I didn’t get out of jail the next morning. In fact, I was going to be in here for quite a while. Fifteen years to be exact! I wanted a speedy trial because I believed my attorneys were good enough to get me off but as it turned out the evidence they had against me was too strong. Even without Gunnar’s testimony, due to his unfortunate accident, I would have gotten a maximum of 25 years in prison had I not taken the prosecutor’s deal of 15 years for pleading to money laundering and being an accomplice to grand larceny.
“This really is the best deal you could have gotten Gemma.” My lawyer, Antonio Ramirez, finally spoke up after a long silence.
“Maybe we should have taken our chances at trial?” Zachary said. “Without Gunnar to testify there wouldn’t be much of a case.”
“No, the only thing they needed Gunnar’s testimony for would have been for the alleged murder of that girl in the gang that he claimed to witness.”
I could see Zachary flinch just a little when Antonio brought up Kaylee. He knew her as well. They were all friends at one point and when she suddenly disappeared the others told him the story I came up with about her running off with a boyfriend. I still maintained that that’s what really happened since her body was never found and there was no evidence other than Gunnar’s say-so to suggest that I killed her. Still, I don’t think Zachary believed me. I think he stopped believing in me when it came out that I became the leader of Dad’s gang behind his back. He barely even looked at me now.
“Gemma there’s something else important that you should take care of right away.” Antonio began. “Your sister has filed a case to terminate you as the current heiress of your family legacy due to your conviction. She claims that you have jeopardised the legacy due to your criminal activities and honestly she does have a case since your assets were frozen during the trial.”
“But they have been released now since the investigation proved that I never invested the store money into the estate which means I never mixed the illegal money with my personal assets.”
“That’s true but she still has a good argument. You have been convicted and you’re serving jail time. You are not in a position to manage the estate.”
“Zachary can do it on behalf of me. I can give him power of attorney.”
“According to the decree set up by your great-grandmother, only direct female descendants can be named the heiress and only the heiress can have control of the estate so you can’t appoint your husband or anyone else to manage it unless… the heiress is a minor.”
“Okay, so I have to pick one of my daughters?”
“But they’re so young. Can she choose one of them to be the heiress even though none of them are teens as yet?” Zachary asked.
“She can. According to the legacy contract there’s no stipulated age for a descendant to reach before they are legally named as heiress, however they must be a young adult before they can assume any control over the estate so in the meantime they would need an adult to make any financial decisions on their behalf. I suggest you name one of your daughters as the heiress and then appoint your husband as their executor.”
“So, Leni will no longer have a claim to the legacy because I would have already appointed a generation five heiress.”
“Exactly, now the tricky part is that your sister already filed the case against you and you have not yet chosen your heiress so she can legally block you from appointing one your daughters until the case is resolved. The good news is that a clerk down at City Hall who works under Legal Affairs owes me a favour so I can get him to backdate and approve the paperwork for your daughter’s appointment as the heiress.”
“But that’s illegal.” Zachary added. “She’s already in enough trouble as it is with the law. This does not sound like a good idea to me.”
“Zachary this is the only way to protect my daughters’ rights from Leni. She already stole their mother from them so I won’t allow her to steal their rights as well.”
“She didn’t steal their mother. Your lies put you here.” Zachary said coldly.
Sensing the tension between Zachary and me, Antonio got up from the table. “I’m going to give you two some time to think it over.” Antonio walked out of the room leaving me and Zachary alone for the first time since this whole thing started. I never had a chance to talk to him, to explain anything to him one on one. There were always lawyers involved. I needed to know what he was thinking. I needed to know if he was fighting for me because he believed in me or if it was because he felt a sense of obligation.
“Please say something, Zachary.”
“Oh, now you want my opinion on something? All the time, you just wanted a docile, clueless husband that you could lie to while you keep secrets about what you’re really up to and now you want me to talk?”
“I wanted to tell you but…”
“No, it’s not about wanting to tell me. You shouldn’t have been doing this in the first place! We were in the clear. There was nothing else linking us to the laundering or Stephan’s gang but you went against my advice and decided to do your own thing and hide it from me. Now you’re in trouble big time! You’re in prison Gemma and now I have to take care of the girls all by myself because you didn’t listen to me.”
“I know I was wrong okay! And I’m paying for it now. You think I don’t know that? You think this is easy for me? This is torture! Being in this place for even a day is torture and now I’ll spend 15 years in here all because I made a mistake in not trusting you. Is that what you want to hear? You were right and I was wrong?”
“You don’t get it! This is not tit for tat! This is our life! That you single-handedly ruined because of your pride! I knew you weren’t perfect. I’ve always known that you had a dark side but to this extent? You poisoned your own sister so you could get the legacy. I honestly don’t blame her for wanting to take it from you now since it is rightfully hers! And then that cop Jeff, and Kaylee…? Kaylee was my friend you know.”
“I didn’t do all of that.” I lied. I had to keep lying. It was the only way to save my only ally. He might be angry with me but he was still here. If I admitted all the things I had done, I would lose him. I knew that much. “Yes, I poisoned Leni but I never killed anyone. You have to believe me!”
“Do you swear on our children’s lives? You know what, don’t! I love my children and I don’t want anything to happen to them. You’re so good at lying that you probably can’t help yourself from swearing on their lives just to save face.”
“I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Let Antonio get back in here so you can tell him which one of the girls you choose.”
So Antonio came back in and I gave him my choice. He got started on the paperwork and filed it with the clerk at City Hall who managed to backdate it.
Leni’s case was thrown out because she was no longer eligible to be an heiress as I had already appointed one. Not too long after, she and Ayden eloped and left town to start a new life. She was probably afraid of me and what I would do to her had she remained in Oasis Springs. I’ve never hated anyone as much as I hate her. She ruined my life and possibly ruined my marriage.
The way Zachary looks at me now… I can’t say I blame him. I did betray him. As much as I hate Leni for conspiring to put me here, I only have myself to blame for making poor decisions and not being careful.
I guess I’ll just have to suck it up. Fifteen years will fly by in no time.
In the story right now, Gemma has chosen the Generation 5 heiress even though Isabel and Ivy are children and Johanna is a baby. However, I will have the actual heiress vote when all girls have become teenagers so we won’t find out who Gemma picks until the girls are teenagers and the voting has ended.
I did this because the heiress is selected based on who has the most votes from the readers and not who has the closest relationship with the current heiress and Gemma is the type of character who would unabashedly pick her favourite daughter to be the heiress but what if her least favourite daughter gets the most votes? I don’t see why she would logically pick the one she clashes with the most unless she picked her before their relationship became strained. This is why I made her ‘choose’ while they are all still young before there are any tensions resulting from her absence in their lives due to her prison sentence.
I’m actually really excited about Generation 5 already. I have great ideas for each one of the girls and I honestly don’t know which one I would pick because based on their personality traits they will all be so different and have so much storytelling potential. Unfortunately, that’s a long way from now but the good news is that Gemma’s story is far from over as well.