“Mom, I really appreciate this.”
“Don’t thank me. It’s your father’s money.”
Kat nodded as they stood at the bank officer’s desk, waiting for the transfer of funds from her father’s backup savings account to her own. It was technically money that would have gone to Mike’s education, but he’d elected to skip college to become an “entrepreneur.”
“Your father isn’t happy with any of this. He’d hoped Mike would get himself together and go to college once he settled down, but there is just no sign of that happening. Handing over money he had saved for him to go to college is like accepting defeat for him.”
“I know, Mom.”
“We could have left it there and just waited to see what might happen with him, but I think this is better. It is better in your hands. I know you will do what is right by Mike. Your father is too stubborn to make the call. You saw that.”
Something occurred to Kat that she hadn’t considered. She looked at her mom, taking in her shaking hands and the way she was absently biting her lip as they waited.
“Dad doesn’t know about this, does he, Mom?”
Her mother looked at her, some sort of debate playing out behind her eyes before she answered. Finally, she spoke.
“This is as much my money as it is your father’s. I helped him build a home and provided him with children without asking for very much in return other than that he take care of us. Mike is my son too. I won’t have him harmed for making some mistakes.”
“That’s what the extra money is for then,” Kat replied.
“Yes. I’m giving you enough money to pay his debts and send him to rehab. He might not stay. He might not go at all, but I will at least know I tried to save him.”
“Dad is going to be furious with you.”
“Yes. He will be.”
“Are you sure you want to do this, Mom?”
“I’m positive. Your father has been talking for some time about taking the money out anyway. He wants to use it to take a vacation or maybe put in a pool.”
“Those sound like things you would like too, Mom,” Kat replied.
“I’ll never have any joy knowing I used money that could have saved your brother just to do something frivolous while he suffered whatever befalls him.”
“Okay, Mom. I promise I will take care of it and use it wisely.”
“I know you will. I will tell your father about this later. Not today. Maybe not even tomorrow. He won’t look for it anytime soon, and I want to make sure Mike is in the clear before he has anything to say about how I chose to spend it.”
“I’ll leave that up to you. Right now, I don’t know what is up with Mike. Travis and his pack took him somewhere to keep him safe.”
“But he was okay, right? They didn’t hurt him? The bears, I mean.”
“They banged him up a bit, but nothing major. He’ll be fine. Maybe they at least knocked some sense into him.”
“I hope so. If nothing else comes of it, perhaps it will drive him to get some help.”
“Let’s hope so.”
“Alright, ladies. Here we go. Per your instructions, I’ve withdrawn $30,000 in cash from the joint account you share with Mr. Harper and made a completely separate transaction to deposit it into the account of Katerina.”
“And Mr. Harper will not be able to move that money back into our account, right?”
“No, ma’am. You are a joint owner of the debited account, so there is no reason you can’t make this transaction, and he is not on Katerina’s account, so he has no access to it. Plus, we won’t be at liberty to give him any information about the money other than that you withdrew it.”
“You’re welcome. Is there anything else we can do for you today?”
“No. I think we’re all set,” Mrs. Harper replied.
He handed them each receipts for their transaction and wished them well. Kat couldn’t imagine what he must be thinking right now. It was pretty obvious that they were doing this without the consent of her father, but as long as they weren’t breaking any laws, there was very little he could say about it.
She was tempted to pull out the amount she needed to pay off Mike’s loan, but it was a lot of money to have around the house. For now, she was just glad to know she could lay her hands on it fairly quickly if necessary. With this sorted out, her mother drove her back to the hotel and dropped her off.
Slipping quietly into the room, she found Travis still asleep on the bed. She undressed and slipped into it next to him, curling up against his back. He stirred a bit but didn’t seem to wake up. Wolves were noted for their keen awareness of their surroundings, but he likely smelled her and sensed no danger, so continued to sleep.