An old girlfriend told me this story and I have reconstructed it here for those who are into childhood reunions and the strong passions they can engender.
Colchicine 0.5 Mg, My high heels clicked hesitantly on the marbled entrance of the modern brightly lit London bar where I’d agreed to meet my ex-classmate from hell safely and privately prior to the official school-reunion. It was an event I’d dreaded daily since it had been arranged the previous week in a brief flurry of emotional emails.
The sky was overcast and so was my mood. Behind me, the busy street roared with motor vehicles and buzzed with lunchtime workers fleeing temporarily their pressured office jobs.
The revolving glass doors to the interior of the bar seemed to form a tightly sealed barrier warning me against stepping within.
I paused, checking my reflection in the glass, feeling very small and vulnerable against the tall doors. The short dark skirt, tailored jacket and black handbag complemented my long blonde hair and were, by design, equally appropriate for an office routine or secret assignation. It was a business suit, tight enough to be alluring but tastefully discrete. Pearl buttons ran down the front of my white blouse encouraging attention but numerous enough to repel unwanted advances in a tight situation, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. I wanted his interest, but didn’t want to give anything in return.
An American couple wrapped in designer raincoats, shopping bags and earnest sightseeing transatlantic conversation pushed past, setting the doors swishing. The seal was broken and the smell of pizzas and alcohol washed over me as I stepped inside.
My lunch date, Calhoun, was standing alone at the bar. Unselfconciously, he towered above the sea of circular tables and seated diners that swept in tightly packed eddies across the room. I saw instantly that the years had not changed him. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, Except that burly shoulders now strained against a light tan suit instead of a scruffy school blazer. He still exuded power and control. His square jaw and cruel lips were still not softened by his unrestrained mop of tightly curled fair hair. Rather, the don’t care hair mocked convention and promised anarchy strictly on his terms.
My stomach contracted as I forced aside images of myself as a terrified 12 years old school girl shrinking back against the red brick school wall. My coping strategy well worn through years of use clicked in and mentally I pushed the images into the heavy metal safe kept for this purpose and clanged the door shut hard as I’d done many times before.
My heart was still pounding as I walked past the diners across the soft red carpet to the bar and touched his arm. It felt taut and hard.
He turned and stared back at me arrogantly.
“I didn’t think you would come!” His voice was much deeper than I remembered, of course.
I tried to sound casual and offhand but knew the screaming tension inside me was barely hidden by my tight lipped smile, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. I struggled with my endlessly rehearsed speech knowing my voice sounded nervous and clipped.
“It’s better like this. At the reunion we wouldn’t have been able to talk properly.”
“For me”, he said, “it’s the second surprise. When you answered my email, was the first.”
“If you didn’t expect me to reply, why did you write?”
“No you first”, he demanded, 30mg Colchicine 0.5 Mg, aggressively. “Why did you reply?”
“There are things we need to clear up. You bullied me!”
Colchicine 0.5 Mg, “You loved it. You kept coming back for more.”
“I kept going to school because I had no alternative. It was hell!”
His mouth curled into a sneer. He leaned forward and wrapped fingers of steel around my arm.
“Look at you. You’re as arrogant as you always were with your great baby blue eyes. Nothing has changed except your hair was in a ponytail and now it’s loose over your shoulders, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. You always thought the world owed you. You loved yourself and you loved the attention I gave you. Nothing has changed. I was a bit of rough and you loved it. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, That’s why you replied to my emails and that’s why you are here like a moth to the flame. Admit it. You came here to see me because we’ve got unfinished business.”
His email to me had been completely explicit. “Hey babe, let’s get together … how about lunch first?”
I’d deleted it immediately, but then he’d sent a second and then a third, always with the same message. It was easier to meet him and, in the end, I justified to myself, it would shut him up.
I eased myself into the polished seat besides him, leaned against it’s high back, playing for time whilst my breathing steadied. Through clenched teeth, I spat back.
“I came because I wanted to know if you’d become more civilized over the years, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. Obviously, you haven’t. I wondered how such a low lifer as you could have kept out of prison. I’m even surprised to see you alone. You never used to go anywhere unless you were mob handed.”
“Quite the little tiger, still, aren’t you.” He moved his seat closer, confidently trapping my legs between his and patting my thigh. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, I felt my face reddening. He continued smoothly and sotto voce. “Maybe you’re looking for more of what you got that time after school in the classroom. Remember?”
My face was instantly crimson. Colchicine 0.5 Mg canada, Yes I remembered - how could I forget. In a flash, I was again the 12 year old school girl with the jubilant cries of his gang ringing in my ears and the hard desk biting into my stomach, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. Vividly, in my minds eye, I re-experienced the pain and humiliation of the beating he’d given me. It was a memory I’d relived painfully countless times over the years.
Thankfully, my huge mental safe swam into view and I savagely thrust the painful images inside and slammed the door shut again.
“You assaulted me, plain and simple, you committed a criminal offence. I’d done nothing to harm you. You had no right or reason. You should have been made to pay for what you did.”
Colchicine 0.5 Mg, He caught my jaw in his hand and squeezed. I tried not to show he was hurting me.
“Your existence offended me”, he snarled, “If you hadn’t liked my attention, you would have reported me to the school. Go on, you loved every minute.
“I didn’t report your assault to the school because you would have lied as you had done many times before and so would your friends. It would have been embarrassingly pointless. The truth was that you were lazy and heading for failure and you hated me because I worked and got good marks.”
He reached for his drink, while he considered this, then drained his glass swiftly. He still hadn’t offered me one.
“You certainly got the marks”, he sniggered, “but not where you wanted them.” He sounded offhand but I suspected my accusations had hit home, his mouth had taken on a harder line, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. He continued.
“Anyway, you’ve no idea how successful I am. And in any case, I did some checking on your pen pushing husband’s accounting practice. It’s not exactly mainstream and going places.”
“He’s doing better than you. I checked on you too and your down at heel company’s got just one, single shabby storage shed on a very secondary industrial estate on the edge of London. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, Hardly a princedom,” I retorted, cooly.
His face suggested he’d preferred me as a completely vulnerable school girl but clearly wasn’t used to losing arguments and with renewed emphasis he leaned forward placing his face close up to mine. His breath smelt of spirits and smoke.
“I may be just a business man - and I confess that I like to keep myself to myself - but what I do I do very well and make no doubt about it, I’ve got success and I enjoy it. You only saw a small part of what I’ve got. You saw what everybody else is supposed to see. You missed the good bits!”
The reference to bits was clearly intended to be suggestive. But his cold blue eyes were also wary, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. His face showed he hadn’t liked me checking up on him.
He attacked again.
“How about your husband. Does he give you enough to think about. I bet your mind wanders to other things when you tidy his house.”
“It’s not his house, 200mg Colchicine 0.5 Mg, it’s our house - he loves me and I love him, we’re planning a family soon. That’s why I don’t work. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, Anyway, he does well enough for both of us.”
“If you love him so much then why are you here with me?”
“I’m not with you. I’m here in this public bar because I’d hoped you might have the courtesy to apologize for victimizing and traumatizing me all those years ago. I need to get some sort of closure. I can see now it was a forlorn hope.”
We were now attracting the attention of nearby tables. He saw this and moved back in his seat letting my legs free aiming to defuse our conversation .
“You’ve got me all wrong”, he said slowly. “There’s lots you don’t know, lots that would surprise you.”
“What do you mean,” I said suspiciously.
“The truth is,” he said, eyes strangely imploring, or was it an act, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. “I had a crush on you. I actually worshipped the ground on which you walked. But you treated me with scorn and contempt, only teasing let me get back at you. It was my self defence. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, Then the teasing went on for so long that I forgot that I really wanted to be your friend and the teasing became everything. It was only when I saw your picture on the school reunion web site it all came back and I realized how important you were to me. You may even have been the reason why I’ve never settled down with anybody else. So I decided to give you the chance to see me as I am now. No longer a scruffy boy from a poor background but a successful business man interested in rediscovering a lost childhood relationship.”
His hands trapped mine, encircled and squeezing them. He continued: “So it’s not just you who is seeking closure!”
I fell back into my seat, eyes brimming, staring at him incredulously, totally off balance, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. He couldn’t possibly be serious - but I couldn’t tell. All the bullying, the victimization, the punches, the pushes, the cat calls, the pulled hair, the stolen books were because he liked me …
The long painful years I’d spent reliving again and again the savage teasing that had led up to the ultimate humiliation he’d forced upon me in that cold quiet classroom with the help of his friends was because he thought he loved me… nonsense!
The mere idea was unfair and stupid and left me shaking with anger seriously wondering about his mental stability - but I needed to know more.
“I … just don’t believe a word you are saying. You know I’m married so what’s the point. You are surely not telling me you’re just a misunderstood victim and everything I’ve believed about you over these years was wrong?”
“Maybe I’m not entirely the good guy, but there is a bond between us and I could be very nice to you to make up for the past.” He moved forward again, stroking my knee, sending uncomfortable ripples of sensation through my body.
“In fact, I’m now in a position to give you absolutely anything you want if you play your cards right - children, houses, 750mg Colchicine 0.5 Mg, holidays, cars. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, You name it and, it’s yours. As far as your husband is concerned, I couldn’t care less. He can jump in a river - or conveniently fall into one”, his voice was suddenly menacing. The bully was back in the playground. “It’s my philosophy that nice guys don’t win the fair maid.”
“I’m hardly a maid, these days”, I heard myself saying, strangely distantly.
“You look pretty fair to me”, he squeezed my hands again. “You don’t need to make any decision straight away, just trust me a little and let me show you around the other bits of my empire”, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. His tone was suggestive again - I knew it was no Platonic friendship he was after.
“If you think I’m going anywhere with you that’s not public, you can think again.” I retorted sharply.
“Relax, you see that door over there”, he pointed to what looked like a fire escape labelled ‘private’. “You have no worries, you don’t even need to leave this building, come-on.”
He slid off his bar stool, transferring his grip to my left elbow and before I knew what was happening, he was steering me across the room towards the door.
In the passageway beyond, it occurred to me that he hadn’t offered to pay for his drink - and the bar man, who had clearly seen him leave, had not called him back.
There was a lift up to the first floor where I was relieved to see there were more people again. The echoing cold passageway gave way to plush carpeting. A young girl stepped out of the second lift as we went in and greeted him respectfully by his surname. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, He called her Denise, more reassurance.
The lift seemed to go on for ever. As the lift doors opened and closed, I could see busy office workers studying computer screens. Some briefly joined us in the lift, usually giving Calhoun a respectful nod. He acknowledged them but never smiled and they didn’t seem to expect it. He seemed known which made me feel safer - but not much. My heart was pounding, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. Could it be, I asked myself, that he was right and I was a moth to the flame, Colchicine 0.5 Mg coupon. There was something strangely compelling about him. I doubted he’d lacked for lovers over the years.
The lift sprinted over the last few floors and came to a halt at it’s highest point. The doors opened onto a penthouse suite with a receptionist sitting close to the entrance. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, Dark oak doors led to a private suite that was light and spacious, designed with a Chinese theme. It had whisper quiet carpeting on the floor and views over London and the river Thames to die for.
He saw me taking in a beautiful Chinese print on the wall.
“It looks expensive doesn’t it. Everybody notices that print and it’s insured for a can’t remember what. Me, I prefer the view. This suite came ready furnished with the company that owns all this building when I took it over last year. I saw no reason to waste time changing anything - but it was the view that got me, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. I like being above everybody else, seeing the mice scuttling around.”
He steered me over towards the window and as he passed the large executive desk, he pressed a button. Calhoun was right about one thing, the view was spectacular. Seconds later, the receptionist appeared and he ordered for me. It didn’t occur to him I would object. The drinks came quickly with an estimate of the time it would take to bring the snack of Spanish Tortillas he’d requested.
Colchicine 0.5 Mg, “It’s a cracking staff canteen downstairs and they’re used to keeping special stuff in for the boss,” he confided. “They’re in trouble if they forget.”
He released his hold on my arm to pour the drinks from a crystal pitcher on the tray. The drinks were mostly fresh orange juice but with a kick that confirmed its’ liqueur base - there was one thing that was certain, I wasn’t going to have a second one, whatever he intended.
“Ok, I’m impressed so far,” I said, sipping at the Tequila Sunrise, drinking in the view with one eye and watching him with the other. The secretary was going to return soon with the food so I felt safe for the moment. Despite his convincing start, I was accepting nothing at face value and there was a good chance I’d be leaving with the secretary, if things looked to be getting out of control. I went into the attack dismissing his claimed empire with a wave.
“So you’ve got a mate with a big office which you’ve borrowed for the afternoon to impress me, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. That would tie in with your sleaze ball past. How do I know you’re not just setting me up. Con artist was always one of your likely career paths.”
He tossed his balled up jacket over onto one of several leather seats that formed a small conference area close to the desk. Then he sat down at an angle to the desk, put his feet up on the polished leather surface and slugged back a couple more gulps of the juice considering what I’d just said.
I stayed near the window and well away from the desk with it’s unpleasant school time associations.
“Look around, 200mg Colchicine 0.5 Mg, feel free,” he gestured towards the filing cabinets. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, “There’s a computer terminal over there. It’s already logged in, wander around the building, I can warn security. Convince yourself that you’re wrong - and then come back and say you’re sorry for misjudging me.
The food quietly arrived delivered by a young boy in chef’s apron and hat who left immediately - I felt like leaving but he had given me no excuse - yet!. Calhoun started feeding his face with gusto. He raised his eyes briefly to me from his plate.
“Go on, I’ll lay you a bet. If you find I’m all that I say I am, you come on my knee and say you’re sorry properly.”
I felt my face flushing and anger coursed through me, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. He saw he’d gone too far and his tone attempted to lighten the temperature of the room which had just dropped to zero.
“Don’t worry, I meant on my knee not over it - you’re too sensitive.”
“It’s not me that’s too sensitive, it’s you who are still as objectionable as you always were, big office or not.”
My mind raced as to how best to check him out and the terminal seemed the best bet. I sat down and selected some menus. The first thing I confirmed was that his access permissions were truly extensive throughout the whole network which in itself seemed to stretch throughout the building. Logged in as Calhoun, through his private terminal, it seemed I could view anything I wanted, accounts, share registers, sales figures. The system was really neat with a top down approach that took overall Balance Sheet figures and enabled drilling down until even the smallest component could be inspected with it’s supporting audit trail.
He saw I was impressed.
Colchicine 0.5 Mg, “The system is the best,” he chortled through his Tortilla, “it cost a bomb - although I rarely use it. As long as the basics are right, I’m happy.”
“And what are the basics,” I queried, my brow furrowed as I ploughed through minutes of recent Board Meetings, the pages flicking across the screen with ease via the super high speed network link.
“You hire the best and buy the best, set them tough targets that yield top dollar profits - and you whack them if they let you down. It’s survival of the fittest. They have to perform or they disappear. You run them hard for a while and then you sell them off, lock, stock and barrel. If the assets are worth more than the business, you sack everybody and sell the assets, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. You just make them disappear and watch the profits tumble in!”
He seemed to like the word ‘disappear’ and repeated it several times, waving his hand in the air and making his lips go pop to create the sound effect of the staff disappearing. The drink was making him jovial, 250mg Colchicine 0.5 Mg. He could see my researches were confirming what he had said about his ownership of the company and was clearly looking forward to extracting his reward from me. Briefly my skin crawled but there was much to see and time was short so I foraged on, putting him temporarily out of my mind.
In a while, he got bored and lumbered over to me, grabbing the arm of my blouse between his thumb and forefinger. I felt the material give and my heart lurch.
Colchicine 0.5 Mg, “You’ve looked enough,” he slurred. “We’re wasting time. You can see you were wrong. Now, what is it to be. Are you coming to sit on my lap or not?”
I hit the last key to close the screen and allowed him to pull me over to the desk. His head was deep in my shoulder and his hot breath was in my ear sending unpleasant shivers down my spine, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. He slumped down into his executive leather chair and dragged me onto his lap. His face was level with my breasts and for a moment I let him salivate over them as I reached for my handbag.
“Hang on big boy, let me get down off your lap for a second and I’ll give you something that will knock our eyeballs out,” I said grasping a chunk of his hair in my fist to encourage him to disengage his teeth from the buttons of my blouse.”
“Now you’re talking,” he spluttered, “I knew you’d see sense, we’re made for each other.” He reached for the buckle of his belt.
I dropped the warrant card on the desk in front of him. The words ‘Detective Inspector’ and ‘Fraud Squad’ were written large alongside my name and a Police uniform photograph.
I smiled grimly.
“It was so kind of you to let me review your accounts. They are so much better organized than the ones you show to the world officially - and certainly more profitable. I guess you would call this a fair cop!”
Colchicine 0.5 Mg, He sobered up fast, his face darkened and he let loose a string of violent expletives. With the muscles of his arms bulging and readying for action, the veins on his face looked ready to explode.
“You would be well advised to cut the bad language out for a start because I’m recording everything you say,” I said tightly, revealing a tiny microphone slipped under my belt, “and it’s being relayed straight through to my office so violence will achieve nothing.”
He shut up quickly and just sat there fuming, relaxed like a panther ready to spring.
“What happens now, bitch?”
“Well first thing is you’d better forget any idea you have of trying to get rid of the records. I’ve already copied them to my office, across the Internet. What is going to happen is I am going to walk out of here and you are going to wait until the top brass contact you once the documentation has been reviewed. You may employ the best brief you like but there are a lot of names I’ve seen on your Board that are well known to us and which we’ve been after for a long time, not to mention yourself of course.”
“You said you were just a housewife!”
“Such a shame, I lied - but you’ve been lying for years to the Inland Revenue so you can’t complain.
“I would have given you anything you wanted!”
“I doubt that - although I’m sure you had something you very much wanted to give me … but it’s not something I’d ever want. You surely can’t think I’d believe all that rubbish about me being your long lost lover from your childhood, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. You’re such a sad sicko Calhoun!”
I was in command now and he was doing the very next best thing to groveling. Colchicine 0.5 Mg australia, His face looked sick but his eyes were darting from side to side and his mind was reviewing all the possibilities. He came up with one last try.
“We go back a long way. We were kids together!”
“And that makes it a whole lot sweeter, you piece of shit, now you learn what it feels like to be over the desk with me wielding the ruler and I’m loving every minute of it.”
“I can pay you more than you’ll ever earn as a cop. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, Think about it, a million sterling into any account of your choice, in return for a signed receipt saying the money was for tax consultancy. You walk out of here and never need to work again. I get my records back. If you sent them over to your office, you can also get them back, or delete them from here. It’s easy, quick, you’d have the money and I’d know you couldn’t turn me in because they’d call the money a bribe. They’d take the money off you and you’d never work again.”
“You think I’d trust you if the records were deleted, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. You must think I’m insane or stupid. I’d never get the money and I’d never get out of this room alive.”
He looked at me shrewdly, suddenly very quiet, almost questioning. You’re thinking about it though aren’t you. You know I’m right, you’ve everything to gain, nothing to loose.”
He held his hands together into a church and then tapped the ends of his fingers one after the other.
“You know I can transfer the money direct from that terminal. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, It’s the one thing I know how to do because I’ve got special additional passwords. I do it and it’s instantaneous. That’s how close you are to the money. Tell you what, I’m going to do it for you now. You will have to stop me.”
He lumbered over to the terminal, sat down and flicked through to a cash payment screen and entered the amount.
“Just tell me your account number and it’s done …” His voice went very quiet. “You’ve got to give me an out, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. If I’ve got nothing to lose then I could do anything, kill you even and you wouldn’t like that would you.” The menace in his voice was unmistakable.
“Two million,” I said evenly, my voice sounded far away.
“Last chance,” I prompted.
“Give me the account number, bitch,” he said through clenched teeth.
I reached to my handbag and read from the back of my cheque book. He entered his special access codes and then the numbers of the account laboriously but accurately and I checked, Colchicine 0.5 Mg paypal. He then called up a word processor program and I dictated an invoice charging him for tax services which he printed and I signed as received. He then pressed the ‘Enter’ key and we watched the payment confirmed as being sent to the specified account.
“See, it’s not too difficult being dishonest,” he said, grimly. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, “Now, delete the records in your office.”
I sat at the terminal and he watched as my fingers flew across the keyboard. Files were briefly displayed on the screen and then deleted. When I was finished, I turned to him.
“All done,” I announced, trying to smile, and stood up.
Then he hit me in the stomach. I doubled over retching but he caught me and threw me across the room. I bounced against the leather sofa and ended lying against the wall. There was a reassuring crash as an expensive looking green vase fell against a coffee table and shattered.
Calhoun leapt across the sofa in a huge bound screaming at me, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. He said a lot but the gist was I’d never live to enjoy the proceeds of my blackmail and he was going to make me die slowly and the pleasure would be all his. I immediately puked on his floor which gave me some satisfaction and slowed him down a bit.
Abruptly, he regained control of himself. He was breathing heavily and staring at me, licking his lips. I tried unsuccessfully to reduce the expanse of exposed flesh but, in a flash, he had me by the hair and was dragging me towards the sofa.
My mind struggled into action through a haze of pain and sickness.
“Not the desk,” I wailed loudly, “anywhere but the desk!”
He immediately changed direction towards the desk, snorting with the effort of dragging me.
“Time for our reunion,” he grunted, forcing me over the leather surface with arms of steel.
Momentarily, as he fumbled with his belt, he let go of my hair and I fell sideways from the desk clutching the handbag that I had just recovered as he had forced me down.
He instantly came after me with a roar and then stopped as I pointed the pepper spray at his incoming face and fired.
He was still scrabbling at his eyes and trying to find his way to the bathroom to rinse his face when I let myself out through the door.
I left the warrant card saying Detective Inspector on the desk. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, It hadn’t cost much when I’d bought it at a local toy shop where I’d also bought the toy microphone. I figured he wouldn’t have much idea of what a real id card looked like - any more than I had. I’d taken the photo out of a magazine about fancy dress parties. It looked vaguely like me but it definitely wasn’t me. Even the name was mis-spelt
As I sped down towards the ground floor, I reflected that I would have enjoyed going to the school reunion. However, it was probably better I gave it a miss this time, Colchicine 0.5 Mg. Colchicine 0.5 Mg us, In life, everything has it’s cost. However, the money in the Swiss bank account was already giving me a nice warm feeling.
Perhaps I would go to the next school reunion. Probably, Calhoun would be safely locked up in prison by then. The files he saw me delete were not his records but just dummies I’d set up the day before. Colchicine 0.5 Mg, The real ones were stored in an online email account where I could despatch them to the Inland revenue after a few days. The money he’d given me was going by anonymous donation straight from the Swiss bank account to a number of registered charities that helped children who had suffered from bullying.
The previous week, my husband had sold off his accountancy business. The substantial proceeds meant that I had no need for Calhoun’s dirty money.
Later that day, with my slumbering husband contentedly seated besides me, I watched the clouds flowing beneath the jet airliner as it sped us towards our new home in the sun. Briefly, my personal safe floated into my minds eye. It’s door was wide open. Strangely, it seemed to be smiling. I visualized Calhoun and scooped him into it and slammed the safe door shut. Somehow, I had the feeling that I wouldn’t need to see that old safe again.
© Rob Hopcott 1999 - 2007, all rights reserved. All characters are fictitious in this story and no reference is intended to any person living or otherwise..
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