“Alicia.” A woman’s voice from behind me says, looking around; I see a short, stocky woman with brown hair wearing a tweed jacket and skirt.
“No I’m Olivia, and you would be?”
“Cynthia Pendleton-Brookes Vice President of the Women’s League.” So this is the infamous Mrs Pendleton-Brookes, Alice’s future mother in law, I’m slightly disappointed was hoping for someone a bit well, more. She reminds me of my headmistress at boarding school.
“What can I do for you, Mrs Pendleton-Brookes?”
“You can stop turning this respectable community into Sodom and Gomorrah for a start.” It’s safe to say this respectable community as she calls it is far from respectable. Scratch the surface, and there is no doubt a seething mass of corruption and lies.
“Not gonna happen. Anything else?” She glares at me, which strangely makes me feel uncomfortable. I hope Alice knows what she is getting herself into marrying a Pendleton-Brookes. She turns on her heel and goes back to the crowd of Women’s League members gathered just outside the site entrance gate. Shrugging my shoulders, I head towards the portacabin, I need a drink. Plopping down into an old swivel chair, I retrieve a small bottle of gin I keep stashed in my desk drawer. Taking a long, satisfying swig, I lean back in the chair.
“Tsk tsk Livi drinking on the job.”
“Oh shut up Red. I’ve just met Alice’s future mother in law.” Red looks puzzled, oh yes he doesn’t know yet, no-one does, I wish I didn’t after meeting the delightful Cynthia Pendleton-Brookes.
“When did this happen?” He asks, setting his tablet down on the desk, no doubt before he drops it on the floor.
Taking another swig of gin, I say, “I have no idea when exactly, she just told me this morning.”
“Wow gimme a swig.” Handing him the bottle he takes a gulp, coughing he gives it back to me, Red’s not a gin man. “Do we know the guy?”
“Not really no, Todd Pendleton-Brookes his mother is vice president of the women’s league.”
“No, shit. Does Alice know she is?” Joey asks taking a seat, shrugging my shoulders I have no idea if Alice knows or not, part of me hopes she doesn’t, another wouldn’t be surprised if she does.
“ So what’s the big emergency, surely not those old bags?”
“Yes and no, the protesters are nothing more than a nuisance, but I think there might be a saboteur among them.”
“What do you mean?” Have the good ladies finally sunk to vandalism?
“Some of the local suppliers have cancelled our orders, giving rather flimsy excuses for not being able to fulfil them.”
“The building and plumbing suppliers, the marble supplier, the glass company and the underfloor heating.” Oh, that is a low blow, a smart one but a low one. The ladies all have rather powerful husbands who could no doubt put the squeeze on any local supplier we may be using if they so wished.
“They’ve never sunk this low before Red; I don’t know if it is them.”
“Who else would want to put a stop to this den of iniquity? I don’t see any other group out there singing hymns and harassing our employees.”
“Yeah, but come on Red that’s one thing, contacting suppliers to stop them conducting business with us is something entirely different.”
“Maybe but I just can’t shake the feeling it has something to do with them and if they are willing to do that, how far will they go to get what they want.” He does have a point, perhaps I’ve taken the good ladies too lightly. It’s food for thought if nothing else.
“We’ll just have to get suppliers from elsewhere.” There is no way if this has anything to do with the women’s league that I will let them intimidate me into quitting.
“No time like the present then.”
Switching on my laptop I reply, “Indeed not, it’s going to be a long day. Let's order in some lunch.”
“Sounds like a plan, Beef pho for me please.”
By early evening we’ve resolved most of the supplier issues that’s the upside, the downside is we’ll have a month delay before the essentials can be delivered, meaning the project will have to be put on hold, causing a knock-on effect with everything else.
“This is such shit,” Joey comments throwing his pen onto the desk, running his hands through his hair he leans back in his chair. “I feel like throwing in the towel. How do you do this Livi, how do you keep plugging away at it?”
“Copious amounts of gin.” He smiles weakly, holding up the half-empty bottle I ask, “Want some?”
“Don’t tempt me.”
“Sure this is a huge set back for us, but we’re not going to quit, that would just mean whoever is responsible for this would have won and I’ll be damned if I let that happen.”
“I think we should call it a day maybe get some dinner on the way home, you mind if I stay at yours, I don’t feel like spending the night at home alone?” Joey asks, lifting his jacket off the peg beside the door.
“Me either, Anna’s staying at the abbey tonight she had this odd compulsion this morning to sleep in her old room again. I guess being pregnant does weird things to your brain.”
“Sit in or take out?”
“Take out; I want to eat dinner in my pyjamas.”