Marion Templar's Situation

Marion Templar's Situation

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Summary

A young widow leaves America to return to New Zealand to reunite with her family on her parents large farm. The family knows she's become wealthy. A former hot boyfriend, now divorced, is still around and he appears to be holding back from re-igniting their old fire. She decides to manipulate him to their mutual advantage.

Summary

A young widow leaves America to return to New Zealand to reunite with her family on her parents large farm. The family knows she's become wealthy. A former hot boyfriend, now divorced, is still around and he appears to be holding back from re-igniting their old fire. She decides to manipulate him to their mutual advantage.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Homecoming

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 23, 2017

Reads: 239

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 23, 2017

A A A

A A A

(Set in New Zealand)

Chapter 1

 

For anyone never having lived beside the seaside it may take some earnestly applied imagination to place yourself in Marion Templar situation.

It was 2:15, on an overcast afternoon, and she lay in her sun loafer in the shade under olive trees with gentle little waves, only fifty yards away and little more than a foot high, curling up and crashing down into white foam mixed with yellow suspended sand to a syncopated beat at around eight second intervals.

Such bliss.

If Marion had consumed a half bottle of, say, Pascal Jolivet Sancerre while eating her shrimp and mushroom salad, it would be reasonable to expect, under such exotic circumstances, that she would have wriggled out of her panties and half-smiled in her half-sleep, intoxicated by the surrounding beauty, with her moist vulva lips opened, inviting penetration.

The reality was, she lounged there, eyes half closed, seething and insanely jealous, mulling over the outcome of her husband John and her best friend Iona sailing out to sea on the Templar’s yacht.

Marion and John had planned that three-week cruise.

 But in one of those strokes of bad luck, Marion’s car had broken down three nights ago, 250 miles from home. She’d stayed at the small town for two nights waiting for the transmission to be repaired, most of the delay coming from waiting for the ordered parts to arrive.

When Marion arrived home, four hours after they were supposed to sail, she found John had sailed without her. He’d left a note saying, “Sorry, leaving without you. Hope the car is going well. Oh, Iona is with me.

She couldn’t believe it; he’d gone without her! Why! She had no idea where was she supposed to rendezvous to join her husband.

She was ropable. Her marriage had struck the first rock shortly after they returned from the honeymoon and she heard John on the phone talking to his secretary in a way no wife would expect her husband to talk to another woman.

She’d now found that same woman, Iona Roberts, was aboard ‘Pretty Woman’ in her place!

Furious, Marion called Iona’s husband to complain and Steven Roberts answered, sounding very hostile.

“If you want to speak to Iona, call your fucking husband!”

He then slammed down the phone. She tried to call her husband on the yacht but John didn’t answer.

A shaft of pain shot across Marion’s chest.

There had been a couple of times recently when John and Iona had spun away from each other when she’d walked into the room or out on to the terrace, and twice recently John had come home late not offering an explanation and she was suspicious that he smelt of sex.

This was a disaster in Marion’s life; she felt humiliated, spurned for another woman. But it ended satisfactorily, from her point of view.

Two nights after that upset, the police called, grim-faced, with photos of two bodies pulled from the sea after a container ship had run down ‘Pretty Woman’ – the Templar’s yacht. Marion identified the two photographs as being John Templar and Iona Roberts.

Calmly she phoned Steven Roberts and he hurried over, greatly distraught, and confirmed Marion’s identifications as being correct.

“They drowned, yet there are both wearing lifejackets - why?” John sobbed, clutching the photograph of his wife.

“The impact of the collusion was tremendous – these photographs do not show the injuries to the bodies,” said one of the policemen. “The yacht is beyond salvaging, I’m afraid.”

After relatives arrived to take care of Steven and everyone had gone, Marion took a bottle of Californian chardonnay from the fridge and set about emptying it.

She was almost happy.

Their marriage had come close to dissolution twice before through John’s infidelities, and now the bastard with the wandering dick had taken himself out of her life.

By the time all the insurance monies are released, big compensation if the container ship is found at fault in the marine enquiry, and when she’d sold their ridiculously pretentious property, she would be a very wealthy and happy young widow, smiled Marion (33).

Marion is not heartless – far from it. But it had not been a happy marriage because of John’s bouts of irresponsible and uncaring behaviour and on occasions he’d drunkenly slapped his wife. Typical of his arrogance, he’d purchased ‘Pretty Woman’ without discussing that intention with Marion.

A court of inquiry found that that container ship’s radar alarm had been faulty so the crew on watch ignored the alarm, that the crew on watch had failed to keep a proper lookout (the collusion occurred at dusk) and at the time of the collusion only one of the three men on watch was actually on the bridge. Two off-duty crewmen admitted being on deck at the time and being aware that their ship maintaining its course simply ran into the yacht, which had its navigation lights on.

As a result of that finding the Marion’s attorneys took her claim for damages to Court. After the deduction of legal expenses, Marion received payment of punitive damages against the shipping line of $1,327,800. with claims for loss of future income from her husband and future pain and suffering not being accepted. After the payment of taxes and other disbursements, with that court award (which was not appealed), insurance payment on the boat, life insurances and sale of the house, Marion left for a new life in the country where she was born with just over $US6,000,000 to invest and she kept, as an offshore nest-egg. her late husband’s portfolio of stocks/shares in European and USA enterprises currently worth $2,080,730.

She was comfortably well off and free, thought Marion, settling into her first-class seat for the flight from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand. Her three resolutions were to stay away from men, not to befriend adulterous women and to be happy.

Little did she know that she would only achieve one of those objectives: she would be happy most of the time.

 

Two days after her arrival to her former home, Marion’s sister Tess travelled from Christchurch, where she was at university, to see her and their other sister Debra was arriving that afternoon on the ferry from Wellington for a family gathering on their parent’s farm outside the town of Blenheim.

“Just look at her,” said Tess, watching her sister ride up towards the farmhouse at a canter.

“She rides so beautifully but I bet she hasn’t been on a horse in years.”

“She did ride when working in England,” said her father Gordon Campbell, chopping up onions for the stew.

“Hurry up with the onions dear.”

“Go bite you bum, Helen. I’m chatting with my dear Tess whom I miss and wish she’d get married and give me the grandson I want.”

“Get off your bike, dad. I’ve told you I’ll think about children when I’m ready. Look at your favourite out there, married for eight years and no children. Is she barren?”

They looked at the handsome woman with flowing light auburn hair on the equally handsome 2-year-old bay mare named Maggie.

“She hasn’t ridden for eight years if she hasn’t ride in America,” said Gordon. “Now look at her; she’s never seen the bay, but they look like one, don’t they?

“Oh Jesus!” cried Gordon. “She’s going to take the short-cut over the fence, like she used to do on Sambo. Maggie can’t jump.”

“Marion!” shrieked Helen, looking through the window.

A minute slater Tess laughed in relief when declaring, “Maggie knows she can jump now

She ran out to greet her sister. They’d not met for eighteen months when she and sister Debra and husband Phil stayed with Marion and John for three weeks in San Francisco.

That had been an eye-opener of a stay and while Tess had never mentioned it, she was certain that John and Debra had been rather naughty together. It was just the sort of thing Debra would do to spite her older sister.

“Hi!” called Marion, who’d dismounted and was about to unsaddle the bay. They launched into a hug and rocked with intensity.

“I’m sorry about John – but you were so insistent that none of us should rush up to the funeral. He was such a bastard doing that to you. It’s been a long wait but at last we’ve got you home again.”

“Yes, it’s lovely been back. Everything seems to be so small and everything moves so slowly – but I’ll adapt. How’s Kevin?”

“As busy as ever – lecturing, mountain climbing. He finishes his PhD earlier this year and hopes to land a plum job in marine research somewhere in Europe and I’ll go with him wherever he goes.”

“Has marriage been mentioned?”

“No, but I’m not fussed. I’m only twenty-two, so time is on my side. You took a risk jumping that fence – dad said Maggie can’t jump.”

“That’s only because dad has become soft. I tried Maggie over a couple of narrow creeks on the river flats and then a few times over a couple of hay bales and then stacked another bale on the original and she began flying over them – she loved it. I’m going to ask dad to give Maggie to me.”

“That will start a family scrap because Debra and I will ask for a horse.”

“You might, but Debra wanting a horse? I don’t think so.”

“Did dad tell you he’s thinking about selling the river flats; he’s had a couple of tempting offers from grape-growers.”

“Yes, he has, and I said he should take on the project himself as it would give him a new interest, but he said it’s taken him half a lifetime to get the farm mortgage-free and doesn’t want to borrow big money again.”

“You and dad should go into partnership. You’ve sold up and the newspapers here reported you got more than 1½ million US bucks in compensation by a shipping company insurers. You must be rolling in it, girl.”

Marion said in surprise, “That pay-out was reported here?”

“Yes, and you just said you got some money. From memory, the heading of the article in the newspaper in Christchurch was ‘Kiwi Widowed Tragically Pockets $US1.7m’.

“Well, a whack came off that for legal costs.”

“But you still came away loaded?”

“Yes, and it more than compensated for the loss of a lousy husband.”

“Hmmm. He did seem to change over the years. I thought he was so nice when I first met him.”

“Likewise, dear, but we all can be deceived, can’t we?”

 

Marion’s paternal great-grandparents, the late Alex and Sarah Campbell, settled on the land in the Awatere Valley a couple of years after immigrating from Scotland in 1911 and they and subsequently their son Malcolm.  gradually acquired more land until it totalled the 13,840 acres held today by her father, Malcolm’s only child.

Gordon and Helen built a new house where their three daughters were born and raised – Marion (now almost 29), Debra (26), married with two daughters) and Tess (22), in her final year completing a master’s in education.

Of the three sisters, Marion was the one who most-loved rural life, but that still did not prevent her from leaving when eighteen to gain overseas work experience – and experience she did receive.

She worked in a bank, a travel agency and was chief assistant to a farm manager on a huge country estate in England, as a tourist guide in France and as a waitress then maître d’ at a ski resort in Canada which was where she met John when he was on a ski holiday with three male friends.

Gordon, now approaching 53, loved a challenge and that’s why Marion had gone to ride along the part of the farm than is on ancient glacial river terraces.

She had an idea forming in her mind about becoming a grape grower, but was not yet ready to talk to his father about it. During her eight years of marriage, Marion had become immersed in the affection many Californians have for the wine culture of their State.

Later that day the two sisters drove in their father’s Land Rover from the farm to the ferry terminal linking the north and south islands of New Zealand, just over thirty minutes away.

There was wild excitement as the sisters reunited and they hurried over to a café, talking non-stop, to have a glass of wine, or more.

“I’ll drive,” Debra said spiritly as they approached the Defender, holding her hand out for the keys.

Tess braced as if preparing for a scrap but Marion handled the challenge to the pecking order well, pretending she hadn’t heard the request. Besides, as the three of them had shared two bottles of wine, Marion assumed that because of age and experience, she’d be the sister least affected by alcohol.

Marion was aware that Debra had not comment about John’s death and how she was feeling about being back home, which surprised her, but then it didn’t when she thought more deeply about it. Neither did it surprise her later that evening after their celebratory dinner of family reunification, Debra held her hand out, asking Marion if she would advance her $43,000 which what the price of getting her house in Wellington repaired and painted.

Marion said she would think about it.

Next morning Marion and he father, as arranged the previous evening, mounted up at 6:00 and went for a ride, going up on to the hills to look at the heavy-fleeced Merino ewes and on to inspect the Aberdeen Angus-cross yearlings and then down on to the river flats.

Sitting on a log, Marion said: “This is a rural environment with great heart and character dad and little wonder you love it so much.”

“I do Leggy (his childhood name for the first born), and I guess you thought about it during your absence. We were surprised you didn’t come home to visit us.”

“That’s because always did what John wanted to do, and New Zealand was never on his agenda.”

“Selfish bastard.”

“You’re not wrong there, dad.”

“What will you do now?”

Marion let the question settle, then took a deep breath.

“The answer comes in the reason why we are sitting here, dad. You’ve always said there are 128 acres of river flats. Well, I would like you to consider selling the flats to me – it will be practical to convert the higher plateau land into replacement hay paddocks. My suggestion is you get three valuations done on the flats and sell to me at the lowest of the three valuations.

“That’s prime land going out of the ultimate inheritance of you three girls.”

“Get your accountant to work out a formula to satisfy everyone. I’d suggest carving up the net sale proceeds into five equal shares for the five of us; although it means one fifth coming back to me, that’s how fair minded inheritance works, and I’ sure mum would like real money in her hand after all these years of never having actual cash capital in her hands.”

“You’ll be popular with her saying that,” Donald grinned. “What about your competitive sister – whatever we agree upon it won’t suit here.”

“She hit on me for 40 grand for exterior renovations to their house, so I think this little scheme takes care of her objections. She would have worried that I wouldn’t give her the money without giving an equal amount to Tess and you two.

“There is no need to think like that. Tess, yes, but Helen and I don’t want charity, we are very well off.”

“Dad, it would not be charity, I’d call it family equity.”

“Sorry, Leggy, I’d meant no offence. I see you still have exceptionally long legs.”

“And still great looking legs dad, or so the lecherous males tell me.”

“Will you marry again – I would like a grandson.”

“I’m off men for life, dad. But that’s not saying that I wouldn’t try bearing the grandson you rather yean for. I’d rather like the idea of progeny myself. John was holding off until we were reached our early thirties. He regarded children as an imposition.”

“That bastard, but gawd, you can’t consider having an illegitimate child or two just to satisfy me. What would the neighbours think, and your mother!”

“Fuck the neighbours dad, and as soon as mom holds a grandson, if I produce a grandson, her Presbyterian ethics will be buried by happiness.”

“I don’t like hearing you use that F-word, Marion.”

“What happened to you calling me Leggy again; where are alone here? Dad, get used to me talking like a man. I decided to take control of my life and have things happen what I wish to happen. Finito.”

“Well, it’s nice to have my head-strong daughter back, I have to say it surprised me that you lost your assertiveness after you met John.”

“I was just so keen to have a happy marriage, dad, and found things worked out best when I allowed him to rule unchallenged.”

Gordon looked at his eldest child and smiled, knowing she was the closet of his brood to being a boy, although she was feminine to the core. She was even tougher that he was, could ride better than any man who’d stepped on to the farm and always knew what she wanted which was something he couldn’t say for most women he knew.

“Why the flats?”

“Grapes.”

“I thought so. Great thinking. Will you have the capital to set everything thing up and then to run it; I understand it takes around $4000 per acre per season for grape growing management?”

“Yes.”

“We read in the newspaper that you’d received a big pay-out in damages.”

“Yes dad, but apart from you, I’ll talk to no one about my assets apart for my bank manager and financial adviser – and only to them on a need to know basis. “I’m very comfortably off, dad.”

“Then I don’t need to sell you the land at mate’s rates?”

“No, but I suggest the lowest of the three commercial appraisals because we are family. Those land appraisers will know the land has potential for grape growing as this whole district has been assessed and tested.”

“You’ve had time to get that information since you’ve been home?”

Marion old her father not to look so surprised, that he knew she had a mobile phone and a laptop.

“I’ll sell to you, Leggy.”

“Thank dad, now here’s the deal. I want to employ you, at mate’s rates, to manage the development of Alexarah Estates. I’m thinking half in Sauvignon Blanc and the rest in Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir and, if suitable, Pinot Gris otherwise Riesling, and I’ll try to engage Mr Hammond as consultant.

“Alexarah – that’s dad and mum, Alex and Sarah. That’s lovely of you, Leggy. Come here.”

Gordon’s voice had turned gruff and he was swallowing. It was an emotional moment for him as up in the hills, watching the sheep and cattle, he often thought of his pioneering parents. His father had talked about trialling grapes on the flats. Tears formed as he hugged his daughter; he was so proud of her.

They raced back to the homestead, he riding his big black as hard as he could, knowing that Marion was on Maggie just a few yards behind me, ready to roar ahead as they approached the house.

But she held back and although annoyed with her for pulling a race, he was rather pleased because everyone in the house was at the kitchen windows watching them ride in.

Gordon turned, wanting an explanation and got one, without having to ask. Marion, grinning, said “Alex wouldn’t have liked you coming in second, dad.”

Gordon turned away so that his daughter could not see the emotion wrenching his face. Farm ownership ties family generations into a spiritual ownership and he knew that within three or four years’ time, with the grapes returning income, he’d be asking Leggy to consider buying the rest of the farm to retain it in family ownership.

Alex took Helen away for a quiet word and then conducted a meeting over the breakfast table, announcing that he’d entered into an agreement to sell the river-flats to Marion, and subject to his accountant’s approval, the sales proceeds would be distributed evenly, ensuring everyone received a fair share.

“But daddy, the money belongs to you – it’s your land,” Tess said.

“A good point, which is what I thought of first, and then Marion suggested the 5-way split. arguing why wait for my death for the money to spin around. I and your mother think that’s a wonderful idea.”

Debra, almost choking said, “I cannot believe that Marion gets the land and then gets a fifth share of the sale proceeds.”

“You’ve an hour to think up an alternative, but it must be equitable,” Gordon responded.

“Surely you don’t see this as being fair?” Debra asked Marion.

“It’s fair. Consult an adviser if you wish. I’ll be paying dad $100,000 later today as a deposit but I’ll make that $140,000 if you wish and he can advance you $40,000 against your ultimate pay-out so you can get on with your house renovations.”

“You don’t want to give me that money for our house?”

“No.”

“Have you ever given Marion money to keep, Debra?” asked Gordon. “Be reasonable – ignoring Marion’s tragic end to her marriage, just because she’s come into money it doesn’t mean she’s a charity.”

Tess said, “Dad’s right, Debra. The situation Marion finds herself in should not be to our advantage; that’s how equity works.”

“All right,” Debra said sullenly, “I’ll take the $40,000 cash advance thank you.”

“That’s the right decision love,” Helen said brightly. “Now who’s coming into Blenheim shopping with me? I would very much like to show off my three daughters to people in town who know us.”

In Blenheim – the town sharing the name of the region – Mrs Campbell and her attractive brood made little progress, several people stopping to talk to them.

At last they were left alone and Helen turned into a café, saying it was time for lunch.

“Marion’s paying,” announced Debra.

“It’s my shout, thank you Debra,” said Helen, turning to glare at her middle daughter.

A broad-shoulder man collided with Helen, sending her falling, but Marion managed to catch her.

“Watch out, you big clot!” Marion reprimanded.

“Mrs Campbell – I am so sorry. Please let me take you to a table. I really do apologize. may I buy you all a drink?”

“Yes please,” Debra said.

“That’s very kind Harvey – I’m all right, really.”

Harvey barely heard her; he and Marion had locked eyes. She and Harvey Hammond had been dating at the time she left for the UK eleven years earlier.

“Harvey.”

“Marion”

“Harvey, please allow me to introduce my sister Marion,” Tess giggled Tess, who’d been madly in teenager love with Harvey who often had meals with the Campbells in the two years he’d regularly dated her elder sister.

“Hello Harvey,” Debra said. She’d been jealous of that pairing until Harvey’s randy older brother Christopher began dating her.

“Hi, Debra. It’s lovely to see you again. You’re married with two little ones, I hear.”

“Yes, and you?

“My marriage ended eighteen months back. My ex-wife recently married a Scottish engineer and lives with our daughter in Perth, Scotland.”

“Ah, how sad for you. Conveniently, Marion is recently widowed – perhaps you two should get together again,” Debra said, appearing to enjoy seeing the flush come to Marion’s face.

“Um, I am dating someone. White wine every one? The café’s special today is a stunning Marlborough Pino Gris.”

“Thanks Harvey, that wine would be lovely,” Helen said. “Why don’t you sit between Marion and me?”

Debra said, “I want to sit beside you mum.”.

Marion cut in, “Harvey, I’ll shift to the other side of mum and you can sit between and me Tess.”

“This is like musical chairs,” Harvey laughed, signalling to the waitress.

Marion watched his very white teeth flash.

She couldn’t remember ever been so focused on a man’s mouth before, at least not in a casual situation. Harvey, of course, kissed like no other man she’d ever met – a soft lingering kiss that was, well, memorable and could do tingling things to one’s body if she recalled accurately.

Then spiteful Debra called for another seating arrangement and dominoes ended when the girls’ mother sighed and said that was enough of such playful nonsense.

Marion was glad Debra was being such a bitch because Harvey was now sitting right opposite her, where she could study him as he talked to the others.

Harvey ordered two bottles of the Pinot Gris.

“What are you doing these days, Harvey?” Helen asked. “I don’t see you about much.”

“I supervise work on dad’s two blocks and now run my own contracting business developing new land for grapes and maintaining existing facilities.”

“That’s nice, you’ll be able to develop Marion’s land for her – she’s buying our river flats.”

Harvey’s head shot up in interest.

Marion countered, “Only if his quotation is competitive, mom.”.

“How much do you intend bringing in?”

“Almost 130 acres.”

“In periodic stages?”

“No, progressively block by block.”

Harvey said, almost hoarsely, “I’ll price it and will be competitive, Marion.”

“I hope your rows and alignments will be neater than your schoolwork was, Harvey.”

“It is – I’ll take you to see some of my work.”

“Ooh, that sounds the same as come and see my etchings,” Tess said mischievously, and everyone laughed, Marion colouring only slightly. She looked up and caught Harvey’s smile. She tensed and attempted to will Harvey to dab a shoe at her ankle but it appeared she lacked the magic to orchestrate such a sign of advanced friendship.

When Harvey left, Tess and her mother exchanged raised eyebrows because Marion was head down worrying a piece of lettuce on her fork, and had stayed that way for some moments.

“Christopher was the pick of those two,” Debra said, but Marion failed to bite.

 

Later Marion went off to meet her father at his accountant’s office, Debra and her mother went off to shop while Jess went to call at the workplaces of some of her old friends.

Before leaving town, Marion bought four bottles of French champagne and her father picked up two big fillets of smoked salmon he’d ordered earlier in the day.

The family had a roaring party to celebrate the sale deal that was underway. When the first glasses of champagne had been poured, Donald Campbell held up four cheques and pocket one.

“Here is a $40,000 advance payment for you, Debra plus $5000, and a $5000 check as advance payment for you two and a similar amount for me and your mother. The balance of the money due to each of us will come when the land title is transferred to finalize the sale to Marion.”

Debra rushed and hugged him and then hugged and kissed Marion and said thank you.

“What about Marion’s check?” she asked.

“She’s already given it to me to buy Maggie, the saddlery and a permanent spot in the stables.”

“But you could have given her Maggie, I wouldn’t have minded.”

“Nor I,” said Tess.

“Nor I, echoed Helen.

“I tried to hand Maggie across but Marion said it was only fair that she should buy her and offered me $5000 for an all up deal, which I accepted. So, cheers everyone. It’s a happy day for all of us.”

Helen was carried off to bed fairly early, Debra folded an hour later and Donald pulled out, leaving Jess and Marion to finish the last half bottle. Apart from one glass of champagne, Donald had been drinking whisky.

“I’ve got some information for you,” Tess giggled, and told Marion that one of her friends knew that a saleswoman had teamed up with Harvey and they’d been going out for some months, but she hadn’t shifted in with him.

“Sandra said Lillian’s not much to look at and isn’t at all dashing. Sandra saw you with dad and said Lillian won’t have a look in now you’re back – she says you’re absolutely stunning and what happened to me when beauty and body sculpturing were being decided in the Campbell bedroom.”

“The cheeky bitch,” Marion giggled.

“That’s what I said to her. I know Harvey’s young sister Carole – we did first year English together and I still see her occasionally at university parties in Christchurch. Do you want me to tell her that you’re interest in Harvey?”

“Good gracious no, I’m off men.”

“You didn’t act out that very convincingly at lunch today.”

“Oh, well I guess I have my moments of weakness.”

*  *

Harvey’s father, Percy Hammond, met Marion and her father for lunch, at Marion’s invitation.

“Hello my dear,” said Percy, kissing her on the cheek. “It’s good to have you back in town to lift the beauty average of our women up a tad.”

“You haven’t lost your cheek in the eleven years I’ve been away.”

“Is it that long? Sylvia and I thought something would come of that friendship between you and Harvey, but there you go. So, you want to grow grapes?”

Gordon coughed.

“Oh, sorry – Julie!” Marion the luncheon hostess called.

Julie. their waitress, took their drinks order.

“Yes, the 128 acres, more or less, of river flats.”

“It’s good land, I checked up on the assessment reports after you phoned me last night. Your water rights are assured, you’re sheltered from the coastal winds – so it’s just frosts and earthquakes that are the real worries, but we’ll discount the earthquakes because no one can predict their coming.”

Marion muttered, “Earthquakes?”

“Yes, the river valley is a fault line,” Percy said nonchalantly as if talking about the weather.

The waitress served their drinks.

“You knew that dear,” Gordon said. “When you girls were kids, we used to practice earthquake drill.”

“Oh yes. Well, this is going to be more like Northern California than I’d thought. Will frost be a problem for grape growing?”

Percy spoke about frost and other management problems and by the time lunch concluded, he’d produced a consultancy contract that Marion signed.

“Dad is my vineyard manager and may wish to do some of the work himself; I’m leaving dad to sort that out once we get your scheme plan, recommendations and suggested development contract. There is enough money to pay for everything and as my contract with you says you bill me at the end of each month and I pay on the 20th following.”

“Now, it’s good business practice to say this Percy – I require you to keep my business separated from your relationship with Harvey. Confidentially, Harvey is my preferred vineyard development contractor but I’ll also require you to get two other prices and you then recommend which contractor I should accept – if it’s not Harvey then that’s just too bad. I’m running this as a business rather than as an expensive hobby.”

“That’s the only way to go, dear. I will be scrupulous in my relationship with Harvey. His price should be competitive because I happen to know he’s only got six weeks’ work ahead of him, though has a number of tenders he’s either working on or has executed for acceptance or rejection.”

“You are free to tell him he is my preferred contractor.”

“Ooh sweetie, if there any chance that you will become my new daughter-in-law. The first one was such a bitch?”

Marion buried part of her mouth in her wineglass and the two men sniggered.

 

Coming out of the restaurant Gordon said he wanted to go home as soon as possible to shift some sheep.

“Go home dad, I think I’ll buy a little car to get myself about.”

“Well, get some good advice and don’t buy a problem,” he said. “If you wait until tomorrow I can look around with you.”

“Off you go dad, I’m a big girl now.”

Marion looked around the car-yard with the saleswoman Lillian, but didn’t see anything that caught her fancy.

“Come in for have a cup of coffee and talk about what you really would like.”

“I told you, a box on four wheels that’s reliable.”

“We’ve twenty-seven used Toyotas in the yard which you’ve seen,” smiled Jill, “but none appealed and no worries. Talk to me about what you’d really like and we’ll get you that car, even if we have to get it up from Christchurch.”

As they talked they watched a car groomer back a silver metallic Lexus SUV into the showroom.

“I’ll have that one please.”

“Although it’s eighteen months old it’s still a very expensive car,” Mrs Templar.”

“Then I’ll clear it away from your showroom, if we can agree on price, and you can put a less expensive one in its place.”

An hour later after a test drive and familiarization instruction, Marion drove away, watched by Lillian and the car groomer.

“She wrote out a check for $59,000 and when I gave it to Mr Warren he looked at the woman and said it was Gordon’s daughter and initialled it. Who is she?”

The part-time worker, a retired farmer said, “Gordon Campbell’s daughter.”

“Omigod, she introduced herself as Marion Campbell and I didn’t twig – she’s Harvey’s old girlfriend. I’ve heard she was back in town.”

“You better keep your Harvey locked up as he’s not going to keep his pants on if he sees her walking towards him.”

“You pig, Ivan, go back to your grooming and wash your mouth out.”

Lillian Mason had become a worried woman. She’d also been told that Marion had been recently widowed and she looked absolutely stunning, um for her age.

 

Everyone had a test drive after Marion arrived home in her new vehicle.

Her father said it was a lovely vehicle, good for light off-road duty and impressing the natives, but he wouldn’t take it in some of the places he went in the Land Rover.

“Then wasn’t it intelligent that I purchased the flats?” Marion said dryly.

Gordon laughed and patted her on the shoulder.

 

Chapter 2

A month after her arrival, Marion Campbell (she’d reverted to her maiden name) remained happily living with her parents who welcome having their bright and beautiful eldest daughter back living with them.

Helen found Marion a help in the kitchen and enjoyed the companionship as Gordon spent most of the daylight hours out with his three employees attending to livestock and farm maintenance and working the cropping land for animal winter feed.

Gordon appreciated it on the days when Marion either drove or rode out to him and the men with hot lunch wherever they were on the farm that covered the equivalent of 21.6 square miles in area, much of the land being hilly to almost mountainous

His daughter was used to talking with men and had such a lush body and beautiful way with her that she practically enchanted the guys. She enjoyed dealing with the verbal play from the two provocative shepherds and the really besotted machinery operator-mechanic specialist, who was part Italian. With Marion present, lunch became a great social occasion as she ate with them and had a beer.

Harvey arrived as arranged at the Campbell’s farmhouse in his white and mud-splattered short wheel-base 4-wheel truck and Marion jumped aboard carrying a picnic basket.

She said hi and pulled him over and kissed him momentarily on the lips and he said, “Hey, this is a business encounter.”

“Absolutely, but I thought a wee kiss might unwind some of that correctness or should I say stiffness you exhibit when you talk to me, even on the phone.”

“Y-your unexpected homecoming has r-rather un-unnerve me.”

“That’s because your dick jumps into your mind screaming that you used to fuck me almost legless.”

“Marion!”

“What?”

“Oh nothing… actually I should say…”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“Oh, don’t you believe it would be gentlemanly to say you are fucking that saleswoman who sold me my SUV?”

“Shit, how did you find out about her?”

Marion smiled triumphantly and said she’d called his sister in Christchurch to find out his lover’s name who said her brother only dated Lillian Bates for recreational purposes.

Harvey’s face turned pink.

“God, you women can be so vicious; Carole thinks Lillian is not up to speed enough to be suitable for me to marry.”

“Oh, and who does your kid sister favour for you?

Harvey’s face turned brick red.

“Come on Harvey, do I have to crack you one across your teeth to extract an answer.

“You,” he sighed.

“Good,” cooed his passenger. “Now let’s move on from this social crap and talk business. First we drive over my acreage with you pointing out where these problem areas are that you have identified after your walk-over of the land and what needs to be done at extra cost to your original rough estimate for development for grape-growing.”

“Well, that’s why we are here at your block isn’t it?”

“That’s the primary reason, yes.”

“Then spill it Marion, give me the other reasons.”

“There’s only one bit of information I need to know, and I need to be looking at your face when I ask it.”

“Okay shoot, and I’ll glance at you when answering.”

“HH (Harvey Hammond) are you interested in marrying me?”

 Harvey looked as if he’d been shot.

He continued looking straight ahead. His foot had slipped off the accelerator and the vehicle in a low gear travelling down a bumpy incline to the flat terrace beside the river, shuddered to a stalled stop.

“Christ!”

“A more fulsome answer than that would be appreciated.”

Marion waited.

“Are you playing with me?”

“Harvey, it’s been so long I may have forgotten where to find a male’s zip.

He sniggered.

Marion waited, aware of the delicacy of her situation.

He sighed and said. “We could marry about the time the winter rains arrive which means my work-load would decrease abruptly. Let’s fuck now.”

“Harvey, please. We are business people. May we continue on with our inspection first. Then when we stop for lunch, perhaps I could show you my pussy.

The motor was cranked and the truck shot forward as Harvey yelled, “This is becoming a crazy and a great day for us that we’ll never forget.”

“I must warn you that I forgot to pack condoms.”

“Don’t worry Pussy (his old nickname for her). If your belly begins to bump before winter, I’ll marry you sooner to prevent tongues wagging.”

“I’m surprised that you remember my old nickname.”

“How could I forget. Shortly after you arrived in England you purchased a pair of panties from a sex shop in London with the word Pussy emblazoned just above the crotch. You apparently wore them for two weeks and then airmailed them to me. For a couple of months, I sniffed them every night while beating my dick.”

Blushing furiously, Marion said, “But my odour wouldn’t have lasted that long.”

“Of course, but the memories of fucking you and what such a delightful female you were, sufficed to stroke my arousal senses of the one woman in my life that I would never forget. Those panties are still stapled to the inside of my wardrobe door. Often when I would bang the next of your temporary replacement, they would receive an extra good one because I would be thinking of being with you.”

“Temporary replacements.”

“Yes, because I knew that for me, no other woman, including the woman I married and lived with for a time, could totally replace you.”

“Oh, Harvey stop the vehicle, stop urgently. I need to hold you.”

 

The End


© Copyright 2017 Grigor McGregor. All rights reserved.

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