Thanks to God who inspired me to write this book. Thanks to everyone that has helped during the creation of this project, the list is endless, its never easy concentrating to write a book and the support has been overwhelming. Much appreciation is given to the feedback that this book receives. Thanks to those that encouraged during the journey making it seem a lot more accomplishable than first thought, your encouragement has paid off. Many thanks also to those that helped in the making of the book it's always helpful to have the input and support of people such as yourselves, it makes life slightly easier. Commendation goes out to the hard work that went into end product of the book and those that are responsible for its distribution. Thanks also to the readers who have shown interest in the book.
Richard looked at his watch, five forty five, it was still early. He reached into his back pocket pulled out his key and opened the door, Spencer came bounding forward leaping at him with too much excitement and joy leaving an unwanted trail of dog hair on his jacket.
"Down boy" he said, exhausted from the day he took off his jacket, dusted it off and hung it by the stairs.
It would be a couple of hours before Alex got back and Joanna had acting classes which meant he could have the house to himself for a couple of hours before it got noisy again. There was only Richard Jr left, his eldest child eighteen, named after himself Richard in the hope that he would one day turn out to be a successful and hardworking attorney. Richard Jr was the exact opposite, he preferred computers and playing sports rather than any sort of academia. He dumped his briefcase on the table and made his way to the fridge where a ready made meal laid waiting there ready to be heated up, it was shepherds pie, Richard's favourite he popped it in the oven and made his way to the coach.
At around six o'clock the door opened again and Richard sat up from the coach to see his son step through the door looking burnt and exhausted from the sun. It was summer and the days were getting hotter.
"Where's mom?" Richard Jr said as he walked through the hallway.
"Why what happened?" Richard replied.
"Nothing." Richard Jr replied.
"So you walk through the door not even a hello or how was your day Dad?" Richard said with an element of surprise.
He paused for a bit and sat back down.
"Son is there anything you're not telling me?" he asked.
"No I'm fine, everything's ok."
Richard knew when his son was lying and Richard Jr knew his father knew when he was lying but they both dismissed the awkward moment anyway.
"Did you manage to enrol on that course I was telling you about last week?" he asked.
Richard Jr reached into his bag and pulled out the management textbook.
"I already told you dad I'm not interested in that stuff, I picked this up after school from the careers department before practice but I haven't even looked at yet."
His eyes remained glued to his ipad, with the television glaring
in the background it was a surprise how he could stay so
connected with this thing, half hearted answers were given as his
mind remained in his own world of media.
It was Wednesday so Alex would be eating out most likely with her colleagues at the centre but she must have returned earlier at lunch to cook the meal. Richard expected her anytime soon, it was getting late but he lay awake focused on his laptop trying to get through his cases for the day. He didn't like bringing his office work home but sometimes he just had to, when the load got too heavy, he had recently taken on case, a client who seemed to have a lot at stake. He was forbidden to share certain things with anyone. He continued rapping away on the laptop keyboard gathering notes on this particular client. He preferred it when clients were open and honest with him, it made things easier. After two weeks of briefing he didn't have much except for what he had been given from the firm and from the meetings he had had personally with the client.
Alex walked in to find Richard Jr with the management textbook in his hands.
"Richie! nice to see your showing
interest in your Career" Alex paused a little, looked at Richard in disbelief and then looked at her husband and knew immediately that he had something to do with this.
Later on that night Richard lay next to his wife.
"I've tried - I've tried to get him interested but he just won't have any of it." he said.
"Don't worry about him, give him a chance to grow, plus you already have so much on your plate already." Alex said.
Richard sighed and switched of his bedside lamp. Alex did the same. Within minutes they were both asleep.
Alex put on her protective gloves and reached for the pipette. She lay out the filter paper released 1mm of the deceased blood on the overhead projector and zoomed in to see what she could see - a few prints, minor evidence of blood clotting, no evidence of mal practice, it seemed like the victim had died a natural death. She likened herself to Jane Addams when she was at work she saw her work
as something which served the greater good. She had studied Sociology and biology at University to be a criminologist and now she was here she excited but not as happy as she thought she would be when she was studying, She knew there was more to life, she knew there was more she could achieve and that identifying the criminal and helping them before they acted or committed the crime in the first place was a gift that few people had - she believed she possessed it.
Richard stepped into his office, his desk was piled with files
which consisted of about ten cases, he had seen only two clients
all week and he knew for the first time in a while he was behind,
how on earth would he manage to get through this workload,
his daughter was ill, Alex was pressuring him and now the investigation was taking place at full throttle, his colleagues had their eyes on him and knew his time was nearly up.
In all his years at this firm he had never seen anything like this and thought that if this could go wrong now then he had to fix it without Alex knowing. Sitting in the Brighton branch reception at Brack and Brack Richard excused himself and, concluded that she didn't have to know everything he was getting up to, he was not a child anymore, and she was not his mother, he dismissed the idea of getting Alex fully involved.
Richard returned to his car to find a parking ticket, the day wasn't getting any better. He got into the car, left the parking lot and took the M25 back down to London. Despite what had happened it was a warm evening and the sun was setting nicely into the horizon, he thought whether he should stop by at the firm before he went home, but why should he, he had had a long day and needed to rest, tomorrow was another day. He would wake up bright and early and treat himself to a hot light breakfast and coffee at star bucks before he went into work, he felt that he deserved it.
When the Bell rang at three o'clock everybody began to flood the hallway, the sound was unbearable. Mr Taylor managed to raise his voice above the class who had now begun their own conversations.
"Quite for a moment please!" everybody paused.
"I'd like to see a few people please before you leave."
Joanna was asked to stay back along with a few other classmates, once the other classmates had gone, it was time for Joanna, Mr Taylor looked at her with a puzzled face, Sit down he said.
"Is everything Ok Mr Taylor?" She asked.
"I was about to ask you the same question," he said,
"I have looked at your reports and although they seem good they are not the best and not what I usually expect of you. Is there anything you want to talk to me or tell me about or are you ok?"
"Yes I'm fine."
"Well its not reflecting in your grades at the moment." he replied. "Don't be afraid to speak to me if there are any problems okay? And rather sooner than later" he said.
"Okay", Joanna said and left the room.
Alex came back and noticed that Richard's bag was gone, he had left without saying anything, He had made his decision and had to leave in order to save his career, his livelihood and his family which was disintegrating before his very eyes.
On another day Alex would have seen this coming and avoided it, it was a high school mistake which she wasn't supposed to be making , especially in these contexts and the complexity of the case she was now facing. Her job was now on the line and she needed to think properly so she had to remember that sleep was important, she had slept four hours in three days and was in need of a good rest. She was at the point where she felt that she could push no longer and that if she stretched herself any more she would suffer from some kind of mid-life crisis or nervous breakdown, although she was only thirty two.
She peeped through Joanna's door and saw her sitting on her bed painting her toenails with her favourite boy zone CD on explaining why she didn't hear the calls from downstairs.
"Mom I'm getting ready for the prom can't you see?"
"But it's still very early, in fact, two days early" she said.
"I know mother." Joanna replied.
Joanna was getting irritable and this was her alone time, the time when she could just sit down and catch up with herself, and freshen up after a long day.
Alex decided to let it go. She put on here brand new nikes and got prepared to go on her daily run. She was into fitness and would beat herself up mentally when she missed a day at the gym. She used running as a substitute when she couldn't make it to the gym. She had more control over her exercises when she ran and she liked to be in control of what she was doing. At the gym there were too many restrictions, and running was better than the treadmill anyway. She put on her tracksuit and got ready to run.
The road to London from Brighton was a fairly smooth ride. Richard took the route which went along the coast, winded through a couple of roads and entered the city - he preferred the scenic route. He stopped of at McDonalds and ordered himself a sausage and egg Mc Muffin meal, that would be enough he thought to take him through the morning ahead. He parked his car in the area marked reserved and stepped into the foyer, his right hand clutched his coffee which was still piping hot and in his left hand he held his briefcase containing all sorts of files and documents. The investigation started at ten o'clock so he thought he would stop by at the firm to gather all the necessary information. He took a sip of his coffee and made his way briskly towards the lifts. He got out at the Third floor and made his way to the reception area. Stephanie was on duty this morning, a woman of her late forties with half a degree in Law to her name and a little receptionist experience. "Good morning", she said smiling.
"Good morning Stephanie." He said. "Is Chris in?" he asked.
"Yes just go straight through and two doors on your right."
"Thanks". He entered the neatly organized room. Chris who was sat on a chair and immediately got up and offered his hand to Richard I've been expecting you, thanks for being early take a seat."
Richard shook Chris's hand and took a seat on a rather comfortable office chair Chris had set aside for him. He took out his briefcase.
"Right, what have we got?"
"The client wants to proceed as planned."
"Aw your kidding so where looking at what three four days now, possibly weeks? Months even?"
"Well it depends how the investigations are carried out which is why I'm entrusting you, well your firm has entrusted you to deal with the investigative side of things seeing as you were the subject, and one of the targets you are in the best position to help us along the way in a professional manner."
"I have here some fingerprints and a couple of photos which might be of use to you to help us identify some of the suspects."
"Where did you get a hold of these?" Richard asked.
"I've spoken to the DCI, they act pretty quickly hey? And I have my sources."
Chris went to the cabinet and poured himself a drink.
"Would you like a shot?"
"No thanks there's work to be done I don't recommend you should have one either."
"Well, I've been here all night and my only next plan of action right now is my bed, we're getting closer, you've just got to work a bit harder".
"Ok if that's all I need then I've got to be out of here" Richard replied. He looked at his watch he had about a twenty minute drive to get to the station and it was now nine o'clock he was cutting it fine.
"Ok then good luck, see you in New York" Chris said.
As Richard got to the door Chris called him back.
"I'm counting on you for this case"
Richard walked out of the door and made his way out of the building still clutching his coffee which was now cold and new bits of evidence he had received from Chris.
It was around four o'clock in the afternoon when Alex decided to relax in her bedroom the house was awfully quite and she didn't know just yet what to make of Richard's disappearance. She switched of the television which was still on in her room.Alex and Richard had the tendency to leave the television on, which was mounted on the wall at the front of their bed. As she lay her head to sleep she heard a faint noise downstairs but ignored it assuming it was the wind blowing the windows or something. A few moments later she heard it again.
"Richard!?" she shouted, no answer, she crept downstairs and saw a shadow in the window.
Could it be him? The killer they had been talking about at work? A short feeling of terror overwhelmed her for a moment and she went to a kitchen and picked up a nearest pot ready to attack fight. The lights came on and she saw Joanna standing there right in front of her, she breathed a sigh of relief.
"Joanna where have you been!? I didn't expect you to get back this early", she exclaimed images of the killer still In her mind.
Alex had a lot on her mind and a lot to solve, she couldn't carry on like this or that breakdown she was fearing would finally come, she had to act quickly and fast.
"Is it him again?" she asked.
One could see from the expression on Joanna's face that she knew her mother had changed since dad left and wanted to do something that would help but she knew, she could do nothing.
"I had to stay behind to do some homework"
She could see from the look in her eyes that she was in love, because Alex herself was once in love, although she questioned the existence of that now. She decided to let her go, besides everybody went through periods in their lives, difficulties, good times and learn from their own mistakes.
The prom was less than five hours away and Joanna had long forgotten any hopes of getting there on time, she was still two hours away from home, and she had to make this trip in order for the night to be successful. She could remember the exact words her mother had told her day in day out, it's better late than never. She was hopeful and for the first time in a long time she felt secure, she felt loved. Her brand new high heels lay waiting for her in her closet.
Richard knew from years of practice that this wasn't going to be easy, he stepped into the hallway and entered his membership number, straight into the reception as he would usually do on a Monday morning. The smell of fresh coffee lingered in the air. The receptionist gave him a nod and signalled for the barrier to the lifts to be open. He felt at home when he came to Brack and Brack, all the years spent at Law school had finally landed him into a well-paid secure job. He pressed the lift button for floor number twenty six and leaned back against the lift wall waiting for it to make its ascent. He arrived At his floor and Linda, his main secretary gave him a welcoming smile.
"Richard! Nice to see you again, I haven't seen you walk through that door in a while !"
They rarely exchanged words, Richard would usually show him her pass and continue straight through to the lift to his firm's level, but the gossip it seems had gotten out and everybody seemed to be in high spirits whether it was for this victory or something else. This firm was known for enjoying many victories and it's successes were built on hard work, dedication and commitment - Richard had a lot to prove. He made his way to his office to find that Dan the human resources officer was waiting for him. This couldn't be good news, he thought.
Dan invited him to his office which was a few doors away from Richard's. Richard sat down.
"Nothing to worry about", Dan assured him.
"What's the problem?" Richard demanded.
"Well it seems like you're going to have to be relocated," he explained.
"There has been serious leeks in this case and they all seem to be pointing towards you." He continued, "There have been outside organisations intruding and the entry point seems to be your office, so we're going to have to relocate you in order for us to resolve the issue and avoid any further monetary loss."
Richard didn't know what to make of this.
"Your ticket has been booked and you should be out of the country soon, we'll email you the details - stay in touch", said Dan as he left the room as unexpectedly as he had shown up outside Richards office.
He pressed on until the third junction completely ignoring the traffic lights which caused loud beeps of horns from all kinds of directions.' He had his identity card with him so he wasn't worried about any repercussions right now what was most important was getting his wife back, getting his family back to the way things were. If he could restore everything he would and at any cost. Looking in his rear view mirror he noticed the same vehicle with the registration plate ending in OHT it was them the guys he thought were stalking him. He pressed his feet on the accelerator, over took a couple of cars and took a sharp left hoping to get away from his pursuant. The car chasing him continued forward completely missing Richard. Breathing a sigh of relief Richard changed down two gears and took out his phone - Two missed calls - both Unknown numbers. Richard knew that when he had calls from unknown numbers it was usually a stalker or somebody was in trouble. He arrived at the boarding gate and the ticket host gave him a nod of approval. He continued through and boarded the aircraft. He thought of Alex and thought that he would never see her again but kept trying to block the thought completely out of his mind so he could deal with the unknown tasks which lay ahead of him. He boarded the aircraft and took off his jacket, he preferred to travel lightly and had only one suitcase which had been sent through to the plane and a brief case which contained his laptop and a few notes. Most of his stuff was saved electronically so there was no need to carry around large chunks of materials. He looked out of the plane window as the plane took off, and wondered if he would ever be back.
Tony parked outside the school. He was ready and set to go. Joanna was still in she glanced at her phone and saw a message signal, she opened the inbox ' I'm outside'. Butterflies began to run through her stomach, whenever she heard from him, she had a nervous but excited feeling, the bell rang in less than a minute. That's what she liked about Tony he was always on time or just before time. He was a couple of years older than her, and she wondered why he had been excluded and why he had changed schools. But on the whole that didn't matter, what mattered was that he was around and that they were together. She gathered her books walked out of the classroom to the hallway and put all her books into her locker. She wasn't about to take anything home with her today. She had no intention of studying tonight. The prom was less than two days away and she would not be able to concentrate.
She bumped passed Richard Jr on her way out.
"Joanna!" he exclaimed.
"Can't stop talk later."
Joanna continued out of front door of the school she bumped passed Tracy, her close friend on her way out.
"Joanna", she said.
"Can't stop talk later" Joanna said as she continued out of the front gate.
Tony stepped out of the car and opened the door to the passenger seat for her.
Back at the station it was pretty cold this time of the morning, the central heating system had a mind of its own, it was only on seldom occasion the DCI would step into a warm entrance, he would usually step straight into his office, plug in his portable heater and warm up a little before hitting the interrogation room. It was even colder in there and the best he could do was bring a hot drink with him to keep him warm and; on very few occasions when he was in a pleasant mood one also for the suspect. He dropped his briefcase and updates to the investigation on his desk and arranged them neatly. He took off his jacket and hung it behind his chair. He liked to go into interrogation with a clear head. That way he got the information he wanted. It was always better for him to go with the hard facts and leave the twists until later when the suspect was most likely to let slip on with held information. He entered the interrogation room and buzzed for the first suspect to come in. The police escorted him into the room and the DCI signaled them to leave.
"Sit down", he said abruptly to the first suspect known as Jack Terrier.
Jack spat on the floor.
"Distasteful." he muttered.
"Now, we need to behave now if we are going to get anywhere with this" the DCI said.
Jack looked up for second.
"Asshole!" he said.
He wasn't about to buy into anything the DCI was saying. The DCI was getting frustrated now and slammed his hands down on the table.
"Where were you on the night of the robbery, you know what I'm talking about. I have the evidence stacked up against you, you were involved in this, I suggest you confess now or you're going to spend an even longer time in jail".
As soon as he said this he heard a bang at the door.
"Detective we need you now".
"I'm busy" he said.
Two policemen came in and hand cuffed the suspect. There was a noise in the hallway as the DCI stepped out. It was two guys. He recognized them both from the pictures.
Alex opened the door and went into her study. She got her file from her cabinet of books and begun to type her notes. The room was filled with a light aroma of old dust and still damaged slightly from the break-in that happened just after Richard had left, but still safe and secure enough to work in. She had had all the locks replaced and it was just a few bits that were damaged on the wall where the intruders had left several careless stains. Luckily she wasn't in the house when it happened. She wasn't worried at the moment. She was sure they would not be back from her experience, and that they were amateurs. But if they were that desperate for something then they could be back. What was it they wanted? What was it they were looking for and why? Why was it their house they were targeting? As time went by she began to believe more and more that Richard was up to something. She heard a knock on the door and opened it.
It was Joanna.
"Hey sweetie!" she said hoping to get a response from her, but as she looked up she saw from her face that she hadn't come for any sweet talk. Alex looked beside Joanna, there were bags lying beside her all packed, she waited for the inevitable but dreaded words.
"I'm leaving now mum," she said with a rather serious expression on her face. Alex assumed where she was going but asked her anyway.
"Where are you going to stay?" she asked.
"With Tony, I've spoken to his mum and dad and they are happy for me to stay for awhile."
"Are you sure about this?" Alex asked
She seemed quite sure.
Joanna ran into her mother's arms, tears started falling from her eyes. Alex held her knowing all she could do right know was be there for her as a mother, she knew that she was finding it hard with her father being away and she was a daddy's girl at heart. Although she was distressed it seemed like she had already made her decision.
"I've spoken to Tony's parents and they're happy for me to use a room upstairs, they like it when I go over there and they enjoy my company. I think it will be good if I go even if it is just for a couple of weeks, until everything is sorted."Joanna said clearing the tears from her eyes.
Alex just wanted to see her daughter happy; she was not going to restrict her.
"Ok then" she responded. "It seems like you've given this a lot of thought", she said.
Alex got up and gave her another hug, she had gotten used to the idea of Joanna being in a relationship.
"Would you like me to give you a lift?" she asked.
As soon as she said this a loud horn sounded from the driveway. It was Tony.
"No need for that" replied Joanna.
Alex walked Joanna to the front door where Tony stood. He immediately offered to take her bags and started loading them into his boot. Alex said a few last words to Joanna and turned to Tony.
"Please take care of her."
"Yes ma'am." he replied.
Tony seemed like a gentleman and that was one of the reasons why Alex did not mind him. She could do with some time off to try and get things sorted. Joanna being away even if it was for a little bit would be of benefit to the both of them.
Alex walked back down the driveway and into her study, she sat down at her desk and decided that she would not do anymore work for the day. She made her way to the lounge and sat on the sofa. Spencer came up to Alex, put his head on her lap and gave a small growl of understanding.
Her mobile phone rang at about six, she picked up the phone, it was Richard.
"Hey honey." he said.
"Hello." Alex replied immediately glad to hear her husband's voice.
"Where have you been all night?" The suspicion suddenly kicked in.
"I saw your missed calls, I know it's been hectic" Richard replied.
"So what's happening? Will you be back today?" she asked the worry seeping through her voice.
"I'm booking a flight down to London from Luton Airport, I had to stop off for a conference in Newcastle I might be back this evening." said Richard.
"Sounds good." she replied.
There was a brief pause.
"We need to talk" she said.
Richard expected her to say something like this.
"What is it you want to talk about? Can it wait till I get back I mean we both have lots to discuss." he replied.
"It's Joanna." she continued.
"She has not been herself of late, she says she's gone away for two weeks but who knows it could be longer." she said.
"What's happening with all the emails are you still getting them?" Richard asked.
"It seems like they have stopped or at least given up for a while." She didn't sound worried at all, this is what Richard loved about his wife. She was able to stay calm under pressure, or so he thought.
Chris stepped out of his 1968 Ford and went to his flat, it was a two-bedroom flat in the region of £300,000 he owned it. It was well kept and in good order, he was comfortable here, he had been single all his life and he didn't intend for that to change, he was the only one out of four siblings that was not married. His apartment was on the third floor, he went straight for the lift and up to his apartment. He opened the door, went to the lounge and threw himself on the sofa bed which had been put there in the case of any visitors he had or any friends he might have over, it was sort of a guest room. He hardly had a need to invite anyone so this had become the place where he would just crash when he was tired, it had become his second bedroom. The phone rang, and he picked it up from the coffee table, it was the office, that would be the DCI he would be back now and wanting to know the updates of the day and what had gone on following the rumoured events that had taken place. He was a man of precision and liked to be fully informed of what was going on, his dad had been an officer and his Grandad had also been an officer and died tragically in a cross fire. Chris ignored the call and made it a point to get back to him in the morning, but not now, he need to take his mind of work for a moment so that he could think clearly about the case. The DCI on the other hand liked to be on the ball all the time, and would be frustrated tomorrow morning that Richard had not answered his phone, he was the type that wanted people to work outside working hours. Work was more important than life itself. His mind was on Richard, why had he left, why had he gone away from his wife, his town, what did he have to do with this he was convinced after and why did he have to go and support him?
The sun crept up from the horizon and woke Joanna, she blocked her eyes away from the rays of sun which beamed across the room through the half opened curtains. She got up and pulled the curtains. She always felt a bit lost when she slept in a foreign place other than her own bedroom. She re-orientated herself and came to terms with where she was. The smell of frost came in through the door and possibly fried eggs too. It had been a long time since she had breakfast with her family, she could actually remember the last time, it was about three days before her father had disappeared. She got up, took her towel and headed for the shower, was seemed a lot hotter than the one at home which was getting colder and colder as the weeks went by. She relished the fact that she could have nice hot shower and bathed herself happily being careful not to spend too much time in there as there were probably others waiting. Tony had two sisters slightly younger than himself, she wasn't so sure what their sleeping patterns were. The shower head was in more powerful than the one at home, they needed a replacement fast. She walked down to the breakfast table and gave Tony a kiss on the cheek. It seemed like they had been sitting there for a while.
"Sorry I'm late." she said looking at her watch realizing that it was far later than she thought, eight thirty, she had to be at school at nine o'clock.
"Beverley and I were just talking about you and how good you are at acting." Tony's Dad said.
Beverley often spoke to her son Tony about Joanna's acting classes and projects Joanna blushed.
"How's acting school?" he asked.
"Its good, I mean I'm enjoying it."
She poured herself some juice and buttered a piece of bread. Within minutes she had finished, "Sorry I have to leave now otherwise I'm going to be late for school."
"Would you like a lift?" Tony asked.
"Nah its ok thanks the bus leaves in two minutes and you're still half dressed." she replied
"Ok then" he said.
After Joanna had gone. They sat at the table, not knowing if they were, totally happy with her staying there. The girls clearly needed a bit longer to adjust to a new body in the family.
It was about one O'clock in the afternoon when Richard decided to finally leave. Check-out was at ten o'clock and he was surprised at how he had managed to stay at the building until that hour. Because of the delay he would now fully be back at work a day late and this would not bode well at home or at the office. He had missed the previous flight from Heathrow and he had had to wait for the next plane which was the next day. He spent the night at the hotel outside the airport and his night was not particularly comfortable. He sent one last text to Alex hoping that she would get it and boarded the plane. He took a seat by the window which was his favorite seat and sat back, getting himself ready for the two flight back. Fifteen minutes into the flight the airhostess placed a snack in front of him and offered him a drink, he wisely opted for a bottle of water and tucked away at his sandwich which they had placed on his table. Within twelve hours he was on the road again, the weather was quite hot this side so he put on the air conditioning, and continued along the long road marked with trees on either side, he was familiar with this route and came this way whenever he returned from a business trip. He entered a CD, pressed play and continued his Journey into this unknown city.
Big Troll sunk the black ball, he loved to hang out here, besides, he didn't have much to do during the day unless he was on a job. He walked over to the bar and put his glass down. He Jack and Boris had spent most of their spare time gambling and playing cards in this little meeting point of theirs when they weren't and would only get some real fun when they had made a big catch.
"Poker?" asked Big Troll who had been working with Boris for as long as he could remember. He sat slouched against the corner with a few other chairs placed around the table, he was probably the laziest of the bunch.
"No not now, its pool tonight." Boris replied
He looked across the table at Boris in disbelief as he pot the black ball.
"Stack up lets play again." Big Troll racked up the balls.
"Your break or mine?"
Big Troll broke and as soon as he did this he heard a loud bang at the door. Big Troll took out his firearm and reached for the door, opening it with his face turned away from the door. Big Troll withdrew his firearm when he recognized who was at the door, Max, one of the more sober of the lot.
"They got him" he said bursting into the room and into a sweat.
"Who did they get?"
"I don't know"
"We're going to have to relocate soon, or even now" Boris said.
Before he could finish his sentence the sound of sirens began to filter through the room.
"Quick out the back."
They closed the door and made their way out discreetly through the back. It was an old store room in a large commercial building they had somehow managed to occupy and made into a recreation area they knew their way around the building. They made their way down the hallway which had storerooms to other shops either side and entered the car park where a car was parked. They quickly got in.
Big Troll was the driver because he knew how to navigate the roads the town and nearby cities like the back of his hands. He decided to wait a bit. They pulled the windows up and saw the policemen outside the front of the centre. It seemed as if they were dealing with someone completely different, none of their view but you never knew with the undercover cops these days, none of the guys were dressed in uniform. The only sign of them being officials was the blue light which stayed flashing on the roof of the car without any sound. They didn't seem to be making any arrests, just a couple huddled in groups. In fact, about four of them in total one dressed in plain clothes looked like the DCI the unmistakable stout figure.
"Arrogant idiot!" Big Troll mumbled as he lit a cigarette.
"Put that out" Max said.
"I thought I told you about smoking when we're on the job?"
"Shut up" he replied, daringly.
Max took the cigarette from his mouth and threw it out of the window.
"Hey! Stop the bickering, Now's not the time." Boris said, as they got into a small bout, but it was too late.
The horn of the car went off causing the police to turn around. The DCI pointed in their direction. One of the cops began to make their way towards the car.
"Leave this to me" Max said.
He got out of the car.
"Good evening officer" he said.
"Everything ok here?" the officer asked.
"Yeah sure" Sam said assuringly.
The officer looked into the car and saw all three men sitting idol.
"Ok" he said.
He felt he had no need to question them any further or so he thought, he was a rookie and was only six months into the job after training. Max got back into the car and decided it would be wise to get out as soon as possible before they exposed themselves any further.
They drove out of the car park and took the busy road down the lane towards Boris's apartment. They parked outside and begun to make their way up towards the apartment. Big Troll clutched the briefcase in his hands and they all ascended up the elevator. Boris took out the keys and entered the apartment. Big Troll headed straight for the table and put the briefcase down.
"How much did you get?" Boris asked.
Big Troll opened the briefcase and there lay a substantial amount of cash in notes. Max stepped forward and started counting the cash.
"How much is there?" Boris asked again. Max finished counting.
"£200,000" he said.
Each of them looked at each other and smiled."
"Where's the rest?" Boris questioned.
"What do you mean the rest. I think you're directing that question at the wrong person." Max retorted as he closed the brief case, took a slow walk towards the window and peeped out through the blinds to check if all was clear.
"So what do we do now?" Boris asked impatiently.
"Well, we wait; Jack will probably know because he did the transfer, we keep it on the down low maybe Jack will get bail. We recover the rest of the money and continue from there with our original plan and split the money" he said.
"How do we know they won't get him to release the rest of the money? or tell them our whereabouts?" Boris asked.
"Well, they don't even know he was involved in anything yet in the first place, so I'm guessing after he answers a couple of questions, or should I say, doesn't answer any of their questions, he should be out as soon as possible. Jack knows how to deal with the MI5 he's been doing this for years."
Sam looked at Boris.
"You mind if I light this cigarette?"
"You can light it if you want to but make sure you open the window. Boris detested smoking, he hated the smell and couldn't stand the habit but had to get used to it. He made his way to the refrigerator now feeling more relaxed and pulled out a bottle of champagne. Big Troll set up the glasses and poured for each of them. They heard a knock at the door with an all too familiar voice. They knew who it was and anticipated for the big entrance.
Joanna opened the drawer in the neatly organized room which had been set aside for her. She reached for her toiletry bag where she kept her favorite earrings which she had been given for her sixteenth birthday. She had left her Jewelry bag at home so she was using her toiletry bag as a substitute. She sat in front of the dressing table and looked at herself in the mirror. She began to miss home. The smell of her home cooked meals whenever she was in the mood to prepare a meal; which was at least twice a week, so in hindsight she could not complain. It was a bank holiday today so she had the day off at school. She hadn't made any plans except to finish off a couple of months worksheets which had been due the previous week. She would do that later on besides there was not much left to be done. She was fond of Tony because of his spontaneity. He would have a plan for today although they had not discussed anything. She put on the radio and tuned it into Capital FM and her favorite song began to play and she began planning. She liked to start off the day with a bit of music. She made her way downstairs and straight to the living room where she lay on the couch with the television on. She gave him a huge hug and a kiss.
"Popcorn?" he asked.
"This time of the morning? She replied."
"I wanted to offer you some last night but you were fast asleep."
"Yeah I was working until quite late last night".
"Your Mum and Dad went to work we have whole house to ourselves"
Joanna poured herself some milk and bran and started on a bowl of flakes, she always made sure she had her fibre in one form or another every morning.
"What are you watching?" Joanna asked
"The Hobbit" He replied
"I've always wanted to watch this movie. I'll join you once I've finished this." She said.
She sat down and tucked in. Tony lounged munching on the sofa engrossed in the film and continued with the popcorn.
"We can go and watch a movie at the cinema later on this evening if you have time? Otherwise I haven't got anything planned for today if that's what you're thinking. I knew you'd want to work so I didn't bother with any big dates, how long have you got left?" Tony asked
"About two hours so I should have some free time later on." Joanna replied as she threw herself on the sofa next to Tony. There was about ten minutes left of the movie. She decided to help herself to some popcorn. Tony sniggered.
"I knew you'd change your mind".
Tony's phone started ringing, it was Darryn. Since moving school he had made few friends and was part of a different circle. He continued playing basketball and had quickly found his place in the first string squad. He answered the phone reluctantly; he wasn't really in the mood for too many phone calls today.
"Hey what's up!" he said.
"Have you forgotten about the game today?"
Tony immediately got up from the sofa startling Joanna.
"Damn" he cursed and looked at his watch. He had a basketball game today, it was a big game, a semi-final against a rival school which had been postponed for today. He had completely forgotten. It was ten o'clock and the game started at three o'clock, he had five hours to get there which wasn't too bad, he could make it on time but was he prepared enough?
"Thanks for reminding me man" he replied.
"What were you doing?" Darryn asked.
"I'm just finishing up watching that movie I was telling you about." he replied.
"Is Joanna with you?" He asked.
"Yeah she is why do you ask?"
"I told you that she was taking up too much of your time."
"Whatever Darryn" Tony said looking over at Joanna giving her a nod of assurance.
"Thanks again for reminding me I'll see you about an hour before the game", he put the phone down.
"What's wrong?" Joanna asked.
"Looks like we will be doing something after all. Do you want to come watch me play today?" he asked.
"Yes of course!" she said. "I've just got to finish off my work and I'll make my way down there."
Richard Jr was a member of the basketball team at Tony's previous school and although wasn't necessarily close friends with Tony knew him because they had gone to the same school and he had shown an interest in Joanna, they were more of acquaintances as they had not grown that close yet. They were in different classes and they had different characters, although they both played basketball they had different aspirations in life Richard Jr appeared to be more of a nerd than Tony.
Richard took out is phone and checked his calendar he was always up to date with his sons sporting life. That was the only time they ever got to hang out, and this is what kept them talking. He hardly missed a game unless he was at work Richard had also been big on the sports scene when he was at school and was hoping that Richard Jr would make the same academic choices he had made but it wasn't seeming likely. Richard Jr thought his Dad might show up but wasn't going to get his hopes up because of the type of job his Dad had and especially with him having been gone for so long, he put his phone back in his Jacket pocket and was determined not to miss this game. This was one of his last chances if indeed he still had any of resolving his family relationships. Of course he had no idea that Joanna had left home.
They had organized to meet at the Glitz hotel that evening and Alex was anticipating the date. She already knew what she was going to wear and had planned the sorts of questions she was going to ask when she saw Richard although conversations did not usually turn out how she planned them with Richard. They usually ended up in some sort of row if they were not careful. It was not often they went out for meals together this was a past-time when they were still dating, now they were married, things had changed dramatically, they hardly went anywhere together, so when they did it was supposed to be a special occasion. Alex looked at her diary to make sure that today was the correct day for the date, not communicating the correct date time to each other was one of the many causes to the numerous arguments they had. It was wonder to Alex how they managed to stay together.
The atmosphere back at the headquarters was unsettled although most of the suspect had been identified and the money recovered, at least bits of it, there was an air of suspicion floating around and there had been now for the past couple of weeks. Since they had started making arrests.
Mr Watson sat back in his chair, he wore black braces with his blue shirt, ever since coming in as deputy head of department he had not gotten a promotion and was not really looking for one, he didn't regard himself as complacent because in his mind he had worked hard to get in to that position. He was well respected in his department however his work ethic had been a recent subject of concern amongst office gossip when he was not around. He gave a quick update on the weeks findings while everybody took notes. It was a mystery to some how he managed to stay on top of the proceedings week after week. He signaled for his assistant to turn on the overhead projector where he had prepared a slideshow the night before. Clutching the remote in his right hand still sitting back in his chair. He took them through the slides showing them a picture of all the suspects and the ones which had been questioned. He explained what was happening and the facts they had collected during the course of the investigation. They clarified a few facts until everybody was clear as to what was the latest in the investigation and how things should be carried out he went over confidentiality issues and again like he would usually do make it clear that this investigation was not to be talked about outside the office.
He gave ten minutes for any questions to be answered and for them to exchange notes and the urgency of the investigation was drilled home on last time. Finally he signaled for the break and a few began to make their way to the self-service coffee area. Some had coffee already as they preferred not to wait and others just left for the nearest café they preferred not to drink coffee from the office. As everybody was leaving the DCI entered the room and shouted for everyone's attention but it was too late they had become preoccupied. If this was more urgent and on another day he would have made more of an effort to get them back into the room. But this could wait until the next meeting. He walked towards Mr Watson who had gotten up before the DCI had been able to lay his eyes on him. By now he had his chair ready for him and drew it up so that he could sit down. If anyone could make him loose his job it would be him. They had a quick discussion on the meeting and the DCI exchanged facts in preparation for the next meeting.
Alex began to unwind for the day and double checked that she had closed her car properly, she had to be extra careful now. As soon as she got the chance to put her bags down the phone began to ring. She took a quick breather and picked up the receiver.
"Hello." she answered in a not particularly receiving manner.
"Hey dear!" a familiar voice ringed down the other end of the line.
"Mum!" she replied.
Her countenance changed as she recognized her mother's voice. She took the phone which was mounted on the wall and headed for the couch. Her parents were in their early sixties and had been married without any problems, well that's the impression she certainly had. She always hoped her relationship with Richard would end up like her parent, but at this rate they were on their way to divorce rather than any renewing of vows. She always felt comfortable going to her parents whenever she wasn't feeling ok and her mother especially was never short of a few words of encouragement. Her dad would also drop in a few wise words for her to help her out.
"Is Dad there with you?"
"Yes he's here we would Skype you but we have no Wi-Fi" Alex's mother responded."We might have to do it next week."
"We won't actually because we'll be there next week," said Alex's father from the background.
"Is that your voice Dad?" Alex questioned.
"Of course" he said. When he said this Alex got even more excited.
"Hey there old man" she said. She always said this teasingly.
"Hey", he shouted from the background.
"How are you?" she asked
"I'm fine we're coming down soon, get prepared" he said.
"Okay Dad, you take care now", she answered.
She said final goodbyes to her mum and hung up the phone.
Whenever Alex's parents came around it usually involved having a Dinner or big lunch prepared for when they came. It usually turned into a Sunday get together. They exchanged a few more words and when they had finished, Alex hung up and went straight to the fridge to see what was available. She made a quick shopping list before she could forget on a few things that she would need to buy at the supermarket before their arrival. She would sometimes invite a few close friends over to join when she was in the mood for a large get together so she made a small note in her diary to call a couple of friends during the week to inform them about the occasion. She walked upstairs straight to Richard Jr's bedroom. The door was closed so she knocked and made her way in once given the go ahead. Richard Jr was not as fussy about intruders when it came to his bedroom as Joanna was. Joanna was more of a private person and Richard Jr seemed to be coping better than Joann was at this time. He sat in his bedroom at his desk with his laptop on and his IPhone in his hand.
"Hey is everything ok?" she asked him.
"Yeah I'm cool" Richard Jr replied.
He was always one to put on a brave face I the face of apparent trouble, that was on w way in which he was similar to his Dad.
"Grandma and Grandad are going to be over next week he said. Please make sure that you've done all your work so you can have some time to spend with them"
"Yeah ok" he said, eyes glued to the laptop screen.
Alex returned to her bedroom. She decided not to read tonight and switched of her bedside lamp. It had been an incredibly long day and within seconds, she was fast asleep.
Vicky had known Alex since school and they had remained friends ever since. She opened her mailbox and saw the message from Alex. Vicky was older than Alex and was till dating. She had a boyfriend Rob whom she was very much in love with and whenever she was invited to a get together, he was also expected to tag along.
'Dinner at my place Sunday at five o'clock'
Vicky was a rather outgoing character she was a freelance journalist. She worked in a vibrant office full of enthusiastic workers young and old all huddling over one article or another. There was always a friendly buzz in this environment and they weren't so strict on noise levels. Her mood changed as she had come into work not expecting to get any work done today. After seeing the message from Alex she decided that she would set herself some targets to meet this week and use this get together as a reward for herself. If she could finish off at least a few things that were on her to do list then she would treat herself and her boyfriend and go, if not the