Chapter no 17

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)

The Hawthorne Foundation looked exactly as it had the last time I’d been there. The walls were still a light silver-gray—the color of Grayson’s eyes. Massive black-and-white photographs still hung all around the room. Grayson’s handiwork.

This place was Grayson—but this time Jameson and Xander were there as a buffer between us.

“If he says the phrase effective altruism,” Xander warned me with mock solemnity, “run.”

I snorted back laughter. A door opened and shut nearby, and Grayson strode into the room. His gaze settled on me for a second or two before he looked past me to his brothers.

“To what do I owe the honor, Jamie? Xan?”

Xander opened his mouth, but Jameson beat him to speaking. “I invoke the ancient rite of On Spake.”

Xander looked startled, then delighted. “The what?” I said.

Grayson narrowed his eyes at his brother, then answered my question. “Anagram it.”

It took me less than three seconds. “No speak.”

“Exactly,” Jameson said. “Once I begin telling him what I have to say, my dearest, darling older brother here can’t say a single word until I finish.” “At which point, if I choose, I can invoke the sacred rite of Taeb Nwod.”

Grayson dusted an imaginary speck off the cuff of his suit. “I believe those rules expired when I was ten.”

“I recall no such expiration!” Xander volunteered.

I did a little mental rearranging of the words Grayson had spoken and then shook my head. “Beatdown? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“It’s a friendly beatdown,” Xander assured me. “A brotherly beatdown.”

He paused. “More or less.”

“Well?” Jameson gave Grayson a look.

In reply, Grayson took off his suit jacket and laid it on a nearby desk, presumably preparing for part two of this little ritual. “Whatever you have to tell me, Jamie, I’m all ears.”

“We went to see the will the old man wrote right after Toby ‘died.’” Jameson took his time with what he had to say—because he could. “Yes, I know you think asking to see the will was a bad idea. No, I don’t have any particular objection to bad ideas. Long story short, we found a list of charities. We need you to look through them and see what, if anything, you notice.”

Grayson arched an eyebrow.

“He can’t talk until I cease On Spake,” Jameson told me. “Let’s just cherish the sound of silence for another moment.”

A vein in Grayson’s forehead pulsed. “Come on,” I told Jameson. He blew out a long breath. “Cease On Spake.

Grayson began cuffing the sleeves of his dress shirt.

“You two aren’t actually going to fight, are you?” I asked warily. I turned to Xander. “They’re not actually going to fight, are they?”

“Who can say?” Xander replied merrily. “But perhaps you and I should wait outside in case this gets ugly.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” I insisted. “Jameson, this is ridiculous.” “Not my call, Heiress.”

“Grayson!” I said.

He turned to look at me. “I really would prefer you wait outside.”

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