Sandy was the last of his group to board his jet Sunday morning. After they reached cruising altitude and the seat belt sign was turned off, Sandy and Dan walked back to the area where the boys were sitting. Sandy said, "Boys, I wanted to let you know the schedule after we arrive home later this morning. We should be landing in less than an hour at the manor house. After everyone has settled in, I want you to change into more formal attire until after our lunch."
"The memorial service for your dad has been scheduled for noon today in the auditorium. All our friends from the ship will join us as well as the staff from my office who worked with your father. My secretary together with my PR department has sent out announcements to your school inviting any of your classmates that would like to attend the services today. The services will be brief and after the service, lunch will be served. Your father was cremated and the urn holding his ashes will be on display during the service. On Tuesday, I will be taking your fathers ashes over to London for a memorial service after which, his ashes will be interred in the grave next to your mothers. Those were his wishes. Dan and I decided that it would be too much of a strain on you to attend the service in London. Most of the people that will be attending his memorial service are the people that he worked with for many years, many of whom you did not know. Chip, Lloyd, do you have any questions?"
"Why was my father cremated?" Chip asked.
Sandy answered, "Your father lost a lot of weight and was merely skin and bones when he died. Since he wanted to be cremated, I felt that it was better to do that first, than to stare at a closed casket, since we were not going to have an open casket. In any event, it would be much easier transporting his ashes to London thus eliminate all the red tape that we would go through taking his body into England.
"Dan and I thought it would be too stressful on you guys having to go through a second memorial service in England. However, if you really want go make the trip and attend that service as well, I have no objection to taking you along."
Chip said, "I know I donít want to go through a second memorial service. You and Daddy Dan are our dads now and I would like to remember my father the way he was before he got so sick. Our family is here now and itís true, I really do not remember my fatherís friends that much. Except for seeing some of the boys I knew in school, I have no desire to visit London again."
"I agree with Chip," Lloyd said. "I donít want to return to London for that memorial service either."
"Iím glad that you boys have decided to stay home with us." Dan said. "I know we would miss you."
Sandy said, "I know itís going to difficult for you this afternoon, but you know you have Daddy Dan and me to lean on if the going gets too rough."
"We should be landing in thirty minutes from now. Everything is ready for the service with a sit-down lunch afterward. When we arrive home, I want you guys to change to a more conservative attire. Ludlow told me that he has laid out the clothes you will be wearing this afternoon."
Jeremy asked, "Will Uncles Murdoch, Ryan, and the boys be staying overnight?"
Sandy answered, "As far as I know they will be leaving after our meeting this afternoon. Uncle Peter and his family along with your grandparents will all be leaving after lunch. It should not take more than an hour. Most of the guests should be on their way home by three oíclock this afternoon. Tomorrow is a normal working day for us and a school day for you guys."
"Can we ride our horses after everyone leaves this afternoon?" Lloyd asked.
Sandy said, "Sure you can, I expect your horses will be glad to see you again. I think the exercise will be good for everyone. Now do you boys have any other questions for us?"
Dan said, "Remember, boys, you have to put together that list of the boys you want to invite on your cruise. We need to check everyone out. Keep in mind that school will be out in a couple of weeks and we will need to plan on the date we want to do this."
Jeremy said, "We have almost finished compiling the list of the guys we would like to invite. I think we will have it ready for you in a couple of days. We will need to get the addresses and phone numbers from the guys we would like to invite. If you approve of our list, then we can ask the boys if they would like to join us and would their parents agree to allow them to come with us."
"That would be fine, boys, the sooner the better."
When Dan and Sandy walked forward, Dan noticed the three of them had pulled their notebook out and were going over the list once again.
Sandy opened his laptop computer, checked his email, and saw a message from Jim Watson, asking Sandy to call him. Jim was the man who replaced Craig in England. Sandy picked up his cell phone and made the call to Jim.
"Thanks for getting back to me so soon, Sandy. I wanted to ask you for a favor."
"Whatís the favor, Jim."
"I know you are planning to fly over on Tuesday and I was wondering if my wife, Jen, could join you on your flight. She has a few boxes of household goods she would like to bring with her. She will need those things when she and the children join me in London."
"Why donít you have Jen call me this afternoon or tomorrow morning? Iíll know exactly what time I plan to leave for London. She can bring as many boxes as she wants. I am the only one flying over. I thought Hal Golden would be able to make the trip, however he is up to his eyeballs in work. There is just too much going on at headquarters right now."
"Tell me about it; I spoke to Hal the other day and he has enough on his plate at present and could not afford to take three days off."
Sandy said, "Jim please call Justin, the butler at the Shelby house, and let him know that I will be arriving sometime Tuesday. Tell him that I will call him on Tuesday to let him know the exact time I will be arriving in London."
"Will do, Sandy, and I appreciate your letting Jen fly with you on Tuesday. She wants to find a home for us in London. She also wants to check the private school system in London to see if she can enroll the kids in school here. We do not want to purchase a place just yet. We want to see how it works for us. We may have to rent a house in the suburbs. From what I understand the rental costs in the better sections of London are out of sight."
"Is everything set for the memorial for Craig on Wednesday," Sandy asked.
"Everything is a go for Wednesday, except for a couple of replies, everyone we sent an invitation has replied. The service is scheduled for Wednesday morning at eleven with a buffet lunch after the service. The private interment at the cemetery is scheduled for three oíclock. I received a call from Craigís family wanting to know when his Will was to be read. I referred them to his solicitor. I have not heard back from them since. Craig told me that everything was left in trust to his boys and that you are their guardian."
Sandy said, "For your ears only, Iím more than their guardian, Iíve adopted both boys and Iím the trustee of their estate. Craigís family disowned Craig, his wife, and the boys. There only interest is his estate. He had no use for his family, since they made it plain they had no use for his wife. They are ultra-right religious conservatives and thought Craigís wife lived a sinful life style and insisted that he not marry her or they would disown him. Therefore, from that point on they had nothing to do with Craigís family. He felt bad that his sons never had the chance to know his parents or siblings. "
"Nice people, I glad that you and Dan decided to adopt them. Those two boys are the most well-behaved and delightful children. I hate to think what would have happened if Craigís family got hold of them. For sure they would have been brain washed and be miserable the rest of their young lives."
"We love those two boys and they are very happy living in Dunnlap. I think you met our third son, Jeremy. He is a jewel and watches over his younger brothers like mother hen. They also have blended in nicely with Peteís family. They have been very close and feel they are now part of the family."
Jim said, "Iíve know Peteís family, and his kids are super. The twins scare me a bit. God, those boys are smart, but in a nice way. I was amazed at how much they knew about Peteís business and also how much they knew about the computer and software business as well."
Sandy chuckled, "Donít feel bad, a lot of people feel the same way about the intelligence those two have. At least they have been able to adjust with their superior intelligence. It can be difficult for boys like them to adjust to children and adults because their brains are so far superior to most of the people around them. Yet, Penny and Pete have been able to direct them along the right paths. They also have been in counseling. For a while, they stuck together and avoided many of the other boys their age because they found them immature and boring. Much older young men who were at their level mentally did not want two ten year olds hanging around. Dan was able to interest them in sports. In sports, boys their own age could compete with them. That was one area that the twins were equal with other boys their own age. It brought them out of the shells and they began to respect boys their own age because they were more coordinated and were superior to them. But, they learned, and have adjusted quite well."
"My three boys and the twins get along very well. Jeremy also has a high IQ as well and can converse with them on a number of subjects. I have a feeling that Jeremy is a natural when it comes to computers and software. He has developed his own little games. The twins were able to help him when he hit any glitches. Chip and Lloyd are no dummies either, and the twins act like their big brothers. Those two boys are so different, they have such a gentle nature and are so considerate of other peopleís feelings unlike other boys their age. Who could not like them?"
Jim said, "You are very lucky, Sandy, to have a ready made family fall into you lap."
Sandy said, "You are right on target there. I count my blessings every day. Well, Iíll let you go and Iíll let you know on Tuesday what time we will be arriving in London."
Family and friends were finishing their lunch in the main ballroom. Sandy tapped his wine glass and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Lloyd and Chip want to thank you for attending this memorial for their father. We will all miss him and will keep him in our hearts and mind. Dan and our children want to thank those who joined us on the maiden cruise aboard the Danny Boy. We sincerely wish it could have ended on a happier note. However, I am sure Craig is looking down on us and wishing us well. Unfortunately, duty calls us to another meeting. I wish you all a safe trip home and look forward to our visit, again; thank you."
The crowd clapped as Dan, Sandy, Ryan and Murdoch stood and left the ballroom and walked down the hall to the conference room. This is where the security teams had assembled.
After they took their seats, Chet Williams, the head of Sandyís security team stood and addressed the group.
"Mr. Dunnlap we have made some important changes in the security at Dunnlap Manor, Dunnlap Plantation and at the Templeton complex. I will cover the Security plans that have been implemented at the Dunnlap locations, and then my counterpart, Kirk Mooney, the Security Director at Templeton will take over. Many of the security problems at both agriculture complexes were similar in nature so we were able to duplicate many of the plans for each facility."
"First, let me say that that we have hired the full complement of security guards for all three facilities. Our team has approved the plans for the new guards' living quarters at Dunnlap Manor. Alex Savage said he will submit the exact cost of erecting the new barracks after you have approved the blueprints. He has arrived at a cost now for the building for the blueprint he submitted. Any changes will require a revised cost estimate which will be an add on to the original figure he has worked up. We found the plans Alex submitted to be very satisfactory. He had even added an unfinished third floor that can be made into additional bedrooms or office space should we elect to add more personnel. The plumbing and electric has been run into the space for future expansion."
"The chain link fences have been installed at all locations. The guardhouse is being installed at each of the entrances. The buildings for the guard dogs at each location are completed. The dogs and their trainers should be delivered in two weeks. We have contacted Brad Stevens, your VP of engineering and sent him the specs on the security systems that we will need for our new surveillance equipment. Mr. Stevens told me that he would see what he had in house and would contact his counterpart at Templeton Industries to get their inputs as well. He said he would have a wireless system designed for out special needs eliminating the time consuming hard wired systems."
"Mike Lee suggests that the three facilities have an early warning system that would notify all three security offices if any unusual threats are detected at any facility. This would be shared by each security director to see if a pattern exists that could possibly be a threat to all the partners. He also asked that you contact him on your secure system. That is all I have for you for now, Mr. Dunnlap."
Sandy said, "Thank you, Chet. I can see you're on top of this and Iím impressed with the job you and your colleagues have developed. I plan to take a look at the facility that Alex Savage has submitted."
Kirk Mooney, the Templeton security director, briefed Ryan, Murdoch, Dan and Sandy and Peteís security chief as well.
At the end of the briefing, Ryan said, "I thank you all for the excellent work that you accomplished in the short time youíve had to put this package together for protecting our homes and our businesses. After hearing the steps you all have taken, I feel my family and my employees are in safe hands. After the four of us have had a chance to review your plans and discuss the costs of the projects, we will proceed accordingly. The only negative feelings I have right now is how soon can we move to implement these ambitious plans you have presented to us today. Dan, Sandy, Murdoch what are your feelings about this project?"
Dan said, "I agree with you, Ryan. As Sandy pointed out, we need to move ASAP to give our approval to this project. Sandy stated early on, money is not the problem, but time is of the essence. We have too many precious lives at stake and we cannot spend the rest of our days looking over our shoulders. Our responsibility is to protect the lives of our families and our employees."
Murdoch said, "Well my friends we all agreed that we need to review the plans and give these boys our answer. I agree with Dan, time is of the essence. Ryan and I will review the proposals on the way home and we will have our answer by this evening."
Sandy said, "Dan and I will do the same. Pete gave me the go ahead to commit Dunnlap Plantation. So, gentlemen, you will have your answers this evening."
Ryan said, "Murdoch and I need to round up our children and head home. Kirk, why donít you ride back with us to Templeton Manor and we can discuss this project with you?"
"It will be my pleasure, boss. It will be nice to get back home again."
Sandy said, "Well, gentleman, I want to again thank you for your work and as Ryan said, you will have your answers by tomorrow morning." Sandy, Dan, Ryan and Murdoch shook hands with the security men and headed back to the manor house.
Sandy, Dan and the boys headed up to their suites, after seeing their guests off. Sandy stopped the boys and said, "Boys, I would like to join you horseback riding this afternoon. As soon as you are all changed into your riding clothes, why donít we meet at our suite?"
Jeremy said, "Weíll meet you as soon as we change."
Dan said, "I would like to join you guys, but I feel uncomfortable riding with this darn cast on. All I need now is to fall off a horse and break something else."
"I really should stay home and review the plans that Alex Savage submitted, but I need to spend some time with our sons. Tomorrow they will be going back to school and Iím leaving the following day. If you feel up to it, would you take a look at Alexís proposal?"
"I plan to do that after you leave. I also need to spend some time with the babies. With everything that happened today, I didnít have our usual quality time with our loved ones."
Sandy embraced Dan and kissed him. "I love you, babe. Thanks for all your support today. Tonight we can relax and enjoy our little family and make up for lost time after we put the boys to bed."
Dan said, "I love you, sweetheart, and Iím happy to be an important part of your life. I know you have a lot to do tomorrow, so I plan to accompany the boys to school tomorrow to make sure they donít run into any problems."
"Thanks, Dan, I really need to contact the security guys with our answers and to let Alex know our decision. Iíll talk to Pete after I get back from our ride."
Early Monday morning Sandy was in his library office emailing the revised plans to Alex Savage. He and Dan had made some major changes in the size of the two-man bedroom suite. Sandy decided to eliminate the suites. Instead of the two bedrooms suites that Alex had designed, with the large sitting room area, bathroom and dining area, Sandy and Dan decided on a single studio size room for each man. He felt that each man should have more privacy. He pointed out that the guards would have rotating shifts and a private room would eliminate any disturbance by a roommate, when working a different shift. He also insisted that all the building should be soundproofed. Dan had suggested a combination dining room, kitchen lounge area be added to the building as well. The main meals could be prepared in the manor house kitchen and delivered to the guards dining hall. Overall, the size of the building remained the same and cutting down on the suites allowed the space to add the dining room and lounge area. Sandy also emailed Pete a copy of the new security plans for Dunnlap Plantation.
Dan walked into the library, "Good morning, sweetheart, how goes the battle?" He walked over to Sandy and kissed him.
"I think Iím winning this skirmish, my love. My, donít you look smart this morning?"
"Well, I want to look my best when I talk to our sons' teachers this morning."
"Oh, right. Well, we will soon know how much our changes are going to add to the construction of our new barracks. I know we have increased the costs in adding a bathroom to each studio apartment, but I feel that we have added at least four more rooms to the mix. Iím not concerned about the costs, my only concern is to get these guys on the premises. They are staying at the Dunnlap Inn in town until the quarters are completed, but itís too far away to travel if we run into an emergency."
Dan said, "It canít be helped, unless you want to let them use the guest rooms on the third floor. You can always let them use the guesthouse. I'm sure they would be careful of your family antiques."
"I would only let them use the third floor or the guesthouse in case of an emergency. I donít think the old homestead guesthouse could survive with those troops."
"Are you ready for breakfast?" Dan asked. "I hear the boys marching down the hall."
"Yes sir, letís do breakfast."
Dan and Sandy walked down to the dining room. Sandy said, "Good morning men, I see you are all looking smart this morning."
The boys answered in unison, "Good morning, Daddy Dan and Sandy."
"Chip said, "Daddy Dan, we have the list of the friends we would like to invite for our cruse on the Danny Boy. If you think itís too large, we can eliminate some of the boys. You didnít tell us how many we were allowed to invite."
Dan said, "Thatís true I didnít give you the number of boys you could invite. I think that each of you can invite at least six boys, and in a pinch, ten each. Yet, I want to make sure the boys youíre inviting will get along with all the other boys that will be joining us. We donít want any poor sports along. The other reason I didnít give a number is because our security people will need to check each boy you invite, so if one or two are eliminated, you still have enough to join us on the cruise. Now if you boys want to add or eliminate anyone for the list now is the time to do it."
"Hey guys," said Jeremy, "maybe we should look over our list one more time before we give it to Daddy Dan."
"OK,"Lloyd said, "letís take another look at our list after school. Then we can hand it over to Daddy Dan."
All three boys nodded the heads in agreement. After they finished their breakfast, they asked to be excused to brush their teeth.
Sandy said, "You are excused, donít forget that Daddy Dan will be accompanying you to school today, so donít run off and leave him behind."
Jeremy chuckled, "Weíll make sure we donít leave him behind Dad, come-on guys letís saddle up."
Sandy chuckled, "Those are great kids and they all have a great sense of humor. Well, my love, I must get to the office and give them hell. You take care and I will be home for lunch. If Alex calls, you handle him. You know what we want."
Sandy and his security team boarded his 727 jet. Jen Watson was already seated in the lounge.
"Youíre the early bird, Jen. Itís good to see you again. Were you able to get all your stuff loaded?"
"Yes, thank you, Sandy. You donít realize what a big help youíve been allowing me to load my boxes on the plane. Itís enough that you are taking me to London, let alone allowing me to take all the things I will need when we move."
"Iím glad to help you and Jim out. I know you have your work cut out for you. Iím pleased that you and Jim decided to take this promotion. I feel it is the right thing to do for Jimís career. I feel you and the children will like England. The people are very kind and welcome Americans."
"Thatís good to know."
"How are you coming along with house hunting?"
"Not so good Iím afraid. Jim and I have decided not to buy a home in London, until we have lived in the area for a while. There are so many things to consider. The Personnel Department has been very helpful so far. However, itís going to depend on the location of the school the children will be attending. Jim and I have decided to send the children to private schools. Jim has spoken to some of his people and to his Personnel Director who advised him to go the private school route. He also has developed a list of a number of good private schools in the London area. We are going to zero in on a school and see what rentals are available in the area."
Sandy said, "I have not mentioned this to Jim, but Craig Shelbyís town house in London is available for rent. It should be within Jimís price range and I feel that it is something he should consider. Itís a beautiful home and has been completely modernized. It is part of my sonís estate and I want to see the right people move into the home. At present, it is fully staffed with the same people that were with Craig for many years. I suggest you and Jim consider it and I will be glad to work out a fair rental fee. We will be holding the reception there after the service tomorrow. I know Jim will be doing a certain amount of client entertaining and that house is ideally suited for that purpose. Naturally, Jim would charge those expenses off to the company. Iím sure we can come to a equitable rental fee, if you and Jim like the place."
"The home sound wonderful, and something I would like to consider."