Brotherly Love




Chapter 7

Several days later…

Like all good things, the skiing trip had to end eventually, because as much as Clark, Oliver, Lucas, Geoffrey, Jason, and Drew may have wanted to stay in Zermatt, they all knew that they had to be getting back home. Even Clark and Oliver, who were orphans, didn’t think for even a fraction of a second that it would be a good idea to try to skip out of school and stay on in Switzerland because even though their guardians, Gabriel and Moira Sullivan, were technically on their payroll, they knew that it wouldn’t stop them from coming to Switzerland and dragging them back home by their ears if necessary.

Landing at the small, private airfield for corporate jets in Metropolis at around eight in the evening, the boys said their goodbyes, before splitting up and heading to their respective homes. They all were very thankful that they’d managed to get some sleep on the plane and that they still had one day left of their vacation before they’d have to go back to school, because if they’d had to get up in the morning to go to school, they all doubted that they’d be able to. Even Clark, who it could be argued didn’t need as much sleep as a normal human, seeing as how he wasn’t even human, doubted that the time difference and the resulting jet lag would have allowed him to be up and ready to go back to school in the morning.

The next morning, or perhaps the next afternoon would be more appropriate considering how late they’d slept, Clark and Oliver sat down to breakfast in the kitchen of their loft in the Queen Tower in Metropolis. When their parents were alive, they’d usually stayed at the Metropolis Alexandria Hotel while in town, but since that was owned by Lionel Luthor, Clark and Oliver didn’t want any of the Queen money going to the Luthors, so they had the top two floors of the Queen Tower—the Metropolis headquarters of Queen Industries—which had previously only been used as storage renovated into a modern loft apartment. Gabriel, Moira, and their daughter Chloe also lived in Queen Tower, although in a much smaller apartment below Clark’s and Oliver’s, which was on the same floor as Robert Queen’s former office and the board room.

As he was cutting the slice of ham on his plate, Oliver said, “So, back to Excelsior tomorrow.”

Clark nodded, as he took a bite of his toast. “Yes, Spring Break ended way too soon if you ask me.”

“Oh I agree, although I guess we can look forward to summer now.”

“True and at least we had a good time in Zermatt.”

“Yeah the slopes were great, weren’t they?”

“Yes, although I can’t say that I was referring to the slopes when I said we had a good time.”

Oliver briefly closed his eyes, as he said, “Yes, Clark, I know what you meant. I’m just trying not to think about it.”

“Seeing my dick in Luke’s ass was really that traumatizing to you?”

“Yes, it was. I honestly think I’m going to be scarred for life.”

Clark rolled his eyes. “Oh, Ollie, it wasn’t that bad.” After a moment of silence, he grinned and said, “And if it makes you feel any better, I lost control of my x-ray vision when I came, so I saw through the wall into Jason’s and Drew’s bedroom.”

Oliver’s eyes widened slightly, as he asked, “Really?”

“Yes, really, Ollie, and let me tell you I got quite the eye full. Any guesses on just what I might have seen?”

“I have no clue,” Oliver said, even as he thought, ‘Oh please God don’t let him have seen me with both Jason’s and Drew’s dicks in my ass.’

As if reading his thoughts, Clark grinned and said, “How did you ever manage to fit both of their dicks in your ass at the same time? And for that matter, why would you even try that?”

Oliver sighed as he mentally cursed… whomever. “It was Jason’s idea.”

“Yeah and that right there should have given you pause, Ollie.”

Oliver blushed redder than a tomato as he said, “It did. I really wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not, especially considering that I was a virgin, but Jason and Drew convinced me that it would be okay. They’d both been in me separately before that and said that between that, the prep they’d done beforehand, and the lube, that it’d be fine.”

“And was it?”

“It didn’t hurt as much as I initially thought it would,” Oliver answered. “And I’ll admit I enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not something I’m going to want to do again anytime soon.”

“Well, just be glad that the others don’t know about my powers,” Clark said with a grin. “Because if it wasn’t for that, I so would have said something on the plane home.”

Oliver sighed. “I’m never going to hear the end of this, am I?”

Shaking his head, Clark said, “Nope.”

Silently eating their breakfasts for the next few minutes, Oliver finally said, “On a totally unrelated note, am I the only one who got a bad vibe from Hampton before we left?”

“No, I felt the same way,” Clark answered. “Honestly, I’ve never liked the man.”

“Yeah, neither have I,” Oliver said as he took a sip of his orange juice. “He definitely wouldn’t have been my first choice for who should run the company. Of course, we were only nine when Mom and Dad died, so despite the fact that it’s our company, we weren’t asked for our opinions.”

“Indeed we weren’t and I agree, I definitely wouldn’t have picked Bernard Hampton. Honestly, if I’d had to pick someone I’d have picked Adrian Wilcox, because Dad was grooming him as a backup in case neither one of us wanted to run the company.”

“Yeah I don’t get why Dad’s will didn’t name Adrian. He seemed like the logical choice and they definitely got along well, so I was shocked when Hampton was named CEO.”

“Yes, well, you remember what the lawyer said. Dad’s will was written in 1982 and Adrian didn’t start at the company until 1983. Unfortunately, Dad never updated it or made his wishes known so, the courts allowed the company that managed our trust funds while the estate was in probate to pick the CEO.”

“Considering that they’re not managing the trusts anymore, why exactly did we never change the CEO?”

“Because we were kids and didn’t really care,” Clark said. “Plus, when everything was said and done, Andrew became the trustee and the lawyers advised him to keep Hampton on as the CEO because they thought it would look bad for the company to have three different CEOs within such a short period of time.”

Both boys were silent for a few more minutes as they ate, before Oliver asked, “Wasn’t Adrian transferred here to the Metropolis office?”

Clark was silent for a moment, before he said, “Yes, he was, actually. Why?”

“Because I think after we finish eating, we should go say hello,” Oliver said in a rather cryptic tone that left Clark wondering just what was going on in his brother’s head. He recognized the look on his face, however, and knew that whatever it was, he’d enjoy it.

Nearly an hour later, after they’d both finished eating and gone upstairs to shower, the suit and tie clad Queen brothers got into the lift which would take them down from their apartment to the floor that Adrian Wilcox’s office was on. Some people might have found it strange that Clark and Oliver would wear suits and ties, as it’s not attire that most teenagers would willingly choose, but Clark and Oliver were used to them. They did, after all, attend a very expensive boarding school where suits and ties were part of the uniform. Plus, as Oliver had told Clark as they were dressing, this was more than just a friendly chat with an old friend, so he figured they should dress the part of corporate executive, even though they weren’t actually executives.

Adrian Wilcox had a corner office on the twentieth floor of Queen Tower, which was four floors below Clark’s and Oliver’s apartment. So, arriving in the small outer office, Oliver smiled at Adrian’s secretary and said, “Hello, Evelyn.”

“Mr. Queen, sir,” Evelyn said. “What a pleasant surprise.”

“How are you?” Clark asked.

“I’m doing very well, thank you,” Evelyn answered.

“And the baby?” Oliver asked. “You were on maternity leave not that long ago, weren’t you?”

Evelyn nodded. “Yes, Mr. Queen and my son, Evan, is doing quite well. He’s down in the daycare room as we speak.”

A very popular addition to Queen Industries before Robert died was the in-house daycare facilities that allowed all the employees to bring their young children to work with them and thus not have to pay for daycare. Bernard Hampton had tried to discontinue it as a cost-cutting measure four years ago, but Clark and Oliver, as the owners of the company, overruled him. Their relationship had been strained ever since, as it was clear that Bernard did not appreciate being told that he couldn’t do something when he was the CEO of the company. Especially when the people telling him he couldn’t do what he wanted were the at the time twelve-year-old owners of the company.

“Is Adrian in?” Clark asked.

“He is,” Evelyn answered. “I don’t suppose you have an appointment?”

Oliver flashed her an apologetic smile and said, “No, I’m afraid not.”

Evelyn smiled. “Well, I guess I can let that go, just this once.” Pressing a button on her desk phone she picked it up and said, “Mr. Wilcox, Clark and Oliver Queen are here to see you.”

After a short pause, she said, “Yes, sir,” before hanging up the receiver and motioning towards the double doors. “Go on in.”

As they entered the office, forty-two-year-old Adrian Wilcox stood and rounded his desk, as he said, “Mr. Queen and Mr. Queen, what a pleasant surprise.”

“No need to be so formal, Ian,” Clark said as he shook hands with Adrian. “You’re a family friend, after all.”

“Not to mention basically being our father’s right hand,” Oliver added with a grin.

Adrian laughed, as he motioned for them to take seats. “Yes, I remember the gag gift you two gave your father and me for Christmas that time.”

Clark and Oliver both laughed as they thought back to the Christmas when they were eight and had conspired with their mother to have a custom suit tailored for Robert and Adrian which when worn would turn them into conjoined twins, with only two arms between them. When they gave the gift to their father and Adrian, they specifically said that it had to Adrian's right arm in the corresponding sleeve, since he was Robert’s right hand man. It was perhaps an odd gift, but as billionaires, the Queens had been in the habit of giving each other gag gifts because they already had basically everything else.

“That was a fun Christmas, wasn’t it?” Clark asked.

“Maybe for you two,” Adrian said, “as I can honestly say that when I accepted the invitation to join your family for Christmas, I really wasn’t expecting to have to strip down to my underwear and put on a conjoined suit with my boss. But Robert and I had no choice after you two turned on the puppy dog eyes.”

“Oh come on Adrian, you know you liked it,” Oliver said. “You and Dad kept it on for the rest of the night, after all. If you were only humoring us you would have put it on for a few minutes and then changed back into the clothes you’d been wearing.”

“Funny I seem to recall Robert and I saying we were going to do that and having a certain pair of little boys grabbing onto us and insisting that we couldn’t.”

Clark and Oliver shared a look, before they said in unison, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Adrian shook his head and grinned at their innocent act that he wasn’t believing for a second. Thinking back on the night, Adrian knew that he’d been a bit embarrassed at the time, although he could now honestly say that he wished that he and Robert had had the opportunity to wear that suit a second time, as Clark and Oliver had extracted a promise from them that the suit would be their costume at the annual Queen Industries Halloween party the following year. Unfortunately, it never happened since Robert and Laura died in mid-October. Adrian couldn’t help but think that he’d gladly wear that suit with Robert every day for the rest of his life if it meant that Robert and Laura were still alive.

“Anyway, I’m sure you didn’t come to talk to me about that suit, although in case you were wondering, it’s still hanging in my closet,” Adrian said, as he’d been given the suit after Robert and Laura died since it was reasoned that it was half Adrian’s anyway.

“You’re right, we didn’t,” Clark said. “Although it was a nice diversion from the serious reason we’re here.”

Adrian nodded, as he sat down behind his desk. “What can I do for you?”

“What’s your take on Bernard Hampton?” Oliver asked.

“Truthfully?” Adrian asked, prompting both Clark and Oliver to nod. “I think he’s an arrogant, incompetent jackass who wouldn’t know a good business deal from a hole in the ground. I swear I’ll never understand why that company that temporarily managed your trusts thought he’d be a good replacement for Robert. As if anyone could ever truly replace Robert Queen.”

“We appreciate your honesty,” Clark said with an approving nod. “And we agree with you that he’s incompetent since the floundering stock price proves that. It’s been seven years since our father died and yet the stock price has never recovered to the level it was when he was alive.”

Oliver nodded. “Yes, if Hampton truly was as good as he makes himself out to be, then he should have been able to at least match the company’s previous success, but he hasn’t.”

“Ollie and I met him at the airport in Metropolis before we went on our ski trip,” Clark said. “He arrived with the jet since I guess he had a meeting at Hunter Tech. Something about the way he was acting thought made Ollie and I suspicious.”

“I’m not surprised,” Adrian commented. “To be honest, I’m surprised you weren’t suspicious before now, because the reports I’ve been seeing aren’t good. If things keep going the way they have been, I’m afraid the company is going to be facing serious financial difficulty which will likely force us to start selling off assets.”

Oliver frowned. “Which would probably also mean layoffs, which our father always wanted to avoid at all costs, even if it ended up costing him money.”

“Indeed, Robert was something of a rebel in the business community,” Adrian said. “Since he cared way more for his employees than he did about making a profit. Of course, I truly believe it was the loyalty that nurtured in the employees that made the company successful. And even now with an incompetent CEO, it’s that loyalty that’s carried us through the last seven years, but I’m afraid even that is reaching its limits.”

“Are things really that bad?” Clark asked. “Because none of the reports that Ollie and I have read make it seem as dire as you’re suggesting. Ollie and I do get all the reports that come within ten floors of the CEO’s desk and we do at least skim all of them. What with homework and such we don’t have time to read all of them, but we’ve never seen anything too damning.”

Adrian was quiet for a moment, before he said, “That leaves me wondering if the reports that you’re seeing are the same reports that I’m seeing. Because while you two might not have my MBA, I know from first-hand experience how effective Robert’s training methods were, and I know he was training both of you take over someday, so I’m sure you both knew this company inside and out by the time that Robert passed away.”

“True,” Oliver agreed.

Everyone was silent for a moment, until finally Clark said, “Can you come up to our loft after work today, Ian? And bring as many reports as you can carry without raising any eyebrows? I think perhaps it would be a good idea if we compared what you’ve been seeing to what we’ve been seeing.”

“Of course,” Adrian said almost immediately. “I should be done around five. My briefcase has a good amount of space in it, so I’ll gather as many reports as I can fit inside of it and then come upstairs around five-thirty to six?”

“That works. We’ll have Moira cook something and we can make it a working dinner. You like Italian, right?”

“Sounds good to me, Oliver, and yes, I do like Italian.”

Later that evening found Clark, Oliver, and Adrian sitting at the table in the dining room of the loft. Chloe and Moira were in the kitchen, while Gabe stood by ready to get anything that his young employers might need. Clark had been tempted to run to Star City to grab Andrew, but ultimately decided against it, although since he was their trust manager, Oliver felt that Andrew should at least join the meeting via speakerphone.

“This is totally ridiculous,” Clark said, as he scanned one of the reports that was sent to him and Oliver, and then compared it to the seemingly identical one that Adrian had brought with him from the office. “These reports are similar, but very different.”

Oliver nodded. “Yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing,” as he too was comparing two of the reports. “It looks like the reports we were sent were doctored to prevent us from noticing anything wrong, while Adrian was presumably given the correct reports without any alterations.”

Shaking his head, Adrian said, “Actually, I got the same reports you did, but I suspected something was off with them, especially after our conversation this afternoon. So when you left, I may have called my hacker nephew, who I may have left alone in my office for a while with my computer. Let’s just say that he had some very interesting things to show me when I returned.”

“Adrian, are you saying that you let your nephew hack the company network?” Andrew asked.

“I didn’t tell him to,” Adrian said in his defense, and Clark and Oliver both grinned at the look on Adrian’s face. “But, I have no control over what he does with my computer when I’m not there to keep an eye on him, now do I?” After a moment, he added, “And I somehow doubt that even if I had told him to hack the network that Clark and Oliver would be mad at me.”

Oliver nodded. “Considering the fact that it seems like someone is going through an awful lot of trouble to hide things from us about our company, I’m definitely not mad about someone hacking the system when it’s to my benefit.”

“Indeed,” Clark agreed. “You nephew is your older sister’s son, right?” Adrian nodded. “Honestly, I’m thinking we should offer him a job. The head of the IT department had previously told us that the company network was impenetrable, but apparently not so much for your nephew. Now, I suppose the fact that he used a network computer of a high executive may have helped, but even then, I’m sure he’d have some good insights into how we could tighten security.”

“I’ll pass on the offer to him,” Adrian said. “Anyway, it certainly seems clear to me that someone is funneling money from just about every deal that Queen Industries makes into other projects. Projects, by the way, that I’ve never even heard of and considering that I’m supposedly in charge of all the Metropolis operations, I find it very disconcerting that some of these projects are based around our operations here in Metropolis and yet I’ve never even been made aware of them.”

Clark nodded his head as he looked at the report in front of him and said, “Hmm, I’m seeing the name Braytech Industries several times and I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of them. From the level of business we’re apparently doing with them, you’d think I’d have at least heard of them.”

“Can you get your nephew on the phone, Adrian?” Andrew asked. “His skills have helped us thus far, so maybe he can find something out about this company?”

“He lives only twenty minutes from here,” Adrian said. “And told me that he’d be free for the rest of the evening if I needed anything else, so I could call and ask him to come over?”

Oliver nodded. “Please do.”

Thirty minutes later, Oliver was opening the lift door and greeting twenty-four-year-old Noah Wellert. Oliver had never met Adrian’s nephew before, but he’d heard about him. ‘Can’t say that I remember Adrian mentioning how hot his nephew is… of course, I suppose Adrian wouldn’t notice that, even though I know he does prefer men.’

“So, my uncle tells me you want some information on a company?” Noah asked, as he walked over to the dining table that they were all sitting at and setting down his laptop case.

“Yes,” Clark said. “Specifically a Braytech Industries. It seems that QI is doing a lot of business with them and yet I’ve never even heard of them.”

Noah nodded. “Okay, just give me a minute to get setup and then I’ll see what I can find out.”

Oliver nodded. “You want anything to eat or drink?”

“I’ve already eaten, but I’d take a Sprite if you’ve got it.”

Oliver was just about to say something when Gabe said, “I’ll be right back with your drink, Mr. Wellert.”

Setting up his computer, Noah called out to Gabe’s retreating form, “Noah, please. Mr. Wellert is my father.”

Ten minutes later, Noah took a sip of his drink, before his hands returned to the keyboard of his computer, flying over it faster than Oliver or Clark had ever seen someone type before. Even Clark wasn’t sure he could type that fast and he had super speed. Of course, he’d never attempted to do much with it other than running. After another half a minute, Noah smiled and said, “Bingo. Braytech Industries. Founded in 1993 in the Cayman Islands. Considering that they have no employees that I can find, I’d say it’s a fair bet that it’s a shell company.”

“Any mention of who owns it?” Andrew’s voice asked over the speakerphone.

“Owned by Davies International,” Noah answered, which prompted him to type something and said, “And low and behold, that also appears to be a shell company, which is owned by EB Industries, which is owned by, of course, yet another shell company.” A little over an hour later, after he’d gone through a nearly draconian web of misdirection that was clearly designed to make people want to give up, he said, “So, Bentrust and Sons is owned by Walsh Enterprises...”

“Wait, what?” a bored looking Clark asked, as he quickly became more alert. “Walsh Enterprises? Wasn’t Uncle Ethan considering changing the name of his company to Walsh Enterprises a few years back?”

Oliver nodded. “Yes, but his shareholders nixed it, if I recall, as the deal that would have diversified the company fell through and they thus decided that there was no reason to change the company name from WalshComm.”

Adrian whistled and said, “Well, I can’t say that I expected to find out that your uncle was involved in all of this.”

Clark shook his head. “Somehow, I can’t say that I’m surprised, because I know Uncle Ethan wasn’t exactly happy when he didn’t get anything from Mom and Dad’s will. From his reaction, you’d think he thought it was a capital offense that Mom and Dad left everything to Oliver and me in equal shares, minus what they left to the Queen Foundation.”

Andrew spoke up over the phone at this. “Yes, I remember that day. He had more than a few choice words when the lawyer revealed the terms of the will. He was angry that he didn’t get anything, but by the time he found out that Mr. and Mrs. Queen had named Gabe and Moira as Clark’s and Oliver’s guardians and then named me as the trustee of their trust funds, I thought he was ready to have a heart attack, since he’d have no control or access whatsoever to any of the Queen money.”

Oliver shook his head. “By the time Mom died, Uncle Ethan hadn’t even talked to her in seven years. Is it really any wonder that she and Dad didn’t name him in any capacity?”

“No, I’d say it isn’t,” Noah said. “But why would he be so upset that he didn’t get anything? You were their children, after all, so it makes perfect sense that they’d leave everything to you.”

Clark grinned. “I think the main reason he was upset was because WalshComm was founded by our late grandfather, who left 30% of the company to our mother when he died. Since our parents split all of their holdings equally between Ollie and me, we each own 15% of WalshComm.”

“And who controls the other 70%?” Adrian asked.

“I think Uncle Ethan also got 30% from his father,” Oliver answered. “Unlike QI, WalshComm is a publically traded company and I think the other 40% is what’s in the hands of the various shareholders.”

“Well, I guess that explains it then,” Adrian said. “Your uncle was hoping to get his hands on your mother’s stake in the company so that he’d have a majority and could then overrule the other shareholders.”

“Yes, that’s probably why he was mad,” Clark agreed. “Of course, you’d think that he’d do his level best to get on our good sides. Or at least to get on Andrew’s good side, since as the trustee of our trust funds, Andrew votes our shares until we’re twenty-one. But he hasn’t done that.”

“Why not?” Noah asked.

“Because he knows I’m gay,” Andrew said. “And thus he doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

“How is it that Uncle Ethan knew that and I didn’t?” Clark asked, as he remembered the drinking game they’d played in Zermatt. “Until Ollie mentioned that you were his first kiss on our trip, I didn’t even know you swung that way, Andrew.”

“It’s not really something you needed to know, Clark,” Andrew said. “The only reason that Oliver knows is because I kissed him that time, but that was only after he’d spent several hours moaning about how he was fourteen and had never been kissed. I finally reached the end of my patience and kissed him to shut him up.”

“Except, Andrew, I knew you were gay before that,” Oliver said. “Why do you think I kept complaining to you? While it’s true that you used to babysit me when I was a baby, you’re still the youngest and hottest member of the staff at Queen Manor, so I kept complaining hoping that you’d snap and do something about it. Which you did, so I got what I wanted.”

“Why you manipulative little…” Andrew didn’t finish whatever he was going to say. Or if he did, he said it quietly enough not to be audible over the speakerphone. After a moment of silence, he asked, “And just how pray tell did you know that I was gay?”

“As I told Clark, you’d have to be blind not to notice that, Andrew,” Oliver said. “If you thought you were doing a good job at hiding it, well you weren’t. Of course, it helps that when I was eight, Clark, Chloe, and I were playing hide and seek one day and I hid in one of the empty bedrooms in the servant’s quarters next to yours. Suffice it to say that I heard and saw some things that an eight-year-old probably shouldn’t be hearing or seeing.”

“Oh God, just kill me now,” Andrew said.

“No, no, Andrew, you’re not allowed to die yet,” Clark said. “You’re good eye candy and eye candy is not allowed to die. Besides, I rather think that you and Adrian should hook up.”

“Wait, what?” Adrian asked. “How’d I get into this conversation?”

“Uh, duh?” Clark asked. “Adrian, you’re gay and single.”

Oliver grinned. “So is Andrew actually, so I agree with Clark. You two should hook up.”

Before Andrew or Adrian could comment, Noah, who was busy typing away on his computer, said, without even looking up, “I think they’re right, uncle. I also think you should jump on that because if you don’t, I will. I’ve seen pictures of Andrew, after all, and he’s hot.”

“You’re gay, Noah?” Clark asked.

Shaking his head, Noah said, “Nope, bi. Generally prefer girls, but there are exceptions and Andrew is one I’d definitely be willing to make an exception for.”

“Can we please get back to the matter at hand?” Andrew asked. “And by that I mean the issues with Queen Industries? My love life or the lack thereof is not something I’m comfortable discussing.”

“Yes, please, business before pleasure,” Adrian said.

Noah sighed. “As you wish. Anyway, I just hacked into WalshComm’s network and I think you’ll all be interested to know that apparently Ethan Walsh bought back 12% of the outstanding public stock in the company. He then signed over 10% to a Geoffrey Walsh, although interestingly enough, according to the minutes of the shareholders meetings, Geoffrey has never voted his own shares. Instead, they’re being voted via proxy by one Bernard Hampton.” Looking up from his computer, he added, “Isn’t that the CEO of Queen Industries?”

“Yes, it is,” Oliver confirmed.

“I’m guessing Geoff doesn’t know that he’s a shareholder of WalshComm,” Clark said. “He’s our cousin, obviously, and my roommate at Excelsior. So, we’ve discussed business a few times, including the fact that I own 50% of QI and 15% of WalshComm. So, I rather think that if Geoff knew that he owned 10% of his father’s company he’d have mentioned that.”

“Is it possible that your uncle might have pressured him not to say anything?” Adrian asked.

Oliver shook his head and said, “No, my uncle and Geoff barely speak to one another, plus knowing him, I can guarantee that if Uncle Ethan tried to pressure him to do anything, Geoff would turn around and do the exact opposite just on principal alone. But, honestly they don’t even live under the same roof.”

“They don’t?” Noah asked. “How old is Geoffrey?”

“Same age as Ollie and I, so 16,” Clark said. “Geoff lives in the pool house on his family estate and has for the last couple years, ever since his mom died from cancer. He blames his father for that, as he doesn’t think he spent enough time supporting his wife and that he didn’t do everything that he was financially capable of doing to help her. So Geoff has been living in the pool house for the last two years, which means his father pretty much avoids him because Uncle Ethan is a hydrophobe and thus stays as far away from the swimming pool as possible.”

Oliver nodded. “And since the pool at Geoff’s house is designed so that you’d have to walk over a bridge made of glass that goes over the pool in order to get from the main house to the pool house, Uncle Ethan has never set foot in the pool house. Which Geoff will tell you suits him just fine.”

“Oh dear God,” Adrian said as he looked at the screen of his own laptop, which he’d opened not long after Noah had arrived. “According to my calculations, all these payments going to Braytech Industries and a few other suspicious companies add up to just over 85.6 billion dollars over the last seven years. Which would definitely explain the stagnating stock prices, because they’ve been stealing QI’s profits and leaving it to just barely break even.”

Clark paled at this, but remained silent for a moment. Finally he asked, “So, what do we do?”

“We’re going to have to bring in a team of forensic accountants to audit QI,” Adrian said. “True, Noah’s hacking tells us that there’s a problem, but we can’t use that as evidence without risking Noah ending up in prison for corporate espionage or something.” After a moment’s pause, he added, “I’m not an expert when it comes to criminal law, so, saying what he could be charged with isn’t my area of expertise.”

“So, we just sit back and do nothing while the forensic accountants do their work?” Oliver asked. “That could take months.”

Adrian nodded. “Yes, it could, but in the meantime, we can have all of QI’s assets frozen and injunctions put in place barring Ethan Walsh and Bernard Hampton from leaving the country, and perhaps from even leaving California, since that is where both QI and WalshComm are headquartered.”

“Hmm, this is going to be bad,” Clark said. “Not just for Oliver and me, however. If QI’s assets are frozen, then that’ll probably mean that our personal assets will be frozen as well, considering that we wholly own QI as part of our trust funds. So, if that happens, we might not be able to afford to go to Excelsior next year.”

Oliver looked stricken by that thought, as Noah asked, “So who else will be affected?”

“I imagine Jason Teague will be affected by all of this,” Andrew said over the phone. “His father, Edward Teague is, after all, Chief Legal Counsel for WalshComm, so if the company comes under investigation, he may well find himself being included in that investigation.”

“Geoffrey would obviously be affected as well,” Clark added. “It is his father’s company, after all, and he owns ten percent of it, whether he’s aware of that or not. Alden doesn’t really have any ties to QI or WalshComm and neither does Drew as far as I’m aware. As for Lucas, QI hasn’t done much business with LuthorCorp over the years, as my father didn’t trust Lionel Luthor, but I know that WalshComm has done extensive business with them.”

Oliver sighed and said, “Andrew, could you look into our options regarding school? I’m sure neither Clark nor I want to leave Excelsior, but…”

“Of course, sir,” Andrew said. “I’ll look into that and get back to you.”

“Well, I guess we have a plan of action then,” Oliver said. “Something tells me this is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Jayson:

And there you have Chapter Seven of Brotherly Love. I hope you enjoyed it. So, it would seem that the CEO of QI is robbing Clark and Oliver blind. Did anyone see that coming? And just where might they end up if they can’t afford Excelsior next year? Stay tuned to the next chapter for the answer to that question and more.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? I love hearing from my readers, so feel free to contact me in a review, by email, my Yahoo group, or on Twitter @JVascardi.