Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Episode 11 - Back in London

Why, thought Martin, is it always raining as soon as I get off the plane in Stanstead? Does it deliberately wait for me to get back? he grumbled to himself as he made his way to the long stay car park.

He knew it was an extravagance to have a car in London but Martin couldn’t bare the thought of relying on taxis and public transport. It was bad enough being trapped on a Sunday night budget flight with the drunken stag parties without having to endure their company on a train back into London.

Once he was out of the car park and onto the M11 Martin was able to put his foot down and speed off along the motorway. The rain had now subsided into a light drizzle and luckily at nearly midnight, the roads were quiet. Finding Smooth FM on the radio he set the cruise control and settled back to enjoy the drive back to the city.

Martin was glad to be back in London and away from the villa for a week.

The whole weekend had been weird and Fliss had been acting very strangely. Take Friday night for example, he thought, collecting him from the airport and preparing ‘special’ meals. What was that all about? He couldn’t remember the last time she was at the airport to meet him and supper………why would she prepare such a heavy meal when all he ever wanted when he got back was a quiet scotch and an early night. Martin was even more confused when after the Saturday lunch fiasco she had stormed off to god knows where.

And today she had been even more weird than usual. It was as if she was trying to keep out of his way. For heaven’s sake, she had even suggested that he went to the club for a drink before lunch. It was so out of character. She usually had a huge list of jobs for him and plans for dinner with friends or even trips to the coast before he had to get back to London. But this weekend it was as if she couldn’t wait for him to leave.

She couldn’t possibly have found out about Laura, he worried, if she had surely there would have been fireworks. Fliss wasn’t the type to take that kind of news well. There would be tears and recriminations. She would make his life a living hell.

He knew that he just needed a bit more time, a couple of months at most, before telling her that he was leaving. It would be a disaster if Fliss found out about Laura before he had time to sort out the problem he was having with his clients’ account.

Pulling the car into his space in the underground garage, Martin switched off the radio and sat for a moment working out the time difference between London and Japan. Hurriedly, rushing past the temperamental lift, he ran up the back stairs to his apartment. Ignoring the flashing light on his answer machine, Martin wasted no time in firing up his laptop and logging on. If he was quick he might just catch Genichi as he arrived in his office in Tokyo.

Genichi Sato was one of Martin’s biggest clients and over the years Martin’s advice had made Genichi a very wealth man. But like most wealthy men, Genichi knew that the commodity market was a fickle creature. And lately he had been dropping hints that he was considering diversifying his portfolio into something more stable.

A quick look at the opening prices in Tokyo did nothing to reassure Martin. He couldn’t afford to loose another client. His finances just wouldn’t take the strain.

Looking back Martin couldn’t believe how he had got into this situation. It had started off so innocently. He had only intended borrowing from the clients’ account to cover his debt to the casino until he had a chance to send out invoices for his last quarter’s fees.

The problem came when the winter storms had hit the American Mid-West and the volatile pork belly market had dipped. Fearing big losses on their investments, two of his best clients had decided to pull out commodities altogether. With such a dramatic drop in his income, Marin now owed the client account the best part of £250k and if Genichi insisted on liquidating his portfolio as well, Martin knew that he would be in serious trouble.

Despite everything that had happened, Martin hoped that the markets would pick up again soon.

All he had to do now was convince Genichi and his other clients that their money was safe and that they should hold their nerve, and their investments, a little longer.

As he finished typing the mail to Japan his mobile rang

‘I tried your landline but all I heard was your sexy voice on the answering service’ purred Laura into her mobile phone as she walked into the apartment. ‘Welcome home baby………are you sleepy?’

Pressing the send button on his mail, Martin hurriedly closed the laptop ‘Not any more’ he smiled.

* * *

With the early morning sunlight streaming through the open curtains Martin switched off the alarm clock before it woke Laura.

Wrapped in a bath towel after his shower he sat on the edge of the bed and watched Laura as she smiled in her sleep. Gently stroking her tanned arm, Martin knew that he would have to sort himself out fast.

He was running out of time. His accounts were due to be audited next week and if he couldn’t make up the shortfall, he was in serious danger of loosing everything. He knew that he needed to raise the money quickly to have a hope of saving his business.

‘Everything OK sweetie?’ asked Laura as she rubbed the sleep from her almond shaped eyes.

‘Just business stuff darling, nothing for you to worry about’

’But I do worry my love, you look so tired’

‘It’s just that cash flow problem I was telling you about’ Martin was relieved to finally have someone to share his worries with. It wasn’t as if he could share them with Fliss, she would go ballistic if she realised the mess he was in.

‘I just need to find some short term finance to tide me over until I can bill my clients for this quarter’

‘Are we talking big bucks here?’ asked Laura as she walked naked into the bathroom.

‘I’m looking for about £250k’, Martin confessed as he finished dressing.’ But it’ll only be a short term, three weeks maximum should do it’

Stepping into the shower, Laura smiled as she caught sight if her toned golden tanned body in the mirror ’don’t worry darling you’ll find the money, I just know you will’ she called as she lathered the shampoo into her hair.

Standing at the bathroom door watching as Laura stood in the streaming shower, Martin’s shoulders sagged a little as he whispered ‘I hope you’re right my love, for both our sakes’