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Richard was dying from a terminal illness. Deciding to end it, he tries to hang himself. By sheer luck, he survives. No longer able to afford medical treatment, and about to be evicted from his home, he receives a call that changes his life.
He inherits a family estate in a small town in Germany, with a huge manor house and 300 million dollars. Thinking he might finally be able to beat the illness, he decides not to give up on life just yet.
Jessica, the girl next door, and Liz, her best friend, decide to help him survive. And maybe even become a better man.
But will Fedde, Jessica’s abusive boyfriend, ruin all of their plans? And can Richard survive it all?



Chapter One:


A shift in reality was the only way he could describe it. One moment Richard was
hurrying down the hallway, anxious to greet Mister Tranor and begin restocking
the manor; and the next he lay on the cold hard floor surrounded by people he’d
never met. He’d been dealing with his illness long enough to understand what
had happened; but it was still startling to find the world changed in what
seemed like a single heartbeat.


Richard understood, but clearly the girl he had seen at the door did not. She had
obviously freaked out and called for help after watching him collapse. Richard
grimaced. He always hated it when he put people into this situation, and
apologizing and explaining were hard to do. He looked around, but hers wasn’t a
face in the crowd.

Crowd wasn’t the right term, but it was the best he had at the moment. Only three
people were nearby, but being alone a moment ago, it now felt like a crowd. He
recognized two of the people by their uniforms. One male and one female, and
although the uniforms differed from those back home, he recognized them as
paramedics. The fact that they knelt beside him with packs of equipment also
helped to define them.

The third face belonged to an older man standing behind them whom Richard couldn’t
place. He looked like Ward Cleaver from the old TV show “Leave it to Beaver”,
an upstanding gentleman concerned for another human being.

Richard stirred, and the paramedics held him down. The woman spoke to him, but since
she spoke German, he didn’t recognize a single word of it. She spoke again, and
the look of complete ignorance on Richard’s face must have gotten through. The
gentleman in back hurriedly spoke to her. Then in good English, but with a
heavy German accent, he spoke to Richard. “They want you to lie still, at least
until they can find out what is wrong.”

Richard made a calming gesture with his hands, then slid his body backwards on the
floor until he sat up with his back against the near wall. “I already know
what’s wrong,” he barked at the older gentleman before putting on a more
temperate tone. “Please tell them I said thank you, but I’ll be okay.”
“Are you sure,” the gentleman asked as he came to kneel beside Richard. “A person
collapsing on the floor isn’t what I would call normal. And that wound on your
forehead is going to need some stitches I think.”

Richard chuckled a little at that. “Yes, I’m sure.” He continued leaning against the
wall, but his body was already growing stronger. “It’s a sickness I’ve been
dealing with for quite a while now. This is nothing new, and not even the worst
of things that has happened.” He flinched as the male paramedic pressed a
bandage to his head. It hurt, but he could already tell it wasn’t as bad as it

He gestured towards the chairs a few feet away hoping they would understand. The
gesture translated well and the two paramedics helped him up. They walked him
over to the nearest chair. His body had regained enough strength to make the
walk by himself, it was only five small steps, but he didn’t want to argue the
point. They still looked at him as though he might fall to pieces any minute.
They were in the room Richard called the lounge. It was a sizable room, but the
majority of the space was filled by the large, ornate, wrought-iron, spiral
staircase that led up to the second floor. Marble tile covered the floor, worn
but still in fair condition. The room served as an entryway for those coming in
from the garage. Two large comfortable armchairs furnished the room, for which
he was grateful, and two small tables sat in one corner. The spiral staircase
stood in the opposite corner from the tables and the rest of the space remained

To the south, the wall held double doors leading out to the garage where he last saw
the young girl before passing out. The west wall held the hallway he had come
down, along with a fanciful oil painting of a beach scene. Windows that
overlooked the deck filled the north wall, and the east wall was the same
except for two more small glass double doors that led outside.

His position let Richard see the end of the deck where it raised up to hold the hot
tub. I would love to be in it now, he lamented. He set about trying to
convince two people who didn’t even speak his language that he needed no help,
and that he would continue to be fine even without their aid.
He offered the older gentleman a seat. And then realizing he was being rude,
Richard introduced himself. “I’m sorry for you finding me this way,” he joked,
hoping everything sounded like a matter of no significance, an everyday
occurrence. Not far from the truth, he grumbled to himself. “My name is
Richard, Richard Werner.”

He offered his hand, which was accepted with a smile. The older gentleman had a
strong grip and a firm handshake, making Richard reassess his age. With his
head clearing, he could tell that despite the gentleman’s manner of dress, he
wasn’t as old as Richard assumed. Maybe in his mid to late forties, Richard guessed.
“I doubt there is anyone in this town who is not aware of who you are, Mister
Werner,” the gentleman said with a grin. He had a way of speaking that made it
clear English was not his first language. He spoke it well and clearly, but
sort of stiff and formal.

“The Von HausMacher family has been a big part of all our lives for as long as
anyone can remember. Your family helped BUILD this town. And when Paul passed
away… we all grieved his loss.” He chuckled then, thinking of the gossip that
had spread through town. “Yet our eagerness grew to find out who the new heir
would be.” He laughed and patted Richard on the arm. “You were famous before we
even knew who you were!”

Richard hadn’t realized how well known to everyone his family was. To everyone but him,
at least. In the States his neighbors didn’t even recognize him, certainly not
the entire town. A few ladies were familiar with him… well, more than a few…
but they never stayed long… and he preferred it that way.

“My name is Peter Alwhin; I am your nearest neighbor.” Peter pointed to the two
paramedics. “This is David and Gina, two of our local heroes. They also know
who you are, and that is why we would like very much to find out what happened,
fix up your injuries, and make sure you will be all right on your own.”

Richard sighed but told them his story as they worked to close the cut on his forehead.
He left out as many details as possible, making it a rather short story. The
wound was small and easily closed, despite the large amount of blood it had produced.
He told them about how three years ago he began to get headaches that quickly grew out
of control. Then he told them how the doctors’ care also grew. Grew out of his
budget, forcing him to stop all treatments. He spoke of the numerous doctors’
visits and hospital stays. He told them about the testing and retesting and
testing again.

At the end, he explained that the blackouts were normal, for him anyway, and that
everything was as under control as it could be. He didn’t mention that the
headaches remained so out of control that eventually one blackout would be
permanent; but he thought telling them was not the best idea right then.
Peter translated Richard’s story as he told it, and David and Gina seemed to accept
it. They asked him to visit Doctor Firth in town the next day, just to make
sure his wound was healing and wasn’t getting infected. He assured them he
would see someone, and had Peter tell them thanks before they left.
It wasn’t until they pulled out that it occurred to Richard to wonder how they had
gotten in. Weren’t the gates closed? He assumed at first that they must
have an emergency code to get in, but then he realized the girl would have let
them in after being the one to call. THE GIRL! He had forgotten all
about her!

The look on his face held sheer panic, causing Peter to grab him by the arm to hold
him up. Peter must have thought he might pass out again. Richard shook his head
no and did his best to put on a calm sure face.
“I’m fine,” he lied before taking a deep breath. “Just worried about the girl I saw
at the door. She must have thought I died or something. I need to figure out
who she is. I want to apologize and tell her I’m okay.”
Peter laughed and then filled Richard in on the joke. “That girl, her name is
Jessica. She is my youngest daughter.”
Well that explains his being here, Richard supposed. Of
course she called her father. What girl wouldn’t after seeing someone
die in front of them!
“She works for Mister Tranor.” Peter continued. “She brought over the supplies he
sent for you.”
Great, Richard thought with a sigh, not only
did I scare the poor girl half to death, but I lost all my supplies and food as
“She is waiting in the truck outside. I think she is eager to see if you are well.”
Peter chuckled as he shook his head. “Truth be told, I was not sure at first
who needed me more, you or Jessica. But she is a strong girl, and I figured you
to be worse off. Besides, she insisted I come in and make sure you were still
alive. She can be pretty stubborn,” he said, and then muttered under his
breath, “gets it from her mother.” Another chuckle, a ‘why me’ type. “I will go
and get her. Do you want us to use this door to bring your things in?”
“Yeah, this door is fine.” Richard was still a little shook up, quite a lot to process
in a short time. He got up and walked out with Peter. “I’ll help carry it all

“But you are hurt,” Peter started to protest.
“It’ll be alright,” Richard countered. “I’ll just carry in a bag or two. I
promise I won’t overexert myself.”

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W. R. Greystock