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The Trillionaire Chapter Eight: Unsettlingly Settling In

When Tori arrived it was the usual; a hotel check-in and some meetings scheduled with Mr. Kenton. However this time, Tori was also to go to the bank for a commodities walk-through, and a trust stewardship pass-down teleconference. Tori felt insecure at her lack of understanding of all of the different terminologies being explained by the professionals to her. Mr. Kenton realizing this had his secretary shadow Tori, who then acted as a type of translator to dumb down all that was being said to her. At first, Tori resented this, but after a few minutes understood it to be an embarrassing, but equally, vital need to have to accept. Her father's holdings had been massive. There was no family industry because he was invested in them all, as his parents did before him, and so on. It took weeks for the many financial details to be clear to Tori. Her bloodline was and had never been without, nor would they ever be. As one accountant informed Tori, if she were to attempt to spend all that she had, it would be impossible because the interest she would make during the spending process would exceed the amount she was trying to lose. Tori wanted to be happy, yet only felt overwhelmed.

In her hotel room at night, the responsibility of it all was crushing to Tori. A simple mistake on her part could change an economy. A bad idea and people could be ruined. She wanted to talk to someone to try to get her footing but the only person on the planet who could be of help was Mr. Peeters. A man whom Tori was still unsure of if she should trust. She didn't know if there being no other heir apparent was a blessing or a curse. When all of the weeks of financial hand-off to Tori were over, she requested a personal meeting with Mr. Peeters. He offered to see her in Sweden. Tori found it convenient that Mr. Peeters would agree to see her at her father's former estate, although Mr. Peeters did not live there. Tori did vaguely understand why it was such a necessary place to do business. In her father's office, Mr. Peeters bluntly told Tori that her holdings run themselves as they always have unless she gave specific input otherwise. Tori confused by this asked what she should do. Were there relatives of her's that she could contact or family friends she should see? Mr. Peeters advised against this as anyone worth as much as she was should maintain as few personal relationships as possible. "Everything is now a transaction for you." Mr. Peeters said in a voice as flat as an ocean's horizon. "No matter how it is presented otherwise," he added. None of the advice Peeters gave Tori felt comforting, but more of a matter of fact.

With Mr. Peeters's words on her mind, Tori decided to go back to New York and try to make something for herself there rather than simply take over what her father had. Stepping off the plane this time she had a purpose she mentally outlined to avoid thinking of what could go wrong and instead only planned to do the minimal for herself for now. Food, shelter, and clothing were some of the stabilizing themes of her initial purchases. This brought her to buy a Manhattan penthouse and other luxuries that were self-fulfilling. The warehouse incident in New Mexico continued to haunt her though. It was a horrifying lesson to have been her first. Tori flinched a little with each penny spent and regarded giving others anything as a possible path to their self-destruction. Tedious activities like picking out winter clothes or remodeling a kitchen in which she did not cook anything were meaningless pursuits to fill out her otherwise uneventful days. By Christmas time, she found that she had run out of "new things to do."

Christmas though has always been a special time of year for fundraisers. The glee of the season often made passing around checks a part of the merriment. As such, Tori started to go to charity events to fill out her loneliness. Being unfamiliar with how much to spend or if she was making a fool of herself, Tori purchased sharply overpriced works of art from a novice artist's auction. Tori had pitied the man who was selling his wares which had been steeply discounted compared to his peers before him. She could see the man wince when there were no bidders for his efforts. Tori didn't need to speak to him to know the feeling of inadequacy on his face. She purchased every one of his pieces, outbidding all others significantly. Thus making the artist an instant success, at least financially. As for Tori, she was easily typecasted into an ignorant do-gooder with money to burn. It was as if once the charities realized that she was a big spender, they started to send people personally to guilt her by her penthouse. Letters poured into her mail of the tragedies of the world. People waited to catch her when she would try to walk to the park causing Tori to have to inform the doormen that she was never to receive guests and to send away anyone who tried to wait for her. The most shocking was that even her maid had to be changed out after she accepted a bribe to put a brochure in Tori's bed. Tori dealt with this by forwarding all of her mail to Mr. Kenton, who had his people filter it for her thereafter.

Tori also started to keep her security staff closer, after a very adamant man from a renowned charity became aggressive with her. Tori knew not to take the meeting but felt so obligated by her position to be of help, even on the most lost of causes, that she went against her better judgment. The meeting ended with her running out as the man screamed that by not donating she was going to cause the death of innocents. The fear of becoming like her uncaring father ate at Tori. Was she being a part of the problem that those with an ill-fortune face? Was her inaction allowing others to suffer? She cut a sizable check to the charity with the angry administrator but worried it would not be enough. Tori felt she had to go in person to that country with her most trusted bodyguard Kal, to see her money at work. She planned to discreetly investigate the stemming issues others faced, to be a better benefactor.

It was Kal who made most of the arrangements, as Tori had gotten better at delegating tasks. They planned to stay roughly three days. In Tori's innocence, she expected a Princess Diana type of venture into this endeavor. She wanted to tour the hospitals and hear about pressing issues so that she could send people to help. However, within a few short hours, it was easy to see that the entire charity was a money-laundering scheme for third-world criminal activity. Tori had a panic attack as a grandmother holding a child explained as much. Kal tried to reassure Tori, and they went to the local law enforcement who said that an influx of guns and drugs had been sent to the community recently. Tori realized this coincided with her donation timeline. Tori was horrified as this was the second time that she found her attempts to help others had only caused more harm than good. Kal wanted Tori to go to the federal authorities. Tori knowing she was too upset to think straight, decided they should leave quietly. She wanted to get Mr. Kenton's input back in New York.

In New York Mr, Kenton told her he would handle the charity properly, but that her findings were not unusual. Still highly upset, Tori lamented to Mr. Kenton that the charity was so well-reputed, how could it be so corrupt? Mr. Kenton said, "They all are." Later at her penthouse, Kal was making himself cozier by the day. Tori now having been gone from New Mexico for over six months wanted to check in on Molly and find out if Jesse ever moved on from her. Tori idealized Jesse mostly because he never knew she had any riches to begin with. Tori enjoyed the protection she felt around Kal. She did not have to hide anything from him, yet, she always felt like he wanted more out of her financially. With Jesse, Tori felt like the part of herself that her mother had tried to maintain like a trait of honesty was preserved. It was something that didn't exist in the world where she and Kal resided. Kal himself was an attractive man, although he was over ten years Tori's senior. Kal was from an ambitious background, he couldn't understand the life that Tori had led before he knew her. With Kal, his flirtations were slight but recognizable, Tori did not know how to react as they were professionally affiliated and it made her uncomfortable. Jesse was a purely personal relationship for Tori. She trusted him, as they were from the same community and class. Tori had to see what could become of them, her and Jesse that is. Tori not wanting to wait any longer told Mr. Kenton of her plan to visit her hometown. He offered to have a Pi.I. look into things for her but Tori declined the offer. She had become restless in New York and wanted to go back to her roots. Mr. Kenton wished her well on her trip. Tori asked him before their call ended for Kal to stay at her penthouse for security purposes as he was the most familiar with the staff there. Mr. Kenton agreed.

In New Mexico, Tori rented a cheap car to go to visit without sending word ahead of her arrival. She wanted to surprise her friends. The picture of the event she was trying to orchestrate in her mind was so specific. Tori even put on the clothes she was wearing the last day that she had seen Molly, before realizing that they no longer fit the same as she had grown an inch in height and had filled out from the regular meals she was getting compared to the ketchup and Raman diet she had been on for so long. Instead, Tori put her hair back in a ponytail to hide the designer hairstyle she was sporting and put on some thrift store jeans, flip-flops, and an oversized men's teeshirt with a picture of Cheech and Chong on it. Tori knew she was still changed in her appearance. Her acne, although minimal was now gone and her overall health was visibly improved. Sleep, food, and shelter. Those did amazing things for a person, especially over time. Tori had planned to stay in a motel near the trailer park, with her security guard in the room next door. To Tori, he stuck out like a sore thumb, not that anyone else ever noticed him though. He as well as his colleagues hovered. Tori had talked to the company owner once about it in passing, the man didn't understand what Tori meant by her criticism. To Tori though, it was glaring. Why was a man standing nearby not doing anything? In a store not buying anything or walking without purpose. To Tori, the security detail had an issue with their blending into ordinary environments, not that anyone cared for her thoughts regarding their failings.

Tori felt like her spirits were lifted as she smiled at the thought of seeing her old friends. The first place that Tori drove to was Molly's drive-thru restaurant job. Only she found heartbreak instead of a reunion. The manager informed Tori that Molly was fired for smoking methamphetamine in the bathroom on her break. Tori didn't believe it and left in a huff for the trailer park to see Molly for herself. Tori drove there with an excess of speed, hoping the manager was wrong. Tori knocked on her old trailer door, and Molly answered it. Tori stifled a scream at the deteriorated person whom she saw. Molly was once so fresh-faced, but now she was missing her front teeth, the rest were blackened and her hair was noticeably thinner. Molly was also heavily pregnant. "Hey stranger, come in," Molly mumbled as if she were intoxicated from something. The trailer had been emptied of all of Tori's things months ago. Molly had put some weathered plastic lawn furniture in the entry and a sheet on the floor with a soiled blanket where a bed should be. A haggard-looking man was pulling up his pants, as he walked out of the bathroom. Molly dismissed him by asking for a pack of cigarettes, which he left in search of. Tori realized Mr. Ronny's truck was not parked anywhere to be seen.

Tori had planned to spend the day with Molly. Now Tori could hardly bear to look at the shadow of what was left of her once best friend. Molly told Tori all about the fun that she had with all of the money Tori had left her. She used it to "party" at work and her boss almost had her arrested for it. Tori listened in horror as Molly said that she knew Tori would help her if she were ever in the "big house." The truth was that Molly was so inconsequential that Tori would have to look Molly up individually by the prison had that happened, as she didn't have a P.I. dedicated to just her. Molly placed herself in a perilous situation assuming Tori would have known her troubles and have been able to help. Molly didn't even know the extent of Tori's wealth and it had already destroyed her. Tori clenched her fists as Molly spoke, knowing she would have to leave Molly forever, as Tori had already done too much damage to her friend indirectly. Tori downplayed her wealth by telling Molly that she was working as a stripper who got fired in New York for boozing on the job and that her internship was canceled before it started. She completed her lie by adding that she was going to have to move in with her cousin in California and that she was just passing through town for the afternoon. Tori went to hug Molly goodbye, before asking one last question; what happened to Jesse? Molly shrugged before saying, "he's around, if you see him tell him he's not going to get out of paying me child support," as she pointed to her belly.


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