Harmony, New England: 2011
It has been three years since Tabitha had saved the town from a raging volcano. In that time, Theresa had been happily married to Ethan, and they were expecting a third child. They had been traveling the world going to such exotic places as Bermuda, Greece, the Bahamas, and Italy. Things weren't going as smoothly back home, however. Crane Industries had been in financial straights for quite some time, and Julian had been working to save the company. It didn't help matters that Alistair had used the company's money to fund his numerous evil schemes. He had also regularly lied to his board of directors, as well as embezzling the company funds. Alistair had slowly been running the company into the ground for years, either being too blind to see what was right in front of him or simply not caring for the likelihood of his employees, the latter was probably the case.
Alistair's activities had also provoked an investigation by the FBI and IRS, tying Julian up in litigation for months.
The pressure was beginning to get to him. Vincent had been locked up in a maximum security prison, with regular visits with a psychiatrist, but so far there had been no progress. Was his son doomed to be a freak and psychopath for the rest of his life? Fox was dead, that night still weighed heavily in his mind. As for Pretty, she had been confined to a mental institution out of state, and would probably remain there for the foreseeable future; her doctors hadn't expressed any optimism. As much as he hated to admit it, his daughter would probably never function in normal society ever again.
Julian wondered where he had gone wrong. Should he of been a more attentive parent when his children were small? He had been mostly absent during their formative years, jetting from one place to another on business for Alistair. What really hurt Julian was the revelation that Ethan wasn't his biological son, but despite that, he still cared deeply for the person he raised to be a man, his boy. That wouldn't change whether his blood flowed through Ethan's veins or not.
The only person who managed to reach adulthood in one piece was Fancy, no thanks to his father that is. Fancy adored her grandfather, he had once read her bedtime stories and sat her on his knee, showering her with gifts, fancy toys, expensive cars, jewelry, you name it he bought it for her. She was the only person he considered a "true" Crane in recent years. That all ended when Fancy finally found out for herself what kind of man Alistair truly was. She had been kind to him, she was the only friend he had in the world, and he more or less spat in her face in return.
And Vincent, oh Vincent. The very thought of him made Julian sick to his stomach. How wrong was it for Julian to detest his own son? He knew it was wrong to feel that way, but he just did.
Best not to dwell on that he thought to himself. Where was he?
Then his mind wandered onto his father, Alistair. Yes, the great and powerful Alistair Crane. The evil, vile, piece of filth called Alistair Crane. He had once been a somewhat caring, if distant father, but that was a long time ago. What happened to turn his father into such a harsh man? So evil and deranged? He had more or less ignored his sister Sheridan in favor of Julian. Alistair had been molding him for years into the ideal son and businessman, and for a while, Julian was his right-hand man. When his father said jump, he jumped, no questions asked. Heaven help you if you didn't do precisely what Alistair said when he said it.
Julian pondered all of this as he drove home. Having been momentarily pulled from his thoughts, he glanced down at his watch.
10:35 it read.
"Blast it." Julian said to himself; Eve usually went to bed around nine. More than likely she would be fast asleep when he got home. It killed him to spend so much time at the office, and so little time with his wife. Julian made his way up the hill where the Crane mansion sat. He then drove down the driveway that was concealed by numerous trees and shrubbery.
Warily, he opened the car door and stepped out. Julian let out a stretch and began to walk towards the opulent house. He walked down the sidewalk and up the stairs to the door. Unlocking it, he stepped inside, where he set his keys down on a nearby table and let out a sigh. The house was dark, Eve had gone to bed hours earlier, and the servants had all gone home.
Not making a peep, Julian made his way toward the wine cabinet and poured himself a drink, brandy on the rocks, and took a seat on the couch.
"Cheers." He said to no one in particular as he raised his glass and took a sip. After sitting in the dark room for close to thirty minutes, Julian put away the glass and made his way upstairs. Opening the door to his bedroom, and taking care not to wake the sleeping Eve, Julian quietly made his way inside. He slowly sat down on the soft bed. Just then Eve let out a groan.
"Julian... Julian is that you?" she asked, half asleep.
"It's only me, my love... Go back to sleep," he said as he kissed her gently on the forehead. Lying on his back, Julian pulled the covers over himself. Perhaps tomorrow would be better?
Before he knew it, the night had come and gone, and the sun began to rise. Downstairs, the Cranes' new butler Philippe, answered the door. His eyes went wide with shock when he saw who was on the other side. None other than Alistair Crane.
"Mr. Crane?" Philippe said.
"Out of my way," Alistair said as he brushed past him, he came so close he bumped Philippe's shoulder.
"Mr. Crane, I'm not sure you should be here."
"Well, I didn't ask you. Now did I?" Alistair replied rudely.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Eve asked as she made her way down the stairs wearing a robe.
"I live here!" he yelled.
"You know very well you're not welcome here!" she replied.
"Well, it is my house. My name is on the deed. Therefore, I'll come and go as I damn well please!"
"As a matter of fact, father..." Julian began, having appeared on the stairway. "No... You won't," he said, he had gotten in his father's face, more or less whispering the last part.
"And how's that?" Alistair asked.
"I had your name removed from any and all documents having to do with the ownership of this house. As it stands..." he began, stepping towards his father. "You're trespassing. Now you can either leave of your own volition, or I'll call the police and have them throw you out of here..."
"Ooh, Sam Bennett and his band of miscreant do-gooders he calls, "officers," I'm scared!"
"What exactly is it you came here for, father?" Julian asked, half interested.
"I came here to convince you to do what needs to be done."
"And what would that be?"
"Do you really have to ask, son?"
"Just come out and say it, father... What is it exactly you want?" Julian asked tension could be felt in the room.
"What I want," he began to speak, taking a few steps toward his son. "Is my company back. I want Crane Industries!"
"You must be more deranged than I thought, to think I'd willingly give it back... The answer is no."
"Nobody tells me no, most of all my own son..."
"Well then, I'm afraid you're going to have to get used to it then. Besides, I'm more than qualified to lead Crane Industries," he turned away and approached the cabinet to pour a drink.
"Don't give me that garbage, you couldn't lead ants to a picnic Julian, what makes you think you can lead my company?"
"First of all, it's not your company; It hasn't been in years. Second, you all but ran it into the ground when you were in charge. Wake up, father. The FBI is investigating us; the IRS is wondering where all those tax dollars went. Meanwhile, I'm tied up with our legal team trying to figure out a way out of this mess. We've got lawsuits left and right, it is utter pandemonium father, and it's all because of you!"
"You know, all of this could have been avoided. If you had made me CEO..."
"Avoided?! How could you possibly have avoided it?!"
"You never could hide the skeletons, Julian..."
"And what would you have done, father?"
"Simple. First I would have disposed of that dirty money..."
"Yes, the same dirty money you yourself collected from the mob..."
"Do me a favor and never interrupt me again, son..."
"Oh, by all means. Excuse me."
"And secondly... I would have paid off whoever needed paying off, and if anyone threatened to bring any other lawsuits against my company, or if any other outsiders threatened it, I'd gladly have them all killed if need be!"
"Oh, yes. There's the Alistair everyone knows and despises! What are you going to do, father? Have someone cut the brakes on the car of the woman whose son was killed in our cannery because of negligence on the part of your foreman? Or maybe you'd have the board members of the Harmony Better Business Bureau gunned down? Or maybe, maybe you'd have the mayor of Boston assassinated? Goodness knows you and him never got along."
"Matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you had Harrison Winthrop poisoned, and he didn't die of a heart attack."
"You of all people know Harrison and I were friends."
"Oh, you have friends now?"
"Look, I came here to talk. Now let's talk..." Alistair said, getting annoyed.
"I'm done talking, father... I want you out of my house, now."
"You poor, deluded fool... I could fix all your problems in an instant, I could make this whole mess disappear, and you're going to stand there and deny me what is rightfully mine?"
"Stop deluding yourself, father... Anyone at Crane who were once loyal to you, perhaps even your confidant. I've long since fired them all. You don't have anyone left in your corner, it is over."
"It's not over, son... It's not over until I say it is over!"
"Alright, Alistair..." Eve began to speak up "You've spoken your peace, now please leave!"
"You, unhand me!" he yelled, grabbing Eve's arm and twisting it.
"You let go of her!" Julian yelled, grabbing his father by the coat and shoving him backward.
"You, if you ever lay a hand on my wife again, I'll kill you. I don't know how, I don't know when, but I'll kill you."
"Good luck with that, everyone in this town has tried to kill me at one point... And it never sticks!"
"Get out of my house, father..." he said, Alistair just stood there.
"GET OUT!" he yelled.
"We're not done here yet, son... I'll be back." and with that Alistair turned around and went out the door.
"Are you alright, my dear?" Julian asked Eve, now crying and trembling.
"Yeah, I'm fine Julian... I just wish that man would go somewhere far away, and never bother us again!"
"Me too, Eve... Me too," he said as he comforted her.
Outside, Alistair's phone rang as he exited the living room onto the porch.
"What?" Alistair said as he answered the phone. "Well, it's about time you called." It was the private investigator he had hired to look into a little matter of paternity.
"Did you look into what we discussed?"
"I did..." the investigator replied.
"And?" Alistair asked.
"The tests are conclusive, and she's definitely your granddaughter. Congratulations, Mr. Crane."
Alistair chuckled at the sound of the news. Another Crane to mold. Another Crane heir to replace Ethan and his little brat.
"Well, isn't this just perfect... I really appreciate you doing this, detective."
"I was more than happy to do it... You have a good day, Mr. Crane." he hung up.
Fool. Alistair thought to himself. That idiotic detective had no idea what he had just set in motion.
"Nobody tells me no..." he said, thinking back to what Julian had said.
"I'll make Julian pay dearly for what he took from me... How surprised he'll be when he finds out I stole yet another child from him." He took a picture out of his wallet and looked at it triumphantly. It was a picture of Viki Chatsworth.
"Victoria Crane... Soon enough my dear, soon enough," he said, laughing as he walked back to his car.
End of Chapter 1