A battle of wills
Lowell St.Haldemor senior presented his son with the bare facts one bleak October afternoon.
“Playtime is over son, it´s time to shoulder the full responsibility of being a legacy heir. I won’t live forever”.
Lowell Jr hardly glanced at his father at that, used to “the speech” at this point.
“Now, you can be difficult. You are rather accomplished at that” Lowell Senior continued, impressively keeping his composure. Lowell Jr said nothing, his gaze drifting off, a sigh escaping him.
“But by the end of this year, you will be married and I expect grandchildren before I die”. Lowell Senior pulled a folder from his desk, flicking through it as he continued. “To achieve this, I will give the opportunity to get to know fifteen women, and fall in love with one of them. “
Lowell slowly raised his gaze to his father, an expression of mild surprise and slight curiosity flicking across his face.
“Have you finally gone mad?” He inquired softly.
Lowell Senior didn´t acknowledge the blatant arrogance which positively exuded from his only son.
“You will get to know these women right here in our own home. You will date them, woo them, and in the end, you will pick one to marry.” He said matter of factly.
“I don´t intend to marry, father” Lowell said, incredulously, “not in the near future, if ever”.
Lowell Senior smiled wryly, expecting as much.
“It was decided for you the day you were born,” Lowell Senior said. “Had you been a girl, it would have been different, but you are not”.
“I am not”. Lowell Jr conceded. “Nor am I interested in marriage” he continued. “I am quite satisfied with my life as it is”.
“Well, you see, Lowell” Lowell Senior said, “if you do not marry, the legacy dies with me. So, in other words, if you don´t fulfill your duty as the St. Haldemor heir, I am not risking anything by disowning you. I could find myself a younger wife and produce another heir”.
“You wouldn´t do that to mum!” Lowell Jr bristled, jumping to his feet.
“Not unless you force my hand, Lowell.” Lowell Senior said calmly. “Not unless.”
There was a brief stare down before Lowell Jr turned on his heel and stalked out of his father´s office.
Watching his only son leave in anger, Lowell Senior contemplated if it had been a victory or if they had all lost. Knowing his son, it could go either way.
So, did Lowell Jr simply get along with his father´s scheme, the ever-obedient son?
Not really, no.
Samuel and Alistair came by the house later that evening for their Wednesday game of billiards. They found Lowell in deep thought, contemplating the quickly approaching end of life as he knew it.
As Lowell told them of his father´s ultimatum, Samuel listened with a tight expression on his face, while Alistair seemed confounded.
“You are the heir, Lowell”, Alistair said carefully, “we have always known that”.
“It doesn´t mean his father can make decisions about his life, Alistair” he objected. “So, the legacy dies. Then it does!” He exclaimed.
Lowell sighed heavily, his shoulders slumping.
A wife. It was a daunting thought. Marriage… he shivered, children… oh bloody hell.
Samuel and Alistair were talking. They sounded peculiarly far away. Lowell shook his head.
“… I wonder if they already have someone in mind” He heard Samuael saying, not catching the first part of the sentence.
“I´m supposed to go through some fucking ceremony” he grunted in his hands “like that television show, The Bachelor”.
“I´ve seen that show!” Alistair piped up. “The chap gets to date a bunch of women, sending them home on by one”.
“Now, the chance of actually finding a suitable mate in that kind of scenario is rather slim” Alistair mused. “You´d have to take into consideration… “
“Fifteen women at once…” Samuel said, almost dreamily, his gaze lost somewhere above Lowell´s head.
“I do spend an awful lot of time in clubs trying to meet women…” Lowell said tapping his chin thoughtfully.
“They´d be right here!” Samuel said with a tell-tale quirk of his eyebrow. “You´d have fifteen women right here in your house, all competing for your attention”.
“How on earth would you even handle for that many women at one time?!” Alistair objected.
“I would have to find some way to keep them entertained…”
And of course, if he didn’t fall in love with any of them, there would be no marriage.