TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
Hiding the Elephant – Chapter 13
‘Keep away from it, Emma. It’s not safe.’ Simon was looking at her with his eyes rapt, serious, greyer than usual. That was last Tuesday afternoon. Only five days ago. Five days and a lifetime ago.
‘Don’t patronise me, Simon. I’m a big girl now. Besides, you asked me yourself. In the car…’. Mentioning the car was a mistake. She changed course quickly. ‘I hear things you don’t. Do you want me to tell you or not?’
He took her to the chippy down the road from the incident room. It had a dining room at the back, deserted at nearly three o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon. Emma didn’t even know the place existed, but the young man greeted Simon with restrained friendship.
‘I was about to close, but as it’s you…’
He brought the coffee in fine, gold rimmed white china on a crafted wooden tray. It smelled like real coffee, submerging the oily vapours wafting from the kitchen.
‘My wife’s. She’s French,’ he explained solemnly.
‘The winds of change…’ Simon laughed quietly into her ear as soon as the door closed, and she joined him, thinking of what Father would have to say to French coffee and French women in an English chip shop, and that these days Simon was the only person that she could have a laugh with. Their fingers touched as they passed the milk to each other and again as they wondered over the exquisite silver spoon in the bowl of sparkling crystals of brown sugar.
‘I attended the Tuesday Lunch Club at the Women’s Centre today.’
‘Hey, don’t be such a male chauvinist pig. The theme of the day was meant to be the benefits and dangers of dieting, but in view of the recent event, it was changed to self defence for women. So, effectively, I was redundant. Apparently, they asked Debbie Jones to come and talk to them about that, but she wasn’t available at such a short notice.’ Emma paused, waiting for confirmation.
‘Debs dashed off to theLake Districtthis morning.’
Even when the coffee serving ritual was over, their hands were slow to part.
Lock Up Your Daughters – Chapter 13
‘Oh, don’t mind me,’ Simon offered quickly. ‘I’m only a humble policeman. I don’t tell tales out of school.’ Better to get that one out in the open. People like to know where they stand.
Fred swirled around and hit the gong in the same sweep. ‘Listen, everyone.’
The voices froze up instantly.
‘Our new friend,’ Fred pointed at Simon with the mallet, ‘is a policeman. I just thought you’d like to know. I trust there will be no family silver going missing from here tonight.’ He lifted his eyebrows comically and was rewarded with a reluctant giggle.
‘No lock-in tonight, then?’ asked a female voice from the back.
All the eyes were on him. Simon lifted his left arm. ‘I’m on leave.’ Ceremoniously, with the pedantic yet deft movements of a magician, he unfastened his watch from his wrist with his right hand, secreted it into his palm and pushed the hand into his coat pocket. When he brought it up again he panned it fully outstretched, the fingers bending slightly backwards, from one side of the room slowly to the other, to show it was empty. ‘Just like that! Impressive or what?!’
Pippa led the applause.
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