Walking along the balcony, Elena almost fell through.
– Anton, when did you promise to make repairs here? Am I supposed to be afraid to come out here now?
Scratching the back of his head, the husband got off the TV and answered:
– Honey, we just recently bought this apartment, let’s take our time. I still need to buy building materials, and the money, as you know, is not rubber. If you haven’t forgotten, you ordered expensive cosmetics last week.
Making a displeased face, Elena replied:
– Well, of course, it turns out that only money goes to me. It seems like you don’t spend it. Yes, how many spare parts were bought for your car, come on, remember?
Smiling in response, the husband found something to say:
– By the way, you ride it too. And you take the car when I need it. So think about it, who uses it the most?
Waving her hand at him, his wife grumbled angrily:
– There are always some excuses, as if I need it, and the rest don’t care.
The son ran out of the room at the noise:
– Mom, Dad, what are you fighting about? I have homework to do, but I can’t, because I’m distracted by your quarrel.
Stroking his head, Elena quietly replied:
– Yes, no, Mishenka, your dad and I are just figuring out who will put everything in order on the balcony.
The son also wondered why his mother suddenly clung to the balcony, and he squeezed forward to assess the degree of her indignation. Shaking his head, Misha spoke out:
– Well, Dad, everything really needs to be redone here, if you want, then I’ll help you.
Taking a deep breath, Anton said:
– No, son, since mom started to bother me, then we will change the floor together with her. And you go and do your homework, there’s nothing to chill. I’ll check my homework later, and if I find any blemishes, you’ll rewrite it.
The son bowed his head sadly and went back into the room. Looking at her husband, Elena shook her finger at him:
– Stop brainwashing him, he’s already doing well in school. Do you remember yourself, did you devote a lot of time to lessons?
You can’t argue with this: Anton has not forgotten how they skipped classes at school, and forgot their diaries at home, and a lot of other things, it just becomes a shame. But, those were other times, and studying was somehow easy, and now you cling to this granite of science with your teeth and you don’t know how to figure it out. The program that Anton was watching on TV is over:
– That’s all, and you were more indignant. Tomorrow, after work, I’ll stop by Petka’s and arrange with him about building materials. But keep in mind that you will have to save money now, otherwise there will not be enough for repairs.
After these words, Elena’s indignation faded into the background:
– I would have said so right away, otherwise I started counting who and how much each of us spends. You should have added more food and travel here, the arithmetic accountant. Okay, go to the Bear and call for dinner, otherwise you don’t give him a pass, as if you want to raise a child prodigy. And if you check your homework, then don’t be too fierce there, if you did something wrong, then he will fix it. Anton, you should know that now the knowledge is not what it used to be. Here, in our time, higher education was valued, but now it’s nothing but a puff.
The husband did not argue with this, because the wife, to a certain extent, was right and did not deceive at all. Looking into his son’s room, Anton asked:
– Well, Mishka, are you hungry? Give me my hands and to the table, then you will finish your lessons. And this, do not pay attention to the fact that I grumble sometimes, I also, at one time, had to listen from my parents. But, on the other hand, your father grew up to be a responsible and purposeful person. So I want the same future for you.
Nodding in response, the son said:
– I understand, Dad, you don’t have to worry, I’m doing fine with my studies.
They no longer discussed their son’s successes at the table, but repairs on the balcony turned out to be a burning topic. It looked like Elena wasn’t going to back down.
– Don’t forget to find out about the materials tomorrow. I’m asking you, Anton, don’t delay. I still have to use the balcony, and I’m already afraid to break my leg there. In vain we initially did not check everything when we bought this apartment. Oh, yes, you were in a hurry, you thought there would be no better options.
The ironic smile slightly upset Anton.
– I think I’ll go to the garage, at least there I’ll rest from your whining.
Elena did not take offense at this and only jokingly remarked:
– Well, come on, you’ll come running back in half an hour anyway.
She knew her husband very well, and if she said that his trip to the garage would not last long, then that was it. Anton, in turn, did not say anything at all and left the apartment in a thoughtful state. But, this time he wasn’t going to cook alone in the garage. Having dialed Ivan’s number, Anton shouted directly into the phone:
– Put your hands on your feet and blow to me! Yes, the same place, because I only feel complete freedom there.
An hour later, Anton was no longer suffering in proud solitude.
– And after all, he does not know what to do first and what to do later, and still climbs where he is not asked. I don’t know how to find a common language with her. Before that, everything was fine, but as soon as we bought an apartment, it was as if it had been replaced. What do you think, Vanya, what do I need to prepare for?
Looking him straight in the eye, he replied:
– Come on, it’s just your nerves. I am always on pins and needles when I start repairs, it has never been calmly passed. Take, for example, my Valentina, so your wife wasn’t standing next to her, you were still very lucky.
Grinning, Anton replied:
– Thank you, you made friends, and I thought you would support me. Okay, that’s not what we’re talking about now: it’s better to tell me where I can get building materials cheaper. I told Lenka that I would try it through Petka, but you yourself know that he is greedy as a pig, you will not beg for snow in winter.
Ivan scratched his nose and said:
– I think there is one option: my father-in-law works as a construction foreman. Here, through him we will get you everything you want.
Understanding his hint, Anton pulled out his wallet from his pocket:
– How much do you need? I’m not such a miser as Petka, you can be sure of that.
In response, Ivan frowned and put his hand to his throat:
– Let’s start with liquid currency, and then we’ll see. In short, I will persuade my father-in-law to give the green light. Then we’ll settle up, if you don’t forget.
Anton shook his hand firmly and immediately pulled out a glass container filled with a reddish liquid from a secret drawer:
– Will such an advance do? Don’t worry, I guarantee high quality.
However, Ivan did not believe the word and before drinking, he sniffed the contents several times.
– Wow, a good aroma, I hope, and the taste is not worse.
After filling the glass half full, he drained it in one gulp. Anton, ready for such a turn, immediately slipped a lightly salted cucumber.
– Why, there are fortresses there, like in the millstones of a fiery furnace.
Ivan took a bite and said:
– I appreciate the quality, I haven’t tried the best yet. So you’re saying that the wife wants to change the floor on the balcony? And why did she cling to him, do you have nothing else to repair in your apartment?
Shrugging his shoulders, Anton replied:
– Yes, in principle, I’ve already done everything in small things, but with the balcony I can’t decide what to lay there. I want it to be warm in winter, so I need a good insulation and electric heating. By the way, it’s good that your father-in-law works at a construction site. We will get mineral wool through it, and even better, if with plates, it will turn out faster. You see, I might not have touched the balcony if I hadn’t tripped there myself. It feels like the concrete base is crumbling and the boards are swollen.
Ivan got so fat after drinking that he offered his version:
– Maybe it’s not concrete crumbling there? Suddenly there is emptiness under the floor and the boards are playing from walking?
Anton tilted his head to the side and answered slowly:
– Everything is possible, this option cannot be ruled out either. But it will be better if the whole thing costs the least. In general, we agreed with you, as soon as the father-in-law gives the go-ahead, we immediately transport building materials to your yard.
Unlike Anton, Ivan lived in his own house and it was easier for him to organize the storage of property.
The gatherings ended closer to night and only after Anton saw off his friend, he himself began to get ready to go home. The half hour that Elena had given him was long gone. And I had to come up with something to justify myself, so as not to run into the righteous anger of my wife. Anton thought about it and decided that freedom in money would smooth out all the sharp corners.
Once in the apartment, he first of all and without a twinge of conscience offered his wife a trip to a beauty salon. It is unclear how, but his words worked magically, and Elena changed her anger to mercy:
– Okay, this time you are forgiven, but keep in mind that there will be no more such indulgences. By the way, did you call your Petka, everything is still in force, nothing is canceled?
Anton gathered all his willpower into a fist so as not to let it slip:
– Of course, dear, I have already decided everything, the day after tomorrow I will start dismantling this old floor and you will help me with this.
Elena was so happy that she forgave her husband not only going to the garage, but also the smell of excessive feasting. Whatever you say, women know how to keep peace and tranquility in the family. And if a storm or thunderstorm is coming somewhere, then they are no worse than forecasters promise suddenly excellent weather.
That night Anton was completely rehabilitated. But in the morning, like a wound-up bee, he rushed off to work without even having breakfast. Waving goodbye to him, Elena said softly:
– Well, okay, I’ll get more.
Anton was lucky, and a day later Ivan’s father-in-law allowed them to pick up materials from the warehouse. But the friend turned out to be such a petty person that he took some boards for himself.
– And what, everything will come in handy on the farm, not now, so I’ll use it somewhere later. What you’re looking at, brother, is the economy and don’t clap your eyes here. Who knows, suddenly I will decide to build a gazebo or expand the house, and my father-in-law is working at a construction site today, and tomorrow they drove him and that’s it, the shop will close.
That’s what he said correctly, and Anton could not disagree with him. Having pleased his wife that repairs would begin soon, he called the boss and asked him for two days off. At first, he did not want to give them, but after listening to his pitiful story about life with his wife, he let out a stingy man’s tear. Anton had no doubt that the boss would meet him halfway:
– Thank you, Egor Petrovich, I will never forget this. And if you need to cover your rear, I’m at your disposal at any time.
Taking note of his promise, the boss replied:
– Okay, what you won’t do for a good employee, but I’ll remember your promises.
This evening Anton had a real holiday: his wife did not bother with questions, his son did not let him down with his studies, and besides, updates on the balcony were supposed to start in the morning. Inspired by the fact that he organized everything so technically, Anton again allowed himself a little drink. But he was careful of large doses, fearing that his wife would not approve of it. However, Elena, surprisingly, was supportive of his antics. At the same time, she strictly watched that her husband did not cross the boundaries.
The next day, only the first ray of the sun broke through the window, and Ivan was already honking near the house. He brought boards and other building materials:
– Take it soon, or I’ll take it back, as you understand, everything will be useful to me in the household. And here’s the thing, if you need my help, you can count on it. However, not for the whole day, I still have to go to my father-in-law and mother-in-law to the country. They, you see, started the roof on the bathhouse to be rebuilt. You’re not the only one at work, they also have more things to do, well, in general, you get it.
Slowly, they moved some of the boards to the entrance, and the smaller ones were carefully dragged into the apartment. Elena, in her naivety, wanted to pay off Ivan by taking out her purse, but her husband immediately stopped this matter. Looking at her, he said menacingly:
– What are you, this is not a store for you, friendship is not for sale. Today he helped me, and tomorrow I will do him some service.
Elena nodded in agreement:
– Well, of course, how do I know what a man’s friendship is.
None of them reacted to this, and they continued to drag the boards. Half an hour later, it was all over.
– Okay, I went, Anton, it’s a pity that he refused my help.
Waving his hand at him, he replied:
– Yes, and thank you for not letting me down with the materials. I would have searched for a long time, but so quickly and most importantly cheap.
And as soon as Ivan left, his wife immediately pounced with questions:
– What do you mean, you said that you would turn to Petka? Didn’t he agree to help?
Anton led her to the balcony and said:
– What difference does it make who brought us the building materials? Does it matter if it’s Petka or Ivan? By the way, Vanka responded faster, and we agreed on the price. In general, let’s talk less, do more. Look, let’s start from this edge, so it’s easier to take out the trash.
The work for today consisted of dismantling, it was necessary to disassemble the old floor and clean the bottom from debris and dust. Anton started from the far side, but Elena remained at the entrance, wielding a special device. Suddenly, the couple stopped, as if they had run out of desire to repair. After exchanging glances, they carefully lifted the boards that they had managed to remove and immediately recoiled in horror, clutching their heads. Elena even shook when she saw a metal box inside. Carefully examining the find, Anton also did not quite understand how this object ended up here. I had to tear out the rest of the boards so that the box would be free. The couple’s eyes burned so that they could light a torch from them. Soon the son appeared on the balcony. He also took part in the liberation of the metal box from captivity.
Finally, when the find gave up, they decided to open it. But, unfortunately, they needed a key, which none of them had. And then Anton, with the help of a tire iron and a sledgehammer, opened access to the contents of the box. What was their condition when old books were found inside, as well as several pairs of wristwatches, but, however, with an engraving and, it seems, in a gold frame. Anton did not pay attention to the books, but immediately pulled out a watch from the drawer. His son acted a little differently: he took one of the books and went into the hall. The couple looked at each other and decided that he had a craving for reading. But no, literally ten minutes later, the son loudly exclaimed holding the book in his hands:
– Mom, Dad, you and I are rich, this folio is worth a lot of money. I just went through the collectors’ auctions and quickly got my bearings in the price.
Putting her hand to her forehead, Elena said thoughtfully:
– And I was wondering why Lev Sergeyevich, the former owner of this apartment, was called an antique dealer. It seemed to me then that it was some kind of nickname, like the one given to criminal people. But it looks like the antique dealer left us a gift or forgot to take it with him.
At first, it was somehow uncomfortable with such a find, the couple were afraid that the owner would return for his goods. However, no one called or came, so it was decided to sell the rarities, especially since none of them were going to create a library in the house.
But soon they were overtaken by another unexpected surprise, which put the final end to this matter.
The son, as promised, helped his parents to reach the buyers. They offered a good price for the old books. But what was their surprise when the former owner of the apartment came to the meeting. Lev Sergeyevich happily patted Anton and Elena on the shoulders and said:
– You won’t believe it, but I have already come to terms with the fact that I have lost this rare specimen from my collection forever. As for the balcony, it could not have occurred to me to hide something there.
Later it turned out that one of the antiquarian’s old friends decided to profit from his collection. During the renovation of the apartment, she secretly stole everything from Lev Sergeyevich’s collection that she managed to take and securely hid in a drawer, which she placed on the balcony, covering with boards. The thief made sure that the cache did not catch the builders’ eyes and, having made sure of its complete safety, prepared evidence of theft among the workers. She managed to cover her tracks and the antique dealer’s apartment itself was already on the line of theft. But by the way, the thief’s insidious plans did not come true, because unforeseen circumstances happened in her life. After inspecting the repairs that had begun, Lev Sergeyevich promised to fully compensate him, moreover, he paid for sea tickets to the whole family. As they say, someone else’s good has never brought happiness to anyone. Elena and Anton decided that it would be fair, because they still got at least something. After these events, on a wave of emotions, my wife offered to update the entire apartment. But Anton understood her plan and cut off any attempts to find another treasure in the bud. He was well aware that there were no more hiding places in the apartment. And if you don’t stop now, then you can generally, the devil knows what to get to.
Repairs on the balcony were soon completed, by the way, Anton did not even tell Ivan about the find. After all, if he found out that he was not specifically taken to help, he would be outraged at what the light is worth. They decided to keep the secret of the metal box behind seven locks. Thanking them for their resourcefulness and unexpected ingenuity, the former owner of the apartment disappeared as suddenly as he appeared.