Picture Perfect 34
David Dell was waiting for them at reception when they went into his office.
“Nice to see you, Daniel.”
“Good to half-see you, David. You remember Sanjay?”
“Oh, yes, of course. Come into my office.”
Dan always liked the comfy client chairs at Dell and Strong. He wished his Depot office was large enough for them.
“What can I do for you?” Dell asked once he was seated.
“I’ll let Sanjay tell you.”
Sanjay explained about the partnership deal, the money needed and what Sylvan brought to the deal as well.
“Half-a-million isn’t an insubstantial amount.” Dell leaned back in his chair. “So, Daniel, were you considering this as a personal loan or as an investment by James Photo.”
“Basically, I want to know if I was in a position to make this sort of capital outlay.”
“Let me check your records.” He pulled up a some files on his computer. “Oh!”
“What is it?” Daniel asked.
“First as a personal … investment. You might swing it with your house as collateral. You’ve done a fair amount work on over the last couple of years and your area is doing exceptionally well on the housing market.”
“But as James Photo, because of the way the corporation is set up, for such a substantial amount you would need all three of the partners to sign off on it. Even then, until the other deal is fulfilled that wouldn’t be possible.”
“Other deal?” Daniel asked.
“The one with Cuppa’s. Your sister obtained a line of credit for twenty hundred for that.”
“Two hundred thousand?” Daniel asked.
“Yes. Surely she told you how much, when you signed off on it?”
“No, she didn’t. Do you have the agreement so I can refresh my memory.”
David went to the door. “Deena can you bring me the James Family Photo file.” He waited at the door until she returned with them. “Thank you.”
He opened the folder, quickly flipped to a document and turned so it faced Dan.
“You see there’s the amount.” He flipped it to the last page. “There’s your signature. Right under your mother’s.”
He looked at Sanjay. “I’ve never seen this document before.”
“That’s a very serious allegation Daniel.” David said.
Dan’s mind was reeling. He rubbed at the pain around his eyes. “What’s the date on it?” he asked but he didn’t hear the answer.
“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling so well.” He mumbled. “I need some fresh air.”
Sanjay steadied him as he stood.
He took a couple of deep breaths. “I may be mistaken. I do recall co-signing some contracts for Linda at about that time. Let me speak with her. I’ll be back later in the week, with her, if needed.”
“Of course Mr. James. What about the other matter.”
“Now that I know where I stand financially Sanjay and I have some things to discuss.”
“Thank you Mr Dell.” Sanjay shook David’s hand.
They went out to the car. “I will drive.”
“Not yet. I have to walk and breathe. You wait here.”
Linda wouldn’t forge his signature on a document. He must have signed it and forgotten or not realized it when he was signing the FairVista invoices. Surely she didn’t forge his approval. After all he was a documents specialist. He could find out if it was his signature. Then what? Press charges?
He went back to the car and got in.
“Are you alright?” Sanjay put his hand on Dan’s and squeezed it gently.
“I think so. It’s pretty clear though that with the house I might be able swing a mortgage for you. I’m not sure I want to do that though.”
“I understand. I didn’t realize your business was so complex.”
They drove home in silence.
“I’m going to hit the sack.” Dan said. “My head is throbbing.”
“Should I give you a massage. That will help you sleep. Align your chakras for clearer thinking?”
“Tempting but no thanks. I won’t be up for much longer once I take a couple of pain killers.”
“There is always tomorrow.” He kissed Dan long and hard. “Now you relax for awhile while I get washed up. I’ll be in to tuck you in about ten minutes.”
Dan plodded up the stairs. What sort of scheme was Linda trying to pull anyway. It wasn’t as if he would have not signed on if she had approached him. They both had a talent for getting their way with the other. The thought of even confronting her about this made him sick to his stomach.
He took his clothes off and and sat on the edge of the bed. The air was cool and he shivered. What he wanted was Sanjay’s hands to warm him up. To take all this worry and pain. Mortgage the house?
He stretched out with his hands behind his head.
Sanjay came into the room.
“I was trying to figure out who these belong to?” He flipped a pair of underwear at Dan.
They slipped off his chest and fell to the floor.
“Must be mine.” Dan groped for them.
“Neither of us owns Aussie Bums.” Sanjay said. “Unless you’ve been shopping while I was gone.”
Fuck they must be Peter’s!
“Maybe someone named Hamid does though.” Sanjay went to the guest bedroom and shut the door.
The next day Dan was getting to leave the house for his appointment at the eye clinic. His pain meds and sleeping pill had overrode the stress of the previous day. His mind was cluttered with various scripts where he said this and did that and Sanjay or Linda or Curtis would nod and back down slightly crestfallen and fully apologetic. He knew that talk often never leads to a solution and that the less he said would give people the rope they needed to hang themselves.
Sanjay was on the phone when he came down to the kitchen. Dan poured himself a cup of coffee.
Sanjay ended his call. “Mother is very excited about the anniversary and my visit. She sends her regards.”
“Fifty years is an achievement.” Dan said.
“Quite right. Sleep well?”
“As well as my meds allowed. You?”
“What do you think?” Sanjay sat at the kitchen table. “I was restless thinking of what has to change, between us.”
“Did you come up with anything other than these mixed signals.”
“How can you be so .. so … placid? I’m disappointed that you turned out to be like so many gay guys. Sleeping around at the drop of a hat.”
“He wasn’t wearing a hat.” Dan wasn’t going to be baited into defending his actions. “I was.”
“It isn’t that funny. To me.”
“It isn’t to me either but I did what I did. I’d probably do it again, whether we were married or not.”
“Don’t start in on your assimilationist bullshit. It’s just an excuse to to act out. It’s pathetic.”
“No more pathetic than your judgmental condescension.”
“Whatever.” Sanjay sighed sadly. “I hope you wore protection.”
“We didn’t go that far. And by the way, it wasn’t Hamid. One Desi at a time is more than enough for me.”
“I know it wasn’t some Desi guy.”
“Oh? Aussie Bum not Punjabi style.”
“Dan, you aren’t the only one who knows how to check the video security logs.”
“You did that?”
“I couldn’t sleep. I had to know who it was. I came down and went through them. A little young for you and rather pale too.”
“Yes to both. We never did discuss the age gap.”
“His face wasn’t on camera long enough for me recognize him.”
“It doesn’t matter who.”
“Must have been someone you knew. Maybe tricked with before.”
“You sound pretty sure of that.”
“You’d never bring a stranger back to the house. You’re too paranoid for that, I know you. So it had to be someone you were familiar with. I’d’ve guessed Silver’s assistant but he isn’t as tall as this guy. ”
“You’ve been watching too much CSI.”
“But,” Sanjay took the underwear out his back pocket and smelled it. “By the aroma of sweat and caffeine I’d guess someone who works in a coffee shop.”
Dan grabbed the undies from Sanjay. “What’s the point of this? You’re trying to turn this into some you-betrayed-me scene and that isn’t going to happen. So I had sex with someone. Here in the house.”
“In our bed?”
“Sanjay get over it. I haven’t ‘tricked’ as you called it, with another man for years, not once you moved in here.”
“Oh, so for the first couple years you were getting your dick wet whenever you could?”
“No more than you were!”
“When did you stop seeing Harold? Before or after you moved in here?”
“Harold was … well, he wasn’t some teenage trick. You knew about him when we met.”
“Not that you were still fucking him”
“It’s that kid at the Carafe.” Sanjay snapped his fingers. “I thought he looked familiar.”
“So it is.” Dan took off his house slippers and put on his runners.
“You are old enough to be his father.”
Dan went to the hall to make sure he had what he’d need for the day in his shoulder bag. “Should I take my iPad?”
“I don’t care. We were …”
“No. You were …. whatever. I have to get a move on. I should be home for supper. You’ll be here?”
“How can you be cold?” Sanjay asked.
“Frankly, Sanjay either you’ll stay or you’ll go. Or do you just want another chance to line up my chakras for a mortgage?”
He caught the Queen streetcar. One down and two to go, Dan thought. Confronting Linda could wait till his regular Friday at FairVista. He texted Dell and Strong that he would drop in to re-read the Cuppa contract. He texted Curtis next to find out what progress there was on the cold case project. Funny how having one eye forces you focus on one thing at a time. Fewer distractions.
He got off at University and walked up to the the clinic. Dr. Grey was pleased with his progress and suggested he could use the eye for short periods of time as long as he kept it away from bight lights or glare.