TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
HIDING THE ELEPHANT – Chapter 47
Another two silent human shapes go past the door, taking no notice of her.
Emma straightens herself slowly, dips her hands into the tank again, presses them cold and wet on the sides of her neck, then on her temples. Then she dips another towel inside and takes it to her patient. There’s some comfort in looking after him. Like a trade-off.
She doesn’t even turn her head when yet another climber makes it through the window.
‘Good job I’ve done my keep-fit, isn’t it. This climb isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Twice in one night is over and above, to my way of thinking.’ Once inside, Debbie Jones takes off her dark headgear. In the moonlight, her hair looks like a mass of scrunched, silvery metal wire. ‘I’m meant to look after you. The fun’s about to start.’
‘Simon can get hurt,’ Emma objects mechanically.
‘The Boss will get hurt if we don’t do something soon,’ says Debbie calmly. ‘Dancer’s running out of steam.’ She walks over to the bed and puts on the bedside light.
‘Is that wise? The reflection can be seen on the grass.’ Emma’s confidence in this operation went with that stretcher. It tore the thin fabric of the cocoon she’s created for herself up here in this dark womb of lure and lore.
‘Don’t worry about that, love. How’s your patient doing?’
‘He’ll live.’ Emma wants to see this out without onlookers. Bloody hell, the last thing she needs now is to have to put on a brave face for an audience. ‘Nothing’s going to happen here, in this room. Your talents could be better employed someplace else in this operation.’
LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS – Chapter 47
Dr. Bennett closed and locked the door to his study. The precaution aimed against casual intrusion. Even if someone had seen him going in, they would have been hardly likely to take much notice of him or wander what he was up to. Their host may have been spending unholy amounts of money each year for their pleasure and entertainment, but he himself had never figured in either in any way. For ten years now he’d been making sure to greet everyone individually on arrival and wish them a safe journey home on departure. In the meantime, he’d be careful never to impose himself on someone for longer than five or ten minutes, keep the conversation strictly limited to inquiries about their comfort and needs, except for smiling at the jokes and saying things as Very droll, Very amusing and How interesting when required.
Only about a week or so ago he had still considered the situation more of a challenge than a threat. With his skill in handling the tricky and the complex on a daily basis he quite naturally expected to find a solution at an acceptable price. A negotiated outcome. He still believed he could achieve the impossible.
But not any longer. The events had overtaken him, the were running away with him and there was damn all he could do.
After the lunch with Simon Hamilton Grant and a brief and pleasant chat with the hotel marketing manager about the dates and costs of an arts exhibition, he drove to Osney. It had been a long time since he visited the cemetery that contained an ever-increasing number of Lostao Crespos. The last time he’d been there was to attend Tita Inez’s funeral, only three months after her brother’s. Someone else must have taken over the care of the graves after Sara had left. They were kept neat and tidy. Deep purple and yellow pansies and small rose bushes thrived under the wayward shade of two ancient weeping willows.
Margot’s headstone was in the shape of the Virgin Mary with child sculpted out of white stone. Tito’s and Rosita’s choice, Gordon’s money.
He didn’t know what he came to the cemetery for. There’s never been anything for him here. He filled the vase made of heavy blue plastic with water from the nearby communal tap and arranged the yellow tulips in it the best he knew how. The vase was a little too tall and only the tips of the sword-like leaves were showing above the rim. He next removed a few leaves from the marble top and the white gravel that formed a path around the grave, wrapped them into the paper the flowers had come in and took it to the wire rubbish basket next to the tap. Back at the grave, he was at a loss. It felt appropriate to take his hat off but the small, narrow wooden bench that served both Margot and Inez was fully in the sun and his shoes were not made for long periods of walking or standing. In fact, his feet have never been designed for long periods of exertion. He compromised by taking his hat off while he said Our Father, the only prayer he knew all the words to, under the shade of the willows, then replaced it and walked around to the bench.