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Nocturne’s Reaping® : Prelude

Chapter 3

It was going to be a busy day, but Celeste felt ready for it. First thing was first — get Lark ready and out the door. It wasn’t part of the plan for Lark to stay home again; Celeste couldn’t deal with that. The possibility of having to call Mrs. Baker was not something Celeste even wanted to consider. Fortunately, Lark seemed more cooperative than she did the day before, and Celeste managed to get her onto the bus on time.

Next, was school. After what happened yesterday, Celeste had to make it clear to the other members of the club that she was up for the responsibility of being the club president. Celeste had to admit there was a risk to her showing up at school at all the day after the news of her parents’ deaths broke; people might think she was cold. But let them even suggest she wasn’t grieving enough, and they’d regret it. Celeste would just burst into tears in front of everyone. Not to mention, if Celeste didn’t show up at school who would excuse her absence? The last thing Celeste needed was people thinking she couldn’t handle herself.

As it turned out, the day was uneventful — if not a bit awkward. Most people didn’t even talk to Celeste; they just looked at her blankly. The ones who did talk to her gushed sympathy; this got to be annoying quickly. Yet, because most of these were the ones who supported Celeste’s bid for the club presidency she had to play along. But what made the situation truly intolerable was the fact there was no news about the club presidency or when the meeting was to be rescheduled. In fact, when Celeste tried to press the members for details there was a distinct feeling that the topic should not be breached. Celeste decided there was always tomorrow. Celeste would figure out what was going on and fix it. In the meantime, there were other matters to attend to.

Celeste was grateful that her father’s lawyer fit her into his schedule that day. Celeste figured that if anyone could help her return her life to normal it would be he. Just the idea of that was a relief. People like Mrs. Baker just wanted to change everything, to ruin the good things in Celeste’s life. Celeste was determined that Mrs. Baker’s vision of the future would not come to pass.

Right after school, Celeste headed to the lawyer’s office. Regrettably, there wasn’t even time to go home and change out of her school uniform. As Celeste approached the large, marble steps of the lawyer’s building, she reflected on the fact that Lark was getting out of school right then. Celeste had given Lark instructions on how to get off the bus, let herself into the house, then lock up behind her. Celeste hoped that Lark could handle this one thing. Celeste didn’t need any more complications.

After tracking down the lawyer’s office number from a registry on the wall, Celeste headed for his office. The waiting room was large. It had well-groomed plants and a waterfall sliding down the opposing wall. Right in front of Celeste was a huge cherry-wood desk with a well-dressed woman sitting behind it. Celeste went straight toward her.

“Hello. My name is Celeste Tampy. I have an appointment with Mr. Robert Davis.”

The receptionist lifted her eyes slowly. Then, she began to rifle through a day planner.

“Ah, yes.” she started. “I see he’s going to squeeze you in.” The receptionist made a directive gesture with her hand. “Please, have a seat.”

Celeste turned around. This was unexpected. Celeste needed to get this done and return home before anyone realized Lark was home alone. Maybe if Celeste mentioned her cousin … Celeste turned back toward the receptionist. Only this time, Nancy Springfield was turned away from Celeste and had her phone to her ear.

Celeste looked back toward the chairs; she grudgingly headed toward them. She remarked to herself that the chairs’ cushions were made with expensive-looking blue velvet. Celeste daintily sat on a chair with a direct view of the receptionist. Several times, Celeste lifted her eyes in irritation toward the woman, but the woman didn’t return her gaze. As time passed, Celeste began knocking her Mary Janes against the wooden legs of her chair. If the receptionist noticed Celeste’s actions, she never showed it. Then, all of a sudden, the entrance door to the office swung open powerfully.

A tall, well-dressed blonde teenage boy walked briskly into the room. He went directly toward the receptionist. Nancy Springfield turned, a surprised look in her eyes. She said good-bye slowly then hung up the phone. The teen looked about the room briefly, his eyes scanning above Celeste’s head. He then turned his attention back to Ms. Springfield.

“Where’s my father?”

“In with Mr. Davis.”

“Why was I summoned here if my father doesn’t have the decency to wait for me?”

Ms. Springfield just stared at him. Finally, after a few moments of the two of them staring at each other, the teen turned on his heels and headed over to a chair. He sat next to Celeste without actually looking at her. Eventually, he did look over and at Celeste directly. He noted how pretty she was with her long blonde hair and delicate features. He thought she looked a lot like a female version of him.

“So, have you been waiting long?” the boy then asked Celeste.

Celeste turned her head fully toward him and looked him in the eye.

“Do I know you?” she returned.

The boy laughed.

“Ha! Most girls want to be nice to me.” the boy responded.

“I’m sure.” Celeste replied. “But you see, most boys want to be nice to me as well. There are so many who talk to me; I lose track.”

“Wow, really?”

Celeste smiled.

“Yes and no.” she said. “I don’t remember you.”

“Frederick Applegate.”

Frederick offered his hand. Celeste waited a moment then decided to shake his hand.

“Celeste Tampy.”

“That’s a pretty name.” Frederick admitted.

“And yours is impressive.”

Frederick’s face fell.

“What?” Celeste wondered.

“You recognize my name?”

Celeste looked at him doubtfully.

“No, should I?”

Frederick analyzed her for a moment. Suddenly, the door from the inner office opened. Two men emerged, both meticulously dressed. They shook hands. At that moment, Frederick stood, his attention directed solely at the men.

“Frederick.” the older of the two men stated. “It’s good of you to show up.”

“I got here when I could.” Frederick mumbled.

“I’m sure. I’ll fill you in on what was discussed when we get home.”

Frederick looked on his father with irritation.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Davis.” Mr. Applegate concluded.

“Sure. Thank you for your patronage.”

Mr. Applegate came up to his son and placed his hands on Frederick’s shoulders. As Frederick turned back around, he looked at Celeste. He maintained eye contact with her as he left. She returned a look of sympathy. After all, she now knew how it felt when adults tried to run your life. Celeste then turned her attention back to the receptionist. Mr. Davis and Ms. Springfield were discussing something.

Ms. Springfield looked up.

“Miss Tampy, Mr. Davis is ready for you now.”

Celeste stood up then followed Mr. Davis into his inner office. Mr. Davis pointed to a chair in front of his desk. Celeste sat down.

“So, what can I do for you?” Mr. Davis asked as he walked behind his desk.

Celeste’s forehead crinkled.

“Well, don’t you know that my parents are dead?”

Mr. Davis was briefly taken aback by Celeste’s affect.

“Yes, I was informed.”

“Well, I don’t know what to do.” Celeste admitted. “I’ve never buried anyone. I’ve never paid bills in my life. I was hoping you could help me.”

Mr. Davis sat down.

“Your father wasn’t just my client; I considered him a friend. I would be glad to help you in any way I can. I can make Ms. Springfield available to help you with the funeral arrangements.”

“And the estate? What about that?”

“From what I understood from talking with your father, there should be enough money in your father’s and your uncle’s estates to take care of both you and your cousin until the two of you reach your majority.”

Celeste beamed.

“As long as the two of you can adhere to a budget …” Mr. Davis quickly added.

“Budget?” Celeste repeated.

“Yes, there should be plenty of money for all of your living expenses. As I’ve said, you can live quite comfortably until Lark reaches her majority.”

Celeste bowed her head in thought.

“Of course, there’s the matter of guardianship. I’ll have to review your aunt and uncle’s will to see whether they recommended anyone for Lark.”

“I’m almost eighteen.” Celeste said.

“Yes, that is something to consider. But I realize you must be busy …”

“Part of the estate would go to Lark or at least to her guardian, right?”

“Yes, of course.”

“What if I became her guardian?”

Mr. Davis looked perplexed.

“You’d have to prove you were mature enough for that.” Mr. Davis informed her.

“How?”

“For one thing, you should find some employment.”

“Employment? Why should I have to do that? You said we’d have enough money.”

“It doesn’t need to be a full-time job, but it would help to show you can be responsible with money.”

“I see.” Celeste uttered.

“When is your birthday?”

“Next month.”

“Assuming that is what you both really want, we could delay filing for guardianship until then. But in the meantime …”

“What if I hired a nanny until then?”

“That could be a possibility.”

“Well, how long before the estate is dealt with?”

“I can’t give you that information just now. I will have to see whether there’s an executor named.”

“And if there is, he or she will be in control of the money?” Celeste continued.

“As you know, I’ll have to review your parents’ paperwork. There may be stipulations about age, trust funds, and other such things. I’ll try to free up some liquid assets for you and your cousin right away. In the meantime, talk to my assistant about arranging for the funeral. Once again, I considered your father a friend, so I will pay for the funeral expenses.”

“Thank you!” Celeste was quick to say.

The thought occurred to Mr. Davis that he couldn’t tell whether Celeste was happy for her relatives’ sakes or because she wouldn’t have to pay the expenses. Perhaps it was both.

“Why don’t you make an appointment for tomorrow afternoon? That should give me the time to look over at least some of your parents’ documentation. Will you and your cousin be all right overnight?”

“Yes. We have enough food.”

“Good. Then, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Mr. Davis picked up his phone.

“Ms. Springfield, I’m going to send Miss Tampy out to you. I want you to make her an appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I also need you to please help Miss Tampy make arrangements for a funeral for four individuals.”

“All right, sir. By the way, your 4:30 appointment is here.”

“Okay. Thank you.” Mr. Davis hung up the phone. “Thank you for coming in, Celeste.” Mr. Davis stood and offered his hand to Celeste. “Ms. Springfield will take care of you outside.”

“Thank … you.”

Celeste headed out the door. As she stepped into the waiting room, a man rushed past her and into the room. The door was shut soon after.

“Miss Tampy. If you’d take a seat in the chair by my desk, we’ll get started.” Ms. Springfield offered.

Celeste sat down. Things were happening quickly now.

“That’s good,” Celeste thought.

The only problem was it felt as though she had just lost control of her life.

Copyright © Jennifer Alice Chandler 2015

Matthew 18

 

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them,

And said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

“Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

“And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.

“For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost.

“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

“And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

“Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

“But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY WORD MAY BE ESTABLISHED.

“And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Jesus saith unto him, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

“And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

“But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

“The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him [Or, besought him], saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’

“Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

“But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me that thou owest.’

“And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.’

“And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

“So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

“Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

“‘Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?’

“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

“So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” (Matthew 18: 1-35)

PSALM 17

A Prayer of David.

 

Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

Let my sentence come forth from Thy presence; let Thine eyes behold the things that are equal.

Thou hast proved mine heart; Thou hast visited me in the night; Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Concerning the works of men, by the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.

Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt hear me, O God: incline Thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.

Shew Thy marvellous lovingkindness, O Thou that savest by Thy right hand them which put their trust in Thee from those that rise up against them.

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of Thy wings,

From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.

They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.

They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth;

Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.

Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Thy sword:

From men which are Thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

PSALM 16

Michtam of David.

 

Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust.

O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to Thee;

But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another [Or, give gifts to another] god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot.

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

I have set the LORD always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

PSALM 15

A Psalm of David.

 

LORD, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

PSALM 14

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

 

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.

Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.

Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

Genesis 21

 

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.

For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.

And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

And God said unto Abraham, “Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

“And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:

Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

And Abraham said, I will swear.

And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.

And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.

And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.

And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?

And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

And Abraham planted a grove [Or, tree] in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.

And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days (Genesis 21: 1-34).