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Chapter Five

After another night at the lake, I knew that was enough waiting. They’re not going to come and get me. I genuinely thought that I’d done enough and been through enough to have them reveal themselves. But clearly not. There’s only so much waiting I can do.

I drove up the track and came to a T-junction. Opposite the junction was a house with a car ready to go. Nothing that strange about that, only that it was waiting there. There was a clear opening to join the main road as I saw no cars crossing while I was making my way up the last bit of the track. When I turned left, they pulled out immediately after me. Two grown men in their fifties, largely built and serious faced began to follow. I set off at a decent pace, and they were keeping the gap. I turn left, and there they are, on my tail. This wasn’t going to any main city or town. I turn again, and now I’m sure. So, I maintained an average pace so as not to arise any suspicion. Once I go around a corner, I floored it, weaving through the lanes like I was in a rally race as fast as the car would allow, while staying in control. Came to a cross-road, great! Quick turn left. Carried on, nothing in my rearview, turn right again and safe. Phew! Let my adrenaline simmer and began to slow down.

Back to my building site. I phone now my ex, and she asks “where are you?” She’s still angry at me and tells me I’m not welcome at our house. I pack a few clothes and go to my building site. Haven’t even got a bloody bed there so a mattress and sleeping bag will do. I felt like a homeless squatter in a building site.

I continue with the project, it had to get finished. The local leisure center will suffice for showers and I can live off takeaway meals for a while. At least there’s a roof over my head.

Stacey soon tells me that she doesn’t want to stay in the house we lived in because it had too many memories of us. So, we hand in our notice and I’m allowed over to pack everything up. I felt terrible for her to be in this situation and because she’d been carried financially by me all her adult life, I felt it was my obligation to make sure she would be financially stable. Her parents hardly ever helped and when they did it was for small amounts once in a blue moon. I end up finding her a suitable house, pay 6 months’ rent upfront, buy her a decent car that was relatively new and very low mileage, and transfer her a few thousand pounds cash. This should let her start afresh without being burdened by financial hardship, on top of everything else. I really hoped she’d make something of herself.

I knew that’s what she needed, to find some independence and hopefully a career. I thought it was a very amicable thing for me to do. But she never saw it that way. It hardly meant anything to her.

I received a Facebook notification that an old friend is attending an auction. I remember him telling me that he’d been headhunted because he was considered a genius. When he told me, he said “They will find you if you are, they’ve got way more ways to find you than you’d think.” I’ve not heard from him in ages and it seemed strange that he had resurfaced. I was going with the signs, so I decided to go to the auction he was going to. Maybe I could speak to him, and he could mentor me as to what is going to happen? What gripped me was the pictures on the event poster; A Banksy fallen angel print, the same one that I had since I was 16. A two-tone Rolex day date with diamond numbers; the same version that I was given at 17 by a friend to cover some debts. Granted, the one I was given wasn’t a real one, but it was the same model. Seemed more than a coincidence to see the two images. So, it was my style, and at fair prices. Why the fudge not? I just spent a bunch on my ex where I didn’t have to. Things were looking up! These people were obviously ridiculously rich so seeing as I’ve got my in, I doubt I’ll need to save for a rainy day anymore. I’m sure they will put me on a more than a decent salary. So, I’ll spend a bit on myself, the kids, the building site, and my mates.

None of the lads want to join, so I go on my own. Maybe my following G will be there too? She could easily guise it as a coincidence. When I get there, the men in suits have that same eye stare as the goons that followed me home on the train. I see one of them staring at himself in a door-sized mirror. With an air of power about him, like it was the first time he’d looked at himself that way. I thought to myself, they’re here. He’s seen them, and he’s emulating the same look that they have permanently on their face. Either that or he is one of them. Either way, it was strange to see him look at himself in that way.

The bidding starts slowly. No time to look around much, it was jam-packed. My old mate isn’t to be seen. Nobody I recognize. There is one very attractive brunette girl sat in the middle. She keeps looking at me, like expecting me to go and speak to her. Her aura reminded me of G. But it was someone else. At this point, I was happy in my own company. I felt far from alone, I knew they were watching and with me, whoever they are. Plus if I start chatting up strangers and G is watching, she could get cross and I’d fudge everything up.

I end up winning a bid on a large wall clock with the key capital city time zones within. A multi-colored painting of a zebra for the kids. Some expensive wine to share with the lads and a full set of gold-plated cutlery. I almost buy a Rolex, but none of them appealed to me. When they advertised the day-date, it was smaller than my size. So I decided against it. Plus, it would be a shame to get the real version of the exact one I used to own.

Strangely... the auctioneer would rattle through items, but for the watch, he went into detail. Saying things like, “this one’s not fake; is the real thing!”

“A young man would be proud to wear this genuine version, even if he’d owned a fake version before. This is so much better,” What the fudge? How do they know these things about me? This isn’t just hacking my computer; this goes way back. This goes back to before smartphones were a thing and before I used computers!

I’ve still got some money in the bank. “Next the jewelry.” Yawn. The auctioneer rattled through a bunch, quick one-sentence description per item and, sold! Next; Sold! Sold! The auctioneer was noticeable a rich man, based on his facial expressions and demeanor. He was haughty and abrupt, as if we were all beneath him, with very little expression in his cold eyes.

Then came up the biggest diamond ring they had. From where I was stood at the rear end of the hall looking at the screen where they had the item under the camera, it stood out head and shoulders above the rest. It was mesmerizing, even on a small screen around 20 meters away. I’m not normally one for appreciating rings as this is generally female territory. But this drew me in. It was the same feeling I’d experienced when I met G for the first time. Was there a connection? I don’t need it though, that would be ridiculous! I’m going through a breakup, not an engagement!

He takes his time on this one, gives a thorough explanation. “This one, I don’t know how it ended up here in a bankruptcy auction, but it’s here of all places! Who would have thought? A very nice N-colored diamond. Not too yellow, but not boring like a whiter one. This one is an absolute gem. Its clarity is I3, that’s as blemished the scale goes. Most I3′s would just be dirty. But this one is very clean. It’s had a very tough life, been through so many impacts but still managed to survive where so many others would be destroyed. It’s an I3 because of the fissures. Each small fissure within will count towards clarity, and there are so many. Each one would be massive amounts of pressure from earthquakes and meteorite impacts. There’re loads of little ones and some very large cracks and yet it is still intact. Hat’s off to the jeweler, he’s made what should’ve been impossible, possible! He’s managed to cut a perfectly flat table despite the number of fissures. A few of the fissures are on the edges, but we can allow that given the circumstances.” Each time he said an additional sentence like that, it sounded like when he was describing the watch, but instead; describing characteristics about me.

“There are only two very small amounts of dirt that have managed to creep in, but are hidden very well. It’s perfectly shaped so the best refraction occurs without any loss of light. The jeweler must have been grinding down on the table for ages just to get that perfect mirror-finished table. It’s even a perfect number. Precisely 2.5 carats. No decimal points plus or minus. A bit more was more than likely shaved off just to get the exact number. None of these factors are considered when estimating its value. No increase for its color, despite being far rarer than whiter diamonds. Downgraded for its inclusions, despite it being the whole character of the stone. No increase for a near impossible flat table. The insurance value was still a respectable £27k despite all its knockbacks. It’s not too large to get in the way with daily wear and would be fit for a princess. If someone was looking for a stone like this, it would take them two lifetimes. It really is that rare!”

It might be delusional paranoia creeping in from over-analyzing; but to me, I think G wants me to buy this and has chosen it specifically. At that price however, she can dream on!

He, along with all the other staff were extremely impressed with this one. Well, this is ridiculous; I’m not going to buy a fudging diamond and propose now, am I? No. He might be over-selling this. But he hasn’t done that so far and it seems logical that it would be as rare as he claims. I mean, that many clean fissures and remaining unbroken? Getting that flat table with a sea of cracks directly beneath the surface?! From not knowing anything about diamonds to be hypnotized and drawn in has taken me right off guard.

“We’ve got a reserve on this one from our website of £5,500 from a John Jones.... Well that sounds made up” he said with a knowing smile on his face. “If anyone wants to bid on this, it’s theirs. It would make someone who receives it a very happy lady.” I only just looked at the website, and that ring was not on there. A fake name like that was blatantly the lowest price they would sell it for, how could someone bid online if it’s not in their catalogue?

“Going once... Anybody? Nobody? Going twice...” Fudge it! No time to think, it’s going. I never wanted it before but now I’d never want to lose it. Paddle goes up! Holy shiz! “Gentleman in the back for £5550. Any advances? Going once... Going twice... Sold!”

“Is this for anybody?” The auctioneer asks. “Nope!” I say, the crowd laughs. “Maybe for a girl in work?” He says. “No...” I responded wearily. It was for me first of all, if I was going to give it to G, it would be after years of us working well. “What are you going to do with it then?” He says. “I don’t know yet, either keep it or sell it.” When I said the words ‘sell it’, his face looked hurt and soured. That would be the wrong decision, but I hadn’t got attached to it just yet. It just cost me a decent chunk of cash.

What a rush. What was I thinking? I’m glad regardless. I’ve spent money on everyone else so far, so why not the girl who is trying to win me? If she’s going to make the gesture of putting that in front of me for a very cheap price considering, I may as well show her my willingness for the commitment by buying it. I can keep it safe for a long time and keep her well behaved knowing her favorite stone is waiting.

The giant mirror comes up, well; I’m on a spending spree. So I win that too. That’s quite enough for one day.

After the bidding has finished, the staff approach me in amazement. “You didn’t even come to the counter to look at it first?” “I know... I could see it through the screen though.” Before then, I’d never appreciated how diamonds vary and how good some could look. She opens the case.. “Nice” I said as an auto-response. They looked a bit put out by my reaction. Then I had to take a double-take on it, and it dazzled me. “Really nice..” They saw my eyes transform into a mesmerizing stare. I quickly take the ring, snap the case close, and put it in my breast pocket.

G must have chosen it, or her rich family chose it for her. Either way, it was invaluable and I’m sure I did the right thing by getting something that’s not readily available. If everything fails, at least I’ll have a great souvenir.

While driving back, I remember the reason I went there. It was to bump into my old friend. He was nowhere to be seen, but all is not lost. It felt like I had people there that I knew anyway, even if they didn’t come out and say it; it was clear enough from what they said. They must have known. Either that or have scripts written on how to describe the items. Whichever it was, it seems to some degree, irrelevant.

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