Raymond knocked gently on Ryan's open suite door and said, "Master Ryan, Master Murdoch called to let you know he will be home in time for dinner. He said he tried, but was unable to reach you on your cell phone."
Thank you, Raymond."
Ryan was typing on his laptop as Murdoch walked into their suite. He went over to Ryan and kissed him on the cheek. "Hi, baby, have you been pounding the keyboard all afternoon?"
Ryan smiled, "That's all I've been doing all day. I'll be glad when they find the killers. It takes much longer to communicate by email. But with the time difference between us, it's the best way to handle the messages. So how did your meeting go today?"
"We got a lot accomplished, and everything is moving along as we expected. Your Frank Irving, of Nippon, is one sharp guy. He was very helpful and had the answers to most of our questions. I feel confident that he has your best interest at heart. He is very loyal to you and is not going to let anyone take advantage of your company."
"I've only met him in person a few times," Ryan said, "but I liked the man, and from all reports, he is a competent manager. I've spoken to him many times and have been impressed with his knowledge of the company, and he knows what is going on in our industry. He was recruited by Ted some years ago from the top software firm in our industry. He didn't come cheap, I can tell you."
Murdoch said, "He's worth every dollar you paid for him as far as I'm concerned. Would you like to head down to the sitting room for a glass of wine before dinner?"
"Now, that sounds wonderful," Ryan said. He turned off his computer and walked over to Murdoch to hug him. "How about that kiss you owe me?"
Murdoch kissed Ryan and led the way down the stairs to the sitting room. He poured them each of glass of wine and said, "How was your day; anything interesting happen while I was gone?"
Ryan told Murdoch of his conversation with Charles Lattimore and how far they had progressed in their investigation.
"That is great news, Ryan. It only takes one small piece in the puzzle to start the ball rolling. I feel that Charles and his team will start adding the other pieces to it."
Ryan said, "I hope so, sweetheart. Is Ian joining us for dinner?"
"No, Ian elected to stay in London to iron out some details from our meeting today. I'm confident that Ian and Frank are going to work out the logistics of folding in the two software groups that you and Sandy acquired."
"I spoke to Ted this morning and he's putting a team together that will do the job. He'll be contacting you and Sandy for your input on which men you will assign to the transition team. I think everything will run much smoother when that committee is up and running."
Raymond knocked on the door and entered, "Master Murdoch, dinner is ready to be served in the family dining room."
"Have the children been called to dinner?" Murdoch asked.
"Yes, sir, the four older children will be joining you in the dining room. The younger children had their dinner at five."
"Thank you, Raymond." They finished their wine and walked to the dining room.
Ryan was working at his desk the next morning when his cell phone rang. Ryan recognized the caller as Stewart Kline and answered the call. "Good morning or good afternoon, Stewart, this must be important for you to call this time of day."
Stewart said, "You're not going to believe this but the Rollins family is suing Templeton Aero & Equipment for two-million dollars for the loss of their son."
"Now why does that surprise you?" Ryan asked. "They want to recoup their investment. Their son was just another pawn in their sick game. I'm not going to even ask on what grounds they are suing. It's a frivolous lawsuit. To me, they are just creating a smoke screen as a cover-up. By the time that comes to trial they will be accused of causing the crash. Can you get the list of people that visited my father, Vera and Nat in jail?"
Stewart said, "I can use some of my clout to find out for you. I don't know what good it will do you, they are allowed to receive screened visitors. That would include relatives, lawyers clergy, etc. The Sheriff usually makes visitors fill out a form and checks it with the detainee and their lawyer."
Get the visitors list on all three of them, and I'll have Charles check them out. I have a feeling that the one hundred grand that Mrs. Rollins gave the agency is a drop in the bucket to what it would cost to hire a team to take care of that operation. For an operation like that you're talking many hundreds of thousands of dollars. After I talked to Charles yesterday, it got me thinking about the one-hundred thousand dollars that the Rollinses sent to Seymour Helms. Helms is too smart to show a money trail. I'm convinced that the money was a retainer fee. The Rollinses are street smart and have been on the shady side of things for many years. I have a feeling that Vera and family have access to a safety deposit box somewhere, and maybe the old lady can access the account. I think that the money was disbursed after I slipped their net. I know that my father has an off shore bank account that cannot be traced. Maybe Vera has access to some of those funds as well. This may be all speculation on my part, yet the 100K does not make sense. It is not enough to pay off the guys that Charles and Michael Lee have discovered. I'm convinced that the four guys who were involved in planting that explosive device where paid a lot more than 100 grand. We will know more after Charles and his team completes their investigation. Maybe one of these guys was dumb enough to start spending some bucks."
Stewart said, "What you said make sense, Ryan. I'm sure a guy like Seymour Helms would not get involved with this unless there was a big payoff up front. Look, I'll go through the motions on the lawsuit anyway. As far as everyone is concerned you are still missing."
"Good," Ryan said, "let them think they were successful. Please keep me posted, Stewart."
After lunch with the children, Murdoch and Ryan changed into their exercise gear and jogged around the estate for an hour. Then they showered and they returned to work. Ryan used the video conference room to meet with his board and approved the plans that his division COO presented.
A while later, Murdoch called Ryan on his cell phone, "Ryan, I plan to break and go horseback riding with the older kids as soon as I change. Would you like to join us?"
Ryan said, "No, babe, I need to spend some time in the nursery with the younger children. I don't want them to feel they are being neglected. They are so cute at this age and I want to enjoy their company while I can. Call me when you return."
Murdoch chuckled, "Those kids are smart for their age, and maybe you'll even learn something from them. We won't be too long; we'll be back in plenty of time before dinner."
Ryan was sitting with the children in the nursery, reading a story they selected, when their nanny walked into the room. "Excuse me for interrupting you, Mr. Spencer, but there is a telephone call for you from Stewart Kline and he said it was urgent."
"Thank you, Helen. Will you ask Mr. Kline to call me back in ten minutes on my cell phone? When you come back, will you finish reading this story to the children? I'm afraid this call will take some time."
"Yes, sir, I will be right back to finish the story for the children."
Ryan said, "Well, kids, I'm sorry I can't continue to read to you, but I need to talk to my lawyer. Helen will be back to finish the story, and I'll see you all at dinner."
Helen returned and Ryan went to his suite to speak with Stewart. His phone rang as he entered the suite. "Hello, this is Ryan."
"Ryan, I emailed you a copy of the visitors list for all those who visited your father and the Rollinses. There were quite a few visitors to see Nat and Vera over the months. I was surprised to see Seymour Helms name on Vera's list of visitors."
Ryan said, "I'm curious to learn about the visitors my father had."
"Other than his lawyer and a few of his old friends," Stewart said, "he had very few visitors; certainly not the same people that visited Nat and Vera."
"Well, that's interesting," Ryan said. "It's also a good sign. I know most of his old cronies and they would not be the ones he would take into his confidence about my kidnapping, or be involved with the death of the people on that plane. I can't say as much about the Rollinses or Seymour Helms. Thanks for getting that list so promptly."
"No problem, Ryan, I was glad to send it on to you. I took the liberty of sending a copy to Charles Lattimore. Charles said he tried to reach you on your cell phone earlier. He asked that if I reached you, to ask you to call him."
"I'll do that right away, Stewart, thanks again and call me if you have any other news on the case."
Ryan placed a call to Charles.
"Hello, Charles, I understand you tried to reach me?"
"Hey, Ryan, I though you would like to know that Mike was able to trace the bomber. He is a second tier terrorist that is well known. He is a Pakistani citizen traveling on a Pakistani passport. Mike's sources said he entered this country through Canada and departed Atlanta for France after the plane crash. The aircraft technician that worked on the metal compartment where the bomb was planted is Rod Brandt, a licensed technician who was hired by Federal Aviation Corporation three months ago. Mike's team was able to find him and have developed a complete dossier on him. Mike is talking to the FBI and FAA about Rod and has documented all the solid evidence he has on him. The ball is in the Fed's hands now. Mike did say that Rod came into a windfall of $500 thousand. He also learned that Rod is a gambler and was into the bookies for over one-hundred grand. All of a sudden he pays off his loan shark in cash. The wife is sporting a new SUV and is renovating their kitchen. What does that tell you?"
"Bingo!" Ryan said, "This is great news."
"I have even better news for you," Charles said. "My men were able to check out Sam Chase, one of AAA Agency's shady detectives. He has connections to the underworld. Sam is the guy that was with Seymour Helms when he visited the Airport and the Federal Aviation company. They both had forged FBI credentials. Sam is also an expert on security alarm systems. He was checking out the security system at the Federal Aviation Corp. We also have bugs and surveillance on him, we have checked out his bank accounts, and have followed his activities since we learned about him from the surveillance tapes at the repair facility. The Government has issued a warrant for the arrest of Seymour Helms, Sam Chase and Rod Brant. According to the Federal Prosecutor, Danny Sullivan, the Grand Jury handed down indictments on them and they are already in custody. They are facing five counts of first degree murder, conspiracy, and a few more charges that the Prosecutor will throw at them. I have a feeling that Rod Brandt will plea bargain. All three are facing the death penalty. I would like to see Seymour Helms get the death penalty. Once he and his murderous group start to talk, I am certain that the trail will lead to the Rollins family."
Ryan said, "This is the best news I've heard in a long time. Maybe my luck is changing for the better. I want to thank you and Mike for your hard work."
Ryan's phone rang. "Hello."
"Mr. Spencer, this is Craig. If you can spare me a few minutes, I would like to speak to you about your brothers."
Ryan said, "If you can break away, I can see you now."
Craig knocked on the open door to Ryan's suite. "Come in, Craig."
Ryan said, "What is this about Chris & Peter that I should know about."
"Well, sir, the twins have not been sleeping well for the last few days. I heard one of the boys crying in the middle of the night. When I went into their room, Peter was sobbing. I sat with him until he went back to sleep again, but the same thing has been happening to both boys for the last few nights."
Ryan said, "Did you ask them why they were waking up?"
"Yes, sir, they said they were having bad dreams about Dale."
Ryan said, "Oh, I see. They are out with Murdoch now, but I will talk to them after dinner."
Craig said, "Thank you, sir. I thought you should know. "
"You did the right thing, Craig. Thank you for bringing this to my attention."
"Yes, sir." Craig left.
Murdoch walked into their suite and kissed Ryan. "Hi, Tiger, anything new," Murdoch asked?
Ryan said, "Yes, sir, it's been a busy afternoon." Ryan told Murdoch about the news from Charles and Stewart.
Murdoch said, "That is great news, sweetheart. Maybe we will be home in time to welcome our babies."
"I sure hope so, baby, but, I won't relax until the Rollinses are in jail. They still are on the loose and still remain a threat."
Ryan asked, "How did Peter and Chris act today? Did they seem okay?"
Murdoch said, "I didn't notice anything unusual in their behavior. They did seem a little quiet today, but I attribute that to their being a little homesick for Georgia. Mind you, I feel the same way. But, why do you ask? Is there a problem with the two boys?"
Ryan said, "I don't know yet, but I plan to find out. Craig told me they both were having nightmares and I want to know why. I plan to have a chat with them after dinner this evening."
Murdoch said, "Nightmares indicate something is not right. Maybe you should talk to Dr. Goodwin; he is the child psychologist that I used for the Sean and the twins."
"Thanks, Murdoch. I decide on that after I talk to the boys."
"Okay, Tiger, I need to shower and change for dinner."
After dinner Chris & Peter followed Ryan into his sitting room.
Ryan said, "Come in and take a seat, boys, we need to talk."
After the boys were seated on the sofa, Ryan sat opposite them and said, "Craig told me that you boys are having nightmares and woke up several nights. Would you like to tell me what kind of dreams you were having that cause you to wake up in the middle of the night?"
"Were sorry that we woke Craig up," Peter said, "but we both had bad dreams about Dale. I have visions of him being blown out of the helicopter and crashing to the ground and his body is a bloody mess."
Chris said, "I dream of burning bodies lying on the ground next to the helicopter engulfed in flames from the fuel."
"I'm sorry you are having these nightmares, boys. I know what you are going through. I experienced the same kind of nightmares after I was kidnapped. It's a frightening experience and it will take time to for you to get over it. I plan to call the same doctor that helped Sean and his brothers get over the traumatic experience from the death of their father. I assure you that the people in that helicopter died instantaneously, and never knew what hit them. They did not suffer. We all loved Dale, and his death was a tragic waste. In the future, if you have any problems like this again, I want you to come to me and we will discuss what's troubling you. You are my brothers and I love you. I want you to enjoy a long and healthy life. I can assure you that once the bad guys are caught, and are behind bars, we will head back home again."
Peter said, "Thanks, Ryan, I'm still sad that Dale is dead, but I'm glad he didn't suffer. He was a good uncle. He was always there for us, and we could turn to him if we had a problem. Our parents were never around much, and when they were, they never had time for us. Dad was away most of the time. Our mother would try to have breakfast with us several times a week. It was rare that all of us sat down to dinner together, they usually had dinner guests and we weren't invited."
"Yeah," Chris said, "it's nice having our meals with you and Uncle Murdoch, and the rest of the family. You listen to what we have to say, and we feel comfortable around you. You don't jump on us if we make a tiny mistake at the dinner table, and when you do correct us, you do it in a nice way."
Ryan said, "Well, I'm pleased that you like eating your meals with the family. That is something I missed when I was growing up. Although I did have meals with my parents before my mother died, I was an only child. After my mother died, our father lived in Atlanta during the week, and I was alone most of the time. I usually had my dinner with Annie every night when I was growing up. When I attended Prep School, I lived in the dorm and spent the weekends at home. At least I had boys my own age to hang out with. I want you boys to be a part of Murdoch's extended family. It is important that we stick together as a family. As you grow older, you will learn how important your family is to you. Murdoch and I want you all to grow up to be well adjusted, health children. We hope that one day you will take an interest in our businesses and perhaps end up running our vast empire. You all have a bright future ahead of you, and the older you get the more you will realize that you can confide in your family when outsiders don't always have your best interests at heart."
"I will let you know tomorrow when we can see the doctor and get some medication to help you get a good night's sleep."
Peter said, "Thanks, Ryan, we really appreciate your advice."
"Okay, guys, why don't you run along and relax."
The next morning Ryan called Dr. Goodwin, and was able to make an appointment for the boys for 3 o'clock that afternoon. He called Grace to let her know that he was taking the boys to visit the doctor, and asked her if the other children had any problems coping with Dale's death."
Grace said, "I'll check with Helen, but I haven't noticed any problems with the others."
Ryan called Mike, his bodyguard, and told him that he would need the car at two-thirty to take the boys to the doctor's office. He asked Mike to make arrangement with the chauffer.
At five o'clock, Ryan and the boys returned to McDonald Hall from Dr. Goodwin's visit. Ryan told the boys to get ready for dinner, and asked them to let Craig know that Ryan would speak with him after dinner.
Murdoch was working on his laptop computer when Ryan walked into the library. He walked over to Murdoch and kissed him on the cheek. "Still slaving away, baby?"
"You know it, sweetheart; I'm catching up on my email. A lot of the emails are from junior executives trying to get my attention, and to let me know how smart they are. I usually pat them on the head and tell them to speak to their boss about any problems. Eventually they get the message and stop sending me emails. How did it go with Dr. Goodwin today?"
"I thought it went well, and the boys feel a little better about their loss. After their evaluation, the good doctor told me that both boys needed more sessions. He said they are confused about what is happening to their parents. They don't understand why they are still behind bars. They know that someone tried to hurt me, yet they cannot believe that their parents would want to do that to me. They think you are a super brother and they like living with us. Dr. Goodwin said he will fit them in, and told me that they should continue therapy when we return home to Georgia. He thinks that Carol, their older sister, should be evaluated as well. We stopped by the drug store and had their prescriptions filled. They need to take sleeping pills for the next two weeks."
Murdoch said, "Well, I sure hope they will accept the fact that their parents and grand-parents will be away for a long time. I know it's a lot for a couple of nine year olds to accept, but they're smart kids and with the right treatment they will bounce back."
"I'm convinced they will." Ryan said. "We have a wonderful bunch of children, and with the love and care we are prepared to give them, I'm sure they'll turn out just fine."
Murdoch said, "I feel the same way, sweetheart. How would you like a glass of wine before dinner?"
Ryan said, "That would be delightful; we can't neglect our quality time together."
After dinner Ryan talked to Craig and told him what Dr. Goodwin had to say about the boys. Ryan said after handing Craig the boy's medication, "Craig, the doctor wants the boys to take the sleeping medication every night before bedtime. Here is the therapy schedule the doctor has given me. I would like you to take the boys to their appointments. I'll be receiving a progress report every week on them. He has also scheduled an evaluation for Carol. I'll be taking her on her first visit tomorrow. I've told Grace and Carol of the appointment."
Craig said, "I'll make sure they take their medication every night."
"Thank you, Craig. Please let me know if the boys are having any more nightmares."
"Yes, sir, I hope this medication will help them to get a good night's sleep."
The families were having breakfast in the small dining room. Ryan said, "Children, may I have your attention, Murdoch and I will be entertaining two business associates this week. They are Sandy Dunnlap and Dan Kelly, they're our friends and business associates from Georgia. They are only visiting us for a few days, but the four of us will be commuting to London during the day and be home for dinner every evening. However, they may be here longer depending on how much time it takes to close the deal on the three companies we are purchasing."
Sean said, "Where do they live in Georgia, Uncle Ryan?"
Ryan said, "They are northwest of Atlanta in a town called Dunnlap. They have three boys ranging in age from 5 to 13 years old, with two more on the way. I've invited the whole family for a visit when we return to Georgia."
Sean said, "That's super, Uncle Ryan."
"Grace has told us how well you are doing with your school work," Murdoch said, "so as a reward we are flying over to Paris for two days to visit Disneyland. How does that sound, kids?"
All the children smiled and clapped to express their excitement. Murdoch said, "We'll be staying overnight in Paris and returning home in three days."
The children were all excited and were asking a million questions. Ryan and Murdoch chuckled. Murdoch said, "Grace has all the brochures about Disneyland and will explain everything about the trip and the park. Now if you're finished with your breakfast, why don't you run along and find Grace?"
The children were blushing with excitement and thanked their uncles and left the breakfast room. Ryan smiled, "It's delightful to see their smiling faces, and you know it doesn't take much to make them happy. They need this kind of break every once in awhile. We should plan this kind of trip for them on a regular basis. I think living in seclusion on this estate can become too smothering for them. I know we keep their day busy with activities, but they don't have enough interaction with other children their own age. When we return to Oakdale Farms, I plan to do something about that. Sean was saying how much he missed Templeton Manor. But I think that has a lot to do with his other friends in school and the kids that live on the Farm."
Murdoch said, "I think you're right, Ryan. It's easy for us because we are a couple, and have our businesses to keep us busy most of the time, yet I feel guilty in not spending enough time with our children. We must make more time each day to be with them. Heck, we only spend a few hours a day during mealtime and an occasional few hours every other day, time permitting."
Ryan said, "I know, sweetheart, and I feel guilty about that. I realize we have an excellent staff taking care of them, but we really need to spend more time with them every day. At least one of us should. Let's discuss this later and come up with some sort of a schedule. That was brought home to me the other day when I spoke to Chris and Peter. They told me that their parents spent very little time with them, and when they did, they made them feel it was like an effort. I don't want that to happen on my watch. It would be different if they had loving grandparents that could dote over them, but they don't have any. They only have us. I want to be a good parent. I don't want a staff member raising them, even though the staff are the very best. I also want to take care of our babies ourselves."
"I feel the same way, baby." Murdoch said, "I won't mind getting up in the middle of the night to feed and change them, we can take turns. They are our own flesh and blood. I want to change them and feed them their bottles in the morning and even in the middle of the night."
"I agree," Ryan said. "I don't mind getting up every other night to take care of them."
Murdoch said, "I promised Sean that I would take him over to see his farm this afternoon. He wants to make sure the caretakers are doing their job. He feels it's up to him to make sure everything is taken care of. I asked him if it's too soon after his father's death to be visiting the old homestead, but he feels that enough time has passed. He told me that he will always remember the happy years he spent with his family. I am so proud of that boy, he thinks like an adult at times. He's had to grow up fast for the past several years after his dad's stroke."
"Yes," Ryan said. "You need to do this for Sean; it's part of the grieving process. It's another step in the closure of his parents passing. It's good for him to realize that you're there for him."
Murdoch smiled, "You know, I'm glad I married you. I've come to realize that you are not just another pretty face."