The second auction was so much more stressful than the first. Julie and Damon waited inside in separate bedrooms, each with their own group of supporters and tried not to listen to the action outside. There was a large crowd outside made up of many of the people who’d come to the first auction, along with a few new bidders and lots of neighbours. The neighbours had been slightly interested in the first auction, but when it had been sold for such a large amount above the reserve, interest had increased.
Julie paced, holding her takeaway coffee. Her friends sat silently around her. Her jaw clenched, she occasionally took a sip, but the taste was repulsing her. She was still furious that the winning bidder had turned out to be a fraud. She almost started the conversation up again, but it never changed. The end result had been that they had to sell again, and Damon had insisted on another auction. She’d tried to fight it, but she was so tired of fighting with him. It was like their whole marriage had been a series of fights, getting more and more serious, and coming close to violence by the end. She heard laughter from the other room, and forced herself to sit on the couch next to Jen. Jen rubbed her back and said nothing.
Damon’s mate Jim had brought a slab. Craig brought chips and Steve had a bottle of champagne in an esky bag. They figured however today ended, surely it would all be over. Damon cracked open his second beer, as Jim told the story of how his housemate had stuffed up his latest money making scheme because he’d miscalculated the conversion rate of the Australian dollar into yen and now they had a garage full of very expensive and ugly pogo sticks.
The voice came through the window of the two rooms. “Going, once, twice… and we have another…” They’d spoken to the auctioneer. Once they passed reserve, he was to go as high as he could, no further discussion required, but just make bloody sure it was a real buyer. “…and sold! Congratulations!”
It took ten minutes for the auctioneer to come into the house. Damon and Julie went to meet him away from their friends, as discussed. He had taken the buyers straight through to the lounge room, and stood with Damon and Julie in the hall. He spoke quietly, and told them the final amount. Damon stifled a laugh, and Julie’s eyes filled with tears. It was well over the last auction amount.
Two hours later, the new buyers left, documents signed, all above board. The auctioneer shook their hands, and Damon and Julie went to meet their friends outside. They stopped at the door and looked at each other.
“Well, that’s it then.”
Julie looked into Damon’s eyes.
“I am sorry.”
The paused for a moment, shared an awkward hug, and left the house for the last time.