tagIncest/TabooRumors Ch. 04

Rumors Ch. 04

byLeenysman©

Disclaimer: All sexual activity described in this story is between fictional characters over the age of 18.

~~~~~

I awoke in the morning remembering a dream of the four of us making love in Tahoe, on a futon mattress covered by a blanket in front of the big fireplace, with a fire burning and snow falling outside, a Christmas tree not far away.

Over breakfast, I described it and said, "We've never actually been to the house in the winter time, all these years. I've gone on a couple of ski outings, but not to the house."

Mom asked, "Is there any reason we can't be the ones to rent the house during the winter time?"

I said, "I suppose not, but those winter rents are steep. Usually, there's a big group of skiers or multiple families, usually 20 to 30 people, who split the rent and after the beds are full, they're sacked out in sleeping bags on the sofabeds and the floor by the fireplace. It's the only way to make it economical compared to hotel rooms."

"Just how big is this place?" Marissa asked.

I replied, "Two story timber-frame, 50 feet by 50 feet, but a full height great room equal to a quarter of that reduces the square footage inside to 4400, plus a deck along the two sides that face the lake, with a hot tub at one end. Furnace and so forth are in a basement along with some storage, but it's only about 5 feet high, unfinished. Four bedrooms, three baths. Two of the upstairs bedrooms have two bunkbeds in each, twins over doubles, so you could sleep six adults in each room, more if you're bunking kids in there. One bathroom between them. The other two bedrooms have king beds and their own bathrooms, although the Master downstairs is a bit bigger. Figure between two and four adults in each of those. Then there are two queen-size sofa beds and several futon mattresses to use in the great room, since air mattresses don't do as well in winter time. They disperse your body heat."

Mom asked, "It still rents out only 12 months in advance?"

I answered, "They release each month a year before. So, to reserve for this June, I had to inform them last May before they made the month available on June 1st. I've already reserved a two-week block for next May, on either side of Memorial Day, after I graduate. Christmas for next year isn't available for renters until December 1st of this year. We would have to hope someone else doesn't snag it before us."

"The trustee has no pull to get our name in first on the list?" Mom asked.

"Nothing in the contract with the property managers grants me that power, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask them. I thought we weren't going to live extravagantly on Dad's money, though?"

Mom snickered. "You don't have to pay for it with Dad's money. You can pay for it with part of your first trust withdrawal next year and most of the money even goes back into the trust. Unless Christmas is still open this year."

"I doubt that, but I'll ask."

Annie said, "Before you call, can I ask a question about my new car? If I find one I like that's more than $25,000, is it okay if I make up the difference from my own money? The model I have my eye on is about $40,000 new. If not, I'd have to find a used model."

I glanced at Mom, who nodded. "Not a problem from our end, sis. We want you to have the car you want, after all. Think of the $25,000 as a cash gift, anyway. You'll be the official buyer."

I called the rental management company after breakfast.

"Tahoe Sunrise Rentals, Melanie Gobles speaking. How can I help you today?"

"Good morning, Melanie. This is Tyler Campbell, of the Campbell Trust."

Melanie responded, "Good morning, Mister Campbell. Is this regarding your stay in two weeks? You're not canceling again, are you?" Dad had scheduled the previous year's trip before his death, but we had needed to cancel it due to the court dates to set up Annie's guardianship. I wouldn't have felt right going without her, anyway.

I said, "No, we're still coming. I actually had some questions about possibly renting the trust's house during peak season, in addition to our two week allotment. First, is there any possibility that the house is still available for Christmas of this year?"

"Let me check... No, it has been rented for the whole week. There are actually no empty weeks left on the current calendar, through next May, no blocks bigger than 2 nights midweek, either. June 2018 goes online in a few more days."

I said, "Then my second question is whether it would be possible for my family to reserve for Christmas week, 2018, right now? We understand that it's separate from our alloted time and we're prepared to pay the market rent. Or do we have to wait until December 1st and try to make the reservation then?"

"That decision's above my pay grade, Mister Campbell. Mister Randall will have to answer that. He's not in the office right now. He's actually over at your trust's house, overseeing some upgrades to the Internet access that were budgeted. I will have him call you back."

Jack Randall phoned, just ten minutes later. "Good morning, Tyler, Jack Randall here. Melanie tells me you want to jump in line to rent the house for Christmas 2018? I don't see a problem in that, although we haven't set the rate yet. I'll just match it to this year's, for you. And forgo the security deposit, too. You do realize that the trust is a minority owner in my company, don't you?"

"Certainly, but my understanding is that we're a silent partner. I was asking mainly as beneficiary of the trust, not as trustee or as partner."

Jack said, "Well, your Dad rescued me from some financial difficulties 10 years ago, by directing your trust to invest in the company, in exchange for reducing our management fee from 35% to 30% plus holding a 20% ownership stake. It allowed us to quadruple the number of rental properties we manage today, because of that capital infusion. So, I figure I can do some favors for John's son, even if you weren't the new trustee. So, are you looking at the full week, Saturday night to Saturday morning, or just part of it? Christmas falls on Tuesday next year."

"The whole week, Jack. If you're matching 2017's rate, that's $7500 for the week, right?"

Jack said, "You got it. When you arrive in two weeks, bring a check for 10% with you to lock it in, the balance is due two months before you arrive. Anything else, Tyler?"

"No, that's it for now, Jack. I'll stop by your office on Monday morning with that check and to discuss next year's capital improvements, after I've inspected the current state of the house. I hear you're working on the Internet access today?"

He answered, "Yes. This is the weekend we set aside for it, so it would be ready before you arrived. You approved the work last year - upgraded cable modem, WiFi repeaters to cover the whole house, upgrades in the media cabinets to replace the old DVD players with WiFi-enabled Blu-Ray players so you can also watch Netflix and so forth in each bedroom and the projection system in the great room. Settings will be password protected so guests can't change them."

"Right. I'll see you in two weeks. Thanks for the great work and for approving our Christmas stay."

As soon as I was off the phone, Annie was itching to go car shopping, so off we went. At least, we only had to hit Toyota, not wander from place to place. What she had her eye on was a Rav4 SE hybrid, but with some options and a bright blue paint color that wasn't in stock. We put in an order, due to be delivered the day of graduation, which we thought was perfect timing.

~~~~~

As the next two weeks passed, Annie and Marissa reported that Gary's rumor was thankfully ebbing among the students. He had stopped spreading it and hadn't introduced any new ones to take its place. I expect that he was just as busy with homework and studying as the girls were. His enlistment in the Navy would likely be scuttled if he didn't graduate.

Mom had heard from a few parents who were upset about her dating Annie, which she handled. But nothing more than that, which is what we'd hoped for.

Still, we remained on guard. All it would take is one call to the police and we'd be defending ourselves.

I helped both Annie and Marissa study, hauling out old notebooks that I'd saved from high school for that purpose. Annie was carrying A or A-minus averages in all of her classes, Marissa mainly Bs in hers, in part because she'd let her studying slip after what had happened with Gary. Term papers and final exams were her chance to regain A grades in those classes. I probably worked harder on helping the two of them than I had on my own finals, because it gave me an excuse to spend more time with them.

Four days of finals, one or two exams per day. Gradually, the grades from papers and exams were posted and A after A was revealed.

I picked Annie and Marissa up from school at 1:00, after their last exams and went straight to the car dealership, where Annie's new Rav4 was waiting for her. We took delivery and Annie drove hers home to get dressed for graduation, while I dropped Marissa off at her house so she could do the same. I then drove her back to school to prepare for the ceremony.

The grades from the last exams were posted barely an hour before graduation was to begin. Another pair of As for the two of them and they both pulled straight As for their last report cards. Final 4-year GPAs 3.84 for Marissa and 3.91 for Annie. Not valedictorian territory, but they had reason to be proud.

Mom met me 15 minutes before the ceremony began and we took our seats. Mom and I cheered both of them on from the stands as they got their diplomas.

In the crowd of people on the field of the stadium afterwards, Mom and I hugged Annie, making sure to make it familial, not intimate, and I hugged Marissa with a deal more warmth.

From behind me, I heard Gary's voice. "Congratulations, Annie, Marissa."

I watched Annie cringe and felt Marissa stiffen in my arms. Marissa grabbed on tight to prevent me from attacking Gary. Instead, Annie wheeled on him and shouted, as loudly as she could, "Save it, Gary! First, you come to my house to apologize for cheating on me a month after doing it, then you turn around a couple days later and try to smear me and my brother when I chose not to date you again. Now you want to act like we're somehow friends, without so much as another apology that I wouldn't believe was sincere anyway? Fuck you! Maybe the Navy can drill some honor into you, but you sure as shit don't have any today! Leave me, my family and my friends alone. Or I'll have Marissa let my brother loose to help you scratch your head."

About a hundred people watched Gary slink away, followed by his own parents, who looked furious with him. Clearly they weren't aware of everything that had gone on between him, Annie and Marissa, or the rumor he had started about us. The fact that he was about to get yelled at for accidentally being right about Annie and me almost made me feel sorry for him. Almost.

The four of us, soon joined by Marissa's parents, continued celebrating for another twenty minutes, before the graduates lined up to return their graduation caps and gowns, keeping only their tassels as a memento.

I accompanied Marissa to a celebratory dinner at a Chinese restaurant with her parents and siblings, after which she and I were going to a movie, ending with her spending the night with me. Marissa and I wound up across the table from her parents, her two brothers to her right, her three sisters to my left. Her sister Carmen blushed whenever I looked her way.

Her mom Angelina said, "It still feels weird, thinking of you as our cousin, Tyler. But I don't imagine it's as weird as your mother and sister being girlfriends."

"It is unusual, I admit," I said. "But if they're happy with each other, I'm happy for them."

From the table behind me came the exclamation, "Did you just say his mother and sister are girlfriends? Isn't that incest?"

I turned around to face the man, saying, "Not that it's really any of your business, sir, but my half-sister and I have the same father but different mothers. She and my mother are both biologically related to me, but not at all to each other. There's no incest."

'Not with each other,' I thought, but did not say.

"Sorry for eavesdropping, kid. It just sounded weird," the man said, turning back to his dinner.

After I scowled at the back of his head for a few seconds, I turned around myself. Angelina said, "Sorry, Tyler. I should have asked about that in private."

"It's okay," I said a little louder than necessary, figuring the guy behind me was still listening, apology or not, so I might as well take advantage of it. "We're all aware that public opinion might not be completely on their side in this. What's their alternative? Hide the relationship forever? End it because of those who disapprove, either because of their links to me or the age difference? Like my Walsh great-grandparents disapproved of the relationship between their son and your mother because she was born in Mexico, making her afraid to reveal to them that she was pregnant with you? I have every intention of defending my mom and sister as many times as needed. Just as I would defend your daughter from any racists who would go after her for her last name or skin tone."

Angelina looked at me for a couple of seconds, before saying, "I am so glad you and your sister came into Marissita's life, Tyler. Not just for her, but because your discovery that the two of you are related enabled me to connect with aunts and uncles and cousins that I wouldn't have known, otherwise, although I knew you and your mother a little bit. My aunts and uncle are even digging into their pockets and sharing what would have been Peter's percentage of their parents' estate with me. $124,000! Enough to pay off the last of our mortgage. Although they said the checks have to be written to both me and Ramon for some reason."

"It's simply to avoid filing a form on their income taxes," I said. "If an individual gives more than $14,000 to another individual this year as a gift, you have to report it to the IRS, so that the amount over the $14,000 can be tracked and eventually be deducted from the exclusion amount for the estate tax. It's meant for those repetitively giving gifts to their children as estate planning, but applies even if it's only a one-time gift. A married couple can give a combined $28,000 to the same person, but in your case each of the four couples needs to give you $31,000. So, to avoid reporting that extra $3,000 on every tax return going forward, they either add Ramon to the check, or write a second one to him."

Ramon asked, "Is that just trivia that you happen to know, Tyler?"

I answered, "No, sir. I first learned about it because my parents had to file the equivalent form years ago and followup forms every year after that. Rather than fight during the divorce over the house in Tahoe that Dad had inherited from his parents, they agreed to use it to set up the educational trust that pays for Annie and me to go to college, pretty much for the rest of our lives, if we wanted to be professional students. The house counted as a gift to me via the trust, well in excess of the limit at that time, so they had to report it."

"That's the same house we're going to on Saturday, Mama," Marissa added. "Ty and Annie get to stay there two weeks a year."

I continued, "I'm sure my grandmother and her siblings checked with the attorney who handled my great-grandparents' probate, to see if they needed to reopen it or could just gift you the money. I'm sure the latter is the simpler option, if the will had been changed to omit mention of your father. The attorney must have given them the advice to add Ramon to the check. When Mom and I decided to get Annie a car for graduation, we set a limit of $12,500 from each of us, so we'd stay under the $14,000 line for this year, after adding in birthday and Christmas gifts. But even if I hadn't already known about that aspect of the tax law around estate planning, I hope to leverage the trust and my inheritance to build a business that would make the estate planning necessary, so I had the trust guys at the bank walk me through the rest of the tax rules for estate planning when I became trustee for that trust."

Ramon raised his eyebrows before saying, "Excellent, young man. People complain about Millennials being lazy, but you seem to have your head pointed towards the stars."

I said, "My father was a firm believer that a combination of good fortune and drive could take you anywhere. The President is certainly a good example of that, if not much else."

Ramon waved his hand to signal no. "I find that politics and food are not a good mix, even if I probably agree with most of what you would say about that man. Let's save it for a different occasion and avoid the indigestion. Right now is about celebrating my daughter and her own ambitions. I assume she has told you that she is attending your college, pursuing the same business administration major that you are."

"Yes, sir. If our relationship continues its present course, I hope we might make for good business partners down the road, or I could help her get her own business off the ground."

Marissa coughed. "Why can't you just ask 'What are your intentions for my daughter?' like a normal dad?"

Ramon and Angelina both laughed. Ramon answered, "Because, given your pronouncement this morning that you are not coming home tonight after you and Tyler go to the movies, I already know what his and your intentions are, in the short term, just like I knew the night of your prom. I am okay with those. I do remember your mother and I being your ages and you have been on Depo Provera for two years. Given the way this young man already looks at you, I can guess what his medium term intentions will be, around Christmas or New Year's, after he spends a whole semester at college with you as his girlfriend. I expect to be okay with those intentions, when he and I have that conversation. All that really leaves is the long term, mi hija."

Although they ran together to sound like 'me-ha', I knew 'mi hija' was two words meaning 'my daughter'.

"Papa, don't scare him off," Marissa said.

I squeezed her hand, saying, "Your dad just gave me about the biggest green light he possibly could have, querida."

"You're learning Spanish for my daughter, too?" Ramon asked. "Or from her?"

"I took four years of high school Spanish, sir. I hope I retained most of it. Although Riss certainly knows some slang that the teachers didn't share with us. I firmly believe businesspeople should be multi-lingual, or have staffs which are, or they abandon large markets. Insisting on 'English Only' is simply unprofitable. After Mandarin, Spanish is the second most spoken language on the planet. English only comes in third, then Hindi and Arabic. Those five languages represent a third of the world's population. I want to take courses on Mandarin and Hindi, too. It would be important to understand those cultures and that starts with their languages, if I choose to pursue an international business. Even if I only run a local one, I have to at least expect Spanish-speaking customers here in California."

He asked, "You haven't decided on what business you intend to be involved in?"

I answered, "I'm looking around for options for a job after graduation, but capital I could use to buy or start a business is locked up in that trust I mentioned, for several more years. Annie and I can restructure or dissolve the trust only after she turns 25. That gives me some time to consider my options."

He asked, "Between now and then, you can control where the trust invests money, as trustee?"

I responded, "Yes, although we've got a pretty profitable portfolio now. Why?"

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