The letter further informed me that Mr Hills had a busy day, but he would be at the business half an hour after I arrived from school, at approximately 4.30pm. I was also told that the driver would take me back home afterwards, and that my grandparents had been notified that I went straight from school to the business for an important meeting.
The letter further stated that Mr Hills informed the writer about an hour ago that he had also notified Judge Andrews of the situation, who was not happy with the two bullying incidents in one day. He had prepared and signed a restraining order preventing Mr Baker Junior from getting any closer than 15 metres from me or any of my close friends, effective as soon as the order was served to his father. Mr Hills would have that order with him when he arrived. The letter ended wishing me a good afternoon. It was signed by Ms Susan Lange, on behalf of Mr Frank Hills QC.
The day was getting more interesting by the hour, I thought, as I started to think about how I was going to approach the issue with Mr Baker senior, occasionally looking up to see where we were in the journey. Soon we arrived at the front car park of the business. The other chauffeured car was already there. I stepped out of the car and walked into the reception area of the business for the first time.
“Mr Wellstead, they are waiting for you in the conference room,” the receptionist said politely indicating the direction that I needed to go.
At the door of the conference room I knocked and waited. The door opened and Mr Hills smiled and ushered me inside the very comfortable conference room.
“Grant, I would like you to meet the administration manager for Wellstead Freight, Mr George Harrington,” Mr Hills said. I shook his hand, and was going to sit in a chair on the side of the conference table, but Mr Harrington motioned me to the big chair at the head of the table. Mr Hills sat to my left and Mr Harrington to my right.
For the next ten minutes, I asked a series of questions about the business, especially with the new smaller trucks and the extra work they were picking up from having them. The phone beeped and the receptionist announced that Mr Baker was in reception as requested. Mr Harrington asked her to show the driver to the conference room, and soon after the door opened and a tall and stocky version of his son walked in. Mr Harrington had stood up and met the man at the door, and guided him to a chair a few chairs down from the end.
Mr Harrington introduced Mr Hills as the company’s business manager and then, turning to me, introduced me as the company owner. Turning to Mr Harrington, Mr Baker asked if this meeting was going to be long as his son had some trouble at school and he had to go and sort it out. I couldn’t help it, as I gave out a loud short laugh. Mr Hills smiled knowing the reason for my outburst.
“Mr Baker, I presume your son’s name is Adam, and he’s 14 and in year 9 at the local grammar school?” Mr Hills asked.
Mr Black stood up and shouted, “How do you know that and what the hell does this have to do with this meeting? Why are you snooping into my private affairs?” This was rather unexpected. Standing up Mr Harrington firmly told Mr Baker to shut up, sit down and listen.
Mr Baker did as was instructed and I whispered to Mr Hills, “Like father, like son.”
Mr Hills nodded to me understanding why I had said that, before he stood up and walked to Mr Baker and placed a folder in front of him.
“Mr Baker you have just been served a court order. This is the reason you have been brought here. It just so happens that the trouble your son had at school today is because on two occasions your son bullied another student, the first time sending the student to the infirmary for the remainder of the morning. Just by coincidence that student happens to be Mr Wellstead here… your employer”.
Mr Baker swallowed loudly as he realised how serious this was.
Mr Hills continued, “Mr Baker, not only am I your employer’s business manager but I am also a QC barrister, and the company’s legal representative. If you look carefully you will see that the court order is signed by his Honour Judge Samuel Adams of the Supreme Court, who happens to be a good friend of your employer. I suggest that you make sure that your son understands the consequences if he breaks this court order, which is effective immediately.”
Mr Baker was now trembling, knowing that once again his son was in trouble. “Mr Wellstead, on behalf of my son I wish to apologise for his behaviour. I am finding it hard to get him to stop doing this. He seems to be getting worse each time we move to a new area.”
After some thought, I spoke for the first time in this meeting. “Very well, Mr Baker, I accept your apology, but be warned I will not tolerate it any more. I have just recovered from serious injuries as well as losing my parents and baby sister in a nasty crash at the end of last year, so I am in no mood for putting up with any bullying after what I have had to go through recently.”
After a pause I added, “Oh and, Mr Baker, I do not want to see any marks or injuries of any kind on your son when he’s next at school.”
The man nodded his understanding and left the room.
“Well, I think that takes care of that business. Well done on handling that so well. I am very proud of you Grant,” Mr Hills said.
“May I give you a tour of the premises while you are here, Mr Wellstead?” Mr Harrington asked.
I smiled and nodded. “That would be very good. Please, lead the way,” I added and followed the two men out.
Firstly, I was introduced to all the office staff. I asked how long they had been in the company, and were they happy at their job, and did they have any complaints or suggestions. Next, I was taken down to the freight shed where I was introduced to the three storemen. A suggestion to install snack and drink vending machines was made. I turned to Mr Harrington, who saw me nod. He quickly made a note of that.
I asked what the apartment space was being used for, and I was informed that the lounge area was made into office space for the storemen to do paper work. Next was the maintenance shed and workshop. I was introduced to the mechanics and the yardmen, who were cleaning up before they knocked off for the day, and they too suggested vending machines for their lunch room. Mr Harrington made a note on his notepad.
I climbed up and looked inside two of the trucks. One looked like it had gone through the required specialist service, as there was a TV and DVD player in the sleeping cabin, plus a car fridge in the storage locker, while the other one didn’t have any of the new devices. Finally, I looked at one of the 4 tonne trucks, which was new and comfortable. Once back on the ground I smiled and followed the men back to the admin building. Saying farewell to both men I climbed into the back of the waiting limo for the 45-minute drive home.
When I arrived home, I told Gran and Gramps about everything that happened at school and that because the bully’s father was an employee I had a meeting at the business where it was made quite clear that the bullying was to stop. Relieved that I was ok, Gran sent me upstairs to get out of my uniform and to start on my homework, while she continued to prepare dinner.
When I woke up the next morning I was dizzy and had a splitting headache. When I didn’t come to the kitchen for breakfast at the usual time, Gran came looking for me and found me still in bed. When I told her how I felt she gave me some mild pain killers and told me to stay in bed. She said she would inform the school that I would be absent for the day, and I soon drifted off to sleep. When I next woke up I could hear an intermittent beeping noise and on opening my eyes soon realised I was back in hospital.
“Hello, young man. It’s good to see that you have finally woken up,” a nurse sitting in a nearby chair said. She stood up and went out into the hallway for a few moments before returning with a breakfast tray. As I was finishing my breakfast a doctor entered the room and took the clipboard from the end of my bed. He looked at it for a few moments before placing it back. Then he came over to the bedside and taking a mini torch shone it into my eyes twice.
“Hello, Grant. My name is Dr Sutherland. I’m a neurologist at his hospital. When you went to sleep after telling your Gran that you were dizzy and had a bad headache, she called the GP. When he came he couldn’t wake you up, so you were rushed to hospital. You have been unconscious for two weeks. We found a small vessel bleeding in your head, which was giving you the symptoms that you had, but we have corrected that now. You will be staying for a few days more till we are sure you are ok. Then you can go home to rest, but no attending school for at least another week after you get home,” the doctor said, and he smiled and walked out.
About ten minutes later my grandparents came in, and smothered me with hugs and kisses, as they were so pleased that I had woken up from the coma I was in. They told me that when the school found out that I was in a coma because of the incident at school, the Headmaster called the police. Adam Baker was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily harm. As a result of that he was also permanently expelled from the school. Mr Harrington called the day after his son was expelled to say that Mr Baker had resigned from his job at the company, saying he could no longer work there because of the troubles that his son had caused. Also 2 days ago Mr Hills called to inform my grandparents that Adam had attended juvenile court and was found guilty of the charge, and sentenced to juvenile detention for a minimum of 3½ months.
Once all that news was out of the way, my grandparents asked if I should reconsider my education, and instead be home-schooled, so as to stay safe from incidences like I had experienced at school. Then I could concentrate more on the business by cutting out all the travelling time. I told Gran and Gramps that I would consider it, but for now I was really tired and I wanted to get some more sleep. When I finally was able to be released from hospital and go home, I was very happy to be able to get out of bed. I was told that I had to do very little while at home for the next week, until my strength and energy levels had improved.
The next morning after getting home, I went into the study and telephoned Mr Hills to let him know I was out of hospital, and to ask what other news there was of the business. I was informed that all the trucks had now been serviced with the specialist repairers, and the additions all fitted into each truck cabin. A new driver had been employed, and was doing well, plus the amount of work has now dramatically increased with the four smaller trucks, and they may have to consider increasing the number of trucks and drivers, to cope with the demand.
Returning to the lounge room to stretch my legs a bit, I found Gran wiping her eyes. Gramps was sitting beside her trying to comfort her. I sat in a chair opposite and looked at them for a moment, thinking what could possibly have upset her.
“Gran, has all this that has happened to me been upsetting you?” I asked, myself now getting a bit teary.
“No, my Grandson, it’s not that at all. It’s just I miss home a lot more than I thought I would,” she replied.
Over the next few weeks, I thought about what my Gran had said. Every day after school I thought about an idea that was developing in my head till eventually I came to a decision. Picking up the phone I called Mr Hills again, and after a twenty-minute discussion, I hung up the phone with a smile. Walking back into the lounge I saw Gran and Gramps were where I had left them. I sat back down with a big smile on my face.
“Now, Grandson, what have you done or what are you about to do? I know that smile isn’t on your face without a good reason,” Gramps said.
“I have just had a good conversation with Mr Hills, who informs me that my parents had got me a new passport just before the accident, as they had been planning to take a trip to Scotland to see you folks. So now I think it’s time that I use that passport to take you both home to where you belong. I am young and I can adapt to a new start, so I asked Mr Hills to arrange to set up a bank account with the Bank of Scotland, with monthly payments to be placed in it, to cover my schooling and living expenses. And you, my dear Grandparents, are going to return home where you can retire and enjoy your time together and not have to worry about money concerns ever again. This decision is final and there are to be no arguments about it. I am going to Scotland and you two are returning home.”
Gran and Gramps were stunned and lost for words. They didn’t know what to say, so they just stood up and gave me a big hug and started to cry because they were both so happy. I asked Gran and Gramps to tell me about where they come from and what the country was like. For the next hour we had a good chat, and even pulled out the photo album of their home town, Strathpeffer, in the highlands of Scotland. They had lived there all their married life in a small 3-bedroom cottage on the edge of town. They said they sold the cottage before travelling to Australia, so they were not sure where they would live. I assured them that now I knew the town where they had come from, I would look into what properties were for sale. Once back in the study I began my search online to see what was available.
I worked out that it was a 9 ½ hour time difference: it was 4pm here now, so it would be 6.30am there in Scotland. It was still too early to call some real estate agents, so I kept looking and printed out the information sheets on the ones I liked the look of, put them in a folder, labelled the folder and put it in the drawer to deal with later. Next, I looked at airline flight bookings from Australia to London and onto Inverness, and I booked and paid for the flights for 6-week’s time, printing out the booking confirmation forms and adding them to the folder.
After dinner, I helped with loading the dishwasher, then looked at the clock. It was 7.15pm. Quickly I worked out the time difference and decided it was a good time to call. Returning to the study for privacy I looked through the 8 selections again, reading each one closely. I discarded two of them as not really suitable, then picked up the phone to call Scotland.
“Good morning to you. My name is Grant. I am calling from Australia, and I want to enquire about purchasing a home for my grandparents and myself in the village of Strathpeffer,” I said trying really hard to get the pronunciation right. For the next fifteen minutes we discussed the three properties that I had selected, that the real estate agent was dealing with. I asked for additional information plus a floor plan for each of the properties.
I repeated the same process with two more real estate agents until I had all the information I needed being forwarded to me via email. Over the next few mornings I went straight to the study to check my emails. By the end of the week I had received three replies from Scotland. I opened each document and printed them out and placed them in the folder, and headed into the kitchen for breakfast, placing the folder to one side of Gramps for him to look at.
“My word you have been busy, and so quickly too,” Gramps said after looking inside the folder. He carefully looked at each one of the properties. When he got to the last two pages and saw they were flight bookings, he looked a bit shocked and smiled, handing the two sheets to Gran to read.
“Home in 6-week’s time! Oh, that’s wonderful! But we have so much to do in that time,” Gran said.
“Don’t worry about a thing. I have everything planned and all you have to do is pack your own luggage. Go see what I showed Gramps. See what you like the look of,” I said to Gran with a smile.
After Gran had seen all 6 house listings, she looked at me sweetly. “Grandson, these are all wonderful places, and we know all of these properties. Some of them we have been inside of as dinner guests. But they all cost too much,” Gran said.
“Not to worry, Gran. I have spoken to Mr Hills and I could afford to buy all six of those properties and still have lots of change. The one I like the most and which I think would be the more ideal is the Beauly Cottage. It has 3 bedrooms, study, conservatory, lounge and formal dining room, plus a potting shed, and a 1 ½ acre garden,” I said hoping they would agree.
“Yes, I remember that place. Been there for an open garden Devonshire tea. It was very nice inside and out. I think you might be on the right track with that one,” Gramps said, and I was glad with the response. After a lot of phone calls and emails, I had Mr Hills make an offer on Beauly Cottage, which was accepted.
The house which had been my home all my life was on the market and had a lot of interest from prospective buyers. We arranged for a company to pack and store everything, except what we wanted freighted to Scotland right away. Finally, the day came to fly to Scotland. The British Airways flight was a direct flight to London, and after a 6-hour stopover in London, we would catch a connecting flight to Inverness.
When we arrived at the airport, we checked in with our passports and tickets in hand, and were directed to the 1st class lounge upstairs. Unknown to my grandparents I had booked and paid for three 1st class tickets to London, so they could have a comfortable flight without getting too cramped. They were totally surprised and told me off for spending so much.
“Gran & Gramps, this is a new start for me, a new life, and I wanted to have something special to mark it, so that’s why we are travelling 1st class,” I said with a big smile.
Copyright February 2018, Preston Wigglesworth, All Rights are Reserved