tagIncest/TabooLast Will and Testament

Last Will and Testament


My doorbell rang. People I know normally call before they come to my house, so I was annoyed at being disturbed by a survey-taker or someone equally unwelcome, especially this late in the evening. I closed my book, went to the door, and looked through the peephole.

There was a young woman in a sundress standing outside. She didn't have a clipboard or a sample and demonstration kit. There was a purse slung over her shoulder, and what looked like a DVD case in her hand. I couldn't imagine who she was. She wasn't dressed like the weirdos that go door-to-door selling religion, and she didn't really look like a hatchet murderer, either. In a way, she looked familiar, and she was very cute, but she looked tired and unhappy. I opened the door.

"Are you Matt Chambers?" she asked.

"Yes. What do you want?" I responded.

"My mother gave me this DVD and told me to bring it here and watch it with you."

I had never heard that line before. "Is this some kind of new-age sales pitch?"

She said, "Please, just play it. Mom told me she knew you from when you were kids, and she made me promise to bring it to you. She begged me not to watch it alone. She said we had to watch it together the first time."

"I don't understand," I said.

"You're Matthew Chambers, aren't you?

"Matt, yes," I replied.

"I'm Deborah Harrison's daughter, Amy."

"Deborah Harrison? Debbie? Wow, that was a long time ago. I haven't seen her since right after high school. How is she?"

"She died last week. Ovarian cancer. The doctors didn't find it in time," the girl said. She looked like she was going to cry.

"Oh, I'm so sorry. I had no idea. Come in. Sit down, please." Gesturing toward the sofa, I sat on the foot stool in front of my reading chair. "Your name is Amy?"

She nodded.

"Is there anything I can do?" I asked.

Amy pulled a tissue from her purse and dabbed her eyes. "I'm done crying, for now at least. I did a lot of that over the last four years, ever since Mom was diagnosed. She had surgery, radiation, chemo, even some experimental treatments. She finally got to the point that she asked her doctor what her odds were. He said about one in ten of surviving another year, if the new drugs worked. That would be considered a successful clinical trial. She politely told him to screw himself and came home."

"That's the Debbie Harrison I remember, all right," I said, smiling. Amy made eye contact with me and actually smiled a little herself.

"That's exactly what Mom said you'd say," she said. "Play the DVD. Mom made me promise to watch it with you. She made me promise again just before she died. I have no idea what's on it."

I still didn't understand what was going on, but I popped the DVD into my player and grabbed the remote. "OK, here goes," I said, pushing the "Play" button.

The screen was black, and then a woman's voice came through the speakers. She said, "Amy, Mattie, this is the video version of my Last Will and Testament."

"That's Mom," Amy said.

The voice continued, "At the end of this video is the phone number of my lawyer. He will have been notified of my death and will mail you letters with passwords. When you call him with those passwords, he will begin the process of settling my estate. I've always been a fighter, but sooner or later, I know I'm going to lose this battle with the big C.

"Anyway, I, Debbie Harrison, make this video, and the legal documents my attorney has for you, in sound mind and in good faith.

"If either you, my darling Amy, or you, Mattie, are watching this alone for the first time, trust me on this: I will come back and haunt the living shit out of you. Amy, you know what a bitch I can be, and Mattie, I'm sure you remember how I was. I never really changed. Sorry. Deal with it. I did.

"Now, I trust you two are in a room together, probably Mattie's living room. Sit together on the couch, get comfortable, and say good things about me. I'll be back in one minute."

There was an audible click, and then nothing.

"Debbie's the only one who ever got away with calling me Mattie. What the hell?" I said.

"That was Mom," Amy said. She was almost giggling.

"Yeah, it sounds like she really didn't change. I remember how she was, but I always liked her. We had a lot of fun," I said, smiling.

"Knowing Mom, this will be interesting, in a weird sort of way. So, I guess you need to move over here and get comfortable. May I?" Amy asked, gesturing toward her feet. "These sandals are cute, but they suck to wear all day."

"Of course," I said, kicking off my shoes. I plopped down on the couch next to Amy and put my stockinged feet up on the coffee table. "Come on, put your feet up."

Amy put her bare feet onto the table and sighed, "Thanks. I guess our minute is just about gone."

Debbie's face appeared on the screen a moment later. She looked older, of course, but she was still just as beautiful as I remembered. The main change in her appearance was that she looked too thin.

Debbie started talking. "OK, are you two comfortable? I hope so. I feel weird talking to a camera, but I want you to be able to remember me when I still looked human. I'm in remission right now, but I know it won't last this time, either.

"Amy, honey, by the time you see this, you will have seen me at my worst. I'm sorry you've had to go through that. Just remember, I love you and I'm free of all pain now. Mattie, I know I'm a lot older than I was when you last saw me, but right now, I feel pretty good about my appearance if I have a wig on. So, this is supposed to be a happy video. It also has some things in it that I've never told anyone, including the two of you."

Amy said, "She must have made this about two years ago. That's about how she looked the summer after I turned sixteen. I remember she bought a new camera."

Debbie continued, "First, I want to talk to you, Amy. I've tried to be the best mother I could to you. I trust that you know, or someday will know, that everything I've ever done since you were born has been driven by my love for you. Yes, I've been harsh at times, and I've been strict, but I've tried to raise you right. I've provided for you very well, if I do say so myself, and you will be fine after I'm gone. Just contact the lawyer.

"I'm going to try to keep doing their stupid treatments until you're eighteen, but then I might just accept the inevitable. If you're eighteen or older now, you will start getting a monthly payment from a sizable trust fund, and when you turn twenty-five, you'll have access to the principal to do with as you wish."

"Oh my God," Amy said. "I never knew Mom had any real money."

The video went on, "As you know, Amy, I made all my final arrangements myself. The funeral home will have contacted my attorney to notify him of my death by now, so he will have already begun implementing my instructions by the time you see this. Mattie, the lawyer's office isn't far from you. You'll have to go see him too, since you're the executor of my estate. I didn't ask you, but I knew you'd do it because you're a good guy. You were when we knew each other, and I've sort of checked up on you over the years. I wasn't being a stalker. I kept my distance. Now, I think I'll take a break so you two can talk to each other."

The screen went blank again.

We sat in silence for a moment, staring at the blank and silent television. Finally, Amy turned toward me and asked, "How well did you know my mother?"

Here it comes. I felt my face start to burn.

"We went to school together, all the way from first grade. We played at each other's houses as kids, hung out with the same people. We had classes together all through school. As we got older, we sort of group-dated with some of our other friends. Your Mom and two of her friends and me and two of my buddies all went to the prom together. Stag, really, since it was a group date. The summer after graduation Debbie and I dated some. I guess she was kind of my girlfriend for a little while."

"Did you have sex with her?" Amy asked.


"Yes," I said. "A couple of times. We weren't exclusive, and we knew it wasn't going anywhere."

"She told me she didn't know who my father was," Amy said. "She admitted she went a little wild the summer after graduation. So, do you think you're my father?"

"It's possible. I guess that's why I'm the executor of her estate. Honest, Amy, I didn't know," I said.

"It's OK," Amy said. "Mom told me that if I ever found my father, I shouldn't hate him, because she was sure he never knew she was pregnant. She told me she moved away from home as soon as she found out."

"That explains it. All I ever knew was she moved away suddenly. No one seemed to know where she had gone, and her parents claimed they didn't know," I said.

"They probably didn't. I never knew much about my grandparents. Apparently they died when I was a baby, and Mom didn't talk about them much.

"I remember that. They were on vacation on someone's boat and there was a bad storm. They drowned along with one or two others," I replied. "That was about two years after Debbie left town."

"Do you have any other children?" Amy asked.

"Until a few minutes ago, I didn't think I had any children. I never got married. I got so caught up in starting my own business that I didn't take much time for women. I guess you could say I married my business."

"That's the way Mom was. She told me she worked very hard to take care of a baby, go to school, and still feed us, but it paid off. I grew up in a big house in a nice neighborhood, and Mom's business was constantly expanding. She finally sold it when she gave up on the treatments," Amy said.

"Look at the screen," I said, pointing to numbers counting down from ten. "I guess the video's re-starting.

"Hi again," Debbie's image on the TV said. "I hope you've had a nice discussion. The truth is, Mattie could be your father, Amy, but it's a one in three chance. I know, don't judge. I told you I was a little wild that summer after high school. To be honest, I was kind of a slut. And, I got a wonderful, sweet, brilliant, beautiful daughter out of it.

"Here's the thing. The other two guys are now dead. Sam got drunk and drove into a tree on his twenty-first birthday, and Ron went in the service and died in Afghanistan about five years before I made this video," Debbie said.

"Those guys were my buddies in school that we went to the prom with," I said to Amy.

The video continued, "I broke contact with everyone after I left my parents' home, but I did some checking when I first realized I wasn't immortal. So Mattie, whether you're the father or not, you're my executor, the trustee of Amy's fund, and her guardian, if you'll have her and if she's not yet eighteen.

"It's up to you to decide whether to get tested to find out if you're father and child. My lawyer has instructions to pay for it if you want it. Discuss it between yourselves and decide what's best. The attorney's office has instructions to make room in their schedule at ten in the morning on the Monday after you call.

"Obviously, I don't know when I'm going to die, so that means I don't know when you're going to see this. Mattie, if you would be so kind, let Amy stay at your place tonight, so you two can talk. Decide in the morning when you're going to contact my attorney. He mailed both your passwords to your address, Mattie. They should get there within a day or two after you see this video, if you, Amy, followed my request to go to Mattie's the day after my funeral.

"Here's the lawyer's contact information," Debbie said, as her image was replaced on the screen by a name and phone number. "Amy, know that I have always loved you, and I will love you for eternity. Mattie, I should have let my feelings for you keep me in town. Well, what's done is done. See you on the other side."

The screen went blank, and then to static. The video was over.

Finally, Amy looked at me and said, "Now what?"

"Well, I guess we should get in contact with the lawyer as soon as we get our passwords," I said. "Today's Wednesday, so if we get them in tomorrow's or Friday's mail, maybe we can call him and go see him this coming Monday."

"Do you want to know if you're my father?

I had to think about that one. "How old are you now, Amy?"

"Almost nineteen, so you won't have to be my guardian," she said.

"Do you want to know?" I asked.

"I'm not sure. Let's think about it and decide tomorrow. We won't do the testing unless both of us can honestly say we want it, OK?" Amy asked.

"Sounds fair," I replied. "Well, I guess I should make up the bed in the guest room if you want to stay here."

"I don't want to impose. I can get a motel room."

"Nonsense. It's late. You must be tired. Try to get a good night's sleep, and we'll talk after we have breakfast. How do you like your eggs?" I asked.

"A bachelor who cooks? I think I'll make breakfast. May I see your kitchen?" Amy asked.

"I'll give you the grand tour. It should take you about ten seconds to see everything my kitchen has to offer."

We went in the kitchen and I opened the refrigerator and pantry.

"Hmmm, scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, jelly, orange juice, and coffee. Would that be OK?" Amy smiled at me.

"I'll make the coffee, but I like it strong. I grind my own," I said.

"Black, no sugar. You're on," she said.

"Do you have an overnight bag?"

"In the car."

We went outside, and I got the bag out of her car trunk. Back in the house, I said, "Come with me." I went upstairs, and Amy followed. I walked into the guest room and set her bag on the desk. Then I got linens from the hall closet and made up the bed. "I'll put fresh towels in your bathroom for you."

"Oh, I could use a shower. It's been a long day," Amy said.

"OK, I'll be downstairs if you feel like talking after you're done," I replied..

I had just finished watching the news when I heard the shower shut off. I went upstairs and called through her door, "Amy?"


"You want something to drink?"

"That would be great. I'll be down in a second," she called back.

I was in the kitchen when she came in. "What would you like?" I said, not bothering to turn around.

"What are you offering?" she asked, coming over to stand near me.

She was wearing a t-shirt that came halfway down her smooth, toned thighs. I forced myself to look in her eyes. "There's iced tea, soda, spring water, and orange juice."

"What are you having?" Amy asked.

"Actually, I was thinking of a nice cold beer, and a little tumbler of whiskey. As you said earlier, it's been a long day."

"Could I have that?" she asked.

"You're only eighteen."

"Almost nineteen. If you're my father, I certainly won't tell if you let your daughter drink a little bit. Besides, it's not like I've never had a drink before. Mom let me have a few controlled parties at our house. If you're not my dad, you're still a family friend, I guess, so I don't see a problem," Amy replied.

"Not a word outside this house," I warned.

"Not a word."

I got a second glass, poured us each two fingers of whiskey, opened two beers, and carried everything into the living room. We sat on the couch.

"To Mom," Amy said, raising her whiskey glass.

"To Debbie," I replied.

We each took a swallow of our liquor.

"Tell me more about her," I said. "Not her illness. I've seen that up close. My aunt died that way when I was in high school. I remember it more clearly than I'd like to."

"She was a strong-willed woman. She was a hard worker, smart, driven, and brave. She refused to let her illness get in the way of building the company she started. Even after she gave up on the treatments and sold the business, she stayed on as a consultant. A week before she died, she did an online conference with the new owners and some of the key players. A bunch of her former employees were at the funeral, looking as lost as I was. God, I miss her!" She started to cry quietly.

I debated with myself for a moment, but when she looked up at me, and I had to go over to her and hug her. She sobbed on my shoulder.

"Amy, is there anything I can do?" I asked.

"No, no,.... Yes, there is," she said, pulling herself together. "Tell me what you remember about her. What was she like when you knew her?"

"Well, she was just like you remember her, smart, brave, and full of determination. She always told me she was going to be rich. At first, I laughed at her, but when we got older, I realized that she just might do it. I guess she did," I said.

"What did she look like?" Amy asked. "I don't think I ever saw any pictures of her from before I was about ten."

I thought for a moment. "She actually looked a lot like you, but with shorter hair. Wait, I think I know where my high school yearbook is." I went to the closet and pulled out a box of old photo albums and keepsakes. "Yes, here it is. Franklin, Gomez, Glassmeyer, Harbold, ah, here she is, Debbie Harrison. Look." I handed the book to Amy.

"Oh my God, that does look like me!" Amy exclaimed. "Wait, how's this?" she said, sweeping her long hair back and holding it behind her head.

"Yes, now that I can see your whole face, you look amazingly like her, just as pretty," I said.

"You said you guys dated and were lovers. Did you really care about her?"

"Debbie said she wasn't in love with me when we were together. She knew I was developing some pretty strong feelings for her, but she told me that she couldn't commit to a long-term relationship. I told her I agreed, but I was pretty hurt inside. I was really starting to fall in love with her," I said. "When she took off, I already knew that she never intended to get serious, but I still missed her a lot."

Amy said, "She was my mom, and we fought some times when she set limits on me, but she was my best friend. I only hope I can grow up to be the kind of woman she was."

By this time, we had finished our drinks. I was feeling relaxed, and I was starting to enjoy Amy's company. The more I looked at her, the more I saw Debbie.

"You want another beer?" Amy asked.

"Sure. I don't have any meetings tomorrow, and my partner owes me some time off anyway. I'll just leave him a voicemail on his office phone."

"Great. You do that while I get us another beer," Amy said, getting up and heading to the kitchen.

I watched her bend over to get the bottles from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Her ass looked just like her mother's had, firm, tight, squeezable,... Wait a minute! This could be my own daughter! I mentally smacked myself and made my phone call.

"So, I'll call you before lunch and explain better. Talk to you then," I said, hanging up as Amy handed me a fresh beer.

She sat on the couch, her legs tucked under her, and her body turned so she could look at me. We talked for hours, Amy telling me about her childhood, and me telling her stories about her mother. As it got later, Amy shifted her position several times until she was almost lying down, propped by a few throw pillows. I realized that I could see the crotch of her panties under her shirt, which had ridden up with her movements. It was also obvious that she wasn't wearing a bra, since I could see the shape of her nipples under the thin fabric.

I forced myself to look at the dark TV screen, to keep from getting more aroused than I was already, and started telling Amy about the trip our group had made to the beach after graduation. After a while, I glanced at Amy and saw that she was asleep.

She looked so good lying there, so much like her mother, the most beautiful girl I had ever been with. I wondered if Amy were as good in the sack as her mom had been.

Enough! I got up from the couch, adjusted myself in my trousers, and knelt down next to the sleeping girl. "Amy?" I said. "Amy?" I touched her arm. My fingers thrilled to feel her warm, soft skin. "Amy? Let's get you to bed."

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