The girl next door

Maxie Forster is a binman who carries out ashes from the coal fires of North Shields the holes in his leather soled boots are letting in water from the rain and he cannot afford to go and take the boots to the cobbler shop in Billy Mill. He tries repairing them with some old lino and cuts the shape out with a stanley knife and glues them with some evo stick then places cardboard in the insides. Looking over the road on his round he spots a family being evicted by the bailiffs - the wagon is loaded with furniture and the woman and her five children stand in the rain as the barrow with everything she owns is pushed down the street.

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The phone rang in his office and he picked it up to answer; it was his boss inviting him to join him and some of the investors for dinner; he didn’t feel like going but knew that his boss would be relying on him to be there.’

The Swallow Hotel in Jesmond was where he had been asked to meet at seven thirty that evening. He met them in the reception area and was introduced to them all.

Samuel Johnson was from Swindon, he owned properties all over the United Kingdom. George L Graham was from London; he had made his money letting out student accommodation in Oxford. Barry Turnbull was in the restaurant business in Manchester. They were all keen to invest in properties along the Tyne. The three men brought their women with them who were surprisingly a lot younger than them. Russell reckoned that the three men were in their late fifties but these women were no older than thirty. They were well dressed, well spoken, and bedecked in fine clothes and jewellery.’

“You are very young to be an Architect Mr Howard said Cynthia Johnson; ’She was a natural blonde, tall, attractive looking woman with blue eyes; who modelled clothes for Kay’s Catalogue. She was wearing a blue evening dress which accentuated her figure. In her high heels that she was wearing she stood five feet eleven. Catherine Turnbull was dark haired she had a rather cheeky smile. She eyed Russell as he stood talking to his boss James Crawshank and his wife Anne. It was Danielle Graham who looked stunning in a red low cut dress. Her auburn hair was natural curled it was shoulder length it bounced as she walked into the dining room. She too was slim but not as tall as Cynthia but what she lacked in height she made up for in personality.

They sat around the dining table and Russell was facing all four women; as they all watched him as he talked about the new apartments, hotels, night clubs, and a casino along the Tyne and his vision for future investors. He had the attention of the three men who were particularly interested in the new night clubs and the casino.

“How much money are we talking about here Russell asked Barry?’

“Well if you were to invest say a million pounds each I could see a return of at least five million each in two years.’

That’s a solid investment Russell, do you think that it can make fifteen million in two years?’

Possibly more said Russell confidently. There is scope to develop on the other side of the river as well and this would open up more opportunities for investors.’

“This is certainly something that I would be interested in said George.’

They sat drinking champagne and eating some of the best quality food on offer and by the end of the evening Russell had secured a deal whereby the three men would invest over ten million pounds.

James Crawshank was delighted and told him that a hefty bonus would be coming his way.’

The three men left the hotel with their women and headed to a nightspot. Russell headed back to his house in Tynemouth after declining an offer of joining them; saying that he had to get up early to draw up the plans for this new investment.

It was nearly eleven o’clock when he reached his house. Left the car on the drive way then went in and took of his suit he picked up the post from the door that had been delivered. He discarded the junk mail, filed the gas and electric bills, and then found a letter with an Austrian postmark.

Russell read it then threw it down on top of breakfast bar.’

“Annabella wrote to say that she was enjoying her new job and that the family that she was working with were lovely. She never said that she was missing him or any mention of love.

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