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Authors: Debbie Viggiano

Lipstick and Lies (59 page)

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
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‘You’re safe tonight
.

I hugged him back.
‘Omelette and chips.’

At that moment the girls came down the stairs.
Livvy was holding Eddie on her hip and letting h
im play with her mobile phone.

‘I’ve been trying to get hold of Dad for two days now,’ she grumbled, ‘and he’s not picking up.
Hello Jamie,’ Livvy waved Eddie’s hand at her step-father.
‘I suppose he’s taken off with a new girlfriend and is all lo
ved up at the moment.

S
he rolled her eyes.

Jamie and I exchanged a look.
‘Ah ha ha ha
.’
I gave a strangled laugh.
‘Good old Dad!’

‘I suppose one day
he’ll grow up,’ Livvy sighed.

‘H
ey
Dad,’
Petra
pecked her father on the che
ek.

‘Hello girls.
What are you both up to?’ Jamie shrugged off his suit jacket an
d slung it over the banisters.

‘We’re about to watch The Only Way Is Essex,’ said Livvy
,
opening the door to their TV room
.

‘Isn’t that
reality rubbish?’ Jamie asked.

‘Certainly not!’ said
Petra
haughtily.
‘It’s a documentary.
And anyway, Eddie loves it.’
And with that t
he door
to the TV room briskly closed
.

‘Wonderful,’ Jamie sighed
,
and followed me into the kitchen.

I went to the range and retrieved a plated dinner while Jamie
settled himself at the table.

‘Et
voilà
!’
I set the meal before my husband.
He was suddenly looking rather glum.

Sorry about the omelette.
’ I followed his gaze to the scrambled mess on his plate.
‘It got stuck to the pan.’

Jamie smiled ruefully.
‘The omele
tte isn’t the problem Cassie.’

‘What’s up?’
I pu
lled out a chair and sat down.

‘Ah
,
you know,’ Jamie sighed.

‘No
,
I don’t know.
Enlighten me.’

Jamie picked up his knife and fork
,
but didn’t tuck in.
‘Work.
It’s crap at the moment.’

I straightened up.
‘I thought everything was rosy in
the garden with the business.’

‘Oh the business is rosy all right.
It’s the staff that aren’t.’

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

Jamie
put down his knife and fork ag
ain.
‘Look Cassie
.
I know you don’t like me talking about Selina, but I need to g
et a few things off my chest.’

I shifted in my chair.
‘Like what?’

‘Some grumbles.
Well I can’t moan to Ethan can I?
He’s my business partner and the majority shareholder.
But his fiancée is really starting to be a burden with her unreliability.
I told you that Selina’s not been herself recently.
Up one minute, down the next.
One day she’s in the office
.
T
hen you don’t see her for dust.
Well she didn’t come in today.
Ethan was very tight-lipped about it.
Said
Lena
had car problems.
Again.’
Jamie picked up his fork and speared a bunch of chips.
‘And that excuse didn’t ring true.
Selina has just had her car fixed by the garage – what could be wrong with it?
And if she really did have car problems, why didn’t she travel in with Ethan?
Why the need to absent herse
lf?’

‘Well perhaps they’d had a row.’
I
reached for
the salt pot on the table.
Fiddled with it.
‘Why didn’
t you ask Ethan the question?’

‘He wasn’t in the mood to
answer questions
.
He’s not been himself either
.
Not for the
last couple of days.
Very preoccupied
– mind
elsewhere.
Something’s wrong.
Very wrong.’

I nudged the salt pot around with my index finger.
Took a deep breath.

‘I saw Selina this morning.’

Jamie’s fork froze mid-air.
‘You saw Selina?’

‘Yes.’

‘Do you mind elaborating?’

‘I was at Nell’s.
Selina drove past.’

‘Let me get this straight
.
’ Jamie put his fork down again.
‘You were at Nell’s and just happened to be standing by a convenient window
,
when you saw Selina drive past in a car t
hat Ethan told me is defunct?’

‘That’s about the gi
st of it,’ I nodded.

Jamie stared at me.
‘And why would Selina
be driving past Nell’s house?’

‘Well funnily enough I didn’t rush out and flag her down to ask.
But I watched her.
She parked outside Stevie’s house.
And then she pulled out a bunch of keys and let herself in.’ I
fiddled with
the salt pot
,
this way and that, not liking myself for bending the truth.
‘Look Jamie, there’s a f
ew things I need to tell you.’

‘L
ike what?’ Jamie stared at me.

The salt pot fell over with a clatter making us both jump.
I set it right and folded my hands in my lap.
‘I did try and tell you that I thought Selina and Stevie had started an affair, but you told me it was none of my business and that I had an obsession
with
the woman.’

‘Well she can hardly be having an affair with Stevie right now!
The blo
ke’s done a disappearing act.’

‘Jamie you’re an ex-copper
.
Y
ou should be able to put two and two together.
Ask yourself these questions: why is Selina absenting herself from work so frequently?
Why did she drive to Stevie’s house this morning?
Why is she in possession of a missing person’s house keys?
And why is she letting herself int
o the missing person’s house?’

‘I don’t know Cassie.
But before you
put two and two together
and come up with five, I’m going to give Harry a ring.
He said he’d push things along regarding finding Stevie
,
and be in touch if there was anything to report.
Well obviously Stevie’s not languishing in any hospitals, nor made any cash withdrawals from
b
anks
,
otherwise Harry would have been in touch.
So l
et me give him a call and see if
his
boys have come up with anything.’
Jamie pushed his dinner plate away and sto
od up.

‘Hang on a minute Jamie.

I grabbed my husband’s hand.
‘Sit back down a minute.
Finish your dinner.
I
ha
ve something else to tell y
ou.’

Jamie paused.
He gave me a considering look.
‘Why do I get the feeling that I’m not going to like
what you’re about to tell me.’

I squirmed in my seat.
Oh God.
Perhaps I should backtrack.
Before it was too late.
But then again it was very likely Morag was at this moment bringing Matt up to date.
And what if Matt ignored Morag’s wishes not to tell Jamie
,
and rang my husband to say their respective wives had been doing stupid things and consequently alerted a dangerous fruitcake to come after them?
I took another deep breath.
At this rate if I took too ma
ny I’d start hyperventilating.

‘I wasn’t in Nell’s house when I saw Seli
na drive into the cul-de-sac.’

Jamie sat back down again
,
but his plate remained untouched.
When he spoke his voice was dangerously quiet.
‘So where were you?’

‘In Stevie’s bedroom.’

Jamie blinked.
‘Alone?’

‘With Morag.’

My husband closed his eyes.
I could see him st
ruggling to maintain patience.

‘Why?’

‘To see if we could find any clue
s about Stevie’s whereabouts.’

‘I see.
Well actually I don’t see.
So let me get this straight.
Even though I’ve been in touch with my old Superintendent about Stevie missing
,
and asked Harry to speed things along, for some reason my wife and her friend deem it necessary to pay their own visit.
Tell me Cassie, were you both calling each other
Cagney
and
Lacey
again?’

I ignored Jamie’s sarcasm.
‘You may mock
,
but I’ll tell you one thing our detective work threw up
.

I leant forward and crossed my arms on the table
.

A
bottle in Stevie’s bathroom cabinet.
And not any old bottle,’ my eyes blazed triumphantly, ‘but one with a label on it
.
A label
that read
G
amma-Hydroxybutyric
A
cid
.
Known as GHB.
Also known as the date rape drug.

‘Cassie, before you leap to conclusions, GHB is regulated in most of
Europe
and used to treat a number of things – sleep problems, depression,
also
fibromyalgia symptoms
.
In short, anything from
experiencing pain to having an irritable bowel.
There might be any number of reasons why Stevie
’s GP prescribed GHB for him.’

‘I don’t believe this!’ I slapped the table
with the palm of my hand
.
‘Why do you refuse to
see what is so obvious to me?’

‘Cassie
,
right now nothing is obvious to me.
You’ve told me that Selina had a bunch of keys to let herself into Stevie’s house
,
and that you and Morag were in Stevie’s bedroom.
Leave Stevie’s medicine cabinet out of the equation for a minute.
What happened when the th
ree of you came face to face?’

‘Nothing.
Because Selina didn’t see us.’

Jamie took some deep breaths.
Clearly it was now his turn to flirt with hyperventil
ation
.
‘So
why
didn’t Selina see you?’

‘Because we hid.
Morag climbed in the wardrobe
and I wriggled under the bed.’

Jamie rubbed the heels of his hands into his eyes.
‘Could you tell me why on earth you felt it necessary to hide
,
when you could have simply taken the option for straight talking?
If it had been me I’d have asked Selina what the dickens she was doing letting herself
into your ex-husband’s house.’

‘Oh no,’ I shook my head
,
‘we couldn’t do that.
Not after that Council business and losing our wigs and Morag nearly killing Victor who tipped off Selina who sussed out Morag’s car and checked out her number plate and found it on Nell’s drive
way
and–’

Jamie held up both hands.
‘Enough!’
My husband scraped back his chair and stood up.
Began pacing the kitchen.
‘Let’s go back to the bedroom bit.
Morag’s in the wardrobe.
You’re under the bed.’

‘Yes.’

‘And then
Selina comes into the house?’

‘Yes.’

‘And from your superior van
tage point, what did you see?’

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
6.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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