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Authors: Debbie Viggiano

Lipstick and Lies (57 page)

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
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‘No!
Don’t make me go in there – it will be dark.
I hate small dark spaces.’

‘For God’s sake Cass,’ Morag hissed, ‘now isn’t the time to get claustrophobic.
Get under the bed then.’

‘I don’t think I’ll fit,’ I bleated.
There was the sound of a key slotting into the
barrel of the
front door’s lock.

‘Well take a deep breath and do your best.
With my bosoms I’ve no hope of getting under there.
I’ll be in the wardrobe.
Now hurry up!’

I flung myself onto the carpet and wriggled with all my might under the bed.
Downstairs I heard the letterbox rattle as Selina pushed against the door.
I twisted my neck sideways
, laying
awkwardly on my stomach, chin at a sharp right angle to one shoulder.
Tucking an arm behind me
,
I
hoped
my feet weren’t sticking out the bottom of the bed.
My heart was crashing about in my ribcage, my pulse thudding in the ear that was squashed
into
the carpet.
I couldn’t hear Selina’s footsteps for the noise my cardiovascular system was making.
I gulped
,
and prayed to God she would clear off again very soon.
I held my breath in an attempt to be as quiet as possible.
It was dusty under the bed and my nose twitched involuntarily.
Please God
,
don’t let me sneeze.
But all thoughts of sneezing fled my mind as a pair of slim ankles appeared in the bedroom doorway.
My eyes widened in horror.
She was here!
Just feet from where I lay.
The tension was unbearable.
I was half expecting Selina to stoop down and
peer
under the bed.
Or cover the short distance to the wardrobe opposite the bathroom, yank the door open and exclaim, ‘Ah ha!
You must be Morag Harding.
Mind telling me why you were snooping around my apartment block yesterday?
And why are you hiding in my lover’s wardrobe?’
Morag would have her work cut out trying to explain she was from the Council whilst nestling amon
gst Stevie’s suits and shirts.

But Selina didn’t go to the wardrobe
,
or look under the bed.
Instead she went into the en-suite.
Seconds later there was a clicking noise – the bathroom cabinet opening.
Then a
tinkling
as a glass bottle chinked against another glass bottle.
Another click – the magnetic lock on the cabinet snapping the door shut.
 
Seconds later
,
the ankles briefly re-appeared
and
crossed the distance from bathroom door to bedroom door.
And then they disappeared along the landing.
My ears strained to hear further movement.
There was a brief pause
followed by the
sound of the front door opening.
Moments later it banged shut, the momentum reverberating through the floor on which I lay.
I didn’t dare move.
Not until I knew for sure she was gone.
My neck was aching from the awkward position I was laying in
,
and my right arm had gone to sleep.
There was the
sound
of an engine bursting into life followed by grinding as reverse gear failed to initially engage.
And then the car’s engine slowly receded.

Morag’s head appeared sideways, inches from mine.
‘She’s gone.
You can come out.’

‘I don’t think I can move,’ I said.
My breath disturbed a little flurry of dust and I
finally
sneezed.
My body jerked
, catching
my head
on
the underside of the bed.
‘Ouch,’ I yelped.
‘Lift the bed up Morag
.
I
can’t get out.’

Morag obliged and I wiggled out, brushing my clothes off.
‘Geez,’ I gasped as I straightened up.
‘My legs are like jelly
.

I rubbed my arm as pins and needles briefly took hold from the earlier lack of blood supply.
‘So what the hell wa
s she doing in that bathroom?’

‘What do
you
think!’ Morag blew out her cheeks. ‘She took the bottle of GHB.
She knew what she was looking for and where to find it
,
so it’s obviously hers.
I cracked the wardrobe
door
open and,’ Morag thrust her mobile phone at me, ‘look!
I’ve managed to film her removing it.’
Morag touched the mobile’s screen and played it back to me.
The picture was a bit grainy and the wardrobe door partially encroached on the pi
cture, but it was good enough.

I sat down on the bed.
My legs were starting to tremble violently.
‘And another thing,’ I looked at Morag, ‘she let herself into this house – and not with just a single key.
She had a bunch of keys.
And they weren’t hers because she was holding her own keys!
I saw her extract a second bunch from her coat pocket.
Clearly those were Stevie’s house keys.
She simply has to know where he is.
Do you think we should arrange to meet her and, you know,
confront
her?’

‘No.’ Morag
shook her head and sat down next to me on the bed.
‘She’s dangerous Cass.
We have to
tell the police what we know.’

‘What – that we were trespassing in a missing person’s house
,
and then hiding in wardrobes and under beds?
Those two plods down the station will have us in custody before we can say
p
arole
.
You have no idea how they turn
the tables with their words.’

‘Then tell Jamie.
He’ll know how t
o handle it.’

‘Will he?’ I gave a mirthless laugh.
‘You’re forgetting that he doesn’t know about our little jaunt over to Selina’s apartment
, or
subsequent
entanglement with the nosy neighbour.
Not to mention the delicate matter of
him
being in partnership with Selina’s fiancé.
But you’re right, the police should know.
And they will be told,’ I nodded.
‘But anonymously.’

‘Brilliant idea Ca
ss!’ Morag nodded approvingly.

‘We’ll get h
old of Jamie’s Super – Harry.’

‘What will you tell him exactly?’ Morag asked.

‘Oh I’m
not going to tell him anything.
’ I shook my head.
‘If they end up recording the call
,
they’ll have my voice on record.
And I’m not risking Selina with her,’ I posted quotation marks in the air, ‘
connections
getting tipped off that a caller rang in accusing her of kidnap and abduction.
If she listened to the recording she’d know it was me.
However, she hasn’t a clue what you sound like.
She’s never met you.
So you’re go
ing to make the call instead.’

‘Me?’ Morag’s eyes widened.

‘Yes
,
you!
And you might as well do it now, before we go back to Nell’s and have babies screaming in the background or Rocket woofing away.
Ring Directory Enquiries and ask for the number of the local nick.
And when you get through, tell the operator you want to speak to Harry.
And don’t fo
rget to withhold your number.’

‘Don’t the police have fancy equipment that can work out where the caller is ringing from, even if the numbe
r is withheld?’ Morag frowned.

‘I don’t know,’ I considered.
‘What about we use Stevie’s
landline
then.
Just in case.’

‘Good idea,’ said Morag.
She stood up and went to the bedside cabinet.
A telephone handset nestled against the lamp.
‘You keep a look-out by the window.
Just in case Madam makes a second appearance.
We don’t want to take any chance
s.’

‘Okay.’
I positioned myself discreetly behind the curtain.
The cul-de-sac was quiet.
Not a na
tty green sports car in sight.

A few minutes later and Morag was connecte
d to the local police station.

‘Hello?
Hello!
Can I speak to Harry please?
Yes.
Harry.
Well I’m not sure.
A
ll I know is the Harry bit.
Oh hang on,
it’s
Super Harry.
Yes, I’m quite sure.
Sooper Har-
r
e
e
,
’ Morag enunciated.
‘No I’m not being ridiculous.
No I don’t know Superman.
What?
No I don’t want to talk to any other super heroes.
Hello?’
Morag stared at the receiver.
‘The bugger’s hung up!’

‘Oh for heaven’s sake!
’ I cried.
‘Give me that phone.
’ I snatched the receiver and pressed the redial button.
Placing two
fingers over the bridge of my nose
, I pinched
my nostrils together.
‘Heddow?
I want
t
o deport a didnap.
A
m
an
c
alled Devie Derry-’

The phone was
snatched
out of my hands.

‘Hello.
It’s me again.
Yes I spoke to you a minute ago.
Now listen here.
So far you’ve wasted six minutes of precious police investigation time.
I want to speak to Superintendent Harry Somebody-or-Other about a life threatening matter.
Harry’s not there?
Well who can I speak to?
Yes I’ll hang on.
Hello?
Who’s that?
PC Smith, I see.’

I paled and nudged Morag.
‘It’s Olive,’ I whispered.
‘She’s that horrendous female officer I was telling you about.
She and Humpty questioned me and Charlotte.
They both tried to t
ie us up in verbal knots and–’

Morag put up a hand to hush me.
‘Now then PC Smith – never mind who I am, that’s not important.
The important thing Olive – I hope you don’t mind me calling you that – is that I have some information regarding the disappearance of Mr Stephen Cherry.
Yes,
very
important information.
And I’d like you to share it with your colleague, PC Humpty.
Stevie Cherry has been kidnapped.
He was drugged with G
amma-Hydroxybutyric
A
cid
prior to his abduction.
No I am not the kidnapper!
No I am not asking for a ransom!
Look Olive, will you listen to me please because this is a matter of life and death.
The kidnapper is
Selina Hadley.
She’s an ex-cop.
Oh you know her do you?
Jolly good.
Highly respected?
Ha!
More like highly dangerous.
She’s a total fruitcake.
Well Olive why don’t you ask her eh?
Just pop along to her swanky
Greenwich
apartment that she shares with Ethan Fareham who – incidentally – she’s cheating on, and pop the little old question at her.
Ask her if she knows Stevie Cherry.
And how she comes to be in possession of his house keys
and
a few nifty bottles of G
HB
.
No I can’t tell you my name
,
because if I did my life would be in danger.
Although,’ Morag blanched, ‘I’ve just realised my life already is in danger because,’ the blood drained from Morag’s face, ‘Selina
knows I nearly killed Victor.’

I made
hand
swiping motions in front of Morag.
‘No!’ I hissed
.
‘Don’t say that or Selina w
ill put two and two together!’

‘Hello Olive?
You won’t tell Selina it’s me will you?
Only I don’t want her paying
a visit
and–’ Morag
paused, her expression stricken.
Suddenly her face drained of colour, her
eyes rolled back
wards
and she crumpled to the floor.
The handset flew out of Morag’s hand and clattered against
some
skirting boards.

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
3.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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