As she walked back toward her room, she encountered Scott in the courtyard. “I was looking for you, Babe. We’ve got to go. The car is already here to pick us up,” he said. “Oh, ok. My stuff is all ready, I was just mailing a letter,” she replied. They said their good-byes to the staff of HtW and went out to the street. Rachel was surprised to see a black sedan waiting for them. Scott seemed a little nervous about what was ahead of him. “Are you ok?” she asked him. “Yeah, it’s just that it’s been three years since I was home. I’m not super excited about going to work for my dad again, but I know that it’s what I need to do,” he answered. She began to notice that they were not going to the regular Miami airport, but decided not to bug Scott about it. They eventually pulled into the same private airport where Sam had his plane. Scott finally explained to her, “Dad sent his jet to pick us up. He didn’t want me flying home commercial.” “Oh,” she said simply. The small aircraft was even nicer than Sam’s plane and she was in awe. She had wanted to read on the flight to New York, but kept getting distracted by the opulence of the plane. Scott leaned over and said, “You know, we should be enjoying this time alone.” He kissed her and stroked her face. She knew that as soon as they arrived in New York their lives would be turned upside down. “We will get you settled into your apartment first,” he said later. She started to get anxious about meeting Scott’s dad. He sounded like such a formidable character. She decided whatever he was like, it would be better than her family. No sooner had she settled in, they began their decent to the private airport where the Fillman plane was kept. A black suv was waiting for them near the hangar. As they stepped off the plane, Spencer Fillman came out of the car. He was handsome for his age and obviously wore a hand tailored suit that fit him perfectly. “Don’t worry, I’ve told him everything about you,” he told her as they approached him. Airport workers unloaded their luggage and brought them to the back of the suv. He walked up to Rachel first as a gentleman would and extended his hand. “Hello, you must be Rachel!” She was shocked to hear his Australian accent since Scott didn’t have a drop of an accent. “Yes sir, you must be Mr. Fillman,” she said nervously. “Please, call me Spencer. I’m so delighted that my son found you,” he said. “Oh, thank you. We are glad we are going to be with you now,” she said as politely as possible. Finally, Spencer turned to his son and embraced him, “Welcome home, son. Well, shall we?” They loaded into the suv and the driver moved briskly toward the city. “Dahling, I hope you find your apartment to be satisfactory. I’ve done my best to prepare it for you and anticipating what you will need,” he said to Rachel. “I’m sure it will be wonderful,” she said.
Wonderful didn’t adequately describe Spencer’s apartment. He had ordered it to be completely re-decorated in a country style fitting for Rachel. He had installed a computer with internet and also a laptop for her school work. The refrigerator and pantry were fully stocked. The view from the windows was incredible. She knew this apartment would cost a ton of money if it had been leased to someone else; but he was letting her stay here free. “I...I don’t know how to thank you enough, Mr. Fi……I mean Spencer,” she said. “Ah, but I’m not done. I’m on the board at NYU and I’ve gotten you a scholarship. You start in the fall; if that is what you want to do,” he said. She was shocked and stood there for a moment with her mouth open. “That is amazing! Thank you so much! I don’t know how I can ever repay you, but I hope to be a good wife to your son. Perhaps that will be a good trade?” He smiled and nodded. “Well, you don’t owe me anything. I’m just happy to have Scott and you here. Now, we are going to take his things back to my home and then we will come and get you for dinner at seven.” There was no negotiating with Spencer, so she just nodded. As they were going out the door, she heard him say, “Son, I like her a lot. I see why you have fallen in love.” She was relieved and felt that she could now relax for a moment. She took her things to the bedroom. It had a king size bed with beautiful floral bedding. She wanted to bounce on it, but thought that wouldn’t be a good idea. The closet was the size of her whole room at HtW. She hung up her few belongings and thought that they looked a bit pathetic in that enormous closet. She pulled out one of the dresses that Sam had bought for her, found an iron, and pressed it. She thought that she ought to dress up for Spencer. Since she had no idea where they were going to eat, she could only picture the restaurants that Sam had enjoyed. She picked out a pair of heels to match and then went in the luxurious bathroom. There was a vanity with a cushioned chair where she could do her hair. She had a few items of makeup and did her best to apply them. She twisted her hair up into a neat bun and then put on a necklace. She looked at herself in the full length mirror and thought, “My parents would never recognize me.” She went out to the living area to look out the windows until Scott and Spencer returned. The busyness of the city fascinated her and she thought she could watch people forever. After just a few minutes, however, her door bell rang and the men were back to collect her. She opened the door and Scott’s mouth dropped open. “Wow! You look amazing!” he said. Spencer just smiled and then remembered something, “Oh Dahling, I forgot to give you the keys! Here is your set. This one if for the door downstairs and this one is for this door.” He handed her the keys and she memorized them before sticking them in her purse. “Alrighty, then, let’s be on our way,” he said as he walked at a good clip toward the elevator. Rachel locked her door and then took Scott’s arm. They joined Spencer on the waiting elevator and it tickled her tummy as it descended. The same suv was waiting out on the street and it navigated the busy streets like an elephant in grassland. She was relieved to see that she had guessed correctly at the proper attire for their dinner. They were escorted to “his” table in the elegant, dimly lit Italian restaurant. After they had ordered, Spencer cleared his throat and pulled out his smart phone, “I want to get my calendar set up for the coming year. So, now, have you two set a date for the wedding?” Scott said, “No, not yet. We need to see how her schooling and my job acclimation go.” Spencer smiled, “That’s wise, son. Good way to plan. Rachel will start in just a few weeks. My assistant will take you there tomorrow for enrollment, by the way. She can also take care of shopping for books, supplies, and clothes, and anything else you might need. Don’t even think about objecting; you’re going to be my daughter and I want to give you everything you need.” Their bread and wine arrived at the table and briefly paused their conversation. Rachel had never even tried wine before and was a bit reluctant. Scott whispered, “Just sip a little. You kind of have to get used to it.” She was glad he was taking care of her and she did as he said. After Spencer’s thirst was sated he continued with his speech, “Scott you will start work on Monday. I’ve cleared out the office next to mine and my assistant has lined up some jobs for you to do. Oh, and your brother will be getting out of the army in September. He thinks he can just do free lance photography and journalism when he returns, but I’m sure he will have a rude awakening. Let’s see, we also have a fund raiser dinner in November, but we can talk about that later.” He finished and dug into a piece of bread and the salad that was put in front of him. Rachel stared at her plate feeling like she had been kicked in the chest. “How on earth could he have not told me he has a brother?” she thought. She didn’t want to look at either of the men and show them her shock. After a few moments of silence, Spencer’s phone rang. “Excuse me, I need to get this,” he said as he rose from his chair and went to the front of the restaurant. Rachel looked at Scott and asked him, “Why is it you didn’t tell me you had a brother?” “Gosh, sweetie, it’s a long story. Can I please tell you about it after dinner?” he pled. She nodded and he was glad she agreed because Spencer was back at the table in less than two minutes. They finished eating quickly since there wasn’t much talking going on. Scott asked to be dropped off with Rachel because he wanted to spend some time with her. They went up to her apartment and she took off her uncomfortable shoes. She was trying to make herself busy to avoid feeling like Scott had betrayed her. He finally took her in his arms and led her to the couch. He sighed deeply and then began his story. “My love, I know this will probably sound like I’m being childish, but I want you to hear my whole story before you judge me. My older brother Danny was born competitive. He thinks that I was born just so he could have someone to beat at everything. He took my toys when I was a kid; he competed with my accomplishments and took my girlfriends when I was in high school. I went to a different university just to get away from him and he transferred! He is the popular guy that everybody likes and nobody knows. A year before I left for HtW, I told dad and Danny about it. Dad was impressed that I was going to “save the world.” Danny couldn’t stand it that Dad was pleased with me. He went out a month later and joined the army. Now, I’ve come home and look, he is coming home, too. And, I’d bet my life he is going to try to steal you away from me. It won’t matter that we are engaged. God knows why he has to beat his little brother at everything, but I just wish he would get a new life purpose. I’ve told Dad about it, but he won’t say anything. Equality and all that. Anyway, that’s why I didn’t tell you about him. It’s a rather sore spot for me and I think I would just lose it if he stole you from me.” He searched her face for a moment. She thought for a few minutes and then replied, “Scott, I love you more than anyone I’ve ever loved in my life. This will not come between us, but next time, just tell me about it anyway. I will feel more prepared to face this with you. He sounds exactly like the kind of guy that I don’t like.” Tears of relief rolled down his cheeks and he held her tight for a long time that night.
The next day she woke up early and got ready to go meet NYU. She had just eaten some toast when the door bell rang. A lovely woman in her forties stood at the door with her hand extended, “Hello, I’m Kathryn. I’m Spencer’s assistant and I will be taking you to NYU today. It’s so nice to meet you. I’ve known Scott since he was young.” “Yeah, it’s nice to meet you, too. I’m sure that I will really appreciate knowing you in this family,” Rachel replied. Kathryn smiled and then hurried Rachel out the door. There was a dark blue sedan with tinted windows waiting for them out front. “Washington Square,” Kathryn said as soon as they were seated. Rachel thought she would go crazy and start dancing when she saw the university. She felt that she was entering a time machine that would take her from the last century, where she had lived her whole life, to the present day. Kathryn was all business at the school and acted as though she had done a good deal of research for her role as Rachel’s guardian through the enrollment process. They were finished in a couple of hours and went to find their driver. They did a little shopping, went for lunch, and then went shopping some more. Rachel really liked Kathryn and could see why Spencer had kept her for so many years. She took Rachel back to her apartment and helped Rachel program her phone number, as well as Scott and Spencer, into her phone. Rachel sat reading over her classes and schedule for a while. She felt like a little girl who had been given the best doll in the world. As the sun started to set, her door bell rang. She dropped her books and schedules and went to answer the door. Scott was there with a big smile. “Hello, Babe, I hear you are a full-fledged college student. I think I need to kiss the new student.” He came through the door and swooped her up in her arms. She let him kiss her for a few minutes, and then drug him to the couch excited to show him her class schedule. He programmed her schedule into his phone and then asked if he could continue his former pursuits. “Well, do we need to talk about our wedding?” she asked. He raked his hand across the back of his neck and sighed, “Sweetie, I think we need to wait until we know what your classes are going to require of you and I haven’t even started back to work with Dad yet. I’m going to need time to settle in there. Let’s just wait until we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Ok?” She smiled and nodded, but inwardly was beginning to worry that their wedding would be put off indefinitely. He was starting to kiss her again, when his phone rang. “Ugh, it’s Dad,” he said. After a lot of “uhuh” and “ok,” he hung up. “Dad wants us to meet him for dinner at our house,” he explained.
Finally, Rachel got to ride in a yellow cab. Scott didn’t like to use the family drivers and believed in supporting the New York City icon. Rachel was excited and disappointed when they arrived at Spencer’s home in just a few minutes. He owned a super pricey brownstone and Rachel tried hard not to gawk. Spencer wanted to know all about her classes and schedule and her general thoughts on NYU. Once that was thoroughly discussed, they really had nothing else to talk about. She was bored and hated the way Scott was so uncomfortable around his father. True to herself, she stayed smiley and polite the whole evening. He accompanied her home, but was very grave and silent. “Do you want me to walk you up?” he asked. “Oh, no, that’s alright. You look tired and I’ll be fine,” she answered. He gave her a little kiss and she got out of the car. “Wow, I hope I don’t have to do that often!” she thought.