Family Business Part 16

Family Business Part 16

Family Business Part 16 – Both brothers show they’re not above a bit of blackmail in Family Business Part 16; and there’s intriguing news from Down Under.
 
To: Rosa
From: Laura
Date: 3 Feb
Subject: The dirt on Charlie
 
Hey sis
 
Lorenzo’s come over all “Family” since Brenda’s arrival.  He took ME out to lunch in Tring yesterday after insisting that I accompany him to a massive new garden centre on the A41.  The new account was just a ruse; actually he wanted to share his Ozzie intelligence.
 
It seems Charlie’s decision to move the UK had less to do with wanting to bond with Flora, and more to do with a fresh start.  Typically perverse of our family, we’re not sending convicts to Australia, but importing them to the UK!  Charlie’s done time for fraud!!!  I think it was credit cards or something like that.  Anyhow, once he’d served his sentence, his adoptive parents thought a clean break would be best.  Hence he pitched up here.
 
Lorenzo’s cock-a-hoop.  He’s pretty sure Flora doesn’t know, and obviously mum and dad haven’t got a clue.  Rather tarnishes his image doesn’t it?  Lorenzo plans to use Charlie’s embarrassing ‘secret’ to blackmail him into supporting his position on the board.  He’s taking Charlie fly fishing this week to discuss!  So, if you see our website heralding the new age of aluminium outdoor dining furniture, you’ll know his plan’s succeeded.
 
With love from the hotbed of intrigue …
 
Laura
Family Business Part 16
 
To: Laura
From: Rosa
Date: 5 February
Subject: Blackmail
 
Blimey!  How very sneaky of Lorenzo.  Just goes to show that when he puts his mind to something, he can actually be quite effective.  If only he’d shown that much initiative when it came to ordering the garden furniture, we probably wouldn’t be in such a mess in the first place.  Actually, I don’t think mum and dad did him or Massimo any favours letting them walk into comfortably paid management jobs without cutting their teeth in the real world.  At least you and I did other jobs before getting dragged into the business – and you got away pretty sharpish! 
 
Perhaps I should’ve bagged myself a patio table mogul like you did!  Hmm, there’s so much choice – everyone from that crook Tiny Rascal to the gormless Bryan Brothers or Terry, Gerry and Tony, the bald beacons of Bedfordshire.   You must have got yourself the only half-way decent specimen on offer if you took in the entire outdoor living hall of the Ideal Home Exhibition into consideration!  But then, if I hadn’t spent those years in classical music PR, I never would have met dear P.  At least he has the good sense to disappear on tour for weeks on end J
 
But back to Lorenzo, arch blackmailer: do you think this will have much impact on Carla’s standing in the company?  Are we going to be saddled with the pair of them forever?  And what if Ant and Maria leave school after sixth form?  If all four of them are working in the business, can you imagine the stress for the rest of us?  To say nothing of the financial implications.  I just hope that once this dalliance with Herb has run its course, Carla will decide she’d rather go back to spending Lorenzo’s money rather than the firms. 
 
Anyhow, it seems that Lorenzo’s blackmailing character trait runs in the family.  I have new intelligence from Massimo.
 
He drove over yesterday to pick up some of the gear that he’d left here after staying at Christmas.  He never gets any better at clearing up after himself!  You’d think someone in the forties could pack a suitcase, but no.  Actually he was after an electric razor that I think he’d pinched from dad or Lorenzo in the first place…
 
He told me the real reason he was so confident that things had gone well with Brenda is that before they had their little lunch, he let her know that he wasn’t above spilling the beans about her and Flora to mum and dad.  It seems Brenda was terrified.  She as near as dammit admitted that Flora had been furious when she found out that Brenda and Charlie had cooked up the approach to dad between them.  Things were so bad that they’d nearly split up over it and if our parents find out from Massimo, there’s no doubt in her mind but Flora will leave her, denying everything.  Brenda must have been pretty rattled to share so much with Massimo but he does have a way of drawing confidences out of people. I guess that’s why he’s always had such luck with women despite his dreadful reputation. 
 
It all leaves Massimo sitting pretty.  And with Lorenzo blackmailing Charlie, I can’t really see that much can change in the Business after all!  Massimo thinks that Brenda will try to push dad into retirement.  I didn’t tell him what mum said about Brenda trying to solicit her help in doing just that.   I think it’s best not to share too much information with any of our siblings since I wouldn’t trust any of their motives at the best of times.
 
Time for Pilates, so I’ll stop here.
 
Love Rosa x
[800]
Family Business Part 16
 
To: Rosa
From: Laura
Date: 7 Feb
Subject: Friday Night Dinner
 
Hi sis
 
We’ve just had one of mum’s big family get togethers and I thought you’d like to hear how it went…
 
Ostensibly it was to welcome Frank and Pearl to the neighbourhood since they really do seem to be on the point of moving into one of the riverside duplexes.  Bit odd to see Frank back round mum’s table (but not playing mine host any more).  He was quite sheepish.  Mum was busy playing her matriarch with the mostest role, force-feeding everyone too much food and drink.  And dad and Frank are getting on a lot better again now that Frank’s safely tied up with Pearl.  There was a fair bit of muttering about getting the old card games going again which could be bad news for the rest of us (!). 
 
Pearl was oblivious to any awkwardness as usual – I suppose she sees everything through gin fumes.  She was on rip-roaring form, regaling us all with her adventures with the local physio team.  They’ve taken on a young chap who’s just graduated and Pearl booked herself in for an hour’s shoulder work with him.  She said he nearly died when he walked in to find she’d totally stripped off – apparently he squeaked out that his clients usually only need to remove their outer layers.  He tried to escape after the first half hour, but she was having none of it, insisting on a full double session.  Anyway she only released him from her clutches after he’d straddled the bench and given her pectorals a good work out.  Poor kid! 
 
As for the others, Massimo brought Petra which went down rather badly since Charlie was there with Poppy.  It’s plain to see that Poppy still carries something of a torch for the beast.  The nicer to her that Charlie was, the more she seemed distracted by Massimo.  Flora was there too, much to my surprise.  You’d think with all the stuff that’s going on with Brenda she’d want to keep a safe distance but perhaps she was scared that if she wasn’t there (and she did insist on driving Massimo and me home very early), Massimo might tell the Aged Parents her BIG SECRET.
 
Actually that part was a bit odd – we left Petra there since she insisted on staying on and short of physically manhandling her, we couldn’t get her to leave with us in the car.  Massimo made as much fuss as he could but there was no budging her.  I know it’s only a 5 minute walk down the track to her place, but it is pitch dark and February!  In the end, poor old dad took her back.  He and mum must have thought that they’d be sharing breakfast with her, if he didn’t offer to see her home.  It must have turned into a bit of a party after we left because Mum said she went up to bed as dad and Petra left and only realized how late it was when he woke her coming back into the house at 4am!
 
Flora was on edge all night.  When the conversation turned to Brenda, as it was bound to, Massimo kept saying things like, “well, Flora knows her better than anyone…” and trying to draw her into the conversation at every turn.  Flora was not playing along.  30 odd years in the closet meant she was more than a match for Massimo.  Interestingly, I did detect a certain chill in the air between her and Charlie though.  I don’t believe she’s forgiven him for being in cahoots with Brenda about nobbling dad to employ her in the first place.
 
Trout and Lorenzo were there too; Trout’s very excited about the launch of the ad campaign and is trying to hook Petra into a publicity stunt with the local paper.  Poor old Trout, she couldn’t keep her eyes off Petra; it was like watching a terrier surveying a rather beautiful pedigree bunny.  You know, entranced by its luxurious pelt and bright shiny eyes, but desperate to ring its neck too! Lor looked somehow 6 inches taller and almost impressive for once!  He brought up the thorny subject of cast aluminium versus rattan garden furniture ranges and managed to get Charlie to publicly agree that rattan patio sets were not going to single handedly make our fortunes.  Charlie even volunteered extra stuff about how great the aluminium sales have been, so there’s no doubt in my mind but that Lorenzo’s well and truly got the thumb screws on there!
 
Then there was the food.  I suppose it was for Charlie, Poppy and Petra’s benefit but mum did the phoney Italian food thing again.  Oh, and for Frank of course – he always made a big fuss of her cooking skills.  Before Christmas, I know she had a regular clandestine home delivery of Cook’s Italian range to keep him sweet.  She whipped out a couple of lasagnes triumphantly that I know she’d paid Daisy to make that afternoon.  Her plan nearly came unstuck when Petra recognized her own pasta dish being brought to the table.  You’d think an old pro like mum would know to give her hired help the authentic dish to cook in.  I admit I was surprised that Petra even knew what a baking dish looked like, since I don’t think she eats anything cooked.  She of course turned her nose up the nosh and asked if mum could find her any steak.  Mum got her own back by producing a couple of bony bits of chicken she’d kept aside for the dogs for her instead!
 
Enjoy the weekend – we’re away so catch up next week sometime,
 
Xxx Laura

 

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