Emilia Rosalind Amhurst Kingfisher was a piece of work, to put it mildly. In her early mid-fifties, she easily and consistently passed for forty due in part to good genes and in large part to one of the most expensive and exclusive plastic surgeons in the world. She thought nothing of jetting away to The Continent (as she called all of Europe) for a few days…or sometimes a few weeks…just to have Dr. Sebastian, her médecin extraordinaire, take a nip here, make a tuck there, inject, siphon, sculpt and plump as she felt necessary. In addition, her arsenal of vitamin supplements, prescription medications, ointments, creams and spa treatments added to her defenses against the all-evil eternal enemy: AGE. Her daily routine five days a week included at least three different exercise sessions…yoga, weight training, and various cardio workouts…all in the comfort and privacy of her own home, all by separate private coaches and all at least two hours each. Add to that her own private dietician to map out and plan her each and every meal with her own private chef and there was no way the enemy was going to sneak up on her. Being independently wealthy from before the day she was born, with no need to do anything whatsoever to stay that way, keeping up her appearance was her job. Hell, it was her duty, as she saw it.

She was, after all, Emilia Rosalind Amhurst Kingfisher, daughter of William Bertram Emerson Amhurst III, sole heir to one of the largest fortunes in America and overseer of over a dozen charities and trusts. Her grandfather, William Bertram Emerson Amhurst II, or “Bertie” as he was affectionately called, had grown up among the East Coast Elite and had been educated in the very best educational establishments money could buy…and money was definitely something the family had in great abundance. It flowed like water…or rather, it flowed like expensive champagne and the highest-end gin…and no Amhurst ever went parched.

Despite the exclusive clubs, the Washington connections, the dizzying array of parties and accompanying hob-knobbing with the elite of every corner of the globe, Bertie had wanted to set himself apart and lobbied his formidable father extensively to let him travel out to the west coast upon completing college on the pretext of temporarily overseeing the various oil interests the family held there. He wanted to see how the money was made, how to optimize the profits, to set himself apart and bask in the victory of millions of dollars bent into submission of his rule. Oh, but these were not reasons for going out west that he highlighted to his father. Heaven forbid he would want to dirty his hands and reputation with actual work! Even though he would really only be overseeing figures and visiting the various oil wells, overseeing shipping and sales arrangements and making business connections…of course, no actual “work” would be done. The mere association and implication of “work” was completely beneath any Amhurst. One hired others for such things. An Amhurst’s place was at one of his various social clubs…yachting, riding, tennis matches, and attending social functions with others of their bored class. No, he didn’t let on his true aspirations. He stressed to his father the importance of travel and a well-rounded knowledge of the country. One couldn’t be expected to end up in the White House if they didn’t know or understand anything of what lay west of Chicago. He’d be back after a few months…maybe a year…and father’s continuous schedule of brandy and cigars would take him over. So, scandalous though it was considered by his family and peers to actually do or even oversee any actual “business”, Bertie eventually won out and got his wish. He left by private rail car to points west the year he turned 23…and the year the country went dry…in nineteen-twenty. And the rest, as they say, was history.

Emilia had been the apple of Bertie’s eye…everyone’s eye, really. Silver spoon? Oh, no…more like a Platinum spoon, and a new one for every course of the lavish dinners that were the Amhust trademark and specialty. The only girl and youngest of only three grandchildren, everyone doted on her and there was nothing she couldn’t have or do. Her two cousins were awful boys, with no ambition and no real intelligence. All they cared about were sailing and cars and which girls they could impress with their old money. Grandpa Bertie knew it from the start, from when they were not even old enough to go off to prep school. It was Emilia that got Bertie’s personal attention, Emilia that went to Bertie’s offices during vacations from her East Coast schools, Emilia that Bertie thought of when he met Raymond Kingfisher and hired him to rethink his business portfolio.

Straight out of college with dual Masters degrees in finance and public relations in the early nineteen-seventies, Ray had been a seven years older than Emilia. She was only eighteen and not yet started at college herself, but Bertie knew he knew best and saw an opportunity he was not about to pass up even if his son, her father, couldn’t see it and wanted her to wait until after college to settle down. Over the course of the next couple years, Bertie made sure that Ray was invited to the same dinners as Emilia, was at every family holiday function, attended every polo match…and set him back Tiffany Platinum Diamond 2.7 caratseast on business during the school year whenever possible. Eventually it stuck. The Christmas she was about to turn twenty years old…halfway thru her junior year at Bryn Mar…Ray asked Emilia to marry him in front of the entire West coast Amhurst clan. Grandpa Bertie had a light in his eyes that most in attendance thought was wistful beaming happiness, but it was the glint of money Bertie saw…the continuation of power as he molded it, as he wielded it even from his impending grave. They were married that June and Grandpa Bertie died a mere two months later in August…and Emilia never went back to finish her degree in Art History, as had been planned. 

But no matter, as she saw it. She had married Bertie’s own protégé with Bertie’s blessing…and inherited a large portion of his estate. It was not as large as her father’s share, of course. William Bertram Emerson Amhurst III was heir to the company and all its holdings, but she received a sizable sum as well as stock options…and in all, it was more than double what had been left to her two cousins combined.

She was pretty much set for life.

© 2011 D. Kessler

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