don’t mean it. I will be thinking about you all afternoon. Go for it, Tiger!”
“Cheers, Rob. Thanks for that.”
“No problem. Give me a call tonight. By the way, Tessa sends her love—she’s hooked on the whole thing. The Gertrude—Gemma complex she calls it. Speak to you later. Onward and upward!”
He is a good friend and has got the wife he deserves.
For the first time ever, I feel somewhat embarrassed to be driving the little company van. If it were not covered in signs, it wouldn’t be so bad. I have given it a thorough vacuuming and run it through the car wash, but it is hardly the vehicle to make a girl go weak at the knees. Oh well, I will have to cross that bridge when I get to it. When I pass the pub we had a drink at yesterday, there are three police cars in the front car park. I won’t be going there again in a hurry.
I arrive so early that I decide to park the van in a side street and walk over to her offices, the theory being that the walk will help me relax. As I approach the building, I notice there are many more cars in the car park compared to yesterday. Three forty-five; I cannot hang around for another fifteen minutes. Just as I am about to walk the last fifty metres, people start streaming out of the building. Within a few minutes, twenty-odd cars have left the car park.
There is no point whatsoever in travelling all the way here and wimping out. If the whole thing is a disaster, at least I’ve got a great new job, a new home, and a new car to look forward to. Come on Danny, carpe diem, you have very little to lose. Only the love of my life, that’s all. Danny, for heaven’s sake, get a grip, man! Here goes…only fifty steps to the front door. Forty-nine, forty-eight, forty-seven…
It has been a stressful day. When Gemma hears that a decision has been made to close down the Glasgow operation, she knows with certainty that it is a day in the future that would be best forgotten. Not only are thirty-two people being made redundant, but it is also a wake-up call for all the underachieving branches around the country. The board has instructed JB to contact all the branch managers around the UK to be here for a ten o’clock meeting. Worst of all it means that JB is going to be forced into dealing with Paul Clement; just the thought of his name is enough to send shivers shooting down Gemma’s spine. Gemma’s afternoon off has done her no favours whatsoever. She compensates by throwing herself into her workload. By three-thirty, she is mentally drained.
Four o’clock; at least two hours before this worst of all working days is over. The atmosphere in the building has been toxic all day. The overriding feeling is that the company has acted with undue haste, that shutting down branches will achieve nothing other than to erode confidence within and without the company. However, it is an irretrievable situation; the word is out in the public domain. To retract the decision would seem like weakness on the part of the board. For some reason, JB seems to be taking the brunt of the criticism when Gemma knows full well that that should not be the case. JB had most certainly argued vehemently against the decision, but had to, on the face of it, back the board’s decision. The two of them were grateful when the meeting was called to a halt.
Gemma pokes her head around JB’s door.
“I reckon we could both do with a break, JB. Shall we nip into town for an ice cream sundae? Twenty minutes away from all this, before we get back to work.”
“Good idea. Get your car out and I’ll meet you at the front of the building in five minutes.”
“Okay. See you in five.”
The digital clock on the office wall moved to exactly 4.00.
“Hi, Rose. I don’t know if you remember me from yesterday. Daniel Pearson. I wanted to see if I could see Gemma Barrow.”
“Of course I remember you. For some reason,