Page 14 of Marked With Love

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Grams making this house a smart home really takes away from the whole rustic-haunted feeling. My grandmother is way too good with technology. Who am I kidding? The woman is amazing at everything she puts her mind to.

I stumble toward my bathroom and get myself together the best I can. I pile my hair on top of my head and then pop a few Advil and chug a bottle of water before brushing my teeth.

I snag a pair of jean shorts and an oversized shirt before pulling on a pair of sneakers. The second I enter the study, I turn around to leave.

“Get your butt back here,” Grams orders.

“I don’t like George.” I motion to the man in the impeccable suit. “He’s my archenemy.” My words don’t faze George, nor does my death glare, but I don’t think much does faze lawyers. “I’m not talking about gravestones or family jewels.” I hate this shit.

“This isn’t about my impending death.”

“Grandma!” I shout. I know she’s joking, but still it irks me, which is saying a lot. I’m the first person to use gallows humor.

“Oh, she’s mad. She called me Grandma,” she tells George.

Alfred walks in with a tray of toast and orange juice and heads straight for me.

“I love you today, Alf. Even if you woke me up.”

“You weren't supposed to come home last night,” Grams points out.

“Can’t all be hussies like you, Grams.” I snag the orange juice and chug half of it back before I take a bite of the toast. “So if this isn’t about death, it’s about the family trust.” Their silence is all the answer I need. It’s too early in the day to talk about all this.

“Your boyfriend stole a piece of art last night.” George finally speaks.

“He’s not my boyfriend. I’m not twelve.”

“Well, he wasn’t a one-night stand either.” Grams smirks. Alfred tries to keep his face impassive, but he’s failing miserably.

“It’s his art or whatever.” I take another bite of my toast.

“A piece of art that was sold and bought for three million dollars.”

“Damn, his art goes for that much?” I hadn’t realized the extent of how sought-out Eros actually is.

“That was the original retail. It’s one of Eros Flynn's earlier works. I’m sure it appraises for several more million in today's market.”

“Don’t we like own that place or something?” I don’t know how all this trust stuff works. I drop down into one of the chairs. “We should sell all these businesses we have and make gold bars with the cash. How cool would that be? I’ve always wanted a safe with a gold bar in it. Doesn’t that sound badass?”

“Your birthday is around the corner.” Grams scribbles something down on the paper in front of her.

“I’ll need a built-in safe for it. I could slide an Eros painting in front of it to hide it,” I suggest. “See, that adds to the coolness of this place. Not this smart house crap.” I glance around the room. It’s watching me even now, I bet.

“Louis Bodycomb went to the police station this morning to press charges against the thief.”

“Wait a second.” I hold up my hand. “Louis’s last name is Bodycomb?” I laugh so hard it hurts. I know I should be worried about what’s going to happen to Eros, but I can’t help it.

“Morgan, the police are going to arrest your….” George trails off, not sure what to call Eros when it comes to me.

“Lover,” Grams fills in. I roll my eyes. “As the executor of the Hoffman Trust and the successor trustee, the art belongs to me.” She’s not wrong. It might have been my father who pulled the trigger to invest in the restaurant, but all roads lead back to Grams.

“Where are you going to hang it? It’s a pretty good piece,” I tease. Grams gives me a serious look, letting me know now is the time to shut my mouth.

“Your parents are going to hear about this. Being as your father believes he owns the restaurant, I’m sure he’ll have plenty to say about it.” Of course, he will. My father has invested in many restaurants. Well, not so much he owns them, but the family trust does.

Chefs are typically the face of the restaurant. It’s rare a chef truly owns a restaurant. It’s usually the investors, for the most part. The chef will help in the design and menu, and if a profit starts to turn, from my understanding, they will get a percent on top of their salary.

“Hey, he’s your son.” He does think he owns everything when in reality it’s all Grams, and she keeps his leash tight.

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