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“No idea,” Lauren told Polly honestly. “It’s the first time I’m hearing of it.”
“It’s how he got us here,” Junior chimed in, simultaneously picking a stray piece of food out of a back molar. “Not that we’re not always happy to pay you and Daddy a visit. But he did promise some major news. Happy birthday, by the way, sweetheart.”
“Thank you, Junior,” Lauren said, remembering that, when it came right down to it, her mother had married a basically good-hearted man. Who probably deserved better.
“I don’t believe you.” Polly’s eyes narrowed.
“I don’t care,” Lauren brushed past her mother and kept going.
It wasn’t until an hour later when Lauren’s cake, the size of a drafting table, was wheeled out and she’d blown out her candles – a 2 and a 5, she didn’t have the lung capacity these days for a quarter-century of single ones – that Granddaddy finally got around to revealing what was up his sleeve.
First, he told the assembled several hundred guests how proud he was of his granddaughter – glaring a challenge at anyone who dared suggest anything otherwise. He talked about what a help Lauren was to him at the office and how much joy she’d brought into his life.
“After I’d long given up,” he added, in a message that made Junior shift from foot to foot and go back to work on that pesky molar.
That’s when Granddaddy dropped his bombshell. “I’m making Lauren my official heir to Briggs Construction. And I’m adopting her for good measure.” He raised his glass and urged, “To Lauren… Briggs,” putting extra emphasis on that last name – a good 19 years after he’d first bestowed it upon her unofficially.
“To Lauren Briggs,” everyone echoed obediently.
Meanwhile, the woman of the hour stood frozen in place, unable to believe what she was hearing. She smiled vacantly at Granddaddy because obviously, he expected it of her. She dutifully hefted her sparkling cider along with everyone else. But, inside, she had no idea what she was feeling or how she should react.
That is until, in the throng of birthday well-wishers who came up to congratulate her, Polly managed to get close enough to hiss in Lauren’s ear, “Not if I have anything to say about it, pumpkin.”
About the Author
Alina Adams wrote the “As the World Turns” tie-ins, “Oakdale Confidential” and “The Man From Oakdale,” and co-wrote “Guiding Light’s” “Jonathan’s Story.” She was the Creative Content Producer for “Another World Today,” and worked on the 2013 relaunches of “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.” Her books include romance novels, figure skating murder mysteries, and the historical family saga, “The Nesting Dolls,” from HarperCollins. Read more at: AlinaAdams.com