Branscombe Hall: Part Sixteen

This is the sixteenth part of a fiction serial, in 730 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

Because of Julian’s death, things had to be put on hold at the Hall. Technically, we no longer had a contract, so dad suggested we should not spend time or money on continuing the project there until such time as it was confirmed we were still required to sell off the contents.

Meanwhile, I had to deal with Gregg.

Once he had appeared in court and was officially banned from driving, I managed to sell his car back to the dealer in Gloucester. Taking a hit of almost nine hundred pounds on what I had paid for it a few weeks earlier, I just wanted it gone, and couldn’t be bothered to advertise it privately. He was very quiet around the house, and while I was out at work he started to do a lot of gardening around the cottage. I wanted to mention that there was little point in a rented property, but it kept him busy and tired him out.

He actually expressed condolences about Julian dying, but in a way only he could.

“I hated the sight of the ponce, but wouldn’t have wished him dead”.

Suspicion was going both ways. He was quite obviously still convinced I had been having sex with Julian, and I feared that he may have tampered with the sports car. It was a couple of weeks before we found out the circumstances, when dad was contacted by the lawyers for the Branscombe family.

Julian’s car had been going in excess of one hundred miles an hour when it drove into the back of a slow-moving heavy truck along the old A4 road. A post mortem concluded that he had died instantly, sustaining multiple injuries from the impact. More importantly, the toxicology discovered significant amounts of barbituates in his bloodstream, alongside cocaine. So the young Lord had been speeding, in every way possible. A police inspection of his car found no signs of mechanical faults or tampering.

That meant I had been wrong about Gregg being involved. It was just Julian living the carefree highlife that had killed him.

With no legitimate children, and no living relatives, the ownership of Branscombe Hall reverted to Julian’s step-mother, who was the widow of his father, and the only remaining heir. She was very happy in her home in the south of France, apparently being entertained by a succession of young gigolos that she was pleased to fund. The lawyers told dad that she had instructed her agent to sell everything as soon as possible without delay, including the Hall and surrounding land. She had no intention of ever returning to Gloucestershire.

For me, that was tragic. We would have to get everything on the market before the end of the summer, and sell most of it well below true market price as she refused to wait for the excitement to build. We had already raised over one million pounds, including the sales in London, but the rest of the items would go cheaply once the market was aware of her haste.

In the middle of all this, Gregg found himself a job.

Some guy he had met on one of his pub crawls offered him a job with a firm of builders. They would pick him up in a van every day before seven, and drop him off at the end of the working day. They paid cash in hand, weekly. After losing his licence, Gregg had used taxis to take him to and from pubs around Gloucester, spending his pension money and never asking me for a penny. Most nights, he didn’t come home for dinner, but I always prepared him something to warm up.

Now the new job seemed to have given him some purpose. He bought work clothes, and after his first week he gave me eighty pounds. “For my keep, there will be more”. I was pleased to see him taking some responsibility, and even started to share a bed with him again. He began to act like the old Gregg. Fit, happy, friendly, and very interested in sex. I confess I was concerned that he was taking too much Diazepam to calm his moods. But selfishly, I was pleased that it made our life together so much more bearable.

Then one night, he didn’t come home after work.

22 thoughts on “Branscombe Hall: Part Sixteen

  1. Just when I was starting to think things might work out, a little therapy, a few drugs and maybe Gregg could heal his past, although I don’t think I would ever be able to move beyond the slap. And now he’s gone! Nice cliffhanger, Pete. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) “I did some gardening in the flower of my youth,” said Candide, a cultivated man who, according to Voltaire, had a flair for adventure.
    (2) Gregg wouldn’t have wished Julian dead. He would have just wished for him to be shot in the head…without a helmet for protection.
    (3) “So the young Lord had been speeding, in every way possible.” Alicia was glad that the Branscombe family lawyers had brought her up to speed on the circumstances surrounding Julian’s death.
    (4) Julian was living the carefree high life. And now that’s six feet under, he still doesn’t have a care in the world.
    (5) Julianโ€™s step-mother was being entertained by a succession of young French gigolos. “Oh, my! Euro fine one! How much do you charge?”
    (6) Pub crawl: So drunk you can’t stand on your own two feet.
    (7) Upon hearing that they paid cash in hand, the armless circus performer protested. “Give the money to my legless partner, okay? I trust him. He won’t run away with the money!”
    (8) Gregg became fit, happy, friendly, and very interested in sex. It’s amazing what a little gardening will do for a fella! Good job, Gregg!

    Liked by 1 person

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