Marcus Beaumont luxuriated in a bath so full that the slightest movement would cause water to slosh onto the bathroom floor. He resembled a rather handsome, corpulent bear, stretching his chin towards the ceiling, scratching and letting out a contented grunt. He thought about the fine young girl who had gone downstairs to prepare a breakfast of bacon and eggs, black pudding and mushrooms, anticipating the smell wafting up the stairs and under the door, which was not locked.
‘Better than any damned alarm clock!’ he mused, grinning widely.
He calculated that he had fifteen minutes to wash himself and get into his robe, put on his slippers and install himself in the lounge in front of the television to watch the financial news. He hoped that the coffee would not be too weak, nor too strong, and that she would remember the HP sauce and the black pepper. Then, he ducked under the water and flooded the bathroom floor.
When he had cleared up the mess, he went downstairs and found Lena painting her toenails, his breakfast on the sideboard going cold.
‘I called you,’ she said, shrugging her shoulders and dipping her brush.
‘I… did you make coffee?’
‘Yes. There!’ she indicated two cups on the table in front of her.
He brought in his plate and did not dare to ask the girl to change the channel. She liked to watch cartoons. Marcus sighed and examined the dried up egg, burnt toast and undercooked black pudding. She would have to go.
After breakfast, he put on his suit and tie, fastening on a pair of silver cufflinks in the shape of pistols. He heard his lover slam the front door and thought good riddance! telling himself that next time he would not choose someone young enough to be his daughter, who insisted on leaving her toenail clippings on his lounge carpet. The thought of her naked athletics made him smirk, nevertheless.
Just before he left, having polished his shoes and taken a final look in the hall mirror, quietening his mind for the drive to his office, he remembered his ex-wife’s email. He had read it quickly – something about helping with some care home bills, most extraordinary, and, quite predictably, badly explained. Perhaps he should sort it out before he went in, otherwise it would play on his mind and annoy him.
He sat down again in the lounge, switched on his laptop and took an absent-minded gulp of the cold, unsweetened coffee he had left on the table. He opened up his email and found what he was looking for. She wanted him to tell her how her investments were doing and, ah yes, here it was: she wanted him to find out whether you could be forced to sell your home to pay for care in France. In France! It was typical of Martha. Why couldn’t she look on the Internet, or just ask a French solicitor? He knew why. She had always been the same. If she needed something she would ask Marcus, and he supposed that it was his own fault for having gone along with it. Oh well, at least she still needed him for something! He wrote that he would get back to her shortly, and hoped that she was well and happy. Then, looking at his watch and tutting, he went out and got into his car.
The thought of Martha brought back memories. Good ones for the most part. She had been solid, reliable, and she had loved him. He had been an idiot to lose her, but, if she came back, he would do the same thing again. Marcus Beaumont was a ladies’ man through and through, oozing charm, and adept at flattery, unable to resist a pretty face and a good pair of legs. Life was for living, after all, it was a pity that you couldn’t keep hold of a decent wife and indulge yourself in a little fun from time to time. Martha had been unreasonably upset by his brief infidelities; she had taken everything too much to heart.
When he had a free moment, after an extravagant lunch with an exceptionally wealthy client, Marcus contacted a friend of his about Martha’s query. It turned out that French law was rather ambiguous on the matter of care costs. He put together a summary, advising her friend to go to the local social security offices, where he could find out whether his father might be eligible for benefit payments. It seemed that family contributions were expected, based on ability to pay. He told her that he would be happy to answer any of her queries regarding this or any other subject, that he had flooded the bathroom again and would probably have to have the ceiling replaced, that he had managed to shoot next door’s cat in the arse with a pellet gun at last, and that her investments were doing remarkably well, rising to well over four hundred thousand pounds, with the prospect of further substantial profits likely. He added that, if she required funds over and above the regular dividend payments into her French bank account, she should use the electronic transfer system he had set up in her name, knowing that she would not, and, as his first client had arrived, the email was sent with love and best wishes, and, if he were entirely honest, a certain amount of regret.
Madeleine, the girl he had employed for a number of totally irrelevant reasons, brought in a grumpy woman in her fifties who had a large wart in the fold of her nose.
Thank God for Maddy’s magnificent breasts! thought Marcus, as he extended a hand to his next client.
A bit of fun...
If I get ten comments I'll post another excerpt!