Chapter 10 – End of an Era
HJ and Anna smiled. They were toughening their granddaughter up for eventual control of the empire. She had to learn to handle situations like these and bounce back. That was the Morgan way
When Seth’s anger had cooled he began to take inventory of it all. He hadn’t thought of marriage before MJ’s visit but thinking it over he discovered he loved his childhood friend and hadn’t realized what those feelings were. All of a sudden he was filled with joy at the discovery. Grabbing the phone, he punched in her cell number but when she answered and he spoke she hung up on him. He was distressed and angry with himself for not being more careful with his words last evening. So this was it. The found was now lost.
A week later Seth’s secretary placed a note on his table which indicated a Trudy Carter was on the line and the matter was urgent. He smiled at the change of name from Morgan to Carter and immediately put other calls on hold to take her call. He greeted her eagerly apologizing for his disgraceful behaviour in their last phone call. He asked for her forgiveness.
The voice on the other end of the line was cold and professional. She told him her grandparents had been killed in a plane crash at one of their corporate sites in Brazil. She was responsible for caring for corporate operations now. She had the best of accounting and legal brains at her disposal but she trusted none of them.
“I trust you, can we deal with each other as professionals? I’d like to hire you to help me negotiate my way through all the legalities involved. I’d count it a favour for old time sake if you’d help me. Once it’s all over our relationship will be over and you’ll be well compensated for your help.”
Seth did something he’d never have dreamed he’d have done. It was unmanly! He sobbed on the phone and assured her he’d drop everything to help her negotiate the complexities of her inheritance.
Within an hour Seth had arranged with others to care for his portfolios and was with Trudy at the Morgan headquarters. Trudy sat silently watching it all as Seth negotiated for the next week with lawyers and accountants who were indignant that Seth was the go between a silent observant Trudy and them. They had an ally in Rebecca Morgan who’d taken up residence in the mansion and was seeking ways to get around her parent’s clear will in favour of Trudy. Eventually Trudy threatened to have her removed for trespassing if she was seen at headquarters again and the ageing woman gave up the fight.
There was a tiny apartment at headquarters where Seth set up camp while he ploughed through the spider web of corporations, some with dodgy offshore companies set up to minimize taxes. The complexity was getting him down so he had Trudy phone for Carol who flew back from Hong Kong. Both of them worked their way through the shadowy web until they’d a thorough understanding of the situation.
Seth watched Trudy anxiously. She sat like a stone goddess watching it all unfold but showed a clear comprehension as it was explained to her by Seth and Carol.
Then Seth remembered something Trudy had confided in him at the time of their first date. She hoped to be reunited with her father one day. So he took time to search through the internet to try and find a contact point. Then Carol who recognized what he was trying to do came up with the trump card. The private eye who’d served old MJ and Anna over the years. All the Carter files were produced and a contact made.
The next morning a red eyed Seth appeared with an ageing executive by his side. Trudy beckoned them over and asked why Seth had bought this man in at such a time.
“Trudy, I want you to meet your Father Jed Carter.” Trudy who’d suffered enormous tension the past couple of weeks fainted. When she woke she was being cradled in the arms of a Father she’d longed to have in her life all these years. Instinctively she reached out for the familiar leg she’d retreated to as a child when things were rough. Both Father and daughter shed tears as they clung together.
She turned to Seth in gratitude. “Thank you, thank you so much!”
Seth nodded happily. “If you like Trudy I can orient your Dad who happens to be one of the top lawyers in another state and he could take over from me?”
Trudy looked at Seth and smiled at him for the first time in several weeks. “Not a chance Seth, I believe my Grandfather made a proposition to you that seems to have irritated you at the time. I’m wondering if he were to be here today what your answer would be? He was waiting for your answer?
For the first time in weeks Seth felt content. He turned to Jed Carter, “Mr Carter I’d like to ask your permission to marry your daughter.”
“You have my permission Seth.”
“Trudy, will you marry me?”
“Yes you dummy! Now get back to work and help me get rid of all these companies.”
Trudy with the help of Seth and her father Jed converted the Morgan Empire into a public listed holding company, divesting her fortune to form a charitable trust which she managed.
Long serving employees of Morgan were granted shares in the newly listed company as a reward for years of faithful service.
Rebecca Morgan was gifted the Morgan Mansion and a lifetime annuity which kept her in the manner she’d always yearned for until she died twenty-three years later. Mother and daughter were never reconciled.
Trudy married Seth two years after the death of her grandparents.
Seth accepted the invitation to join Harvard faculty and produced scholarly books on business and economics and also made many contributions to business journals.
Carol went on to be President of the public listed Morgan holding company and served in that position for five years before getting married and joining her husband in a start-up company dedicated to windmill power technology.
Trudy and Seth living in driving proximity to Harvard made the Trudy Morgan Ranch their retreat from the pressure of their respective professional interests. But there was a slight change in the name to Trudy Anderson Ranch. At one stage Trudy had considered changing it to the Carter Ranch but finally decided on her married name.
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