Fiction logo

A Champagne Problem

Prompt: Write a story that takes place at a party where the host receives shocking news.

By D.K. ShepardPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
A Champagne Problem
Photo by Louise Lyshøj on Unsplash

Carlton Beekman took a sip from his champagne flute as another one of his guests approached. He sighed inwardly but beamed the middle aged woman with the same smile he’d charmed investors with for decades.

“The hedges look divine!” she exclaimed, gesturing toward the shrubs that lined the quarter mile driveway to Beekman’s mansion. “So well manicured! I must have your gardener’s information.”

“Certainly!” Beekman exclaimed. He would have liked to add her name, but he didn’t know it. Her face was vaguely familiar, probably one of his slightly less affluent clients, who had managed to just make the invitation list. “If you think the hedges are well kept, you must take a look at the topiaries in the south garden,” he added as he ushered her through the front door.

“Oh, yes!” she exclaimed and she opened her mouth to say more, but was prompted onward as more guests flowed in behind her.

This evening, Beekman’s estate in Irvington, New York was a social circus for the ten investment professionals that worked for Beekman Associates and a couple hundred of the company’s wealthiest clients. The sprawling front porch and vaulted entryway were adorned by heiresses in glittering evening gowns and elected officials in their staunch tuxedos.

Beekman floated through the sea of New York’s aristocrats, mostly the same faces each year, some a little more wrinkled, but most stretched into a tighter mask than the year before.

“Where can I get a real drink around here?” a man asked, grasping Beekman’s arm. It was Jerry Fields, the first associate to have joined with Beekman twenty-five years ago.

Beekman responded with a knowing laugh. “Follow me.” They maneuvered through the crowd, further back into the enormous house, until they came to Beekman’s private study.

“You have to deal with Meyers,” Jerry said as Beekman poured him a whiskey. “He is determined to announce our short-selling strategies to the public; it would completely destroy the reputation we have built for this company.”

“He does such good work though,” Beekman replied. “Full of potential, I’d hate to dispose of him so quickly.”

Jerry quickly retorted, “I’ve spoken to everyone about it and all eight of us agree. He has to go. This is our empire, Carlton. The boy is inventive, but he has no stake in what we’ve built ”

Just then the study door swung inward, the light from the hallway bursting into the low lit room. It was Keenan Meyers, the newest and youngest partner at Beekman Associates, a handsome twenty-seven year old that had a lot of ideas in his head and had let a few too many of them escape his skull.

“Ah, Meyers! Come have a real drink. I’ve had my fix and was just leaving,” Jerry exclaimed, giving Beekman an earnest glance as he departed.

“I hope you’re enjoying the evening,” Beekman said as he poured another whiskey.

“Yes, it’s quite the party,” Meyers remarked with a glint in his eye as he picked up the glass Beekman poured for him. He took a sip then looked at Beekman and declared, “I had something I wanted to discuss with you.”

He must know, Beekman thought. It was impossible to know who had let it slip, but there were more than one potential culprits who were never reliable for keeping secrets. Despite Jerry’s urgings, Beekman was not eager to broach the subject of Meyer’s dismissal tonight. There was something about the young man that inspired confidence, a rare quality that Beekman knew had tremendous value in their line of work. Surely he could convince the others of it as well.

Beekman glanced toward Meyers casually and grinned, hoping to dissuade him from venturing any further into an unpleasant conversation, “If it’s business, let’s save it for tomorrow. I know that’s an unusual thing for me to say, but we’ve earned ourselves a night of celebration.”

“Of course,” Meyers replied evenly. “Actually, the subject I want to discuss is of a personal nature.”

“Very well then,” Beekman replied. He hoped his relief wasn’t too evident.

“Have you ever been to Charleston?” Meyers queried.

This caught Beekman off guard. Not what he was expecting. “Yes,” he managed, “We had a business consultation there five years ago.”

“Have you ever been there before that?” Meyers pressed.

What was this kid playing at? Beekman tried to consider what ways Meyers might be trying to manipulate him with some clever roundabout logic for not cutting him loose, but this seemed so random. “I’m sure I’ve been there half a dozen times,” he said dismissively.

Meyers asked “Did you ever watch fireworks from Patriot’s Point on Independence Day?”

This triggered something. A breeze stirring the hot and humid southern air, lifting the tousled red curls of the fair skinned beauty wrapped up in his arms. As explosions of colored light lit up the sky above them. Almost thirty years ago it must have been. How did Meyers know about it?

Then the rest of the summer in South Carolina raced through Beekman’s memory and he felt all the air leave his lungs.

“You did see those fireworks once,” Meyers stated, staring into Beekman’s eyes. No doubt seeing the fear and disbelief. “Twenty-seven years ago, you saw them and I’ve seen them every year since.”

Beekman’s world was spinning; he grabbed the edge of the desk for support.

Then Meyers brought the whole earth crashing down with a single phrase, “I’m your son.”

Short Story

About the Creator

D.K. Shepard

Character Crafter, Witty Banter Enthusiast, World Builder, Unpublished novelist...for now

Fantasy is where I thrive, but I like to experiment with genres for my short stories. Currently employed as a teacher in Louisville.

Enjoyed the story?
Support the Creator.

Subscribe for free to receive all their stories in your feed. You could also pledge your support or give them a one-off tip, letting them know you appreciate their work.

Subscribe For FreePledge Your Support

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

    D.K. ShepardWritten by D.K. Shepard

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.