More Than You Think You Are Part 9a
“Okay, I said, staring with fierce concentration at the bank statement in my hand. “Explain this to me like I’m a six year old.”
It had started simply enough. I was dressing after our shower, and realized that the contents of the overnight bag Skinner had given me, which consisted of three pairs of shorts, socks, two pairs of jeans and a couple of shirts was not exactly going to keep me in style. For some reason, I remember looking at my meager wardrobe and thinking ‘Armani’ which only convinced me that I was a bigger queen than I had first imagined.
The problem was, I wasn’t a queen, or the queen…of anything. I was a middle-aged man, unemployed, and the only things I had were a file folder of memories, a bag of badly fitting clothes, and a defective memory.
I couldn’t ask for more. He’d given me everything I had. From my name to the boxer shorts currently covering my ass. From food and shelter to hugs and kisses. And he’d obviously been trying to find me for a long time. Maybe even thought I was dead. And yet, here I was, and he’d done all this and more, and—
And how could I say “thanks, but give me the gold card I wanna shop.”?
Instead, I dressed quickly, lost my appetite despite the big breakfast he made (which in turn made him frown, but he didn’t comment), and then, when he asked me if I still wanted to go out somewhere, I shrugged, stood from the table and hitched up my jeans; belt less, they were a little big.
Immediately Skinner was around the table and pulling me into a hug.
“We could go shopping,” he said. “Find the right sizes?”
I shook my head, but I could tell by the scrutiny my features got that he could tell my denial wasn’t entirely honest. I tried adding a shrug and saying, “nah, I’m good.” But all that did was let the pants drop again, so I had to tug on them.
“Come on, Fox. You can’t go on with just these. I didn’t know—“ he faltered a moment, then went on. “I wasn’t sure what you would need when we got here, and I didn’t want to keep on guessing.”
“Or spending money.” The words were out of my mouth before I could stop myself, and I could feel the heat on my cheeks. I had to look away, but Skinner turned my face back to his and he was smiling.
“I’ve got something to show you,” he said, leading me to the living room.
It wasn’t the money that had me boggled. Sure, it was a lot. Okay, a staggering amount, to be honest. But big sums of money didn’t seem all that impressive to me. Or at least this one didn’t.
What I couldn’t understand is how it all wound up in a bank account with my name on it. A bank account that had been chugging along quietly collecting obscene amounts of interest for a while now, with no one tending it.
“This is your combined inheritance. When your father passed, there was a sum of money set aside for you. Your mother had the account, although the opening signature was yours, so I assume you had some knowledge of it.”
Walter paused to let me think about this, and I gave him a grateful smile. I had noticed that he was always doing this when we talked about anything from my past, from birth to this morning’s breakfast. It gave me a moment to put the piece back in the puzzle if it was missing, or reflect on the same piece if it was already there, refreshing my understanding of it. It had started from the first time we talked, and it was just another kindness that I owed him for.
I vaguely remembered a serious man with sharp features, a taste for whiskey, and—
A deep breath as something fell into place with an almost audible thump, and I could see him. My father. My father dying…
“He was murdered,” I whispered.
“The account remained untouched until your mother died,” Walter continued after letting me digest what I was remembering and learning. “Then, that spring, you sold some family property, and had your sister declared legally dead. All the monies from those activities went into the account as well.”
Walter sounded like a banker, but his eyes were kind.
“When you and Scully—“ he paused when I flinched. “When you were missing, I convinced Margaret Scully not to declare her daughter legally dead. Some legal maneuvering, and I was able to get power of attorney. Then it was just a matter of keeping up with the bank statements. Occasional deposits, from some investments you had, and of course the apartment—“
“We had an apartment?” That made sense. It explained why the house was unfamiliar.
He paused a moment, flashed that cat/mouse look at me, and then shrugged. “I kept everything intact, hoping….”
I didn’t know what to say. Images were flashing by in my head so fast it was making me dizzy; of a family I could barely remember, of an apartment that was pretty Spartan unless I was imagining things, and of a man who cared enough to—to—
What else could I do? I glanced once more at the balance on the most recent bank statement Skinner had given me, then pounced on the man, determined to hug every bit of gratitude I had into him.
“Let’s go shopping,”