Ivo was anxious, worried that this meeting would change the whole course of his life. Logically, he knew he was being ridiculous, but he couldn’t make the feeling go away. He was headed to see a lawyer, after all. That thought alone kept the knot twisted tight in his stomach.
He smiled at the pretty brunette behind the receptionist’s desk. “Hello. My name is Ivo Koubek. I have a two o’clock appointment with Mr. Berkshire.”
“Yes, of course, Mr. Koubek, Mr. Berkshire is expecting you.” She smiled widely as she waved her hand toward the seats by the door. “Please, have a seat and I will inform him that you have arrived.”
Wow, she was perky.
“Thank you.” Ivo sent her a friendly smile before turning and going to sit down. He tried not to let his nervousness show as he sat there and waited. He didn’t have long to wait. He barely got comfortable before he heard his name being called out.
“Mr. Koubek?” an older man dressed in a dark, expensive-looking suit asked as he walked out of the corridor to the left of the receptionist’s desk. Even his shoes looked expensive, and they were as polished as the marble flooring.
“Yes.” Ivo stood, casually wiping his hand on his pants before shaking the extended hand. “Can you tell me why you wanted to meet with me?”
“Why don’t we talk in my office?” Mr. Berkshire stepped aside, extending an arm, indicating which way he wanted Ivo to go.
The guy seemed friendly enough, but Ivo was still worried.
Once they reached the man’s very posh corner office, Mr. Berkshire waved to one of the leather chairs in front of his glass-and-chrome desk. “Can I offer you something to drink? Some coffee maybe?”
“Do you have any water?” Ivo’s nervousness had dried out his throat. He was surprised dust wasn’t coming out of his mouth as he spoke.
“Yes, of course.” The man hit a button on his phone. “Darcy, please bring Mr. Koubek a bottle of water.”
“Right away, sir.”
“Now.” The man seemed even more imposing when he sat behind his large desk than he did when Ivo shook his hand. “Thank you for meeting with me so quickly. The matter I need to discuss with you is time sensitive.”
Ivo’s throat grew even drier. His heart thumped wildly in his chest at the many possibilities of why he was there. “Is someone suing me? Because I don’t have a lot of money, and—”
Mr. Berkshire held up his hand. “No, no, not at all. I apologize if I gave that impression.”
Ivo’s confusion grew as he frowned at the lawyer. “Then why am I here?”
“Do you know a Mr. Maxmilián Vítkovský?”
“Max? Yeah. He’s my next door neighbor.”
Mr. Berkshire clasped his hands together and let them rest on the desk in front of him. “I’m sorry to say that Mr. Vítkovský passed away two days ago.”
“Mr. Vítkovský passed away?” Ivo felt a pang in his chest from the loss of the older man who seemed to always be there. He played chess with Max almost every Sunday and had helped his neighbor with getting groceries and stuff. Max had been a nice old man. “How did he die?”
Made sense. Max had been older than dirt. He had moved into the apartment down the hall from Ivo when Ivo was a child. Ivo had grown up listening to the stories Max told of his homeland, wishing he could visit the places Max described to him.
“The reason I asked you here is that Mr. Vítkovský has left the bulk of his estate to you, with one provision. He asks that you return him to his place of birth.”
Ivo had to think about that for a minute. Prague. That was half way across the world. He didn’t even have a passport or a visa or even a suitcase.
Mr. Berkshire pulled a manila envelope out of a file on his desk and handed it over. “If you choose to go, I’ve been instructed to give you this. It contains directions to Mr. Vítkovský’s estate in Prague as well as a letter that he wishes to be buried with him.”
His eyebrows rose. “A letter?”
“Yes, I have not personally read the letter, but I believe it came from someone Mr. Vítkovský cared about many years ago, someone who passed away before Mr. Vítkovský arrived in the United States.”
A love letter from a lost love? That was both sad and sweet.
“Mr. Vítkovský’s will specifically states that you are not required to go to Prague in order to receive your inheritance. That was a personal request by Mr. Vítkovský.”
Ivo shook his head. “This isn’t about that. I don’t have a passport or anything, and I would have to take time off from work and everything. I’m just not sure I can do it.”
He had bills to pay.
“That is your choice of course,” Mr. Berkshire said, but Ivo could hear the censure in his voice.
“How long do you think a trip like that would take?” he asked.
“No more than a few days, I should think, Mr. Koubek.”
“I could ask my boss for the time off, but—”
“Mr. Koubek, I’m not sure you understand. Mr. Vítkovský left you his entire estate. You could take all the time off you needed.”
“No, I got that, but what are we talking here? A couple of hundred dollars and some antique furniture?” Mr. Vítkovský had lived what seemed like a simple life. While his apartment was always well kept, there was nothing in it that would draw the interest of burglars.
“No, Mr. Koubek, we’re talking several hundred million dollars.”
Ivo stared, unblinking. He knew he had to have heard that wrong. “Could you repeat that?”
“Mr. Vítkovský was quite well off, Mr. Koubek. Between his investments and his holdings both here and abroad, he was worth several hundred million dollars. He left all of that to you, Mr. Koubek. You are his sole beneficiary. You inherit everything.”
Ivo swallowed tightly. “I guess I need to get a passport.”