I LOOSEN my tie and look at my watch. 1.58am. I should have been home six hours ago and in bed maybe four hours ago. I certainly need to be up again and on my way back here within another four and a half hours.
I look at the debris littering the bank’s boardroom. Chinese food. Pizza boxes. The pizzas mostly went to the PR advisors, who left early. Lightweights. At the death we were down to us, the client and the lawyers. Well, you can never get rid of lawyers when the clock is ticking. But at least we have the valuations and deal structure nailed down now. Until we don’t. Even after twelve hours locked away in here we could easily be going through it all again within the week. Not something I’ll tell Emma when I review the night’s activities.
I turn on my phone. I always insist my guys have their phones turned off in client meetings and I feel I should lead from the front. Four messages. The first is from Emma, 8.02, wondering where I am and when I’ll be home. Perfectly civilized. I prepare myself for the next three messages, fearing progressive deterioration in her mood. But the next is from Nick, saying he’ll call back. The third too, Nick’s slurred voice barely audible above the hubbub of a West End nightclub. The final message is also from Nick, after midnight and nothing more than a grunt, followed by twenty seconds of rambled directions to a taxi driver. Until the phone goes dead.
Perhaps Emma’s silence is ominous. But surely she’d – or someone would have – called if she’d gone into labour? As I dash from the boardroom, my chauffeur waiting downstairs, the cleaners enter the boardroom. “Good morning, Mr Cashman.”
City Dad will continue next Tuesday. For past episodes, see www.cityam.com