It was early Monday morning and Chris Henderson was finalising some contracts when the phone rang. “Hello?”
“Chris?” Carol said quietly.
“What the hell do you want?” He said, “I’m busy. You had better make this quick.”
“I was worried you mightn’t like to hear this, but I’ve offered to take Kim to Sydney for a retreat next week. I know it’s last minute, but given her condition I really think it’s the best thing for all of us. We need to move forward Chris, it’s time.”
“She’s not going anywhere with you,” he said, his voice rising. “Don’t think I can forget so easily. You couldn’t even take care of Lisa for three days, I’m not about to trust you with my daughter!”
Carol sighed, she’d known he’d be upset, but hadn’t expected this. “That’s different and you know it.”
“Is it?” He said.
“I did my best Chris and I loved her, she was the sister I never really had. But you need to let go eventually and forgive me. I’m sorry,” she began to cry. “I’m so sorry.”
Chris stood and walked to the tall window that spanned the entire east side of his city office. He looked out and rubbed his forehead. “Sorry doesn’t bring someone back from the grave.”
“Chris?” She muttered, breaking the hollow silence. “I wish you knew how I felt. You’ve put me in a difficult situation, but there’s nothing you can do. She’s an adult.”
“You’re wrong.” He said through gritted teeth. “And don’t you dare talk to me about letting go. She’s not going and that’s final.”
He hung up abruptly with a scowl on his face. Then, after closing his eyes for a brief moment and sighing, he seated himself back at the desk and smiled.
“So,” he said facing Timothy, “Where were we?”
Chris reached for his checkbook and mumbled, “Ah, yes. The money.”
He scrawled out the sum of one-hundred-thousand dollars payable to Mr Jeremy Carson, still unsure whether he wanted to go through this. It didn’t make him a terrible person, he thought as he signed the cheque.
“Thank you,” Jeremy said as Chris handed it over. “We appreciate doing business with you.”
“How do I know I can trust you?” He said.
“I suppose you don’t really. However, we have been in this game for many years now Mr. Henderson. Over time, we’ve catered for countless, how shall I say it, demanding customers. Not once have we failed. You can be assured that your money is in good hands.”
At this moment, his secretary walked in, the one he hadn’t hired for her intelligence. “Sir?” She announced, “Marvin is on line two and Jane is outside waiting for you.”
Chris excused himself to quickly deal with the call and motioned for her to exit. He stood and began pacing the room. “I don’t know,” he began, “I’m not sure this is the right thing to do.”
Jeremy turned in his seat to face his client, “It’s already done Chris. Now calm down. It will be fine. We will keep you updated by the hour. If anything, anything at all starts to go wrong we will notify you immediately.”
“And you’re certain she won’t be harmed?”
“Mr. Henderson. We promise your daughter will be safe.”
“Ok,” he said firmly. “Ok then. But this had better go to plan or I’m coming after you with everything I’ve got.”
Jeremy reassured him a little while longer then left. He swung his brown leather satchel over his shoulder and walked swiftly out the door. Chris quietly envied the man’s attire, his neat dark blue suit had been exceptionally tailored and the bow tie signalled a quirky edge to his confident nature.
He thought back to when Lisa was alive and the girls were young. They used to holiday at a farm up North. It wasn’t a typical country cottage but rather an old Queenslander he had bought for Lisa as a wedding gift. It soon became her project, and every few months she would slip away to work painstakingly on its restoration. However, she never stayed long and always returned different somehow. Perhaps she viewed it as a consolation prize for following him into the dress circle life.
When she passed away, he hadn’t known what to do with the place. It was too painful to visit and too painful to sell. Is was destined to sit there for years, empty and filled with dust.
He wondered whether his life would have been different if Lisa were still here. Kimberly may have more direction in her life, and he might wake up happy again. Perhaps this was fate, destiny or whatever that whimsical nonsense Lisa had believed in. People who believe in fantasies end up with unreal expectations of life, he thought. Stoicism is the only to go, the only chance he would have to find any kind of happiness again.
To be continued…
©Copyright Celsie Richardson 2016