Testing Times - Chapter 20 "Where there's a will"

Testing Times - A Tommy & Tamara Story  

Part
Twenty

 

"Where there's a will"

 
Friday 8th May (Continued)
 

Angela declined the offer of a swim at the home of the Clan McPherson so Tammy took herself around after advising Pru that she might be back late. At the time, neither Joan or Richard were back from work.

Tammy had changed into her new bikini before leaving her bedroom, taking a change of smalls in her bag along with a spare swimsuit. Ever mindful of not exposing herself, the bikini included shorts that should protect her modesty. She rode around to the McPherson house on one of the golf carts kept by the barn, parking on arrival close to the scullery door.

Tammy was intercepted by the butler. "You are needed in the drawing room, Miss Smart."

"Thank you, Thomas."

Elsie's chambermaid was also waiting, "excuse me Miss Smart, could I take the swimsuit, Madam requested?"

"Certainly", Tammy handed it over and went to find Elsie as the chambermaid made straight for the main staircase.

"Come in and sit down, Tammy, how are you?"

She made herself comfortable, with the doorway was behind her, "I'm fine Elsie, but what's going on?"

"I have an unexpected house guest and I thought she could do with some company her age."

"Where is she?"

"Still sorting out her room, I believe, did you give the swimsuit to Anna?"

"Yes, aren't you going to tell me who it is?"

There was a voice behind Tammy, "can't you guess?"

Tammy stood to look around, seeing Helen coming towards her, wearing Tammy's swimsuit under a white towelling dressing gown. Helen came straight to her and gave Tammy a hug.

"Thank you."

"I didn't do anything!"

"Oh yes you did, Tammy, don't underplay your part."

"But Elsie ...."

"Tammy, never mind all that. Why don't you get yourself changed?"

"I'll change by the pool, Elsie." That was their cue to leave, "Come on Helen."

Helen followed Tammy, passing Anna on the way, "I've left some clean towels, Miss."

Tammy quickly stripped down to her bikini and jumped straight in. "Come on, Helen."

"I can't swim."

"Why?"

"Mum wouldn't take me to a pool, she said it was dangerous and the other girls wouldn't like me"

"Look, why did you put the suit on if you're not prepared to get in the pool?"

"So as not to upset Mrs McPherson."

"Come on, it's lovely in here and it's no more than 1.8m at the deep end. Climb down those steps, hang on to the side and see how it feels."

"Okay, none of this gets back to those girls at my school, right?"

"Sure."

Helen carefully stepped down into the water, unsure and lacking confidence. Finally she was down, it was 1.4m where she was stood so her bust and shoulders were out of the water.

"Okay, how about hanging onto the side and let the water support you."

"I don't think I can do that."

"Try?"

Tammy supported Helen's bottom while she got the hang of buoyancy then she worked in the water with Helen for nearly an hour before suggesting they got out. Helen went to leave the basement but Tammy stopped her.

"You need to wash the chlorine out of your hair and off your body. Use the shower here, if you want to you can leave the swimsuit and the staff will collect it." Tammy picked up one of the towels and hooked it next to the poolside shower.

"You mean, strip?"

"If you want to?" Tammy unclipped her bikini from her bust and put the water on, tepping into the water before letting her 'boy' shorts drop, but turned so she was facing the wall. Soon she grabbed the towel and wrapped it around herself before heading to get a towel for her hair.

"All yours."

Tammy had a bra and knickers on by the time Helen approached, wearing the gown. She was holding the damp swimsuit.

"What do I do with it?"

"Leave it here, Anna will be back down to tidy up."

"I could get used to having staff. Thank you Tammy, thanks for everything. Helen came over to hug Tammy and give her a kiss. The kiss may have persisted slightly longer than Tammy was expecting.

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"Don't be, but I still don't see what I did?"

"Well, a lady called Hilary phoned me and said you were busy but she'd organised a locksmith and asked if could I pack a bag for a few nights?"

"Okay."

"Well, I wasn't sure about leaving the house but Hilary asked if I had any money so I could feed myself. I told her I didn't have any so she said she could arrange somewhere for me to go. I told her straight away that I didn't want social services involved and she said no, this would be with a friend of your's. She said her colleague Mr Brown would come to the house.

"Anyway, the locksmith turned up and then Mr Brown arrived. He brought me here."

"So all I did was make a couple of phone calls?"

"I got the impression you did more than that, Tammy."

"Let's get back upstairs, you need to put some clothes on."

"Come to my room with me?"

"I'll wait with Elsie, I'm sire she want to speak to me."

Coffee was waiting for Tammy when she returned to the drawing room.

"How was she?"

"She can't swim, so I spent an hour trying to get her confident in the water."

"She told me she could."

"She fibbed, she didn't want to upset you."

Elsie laughed. "Dave Brown is on his way back here with some news, it seems you did good this morning, young lady."

"As I keep saying, I just made some calls."

"Well, this story is bigger than it seemed at first sight. Did you need use of a room?"

"No, Elsie, I'll shower when I get home."

"Why not have dinner here then stay tonight?"

"Sure?"

"Yes, I'll ask Anna to collect anything you need unless Leanne is still on duty?"

"Only Pru is there at the moment, and she'll be gone in an hour or so.

"Well, phone her and ask for what you need, the Rose Room is available and there's always some things in there."

Tammy picked up the phone in the corner of the room and called Pru to make her request.

"How many nights, Tammy?"

"Hmmm, best plan for two."

"Okay, I'll have a bag ready for you."

"Thanks Pru."

Helen now made her way down, wearing a summer dress that one of the twins had probably left. Tammy wasn't expecting this, "I feel under-dressed Elsie."

"You can change for dinner." It wasn't a suggestion.

The girls made small-talk with Elsie, mostly avoiding certain topics although the question of Helen's exams came up.

"How do I get to school for my exams?"

"Under the circumstances, Helen, I thought it might be better if you sat your exams elsewhere."

"Where?"

"St Andrews."

"I can't go there?"

"Why ever not? You can sit all of the exams for your Highers there and without any of the embarrassment caused by your mother at Thurso High School."

"Yeah, she wanted me to sit in a separate room!"

"Quite impractical, but you can become a day student at St Andrews for the next few weeks."

"Mum would never pay, it's a private school, a private boys school."

"Helen, dear, I'm a governor there, don't worry about silly things like money." Tammy was smiling, she'd faced Elsie before.

"Are you sure? I mean is it too much trouble? What my mum turns up to remove me? She spoils everything!" She was starting to panic; Tammy walked over and gave Helen a hug. "While you're in Elsie's care, Helen, nothing can hurt you. I know that from my own experience."

There was a box of tissues on a nearby table, Tammy handed one to Helen to dry her eyes.

"Thank you." She reached up to give Tammy a kiss, Tammy accepted it but withdrew to her own seat quickly, leaving Helen looking slightly puzzled.

"Good afternoon ladies." Dave Brown gave each a hug as he arrived, he was carrying some documents and placed these on a table before taking a seat next to Elsie.

"Now, I'd best bring you all up to date but could I have a coffee?" Thomas was already coming into the drawing room with a fresh cafétierre as he spoke, Helen looked impressed. "I could really get used to having staff!"

Dave said nothing until he had finished his coffee, then he picked up the documents.

"Helen, I think it's only fair tor me to say that we've uncovered some unusual things during the course of today. Did you know who your father was?"

"No, mum just said he was English and she didn't want to have anything to do with him. Apparently he was a tyrant, at least that's what she said."

"Well, he wasn't English, he was most certainly Scottish. He was also Viscount Foreland."

"A lord?"

"Yes, a peer, and not a tyrant at all."

"Oh. Did you speak to him?"

"No, unfortunately he passed away a few weeks ago."

Helen tried to keep calm but was soon sobbing. Tammy handed over another couple of tissues, although she kept a respectable distance away from Helen.

"So what's this got to do with everything?"

"The will was being read today in London, you were invited to the reading."

"Mum never said anything."

"The letter would have been addressed to you, as you're over eighteen it was not your mother's concern."

"So why would I be needed?"

"You are the sole beneficiary."

***

Dinner was to be served at six, that prompted Tammy to go upstairs for a shower then to choose a frock for the evening meal. She was getting more of an idea just how Helen's mother had kept her daughter clueless about her family, rights and entitlements.

Dave received a phone call as coffee was being served, he took the call in the study, returning shortly after.

"Helen, I'm sorry but your mother has been arrested."

"Why?"

"It seems she tried to pass a letter signed by you authorising herself as your agent. She attempted to empty a trust fund that was in your name."

"I've not given her any letters and I don't have a trust fund."

"You did, your father made regular payments and it matured on your eighteenth birthday."

"How much was there?"

"Almost two hundred thousand pounds."

"You're joking?"

"No, the paperwork is being faxed here shortly."

"So what's happening to mum?"

"She'll be interviewed at length, meanwhile all of her accounts and assets will be frozen; she's also been suspended from her political party. We obtained an order in the Scottish High Court this afternoon that allows you access to the house to collect anything you need, but you can't stay there."

"Oh."

Helen went pale; Tammy and Elsie managed to grab her before she slipped to the floor, taking her to a chaise longe.

"Elsie, there's more to this, isn't there?"

"Yes, Tammy, Viscount Foreland was my husband's nephew."

"So Helen's family?"

"Loosely, but it does make her a McPherson. I've instructed solicitors to sort out the will."

"I don't know how much can be done over the weekend."

"Plenty Tammy, plenty. I told the London solicitors to come here tomorrow for the reading."

Tammy turned to Dave Brown, "okay, does this have anything to do with Yvonne?"

"We're investigating that."

"Are you concerned for Helen's safety?"

"Given that she's just become a millionaire, yes, given that she has been emotionally abused, yes. She is ill-prepared for any of this and is very vulnerable."

Tammy was aware of that. "How much was Viscount Foreland worth?"

Elsie answered, "Roland McPherson owned several properties in London, a flat in Nice, a house in Edinburgh, plus shares in many companies. He enjoyed life; when Veronica told him she was pregnant he vouched he would support their child but she wanted nothing to do with him. He never did have another relationship after being burnt that time so had a playboy reputation. He wanted to be involved in Helen's life but Veronica blocked every communication, hence the trust fund. He had hoped that once she was eighteen she would be free to contact him."

"Why didn't you do anything before, Elsie?"

"Roland asked me not to interfere and I didn't keep track of Veronica and Helen until recently."

Somehow Tammy didn't quite believe that last statement. "Did I ever meet him?"

"Probably, he always attended the awards ceremony at St Andrews and sponsored one of the prizes. He was an old boy, of course."

Helen was coming to, Tammy suggested she went up to bed. Elsie summoned Anna to help, the conversation waited until Helen had reached her room.

"I thought Anna had finished by this time of the day?"

"I asked her to stay on as we might need her."

"I see."

"Now, Tammy, we are all rather grateful to you for bringing this to our attention."

"Yes, Dave, I see now. How much does Helen know? Apart from what was said in here, that is?"

"She does not know who we work for, only that we all help each other. Unfortunately, or fortunately, she is rather naive so isn't asking probing questions."

"Where's her mother?"

"She's due at Westminster magistrates tomorrow morning and will be remanded in the short term, probably to Bronzefield Prison but it could be Holloway Prison."

"She'll go down?"

"Almost certainly, Tammy, as she's being charged with fraud and imprisonment, but it's entirely possible she'll be bailed before any trial. The trial could be in Scotland, too. We'll have to ensure Helen is protected until we know she's capable of looking after herself."

"Okay, but that may be some time."

"Quite."

Tammy took herself up to bed shortly before ten. She'd been in bed for a few minutes when her bedroom door opened.

"Tammy, are you asleep?"

"I was, Helen."

"I can't sleep." Helen walked into the room, closed the door gently then climbed into bed with Tammy.

 
Saturday 9th May
 

Tammy woke shortly after seven as light pierced the heavy curtains. She was alone.

She dropped out of bed and looked for her slippers, before heading for the bathroom. By the time she was back in her bedroom a mug of coffee had arrived.

Tammy sat on the edge of the bed as she sipped her coffee, having also picked up her tablet. She checked her messages, Tanya had left a message the previous evening asking if they could meet and if she knew any more about Helen.

Helen's safe and is being looked after. Busy today, lunch tomorrow?

The response was very quick, what was Tanya doing up at this hour?

Tell all, Angela says you weren't at home last night

Nothing to tell

Then why has her mother been arrested?

Damn, thought Tammy. She quickly checked the BBC news, Scottish section, and there was the story:

New MP Arrested in Fraud Probe

Oh, look I can't say anything. Helen is safe and will be doing her exams at St Andrews instead of Thurso High

I hope someone will tell Miss Douglas at Thurso High?

That will be dealt with

It sounds as if Elsie McPherson is involved?

I couldn't possibly say, Tanya. What about tomorrow?

I'll expect a full report by then, I'll book a table for one and you're paying!

Fine

John sends his love

That would explain why she was up, John was always an early riser. Tammy smiled, as she put her tablet down the bedroom door opened, Helen walked in with her own coffee. Tammy looked up.

"Good morning Tammy." She put her own coffee down then joined Tammy on the bed, wrapping her arm around and giving her a kiss.

"Helen, I appreciate that you are grateful to me, but ...."

"Tammy, I love you."

"Helen, please don't take this wrong but you barely know me."

"I know you care, you're the first girl who's shown me any respect for years."

"That alone isn't the basis for a relationship."

"I don't think that matters", she gave Tammy another peck on the cheek. Tammy considered moving away but could that cause more problems in a girl with fragile self-esteem?

"Look, Helen, I do like you and I care that you haven't had the best start in life, but you need to have some stability in your life before you can take anything further."

"You can be my rock."

"You've spent hardly any time with me, you wouldn't know if I was really some psychotic killer?"

"I'm sure Elsie would have mentioned it."

"I suppose so, let me put it another way, I don't know if I'm ready for a relationship."

"With a girl or a boy?"

"Either."

"Then don't call this a relationship, just enjoy it."

There was a knock on the door, Helen swiftly separated herself. "Come in."

"Miss Smart, Miss Salmond, breakfast is at eight."

"Thank you Leanne, what are you doing over here?"

"I was asked to help, I've brought some of your clothes over, Miss, I'll bring them up shortly. Miss Salmond, Mr Brown has suggested I accompany you to your house after breakfast to collect some more clothes and your school books."

"Oh, thank you .... Leanne."

Helen whispered in Tammy's ear as the door closed, "you have a maid?"

"Yes, we're all busy so it's useful to have someone to change the beds, clean and so on."

"I used to do all that."

Tammy wondered if she should say anything but that could wait, something more important was needed.

"I need a shower."

"I'll join you."

"No, sorry Helen, I enjoy a shower on my own. I'm sure Anna or Leanne will have everything ready in your room by now."

"Okay, my love."

***

Tammy went to the breakfast bar but was intercepted by Thomas.

"Madam is in the dining room today, Miss Smart. Would you like coffee?"

"Yes please, Thomas."

A copy of the Scotsman was on the table, the front page confirming what Tammy had already read online.

"Did you sleep well Tammy?"

"Hmmm, yes Elsie."

"Was there a problem last night?"

"She's very insecure." Tammy decided to err on the side of caution.

"So I heard." What doesn't Elsie know? "Would you rather return home?"

"I think I'll stay for today, Elsie."

"Thank you."

Helen now arrived in the dining room, dressed in jeggings and a long sleeved top. She looked a little pale but Tammy put this down to a lack of make-up and a questionable diet.

"I do hope you're going to change, young lady?"

"For dinner tonight?"

"No, for the morning, I expect a certain standard of dress."

"I'll go now, Elsie."

"No, have breakfast. Didn't Anna leave a skirt out for you?"

"Yes, but I didn't like it."

"I'll have Leanne help you, she understands Tammy's and Angela's tastes."

"Okay, thank you." Helen didn't sound very grateful.

Dave Brown now arrived, Tammy guessed he had been in the study.

"Good morning everyone, Jeremiah Smith will be here at eleven, we're expecting the representative of Fuller Jones & Hempleford around the same time."

Tammy nodded but Helen looked confused, Dave explain.

"Jeremiah Smith is the McPherson solicitor, and has represented Tammy in the past. He'll be representing you unless you have a solicitor you'd rather use?"

"No, do I need one?"

"I would recommend it and Mr Smith is very good."

"Thank you, what about the other ones?"

"Fuller, Jones and Hempleford are your father's solicitors. Their representative will be disclosing the will, they are sure to ask for proof of identity so we will have to obtain that from your house."

"Mum keeps documents and passports in a safe."

"Okay." Dave left the room, no doubt heading for the study again. Bad timing as bacon, eggs and so on started arriving.

"I don't know if I could eat all of this? Could I just have a cereal please?"

"Do your best please Helen, lunch could be late given everything that's happening today."

"I'll try. Tammy, can we go in the pool again?"

"Maybe later."

"Great."

Once breakfast was out of the way, Dave took Helen and Leanne to the Salmonds' house. A locksmith would meet them there. Tammy meanwhile phoned Sandy Smith's salon and asked for a hair appointment.

"Today? Debbie can do you, I'm fully booked."

"Okay Sandy, what time?"

"Nine thirty."

It was just past nine and Tammy's car was over at the house.

"In a hurry, Tammy?"

"Yes, I've booked an appointment at the salon but my car's at home."

"I'm heading into town shortly for coffee, I'll give you a ride."

"Thank you Elsie."

***

They gathered in the drawing room around eleven, joined by Jeremiah Smith.

Helen was now in a long skirt and blouse, she was also now wearing some light make-up and looked fantastic, the best Tammy had ever seen her. There was a look of surprise on Helen's face however when a helicopter made its approach to the lawn landing pad. Richard Smart escorted a short man who was trying to keep his briefcase and bowler hat safe whilst the blades were still turning. As soon as the pair were inside the patio doors, the chopper lifted.

"Hello Dad."

"Hi Tammy, everyone. This is Mr Hempleford."

Mr Hempleford put his case down. Good morning everyone." Elsie introduced all those present.

"Thank you Mrs McPherson, I do hope that Lady Foreland understands what is happening today."

"She will, she will."



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
270 users have voted.

And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks. 
This story is 3608 words long.