“Mother! Father! Something terrible has happened.” Jacob rushed in the open door to his parents’ suite.
He stopped short when he realized a dozen people filled the large sitting room, including two police officers, Daniel and Cassandra Ashish, all four of his older brothers—Liam in handcuffs sitting beside David Ashish.
“I guess you’re already aware.” He wasn’t sure what else to say, his emotions in such contrast to the elation of announcing his engagement just a few hours prior.
Liam and David still had glassy eyes and anger shone from within. Anger at being caught, most likely. Their clothes and faces were covered in soot. Jacob wondered how they’d been caught so quickly. Disdain filled his heart as he crept forward.
“Did you know there were people on that boat when you rammed your car toward the yacht?” Jacob couldn’t help asking. “I was on that boat. Your own brother. I was so close to that explosion I could feel the heat. You could have killed dozens of people, including me!”
Liam didn’t answer Jacob’s accusation and diverted his eyes.
“Were you a witness to the crime, son?” his father asked.
“Yes, Maryam and I were sitting on the main deck near the bow. We heard every word they said.”
“We’ll need statements from you both,” one of the officers said.
“Yes, sir, of course.”
The rest of the night was a blur with Jacob and his brothers alternating between staying with their mother, talking to the police, talking to each other, discussing the future. Finally, Jacob got a few hours of sleep before he was awakened in the late morning to convene for another family council.
The same group of family members sat together around the same conference room table as they had the previous day. But the mood in the room was much more somber.
Liam and David had been released on bail and awaited trial. Their legal troubles were far from over. They may even be deported back to Israel since neither of them were Mexican citizens.
“Liam, I want you to know that your mother and I, together with Rachel’s parents, will take care of Rachel and your baby.” Although their father’s voice was tired and frustrated, Jacob could tell he meant business. “I cannot speak for Daniel and Cassandra as to how they will handle David, but Liam, you will not receive a penny of our inheritance.”
“Oh, that is ridiculous!” Liam stood with such force his chair pushed back several feet and nearly tipped over. “We got drunk and made one little mistake and you—”
“Sit down, now!” Father rose from his chair with nearly as much force as his oldest son. “How about we discuss the million dollars I just paid the Mexican government to bail you out of jail? Or the sixty-thousand-dollar Jaguar you blew up last night? Or the two hundred seventy-five-million-dollar yacht you tried to destroy? Not to mention the twenty crew members on board plus your own brother! Was murder your intention? Or just vindication?”
Liam pulled his chair toward the table again and folded his arms across his chest, a scowl on his face.
“How about we consider that your inheritance.” Father didn’t sit back down but glared across the table at his oldest son. “Don’t spend it all in one night.”
Slowly their father’s breathing returned to normal and he turned his attention to Jacob. Lowering himself to his seat, father handed the proverbial microphone across the table.
“While unfortunately overshadowed by his oldest brother’s disgraceful behavior, Jacob has an announcement.” All eyes shifted to him.
“Thank you, Father.” Jacob sat up straight and raised his chin confidently. “Maryam and I are getting married.”
The room erupted in excited congratulations and the mood shifted. The family seemed happy to have a more positive topic of conversation as a distraction.
“How soon are you planning a wedding?” Nicholas asked. “No shotguns involved; I’m assuming.”
Jacob’s face heated and he smiled at his brother. “No shotguns. We’re choosing to wait until marriage.” He cleared his throat. “Which is why we’d like to get married immediately.”
That brought chuckles around the table.
“First I have to go convince her father to give us his blessing, and Maryam’s still holding out hope that Captain Arnold will officiate.” Jacob returned his attention to his father. “Was there anything else you needed from me? I’d like to go drag her off that yacht before her father sets sail and I’m forced to swim after her.”
More chuckles and that earned a smile from his father. “You’re free to go, son. Go rescue your princess.”
“Thank you, father.” Jacob rose from his seat and hurried toward the door, his brothers calling after him.
“Good luck!” “Hope the fish aren’t biting… or the captain!” “Wear a life jacket!”