Branscombe Hall: Part Fourteen

This is the fourteenth part of a fiction serial, in 734 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

The silver sale was one of our best ever. Every item exceeded expectations, and a dated salver relating to George I from 1720 was sold for a record price in London. Julian attended the auction at our premises, and I was immensely relieved that Gregg was out on a job, picking up some unrelated Art Deco furniture from a house in Stroud. We had not discussed his drunken night, or the fact I had to book him sick from work the next day. He had managed to shrug it off by not talking about it, but that left me uneasy.

At the end of the silver sale that day, I felt drained. We had made a huge amount of money, but foreign buyers on the telephone had dragged it out until well after seven at night, due to time differences. That meant Gregg and Adrian were back at our premises before Julian left.

It was Norma who came to tell me.

“Gregg has hit Julian. Your dad has already left, so I need you to come and sort it out. Sorry”. They were both in the office, Julian holding tissues to his nose, which appeared to me to be broken. Gregg was standing in the corner by a filing cabinet, fists bunched, and looking away from Julian. Lord Branscombe was smiling, and looking so smug I wanted to spit in his face.

“Your loving husband cannot take a joke, Alicia. Should I involve the police, do you think? Or will you agree to keep your pet dog under control?” I was flushed with both embarrassment, and annoyance. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow them both. Then I made the mistake of challenging Gregg. I asked him why he had hit Julian. Did he not realise that our company was in a unique position of dealing with the sale of the items from the Hall? Whatever Julian had said was no justification for attacking him.

Gregg was as cold as ice.

“I’m going home now. The police will know where to find me. If you want to know why I hit him, just ask him. If he says anything like that again, he knows he will get worse”.

And with that, he walked out.

Julian was triumphant. “Well, your Gregg is so easy. I only mentioned our meal in Gloucester, and he lost it completely. Okay, I might have said something about all your commission from today’s sale paying his bills, but come on, Alicia, it’s only the truth. Don’t worry about the police, I will not be involving them. I just needed to show you what a thug you married. Please tell me, what were you thinking of?”

Being so annoyed with both of them, I had no idea how to reply. But I did my best anyway. I told Julian he had to abandon any ideas of being with me. I didn’t want him, I was married to Gregg and trying to make it work, and whatever happened Julian would not be my fallback option. His self-confidence was staggering.

“Yes, all that, and it’s all nonsense. I am going to stay at the Hall until you see sense, and I guarantee you will see sense. Your future is with me, and it is only a matter of time until that sinks into your brain, my dear”. Not wanting to reply, I just left the room.

At home that night, I could tell Gregg had been drinking. Although he hadn’t gone anywhere, all the beers in the fridge had been drunk. To be honest, I felt sorry for him. Julian’s jibes could be so hurtful, especially to a man who had endured a war, albeit a short one.

Dinner was planned to be salmon fillets and vegetables, but Gregg was not in the mood to play any games.

“Salmon? I need some meat and potatoes, pasta at least. Don’t you know how hard I work shifting all that furniture, ‘Licia?” I cancelled the salmon and prepared two sirloin steaks and baked potatoes. But that didn’t seem to be good enough, either.

“This steak is almost raw. Do you think I am a dog or something, eating raw meat running with blood? You eat it!”

With that, he threw his plate at me, then reached over and slapped me hard around my face.

26 thoughts on “Branscombe Hall: Part Fourteen

  1. (1) Nevada is the Silver State. I hope the governor doesn’t sell the state out from under me!
    (2) Bad citation: “I wanted the floor to open up and swallow them both. Unfortunately, the Hall wasn’t hungry.”
    (3) “Gregg was as cold as ice.” He was even more abominable than a snowman!
    (4) “All the beers in the fridge had been drunk.” Now the bottles were having a terrible hangover. (Beers should not let their peers get drunk.)
    (5) Julian would not be Alicia’s fallback option. His self-confidence was staggering. (Never fall back on someone who’s staggering, no matter how confident he is. He won’t catch you, and you’ll end up on the floor in great pain.)
    (6) Dinner was planned to be salmon fillets, but Gregg was not in the mood to play any games, which led Alicia to realize that Go Fish was not in the cards.
    (7) Gregg threw his plate at Alicia and slapped her hard around her face. He’s becoming an abusive husband. And that ain’t funny! (You’re probably contempt-plating the reason for this comment.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Julian and the money he represents could not persuade me to put up with him. He’s dangerous. Reminds me uncomfortably of someone. But Alicia needs to get Gregg to talk to her. If he can’t seek help, I would walk out. Harsh, aren’t I?

    Liked by 1 person

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