Early the next morning, Ben, Abigail, Patrick and Nicole had a meeting with the detective in charge of the case, who told them that the man, who had been driving the other car, had already been dead when the accident had occurred, a bullet to his head some minutes before the accident claiming his life. A brick had been tied to the accelerator pedal, and the steering had been locked in place. Nicole was silent throughout the entire meeting, and it was only as they left the police HQ that she spoke.
"It all sounds a bit suss, doesn't it?" she commented as they got into the car. As much as he hated it, Ben had to admit that she was right
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That afternoon, Nicole, Ben, Patrick and Abigail sat in Thomas and Rose's lawyer's office, as the lawyer, a old friend of Thomas and Rose whom Ben recognized from the funeral, sat behind his desk, Thomas and Rose's will before him.
"Now," said the Lawyer, whose name Ben could not remember, "The will states that everything should pass to Patrick and Nicole, in this case, just Nicole. It says that until she is 18 years old, all funds will be kept in a Trust fund for her, to be managed by her legal Guardians. The will states that if their death's occurred prior to Nicole's 18th Birthday, she should be placed into the care of Benjamin Franklin Gates, her uncle on her father's side, or by a representative Guardian/s appointed by him."
"What" Ben's jaw dropped, and Abigail nudged him in the side warningly.
"Your brother obviously thought you were capable of the job, Mr. Gates" the lawyer clearly stated. Ben swallowed and looked across at Nicole, who was looking at him with a strange look in her eyes.
"Do you want to come?' he asked, "Do you want to come back to America with us?"
Nicole paused for a moment, before nodding. "Yes, I do. I want to go with you. I need to get away from here, out of this country, even if it is only for a year" she said, her voice increasing in confidence as she spoke. Her words boosted Ben's confidence as well.
"Alright then. We'll make the arrangements" he said, nodding, and Nicole smiled. A sudden thought occurred to Patrick, and made him chuckle.
"Looks like you two are going to be filling in that big house you've got a lot sooner than you planned" he joked, and they all laughed.
It took another week to organize Nicole's visa applications, and all of the other travel documents she required. The group, along with a smell army of helpers, mostly old friends of Thomas and Rose, had set about tidying up the Gates' family home. Most of the furniture was put in storage, with smaller items or things either being given to those who had a link with the particular object, donated to a charity shop, or kept by Nicole. The house was put up for rent, and Nicole began the long task of bidding farewell to everyone she knew. Either Ben or Abigail stayed with her during these, often teary, farewells, and let her sob onto their shoulder afterwards. In what seemed like no time at all, they were onboard the plane, heading back to America. Nicole was silently crying, the final farewell she had shared with her friends in the departures lounge still lingering with her. In her arms was one of the presents they had given her, a soft, fluffy, toy dog, which was now wrapped in Nicole's arms as she gazed out the window, her eyes still glistening from the tears. Ben, Abigail and Patrick stayed thoughtfully silent as the jet took off, leaving Australia far behind
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After what seemed like days, but really only a large amount of hours, the plain was touching down. Nicole, who had slept most of the way, looked out of the tiny plane window curiously at this new country she had been brought to. Ben watched her carefully, waiting for her reaction.
"Looks cool, I guess" she said shrugging, secretly a little overwhelmed. Abigail, who was also watching, rubbed Nicole's shoulder.
"It'll be fine."
"I guess you speak the same language" Nicole muttered as the Airplane stopped moving. They went through immigration and customs relatively quickly, and finally they made it out into the main airport. Ben let out a groan.
"Now we just have to find Riley, and then we can go." he said.
"Speak of the Devil" Abigail smiled, spotting Riley in the crowd of waiting people. She led the way, while the others followed.
"Hi Riley" she greeted the younger man. Riley smiled.
"Long time no see."
"We weren't gone that long, Riley." Ben said as he joined them
"I actually had to cook for myself" Riley whined, and Nicole smiled.
"I'm sure you managed, Riley." Abigail rolled her eyes.
"Riley, this is my niece, Nicole. Nicole, this is my best friend Riley" Ben introduced, and they shock hands.
"Hi, nice to meet you." Nicole said.
"The pleasure is all mine." Riley replied, taking a suitcase from Patrick, and leading them out to Ben's car.
"You didn't scratch it?" Ben asked.
"No Ben" Riley was the one who rolled his yeas now, as he handed Ben the keys. Ben shot Riley a glare, and opened the boot, placing the Suitcases in, before walking around to the drivers seat. Once everyone was sitting comfortably, Ben started the engine, and drove towards his home.
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Nicole's mouth fell open as Ben turned up the driveway. The trees that bordered the property falling away to the lush, green lawns, and the house itself, sprawling, and incredibly impressive.
"Nice house" She found herself saying, and Ben laughed.
"You know that it has a historical Background??" he said, and Nicole found herself smiling.
"Knowing you, Uncle Ben, that doesn't surprise me, not at all."
"She does have a point, you know," Riley added as they pulled up and got out of the car. Ben glared at Riley again.
"Whose best friend are you, Riley?"
"I'm just saying" Riley said, raising his arms in mock surrender.
"Boys, play nicely" Abigail added, as she unlocked the door. Carrying her suitcase, Nicole followed Abigail inside, taking in the polished floors and antiques that decorated the entrance.
"Whoa, Nice!" she said, a broad smile braking out upon her face. Riley stepped in behind her, carrying two more suitcases.
"Ben, you might want to restock the fridge before tonight, it's kind of empty." He called out to Ben, who was just behind him.
"Please tell me you did NOT do all your 'cooking' here." Abigail said, her voice rising dangerously as she hurried towards the kitchen to make sure it was still in one piece.
"Ben, remind me why you are with Mean declaration lady?"
"Because she makes your life difficult Riley."
"You're Welcome, Riley. Come on Nicole, I'll show you to your room." Ben his smile as Riley looked disgruntled, before deciding that it would be better if he went with Ben upstairs before Abigail discovered that he had done little cleaning in the kitchen during her absence, and by little, he meant none.
A.N. Sorry for the slow updates, I've been doing my final year of high school, and I had all these exams. Thankfully, it's all over now, so updates should be more frequent from now on.
Although, reviews would increase the frequency of updates.