Testing Times - Chapter 40 "Loose Ends"

Testing Times - A Tommy & Tamara Story  

Part
Forty

 

"Loose Ends"

 
Monday 15th June 2015
 

"These results are much better, Tammy, your blood glucose levels have dropped back into the normal range."

"Thanks Doctor, I was a little worried."

"Did you take my advice on diet and exercise?"

"Yes, I'll be doing alot more running during the summer too."

"Going away?"

"Yes, in fact it's something I need to let you know about. I'll be in London and the West Country until September so I'll need to do my blood tests through local surgeries."

"Okay, I want you to have monthly tests and I'll add a note to your record that you are going to be transient until the autumn, make sure you take a note of your NHS number with you."

"Is it printed on my prescriptions?"

"Yes, how are your pill supplies?"

"I'll need a renewal next month, I think."

"Okay Tammy, I've authorised a six month prescription, I doubt you'll be having your surgery anytime soon?"

"I was offered the end of this year."

"You're joking?"

"No, I just need another signature but I might ask for next Summer instead."

"Well, it's not up to me but if you're going to be cooped up indoors after major surgery wouldn't that be better during the winter rather than the middle of the summer? That also gives time for the scar to heal."

"True, but if Dr Hall won't give me a signature then it won't happen, regardless."

"You didn't hear?"

"No?"

"It seems he hadn't paid the rent on his room so he was thrown out at the end of last week."

"So we'll have to find another shrink?"

"I'm told there will be someone new at the Dunbar in a few weeks."

"But I won't be here for a few months."

"There's more to this world, young lady, than your medical and emotional issues! Other people have greater needs and not all of them can afford private treatment."

"I suppose not."

"Right, I'll see you when you get back."

"Bye Doctor Adi."

She walked out of the surgery but her own car wasn't there. She slid into the back of Elsie's Range Rover for the rest of the journey.

"Everything alright, Tammy dear?"

"Yes, I have a prescription but I can get it anywhere."

"Good, we need some lunch."

Jonathan drove them out of Thurso, Tammy wasn't surprised when they pulled up outside the MacKay Hotel in Wick.

"We have a table booked."

Jonathan continued to Wick Airport after dropping them off, in the back of the car were Tammy's cases. These would be sent ahead to Newquay Airport in Cornwall for collection, meaning she could travel with one, smaller, case. One of her new suits would go to London with her, just in case.

Elsie was known in the MacKay and had already reserved a table in a very quiet corner. She ordered a bottle of Prosecco while they perused the menu.

"I had visit from DS Grieve over the weekend, Tammy."

"Oh, Sophie came to see you."

"She said she knew you, anyway I was rather concerned about her line of questioning."

"She takes no prisoners!"

"When she explained the problems I co-operated fully, but she asked that I didn't say anything, not even to you."

"Understandable."

"Now, about my recent travels?"

"It wasn't about Roland McPherson, was it?"

"Not entirely, my breast cancer is back, I went through all that surgery for nothing in December."

"Oh no, Elsie, that's awful news."

"There was a treatment available in Geneva that's difficult to get here. I did have some tidying up to do with the banks but that took only a few hours. I was otherwise at the clinic or in my hotel for about a week."

"Did anyone know?"

"Thomas did, he also has a copy of my latest will."

"I haven't done one yet."

"You should."

"So what's the prognosis?"

"I'll have to wait a few weeks then return to Geneva for a second round. It's a highly targeted form of chemotherapy with reduced side-effects. I spent a week in Trinidad and Tobago recovering on the beach!"

The pair laughed, the waiter returned so they could order their lunch although he first poured their wine, Tammy offered Elsie a silent toast once they were on their own again.

"So when do you go back to Geneva?"

"On the twenty eighth, I'll join the Queen Elizabeth at Gibraltar a week later."

"Not a farewell tour, I hope?"

"No, an investment matured and I thought I'd indulge. The plan is to take the cruise to Australia and fly back from there but I have an option to stay as far as Singapore."

"You didn't get there this month, did you?"

"No Tammy, that was a part of the ruse."

"Why?"

"The gambling syndicate that Roland was involved with are based in the Far East. I'd set up a meeting and had the flights booked but the police arranged for a lookalike at the airport so they could trap whoever was going to meet me. Roland was a stupid boy really, completely unlike his father. From Geneva I went West instead of East."

"What about the Caribbean investments?"

"They've been left in place, they were owned by a company that Helen now controls."

"I'm worried about her, she's done nothing to protect her future."

"I know, that's why she'll be going to Geneva with me."

"And the cruise?"

"Yes, I have her signed up for the lectures, she can start an Open University course too. No disrespect Tammy, but there are too many distractions around here for her."

"No, I agree with you. Will she act as your companion?"

"Yes, I have a suite booked, I'll make a young lady of her!"

"Does she know yet?"

"No, but I've said she can move back in with me at the end of the week, apparently Jeri will be able to take up her room in the school at the weekend, the contractors are making an effort to finish her floor by Friday."

"That is good news. I hope that they both learned something during their time in the cottage. Oh, won't Helen be overseas when he mother's inquest is held?"

Tammy's phone pinged, interrupting her. Elsie scowled when she saw the device coming out of Tammy's bag.

Are we still on for the end of exams party?
 
Sorry Tanya, forgot. Will check with Dad
 
Tnx, can John & I stay?
 
So long as you don't wake me up!
 
Cheeky moo!

Elsie's phone now rang, she took it out to the veranda, coming back just as their food was being delivered.

"The Head's let me know that the police were finally able to interview Lori Jenkins, no-one realised just how nasty that caretaker was." This was news to Tammy.

"I saw the police going into the Head's office last Wednesday but I didn't know why, Elsie. No-one at school was saying anything."

"One of the caretaking staff, Tony Thompson, apparently set the fire in the female dorms but didn't know the fire alarm was already connected to the main system."

"So they arrested him for that, but what's the connection to Lori?"

"Lori's now been able to say that he was in the library when the bookcase toppled over; he was sometimes an assistant in the woodwork classes so Lori recognised him."

"Was Lori the target?"

"No, apparently she heard him say she was the wrong one."

"Oh God! We need to make sure Jeri is safe."

"He's in custody and will be charged with attempted murder on top of the existing charge of arson."

"He won't be out for a while, what's his motivation?"

"His mental health is being assessed but it appears that he has a pathological fear of females."

"Where does this put the school, in legal terms?"

"In a very difficult place, Tammy."

 
Friday 19th June
 

"I'd like to thank all of the upper sixth who are here today, not just the ones who had their last exam this morning."

The Head was, unusually, in the sixth form common room. School had restarted after lunch and this was almost the only space available.

"It has been a memorable year, for many reasons, we unfortunately lost teaching staff and students, one of whom should have finished her exams today. I sincerely hope we'll see her this time next year to finish what she started."

He paused.

"In the history of this school I do not believe there has been such a change in the ethos and management of St Andrews such as we had this past twelve months. Much of it is due to this young lady," he signalled for her to approach, "Tammy Smart."

"It is Miss Smart's destiny to change the people around her, I do not believe any of us could have predicted last September what changes we would experience. She leaves us a young lady, a professional by all accounts, having arrived here as a young boy. In Tammy's wake we have been joined by other female students and from September we will have female boarders. Again, this is due to one person, although I'm led to believe that closing the school kitchens in November may have helped things along!

"You'll all be going from here a little wiser and with the ability to make great things happen, please ensure you keep your contact details up to date with the school office. There are social gatherings of past students in London and Edinburgh a few times a year.

"There, I've done the advert for the 'old boys' club, I guess we'll have to rename that? I'm told that there is an end of exams party being hosted by Mr Smart and Mrs Small, all welcome. If there's enough demand I'll arrange a minibus."

Tammy was grateful to get out of the school, she wasn't a big fan of speeches and certainly not when she was the subject matter. She'd promised her Dad she'd help get the barn ready for the disco before going to collect Jeri and Helen. Angela was finishing something, coaching one of the year eleven's, and would travel home with Joan.

She arrived home to find a marked police car out the front, blocking the access to the paddock. She swung around and drove through Elsie's main gates before swinging around the back, the rear gate was open so she could drive straight into the paddock and park.

Sophie was stood waiting when Tammy exited her car.

"So that's the dent?"

"Yes, but what are you doing here?"

"Watching your back."

"Sophie, you haven't explained yourself."

"Okay, let's go inside and I'll explain."

They chose the study, Pru wasn't around.

"Now, Tammy, things just happen around you?"

"Yes."

"Let's start with your mother's involvement with that Albanian. Why do you think that happened?"

"She was stupid, taken in by him."

"Yes, but why?"

"Money?"

"Yes, money. Your mother had access to some but you and your father were the real targets."

"Oh."

"You are a target because of your wealth and because of your apparent naivety. Your father is aware of his own security and doesn't take risks, you do."

"I don't!"

"I beg to differ on that one, Miss Smart. Now almost everything else that has happened since then has been down to money in one shape or another."

"Even the kidnapping attempts?"

"Yes, even them."

"How come?"

"Information about your movements, your vulnerabilities and your friends became available for sale, this gave certain people the means to single you out, or even one of your friends. Helen's appearance on the scene upped the stakes considerably."

"So what happened in the port on Sunday?"

"Was down to your name being recognised and information passed on, for a fee."

"And you know where this information was coming from?"

"Yes."

"Who?"

There was a knock on the door, Sophie opened it and was asked by a policewoman to go with her. Tammy wanted to run after her but knew she couldn't. The anxiety was tearing her apart but after a few minutes Richard came in and closed the door.

"So she told you? We've been such fools."

"She didn't tell me, we were interrupted."

"I thought you'd have guessed?"

"No."

"Leanne."

"Leanne?"

"Yes, we've been fools. Apparently she started by passing on information about Elsie's guests when she was working there, she did some very quick research on you and was trying to generate a relationship between the pair of you."

"That was plainly silly teenage hormones."

"No, that would mean she could get at the information in your head, once she had your complete confidence."

"Damn. What about Julie?"

"She's been questioned and the police are fairly sure she knew nothing about her little sister's activities. I've given her a few days off."

"So we have no staff?"

"That's right."

"What about the party? The food?"

"Taken care of, I have organised outside caterers. I suggest, however, that you collect Helen and Jeri now. Jeri has been excused last period so should be back at the cottage."

Tammy went out to her car just as their former maid was being escorted to a waiting police car. Tammy could only wait was she was again blocked in. Sophie was keeping out of the way and Tammy guessed she didn't want anyone to make a connection between them.

Someone must have phoned as the two girls were ready, Jeri was definitely not dressed for school in a short skirt and crop top, Helen had gone for shorts and a short sleeved top. Both, sensibly, had cardigans, although Jeri's looked more like a shrug.

Back at Dunbankin' the police had gone, although Sophie was still around. Tammy organised the girls to help move the gym equipment to a store room that was underneath the studio. Some extra speakers were found in there and Jeri knew where the jack points were. Helen had compiled an hour's music and was loading that into the system, Tanya had also been asked for an hour, as had John and Jeri.

There had been heated discussions on whether the pool would be available but, instead, it was covered and roped off. Jeri was now in the sound booth testing the barn's new speakers. She put on some Motown and came down the stairs, a rope now hung across the stairs to prevent, or try to prevent, unauthorised access into the sound booth. Electrical equipment and fluids, especially alcohol, don't mix well.

The caterers arrived around three and setup a small marquee, although that meant moving her car just inside Elsie's land to free up space.

The rest of Tammy's friends started arriving around five with the first minibus about half an hour after that. Tammy was surprised to hear that Deputy Head Mike Thompson was driving, but why would she be surprised? She dismissed the thought.

The evening went well, although there was some amusement as Thomas, Elsie's butler, was running the bar. Tammy had a near shock when the twins Andrea and Alison arrived.

"I didn't know you were in town!"

"We arrived an hour ago, just enough time to shower and dress! Don't worry about us, we'll have plenty of time tomorrow to catch up."

It seemed that the return minibuses were arranged for ten, so shortly after that only a few remained. Tammy had suggested that Tanya invite some of her friends from Thurso High but they already had a party planned. Helen decided she wouldn't have enjoyed spending time with former tormentors.

Jeri by now was in the studio with a guitar around her neck, singing Dylan's "The answer is blowin' in the wind."

Tammy relaxed.

 
Saturday 20th June
 

No-one was certain how the press got hold of the story but from seven that morning the phone calls started, along with the personal callers at the front door. Richard phoned Pru and pleaded with her to work the morning.

Meanwhile, there was work to be done. Jeri was moving back into the boarding house, albeit the new female monitor's dorm, and Helen was moving back to Elsie's. That required vehicles, man power and a site manager.

Tammy decided she wasn't a good site manager so gave up, she walked into school, out the back and into the new female dorm. There were fourteen rooms, apparently there were a few spare that were not being made available before September. The suggestion was that one of the current year elevens might transition? Tammy had heard nothing direct so couldn't confirm the rumour.

The building looked, and smelt, new. Jeri's room was a good size with an en suite loo and shower. She already looked at home in there.

"Did Sarah Bonney speak to you, from the clothes store?"

"Yes, I start there tomorrow, thanks for that."

"No trouble, you'll need your own transport eventually."

"I have an intensive driving course starting in two weeks, I've just applied for my provisional licence so should have that in a few days."

"Great, what will you do for a car?"

"Dad left me a trust fund that matures on my birthday."

"First of September?"

"Yes, so I'll get a car just before term starts."

"Talk to my dad about insurance, he does all of ours on a trading policy."

"Okay, sounds a bit dodgy?"

"It's all legal. Please keep in touch over the summer and let Mrs Small know if there's anything that you can't sort for yourself."

"Thanks."

Tammy's next stop was to Elsie's, where Helen was settling back in. She suggested the twins grabbed their swimsuits and followed her back to Dunbankin'.

***

Over the course of the previous week, Tammy must have told everyone she was going away for the summer. A select few knew the reason she was away and even fewer knew her flight times.

"I could have guessed."

"Good morning Tammy."

"Hi Sophie, are you going the same place as me?"

"Probably, you do still have a flat in Docklands, don't you?"

"I knew I brought the key for a reason, as well as an Oyster card."
 

***

 

This is the end of Tammy's Testing Times. Tammy's story continues in



If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudos!
Click the Thumbs Up! button below to leave the author a kudos:
up
229 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 3028 words long.