TWO SIMON GRANT MYSTERIES
HIDING THE ELEPHANT – Chapter 42
Saturday night. The night after the Friday night. And after Saturday morning.
The meal was delicious. Emma was grateful that Mandy’s Pantry provided detailed menu cards for she wouldn’t have had a clue what each of the dishes was called or what went into it. Graham, Julian’s boyfriend, made it his business to exclaim over each plate, admire the colours and absorb the smells, then move the food around his mouth as wine connoisseurs mull the wine, detecting each herb and spice separately.
‘Graham’s in his element,’ said Julian. ‘I’m more of a fish and chips man myself.’
‘Would you believe it?! I had to drag him over. Literally,’ Pippa was repeating from time to time to no one in particular. She had said the same thing twice before at the door when they first arrived, shaking her head at Simon who stood behind her and actually looked dragged over.
‘You’re glad you came now, aren’t you, the love of my life?’ she made an uncertain attempt to sit on Simon’s knee on her way back from the toilet, but abandoned the idea in favour of another glass of wine.
Emma made it easier for him to answer by removing herself from the table. She carried the used starter plates back into their tissue-lined wicker baskets. It was such fun, the crockery Mandy’s Pantry had sent. The colours and shapes matched the food. The small sounds of crinkled paper and the clink of cutlery muffled Simon’s voice. He wasn’t talking very much anyway.
‘They won’t stay long, will they?’ Phil materialised noiselessly behind her. He whispered something inaudible into her ear and licked it with the tip of his tongue. ‘We could have done without them tonight.’ His right hand squeezed her breast and as he leaned forward towards the wine rack his hardness pressed in between her buttocks once, then again and again.
‘Down, boy! Down!’ she objected and pushed him away. Her cheeks were burning. Two thoughts flashed through her mind at exactly the same time. One, how lucky it was that Simon was sitting with his back to the sideboard. The other, that this new antiperspirant she’d used didn’t live up to the adverts.
LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS – Chapter 42
The last thing he’d expected was to find Pippa peering through the window into the intensive care ward. She wore a simple blue T-shirt and jeans, and there was a long-handled bag he didn’t recognise hanging off her shoulder. The short, honey coloured hair looked freshly washed, the wisps flying in all directions as she turned her head to inspect another end of the ward.
Unaware that she was watched, she looked very still, deeply absorbed and painfully young. There was none of the thirty-four years old poise about her. The corridor was too dark to tell from a distance if her always carefully, skilfully applied makeup was in place.
‘I thought I might find you here,’ she said softly when he walked up. ‘Why?’
‘I’ve been hoping to get something more than ‘holding her own’ from that lot,’ he pointed at a male nurse inside who was filling in the bed chart.
‘Why did she ask for you, I mean?’ Pippa wasn’t looking at him, but wasn’t looking at the bed either. ‘Why you? They phoned, a DI phoned last night and said you were desperately needed. Why? Hasn’t she got a boyfriend? Or family? How come you’re the closest she’s got?’
Absurdly, that wasn’t that far off the truth. Except for perhaps Matthew, or maybe the child Melissa, there was no one Debbie would have asked for. She’d learned never to count on Tibb. Matthew was for fun, Melissa a responsibility rather than comfort. And that left only himself.
‘She didn’t,’ he said flatly. ‘Debbie’s never asked for anyone. She hasn’t regained consciousness at all. Rav Singh, the DI who phoned home, was just passing a message from the Chief Super. He wants me to head this…’ He stopped and tried intercepting a tall, dangly, elderly man in a khaki coloured coat before he disappeared behind the double door. ‘What can you tell me…’
‘Nothing at all,’ said the man curtly. ‘I collect the urine samples.’
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