Copyright© 2012 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
Simon was up and dressed early getting ready for his day in court. “Are you coming?”
“If I do, who’s going to look after the children?”
“David and Jacquie, isn’t that what we pay them for?”
“I’ll ask them.”
“No, I’ll tell them and I’ll also tell my sister, who could pull her finger out a bit more than she does. So c’mon get your arse in gear—wear something tidy.”
I was so astonished by this assertive aspect of my husband that I did nothing for a few moments—then jumped out of bed when I thought he was coming back to boss me about again.
I showered and wore the YSL suit and blouse—yeah, the dormouse one—dried and brushed my hair carefully and applied some makeup and perfume. I wore my mother’s necklace and earrings which being sapphires went well with the blue of the suit. To finish, I wore tan coloured tights and my navy shoes hoping we wouldn’t be walking too much.
“You look nice, Mummy,” declared Livvie and they all agreed, including my husband. It seemed he hadn’t laid down the law with the others, he’d offered extra money if they looked after the kids. Just what he said to Stella, I’ve no idea.
I didn’t feel very hungry but I thought I’d best eat something so I forced down a slice of wholemeal toast and a banana with a cup of tea. Then I felt sick. I don’t like courts, too formal and not my natural sort of environment—give me the outdoors every time.
We went in my car—the white Jaguar XF, and Simon drove. As he navigated our way through the morning traffic, I sat there trying to look intelligent while fuming—this is my car, why is he driving it? What is it about man-woman relationships that means he has to drive whenever they get in a car, like he has to have the remote when he’s watching telly. It’s got to be a power thing. As it happened, by the time he’d managed to park in a very tight space a couple of hundred yards from the courts, I was glad he had driven, I doubt I’d have managed such a tight one.
Then he held out his arm for me as we walked together along the pavement to the court, my heels clicking as we went and me feeling self conscious about every step I took. Another thing that’s changed—when I first started wearing them—heels that is—I quite enjoyed the sound of the metal ferrule on concrete or stone. Now I wish they didn’t draw attention to me, and the buzz I used to get has been replaced by the feeling, “A couple of hours in these and my toes are going to screaming at me.”
I suppose this happens to lots of girls that they can’t wait to wear grown up clothes and shoes and as soon as they get home it’s off with the bra and shoes and into more comfortable clobber.
Simon was talking the whole time but I wasn’t listening, I was in my own little world of introspection and reflection. “Cathy,” he said sharply.
“Yes, darling,” I replied stopping because he had.
“You haven’t listened to a word I’ve said, have you?”
“Um—I remember you insisting I had some breakfast.”
“That was an hour ago.”
“Was it? Sorry, darling, just don’t seem able to concentrate this morning.”
“You’re not on as well are you?”
“No, it’s not, but Stella is, and I’ve noticed sometimes if she’s cranky, so are you.”
“That could just as easily be because she is and she’s worn me down.” I reasoned—well it sounded reasonable to me. Having said that I felt all bloated this morning and my breasts felt tender when Catherine tried to suck them inside out. Perhaps the hormones give me some sort of cycle—why not—it’s possible I suppose, it’s just I never will ovulate, so it won’t be a proper period.
“Yeah, whatever—now try to concentrate, we’re seeing Martin, our barrister for a short meeting before we go into court. He’ll present our case and then the opposition will give theirs. Then it’s up to the judge who might take weeks to give a judgement.”
“Weeks?” I gasped, “We haven’t got to wait weeks for this have we?”
“That’s the norm—remember the judge has to cogitate on the legal position.”
“Isn’t that what you pay Martin for, to have researched the legal history of such cases?”
“Yes, but they will still require the judge to read them thoroughly.”
“I suppose. How long is the case going to last?”
“Whatever,” I was bored already and we hadn’t met with Martin yet.
“Depends upon the cases put by either side and the legal niceties involved.”
“All morning?” I asked suddenly seeing my whole life fading into the distance as we sit interminably in a draughty court room.
“It could take that long just to establish the point of argument.”
“What?” I gasped.
“Cathy, it has to be done properly.”
I’m too young to fritter my life away in a court room, I’ll miss the girls and Danny growing up, what about my dormouse project and the survey? I should have stayed at home.
“Ah, here’s Martin, now,” he waved and we walked quickly up to the tall, slim very handsome, dark haired man in his morning dress. For those who aren’t familiar with the business uniform of barristers, it’s a dark long jacket with pin striped trousers, with a white shirt and tie, over which he’ll don a wig and gown in court.
“Hi, Mart,” said Simon shaking his hand vigorously. “You know, Cathy, my wife?”
“Delighted to meet you, Lady Cameron. You’re even more beautiful in the flesh than on television.” I held out my hand for him to shake, blushing like a radioactive beetroot, and he took it and kissed it. “Enchanted,” he said quietly as my head began to feel distant from my feet.
The two men began to talk and I tagged along, then we were sitting in the waiting area and they were plotting. I wasn’t listening except to little bits of phrases that floated from their hushed voices. Suddenly they stopped talking as a group of four men walked into the waiting room. Their man in pin stripe pants walked towards us and Martin rose to meet him. They shook hands—probably know each other quite well, then they walked up and down talking before they parted each to their camp.
“What’s going on, Martin?” asked Simon.
“I think they’re going to settle.”
“What out of court?”
Simon grasped my hand and squeezed, smirking like a smug schoolboy. “How much?” The banker had emerged.
“Fifty plus legal costs.”
“Fifty pounds?” Simon’s expression fell somewhat.
“Fifty thousand plus another twenty five for legal costs.”
“Oh—of course,” Simon was now blushing like a ripe tomato and he still looked less than confident.
Their barrister rose after some discussion with the three others and headed our way again. Martin went once more to speak with him. They walked up and down twice more shook hands and parted, the opposition then left the building. Martin spoke to an official and then came to us.
“That’s it, to which charity do you want to send the money?” asked Martin, “I presume you had one in mind?”
“I left that to Cathy, didn’t I, love?” he blushed and passed the buck straight to me. That was going to cost him.
“Lady Cameron?” prompted Martin.
“I have two in mind, one is the children’s home from which two of our children came, and the other is the Mammal Society, who could do with some money to educate the public about the conservation of British species, several of which are threatened.”
“Sounds good to me, how d’you want to split it, fifty-fifty? Makes it easier.”
“That’s fine with me.”
“Okay, I’ll arrange to collect and distribute said monies, if you can give me the address of the two charities, I’d be grateful.”
“I’ll email them to you, if Simon has your email address?”
“For you, dear lady,” he reached into his waistcoat pocket and pulled out a silver card holder and opened it, then handed me his card. I thanked him and deposited it in my bag.
He shook Simon’s hand, kissed mine and strode off out of the building his brief case in one hand, his small suitcase with wig and gown in the other.
“The bastard, he’s just given away a fortune—and it’s my money,” Simon spat.
I had to look away because the urge to snigger was overwhelming.
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