Skyla was well into her third trimester on the day that Jonathan finally heard from Tony. He received a text with only an address in it. She was due at any moment, and he didn’t want to leave her. But, he had to go meet Tony and get some answers. She assured him that she would be fine and that the baby probably wouldn’t come until the next morning. He hoped she was right. He kissed her, she wished him luck, and then he was gone.
The address from Tony’s text was in Newcrest, so Jonathan assumed that they were meeting at some new club or something. He didn’t recall there being any homes in Newcrest, but boy oh boy was he wrong. The address was for a house, and it was on the largest lot right across the street from the country club where he had his bachelor party. It was enormous—maybe even bigger than the Pruett estate. At first, Jonathan walked past the house. There was no way that was the place Tony wanted to meet. He looked at the text and looked back at the address on the mailbox and was thoroughly confused. This can’t be it. How can he afford all this? Who’s house is this? As he stood there on the sidewalk, dumbfounded by what he saw, everything slowly began to make sense.
He grew more and more despondent as the scene became more real to him. I…I can’t believe it. This can’t be happening. How could he do this to me? He wasn’t going to get any answers by standing on the front lawn, so he pressed on toward the door and knocked.
Tony was expecting him and left the door unlocked. Jonathan let himself in. Figuring out that he had been taken by his best friend was already painful enough. Discovering that it was pre-meditated and was intended to hurt him was like a fatal wound. What he saw in the foyer was the blow that finished him off.
It was almost as if there was a tiny section of his heart that wanted to hold out in hopes that all of this was just some big misunderstanding. But seeing it stand there…strong and regal… He had never actually cast eyes on it before, but he knew what it was, where it came from, and what it represented. Seeing it stand there in all of its glory crushed all feelings of hope he had and confirmed suspicions. He couldn’t move. He wanted to break down and cry right there, but he needed to know why.
Tony came out to greet him. “Jonathan! Come in. Can Vincent make you a drink?”
How can he be so casual? He invites me to his house like a guest? Jonathan’s feelings of anger were replaced with embarrassment and sadness. Tony was a trusted friend, and he had betrayed him. It took Jonathan a minute to find his words. When he did, they were broken and drenched in despair. “Isn’t it enough that you swindled me? You had to steal my family heirloom too?”
“Ahhh, I knew you’d catch on quickly. But, you’re not that smart, are ya now?” Tony patted him on the arm and motioned for Jonathan to sit with him.
Jonathan couldn’t take his eyes off Tony. He was sitting right next to him, but he didn’t recognize him. “How could you do this to me?”
“Easy! You let me.” Tony shrugged his shoulders casually.
Jonathan was still embarrassed and saddened, but now the anger was rising again. “How would I let you do this? I would never let anyone steal from me!”
Tony raised his left eyebrow in surprise. He hadn’t realized just how clueless and irresponsible Jonathan was until just then. He pulled out a piece of paper from his breast pocket and gave it to Jonathan. “Didn’t you sign this?” It was his copy of the Power of Attorney document. “When you signed this, you gave me permission to do as I saw fit. You gave me the same power you have. So…stealing is such a harsh word. Let’s say I put your funds to better use, he he he.”
“Why you son of a—
“Jonathan? Oh, hello,” Miss Corleonesi said. “I didn’t know you’d be here. Can I get you something to drink?”
“He’s fine, mom. Thank you. Please leave us.”
Jonathan’s emotions ran rampant for the rest of the night. Tony would say something that made him angry, but then he would say something else to put him on the verge of tears. This dance took place all night, and Tony was having the time of his life.
Jonathan’s voice cracked as he tried to hold it together. “We were friends, Tony! I trusted you! How could you do this?! WHY?”
“Well, let’s just say that your family heirloom is my family’s heirloom too.”
“WHAT?! You’re not a Pruett! You’re crazy!”
“Oh, but I am a Pruett. See…remember when I told you my father kept reaching out to me? I finally met him just to get him off my back. He told me about his family…my family. He told me who I really was and how important I should be. You know I’m a family man. I had to join him and take back my rightful place.”
“What place?! This doesn’t explain you being a Pruett!”
“See… That’s the thing with you Pruetts. You’re so arrogant and smug. You think you’re the only ones out there who can live like you live and have what you have. You think you’re so high and mighty and nothing could ever touch you. Well, I did it, and it was easy! You Pruetts are gullible and stupid, and you don’t deserve anything you have! You don’t even recognize all of your family members when you have the heir talks with your sons!”
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
“Is everything ok over here,” Vincent asked with a menacing look.
“What is this,” Jonathan asked. “Is he your body guard now?”
“One story at a time, kid. We’re fine Vincent. I think Mr. Legacy can use a drink though… Now, where was I…oh yes. You Pruetts always leave my family out of the discussion!”
“Who are you?”
“I am Tony Corleonesi, descendent of Thaddeus Maier, son of Donovan Pruett, son of Xavier Pruett, the founder of the Pruett legacy. That makes us cousins.” Tony laughed maniacally.
Jonathan was extremely confused. “Who is Thaddeus Maier? We don’t have anyone in the family by that name!”
“See! This is what I’m talking about! I know your family history better than you do! Donovan Pruett had two sons. Your grandfather, Aiden, and my grandfather, Thaddeus. Donovan was in a relationship with my grandmother Mabel Maier when your trollop for a grandmother, Adalyn Darling, came and took him away. She ruined a perfectly good relationship, and Donovan married your trashy grandmother instead. Even when my grandmother tried to patch things up, he still threw us away.”
“But what does this have to do with anything? If this Thaddeus person was real, he would still be a spare! We don’t owe you anything!”
“Ahhhh, but that’s where you’re wrong, Mr. Legacy! You are living proof that spares can rise up and be in power! Wasn’t your grandfather once a spare? You would have been nobody too, but you’re not! We’re going to rise up and take our rightful place in Pruett history! We will make this legacy greater than it has ever been! I even have a little heir on the way.”
Jonathan felt like crying, but he couldn’t let Tony see that he had gotten to him. He failed. It was clear to him now. The Pruett legacy was definitely lost, and he let it slip right through his fingers like water flowing down the drain.
“Don’t you just love karma,” Tony said.
“What happened to you, Tony? Did our friendship mean anything to you? Were you planning this the whole time?”
“Of course not. You’re a good guy, and we had fun. But, like I said…I’m a family guy, and my family always comes first. You understand, right?”
Jonathan couldn’t hear anymore. He couldn’t take it and got up and left.
“Come by the house anytime,” Tony said. “I’d love to have a family reunion!” His laughter was full of evil and malice.
Jonathan trudged out the door silently and took his shame, embarrassment, pain, and regret with him.