tagRomanceUrsula’s Return to Granity

Ursula’s Return to Granity

byEgmont Grigor©

CHAPTER 1

Granity was fairly quiet as Ursula Johansson rode down Settler's Avenue on her Harley, ending nine year's absence during which time she'd picked up a law degree and business management degree and had worked in seven countries, gaining work experience and living it up. Most cities of course were quiet at 3:00 in the morning.

Her father's law firm premises looked run down. Well perhaps his new wife was soaking up the money and his law partners were happy to squeeze out every dollar they could from the business. Not a good look; uncompetitive and unprofessional. "Well dad and partners, prepared to be knock out of your comfort zones."

Ursula rode to the New Commercial Hotel on the next block. The steel mesh door to the underground parking lot was down so she turned and went back to the entrance, rode in on the tiles, nudged the heavy wood framed glass doors open and rode up to the reception counter.

"Hey, you can't come in here on that thing."

"I'm sure as fleas on a dog I'm not leaving this custom-built bike out on the street for drunks to come along and monster."

"Get out!"

"Make me," Ursula challenged.

"I'm calling the cops."

"Do that."

A woman in her late fifties wearing a white robe and yellow slippers with the front half of a frog with bulgy eyes over her feet came out rubbing her eyes.

"What the hell is the noise? Oh hi darling."

"Hi mother."

The male receptionist said into the phone, "Crisis over officer, thanks. The troublemaker turns out be Veronica's daughter I think. I don't know, just a minute."

"Excuse ma'am but is your name Ursula?"

"Yes, if that's Freddie give him my love."

"It appears so officer and she said if that's Freddie to give you her love."

"You don't have anyone in the force called Freddie? It appears this babe is big trouble officer but Veronica and I will deal with her. Thank you officer."

"John, open the doors so Ursula can ride out and open the garaging door for her please. Then book her into the honeymoon suite but as a complimentary. She's my daughter."

As they traveled up to the fifth floor of the highest building in the city, Veronica said, "So you didn't accept the invitation and come home to your father's wedding. That pleased me. I wasn't invited. The stupid sod, she's only a couple of years older than you, thirty seven."

"What a way to go mom."

"God, how can she bare him doing that to her, an old man."

"Either she loves him or smells money, or perhaps it's both mom. It's unlikely she was attracted by his intelligence or the way he uses his dick."

"You're all heart like you always were dear but filled out in the right places, I must say, and looking rather nifty."

"Nifty?"

"Well sexy if you must drag the word out of me."

"Thanks mom. Can't say I find your slippers nifty.

Veronica waved her daughter off to her first day at her new job, a partner replacing Tom Adams who'd fallen out of his boat when fishing, drunk. He'd drowned of course, being in boots and heavy clothing, as it was late autumn. Veronica had enjoying having breakfast in the honeymoon suite and they'd laughed when lifting the lid of an extra covered plate to find a pack of condoms.

"That's slack mom; if the occupant had been Catholic that could have caused offence."

"They knew I was breakfasting with you dear and thanks to the night clerk everyone including the janitor knows you are my daughter and kick ass."

"I'll pull one of these rubbers over the head of your night clerk," Ursula threatened.

"That might cause offence darling, he's Catholic," her mother chuckled.

"Ursula?"

"Hi Mrs Matheson. Still here after all those years."

"This is my second home. Oh I do declare you've turned into a bonny lady."

"Thank you, providing that's a favorable comment. How are Alice and David?"

"They have both made Ian and me into grandparents."

"Oh how lovely for you both."

"Thank you. Miss Johansson, this is my assistant Barbara."

"Pleased to meet you Miss Johansson. I've heard so much about you."

"I bet," Ursula said glancing at Vera Matheson who colored. "Come on Mrs Matheson, show me around and make the introduction."

"Oh I am not permitted to do that. I have to take you to the Human Relations Department and the manager will do that."

"Oh, so we have HR people? No wonder dad had to purchase the adjoining building. No, I want you to take me around. I came into this building when thirteen on the day you started here, beginning a new look because the retiring receptionist was one hundred and twenty."

"I think she'd just turned seventy."

"She looked one hundred and twenty to me. Come, I insist and will tell the HR manager I insisted on breaking protocol because you used to allow me to do the mail."

"Well, if you insist how can I refuse? The little thirteen-year-old just over twenty years later a senior lawyer with a huge reputation."

"That's because I kick ass as well as know law and they occur in that order."

As the head of HR Mr Ralph prepared to mount his high horse over Ursula saying she'd insisted on Mrs Matheson showing her around he never made it, almost taking a step backwards when Ursula said, "So the firm has an HR department now -- I trust we can justify having it?"

"Miss Johansson may we continue this discussion in private."

"Unless Mrs Matheson has gone soft, there would be scarcely a thing going on in these offices that she doesn't know about Mr Ralph."

"Call me Peter, please. We have a staff of fifty-eight instead of the dozen or so when you left for university and law school. Health and safety, staff hiring and firing protocols, staff welfare and other compliance imposts have mounted in the past ten years. The two of us and our clerical assistant carry a tremendous workload, I assure you Miss Johansson."

"Well, I find that claim reassuring Peter. Since you are in management please call me Ursula."

"Ursula, oh what a pretty name."

"There is no need to grease up to me Peter. Lead me to my father Mrs Matheson. You won't need to stay to hear the bullshit about how sorry he was that mom and I didn't get to his wedding."

"Welcome home; it's lovely having you back," said Steven Johansson to his daughter, when Mrs Matheson left, closing the door.

"Thanks but I have to say it's sad seeing mom without you."

"I gave her the ultimatum -- accept that Felicity was my mistress or divorce me. She couldn't bear the competition, so divorced me."

"I wonder why?"

"You inherited your competitiveness from me so don't knock it."

"Ah, so that's where I get my touch of ruthlessness."

"That's below the belt. Will you come to dinner tonight?"

"Yes, providing mom is also invited."

"She won't come."

"She will if I tell her she must."

"Okay, then bring her."

"No, first secure Felicity's agreement and then tell her to call us both. I'll tell mom to expect the call."

"What if there is no call?"

"Then expect to eat dinner without me dad. Now, to business. I've met everyone who was in. You have a little empire now, congratulations. You have thirty minutes to get that woman out of Tom Adams' former office and reinstated as a law office for me. That dog kennel you assigned to me is a disgrace."

"Darling, I'm sorry but Doug Hamilton is managing partner at the moment and he made that decision."

"Is Doug fucking that information manager?"

"Ursula, for god sake. Tone it down. Yes they are having an affair."

"Dad, you are senior partner and own both buildings. Just fix it. Thirty minutes from now or else I'm out of here. I'll be in the library drinking coffee."

"Ursula, you can't walk out of here. You've signed a contract."

"Fix it dad or else you can fight me in court over breach of contract. Oooh, the media will love that. You have twenty-nine minutes left."

"Forty minutes later he father arrived. I've come to escort you to your office. Now Carol has resigned and Doug is threatening to walk out with her."

"Well, what did you say to him?"

"If he leaves and breaks his contract over a piddling matter like this you would take him to court. So he'd better calm down and get Carol back into her dog kennel."

"Well done. You haven't lost your touch. What bait did you offer?"

"He and I were going to a regional law conference in Elvin for two nights. I said he would take Carol on my tickets. Felicity wanted me to go with her to a big charity show on one of those nights so it works out fine."

"Now who's started the day with a victory under his belt? Call Felicity and get it sorted about mom and me coming to dinner tonight and make that two victories. It's time those two women met and mom will be at her most vulnerable with me just home."

"Yeah, good thinking. Well here we are; welcome to your new intellectual home."

The pretty brunette Carol something knocked and Ursula invited her in and asked her to close the door.

"I'm very unhappy about being shoved out of my office Miss Johansson but I have decided to stay under duress."

"Well Carol, what I'm about to say may swing you into resigning, but I hope not providing you are good at your job. I'm giving you ten days counting today to dump Doug Hamilton. It's unacceptable a manager or staff member in a law office having an affair with a partner. If you don't accept this edict you won't have to resign...I'll have you thrown out and have Doug hauled before a meeting of partners where I'll charge him with misconduct and ask the partners to discipline him. You may tell Doug all of what I'm saying to you, I don't care. But I do care about this law office and the propriety of its partners. I also confess to having a personal interest in this. I used to know Joanne Hamilton very well. As a teenager I babysat their two youngest children. However even without that relationship I had with Joanne I would still be taking this stance because it has to be taken."

"You can't do this to us, you have no authority. Doug is managing partner."

"And my grandfather founded this firm and my father has built it into what it is today and it is expected I shall succeed him. But without having the clout of being his daughter I can still call a partners' meeting and seek to have Doug disciplined over his objection and my father's objection if he cares to join Doug. I visited this state last year and stayed with my grandmother in St Claire City to complete the process for state registration. That means if I'm blocked from taking Doug before a meeting of partners I can lodge a complaint against him to the state bar association."

"God you're evil."

Ursula said no, just tough and uncompromising when she had to be and she was no saint in her private life but she knew to keep her private life and her business life separate. "You decide what you want to do Carol but remember this, if I have to go after Doug you'll end up in a mess. The question you have to ask yourself is Doug worth messing up your career?"

Carol said she wouldn't lose her job but it seemed at worst Doug would receive little more than a rap over the knuckles and might be stood down as managing partner. "If he stands by me and eventually marries me I stand to lose nothing."

"Oh Carol, the wealth you see around Doug is not Doug's. It comes from the McKissock Family Trust of which his wife Joanne nee McKissock and children are the beneficiaries. My mother is one of the three trustees. At the center of the trust is the Northridge Property Corporation which you may have seen promoting the sale of new housing estates on TV."

"Oh. Doug is not likely to cut himself off from enjoying the windfall of that, is he?"

"It's a complex situation you face Carol, just think about it long and hard."

Shortly after Carol had left the room Ursula took a call.

"Hi, it's Felicity. I believe I'm your stepmother."

"Yes, does it make you feel old?"

"Very much so. How do you feel about it?"

"The jury's out because I have yet to meet you. But I do accept it as my father's choice."

"Then you don't hate me?"

"I was resentful but that has dissipated over time. Then Steven told me a couple of hours ago he'd given my mother an ultimatum and she chose to reject it."

"Not many women would have accepted it. It was so cruel."

"Nevertheless it was an arrangement, like one of those business arrangements we sometime accept although we don't like it."

"Well, he did say you were a tough...um tough."

"A tough bitch?"

"Ursula..."

"It's okay, I know my father. Have you called my mother about tonight?"

"No, I wanted to talk to you first."

"I want you to more than invite her Felicity. I need to know you want to invite her."

"I want her to come Ursula. She won't come near me so this could be the icebreaker we both need. I also know I don't get my chance with you until I invite her so I really want her here."

"Excellent, you think soundly. Give it a chance and you may come to like her. She was a great mother to me when I needed a mother and remains a very close friend and is still my mother"

"Stephen said you gave him a tough time this morning, although he agrees you were right, but said you were sharp but not annoyed over me."

"Well we know about men and their dicks Felicity. As I said a couple of minutes ago I've yet to decide about you."

Felicity gave a forced laugh and said, "Then 7:30 for a cocktails. My older brother is staying with us so will dine with us. You know where to come. I have changed things around."

"Of course. Bye Felicity."

Stephen took Ursula to lunch and told her Veronica had accepted Felicity's invitation. He then said something so Ursula didn't have to ask. "My ex wife accepted the invitation cordially and asked Felicity how was she settling in. She added apart from my wandering eye I was a good man. I ask you, is she attempting to break up my new marriage?"

"You took the risk in agreeing her to be invited dad, knowing her almost as well as I do. That was just a very honest comment, devoid of vindictiveness I would expect and you know it."

"That's true. Tell me what you really like about working in law."

Veronica arrived at her former house wearing a silver evening suit with silver sequins, looking as if she were going to a wedding. In leaving the hotel with her Ursula wondered if it had been made for the wedding but the invitation never arrived. It fitted Veronica so perfectly. Stephen had acquired the hotel from a client who was heading towards insolvency and the roof to basement refurbishment was almost completed when Veronica short-circuited the almost stalled divorce settlement negotiations when she said she'd take the hotel and $100,000 cash and that would be it. Initially Stephen said no because she would be getting the thick side of the deal by acquiring the 85-room boutique hotel but the attorney representing him advised him to take it as it created a clean exit and it was preferable to having a judge decide the split of assets.

* * *

Felicity was in danger of running an ulcer. "Oh god, oh god," she repeated. "It's suicidal inviting them both together. I won't survive the onslaught."

"My darling Fi-pee. You'll have trouble tomorrow remembering they were here. Neither will want to embarrass me."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah?"

"Well my ass-fucker, am I dressed right?"

"Baby, please moderate your language. You'll do?"

"I'll do. What kind of answer is that?"

Stephen said he was glad she asked. He had decided not to intervene. Veronica will be wearing the clothes she had made for your wedding, but in your wisdom you and your mother decided she shouldn't be invited. It was your wedding so I went along with it. To really confuse you, Ursula will be in what she calls urban chic. That means high heels, tight jeans, a glamorous top, hair up and outrageous ear-rings."

"Are you sure?"

"One can never be certain with women."

"But this is a formal dinner. Surely she'd know I'd be out to impress."

"That's why she'll be in formal chic. Actually she's never worn anything else at evening except a gown to balls."

"What kind of answer is that? Oh please fuck off Steven, I have to think."

"Well you have fifteen minutes so think quickly."

"Steven!"

He laughed and said he was on his way to the stairs.

Felicity, all smiles, greeted Veronica and they slightly bowed to each other. Steven behind her greeted his ex almost formally. Before Felicity had time to replicate greeting mode Ursula was in her face and kissing her, on the lips. She then whacked Felicity on the butt of her jeans and whispered, "Lovely butt" and then stepped back two paces and smiled.

"C-come through," Felicity said and took Ursula's arm because it had been offered. Her father was introducing a guy in his early forties and in jeans and a polo to her mother.

"Christ, look at the Beverley Hills twins," said Felicity's stupid brother. She'd told him to be on his best behavior because this was a highly sensitive dinner party.

"Hi Harry. It's gloss not lipstick so you can kiss me properly."

"You two know one another," Felicity said in astonishment and Veronica and Steven had turned, also looking a little surprised.

"Yes, we were in a tour party in Egypt two years ago. Harry latched on to my girlfriend."

"Only because you said I needed a haircut and a damn good bath. You barely talked to me."

"Well you obviously have had a haircut and a damn good bath. Good to meet you again Harry."

Felicity said, "B-but why didn't you tell me you knew one another?"

"You didn't ask sis."

Ursula replied Felicity hadn't said which of her three brothers was staying with her.

"So it's my fault."

"Yes," Ursula and Harry said in unison and even Felicity joined in the laughter.

Veronica said, "We'll aren't we a happy family. You have this room looking much improved Felicity."

Felicity, acting as if a big weight had been taken from her, smiled happily. "Please sit wherever you wish Veronica. Steven, drinks please."

As they were leaving Ursula slipped Harry one of her new business cards. To her surprise he called her cell phone just as she entered her room.

"Where are you?"

"Look down across the avenue on the sidewalk." Harry said. "Your mother told me you had one of the two honeymoon suites. I saw the light go on. I'd left just after you did."

"Yes, well Felicity told me you married eighteen months ago. You ought not to be calling another woman at this time of night."

Harry said, "I'm here staying with Felicity because Susan has decided she needs time out."

"Oh."

"What does that mean?"

"It means that I'm sorry you've struck a bump in your marriage. So you'd like sex but are not desperate for it?"

"Yeah, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. I may have made a very wrong choice. The glitter has gone and I find she's a real stay-at-home, talks all the time and it's clear sex twice a week is heaps for her."

"Oh dear," Ursula said. " What you are experiencing is fundamental differences between women and men. You should seek counseling if you are keen to continue. All right, you can come up but I don't want you talking about her."

"Yes, I can understand that."

"Just walk straight ahead in the foyer, ignoring reception on the left. The elevators are on the right just short of the entry to the banquet room. I'm on the fifth, suite 510."

* * *

Ursula was delighted she was about to have a man demonstrating his sexual prowess that he'd missed out on doing in Egypt. She'd not had sex for almost a month and had ached for it at times. But if he dared talk to her about his wife Susan he was out on his ass. Even having the name of his wife was bad enough, but having him bleat about her when they were doing the dirty on her would be just too much. Just knowing he was married was sufficient for her to decide if she wished to go to bed with him.

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byEgmont Grigor© 2 comments/ 15116 views/ 4 favorites

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