Back to Bristol Ch. 19byGaryAPB©
"Fuck, sorry. Do you know if he's at the Abbey?"
"Yes, all day. I've checked."
"And what can I cancel to go over there?"
She thought for a moment, "Immediately after lunch. It was a meeting with marketing, to convince you that you should put your name to a series of articles for trade magazines. They can take that up with you at another time."
"OK. As soon as I'm free of my guests, I'm heading for the Abbey. But let it be a surprise."
Carole smiled, "Can I come to take minutes? Or hold your jacket?"
I laughed. Well done Carole for taking the heat out of it.
But, I found the heat remained pretty warm by the time I got to the Abbey, I just hoped I had been OK with my lunch guests. I arrived and just headed for Peter Fucking Davies's office. I didn't knock, I just opened the door and stepped in.
Peter was sitting at his desk talking to two people. I recognised one as Sharon Booth, the other one, a fairly young guy, I recognised as a member of Peter's team, but I'd forgotten his name. Everyone recognised me.
I looked straight at Sharon and the young man, "Excuse me, guys. Perhaps you could give me a minute or two, but I want a private word with Mr Davies." They scooped up their papers and left, in a hurry and without a word.
Peter Fucking Davies was still sitting at his desk, looking a bit scared. Good.
I leant on my hands standing at his desk, leaning towards him, "Let me be clear. If you want a chance to talk to Molly then I suggest you take up her offer of being in my office tomorrow evening at six o'clock."
He stood up, to meet me at eye level, "Fuck you! I'll talk to my wife, and she is still my wife, when and where I please. It's got nothing to do with you when I choose to talk to her."
"It has everything to do with me when you harass her in the street, outside a school when she is collecting my sons. You do not make a public spectacle of yourself and embarrass her when my boys are there."
For a moment he looked guilty, "Sorry. I didn't think. But I want to talk to my wife. And, I suspect under your influence, she is refusing to do so. I had to see her."
"Well, you have a chance tomorrow evening. Take it. It's your only chance. And I warn you, if you go on harassing her as you have been, I'll very strongly suggest to her that she either reports you to the Police for stalking, or get her to have her solicitor get an injunction against you. Do you really want that?"
I think that shocked him, "I want to talk to my wife." There was a slight petulance in his voice. He paused and just stared at me, "You're enjoying this, aren't you? You don't want her. You haven't taken her back. I don't blame you for that, not after the great marriage I gave her. But you just want revenge. It doesn't matter who gets hurt, as long as you get your revenge."
He paused, but before I reacted, he continued, "You told me that I'd been selfish when I met her. Well, maybe I was. But it was because there were forces of true love at work that I didn't understand. But you are now being truly selfish. You just want to get back at me, and to Hell with how hurt Molly gets in the process."
Now I did react, "You've got to be fucking joking. Of course I hated your guts for what you did to my marriage, to my boys' family. That was cruel, immoral and I hope you burn in Hell for it. But what this is about is allowing Molly to move forward with her life, now that she knows what a calculating little shit she was married to."
He stood back, "And you enjoy that, don't you? Making sure she knows about the mistakes, the misjudgements I made then. But I don't regret any of them. It was the start of a magical marriage, and I'm going to fight for it."
"Well then, let's get the fight over and done with - tomorrow night." I quickly answered.
Now he looked slightly hurt, "Tomorrow night suits me. Your presence doesn't."
"Well, it's your only option. Be there." And I walked out.
Sharon Booth and her colleague were leaning against the wall a little down the corridor, I tried to smile at them, "Give him five minutes to recover."
When I got back to my office, Carole just looked at me, "Well?"
I shrugged my shoulders, "Who knows?"
"Did you see Dr McBaine while you were there?"
"No. I had other things on my mind."
"Well you should have. It wouldn't have done any harm to update him, just in case Peter turns to him for advice."
"I don't think they're that close these days. But, as you say, it wouldn't have done any harm. Bugger!"
Carole smiled, "Shall I get him on the phone?"
"Yes. And tell him that I've been a fucking bastard. He'll understand, and he'll call in here on his way home."
Carole smiled, "Excuse me Dr McBaine, but I'd like to tell you that Chris Bennett is a fucking bastard."
"Exactly." I said and went into my office.
And sure enough, at about half past six, Piers knocked and entered my office. "I hear you're a fucking bastard."
I smiled and got up and went over and poured two small whiskies, whilst Piers sat down on one of my sofas. Piers took his whisky and looked at the meagre measure, "You've been only a bit of a nuisance, I see."
I sat down opposite Piers, "Slightly impolite. I visited the Abbey this afternoon, without the courtesy of telling you."
"I heard. Peter had the honour of a visit."
"Has he spoken to you about it?" I asked.
"Only briefly. He came to see me to complain that you visited him without warning. But I pointed out that you were Managing Director, and that sort of privilege went with the job. I think he wanted to talk, but knowing I was coming here, I told him that I didn't have time, but he was welcome to see me tomorrow, or even phone me at home later tonight. So?"
So, I told him what has been going on, and that Carole thought he might be consulted.
"Well, if I am consulted then it will be the first time since we had our bust up. But maybe, who knows?"
"Well, I don't want you to say anything that you aren't happy with, but I would be grateful if you could emphasise that I do not want this to in anyway affect his position here, it is a private matter. I'm not the MD, I'm just the other man in this eternal triangle."
Piers sipped his whisky thoughtfully, "I'm OK with that. But is he coming to talk to Molly, which I suspect is what he wants to do, or is he coming to talk to you and Molly, which I suspect he doesn't want to do?"
Now I was thoughtful, but eventually answered, "I promise he can talk to Molly directly. I will stay out of it, he can say whatever he wants. But I will be in the room, and I will hear every word.. And, of course, if anything is directed at me, then I will respond."
Again Piers was thoughtful, but then said, "OK. That's fair. Mind you, I'm not sure I would like someone else to be sitting there when I'm having an emotional scene with Jeanette. But I understand. You should understand how hard this is for Peter."
"He brought it on himself." I said with a mixture of resignation and bitterness.
"Yes he did. But he is where he is now. He's hurt and desperate. The woman he loves and thought loved him, is divorcing him because of a man who divorced her years ago."
I was slightly indignant at that, "Why are you taking his side all of a sudden?"
"I'm not. But I am reminding you that there is another side. If you wanted revenge, you've achieved it better than you could have ever dreamed."
"Then why doesn't it feel better?" I studied my empty whisky glass. "You know, you were right, these were short measures."
"No, they were just the right size." Piers said, as he put his empty glass down and stood up to leave.
I watched him go out of the door, and wondered what he was thinking.
I was still sitting there, deep in thought, when I heard a tap at my door, I looked round, it was Bill Ellswood.
"Bill, come in."
He stepped in and sat down where Piers had just been sitting, "Chris, I hoped you'd still be here. I wanted a private word."
"About?" I asked.
"I'm going to resign. I'm going to do it in writing tomorrow, but I wanted to come and see you, to tell you that this has nothing to do with you or with the ITI takeover."
Now that did take me by surprise, "Where are you off to?"
"A small company up in Yorkshire. We're empty nesters, and Niki my wife comes from that way. We always said that we'd go back there when I retire. Well, an old friend has offered me this job, it pays a lot less, but it will be a lot less stress, so it's a sort of semi-early-retirement. And Niki really wants me to take it."
"It sounds like you've thought about it. I assume there is no point in my trying to talk you out of it?"
He smiled, "No. Family comes first, and this is for family reasons. But I really want you to know that the last few months under your management have probably been the most enjoyable and productive since I joined the Board."
"That's very kind, Bill. I'm grateful...." I stood up, and headed towards my decanter, "...because I can be a fucking bastard at times."