his lands. But, the Earl refused to listen, or to take their advice. He went ahead and sold over half the land and invested the money into shipping, steel, and petroleum investments. Three quarters of his capitol was invested in the United States, the balance divided between Canada and South America. It didn't take long for those investments to pay off. With the popularity of the automobile his investments in steel and petroleum products doubled. His fortune was assured when World War I started. The steel mills and oil refineries could not keep up with the demand. Your family fortunes and investments multiplied even more."

"That was only the beginning; your grandfather searched the world for the most talented businessmen to run his rapidly growing empire. Unfortunately, the men that succeeded your grandfather were uninspired caretakers. Fortunately, they were smart enough to not interfere with the management operations of the empire and the business continues to flourish."

"If all this is true, why didn't my father receive a bigger share of the estate when he moved to the United States?"

"From what I can gather, your father's older brother, the 5th Earl was a prude and ruled the family with an iron fist. I was told he made an example of your father, to keep the rest of the family in line. He was not a friendly person and died a bitter man. The 6th Earl only retained the title for three years. He was quite the ladies' man and left more than a few bastards running around. He never married and was killed in action during the Second World War. And that brings us to the 7th Earl, your father's next oldest. He was a botanist who spent his life studying plants and bugs from what I understand. He loved good food and was reported to have eaten his way through every five-star restaurant around the world. He, like his brothers, had no interest in running the McDonald Empire, so the business continued to be managed by your consulting firm. He too, never married and died after a massive stroke. I understand he weighed over 300 pounds when he passed away."

"Tomorrow, we will stop to visit the family estate just northeast of here. It's about a two hour drive from Edinburgh, however, it does have its own landing strip capable of landing a 737 jet aircraft. Let me have my secretary bring in the papers for you to sign for the bank and for the trustees."

After the secretary left, Bryan said, "Would you like to have dinner with me at my home tonight?"

"As much as I would like to take you up on your kind offer, I'm must decline. I need to get a good night's sleep and call my office to let them know that I'll be extending my stay in Scotland."

"I understand," Bryan said. "Sleep is more important right now."

                           

"Hey, Baby, I wanted to call you before I hit the sack. Are you ready for some earth shattering news?"

"You bet, I've been depressed since you left."

"You should know that you married a man of means. I just learned that I am worth over 500-million pounds."

"WHAT?!"

"I'm as shocked as you are, Ryan, I still can't believe it. I've inherited the McDonald family empire. Tomorrow I'll be taken on a tour of my estates. Can you believe that?"

"God, I'm so happy for you, Murdoch, does this mean I can quit my day job?"

"You got that right, Babe. In fact, that's one of the reasons I called," Murdoch said. "Ask Charles Lattimore if he needs to have me back on the Spencer project? I really need to spend some more time here for now. I would also like you to fly over here the end of the week. Do you think you can get away for a week?"

"I don't know about that," Ryan said. "Let me check it out with Lattimore and Gordon Miller. I'll have your answer tomorrow. I'm excited about your sudden wealth and I miss you very much."

"God, I miss you. Ryan, is your passport up to date?"

"It sure is, I had it renewed last year."

"That's great, look my love, I must get some sleep, I love you. Good night, my handsome prince."

"I love you, too; sleep tight, Babe."


 

The telephone on the night stand rang, waking Murdoch. He picked up the phone, "Hello?"

"It's your morning wake-up call, sir; it's eight o'clock."

"Thank you," Murdoch said. He slowly got out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

When he arrived in the dining room at 8:30, Bryan was already seated. He walked over to the table and sat down. "Good morning, Murdoch. You look rested."

"I am, thank you," Murdoch said. "I hit that pillow last night and that's all I remember until my wake-up call this morning."

"Great," Bryan said. "Well, the bank opens in a half-hour, so as soon as we finish up here, we'll head over there. The chopper flight is all arranged. It's about a twenty-minute ride to the airfield and another thirty-minute ride to the McDonald estate."

"It seems you have everything organized, I admire that in a man. I was able to talk to my partner in Atlanta to see if I can spend more time over here getting acquainted with the McDonald family interests."

"That would be a wise move, Murdoch. There is a lot of ground to cover and it will take you some time to digest it all. I never did ask you what you do for a living."

"I'm a corporate special accounts lawyer for a consulting firm."

Bryan smiled, "Well, then you shouldn't have any problem grasping the financial structure of the McDonald Empire."

Murdoch smiled, "Piece of cake."

They made good time flying to the McDonald estate. "We're in luck today, the weather is clear this morning," Bryan said. "You should be able to see the estate at its best and the surrounding area. Ah, there's the manor house, it is just to the right of the old castle ruins."

"The house is magnificent," Murdoch said. "The grounds are absolutely beautiful."

The helicopter landed not far from the house. In a few minutes, as if on cue, a black Bentley pulled up near the helicopter. The chauffeur stepped out and opened the rear door. Good morning, Mr. Stewart."

"Benton, I have the pleasure to introduce you to Mr. Murdoch McDonald, the new master of McDonald Hall," Bryan said.

Benton touched his cap, "Welcome, Mr. McDonald."

They drove up to the house and around the circular drive that led to the front entrance. Benton opened the door and waited until his passengers were clear then closed the door and drove away. They climbed the steps to the entrance. The door opened.

"Good morning Mr. Stewart," the butler said. "Please come in, gentlemen." Once inside the large entrance foyer, Murdoch noticed that groups of people were waiting.

"Allow me to introduce you to your new master," Bryan said addressing the gathering. "Please welcome Mister Murdoch McDonald; he is the heir and owner of this estate." Bryan introduced the Butler, Raymond, and then each of the staff.

"Thank you for the warm welcome," Murdoch said. "Raymond, how long have you been at McDonald Hall?"

"I've been here 35 years, Sir. I took over the position from my father who was with the family for sixty years."

"Would you please take me on a brief tour of the house?"

"My pleasure, Sir," Raymond said. "This mansion was built by the 4th Earl, your grandfather in 1910. After the original Castle was destroyed by fire in the 19th century, the family purchased an estate close to London and made that their home. The 4th Earl liked the countryside and built this mansion next to the old castle. The house is comfortable with all the most modern conveniences throughout. It has four master bedroom suites as well as ten guest bedroom suites."

"On the main floor we have the grand ball room, the sitting room, music room, library, game room, drawing room, dining hall, family dining room, and morning room. The basement contains the kitchen, pantry, food storage rooms; there are two vaults that contain the family heirlooms and silver and gold serving prices that were commissioned generations ago."

"We pride ourselves on having two lifts; one for passengers, and the other, a service elevator. They both run from the basement to the third floor. In case of power outages, we are capable of generating our own electricity. The heating system is unique; it is forced hot air, with each floor having its own air handling system and controls. The winters can be quite harsh here, but it's always warm and comfortable inside his house. The house is completely fireproof with an efficient sprinkler system throughout."

"The several buildings to the rear of the manor house are the garage, the power and utility building, the guest house, the sports pavilion and the servant's quarters. The stables are about a mile down the road. This house sits on the high ground in the center of a 2000-acre working farm. Most of the meat, dairy and produce that we use in this house are produced on this farm."

"That's wonderful," Murdoch said. "I can see that I will be coming back to visit."

"It will be an honor to have the master back in residence," Raymond said.

"Raymond, before I forget, please instruct the staff not to mention that I'm in residence. I'm sure the news media will be broadcasting the news of my presence all over the place. For the moment, no one knows I have inherited the McDonald estate. But, as soon as the will is probated, it will be all over the media. I'm having the firm's PR department handle the media. They'll keep them off my back. If any outsider asks who I am, tell them I'm one of the accountants."

"Very good, sir," Raymond said. "I'll make sure that members of the staff get the message."

Murdoch completed the tour of the manor. He and Bryan had lunch and boarded the helicopter to view the other estate outside London before returning to Bryan's law offices.

"Thanks for the tour, Bryan. I'm impressed with everything I saw today. Now, let's get down to business. I will need a laptop computer with all the company software installed. I will require all the access codes to McDonald Industries mainframe computer. I also will need a roster of the key executives and their lines of communication. I will also need the same information from the Business Consultants who are running the company, and a profile of the key executives that are responsible for each division. Perhaps you can recommend a junior executive that knows the entire structure who can help me locate the information I need."

"I don't see any problem processing your request. You'll have everything by tomorrow morning. The assistant may take a little longer. The guy I have in mind is a crackerjack. He is a young, likable chap with an impressive track record. His name is Ian Taylor-Jones. He doesn't have your pedigree, but he also comes from a well respected family. The guy has a mind like a computer and knows where the bodies are buried. I think I can persuade your CEO at McDonald to turn him over to you. I'm sure he's savvy enough to realize the brownie points he'll gain in giving up his number-one to the new boss. Of course, he could be a two sided sword for you, Murdoch. I don't know Ian that well. I don't know how loyal he is to Duncan McBride, his boss."

"See if he can meet me for dinner tonight," Murdoch said. "If he's not a fit, you can find another candidate."

"Hold on, let me have my secretary try to reach him right now," Bryan said. He picked up the phone and talked to his secretary. Then asked, "What's next on your list?"

"I've decided to check out of the Hilton and work out of McDonald Hall. I like that place and would feel more comfortable working there. I hope this does not create a problem for you?"

"No, not at all," Bryan said. "I heard what you told Raymond, and I agree with your assessment. I can take care of everything at this end and we can communicate by email and cell phone."

The telephone rang, "Please put Ian through," Bryan said.

"Hello, Ian, the big boss called and wanted to know if you are free to have dinner with him? Good thinking, Ian. I knew I could count on you. His name is Murdoch McDonald and he registered at the Hilton. Seven would be a good time. Thanks, Ian, let me know how you make out? Talk to you tomorrow."

Bryan smiled, "That guy is smooth, and I could almost hear the wheels spinning in his brain. Ian never wasted a moment on questioning me about the appointment. He answered immediately, 'My pleasure. What is his name, where is he staying and at what time does he want me to be there.' It is a pleasure to deal with a sharp guy like Ian. Of course, it doesn't hurt that you are the big boss."

Murdoch smiled, "Don't sell yourself short, I think you're a smart, savvy guy yourself. I like you and I trust you, Bryan. I have a feeling that we will be working together for a long time to come. I tell you this; I intend to take an active roll in running the McDonald Corporation and I'm going to need smart people like you to support me."

"Thanks for the kind words, Murdoch. I'll help you in any way I can."

"Good," Murdoch said. I need to head back to my hotel and make a few calls. I'll give you the feedback on Ian tomorrow morning."

                           

"Hi, Sweetheart, it's good to hear your voice," Ryan said. "How did your day go?"

"Great! It was quite an eventful day. For openers, my trustees released 25-million dollars to be deposited in my personal bank account. After meeting the bank President, Bryan and I flew to McDonald Hall, my estate in Northern Scotland, where I met my household staff. Ryan, the place is magnificent. Every room is perfect; it's loaded with fine art paintings, by the masters. The antique furnishings date back two hundred years or more. Our bedroom suite is breathtaking. You must fly out here next weekend."

"It sounds wonderful, Murdoch. Look, why don't you go ahead and make the reservations. I talked to Charles this morning; he said that he didn't need you on the case for now. He would only need you later when his people have gathered all the information. He also said that it would be a good idea for me to get out of Atlanta for now. At least while Nat and Vera are playing their little games. He said they were intensifying their activities with their detective agency and with that psychiatrist, Dr. Bain, who owns Sunnyvale Sanatorium in south Georgia. He doesn't like that development at all. He has assigned some additional men to the case. He already has two undercover agents working at Sunnyvale now. Charles leaves nothing to chance."

"I'm scared for your safety, Babe," Murdoch said. "If anything happens to you, I'll put a contract out on Vera, your father and Nat, and I've got the money to do it, my love."

"Don't worry, Murdoch, everything is under control. You go ahead and make the reservations."

"Okay, Baby, I've got to run; I have a meeting in twenty. I love you and I miss you so much; good night, my sweet prince."

"I love you too; talk to you tomorrow."

Murdoch was watching the news when the house phone rang. It was the front desk asking if he wished them to send up a Mr. Taylor-Jones. Murdoch told him to send him up. Five minutes later the suite doorbell rang. Murdoch opened the door and welcomed Ian.

"Thank you for coming on such short notice," Murdoch said. "Before we begin I would like you to look over the dinner menu. We'll be eating here so we can chat in privacy."

Murdoch wrote down their orders and called room service.

"As you know, I'm the sole beneficiary of my uncle's estate. It came as quite a shock to me as you can imagine. I only learned about this shortly after my arrival yesterday. From what Bryan Stewart tells me, the assets are quite extensive. I need to know exactly what I've inherited, Ian. That is why you are here. I asked Bryan to recommend a man who knew the workings of the McDonald Corporation, first hand, and he recommended you as that person."

"Yes, sir, I can see your predicament."

"Before we go any further, please call me Murdoch. I need someone with your knowledge to sit down and explain the inner workings of the McDonald Corporations. Bryan said you were good and knew the company, as well as the international divisions. Would you be able to break free for the next couple of weeks to help me learn the basics?"

Ian smiled, "Why did you single me out for the job, I would think that my boss, Duncan McBride, would be the best man for the job?"

"I have my reasons, Ian. Its true that McBride is the CEO at McDonald, and I sure he knows all there is to know about the operations of the McDonald Corporations. But, would he be the best man to help in my quest for detailed knowledge of the firm. McBride is the CEO and has other more pressing matters on his mind, than to sit and hold the hand of the new owner. I'm convinced he would be excellent at giving me the big picture, after which he would turn me over to you, or one of his other junior executives for a more detailed explanation of operations."

"I have a curious mind, and I plan to learn everything about this business and how works. I don't plan to be a hands-on administrator. I do want to make sure that the right people are heading up the company. From what I understand, my three uncles were not very good leaders and contributed very little to the family business. I feel I have the advantage over them, Ian. I have worked hard for everything I have until this estate fell into my lap. I've have never taken anything for granted. After I've learned about my family's businesses and holdings, I will know how to proceed."

"You are the only person I've talked to at the McDonald Corporation. Duncan McBride is not aware of this meeting. If you are currently working on a project that is more demanding of your time, I will understand and find someone else. The decision is yours."

"I'm always working under drop-dead projects," Ian said. "That is the essence is my job. Whether it be to help honcho a new development project, or troubleshoot a problem in one of the divisions. Everyone in the company has been on the edge since your uncle died. The upper echelon has come up with so many scenarios about the future of the company that they are worn out. The rumors were that there were no heirs. Then we received word that an heir had been located in the United States. We only learned of that yesterday. I will be more that glad to work with you for as long as you need me. I think it would be wise if Duncan did not know of our meeting tonight. It would be better if you spoke to him directly and requested my services. I would approach it in the same way you did with me tonight. That Bryan suggested me as a good choice to work together. He will certainly honor your request without objections."

"Good, it's settled. I'll call Bryan and have him arrange a meeting with Duncan tomorrow morning. Oh, one small matter, I will be working out of McDonald Hall, will that be a problem for you?"

"Not at all," Ian said. "I hope you're going to be able to put me up for the time we're working together. It is a long commute from London."

"Of course," Murdoch said. "If you need to be home on the weekends to see the wife and kiddies, you can use the chopper service to get you to and fro."

"I'm not married in the conventional sense. But, I do have a significant other."

"That fine with me," Murdoch said. Does the firm own any corporate aircraft?"

"Yes, we do, our operations are world-wide so we found that it was essential that we had our own fleet. We currently own six jet aircraft and have just accepted delivery on two helicopters. The two largest Jet aircraft are 737's and the other four are smaller executive jets. One 737 was set aside for your uncle's private use. That was one of his little perks. Since he died, Duncan has pressed it into regular fleet service."

"We'll have to change that, won't we. I want that aircraft to stand by for my own personal use. I have a touchy situation back home that may require me to fly back at a moments notice. Do we have any company aircraft in the United States at the present time?"

"We have two of the smaller jets in use in the U.S. They are kept in New York."

"Good, well, I see our dinner has arrived."

 

                                 
To be continued
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