Brady's Choice
  When he has to choose between two men, which one will Brady decide for?

Brady's Choice - Extract

The last time I saw Mr. Philip Matthew Keys O’Connell, I’d slapped him across the jaw with the back of my hand and called him a fucking bastard before walking out of his flat and our so-called relationship. He’d made no effort to chase after me so I’d just kept on walking. Away from my home, my town and my whole ruddy life.

Which made it something of an embarrassment to be facing him now, five years on, in an interview room the size of a postage stamp and absolutely desperate for the job he might be offering me. Fate was a bloody thing sometimes, but that didn’t mean I had to like it. So I kept my best professional smile beaming brightly at the right moments and tried not to think about the new way he’d styled his hair and his surprisingly distinguished beard.

“So, Mr. Treherne, can you tell us what you might offer in this role that our other candidates won’t?”

The interview was coming to a natural end now, and this must be the last question on their lists. When I’d walked in about an hour ago, I hadn’t expected to see Philip. Hell, I didn’t even realise he had anything at all to do with the Surrey Design Consultancy and I nearly walked out again. I wasn’t the only one affected either; his face had turned pale behind that dark beard and his fingers had for a moment or two gripped the table edge. By the time we were formally introduced, however, his handshake was as steady as stone. Mine, I have to admit it, was less so.

It turned out my confusion was justified; Philip hadn’t been intended to be one of the interviewers and in fact didn’t even work for the company. He was here in a business capacity for one of the sponsorship companies who part-owned the project and had in fact only been called in as a replacement at the last minute as his colleague had found a job elsewhere. So it looked like if I still wanted the post, I’d be working, at least some of the time, with him. That couldn’t help but change everything.

Right now, I tried to focus on the question.

“I think I bring freshness,” I said. “I retrained professionally in pottery and pottery design about five years ago and some of my commissions since then have become quite well known, but you’ve got my references. I don’t need to repeat them for you. I found my niche later in life than most but, on the other hand, that means I can bring steadiness and an understanding of the business side to the role and, with the perhaps limited budgets this project must have, that may well come in useful. I’m not a prima donna. I cut my designs to the needs of the money available and I don’t whinge.”

Philip said nothing to this, but one of the other interviewers – an elderly woman called Janet – laughed and wrote something down on her notepad. When my ex-lover finally spoke, it was to dismiss me.

“Thank you for that, Mr. Treherne. If you have no more questions, then I think we’re done. Your time here is appreciated. When we’ve made our decision, we’ll let you know.”

Another brief shake of the hand with the interviewing panel and then a couple of minutes after that I was outside, leaning against the wall opposite their offices and taking great gulps of air. If anyone had looked out of the window, I must have seemed the least hopeful candidate of them all, but I couldn’t help myself. The delayed shock of seeing Philip was making my legs tremble, and I swore I could still feel the warmth of his skin against my palm where our hands had touched ...

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