I wince to hear Caroline’s name. But Nick doesn’t notice. He’s too wrapped up in his 25 per cent Q1 increase in sales and the business introductions Caroline and her colleagues have effected. It’s our quarterly catch-up on his business and my equity investment.
Caroline… Between pipping me to last year’s City A.M. award, rescuing Nick’s business and as she pointed out, my “modest investment”, snaffling the Australian CWM deal from under my nose and then intruding upon my marriage, well, I’ve had my fill of her.
“And Caroline thought we might explore the US market later in the year…”
I drain my wine glass. I sense a presence at my right shoulder and turn, expecting to find an attentive waiter. It’s Juliette, looking tired and disheveled. I stand, stunned. Nick is silent.
“Juliette. Sit. Please.”
“No. It’s alright David. I didn’t want to embarrass you at the bank. Or at home. But I did want to see you and I knew, well, your schedule with Nick. That you’d be here.”
“Should I…” begins Nick.
“No. Please. I won’t intrude for more than a moment,” says Juliette. And then seems lost for words.
I lean down, pick up my newspaper from the floor and lay it on the table. Juliette is the front page. Or, at least, the story she’s leaked to the press. One of the bank’s clients has been operating a particularly aggressive fracking operation, using carcinogenic chemical additives.
“I wanted to apologise. In person David. It was a matter of conscience. I’m just sorry I didn’t have the courage to talk to you about it first.”
“Probably best you didn’t. Not sure what I’d have done,” I reply. “What’ll you do now?”
“I’ll be fine.” She turns.
“It was a brave thing to do Juliette.”
And she walks away.
City Dad will continue next Tuesday.