Accountancy can be deadly
"Good news, bad news"
After leaving the library, Gail headed for her room to freshen up as the library had been quite humid, the summer was definitely here. The first thing she noticed upon entering the room was that a television now sat on a chest of drawers. A remote control was on a bedside cabinet.
She turned it on and switched to BBC Radio 2 while she went into the bathroom for a wee and a wash, before changing her mind and stepping into the shower for the second time that day. After she'd dressed and finished for make-up, Gail grabbed the TV remote and switched to the BBC rolling news channel.
".... dramatic scenes in East London this afternoon as armed police raid a terraced house in Bow. We have an eye-witness video from the scene."
Gail made herself comfortable to watch the story but her phone rang.
"Miss Jones, the DS is here to see you, she'll be in the lounge."
"Thank you Jenny, I'll be a few minutes. I just found the telly, by the way."
"Yes, it was a bit of an oversight I'm afraid."
Gail switched off the TV and reluctantly went downstairs.
"Ah Gail, do sit down, I'm sorry I'm a bit late."
Gail sat next to Emily Keane who had a laptop with her, a bright yellow network cable disappeared off to a hidden data outlet on the wall. A photo on the screen was of the property in Bow.
"I was just watching that on BBC News."
"Yes, it's the address you provided. We have some good news, let me play you the video taken by the assault team, it's just been emailed to me."
The action was immediate as a battering ram took the door off its' hinges, followed by a stun grenade. Heavily armed officers entered a second later. There was the sound of a shot and a scream, then the cameraman managed to reach one of the rear rooms. Sat there, bound and gagged, was Dr Fox the shrink, behind her and rolling on the floor was another woman. The camera got closer and captured a constant flow of apparent insults in a language Gail identified as Farsi. The woman's face came into focus and Gail recalled the nurse who she'd seen at the hospital the previous Thursday.
"That's her, Fatima?"
"I think I heard a shot."
"She had grabbed a large knife so one of the officers opened fire and caught her arm. She's being treated for that now before being taken to Paddington Green for interview."
"What's happening with Dr Fox?"
"We're waiting to interview her but she's being checked over at the Royal London."
"I'm glad she's safe, despite what I said last week."
"There's more, when we searched the house we found Fatima's mother Janet Davis upstairs trying to flush cocaine packet down the toilet. We found 10kg of coke and a fair assortment of other drugs in the house. She's now helping us with our enquiries and will be going straight back to prison as she's on parole."
"Good news indeed."
"All down to you, it would seem."
"Just a lucky hit while I was looking at the accounts."
"Don't play yourself down Gail, you'll make a great analyst, a forensic accountant if you wish."
"I still don't think I'm worthy of this praise."
"You are worthy, Gail, let me tell you what else we have found out, one of the men who fired the RPG at the hospital is Janet Davis' husband, Iqbal Hussein. His documents were in the house and it looked like he'd been there recently. The forensic teams are going over the house at the moment."
"What about the other man at the hospital?"
"He's been identified now as Iqbal Hussein's brother, an Iranian living in Germany. The Bundespolizei had a match on his fingerprints when we asked them to check. We'll be seeking a deportation order for him, once he's served his time."
"It keeps coming back to Germany, doesn't it."
"So what else is there?"
"In terms of operations? We're still searching several premises and interviewing those we arrested last week on the basis of new information. It also looks as if we've made a great dent in the supply of arms and drugs in London and that's really good news."
"What are the press being told?"
"We're treating each operation as completely separate but it won't be long before a journalist joins the dots."
"Oh, what about my involvement?"
"David has been recorded as missing, last seen in Essex."
"So am I old news?"
"Yes, but the Hackney Gazette has published a story asking if anyone's seen you."
"Typical, they wouldn't run a story about my business but now have editorial on me as I'm missing."
"Remember Gail, newspapers don't want good news, as bad news sells more papers."
Emily closed the lid of her laptop and was plainly preparing to leave, Gail took the hint and bade farewell. Jenny was outside the room.
"Just to let you know, Miss Gardner won't be here today after all, she'll be here tomorrow."
That was to be Gail's 5pm appointment but she was at a loose end now. Diane solved that by suggesting a visit to the fitness suite, but first Gail had to change. In her room she found the leotard that Diane suggested she wore, and a pair of footless tights. Gail struggled with the leotard then had to take it back off as she'd forgotten to put the tights on first. There was a knock at the door.
"Come in Diane."
"I take it this is the first time you've worn a leotard?"
"Yes, and I look and feel like a right idiot."
"No you don't, but you could do with some sports socks and a pair of sports shoes." She rumaged in Gail's wardrobe, finding a pair of soft soled trainers. "Grab a towel."
Gail's and Diane's opinions about what constituted a 'gentle workout' seemed to be completely different things. Gail concentrated on the running machine, not feeling able to do any upper body exercises. Diane reached over and changed the incline to 5% which Gail immediately found difficult, she hit the stop button after a minute.
"What did you do that for?" Gail was panting and sweating badly.
"No pain, no gain?"
Anna chose that moment to enter the fitness suite and ran straight to Gail, she pulled a water bottle out of her bag and insisted Gail drink it. Anna then turned to Diane and gave her daggers.
"What do you think you were doing?"
"Just some exercise?"
"The instruction was for light exercise, not torture. Gail isn't ready for the heavy stuff so soon after her collapse and hospital stay." She turned back to Gail, "come with me to your room and let's get you in the shower."
Anna helped Gail, who was starting to recover, and insisted Gail had a shower, her third, whilst Anna remained in her room. She then suggested Gail put on a nightie and have an hour's rest before going down for dinner, Anna drew the curtains and left Gail to doze. Anna decided she would check Gail's blood pressure later but her patient's pulse had now returned to normal.
Shortly after 5.30pm the phone rang, Gail reached over.
"Intruder alert, intruder alert. Report to safe room immediately." The message repeated.
Her bedroom door opened and Jenny was stood there with Anna, who was now armed. "Get your dressing gown on and come with us immediately."
Gail was led quickly down to the swimming pool. Jenny pulled Gail to the far wall and a hidden doorway opened, an armed man in black fatigues was stood just inside, on apparent guard duty. Gail was hearded into the room beyond and found all the staff and visitors there, she felt quite exposed in just her nightwear and gown.
"What's going on?" was the obvious first question.
"We've detected two men in the grounds."
"Why are we all down here?"
"Because we're not sure if they're armed, plus one had Mediterranean features." That could mean one of the southern EU countries but more likely Algerian or someone from one of the other north African states.
"Oh." Gail sat in the nearest chair and started to wonder, are they after me again? When will it end? She started to cry.
Anna sat next to her, but first turned to Diane warning her silently to stay out of the way.
"It'll be okay, Gail, this is just precautionary."
"If you say, so."
There was light chatter in the room but the presence of paramilitary uniforms meant most of those in the room were silent. Jenny had left the room, unseen by Gail, using another door. She now returned.
"Can I have everyone's attention? The intruders have been detained and the guards are conducting a full sweep of the grounds at the moment. A full security assessment will be made once we find out the intruders' motives. Please wait here for a little longer."
Gail whispered to Anna, "guards?"
"The groundstaff are also the guards, hadn't you wondered why there's always staff out there?"
Gail wondered where the second doorway went, then saw the sign 'Pass Holders Only' and remembered the security door near the fitness suite. She decided not to ask about it at this time.
The door to the swimming pool was opened and Jenny announced the all-clear.
"Dinner will be a bit late," Jenny told Gail, Anna and Diane when she found them in the conservatory a little later. When the three ladies had reached the room, security blinds covering the windows were just being raised.
"Gail, why don't you get changed, I'll have a chat with Diane." Diane looked distinctly uncomfortable with Anna's words.
Gail was back twenty minutes later and immediately Diane stood and hugged Gail.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't understand how ill you were. I was also rude this morning and I apologise for that."
Gail said nothing but returned the hug. Anna just looked out of the window, Diane now understood that the nurse was Gail's close protection officer, annoying Anna was not recommended.
When dinner was eventually called, Anna sat next to Gail with Diane across the table. Anna's suggestion of a walk in the grounds after dinner was dismissed by Gail.
"No, I'm going to get into bed and watch some telly."
"Good plan. I'll head up myself."
Gail and Anna left the dining room with Anna suggesting the two have a swim the following morning.
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