Branscombe Hall: Part Eighteen

This is the eighteenth part of a fiction serial, in 762 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

Not contacting Gregg was deliberate on my part. I wanted him to think about why I had asked him for time away, and I was hoping time with his family would make him see sense. When he rang me he was apologetic, and admitted that his mum had given him a serious talking to. He said he could still work for the building company, and wanted to come home. I should have said no, made a clean break. But I still didn’t want to admit defeat in my marriage, and said he could. So he asked me to pick him up at the station on Sunday afternoon.

He looked good as he walked to the car. Happy and smiling, carrying some flowers that he had probably bought in Essex and had not survived the train journey that well. He spoke very little about his time at home, but was keen to tell me that he was back at work the next day, and being picked up by the van at seven. I had already preared a meal for us to eat that night, and as I warmed it up, he was affectionate and just like the time we first started dating.

The next morning, he was up and gone before I woke up. We had slept in the same bed, but other than a nice goodnight kiss, nothing else had happened.

When I got to the office, there was news of the sale of the Hall. Not to the rehab clinic as expected, but to a developer wanting to convert the building into luxury apartments, using some of the grounds for a nine-hole golf course. The bulk of the land was going to become a public Country Park, sold to the council at a reasonable price to speed up the whole process. We still had five auctions to complete, and Norma told me that even with no reserve on most items, it had greatly increased the profits of our company. We had taken in more money from selling the items from the hall than the business had earned in the four years previously.

All of us were guaranteed a very good bonus.

For the next few weeks, life became quite normal. I was mainly working at the office, and rarely had need to visit the Hall. Gregg came home at a regular time, ate dinner, watched TV with me, and we got back into a reasonable sex life. He was still on the Diazepam of course, with a regular prescription collected from our family doctor. He gave me cash every week from his wages, and that usually paid for our weekly shop at the supermarket. I was calm, relaxed, and made a decision based on my bonus and salary.

We would buy our own house, and stop renting the cottage.

Gregg thought it was a good idea, and offered to work overtime on Saturdays to help with the mortgage. We did some house-hunting, and found a nice property in the opposite direction, around an hour’s commute from work and the Hall. If anything, it was better for Gregg as his company were going out of their way to pick him up and drop him off every day. All it meant for me was a reasonably pleasant drive to work, and as I was not on any time clock, it didn’t matter if I showed up a bit later.

The three-bed house was a new build, but not on an estate. It had been built on the spare land behind an old house, accessed by its own driveway and a garage provided at the end. It meant buying everything of course, all the furniture and white goods. But we got a choice of flooring, bathroom, and kitchen units, and the mortgage was actually cheaper than the rent on the cottage, as I was able to offer up a large deposit. Dad wanted to help too, and gave me a cheque for three thousand pounds. I knew he wasn’t happy still, but he tried to be nice to me.

“Make it work, Alicia. Once his driving ban ends, I am happy to give him a second chance with a job at the company”.

That night, I told Gregg what dad had said, expecting him to be happy. But he wasn’t.

“Tell your old man he can stick his job up his arse. I wouldn’t work for him again if I was starving”.

Uanble to get to sleep later, I sat downstairs on the sofa.

29 thoughts on “Branscombe Hall: Part Eighteen

  1. (1) There was a Milady Branscombe back in the 17th Century. Overheard:
    Coachman, bringing the horses to a stop: “Milady, can I step inside for a moment?”
    Milady Branscombe: “You can slip your head through the door, if you like. The head is all I can tolerate. I won’t admit the feet in my carriage!”
    (2) Bad citation: “We slept in the same bed, but other than a nice goodnight kiss, nothing else happened. I did have a strange dream, though. I saw Gregg in his soldier uniform, and he was poking me with his sniper rifle. For some reason, I woke up a bit sore between the legs this morning.”
    (3) Worn out joke:
    Q. Why do golfers take an extra pair of socks when they go to the golf course?”
    A. They want to be prepared in case they get a hole in one!
    (4) Gregg and Alicia got back into a reasonable sex life.
    Gregg: “How about we do fifty shades of gray?”
    Alicia: “I’ll do anything you ask. Within reason, of course.”
    (5) The three-bed house was really nice. After Goldilocks had eaten the porridge that was just right, she gave all three beds a try. Sadly, though, she couldn’t bear to sleep alone…
    (6) Can you buy white goods on the black market?
    (7) Overheard in The Falklands: “Tell the general he can stick this war up his arsenal!”

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