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Jack and Steve brown-bag it together.
It's not a job any more, I'm no longer employed. I'm an employer: they've offered me a partnership."
Now she was perplexed. "You mean the Junior Partnership?"
"No, a Full Partnership. I'll be a part owner. Instead of being paid a salary, I get a cut of the profits, broken into months, after expenses are paid out. I've got a folder here with the details. That's why I'm late: they called me in at five. Uncle Kieran Walsh has left the firm and I take his partnership. It's a huge step up!"
She leapt up, squealed and threw her arms round my neck. "My superman!" she cried, "You deserve it, you work so hard. I'm so happy for you!" A tight hug and a steaming kiss followed.
We went to the nearest phone box and ordered a taxi, and we had a celebratory meal, with a good bottle of wine and then returned to the flat. I did ask her if she'd like to go to a club but she wanted to get back and go to bed. She added she was not in the least bit tired!
What we actually did when we got back was to open the folder and read the documentation. We were stunned. Now I knew how our partners managed to live comfortably in huge houses in the stockbroker belt of Bowden. As a salaried solicitor the practice paid me over twice the average national salary plus bonuses, but in an average year from now on, I would be getting eight times that or more! I would not be getting the full amount, because I would be buying into the partnership, but even so, I was in the money.
We spent the rest of the evening celebrating in four different positions, in addition to mutually oral ministrations. She was right: she was not in the least tired.
Next day my lover and fianc__e returned single-mindedly to her studies, for exams were looming close. She kept glancing at me and grinning! I read and re-read the documents until I knew them by heart. I would be jointly liable for any failures, bankruptcies, losses in civil suits etc. I would have the additional task of deciding on the bonuses and salaries of the staff in consultation with the other partners, as well as responsibility for some of the day to day running expenses and office management.
Monday 8 May 72
On Monday the announcement was made, and I was overwhelmed by the positive reactions of the staff, all of whom seemed to think it was a good thing, and at least to my face there was no jealousy or recrimination.
Colette hugged me, Harriet hugged me, and Zena hugged me and said she was sad to be losing me as a neighbour. This seemed to be an invitation to the rest of the female staff, some of whom added kisses to the hugs.
As one of them said, "Now you're a partner we'll never get another chance!"
If I had not got Connie at home, I might have been disappointed at the prospect.
My stuff was moved into Kieran's office and I took up my new role. It was real after all; I was not dreaming.
Chapter Twenty Seven
Wednesday 10th May 72
On her Wednesday phone call, Connie was distressed.
"Dad has ordered me to break off my engagement to you. Apparently Mr Gresty has been in touch and Dad now holds you responsible for the severance between them. He won't believe you were innocent and reckons Gresty was paid off, and like all lawyers you've got away with it."
"I'm sorry, my darling," I said. "So what are you going to do?"
"You need to ask? I told him I would do no such thing," she said in some venom, "and he said he would cut me off financially if I refused to finish the engagement. He won't pay anything towards the flat here or my living expenses next year. But I won't give in, Graham. You come first. If I have to, I'll give up getting my degree."
The realisation came to me that we did not need Roasburie's money any more, thanks to my new position in the practice.
"Connie," I said severely, "you'll do no such thing. After my promotion we can easily afford for you to keep the flat on next year and to pay all your living expenses. You carry on. Bugger him!"
I could hear her sobbing over the phone.