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Authors: Debbie Viggiano

Lipstick and Lies (60 page)

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
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‘Her ankles.
And they went into the en-suite shower room.
But Morag filmed it all.’

‘Selina’s ankles?’

‘No!
Selina removing
the bottle of GHB of course.’

Jamie ceased his pacing and turned to stare at me.
‘S
elina took the bottle of GHB?’

‘Yes!’ I cried.
‘It’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all along.
Morag and I think it’s hers.
It was in
the
apartment too –
bottles of the stuff
on the kitchen table.
Morag took a photograph.

‘Y
ou went to Ethan’s apartment?’

‘No!
Morag and I paid a visit to Selina’s
Blackheath
apartment and–’

T
he phone rang.
There was a moment where both of us just stared at the handset all lit up on the kitchen worktop.
I couldn’t see the caller number display from where I was sitting.
My stomach contracted with nerves.
W
as it
Matt
?
Calling
to tell Jamie
the
full extent of what
Morag and I
had been up to?

Jamie stared at the handset.
‘That’s Ethan’s number.’

The knot in my stomach tightened.
‘Aren’t you goi
ng to answer it?’ I whispered.

Jamie picked up the handset.
‘Ethan!
Good evening.’

There was a pause.
I stared at my husband and tried to read his expression.
I wondered what Ethan was saying.
‘I see,’ Jamie eventually said.
‘Is there anything I can do?
Right.
Don’t worry about work.
No problem.
Yes of course I’ll sort tomorrow out.
It really couldn’t matter less.
You see to Selina and look after yourself.
Okay.
Goodnight.’
Jamie put the handset back in its
cradle and turned to face me.

‘Well?’ I asked.

‘Selina’s ill.
Ethan doesn’t think she’ll be going to the ball tomorrow.
And apparently he’s not feeling so fab himself
.
S
o it’s unlikely he’ll be going either.
He’s
not going to cancel his room at the hotel just in case, but it’s not looking promising
.

Jamie sat back down and stared at his cold omelette and tepid chips.
‘Somehow I
get
the feeling I’ve j
ust been fed a load of bullshit.

H
e looked up at me.
‘And I presume you know exactly what’s happening in Ethan’s household.
Am I right?’

‘I’ve got a rough id
ea,’ I murmured.

‘Right Cassie.
’ Jamie shoved his dinner plate to one side.
‘How about you tell me exactly what’s been going on.
From the beginning please.’

 

Chapter
Thirty

 

As anticipated, Jamie was
furious
that Morag and I had taken it upon ourselves to snoop around
Selina’s Blackheath apartment.

‘It’s one thing to bump into Selina and Stevie shopping together and follow them out of curiosity Cassie
,’ he’d raged, ‘
but it’s quite another to take yourself off with Morag and poke around
Selina’s
apartment block
.
What if the pair of you had knocked
over and killed that old boy?’

Jamie had then tried getting hold of his old Superintendent, Harry, only to be told he was unavailable.
Nobody would tell Jamie anything about the investigation or what progress, if any, had been made.
It was as if a wall of silence had suddenly sprung up.
Frustrated, Jamie had slammed the telephone back into the receiver muttering oaths about confidential
ity, bureaucracy and red tape.

‘Are we still going to th
e ball?’ I’d asked timorously.

Jamie had raked his hands through his hair.
‘For now, yes.
You’ll have to drive yourself up to
Oxfordshire
.
I’ve left a message for Harry to call me immediately
if things break on the investigation
.
Until then we carry on as normal.
Mum’s looking after the kids
,
and Ethan has told us to make free with his hotel room.
I’ll square it with Mum for us to stay overnight.
We might as well take advantage.
Before my wife finds herself in Court for false impersonatio
n, trespass and manslaughter.’

We’d gone to bed not on a row exactly, but
certainly
things had been very strained.
And now, Saturday morning, I had awoken to find Jamie’s side of the bed empty.
I had no idea what time he’d taken himself off to James Powell and the
b
ank.

I stretched and turned over.
The clock radio said a little after eight.
The baby monitor emitted a few noises indicating Eddie was stirring.
Seconds later a cry went up.

I flung back the duvet and shivered.
Gosh it was chilly.
Wrapping my dressing gown around me, I crossed the landing to Eddie’s nursery.
I could hear activity from the other children in their rooms.
Moments later Livvy shot
out of her bedroom.

‘I don’t have an
y clean jodhpurs,’ she wailed.

‘In the airing cupboard,’ I called after her.
I picked Eddie up, sorted out a smelly nappy and then went downstairs to start on the breakfast.
In the kitchen I found Edna had beaten me t
o it.

‘Good morning Cassandra dear,’ my mother-in-law chirruped.
She was looking
quite
radiant.
And there was no mistaking the spring in her step as she moved between fridge and hob, cracking eggs into one pan and frying a mountain of bread in another.
From no
where a wave of nausea hit me.

‘Hi Edna
.

I strapped Eddie into his highchair and set about mixing
up some chocolate Ready Brek.

‘Will you be having a slic
e of fried bread?’ Edna asked.

‘Um, I’ll pass thanks.’
I popped the Ready Brek in the microwave and twiddled the dial.
‘So how was your
meal with Arthur last night?’

‘Most enjoyable dear
.

Edna paused long enough in her frying to go slightly dewy eyed.
‘We visited that new Italian trattoria in Boxleigh.
You and Jamie must try it.
I had a tender sirloin steak with herb roast potatoes and cherry tomatoes.
Absolutely delicious.’

The thought of sitting down to an eight ounce jobbie, tender or otherwise, had me fl
uttering a hand over my mouth.

‘Jolly good,’ I mumbled.
The microwave pinged.
Removing Eddie’s Ready Brek, I gave it a quick stir and made sure it wasn’t too hot.
‘So how’s the boat restoration progressing?’ I snapped a plastic bib around Eddie’s n
eck and set about feeding him.

‘It’s coming along a treat dear.

Edna
slotted
a stack of fried bread in
to
the range to keep warm
,
and began plating up the fried eggs.
‘She’s now structurally sound
,
so we can move on to the cosmetic bit.
This morning we’re prepping the underside of the boat ready for painting.
This afternoon we
’ll be taking ourselves off to
sort out other bits and pieces
.
We also need to buy some
anti-fouling paint.’


Anti-fouling
paint?’ I
repeated.
‘Whatever’s that?’
I
let Eddie take the spoon from me and have a go at feeding himself.
The spoon found his cheek and left a cereal trail before disappearing into his mouth.
My son gave a chocolaty grin.

‘It’s a special paint to inhibit marine growth,’ Edna explained.

Meanwhile, Cassandra dear,
I know you’ll
want
to get ready for the ball this afternoon
.
Eddie can take a ride with his nanny and Arthur.
You’ll like that won’t you darling
?’
Edna cooed at her grandson.
‘Nanny will make a fin
e workman out of you one day.’

Eddie rewarded his grandmother with a gummy smile before picking up his bow
l and sticking his face in it.

‘Well as long as he won’t be any trouble to you and Arthur, that would be
absolutely
fab
.

I gently prised the bowl out of Eddie’s curled fists and set about wiping his face clean.
‘Jamie suggested I meet him at the
hotel
about
half five
.’

‘I saw him very briefly before he left this morning.
He put me in the picture about Selina and Ethan not being well.
Never mind.
It will do you both good to have
a bit of a break on your own.’

‘That’s very thoughtful of you Edna,’ I smiled.
Not for the first time I realised there were hidden advantages to a mother-in-law that never seemed to go home
.

 

Later,
I ferri
ed
the children to the stables
.
Hugging them hard, I
told them to be good for Nanny Edna while Jamie and I were away overnight.
I then popped in on Morag for a very swift coffee.
Blow-by-blow accounts were exchanged regarding our husbands’ respective
reactions to our confessions.

‘Matt calmed down eventually,’ Morag said.

My husband
thinks I need to get back to work.
That I’m bored
, and needing
more
mental
stimulati
on
.’

‘And how do
you
feel?’ I asked.

Morag shrugged.
‘My maternity leave finishes in six weeks.
I’ve been in touch with Hempel Braithwaite about doing a three day week.
But we’ll see.
They’re keen to get me back on the treadmill, preferably full time and with a partnership.’
She stared out the window of her large kitchen.
Winter sunlight was pouring in
,
making it look a lot warmer outside than it actually was.
‘A couple of years ago I’d have jumped at it.
But now–’ she trailed off.

‘Now the invisible umbilical
cord is tugging,’ I smiled.

‘Not half,’ Morag sighed.

I can’t bear the thought of leaving Henry with a nanny while I go off to stress myself out over some commercial takeover.
Having a baby was all I ever wanted.
And relinquishing the daytime care of Henry to a person who isn’t even related to him
,
isn’t what I want.
What if I missed his first step?
Or his first proper word?
You can’t press a rewind button – once it’s happe
ned the moment has gone forever.

S
he sighed and stared into the depths of her coffee.
‘Apart from anything else
,
I want another baby.
A partnership isn’t going to mix well
with anti-natal appointments.’

‘You’ve got a few more weeks to think about things.
Anyway,’ I drained my cup and stood up, ‘I’d better be
heading
back.
Edna has things to do
,
and she’s taking Edd
ie with her while I titivate.’

‘I’m surprised at Jamie going ahead with this function.
I thought he’d want to be closer to home fo
r the next twenty-four hours.’

I grabbed Eddie’s holdall and stood up.
‘At the moment there’s no official news.
Harry hasn’t responded to Jamie’s calls.
The police refuse to comment on the investigation.
All we have so far is Ethan ringing to say that Selina is unwell.
Ethan was apparently very anxious about James Powell being looked after
,
and asked Jamie to take care of things today.
Without any info from the police, Jamie can hardly refuse Ethan.
So we’re just carrying on as normal until cir
cumstances dictate otherwise.’

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
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