Testing Times - Chapter 4 "Insecurities"

Testing Times - A Tommy & Tamara Story  

Part Four

 

"Insecurities"

 
Monday 13th April(Continued)

"Tammy, what's the problem?"

"I have a horrible feeling about those three guys."

John had his back to the lounge so turned to look. "John, turn back, don't make it obvious!" Tammy hissed.

"I couldn't see anything except those Norwegians."

"Norwegians?"

"There's a Norsk Art exhibition at the library, didn't you know?"

"I haven't been here for a fortnight. How much else have I missed?"

Tammy's phone pinged.

Have contacted Caithness SB, officers on way

She hurriedly replied.

False alarm

"Tammy, why are you so jumpy?" Tanya tried to look concerned, although she more interesting in squeezing John's hand. "Is it anything to do with this secret squirrel stuff?"

"Tanya, when you've been targeted as often as I have, you sometimes have to react and not wait for the assassin to get right next to you."

"Even when that assassin is a Norwegian tourist?"

"Yeah." She laughed. "I did over-react a bit."

"I would say so." Tammy looked up at DC Franklin.

"Sorry Ben, I hit the panic button."

"Special Branch are all busy so I was sent to save you, although the call was cancelled as I pulled up outside."

"Did I drag you away from a pile of paperwork?"

"I was trying to book some annual leave but the system was running very slow. I had almost got to the 'Submit' button when the emergency call came through, now I'll have to log back in and start again!"

"Whoops, I'll have to answer to your wife for that one."

"She's due in here in about half an hour for lunch, but the holiday will be a surprise, right?"

"Understood. Has it been quiet recently?"

"Mostly, but you've been in England haven't you? That halved my workload easily."

"Thanks, I didn't think I was that bad!"

"I may have exaggerated a little. Anyway, I'm going back to my office."

"Bye Ben."

The Detective Constable walked away but stopped near the doorway. Tammy was watching him as he patted his pockets then turned and walked towards the bar, disappearing from Tammy's view. The other two hadn't noticed this and were engrossed in each-other. Tammy decided to say nothing.

"Are you ready to order?"

"Err, I'll have the Spanish omelette. Tanya, John, what are you having?"

"Oh, same as you're having - whatever that was."

"Omelette."

"Yeah, can we share some chips?"

The waiter noted this. "Did you order your drinks?"

"No, three J2O's please, orange and passion fruit."

"Certainly."

Tammy should have asked the other pair what they wanted but sensible conversation with them seemed pointless. Frances walked over.

"My apologies Miss Smart, I should have taken your drinks order but we have a problem."

"Oh?"

"Could you come with me?"

Tammy followed Frances to his office, it did not surprise her to find Ben Franklin in there, watching one of the security monitors.

"What's up, Ben?"

"There's a problem in the lounge, Thomas Young just walked in." Ben pointed at a monitor.

"Oh, I thought he was being held?"

"You're two weeks out of date, he was bailed after a couple of days."

"But he's a murderer?"

"Not in the eyes of the law, he's innocent until otherwise proven - so enquiries continue. Anyway, he has been heard looking for you but very few people knew where you'd gone and no-one was telling."

"Okay, so I'm in here but I can't hide every time he's in the hotel bar, also my friends are out there but presumably they're not targets?"

"I didn't say you were a target, just that he was looking for you."

"It sounds the same to me, Ben."

"I just wanted to appraise you, he might want to ask an innocuous question."

"But he might not, so what are we going to do? I've ordered lunch and I don't want it to go to waste."

"I've asked for a couple of officers to wander in here for a coffee, there's a pair in plain clothes on shoplifting and bag snatching patrol around the shops each day this week."

"How long are they going to be?"

Ben glanced at a security monitor, "they've just walked in."

Tammy saw PCs Andrew & Neale Fraser approach the bar, dressed in civvies for the freezing weather. Those who recognised the part time shinty-playing officers, were seen greeting them. Tammy watched as they walked from the bar a minute later and sat at a small table not too far from Tanya and John.

"I suggest you return to your friends, I'll be in here watching in case anything happens."

"Why can't I have a normal life?"

"When you started playing with the big boys you should have lost that innocence, Tammy, there is no such concept as a normal life. Off you go."

Uncertain and somewhat afraid Tammy returned to her seat.

"Where did you go?"

"Frances wanted to ask me something, John."

"Okay."

It was a couple of minutes later that the three omelettes arrived, along with the portion of chips. Tanya managed to drag herself away from John in order to start eating. Tammy was also more concerned with her lunch than what was going on nearby.

"Are you Tammy Smart?"

She was startled, Tammy lifted her head and fond herself looking straight at Thomas Young.

"I'm sorry, who are you?"

"I'm Chris Jones uncle."

"That was very sad, we miss Chris."

"You corrupted him."

"Did I? I'd love to know how?" Tanya and John were now paying attention to what was going on, Tammy tried to indicate to them not to become involved. She put her knife and fork down, deciding that she wasn't now hungry and remained seated.

"By putting him in a frock for that play!"

"That play was worth a huge percentage of our A level English qualification, something Chris couldn't have known when he was murdered." She emphasized the last word.

"He wasn't murdered!"

Tammy decided she'd heard enough. "You're disturbing my lunch and that of my friends, I suggest you leave."

"You know where his mother is."

"I thought you were leaving?"

"You know where his mother is, you're going to tell me."

"No I will not, as I have no idea what you're talking about. Please leave."

Looking past Thomas Tammy could see Ben off to one side and the Fraser brothers who were now stood a few feet away. Thomas was so focussed he hadn't seen the officers.

"Look, I've been told you know exactly what's happened to my sister, so you are either going to tell me now or come with me."

"Get lost."

Thomas made a grab for Tammy but John was ready and deflected the lunge, although that also had Tanya knocked off her seat, John's concern was then divided between the two girls. Fortunately the Fraser brothers were able to detain Thomas, if knocking him onto the floor and sitting on him counts as detention.

"Thomas Young, you are under arrest for assault and threatening behaviour. You do not..."

Thomas wriggled like mad, trying to shake PC Neale Fraser off him. His language was also beyond polite.

"You are also under arrest for resisting arrest. You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?"

There was a grunt from Thomas, but PC Andrew Fraser was attaching handcuffs at the same time.

Outside the hotel Tammy could see flashing blue lights. PC St James then came through the main door to supervise the man's removal, briefly exposing the police vehicle that had now pulled up. As Thomas Young was taken away Frances had the last word, "you're barred."

"Tammy, it was quiet around here for two weeks! You're back only a few days then this happens!"

"Sorry Tanya, but I hardly did anything to provoke him and I did waste a decent lunch."

Frances came over, "Sorry Miss Smart, I should have barred him coming in."

"You couldn't have known what was going to happen."

"He had been asking in here if anyone knew where you were."

"Well, now we know what he's after."

"Would you like a replacement meal?"

"No Francis, I have no appetite now."

"Then there is no charge. If you want anything, just ask."

"Thank you."

The hotel manager walked away, but now needed to explain to some concerned customers that everything had been dealt with. DC Ben Franklin pulled up a chair and joined them.

"Sorry Tammy, we had no idea he wanted to know about Chris Jones' mother."

"Ben, I'd like to know why he directed the question at me. I need answers and I have to report this apparent breach."

"That's how it looks to me too, have you just been on a course?"

"Maybe."

"It shows, well done."

"Thanks but I really don't like any of this."

"Neither do I. If you'll excuse me I need to get the CCTV of that."

"Could I have a copy?"

"Sure, Tammy."

John was concerned, but waited for Ben to reach Frances' office door before speaking.

"Firstly, you seem to know more about Chris' mum than you admitted."

"John, please don't. I can't tell you what I don't know or what I've been told not to say. Don't you remember what Dave Brown said to you? You too Tanya."

"How something we say could endanger you?"

"Yes. I'm going to have to leave you, I need to get home to make a phone call." Tammy picked up her coat and bag, heading for the door.

***

"You left John there?"

"Yes, he and Tanya didn't seem so worried but I need to file this report as I have a feeling there's a security problem somewhere."

"Okay, Pru's gone out to get something so the office is free for an hour. I like the hair, by the way."

"Thanks Dad, I'll get my laptop first."

Tammy started to write but soon kicked herself for not noting the exact time that everything kicked off. She then remembered the exchange of text messages with Sophie that helped gauge when they'd arrived at the hotel, Tammy guestimated everything from there.

"Hi Suzie, it's Tammy."

"Hi Tammy, how can I help you?"

"I need to speak to Jenny or the most senior person there?"

"That will be Jenny on both counts, I'll transfer you."

Tammy had a feeling this could take a long time so had sought a glass of chilled water before making the call.

"Hello Tammy."

"Hi Jenny, I think we have a problem.........."

Tammy finished the call by faxing her report to Jenny.

"Shall I send a copy to Heather and Sophie?"

"No, they have a few local problems at the moment. Leave it with me for now and don't discuss this with anyone, understood?"

"Yes Jenny."

She hung up then shredded the original of her report before erasing the copy on her laptop. Tammy left the office as Pru arrived, John was with her.

"Sorry John."

"That's okay Tammy, I don't think Tanya was ready to let me go then. Have you finished what you needed to do?"

"Yeah, I'm just going up to my room for an hour."

Tammy trudged up the stairs. Once in her room she put her laptop down, kicked off her shoes and flopped onto the bed. Angela walked in.

"Don't you knock?"

"Sorry Tammy but the door was wide open and I'm not the one who's had a bad day."

"Yeah, sorry sis."

Angela walked back to the door and closed it.

"Suzie won't tell me what she did in Cornwall."

"She was in Cornwall?"

"Yes, with you. Don't play games Tammy."

"So how do you know?"

"I rang her office number from the flat when we wer in London and was told she was in Cornwall, I'd hoped we could meet over the Easter weekend."

"Who did you speak to?"

"I don't know, I never took a name."

"Male or female?"

"I can't remember."

"Angela, there might be a security problem, you shouldn't have been told where Suzie was, especially over an insecure line."

"So I can't find out where my sister is?"

"Only if she tells you, that's the way it has to work now."

"That's not fair, Tammy, you've changed!"

"Maybe, but I have more responsibilities now."

"What about responsibilities to your family? Mum's not happy with you."

"Why? She hasn't said anything."

"You weren't overjoyed at their engagement."

"I am happy for them, but I'd just got back indoors on a day where one engagement was almost called off."

"Even so?"

"Oh, and the last time I was a bridesmaid I was quite ill."

"You've been a bridesmaid?"

"Yes, for Cathy and David, I told you."

Angela started crying. "I don't even know what a bridesmaid does."

"Neither did I, but I'll help you."

"Promise?"

"Promise."



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