Cherringham - Follow the Money
Cherringham - Follow the Money
2. Home Sweet Home
"Bit of a stiff lot," Terry said. "Though the wine ... that was certainly good."
"Just people with different interests, Terry."
She looked at him as he drove the short way back to their house, just a mile further down river from the Edwards.
"Opera? English bloody history? Religion?"
He glanced at her as he drove.
"Not exactly a night for having a laugh or two."
Claire opted not to respond.
These days, she and her husband moved in different orbits.
And that was okay with her.
He doesn't have to know about my life, she thought.
Nor me about his.
The one area they did come together is when they discussed their son, Oliver.
Currently away at Oxford - where it seemed the boy was always short of money and always having difficulty with his flatmates.
And when he came home?
Well, then Terry seemed to make himself scarce rather than deal with the son who spent the visits mainly watching telly, hanging with friends, and playing those noisy video games on the big screen.
Claire also tried not to be around much during those weeks.
How did he even get into Oxford? Claire often wondered.
Could Terry have had something to do with that ...? Surely you couldn't buy your way into a place like Oxford?
Hard to tell with Terry.
"Money talks, doll," he used to say when they were first married.
Thank god he didn't call her that now. She looked at her husband again.
Terry had been drinking, but he seemed steady behind the wheel of the big Porsche Cayenne, slowing as they came to Coutts Lane, the road that led down to the river, where their house was the last - and the largest - of the new places there.
So shiny and modern, but that was Terry's taste. She would have preferred a proper Cotswold cottage; all honey stone and old-fashioned flowers.
Still, you couldn't fault the setting, right by the river.
Set back from the others, hidden by a copse of trees in front, high shrubs on both sides.
Nice sense of privacy.
Would be good to slip into their giant bed, read for a bit.
Terry didn't seem interested in pushing things there as well.
Which also suited her just fine.
And then, with a sharp turn, they came to the short gravel driveway to their home.
And immediately Claire saw that something was very wrong.
Terry pulled the 4WD right up to the front steps, braking hard.
"Bloody hell!" he said, popping open his door and bolting out.
The front door was open!
They had left a light on in the porch and one in the hallway. But now, lights were on all over the house, the whole place lit up like it was on display.
Claire hurried to follow her husband.
"Terry - what's happened?"
He stood at the entrance.
And she had the same thought that she guessed he had. Whoever had done this ... might still be inside.
He turned to her.
His tone, his look, almost accusing. "Looks like someone broke into the house, Claire."
"But what about the alarm system? How could-"
But she was left talking to the air as Terry, fists bunched up, barrelled into the house.
And Claire felt she had no choice but to follow.
So follow she did.
As Terry went first into the living room.
She looked at the upturned chairs, pricey items from Harrod's 'classic' line, designed to look like genuine eighteenth century but instead brand new.
And the sofa, a claw-footed item that matched the chairs, had its cushions pulled off, tossed around the room.
The photos on the mantelpieces, wedding pictures, Oliver as a baby, and then other benchmarks ... his gap year in Thai