Home About Six: Part Thirteen

This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 999 words.

The solicitor seemed to be expecting her, as he didn’t ask her why she had made the appointment. Offering her a comfortable chair, and after she had declined tea or coffee, Mr Rossis tapped a file that was already on his desk. Anita had only met him briefly on two occasions, when he had dealt with the legal conveyancing during the house purchase, but she was hoping he could give her some general advice on her situation. Before she could say anything, he started talking.

“When your husband came in to see me that day, I must confess I found his request rather strange. But it is not up to me to question the intentions of my clients, especially when they appear to be in good faith”. She raised her hand. “I have to stop you there, Nicholas. I don’t have a clue what you are talking about. I came in to ask your advice about finances. Mike has gone missing, you see, and I have no access to any money”.

Opening the file, he nodded. “Exactly. A little over six months ago, Mike came in to see me. He asked me to transfer the deeds of your house into your name, changing it from the usual joint ownership. I witnessed the change, and you also signed it. Do you remember signing anything?” Anita shrugged. “I had just found out I was pregnant, so I don’t remember any specific occasion. Mike always got me to sign things to do with accounts, bills, or the house. I never asked him why. Does that make me sound stupid? I suppose it does”. He shook his head. “Ordinarily, I would counsel you against signing anything that you haven’t read, but in this case I am happy to tell you it was a good decision”. She was confused. “Please spell it out, I have no idea what’s going on”.

The file was pushed to one side. “He told me that he might have to suddenly disappear. You were going to have a baby, and if anything happened, he wanted to make sure that you were provided for. I have letters giving you power of attorney to draw on his bank account, as well as lists of all your current suppliers and their bills, along with the payment information. In addition, there is a savings account in your name at a different bank that I have all the paperwork for. It currently has something around forty thousand pounds in it. I know that is not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but it will certainly tide you over for now. Bear in mind that with the house in your name now, you can always sell it if you need to, and release substantial equity if you downsize. House prices in this town have increased dramatically since you bought it”.

It was a lot to take in, and a huge shock. “So where is he? Why did he do all this? I can’t believe that he knew all about this and never told me, not even a hint. What more did he tell you?”

Nicholas leaned forward. “Please believe me, Mrs Hollis, that’s all I know. He didn’t tell me anymore, and it wasn’t my place to ask him. He paid me for a service, and I supplied it, simple as that. Oh, and there is also a life insurance policy, in addition to the one covering your mortgage. It is for five hundred thousand pounds, in the event of his death. I had wondered if that was the reason you were coming to see me today, that something bad had happened to him. But if he is just listed as missing, I do have to tell you that no insurance company will pay out for seven years, and then only once he has been declared dead, after missing for that long”.

Anita had a thought. “Surely he left a letter for me then? Something explaining why? He must have realised that I would need to know. The stuff about the house and money is all very well, and will obviously help when the baby comes. But I want to know where my husband is, and what has happened to him, Nicholas. He left the house as normal, and said he would be home about six. I don’t want to think that he knew he was never coming back that morning, and didn’t tell me. The police are dealing with this, and I am sure the sergeant will want to talk to you. I will have to give her your details”.

His tone was sympathetic. “I am more than happy to tell the police everything I have just told you. Mike told me that this might happen. He said that if his wife came to see me, I should tell her about the house, and the financial provision. Everything is completely legal, and will stand up to any scrutiny. By all means tell the sergeant to come and see me. Meanwhile, I will give you this file with copies of all the documents. In this time of trouble at least you can be reassured that you have a home, and are financially stable for now. Take the letter to the bank, and they will let you draw on his salary, as long as it is paid. Contact the companies on the list, and tell them too. They will change the name on the contracts so you can make the monthly payments. All the account numbers and contact details are on a sheet in the folder. If you need to talk to me, call anytime during business hours”.

Taking the file he held out, Anita thanked him, and walked out onto the street in a daze. So Mike knew he was going to disappear, and as long ago as the confirmation of the pregnancy?

She was too dizzy to walk across to the car, and supported herself on a lamp post.

35 thoughts on “Home About Six: Part Thirteen

  1. Thanks for giving us a little bit today, Pete. I hope that Mike wasn’t such a bad guy after all. I can only hope that Anita gets some news that will help bring some closure. I guess that means I’ve already written Mike off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) Common sign in the States:
    ……NO SOLICITING
    ……Notice to Solicitors
    ……Do not enter, knock, or disturb by order of local ordinance.
    ……Violators subject to prosecution.
    We don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for solicitors here!
    (2) Better to tap a file than a file clerk. (#MeToo)
    (3) Mike, who suffered from Gatophobia, disappeared shortly after Anita announced they were going to have a baby in the house. Due to his irrational fear of cats, Mike could not bear the thought of bringing up baby. Which is why Anita should have reassured him that the baby was not a leopard from Brazil.
    (4) “Bear in mind that with the house in your name now, you can always sell it if you need to. I’d suggest moving to Vancouver Island, Los Angeles, or whatever place suits you. I suspect your husband is in a hairy situation of some kind, but I’m sure he’ll find a way to join you later.” (To be honest, the solicitor thought the Hollis couple was a royal pain in the arse.)
    (5) β€œSurely he left a letter for me then?” asked Anita. To which the solicitor predictably replied, “Don’t call me Shirley!”
    (6) Anita wasn’t feeling the least bit groovy upon leaving her appointment with the solicitor. Kicking down the cobblestones on her way to the car, she began to feel dizzy. “Slow down, you move too fast!” Looking around for something to lean on, she discovered a nearby lamppost. “Hello lamppost, what’cha knowin’? Wanna feel my baby growin’?”
    (7) Joan Hill is going to regret turning down Anita’s request to access her husband’s account. You can take that to the bank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Films and songs today, and all on point of course, Mr Simon. πŸ™‚
      ‘A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be described as a solicitor and enabled to practise there as such’. Wikipedia
      I presume you might call them a family lawyer. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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