70. Ending and Beginning

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As they descended the stairs toward the dining room, Valerie continued relating to Lorne what she had learned in the phone conversation with Darryl. "Revenue and Customs are sending a team to Saint Helier to work with local officers, and Darryl will be sharing his investigative findings with them."

"He's been busy."

"He's been working closely with Lydia. I read and replied to her texts, and I left her a voice message. She's ensuring no details are missed, and she wants everyone to be aware of the Court order."

"The one granting you all Broughton's assets." Lorne held the chair for her as she sat, then he seated himself. "You'll have to pay tax on it, won't you? Like an inheritance tax."

"Fortunately, no. Compensation and damages awarded by the Courts for personal injuries are tax-free. And it matters not whether they are received as a single lump sum or over an extended period."

"Hmmm. HMRC aren't going to get much from this." Lorne stood to hold Chloe's chair as she entered the dining room, and once she had been seated, he resumed, "Will they even be interested?"

"Oh, for sure they'll be interested. There'll be all the tax on his capital gains over the years, plus likely a lot of penalties."

"On the cash, yes, but there'll be none on his assets, the building, the bullion, the yacht, and God knows what else he owns. Capital gains are not triggered until an asset is sold, and his ceding them all to you as an injury settlement is not a sale."

"Hmmm. Interesting. I..." She paused when Grace pushed a trolley into the room.

"We're a New York deli diner this morning." Grace poured the coffee, tea and orange juice, then she placed a basket of bagels, a pot of cream cheese, a platter of lox, and dishes of capers and diced onion on the table. As she finished, she said with an exaggerated twang, "Y'all enjoy, now."

Valerie trembled as she cupped Lorne's hand and pulsed it. "We play a game, a different culture each morning." She tried to staunch the tears, then let them flow. "So good to be able to do it again."

While Valerie dabbed her eyes, Chloe broke the silence. "So, his yacht will be yours, won't it, Mummy?"

"Hmmm, yeah, appears so."

"Is it big?"

"Darryl seemed impressed, and from what he told me, I sensed he and his wife are serious sailors." Valerie pointed to the freshly-baked bagels. "We should begin."

A short while later, Chloe looked up from spreading cream cheese. "Looks like ocean waves. Have you ever sailed, Daddy?"

"My uncle had a yawl up in the Broads, and he taught me seamanship, sail handling, navigation and so on."

"Out on the open ocean?"

"Not back then, except short legs in the North Sea, but every winter for many years, I've chartered big sloops in the Caribbean."

"Alone?"

"No, with new additions to our middle-management. We use sailing as a vehicle to conduct team-building retreats."

Valerie paused her bagel halfway to her mouth. "I've sent many of mine on leadership adventure retreats. They come back much more inspired."

"For sure. The sessions are a fine demonstration that experience beats theory, that knowing is always better than knowing about."

"Hmmm." She tilted her head and gazed into his eyes. "You should set up a programme and conduct the focal sessions. You'd be a natural."

"I have."

"You have what?"

"Set up a programme."

"And the focal sessions?"

"Yeah, them as well. I far prefer organising and conducting the climbing and sailing programmes to sitting in the office."

"You do climbing ones as well?"

"That's where the idea began — as an outgrowth of my programmes in the community centres."

"To get away from the office?"

"Appears so, but mainly for the variety." He shrugged. "And to escape the loneliness."

"I've had Chloe to fill those voids."

"And now I have the both of you to fill my life."

"Hmmm. I like that."

"I love it."


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