She smiled at me. I smiled back. I was starting to like our newfound camaraderie.
“Come on,” she said, beckoning for me to come with her. “Let’s go down the real estate office. I’ll drive.”
I told Leah that I would be leaving and wasn’t sure when I would be back. We left, taking Tammy’s SUV. She drove like a bat out of hell, even running a couple of red lights to get there. I was sure that we were either going to be pulled over or be killed. When we finally got to the real estate office, she barely put the car in park before jumping out and running into the building. I followed closely behind her.
I heard Tammy talking to the real estate broker.
“The investor is here…” he said. There was a man sitting in the office already.
My heart sank when I realized who it was.
It was my ex, Jim. I was disgusted to see him. I could tell by the look of disdain on Tammy’s face that she was equally, if not more disgusted.
“What are you doing here?” spat Tammy.
“What does it look like?” said Jim, still as smug as ever. “I’m buying a new property to demolish.”
He smiled like he knew that he was trying to destroy our dreams. The smug look on his face made me even more determined to buy the building.
“I have my savings,” I said. “It’s well over $50,000. I would be happy to offer that as a payment for the building.”
“Me, too,” said Tammy. I have $35,000 that I can pay for the building. With our money together…”
“You still wouldn’t have enough money to outbid me,” said Jim. “$110,000 is still good, right Bill?”
“Uh, yeah,” said the real estate broker. “That will be fine.”
“Okay, well send my office the appropriate paper work and I’ll be in to finalize things in a couple of weeks.”
He tipped his hat at Tammy and I and walked out the door.
“Ugh, I can’t believe it!” I cried once he had left. “Can you believe that of all people who could be here trying to steal our dreams, it would be him?”
“Honestly, I’m really not surprised,” she said softly. “He always was a buzz kill. He never had any real dreams of his own, so I’m not surprised to see him trying to destroy the dreams and goals of others.”
I shouldn’t have been surprised, either. The way that he had emotionally and physically abused me should have told me everything that I needed to know. He was a horrible man when we were together and, from the looks of it, he had turned into an even worse man as he had gotten older. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach.
“Can you give us more time to come up with the money?” Tammy asked the broker desperately. “I mean, I know it’s a shot in the dark and Jim already has your money, but would you consider giving us some time to come up with the money before you sell it to him?”
The room was silent as the broker looked at me, and then at Tammy and then back at me. He looked torn between a solid sale and taking a chance on us.
But, I was terrified of losing the building. I knew that it was my chance to expand my business and I wanted to take it.
“I can give you two weeks,” said the broker. “But, that’s it. If he comes in with the money before that or you can’t come up with enough, I’ll have no choice but to sell it to him. I have bills to pay, you know.”
“We know,” I said, shaking his hand profusely. “Thank you for giving us a chance.”
“It’s fine,” he said. “To be honest, I really want to sell it to you ladies rather than to him. He seems like a real asshole. Plus, I would rather see the building being put to good use. It’s part of our town’s history that I would hate to see destroyed.”
“Me, too,” said Tammy, nodding at me as if she was signaling that was time to leave.
We left feeling a little hopeful.
But, we still had to figure out how we were going to come up with the rest of the money.
We drove back to my bakery in silence. We were both still reeling from the events of the past couple of hours.
“Let’s stop at the bakery and game plan,” I said. “We have to come up with a way to raise money.”
“Okay,” said Tammy. “Let’s grab some lunch and I’ll let my employees know that I will be out of the building for the day.”
We grabbed some burgers at a drive thru and went back to my office at the bakery.
“So, what should we do?” I asked, folding my hands in a tent in front of me. “What can we do to come up with the rest of the money?”