Testing Times - Chapter 7 "Questions"

Testing Times - A Tommy & Tamara Story  

Part Seven

 

"Expect lots of questions, Miss Smart"

 
Sunday 19th April

"What time did we get in last night, Mum?"

"It was gone one this morning."

"My feet ache."

"You shouldn't have danced all night then, those heels were a bit high as well."

"I wasn't to know the marquee would be transformed into a nightclub when we finished eating!"

"You seemed to know the DJs."

"The Fraser brothers, they're also part time police officers."

"Oh, I thought I'd seen them around. What was up with that lad at the table?"

"The one who was sat next to me? That was John's cousin. He's fifteen and was trying to get alcohol but I made certain Thomas knew he wasn't to have any."

"Shouldn't you have run that past his uncle or Elsie?"

"We were already at the table, I'm sure there wouldn't be a problem."

"You didn't see what happened?"

"No, I lost sight of him after the meal."

"He was stealing drinks from the guests when they put their glasses down. He tried it to Elsie and swore at her when she caught him in the act."

"Oh dear, what did she do?"

"She put him in the scullery with Jonathon the gamekeeper. The boy was in there for three hours apparently before his uncle collected him, although he had to be hosed down."

"Serves him right."

"Have you bagged up your dress so Leanne can take it to the cleaners tomorrow?"

"Yes, but I really want to know who bought it."

"Your father did, apparently he bought it for me while we were all away but the wrong size was delivered, I never saw the dress before last night as he told Leanne to put it in your wardrobe instead of sending it back, she must have misunderstood."

"I had a horrible feeling she was responsible for it."

"It's a good job you didn't accuse her then."

"Yes, I suppose so."

"Okay, get downstairs for breakfast, Julie's doing a full cooked brekkie today and you've got fifteen minutes at the most."

"I didn't think she worked on a Sunday?"

"Not normally, but she wants an extra day off in the week for something."

"Fine."

Tammy dashed into the shower and threw on jeans and a simple top before walking down to the kitchen, finding that she was last in. Given that a full English or Scottish breakfast is heavy on the plate, not much chatter was heard, just the noises of utensils on plates or mastication.

With the plates cleared away, and the parental units relocated to the lounge, Tammy was able to speak to Angela.

"Can I have your phone?"

Of course, it was in Angela's room so they walked up together.

"What's the latest message?"

"Can we meet today?"

It was timed twenty minutes earlier.

"Good, this is what we're going to do ....."

***

It took some organising but Tammy persuaded John and Tanya to join in with their investigation, she also checked which of the sixth formers was at the school and available, knowing that a few would be returning today ready for school tomorrow.

"Right, we'll go down there for midday, that will give everyone to get into position."

"Tammy, is this going to work?"

"I have no guarantees, he might not even show himself, but you can just block him so he can't contact you again. There's not enough evidence for harassment yet, I suspect. Whoever is doing this must be getting at you for a reason."

"I hate to think what that might be."

"Never mind, we have an invite for coffee with Elsie at half past ten so I suggest we do something productive?"

"How about a swim?"

"I'll call Elsie."

John and Tanya, who had stayed at Elsie's overnight, had a similar idea but Tanya didn't have a swimsuit. The twins it seems were also planning on a dip. Tammy drove round to the house with a spare swimsuit shortly after nine. As ever, Thomas opened the door before they reached it.

"Good morning, Miss Smart, Miss Small. Mr Hibbert and Miss Smith are in the rose room."

"Thank you, Thomas." Tammy knew the room well, she'd lived in there from November last year until Dunbankin was bought earlier this year. The door was open.

"Hi guys! I hope you didn't keep everyone awake last night?"

John and Angela blushed. "Now, now, Tammy, I was a good girl." John blushed redder, Tammy and Tanya laughed, but Angela was still embarrassed.

"Tammy, you can't go saying those things!"

"Come on, Angela, it's perfectly natural and I presume Miss Smith here is on the pill?" Tanya nodded. "I just would say anything in front of parents, they're too old to understand."

Elsie coughed from behind, now it was Tammy's turn to glow.

"Thank you, young lady, my dear chambermaid was quite upset by what she could hear from in here."

"Oh, um, sorry."

"Ha! She's actually checking the pool at the moment. Don't make generalisations and beware that some old people know exactly how to wind you up, years of experience count."

"Yes, Elsie."

"Now I understand you're trying to unmask someone who is impersonating that nice man from the library?"

"Yes, did Sandy speak to you?"

"She did, and I also talked to our DJs, I understand they're on duty today."

"That could be useful, thanks."

Alison and Andrea now arrived in the room, dressed for the pool. "Coming?"

It took a few minutes for each of them to change, using the bathroom for modesty. Tammy noticed a pregnancy testing kit but decided to say nothing for now. Finally, they were all ready.

With six of them, a game of water polo was inevitable, a ringing telephone interrupted the fun. Tammy answered it.

"It's half past ten, could you all be dry by eleven?"

"Probably, Elsie."

"Not probably, yes or no?"

"Yes."

"Good, we'll take tea in the conservatory."

Tammy passed on the news to everyone.

"Sorry, but this is an Elsie edict, challenge it if you dare!"

They reluctantly climbed out, Tammy showered there and had brought her clothes down to the pool, Angela had done the same. Once the twins and the newly engaged couple had gone upstairs to change, Tammy stripped off her swimsuit and stepped back under the shower to wash the chlorine off.

"What are you waiting for Angela?"

"But I'll be naked?"

"So, get under that shower and lose the swimsuit. There's fresh towels in that locker, use my shampoo."

Tammy dried herself off and dressed, turning her back on Angela out of modesty even though there was no reason why the two sisters, couldn't see each-other. Of course, they were both pre-op so that might have influenced Angela.

Tammy and Angela were the first to arrive in the conservatory, closely followed by the twins.

"Where's John and Tanya?"

"Sorry Elsie, but we're not going to guess what the pair might be doing in that shower."

"Tammy, you should be ashamed!"

"Sorry Elsie."

"Now, Anna reported that someone put a pregnancy testing kit in their bathroom before they arrived, who's responsible?"

Alison spoke up. "It was me, just a joke."

"Tanya's mum found it yesterday and was quite concerned, apparently Sandy Smith doesn't want grandchildren yet."

"Oh."

Thomas arrived in the conservatory with a tray of drinks, and a few biscuits. Tammy poured herself a coffee from a cafetière, whilst the others drank tea. Eventually John and Tanya arrived, looked flushed; Elsie just shook her head and no mention of carnal instinct was made.

Angela's phone beeped.

"Meet me by the theatre at twelve thirty, come alone."

"That's worrying. Anyone would be easily able to check the area around the theatre so we'll have to be careful."

Elsie was quite concerned. "This has the hallmarks of something dangerous. You should tell the police."

"If there's a police car there then he won't show and we won't know who we're dealing with."

"You're playing with fire, Tammy."

"We can do this, whoever this is, may well know me, Tanya and John but won't know Alison and Andrea. They can get close to the theatre without causing alarm."

"Okay, but what about evidence?"

Tammy pointed at her broche. "This is a camera and microphone, my bodyguard gave it to me over Christmas and it helped put one or two in prison." Everyone present knew about the attempted abductions, including one that had happened outside this very house on Christmas Eve. Tammy undid the clasp and fixed it to Angela's top.

They finalised their plan then Tammy made a couple of phone calls. Elsie insisted on her gamekeeper driving down so the twins rode with him, while Tammy took the others.

Google map of ThursoClick image for google maps website

By arrangement the twins would remain in the town, on Traill St, until Angela was heading to the theatre. Tammy, meanwhile, parked by Miller's Copy Shop after crossing the Thurso River. They were early, but assumed the fake Yusuf would also be there early, scouting the area for any surveillance. By arrangement, Tom the printer had arrived.

"Let me get this right, you think there's a risk to one of you?"

"Yes, Angela. She's getting messages from a fake account. What I'd like to do is to wait here and check for any cars going down to the theatre."

"That won't help you, there's a new exit off the A9 onto this road plus a housing estate behind the theatre, too much traffic from multiple directions so you'll need a better plan!"

Tammy brought up a map on her phone, looking at the roads, she figured putting herself at the junction with Mill Road.

"There's no way we could cover it!"

Angela's phone pinged again.

"Change of plan, meet me in the Castletown Hotel."

"What do I do now?"

"Don't worry Angela, this helps us."

Tammy called the Alison and let her know the change of plans. They would go straight to the hotel to scout it out. Tom, added to the plan.

"I'll drop Angela round to the hotel so you're not seen."

"Thanks Tom."

That left Tammy, Tanya and John outside the print shop.

"What now?"

"I'll park round the back of your mum's salon, I never leave the car there so it should be unexpected. We can get to the hotel from there without walking past the front."

Sandy Franklin pulled up by Tammy's car.

"I thought I told you to be careful, Tammy."

"We are."

"I saw nothing down there, I was in the theatre lobby."

"How did you know it was the theatre?"

"Elsie phoned me."

"Oh. Anyway, he's shifted the meeting point to the Castletown, which helps us."

"How?"

"Alison and Andrea should be there any minute, ahead of Angela."

"I'll call Ben."

"Then I'll get told off for not calling the police station."

"He's off duty, and if I get this right all you had were messages, no threats?"

"True. Okay, the more the merrier. We're going now, using the back roads."

"I'll follow."

Tammy and Sandy pulled up by Tanya's mother's hair salon but stayed in the car, Sandy walked around to speak to them.

"I'll go into the hotel, I suggest you get close but stay out of sight. My husband should be in the area soon."

"Okay."

Tammy received a message from the twins confirming they were in location by the main entrance and could see Angela who was near the bar with a coffee. It was now twelve thirty-five and nothing had happened. Five minutes later, with everyone getting twitchy, Tammy received an update.

"Several groups, families and couples arrived. Two men came in, middle-aged. They arrived together but have sat separately, after checking the bar out carefully."

Tammy guessed that Sandy and Ben wouldn't know the twins well enough, even though they'd been at the engagement party, so there wouldn't be much interaction between them.

"Angela's just had a message and is checking her phone, one of the men is also on his phone. he looks familiar but can't place him."

Then.

"Angela's leaving, one of the men has already gone. Last night's DJs are following?"

Tammy smiled, she'd didn't have the Fraser brothers' mobile numbers but had called Frances at the hotel and asked, if the lads were on a late duty, could they be around?

"Two others, a man and a woman from the party are leaving in a hurry, a car's pulled up."

Tammy and the other two ran from the car towards the hotel, finding two men on the ground and a shaken Angela being hugged by Andrea. Tammy and John recognised one of the men as their former English teacher, Mr Wright, but who was the other one? Ben was on the phone calling for backup whilst the pair of shinty players made certain the men went nowhere.

Of course a crowd started to gather but the off duty brothers were recognised by most so it was quite apparent that there was a police matter, this was confirmed by the sound of an approaching siren.

"Why, why, why?" Moaned Angela. Tammy phoned her father but wasn't surprised to see him walking towards her.

"I came down and sat around the back, I guessed it wouldn't go well."

"I'm sorry, I thought I could handle this?"

"You're eighteen, not a fully trained and experienced officer. What did you expect?"

Tammy started to cry. DC Ben Franklin walked over. "I want a full explanation from you."

"Yes, Ben. What do you know? One of them was our English tutor, he resigned because of me."

"The other was his brother, they were heard saying this was payback."

"So it was all about me?"

"It would seem so, but we'll investigate and not jump to conclusions. Expect lots of questions, Miss Smart."

"Angela's wearing a camera."

"I thought I recognised the broche. That'll be useful."



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