Chapter 14 Surprise and upset.
On Monday, when Ben visited the bank to pay in the three-thousand-pound cheque he had received from Mike, he was somewhat surprised when the cashier asked him to wait because the manager wanted to see him. This puzzled him because he had never seen the manager before, not even when he originally opened the account. Also, to his knowledge, he had never gone into the red.
“Hello Mr. Conway I’m Helen Carter, the Manager. I hope I haven’t kept you waiting too long.” She said this, ushering him into her office, then closing the door, before settling down in the chair behind her desk.
“Well, thank you for coming in. Why I wanted to see you was to discuss what you wanted to do with the large sum of money that has been paid into your deposit account. May I suggest you transfer some of it into one of our high interest savings account and, maybe a tax free ISA would be a good investment.”
Ben was getting more puzzled by the minute. Why was she talking about investments when he had only just paid in three thousand pounds? “May I ask how much of the money are you talking about?” Ben enquired.
The Manager looked at her computer screen and stated, “You have now got, excluding today’s deposit a total of four hundred and twenty-two thousand five hundred and fifty pounds in the account.”
“Holy Shit!” exclaimed Ben and started laughing “There must be some mistake.”
This time the Manager opened a folder on the desk and picked up a sheet of paper. “No the amount is correct. Also, with large sums of money, we are obliged to check for money laundering, as you can see from this letter.” She passed it over to Ben, “It explains the money originates from the sale of Mrs Rose Conway’s house and according to her will the proceeds were left to you so everything is in order.”
This was a double shock for Ben. He hadn’t seen anyone from his family since leaving home some three years ago. So didn’t know of his grandma’s death, let alone having something left to him in her will. He did however, note that the bank had his old home address so that explained why he never received statements by post and only got them from the bank’s hole in the wall money dispensing machines. Presumably, his mum had given the solicitors his bank account number, so they could transfer his grandma’s gift. After seeing the bank manager, Ben still feeling stunned, walked home instead of taking the bus. He needed time to think alone.
This money changed everything. He could now admit to himself the real reason for choosing Matt over Patricia was security. Matt paid for everything. And yes, Ben had not lied when he said he loved them both. Life with Matt was good. It allowed him to have sex with other men, like yesterday with Mike, who he hoped to see again very soon. Yet life with Pat would be different, she had been his close friend whom he had sex with. Unbeknown to anyone he and Pat still were in touch by email.
Matt had gone to bed early. He was still sleeping in the spare bedroom. He enjoyed having Ben visit him in the night and occasionally the freedom to signal by the closing of the door, he wanted to be alone.
Tonight however, he was awoken by Ben arriving home at four o’clock in the morning and noisily going to bed. Matt felt disappointed that Ben hadn’t chosen to come directly to visit him. He tossed and turned trying to go back to sleep but found he couldn’t. As he lay there, he became aware of the sound of Ben crying.
Breaking his own rule to never sleep in the bedroom with the ceiling mirrors, Matt got up and went to Ben, whom he found was not just crying but sobbing. Matt got into bed and taking Ben in his arms held him tight, even though he stunk of alcohol. Slowly, as he calmed down a bit and between sobs, Ben told him about the money and how he had contacted his parents to thank them. Instead of being friendly, they had demanded the money back, saying that his grandma had not been quite right in the head to have willed him her house knowing what he was.
When he had refused, his father had called him a shirt lifting bum boy and some really horrible other names. Ending with that they’d get the money back soon anyway when he died of Aids.
After a few hours’ sleep Ben awoke feeling washed out but strangely clear headed and much older. He had been terribly hurt yesterday by his parents. He vowed never again would he make contact and, despite what they might think of him, he was determined to outlive them.
He took comfort from having Matt sleeping beside him in that great big bed. It was so nice to be able to stretch out without worrying about falling off the edge of the bed, which had happened to him on several occasions when sleeping with Matt in the spare room.
He didn’t regret telling Matt about the money, because now he could spend some of it without having to hide how he could afford things. It would be fun to have Matt come along with him to help chose clothes. Also Ben would get pleasure in buying things for Matt.