Alex was used to seeing him leave the house early. He was normally up and out before she had even had her first cup of coffee. So she was surprised to see him still sitting in the kitchen when she came down at 8.
“Thought you’d be gone by now darling,” she said, yawning and switching on the kettle.
“Don’t need to rush today,” he muttered, engrossed in the Financial Times. He had not told her about the auction. He saw no need. He was not buying something she would like. If he did tell her, she might want to come with him. She might distract him. She might want to bid for something else. Best to keep quiet. Need to know basis. Best tactic.
“Oh well, have a good day, I’m going off for my shower now.” She kissed his head and shuffled away in her beaded slippers, carrying a cup of coffee and a plate of toast.
Then the twins appeared with Amelie. They were washed and dressed and chattering. Amelie was beautifully organised as well as being beautiful. Charles often thought that Alex must be very confident of her status to employ such an attractive and amenable au pair.
“Good morning Lily, hello Daisy. What are you having for breakfast this morning? Coco Pops is it? No? Lots of Weetabix eh?”
He left them scraping their spoons in their bowls and disappeared into his study to check emails. He could afford to be late into the office, but he did not like to be out of touch for too long. Never take your eye off the ball was his motto. Still, if the sale progressed quickly he could be in by 12 at the latest. No lunch scheduled for today, so he could still put in six or so hours of solid work.
He left the house well before the sale started and congratulated himself when he saw how quickly the parking area was filling up. A small marquee had been erected outside Grayswell Manor, offering welcome cups of hot coffee to the bidders on this bright but chilly late October morning. Charles sipped and surveyed the growing crowd. Hard to know whether they were here for the early lots or staying the course. Mixed bag too. Quite a few business types in dark coats with cashmere scarves up to their chins, plus a dash of rougher sorts in leather and sheepskin, their collars brushing against the odd gold earring. A few blondes in expensive suede were scattered around in the melee.
to be continued May 1