Cal hadn’t had any company on his train journey home, his bad mood was like an invisible force around him and his fellow travellers had kept their distance.
He stared out of the window watching the world speed by and his mind wandered back to the argument he’d had with Greg.
“It’s complicated” Greg had told him, he’d retorted “Complicated my arse” and Greg had lost his temper. Probably the stress and reality of his situation hitting home. Cal certainly hoped so. Something needed to give the man a wake up call. He’d made a living out of reading people, spotting the smallest of signs that give a persons real feelings away. That night in the café he’d been able to read Greg like an open book. But in that room it was like the book had snapped shut. He hadn’t been able to see anything in Greg that looked even remotely like remorse, and it had both frustrated and annoyed him. He wondered if Greg had ever been in trouble with the Law before, if he had to guess he would say no, but that would be more down to luck than judgement.
Poor Paul had looked completely bemused as he’d stormed out of the Police Station, he hadn’t even waited for him. He’d been on the phone to his daughter when Paul had eventually caught up with him. Paul had looked as horrified as he’d felt when he’d told him about Greg’s attitude. He decided to phone Paul later that evening and apologise. When he’d calmed down and maybe had a glass or two of wine.
The train pulled into Cal’s station, he was most surprised to see Emily standing on the platform. “Hey Dad, thought you might like a lift home” she hugged him “Come on”
“You borrowed my car? Without asking” he scowled, Emily just grinned at him in reply and linked her arm through his. Cal shook his head and laughed “Fine”
Twenty minutes later they walked through the front door, and Cal immediately smelled food. “You been cooking dinner for your Old Man Em?”
“I certainly have and I even opened a bottle of wine for you. You sounded like you needed it”
“Too bloody right I do. Thanks Em” Cal smiled and hugged his daughter again. Just like her Mum, although whether that was a good or a bad thing he had yet to find out.
“So what happened?” Emily poured her father a glass of wine and they went through to the sitting room. Cal dropped down onto the sofa and sprawled over it. Then he told her all about Greg, what he’d done, how he’d contacted him, how Paul was involved and how he’d stormed out of the room.
Emily looked wide eyed “Wow” was all she could think of to say.
“Yeah, wow. I think I’m going to phone Paul in a bit, you know apologise for walking out” he sipped his wine “but after I’ve eaten. I’m bloody starving, what’s for dinner?”
Meanwhile, Paul and Marie had just returned from their meal out. Paul had insisted on taking her to a very expensive restaurant across town rather than the café where she worked. She’d tried arguing against it saying it was too much money, and she didn’t have anything to wear. But he’d refused to listen, even driving her back to her own house and sitting through a half hour “fashion parade” whilst she tried to decide on an outfit. While they were there, Becky arrived with her father. She was staying at his house for a few days, and had forgotten her homework. She had said it didn’t matter, but he disagreed. She was most upset to find there were still things her Mum and Dad agreed on, homework being one of them. Paul had felt awkward when he’d been asked his opinion on the subject, but seeing the look on Marie’s face had thought it better to agree.
So it had been a three way decision that the knee length black dress that had never been off it’s hanger would be the most suitable outfit for dining out. Paul had shook hands with Becky’s father and had been declared “a nice guy” and “a damn sight better than the other losers you’ve dated”
Marie had been mortified but Paul had just laughed it off. Becky gave him a hug, before getting into the car with her Dad.
“Does that mean I have the seal of approval?” Paul grinned as he’d stood waving them off.
Marie closed the door “Just don’t let it go to your head”
“Paul Weston. Hi Cal, you got home okay then? No No there’s no apology needed. Honestly. I’d have done exactly the same”
The conversation continued for another fifteen minutes, they speculated about the kind of prison sentence Greg could expect, both men fully convinced their friend would be in jail for sometime. They asked about each others kids and of course Cal asked about Marie “Let me talk to her” he was feeling a lot more cheerful and in the mood to tease Paul a bit. So Paul reluctantly handed Marie the phone and hovered by her so he could listen to what his friend was saying.
“Hello Sweetheart! Now tell me honestly, what on earth to you see in that Old Man eh? I mean there’s the older man and the older man right?”
Marie was laughing and couldn’t answer him properly but it made no difference because Cal was on a roll.
“After all love” he continued “I’m much better looking than him and I’m younger and fitter. Did I mention I was younger…”
Paul grabbed the phone back “Yes you did darling, several times” Cal’s laughter echoed out of the receiver.
Each agreed to call the other if they heard anything from Greg and Paul hung up the phone.
Marie was still sniggering over Cal’s comments.
“Old Man indeed” Paul huffed “I could be offended at that”
“There are lots of advantages to having an older man, and besides, you’re not that old”
“Advantages? What advantages would they be then?”
“Well, they take you to expensive restaurants for a start”
“You just want me for my money”
“Not just your money” and taking his hand she led him off to the bedroom in order to show him all the other things she wanted him for.