13 – A Feather and a Riding Crop
There was no way he was going to let it happen. And that was that. The time was neither right nor reasonable. To expect stuff to just, well just, occur. That was bang out of order. The absolute cheek of it. Even to suggest it is a disgrace. An affront. It made him so cross. He stomped up and down the hallway in the most frightful temper imaginable. Footsteps ringing on the solid stone floors. Ancient floors laid down centuries ago by one of his many ancestors.
Julian Montgomery Somersby-Ford the latest in an unbroken line stretching back in time to days when men fought almost daily simply to keep what they owned. A nice height. A comfortable six feet. Well-groomed shortish dark hair and face that reflected his status and wealth. The public school boy look. Eaton only five years back. Smartly dressed in slacks and shirt. Shiny shoes. Inherited last year due to the early death of his father. Heart attack. It’s in the family. His father, grandfather and generations before had all died early. Hence the insistence of early marriage. His mother in the south of France. Been there for years now being titillated by whatever young talent she has in tow.
Julian married young of course. It was the family way after all. Marry at twenty one to secure succession. The father’s dominance prevailing. His father had married his mother at twenty one, a match made by his grandfather and insisted upon. “You will marry this strong young filly and ride her until there is at least one son. A strong son. After that it’s not important.” There was no love only duty. His mother left as soon as she was able having fulfilled the contractual duty. Julian’s father arranged Julian’s marriage. A deal struck with Isobel’s father. Married just over two years ago and so far no children. They got on reasonably well. In fact Julian had grown to quite like Isobel. She was good for him. Did his thinking.
Julian crashed into the drawing room where Isobel was reading. Something pornographic was her normal choice. She was really very fond of fancy action. Had a gin and something in hand. A stiff one at that time, five o’clock.
“The bloody cheek. The absolute bloody cheek. How dare he.”
“Cheek what dear? Dare who?”
“It’s all Uncle Teddy’s fault. How dare he. He knows how I feel about the woods. How dare he.”
“What’s Uncle Teddy’s fault darling?”
“The fracking. The bloody fracking that’s what. Agreeing to it on my land. How dare he.”
“Is it not his land as well sweetie?”
“Well yes I suppose it is a bit. But that does not make it right. He could at least have discussed it. Couldn’t he?”
“Yes I suppose he could. Perhaps he should have. I don’t know. Maybe go and ask him to stop it.”
“Fat lot of good that will do. Singular mind has Teddy. Not to be easily shifted.”
“Worth a go though. Isn’t it?”
“All those protesters just strolling around. Shouting. Yelling. Filthy language and placards. All waving bloody placards.”
“Calm down Julian. You can’t make it better with all the shouting. I’ll fix you a drink. Sit next to me.”
“But Isi. What should I do?”
“There that’s better. Drink this and relax a bit then we can think clearly. I’ll go and see Teddy ask him what the position is, how much of the wood will be affected.”
“Will you. Yes that’s it. He listens to you. Tell him I don’t like it. Tell him I want it stopped. No consultation that sort of thing.”
The land in question is the one thousand acres that goes with the estate. Management of that is the responsibility of the second brother. If there are two brothers that is. Teddy is Julian’s father’s younger brother by only eighteen months. On the death of the father it passes to the son and uncle jointly until the uncles death. Then it passes to the son. Any heir of the uncle has no claim. Although Teddy is not married. The fracking is Teddy’s brain child. His company Tedgas has permission to drill in the woods on the estate. The geologists are certain as they can be that there is wealth down below. If all goes well there will be enough gas to heat one hundred thousand homes and the factories for miles around. In short a fortune.
“So what shall I tell him then Teddy?”
“Tell him I will talk to him in the next few days. I’ll give him twenty five percent of Tedgas if he uses the resources of the estate to part fund the project. That should bring him on side and stop him worrying about his precious trees. Too much value to just turn away. I don’t think even Julian is that stupid.”
“And my percentage?”
“Your twenty percent is assured. The documents have been signed and recorded. Just keep Julian in his place. That is your job. To persuade him.”
“Then how shall we conclude this meeting?”
“I think the thing with the feather is appropriate. You first."
Isobel started to undress but Teddy stopped her.
“That is a gentleman’s prerogative.”
Isobel went back to Julian and told him the arrangement. He was reluctant but she persisted and persuaded and eventually he said he would agree. Three days later Teddy came to see Julian.
“So you agree then Julian. It is a simple matter. We will all in the space of a few years become very rich. Very rich indeed.”
“Still not sure but anyway Isi says it’s a good idea.”
A few months after the meeting Isobel was having her weekly session with Teddy. She arrived wearing her long grey lightweight coat.
“How are the plans coming on?”
“The rig will be here next week and drilling will commence as soon as it is tested and in operational condition.”
“That is good. That is really good. As a reward I have something very special arranged for you.”
She took off her coat and stood there naked except for knee length black patent leather boots with six inch high heels and a large single stone diamond pendant on a long chain. In her right hand she was holding a riding crop. In her left a set of four silk scarves. She demanded that Teddy undress.
“Lay on the bed. That’s it. Good.”
“Not too tight. Don’t tie them too tight I need to be able to move a bit.”
“Don’t worry you will move ok.”
She worked her magic, slowly at first then with increasing intensity. A subtle combination of pain and stimulation. Building, raising the thresholds to approaching unbearable.
“Stop, stop please stop I have had enough.”
She kept on adding to the pressure making sure he was really struggling to keep up.
“You must stop. Please stop. My chest it’s bursting. Pain. Such pain. Aaaah."
He spasmed in pain. Trouble catching his breath.
“Heart. My heart. A Doctor. Call a doctor.”
“Soon. I will call one soon.”
His breathing was becoming very fast. Panting. Sweating. Then nothing. He was still. His face contorted but lifeless.
Isobel undid the restraints and tidied the bed a bit. Picked up the phone and dialled 999. Then left.
The cause of death was heart failure. There was no suspicion of foul play just over exuberance with an unknown person and a family history of heart disease. Teddy had been under constant medical supervision. Isobel’s DNA was found in the house and in the bedroom but she was family so it would be expected. Had regularly visiting Teddy. Everyone knew that. Easy to explain away. If Julian suspected anything it did not take much for Isobel to persuade him otherwise. The land passed to Julian under the terms of his father’s will. That included Teddy’s share of Tedgas.
Isobel and Julian settled into life without Teddy. The fracking project proceeded at pace, driven by Isobel. There were no children and Isobel would see to it that there were never any. In her sights she had a one hundred percent holding in a very lucrative gas recovery business. It was just a matter of time. Julian had inherited a weak heart. She would work on that eventually engineering another so sad family demise. She would make this Somersby-Ford dynasty pay for forcing her to bow to their will. She would extract retribution for all the generations of women that had been so misused. No children and it all passed to her and nothing could prevent it. At that point her revenge would be complete. And if she had her way it was not going to be a long wait.
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