Chapter One: The Thunder of Inheritance Part I

Twenty-four years later…

"Is that all the family?" Hayashi Norio asked his secretary.

"I believe so sir," the young woman answered. "The butler, Tanaka-san confirmed that only the chairman's younger son is absent. He is just outside, someone has gone to fetch him."

"Good, will you please ask everyone to come in now?"

"Hai, sir."

Taking his seat behind the ancient oak desk, Hayashi Norio prepared to face the Usami-clan. Twenty-six members would be present to hear the legacy of Usami Masahiko, founder and deceased chairman of the Usami Corporation. There was a mysterious sealed letter that was strictly for the eldest son's eyes only. The contents of the letter were classified top priority by the former chairman. Hayashi glanced at the yellowed letter. From the faded kanji, he judged the letter was at least a decade old. The importance of this note had seen the former chairman had summoned him in the twilight hours of the morning. Decrepit and afflicted, the terminally ill man had pressed the letter into the hands of his long-term friend.

Usami Masahiko was not a man who begged.

The pleading dying words of his friend had struck deeply into Hayashi's heart. He accepted the responsibly of a guilty secret. Swearing to be its guardian until the will reading. A month later, he was eager to turn over the envelop to its intended owner. To relinquish the troubles of his old friend confession that had haunted him since. Tugging open the draw of his old oak desk, he lifted out an old photograph portraying the blissful first moments of motherhood. A bedraggled young woman beamed jubilantly as she cradled her gorgeous newborn son. Clearly, she adored and cherished that child.

It was strange world that lawyers sometimes inhabited, he thought. Before his dealings with the Usami family, he had never really had carried secrets. Concealing the image within a hardback book, Hayashi resumed his preparations for the Usami clan.

A knock on the door signaled they were ready to begin.

"Hayashi-san," his secretary greeted him as she opened the door. "Everyone is assembled, shall I send them in?"

"Yes, please show the clients in."

As the double office doors opened wide, the Usami family filed in. Scanning the room, he counted the twenty-six members of the family. He wondered how would they react if they knew twenty-seven of them should have been present that day?

The meeting was winding up nicely on time.

The only issue had been the younger Usami grandson, who wished to reject his grandfather's legacy. With distain, the family had commented on the wildness of the man. It seemed that money was not an issue for him. Hayashi heard murmurings amongst the group that he was an arrogant writer, who had recently been award a big shot literature prize. He blushed at the haughty comments of a female relation who nastily recanted gossips pertaining to the sexuality of the man in question.

Respecting the author's wishes, Hayashi asked his secretary to fetch the appropriate paperwork to disposed of him of his inheritance. A quick scribble of a signature concluded the discussion. The violet-eyed man straightened up, bidding a hasty and cool goodbye to his family. Disapproving chatter commenced before the door closed behind the departing young man. Out of the window, Hayashi witness the young man strut towards a fancy red sports car. he younger grandson was definitely the black sheep of the family, Hayashi thought to himself, passing the documents to his secretary.

Reading the clock, he realized it was the appointed time to end the session.

"Thank you for your patience and attendance to this inheritance hearing," he said. "I wish you all good luck and fortune for the future. If you should have any further questions, I have left my business cards with my secretary, which you are welcome to take."

Mumbling members of the Usami clan passed him issuing their brief thanks. Several walked past him without expressing a single word. Hayashi concluded these were the individuals who the will, had been less than kind too. A young lady in a traditional kimono bowed to him, shaking with what appeared to be uncontrollable joy.

"Arigatou gozaimasu," the dark haired girl said. "I never thought that the Chairman would leave me so much… I can now act on some very good advice I had recently. May I take a card? I may need a good lawyer soon to handle some business for me in a delicate way."

"Certainly, Miss. I shall try my best to aid you in anyway I can."

She smiled brightly, before following what appeared to be her parents as they called her name. Urging her onwards as they had other appointments to keep before their scheduled flights to England.

Remaining in his office, seated in the leather seats opposite his great desk, were the sons of the former chairman. The family butler, Tanaka-san was also present in the room standing behind his master. These tall and somber men were here because of the secret letter that had been entrusted to him.

"Gentleman, the reason I asked you to remain relates to a dying wish your father asked me to attend to on his behalf," Hayashi said returning to his seat. "I have here a letter for you, chairman from your father. It is for you alone to read in your own time. However there is another matter, I was requested to deliver this matter of inheritance with you both, relating to a person who was not represent today."

Usami Fuyuhiko's face suddenly grew pale.

His dark eyes narrowing and a strange look of pain twisted his features. Hayashi could only imagine at the depth of pain this man had endured due to his father's actions for the last twenty-four years. The letter perhaps may put right some of the wrong inflicted upon this son, but Hayashi doubted greatly if Fuyuhiko would agree to forgive his father's misdeeds as the older man had prayed for.

The other son, Yoshihiko, looked confused at the envelope that was passed to his brother. Hayashi had been wary of the old chairman's request to have the younger son present for the extended session of the inheritance hearing. How the secret related to him, Hayashi was unsure, but their father had believed his younger son had the right to know were some of the Usami fortune was willed to.

"Your father, Yoshihiko thought you deserved to be made aware of the truth." Hayashi continued. "I will be direct about the matter; there is another heir mentioned in the will that was concealed from the many body of the Usami family. Your father has willed him the same amount of 'pocket money' as the rest of his grandchildren and a property that he seized from your brother' twenty-four years ago."

The younger brother was silent for a moment.

"Another heir? I don't understand how there could be another heir."

"He's my son," Fuyuhiko bit out. "He was born to my last mistress, who died at his birth and father refused to let me keep him."

"What?" Yoshihiko spluttered in shocked at the revelation. "Tanaka, where you aware of this?"

"Sadly, yes master Yoshihiko." The butler confirmed. "It was while you were away at graduate-school in the United States, this incident took place. I never thought the old master would bring this up in his will."

"Your father's wishes were that I would conclude this matter of the inheritance with you both," Hayashi explained. "Safety measures have will be implement so that once found, the boy won't be able to trace the inheritance back to the Usami family."

"What about my brother?" Yoshihiko asked. "Did father forbid him access to the information about the boy when he is located?"

Hayashi cleared his throat. "That issue is between your brother and him; I believe the letter address that in its content. But it was your father's wish that I refrain from conveying information about the boy to you. He wished to avoid tarnishing the Usami family name."

Yoshihiko glanced from Hayashi to his brother. The older Usami has been oddly quiet. The chairman had described his elder son to Hayashi as a hard-working man, protective of his family but always cheerful. The current figure of Fuyuhiko was very different. Tears filled Fuyuhiko's eyes as he crumpled the letter in his hand. Anger venting upon the expensive stationary within his hands; it was clear, he was torn in the decision of ripping the offending scrap of paper up and reading the words contained within.

How must it feel to lose something so long ago and then to discover it briefly touches you again, to be denied you again? It was a confusing position to be in, Hayashi thought. But the look on the older Usami's face moved him to speak about the lack of injunction to prevent his sons requesting access to the information about the heir in question.

"However, no legal measures were engaged by your father to prevent me from sharing this information with you, if you wanted it."

Yoshihiko reached forward and grasped his brother's shoulder. "Do whatever you have to find the boy, I would like a report commission for our eyes only. This needs to remains secretive. I have a daughter to marry and do not want scandal to prevent her finding a good match, but I would not ask you to sacrifice a son, you have lost once already, Fuyu-kun."

"Thank you, Yoshi-kun." The elder Usami replied. "But I have one question still, why is it so difficult to find the boy? Father promised to have him adopted by a good family."

Both brothers' looked to the letter still crumpled in Fuyuhiko's hand. The answer lay with in the confession contained within its pages. The tale of villainy would change Yoshihiko's view of the father he had dearly loved. For Fuyuhiko, no depth of hell would be sufficient punishment for his fathers treachery and cruelty towards his newborn son and the woman he had loved.

To be continued…