When he turned his phone on the next morning, there were 30 new messages, mostly from networks wanting comments about Irving. He also heard from Irving’s lawyers, saying that he’d defamed Irving’s character and they were filing charges against him. He heard from the network lawyers wanting to know what he’d said to or about Irving. Radio and TV stations wanted him to do interviews. The last few messages were from Liat, Dwight and Elaine. He chose to call Liat first.
“Austin? Oh, thank God! Can you believe the shit storm that’s sprung up?”
“No. I’m stunned. I never said a word about him to anyone. He may be a turd, but I’m not going to bad mouth him.”
“He says you insulted him to his face.”
“I barely spoke to him. When I did, I was polite. You heard me.”
“I know, I’m just letting you know what he’s saying.”
“Does he think it’s my fault he was fired?”
“It’s all right. Mum has the lawyers armed and ready. They’ve got a statement for you to make. They want to do a press conference at eleven this morning. Can you do it?”
“I guess I’ll have to.” He glanced at his watch. “I’ll need a shower. I just got up a little while ago.”
“Okay, we’re sending a car to pick you up at ten forty-five. Do you have a suit?”
“Wear it. Don’t worry. I’ll be there too. He’s gone after me as well.”
“The dirty bugger.”
“See you soon. I have to go.”
“See you. Bye.”
He hung up and headed for the bathroom to shower and shave. His front door opened.
“Where are you?”
“Naked in the bathroom.”
Dwight appeared at his bedroom door. “Who have you talked to this morning?”
“Liat. I’m getting ready now.”
“Great. Stu’s picking us up in thirty minutes.”
“Then get out so I can bathe.”
“I’ve seen your arse.”
“But not the other bits. Go.” He pointed to the door.
Dwight huffed out. Austin heard the door open and close again as he got out of the shower. When he walked into his bedroom, he saw a new suit lying on the bed. It was navy blue and far nicer than anything he’d ever owned. A dark red shirt and a silver and blue tie lay next to it. There was a handkerchief in the pocket, fluffed and flared like a fan. A pair of new, expensive shoes, sat on the floor.
Austin dried his hair and got dressed. He was just doing up his tie when Dwight returned. He stopped in the doorway, admiring his friend.
“You look great. Very impressive.”
“Love the suit.”
“I knew you would. Early birthday.”
“Thank you. Must have cost a fortune.”
“I was owed a few favors. A friend of mine makes suits. He’d love your endorsement. He’ll keep you in suits for life.”
“I can do that. Is Babs okay with it?”
“Sure is. Time to go.” His phone beeped. “Stu’s downstairs. Walk right to the car. Don’t stop.”
Austin frowned. “I know how to get in a car.”
“Not like this, you don’t.”
Chaos greeted them. There was an aisle cleared between the door and the waiting car, the crowd held back by police officers. Stu stood beside it, back door open. Austin and Dwight dashed across, dove in the car and the door slammed behind them. Frantic reporters, cameramen and photographers followed them into the street. Stu sped away, neatly avoiding the ones too stupid to stay out of the street.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes