Chapter 20: Trading Up

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Despite his embarrassing slip up at the end, John felt a little lighter after his visit with Jane. The loan wasn’t the solution to everything but it did rid him of his most pressing problem. It would be interesting to find out what her conditions were, though. Perhaps she was going to charge him 25 per cent interest? He gulped then realised that Jane wasn’t the type. 

Now that he’d closed off on the PTA problem he felt more able to deal with everything else. For the first time in days he felt energised and ready for action. He’d been up against it before and been able to turn it around. There was no reason to think he couldn’t do it again. It was time to map out a plan. 

Ange was in the sitting room watching a movie with Clemency when he got home. He poked his head through the door. 

“Hi girls,” he said. 

“Hi Daddy,” Clemency said. “We’re watching Twilight. It’s got sparkly vampires in it.” 

“Sparkly. Hmm, interesting,” John said. 

Ange stared resolutely at the screen. If she’d been a cartoon there would have been a thought bubble with Eff Off in very large black type emanating from her head. Much as he would have liked to spend a bit of time with Clemency, John decided to beat a tactical retreat to his study. 

“I’ll leave you to it. Come and see me before you go to bed, sweetheart.” 

“OK, Daddy.” 

John headed off down the hallway. Sparkly vampires…Good grief what was the world coming to. Barnabas Collins wouldn’t have SPARKLED! 

He’d been immersed in his work for a good few hours, when the e-mail alert box popped up. It was a message from Jane. He opened it eagerly. 

She was as crisp and efficient in her writing style as she was in real life. 

Dear John, 

As requested, I have transferred the money into your account. The loan is interest free, to be paid back when you are able. 

John was relieved to read that bit. 

I told you this afternoon that there were conditions attached to this agreement. There is in fact only one. 

As you know, the circumstances surrounding our marriage breakup caused a great deal of emotional pain for our children, particularly Sarah. 

The relationship between the two of you has never really recovered and I feel very strongly that the time has come for reconciliation. 

Therefore this loan is being granted on the condition that you and Sarah meet to sort out your differences once and for all. I have spoken to her about this. She is amenable to the idea and is expecting your call. 

Best of luck with Vantage Villas. I have every faith that you will win through. 

Love J. 

On the whole, John wasn’t sure he wouldn’t rather be paying 25 per cent interest. His eldest daughter loathed him and he doubted that was ever going to change. 

With the benefit of hindsight he could see how badly he’d handled things when he ran off with Ange. It hadn’t been his finest moment, something that Sarah never ceased to remind him of whenever they were in the same room. 

He knew exactly how any meeting between them would go. Sarah would sit there, reciting a litany of his faults as a father and then she’d cry. 

He would sit there feeling like a heel as much of what she was saying was true and then once the crying started he’d feel completely useless. Another thing to add to the list of his parental shortcomings. 

Oh well. It couldn’t be helped. He’d told Jane that he would do what she asked and his word was his bond. 

He sat staring at the wall for a bit, thinking about Sarah. She’d been such a great kid. A lot like Clemency. Still, the fact that she’d been talking to Jane about him showed that maybe there was some potential to renew contact, although that stuff about seeing his signet ring being on Trade Me was little weird. Mind you, it wouldn’t be the first time Sarah had tried to stir up trouble. Those rumours she’d started about Ange still resurfaced from time to time. 

Thinking about Trade Me gave him an idea. The PTA was off his back (or would be by tomorrow) but he still had living expenses to pay. Maybe he should look at selling a few things and making a bit of cash. After all, the house was chock-a-block-full of beautiful things that surely must have some kind of resale value. 

He tapped Trade Me’s address into the browser. 

“Right, let’s have a look at what sort of stuff sells online,” he thought. “I wonder if there’s a market for Montblanc pens.” 

He was delighted to discover there was. There were lots of them, including a Montblanc Meisterstuck very similar to his own with an asking price of $1050. 

“Crikey,” he thought, “if I could just find the damned thing, it might be worth selling!” 

He clicked on the lot to see more details and was surprised to see the vendor was based in Queenstown. 

“Wonder who it is,” he thought. “Perhaps I know him.” 

He clicked on the seller’s name to see more. 

Blondie66 certainly had expensive tastes. As well as the Montblanc pen, he was offering a Waterford Crystal 
paperweight, a Louis Vuitton case, a Rolex watch and a signet ring. 

John’s signet ring. It was absolutely unmistakable. 

John exhaled like he’d been punched in the stomach. Sarah had been right. His signet ring! For sale on Trade Me. He took a closer look at the other lots. Yep, he was pretty sure that was his watch and pen, too. 

That bloody bitch, Ange. 

Blondie66 was going to have some explaining to do in the morning.