Testing Times - Chapter 13 "Just Another Saturday"

Testing Times - A Tommy & Tamara Story  

Part
Thirteen

 

"Just Another Saturday"

 
Saturday 25th April
 
Tammy stretched, regretting the movement immediately. Glancing at the clock it was almost seven but she felt as if she hadn't had much sleep, if any. Tammy padded her way to her bathroom, sinking several glasses of cold water before making her way back to bed.

She recalled going to school for the sixth form meeting with Mr Thompson the previous day where the only issue was that John was missing. Apparently no-one had told the Deputy Head that John's absence had been authorised by Dr McIntosh. From there Tammy and Lori had gone to Sarah's shop, the plan was that Lori would do Tammy's Saturday shifts during the summer but some training was needed with sizing, styles, pricing, purchasing, bagging and customer service. Tammy meanwhile had the easier task of handling the large delivery that was just about to go in through the store's rear door when she'd parked out the back.

Tammy had made it indoors for dinner then received an invite from Tanya and John to join them for a drink at the Castletown that evening at eight thirty. Tammy had resisted but her mother had suggested it might be a good idea to have a few hours out so had driven her down there.

Her taxi had delivered Tammy home sometime around eleven.

That was it, she was hung-over. Laying back down didn't seem to help so she threw on a gown and slipped a pair of soft mules onto her feet before walking out of her room, not really looking where she was going.

"Morning, Tammy."

"Err?"

"Oh dear, I think you over-did it last night."

"Yes, Dad, no argument. Coffee?"

"Is that a request or a statement?"

"I was going to make one."

"I'm not sure you should make one, but I do agree you should have one, plus a few pints of water."

"Had a few glasses already."

"You need more, you're dehydrated. Coffee won't fix that, the caffeine will just help you think a bit clearer."

"Fine."

The pair walked into the kitchen, if Tammy had been expecting to find one of the staff then she would be mistaken as both Julie and Leanne had the day off. Richard sat her at the large kitchen table and put a pint glass of water in front of her.

"Drink this, I'll make us both a coffee but you get another pint of water to drink with your coffee."

"What about an aspirin?"

"That doesn't help. By the way, my guess is that you are not fit to drive and will not be fit to drive before ten or even eleven o'clock."

"Oh."

"You should have considered that last night."

"Elsie has asked me to run John and Tanya up there after the rehearsal. How am I going to do that?"

"It's a consequence you should have thought about. I'll see what we can do but your car stays here."

"Yes Dad."

"Remember that non-drivers won't have these considerations, John might have passed his test but he doesn't yet think like a driver whilst Tanya has never even had one lesson? If you were stopped or had an accident there's only one person in a vehicle who is responsible."

"The driver."

"Correct."

Richard returned to the kettle to pour steaming water into a cafetière whilst Tammy drained her glass. Leaving the coffee to percolate Richard refilled her glass.

"Do you want milk in your coffee?"

"No, not now, thanks."

Richard poured her a mug and put it in front of his daughter.

"I'll do you some toast, then you can get in that shower."

***

"Where's your car, Tammy?" Richard was pulling out of the theatre carpark having deposited Tammy and Angela next to John & Tanya.

"Thanks to the pair of you, parked at home with me unable to drive it."

"Uhhhh, why?" Tanya couldn't work it out.

"That third glass of wine last night meant I was over the limit this morning."

"Hey, we didn't force you to drink it, and does it matter?"

"John, was drink driving covered in your theory test?"

"Sort of, but it wasn't clear."

"Well, there's a rough calculation you can do, Dad explained it to me."

"Come on everyone, get changed!"

They acknowledged Iain Brown, the girls heading through one dressing room door and John through the other. With a few minutes to spare everyone was out on stage for Iain's pep talk.

"Thank you for being punctual, and I should thank everyone for leaving their ego at the stage door, if you forgot to do so please attend to it immediately."

Iain paused, allowing this to sink in.

"Let me remind you of the performance times and when I want you here. We have one show next Friday, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. The matinees start at three and I want you all here by one thirty. Evening performances start at eight and I want you here by six thirty. Those who do not live in the town might find it easier to bring sandwiches on Saturday and Sunday as you will not have long between the performances."

He acknowledged Jill Davison and Elsie McPherson who had just arrived, taking a front row seat.

"Every performance has sold out, Wednesday's rehearsal will now be a full production with the press and invited guests. Please be here by six, we will start at seven thirty."

That decision surprised a few of them, Tammy recalling that the weather had caused the cancellation of the press night for West Side Story.

"Finally, please do your best, I'll be out here and Sandy will be backstage manager. We do this for real today as this is the final rehearsal, we are also recording today's performance for the DVD."

The cast left the stage and the curtain dropped, as did the auditorium lighting. The stage itself was now fully dressed for the scenes on the bleak moor. It wasn't long before the sounds of an eerie wind could be heard backstage, Sandy sent the witches out ready for curtain up.

The performance went well, with one mild rebuke.

"John, I think you overdid the death scene."

"Sorry, Iain."

"Just don't overplay it, otherwise, it was very good. That goes for everyone."

It took nearly twenty minutes to clean off the stage make-up and get into their street clothes. They were almost done when Jill and Elsie walked into the dressing room.

"Well done ladies, this will be a great production for our theatre."

Tammy acknowledged on behalf of the female cast.

"Thanks Jill, it's closed for the refurb once we finished, isn't it?"

"Yes, Tammy, the contractors arrive here on Monday the fourth, that's Star Wars day for those who care about such things. We'll re-open with a few concerts, the next stage production will be Guys and Dolls in mid December, we will run auditions in September once everyone is back from holiday."

Elsie spoke. "I understand, Tanya, that you have a transport problem, fortunately I wanted to see the rehearsal."

"Thank you Elsie."

"Do you have a weekend bag with you?"

"No, they're at mum's salon, could we pick them up?" Tanya smiled, she'd remembered Tammy's advice.

"Of course. I'll be outside."

Angela walked over to Tammy, "how are we getting home?"

"I'm going with Lori to the shop, I was going to sort it out later."

"Oh."

"Look, if you ask nicely I'm sure Elsie will drop you at home."

"Okay."

Tammy went in search if Iain Brown before leaving the theatre.

"Can you tell me any more about what happened on Monday?"

"I'm sorry Tammy, it's an ongoing investigation."

"I want to know if I'm being targeted."

"We can't confirm that."

"Do you mean you have a suspicion but you're not prepared to tell me?"

"I didn't say or imply that."

"I hope I can have an answer soon, one of my good friends from London will be here for the show next week, and he's bound to ask me. Oh, he's a St Andrews old boy."

"I'm sure, Miss Smart, that you'll be told anything relevant. If you'll excuse me?"

Iain walked away, leaving Tammy near the stage door, Lori was waiting just outside, they started walking towards town.

"What was that about? Did you just have a go at Iain?"

"I needed an answer, it was a police matter."

"Police?"

"Iain is the local Chief Inspector."

"So you had a go at a senior police officer?"

"I suppose I did, unfortunately I'll be the least of his troubles if I don't have answers by next week."

"So the rumours are true?"

"What rumours?"

"That you're not to be messed with?"

Tammy laughed. "I'm a big softy, really."

"Come on Tammy, I've heard how you dealt with some teachers."

"If it hadn't been me I'm sure it would have been one of the others, it's just a question of knowing that you are right and having the evidence to back it up. If the person concerned is a hypocrite or discriminatory then they will come to notice."

"Did you have an agenda?"

"In what way?"

"Forcing the school to accept you back?"

"Lori, I didn't even know I was going to transition, so there was no plan at that point. All I knew was that I needed to finish my education and I was helped to do that but it took almost two months to achieve. I had help from people who believed in me when I had trouble believing in myself, that included my father, Elsie McPherson and the Headmaster. I was never told I couldn't be at school, not as such, but just that the school's rules specified that it was a school for boys, there was no agenda against me from the school in that regard. What was true was that the school needed to join the twenty-first century as it was stuck in the nineteenth. Once that was achieved I could continue my education on-site instead of using the messenger to receive and return work, so when I did return I was not behind with my studies. It's that change to the Terms of Association, the school's rules, that has permitted you to transition at school with nothing more than a shrink's letter."

"Okay, but what about Mr Small, Miss Stewart and Mr Wright?"

"Mr Small had an agenda and fell on his own knife, in both senses. Miss Stewart was personally out for me and is probably in a high security facility right now, whilst Mr Wright played up in front of the Head and resigned."

"So you didn't take them out yourself?"

"No, not directly."

They pair had crossed over the Thurso River and were now on Traill St where they met Saturday afternoon shoppers. That curtailed further vocal conversation, although Tammy did indicate she had a pressing need as Lori was dragged into Reid's Bakery.

"A tuna salad roll for me please Debbie, and whatever Lori is having."

"Oh, you're Lori - I'm Debbie, Tanya's big sister. What would you like?"

"Hi Debbie, a cheese and onion roll please."

"Coming right up, any cakes?"

"I'm on a diet," replied Lori.

"An apple Danish for me, thanks." Tammy handed over a tenner once Debbie finished making up the order. "That's seven pounds in all."

Next stop was the boutique.

"Where have you too been? I left the theatre half an hour ago."

"Walking, talking, getting lunch."

"You should have said, I grabbed mine when you were on the stage."

"Who looked after the shop?"

"No-one, I had to close it while I was at the theatre. I've asked Emily to be here next Saturday as it's a bank holiday weekend. Can one of you look after the shop while I do some admin?"

"Sure, I'll handle the shop, Lori have your lunch then we'll swap."

Tammy easily handled the few customers who came in, including her mum.

"I have something for you." Joan handed over a set of car keys.

"Thanks mum, where is it?"

"In the public carpark behind Olrig St."

"Okay, did Angela get home?"

"I don't know, your father and I went out two hours ago. We dropped your car off then went to Wick airport. Angela left her keys at home so she can't get in."

"She didn't want to wait with me so went up with Elsie."

"Typical! Is your phone on? I left my bag in your father's car."

"No, it was off while we were at the theatre and I forgot to turn it on."

A text came from Angela immediately.

No-one in and I can't find my keys. Phone battery very low

Tammy responded

Check with Leanne, she can let you in

Hadn't thought of that

"Sorted, mum. Thanks again for the keys."

"We'll head up there now."

"See you later."

Lori came from the stock room and sent Tammy to have her own lunch, she'd just started her pastry when her phone rang.

"Hello Dad."

"We can't find Angela."

"Did you check with Leanne?"

"She's not here, I remember Julie saying they were at a family event today."

"Could she have walked over to Elsie's?"

"I'll call her. Are John and Tanya there?"

"Yes, Dad, but I'm on my way."

Tammy quickly explained to Sarah what was going on then ran to her car. Five minutes later she pulled into the drive of Dunbankin, Richard was just returning from Elsie's on one of the golf buggies.

"Elsie's not seen Angela since she was dropped off."

"Damn, I hate to start thinking the worst but with everything that's been happening ....."

"Tammy, right now we have nothing to go on so before we call in the cavalry let's search the place from top to bottom."

"Okay."

"I'll do indoors, you check outside."

"Where's mum?"

"Worrying herself sick."

With Leanne away Tammy ignored the converted barn and started checking the other outbuildings. The wood store was open on one side and hadn't been disturbed but the kitchen store was locked. Tammy took her keys out of her shoulder bag and tried the lock but it wouldn't turn.

She was mindful that keys have been known to snap in the lock so was careful, but still couldn't get the key to turn. Finally she leant on the door and the key turned. Tammy flung the door open to find shelving and a large chest freezer but no Angela. She then had trouble securing the door.

The next building contained gardening tools and a self-propelled mower, even though new turfing wasn't being laid until the following week, replacing a patchwork lawn. Again, there was no Angela.

Tammy walked back towards the barn just as Richard came back out of the house. "Nothing?" "No, Dad."

Tammy opened the side door of the barn, work was due to start in here on Monday to build a pool and exercise area. The door up to Leanne's flat was locked and Tammy didn't have a key. Her father, however, opened the door and called out for Angela. There was no reply.

"I'll go in and search if necessary, but I need to call Leanne first."

"Surely you can just go in there?"

"It's Leanne's personal space and we have no evidence Angela could have opened the door."

"Okay. What about the studio?"

"Does Angela have a key for that?"

"I'm not sure."

They walked to the far end of the barn and up the staircase to a closed door. Richard used his keys to open the door.

Inside a large high-backed black chair was in front of a mixing desk but there was no sign of anyone, until the chair jiggled slightly. Tammy moved closed to get a closer look, Angela was sat with headphones on her head, clearly listening to something. Her eyes were closed, she was lost in her own mind; this ended when Richard reached over and unplugged the headphones.

"What?"

"We've been looking for you."

"I was here, the door was ajar."

"It was closed, we've just searched the whole place, could you have sent a text or left a note?"

"My phone died and I couldn't see any paper. Anyway, I was going to come indoors when I knew someone was back."

"That might have been okay for you, young lady, but it was only a week ago that an attempt was made on you. Look at it from my perspective."

Angela started to cry, "sorry, sorry, sorry."

"I'll let your mother know you're safe, then I have to call Elsie. It's a good job we hadn't called the police."

Richard left the studio, Tammy offered her sister a tissue.

"Come on, Angela, dry your eyes then show me how to work this desk."



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