CHAPTER: 12345, 678910111213141516171819

When Emmet gets to the car park for the AHJ Lettings office he sees the most beautiful car he’s ever seen. It’s a Bentley Mulliner with a personalised registration plate. RJ 1. As he looks at the car he starts to feel out of his depth though. He begins to double think himself, wonders whether the choice of a shirt and smart jeans was a good idea, perhaps he would have been better off wearing a suit. Not that he actually owns one. He takes a deep breath though. He needs the shop, he wants the shop, he wants to fulfil the vision and plan he’s made for himself.

He walks into the office and is immediately greeted by a fit receptionist. She’s quite possibly the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Her make up is flawless, not a hair is out of place from the elaborate style she’s got it in and her clothes are perfectly tailored to show off her figure without being too tight or revealing. He has to stop himself shaking when she asks him who he’s there to see.

“I spoke to a guy on the phone,” he says, wiping his sweating palms on his jeans out of sight of her bright blue eyes. “He said he might be able to let me the shop on 212 Post Office Walk.”

“Oh,” the receptionist says with a nod and smile. “That’ll be Ricky then. I’ll just go and get him for you.”

She steers him towards the sofa where he takes a seat before turning and disappearing down the corridor. Emmet sits on the edge of the sofa, hands clasped in front of him as he looks around the office. It’s all clean lines, metal and white paint. A very classy place and he thinks that he doesn’t belong there, not at all.

“Emmet!” a guy says from the corridor. “Ricky, pleased to meet you.”

Emmet stands and takes the hand that Ricky’s holding out. He shakes it hard.

“Come this way,” Ricky says, leading Emmet down the corridor that he just left. “Thanks for calling about the shop. We’ve been trying to let that place out for ages, it just keeps falling through though.”

“Yeah,” Emmet says. He takes a seat in a comfortable looking chair in Ricky’s office. “About that….” Ricky looks at him sharply. “Is there any way we can negotiate the price a little? I mean, you’re trying to let it out right? At the moment I bet it’s just eating money, not making it for you. If you let it out at a slightly cheaper price surely that’s better than nothing.”

“No way man,” Ricky says with an amused grin and a shake of his head. “It’s £7,500, take it or leave it.”

“I thought you guys were all about haggling,” Emmet says, “You’re not even going to budge a little?”

“Nope,” Ricky says. “It’s £7,500 or you don’t get it. The boss man says either anyone interested pays the full £7,500 or he’s going to sell it in two weeks because he can’t let it. Let some other sucker deal with the costs. Besides, you said you had the money. Are you messing me about?”

Emmet sighs heavily and sits back. He rubs at his chin and thinks. It’s clear that Ricky doesn’t have any real power to change the price, he’s just a guy doing as he’s told. As much as that annoys Emmet he knows that there’s nothing he can do about lowering the price if he keeps talking to Ricky. He takes a deep breath.

“Can I speak to the main man then?” he says, taking a chance. “See if we can come to some sort of arrangement. He’s just trying to make money after all, just like me.”

“You can if you want,” Ricky says with a shrug. “It’s your funeral. Talking to him ain’t gonna change anything.”

He gets up anyway and heads out of the office. Emmet is left alone, fiddling with a hang nail on his thumb and trying to come up with some sort of pitch that might change the boss’s mind.

“He’ll see you,” Ricky says from the doorway, making Emmet jump. “RJ knows you won’t change his mind but he respects you for trying. So he agreed to at least hear you out. Down the hall on the left.”

Emmet smiles and shakes Ricky’s hand. The guy took a chance actually asking his boss if Emmet can talk to him, he could just have easily turned around and told Emmet to fuck off. There’s no hard feeling there. With one last smile Emmet walks towards the door Ricky pointed out. His heart starts to pound heavily, the closer that he gets to the door and it feels like he’s walking through thick grabbing mud. He knocks on the door.

“Enter,” a voice says.

Emmet walks in, carefully shutting the door behind him. He turns and sees a long haired Asian guy in a sharp suit sitting behind the desk.

“Take a seat,” the man says, waving at an armchair in front of the desk. “I’m RJ. What can I do for you?”

“Hi,” Emmet says. He desperately tries to remember the manners that his mother always hammered into him as a kid and the things that he’d seen on TV about business meetings. “Thanks for seeing me. I was… well I was wondering if you can do the let on the shop at Post Office Walk for cheaper than £7,500,”

“Can’t do it,” RJ says immediately, shaking his head.

“Why not?” Emmet blurts out, forgetting everything he had planned in his head.

He had thought that RJ would at least listen to what he had to say instead of outright refusing. RJ laughs.

“It’s £7,500,” RJ says firmly although there’s still a trace of amusement in his voice. “That’s it. If I can’t get that in the next 2 weeks… the shop is being sold. That’s what it says in the business plan, that’s what I’m sticking too.”

“Can’t you alter the business plan?” Emmet asks in disbelief, “I mean, you’ll be making some money that way at least.”

RJ laughs even louder, throwing his head back. The sounds of his chuckles fill the office.

“Buddy, I’d make twice as much as whatever you could offer, selling the place.” He says. “Did you see that Bentley out there?” Emmet nods, “I want that to be a Roller. A Rolls Royce, top of the range. You see this Rolex?” he holds up a wrist and points at the watch. Emmet nods. “I want it to be real. AND in 22ct gold. See this office,” he holds his hands up in the air and looks around the room. Emmet nods again. “I want it to be a skyscraper.” He leans forward and taps on the table. “If I alter the plan, I’m not going to get any of that. You understand?”

Emmet thinks for a minute. He looks at RJ. There’s no way that he’s going to budge, he can see it in the other man’s eyes. He has a plan and he’s sticking to it. He nods.

“It’s £7,500 in the next two weeks,” RJ repeats. “No money and the shop goes to auction. Sorry my friend, I wish I could help you out.”

“No problem,” Emmet says. Inside he almost wants to cry and can feel everything slipping through his fingers. He reaches out to shake RJ’s hand. “Thanks for explaining and telling me in person.”

He turns and walks out of the office. His vision and his plan are crashing down around him.

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