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“It’s four thirty,” I said. “You have my attention until four thirty-four.”

“Four thirty-four?” He smiled. “Zero plus five is five isn’t it?”

“I’m deducting a minute for that terrible ass suit you’re wearing. My eyes can only take so much in one day.”

He laughed and leaned back in his chair, adjusting his cufflinks.

“Can I get you something to drink, sir?” A waitress stepped in front of me.

“I won’t be staying long enough for a drink.”

“He’ll have a Coke,” my father said. “I’ll have a double.”

“Yes, sir.” She walked away.

“Careful,” I said, looking at my watch once more. “I wouldn’t waste conversation time on drinks, if I were you.”

“I’m not wasting time at all. When you hear what I have to say, you won’t want to leave. It’s that important.”

“I wouldn’t count on that.”

The waitress set down our drinks and walked away.

My father picked up his glass and brought it to his lips, taking the slowest sip I’d ever seen.

“I wanted to talk to you because...” He hesitated. “I’m dying.”

I blinked.

He took another sip of his drink and his hands shook as he set it back down. “Are you going to say anything, Jake? Anything about what I just revealed?”

“I’m waiting to hear the part that’s going to keep me from leaving.”

“Fuck you, Jake.”

“That’s my cue.” I tossed back my Coke and stood up. “Would you like to be buried or cremated? I’m all for honoring a man’s last wish.”

“Wait.” He grabbed my sleeve. “Please. Please listen to what I have to say.” He begged.

“Without the time limit. If you don’t speak to me after today fine. Just give me today.”

“So, you still have a problem sticking to your word.” I yanked my arm away from him but sat down. “I’ll give you until my flight.”

“Fair enough.” He motioned for the waitress to refill our drinks and waited until she was out of earshot. “You knew your mother didn’t die in that plane crash and you’ve known for quite some time. You could’ve easily outed me, but you didn’t.”

“Not because I didn’t want to.”

“Then why didn’t you?”

“Because it would’ve hurt her too much,” I said. “That’s what you do when you love someone. You don’t intentionally hurt them.”

“No, not intentionally...” He sipped his drink. “You’ve also known that throughout his entire career, Evan has never flown a commercial plane and you could’ve easily outed him as well. Why not him?”


“Are you sure? Sure there’s not another “L” word you’re looking for?”

“No. “Future Ruin” is two words and it starts with an ‘F’.”

“Okay fine.” He shook his head. “I’ll make this conversation super quick. I want to give you my legacy, the airline.”

I raised my eyebrow. “You honestly think I would ever accept that from you?”

“What’s the difference between that and what you’re doing now?”

“I’m not perpetuating a fake image or continuing to build an empire on top of ugly lies.”

“Yet, you’re flying for me and cashing my checks.”

“Out of circumstance. I’ll be filing my resignation next week. You’re welcome.”

“I spoke to your mother about this years ago. Back when you know...” He looked genuine. “She said it was the only way she’d ever forgive me.”

“Was that before or after you designed the plane with her death date on it?” I asked. “Before or after you decided that having a wife with a brain disease was no good for your image anymore?”

“Jake, please. I’m trying here.”

“Why not Evan? He’s as despicable and morally twisted as you.”

“Exactly,” he said. “He’s just like me and we’ve already discussed why you’re the better fit.”

“Even if I was stupid enough to accept anything from you, how do you plan on explaining handing over your airline to a random stranger? You only have one son, remember?”

“I’d come clean.”

“About your first wife as well?”

“Yes.” He nodded. “I would tell everything. So, is that a yes to my offer?”

“It’s a hell no. I appreciate the offer, though. If you don’t mind, I have a flight to France in a few hours. I wish you and Evan well.”

“You said you’d honor a dying man’s wish. This is mine, Jake. This is what I want, and I also don’t want to die with you hating me.”

“You’ve lived with it all these years. Shouldn’t make that much of a difference when you’re six feet under.”

“Aren’t you going to ask me how I’m dying?” He looked more vulnerable than I’d ever seen him. “What disease it is at least?” What symptoms?”

“Doing so would imply that I cared.” I motioned for the check. “Congratulations on the success of the completed merger. I wish you nothing but the best, before you die, that is.”