Tooth and Claw
Richard was a tall man, with white hair and deep grey eyes. He usually had a beard, although it was trim and well kept. In his youth he was fit and he remained lean, although age had cost him his youthful physique. He was fifty eight years old and still very good looking, even with his deepening facial lines.
Richard was an only child, the last of his line and came from a background of wealth. The Collins-Smythe dynasty has been in American industry for generations, with a hand in various different ventures from shipping and handling to politics to pharmaceuticals, technology and beyond. Over time they had declined somewhat in the face of other, newer industry giants; but they remained wealthy and influential nonetheless, especially on the eastern coast and central north.
He inherited the somewhat diminished corporation from his father when he was twenty-four. With the help of his young wife, they spent the next decade rebuilding the group into a powerhouse again. The family name and fortune had never been more secure, and his wife especially was a force to be reckoned with. Their life was one of wealth and privilege, meetings and charity galas, and constant growth. Outwardly they appeared to have a perfect little family.
Despite their best efforts, Richard and Lucille were unable to have children. At first it had simply been a lack of time – they were unwilling to let some nanny raise their children, but the business was far too demanding for either of them to be able to put it aside and devote themselves to a family. Then it turned out that they simply couldn’t.
He was thirty five, sitting in the living room watching television when they saw her on the news. She was tiny, hands clenched and face screwed up in a loud cry as if she knew that her birth mother had died only hours before. Her eyes were the brightest blue he had ever seen. At that moment his wife turned to him and announced that this baby was theirs. Lucille always knew what she wanted, and she was used to getting it. The look of determination and hope on her face was one he couldn’t refuse. They adopted Julia less than a month later.
Richard was a kind and gentle man, a disposition uncommon among people in his line of work. His wife and daughter always had him wrapped around their little fingers and he frequently found himself being the unwitting pawn in a game he didn’t know they were playing when Julia was younger. He always indulged this with a good-natured smile, because he knew that he was the first person either of them would turn to when they had problems. His family was the light in his life and he would do anything for them.
Despite his apparent guileless nature, Richard was a very clever and capable businessman. He never had the same shrewd business sense or ruthless nature that Lucille exhibits, but he was still more than able to run things in his own right. Of the two of them he was the one more focused on caring for their employees and making sure that the business is run as ethically as possible within the constraints of his wife’s efficiency. He was a careful and thorough man, and many people attempting to be cunning found that trying to get in with him instead of Lucille was much trickier than anticipated.
Julia’s disappearance devastated Richard. He had never been quite as disapproving of Jake as his wife, believing that it was a phase and if they gave her time then Julia would come around and return to them. To lose his only child to what appeared to be a gruesome murder almost destroyed him. Whilst publicly the couple put up a suitable appearance for the media, behind closed doors Richard struggled to cope. It was only with Lucille’s support and the unexpected evidence that perhaps his daughter was alive somewhere that he kept going at all.
The discovery that he was right and Julia was in fact alive considerably buoyed his spirits. Although his illness left him bedridden, he made some small improvements in the aftermath.
Richard took a turn for the worse in early autumn, like many of the other patients on his trial. It unfortunately coincided with the revelation that his daughter was in fact a werewolf, although that was not the cause of his deterioration. Richard and his wife were always aware of the supernatural world to some degree – you didn’t get to where they are in life without finding out a few things. He was almost relieved that it was finally out in the open. Hopefully this meant that Julia would open up about things a bit more to them. He very much looked forward to the days when his daughter visited.
Richard died in late December of complications from his illness.