HWSNBN (He Who Shall Not Be Named)

Chapter 19

The two lads joined us in the kitchen, having come in the back way. They were introduced to Liam as they already knew Duke and Julie. They hugged Julie and then Luke put his arms out to Megan. She did the same to him. He was really delighted, taking her into his arms.

He carried her over to one of the dressers and took a cup off the shelf. It was covered in ducks which he showed her. She was a happy kid and pointed to them as he turned it.

He said to Julie, “We stopped at the shop coming home. Can she have any of those drinks – in the carrier bag?”

Julie had a look, lifting one out, “Anything, though this is her favourite, the blackcurrant one. Thanks for thinking of her.”

“You’re part of this family now.” Luke felt how emotional she was and gave her a one-armed hug. “Show me how strong to make it, Jules, please?”

While that was going on, Gavin had opened the pool room door, to show the boys. They both whistled and went in there with him to check it out. Charlie had the kettle on and said to me, “I’m chuffed Duke’s found someone, Jane.” He’s waited long enough.

“Me too, Charlie. Almost as long as Harvey did for Alli. “Are you making tea?”

“Think so. Reese will be here soon – annoyed he couldn’t get a chopper straight away. Uniform’s bringing him, after he’s locked Richardson in the cells. Reese wants to be in the room and then he’s staying in the same hotel as Duke and Julie.”

Julie butted in, “Duke should be with Liam, now he’s found him.”

Gavin poked his head through the door, “He’s staying here, Julie – if that’s all right with you?”

“It’s fine. He explained about you all having to feed – doesn’t bother me, but he’d be better off doing that here – in case hotel staff saw anything. Megan will sleep with me, anyway, so I’m not worried if he stays here.”

Gavin smirked. “Not only that, Julie – we’re not quiet doing anything.” She giggled, just as the boys pushed him into the kitchen.

Liam had taken his jacket off. “Having tea before we swim?”

Duke tweaked one of his nipples through his T-shirt, “You’re brave, coming in here almost undressed.”

“Ohhh, like that is it?” Liam laughed. “Jules, Gavin’s dead right, we’ll be far too noisy for Megan to sleep through.” Duke flashed his eyes at her.

“I don’t need convincing – you’re staying put.” Charlie gave her a mug. “Thanks, Charlie. They think I was born yesterday – daft buggers.” He smiled at her.

We all heard the front doorbell. Gavin turned on the speed to answer it with Julie’s laughter following him.

“You’ll get used to us, Julie.”

She giggled and said, “There’s no harm in any of you. I like it here.”

“Then you better get your head around this, Julie.” She turned to look at who was talking. It was Reese who’d come in. He carried on, “Gavin was right earlier, about Chris. He has things underway and you’ll find one of their neighbours will be on the move shortly. I don’t know which side it’ll be, yet. I’m Reese.”

Julie went over to him with her hand out, “Pleased to meet you, Reese.”

He smiled and shook her hand. “Likewise, Julie. Megan will be happier at this end of town, good schools around here and you’ll have a garden whichever one you get.”

Duke shook his hand next. “Chuffed to meet you, Reese.”

“You too, Duke. I’m pleased you’re here to back them up.” He ran his hand through his hair and looked at Gavin, “I’m seriously thinking of moving John on. He’s a liability to you all at the nick; thought he’d have more bloody backbone than that.”

I said to him, “Leave him to me, Reese.”

He turned to me. “What do you have in mind?”

“I’ll hypnotise the bugger to stand up to that joke of a wife. She’s his problem.”

“Can’t do that. What if she leaves him?”

“I’ll hypnotise her, then.” Reese smiled. “Perhaps we’ll invite them to dinner, one Sunday, Gavin?” The laughing started and it came from Liam who was standing behind Duke, waiting patiently to be introduced.

Duke turned around. “Sorry. Reese, this is Liam. We only met today. Excuse the make-up, it’s his business.”

Reese laughed out loud before saying, “I heard all the antics at the market…”

“How far away were you, Reese?” Liam asked, shaking his hand.

“Flying over Birmingham.” Liam mouthed ‘fuck’: Can’t say that in front of the bairn. Reese nodded.

I tried to move things on a bit or we’d be in the bloody kitchen until midnight. “Let’s get in the pool now, and then Julie can bring Megan in?”

Luke gave her back to Julie and came in there with us. We stripped and dived in quickly. I swam to the bottom and started swimming length after length, to get shot of all the ghosts.

When I came up for air I saw Julie and Megan playing near the kitchen end of the pool – not an arm-band in sight. I smiled to myself, swimming to the bottom again to continue my daily eradication – glad to be rid of them for a few hours, at least.

I heard the doorbell ring and saw Gavin’s feet leave the pool, hauling himself out to answer it. Once I hit the surface there was no sign of Julie. The lads were at the towel cupboard and it was Luke who brought some over to the edge of the pool for me.

“Thanks, Luke. That’ll be the food.” He dropped them on the floor and reached forward to lift me out.

It took me a while to dry my hair, so by the time I joined them in the dining room they were filling their plates from the numerous dishes of food. I sat between Gavin and Julie who had Megan on her lap. There were different dishes for Julie to pick from. Megan wouldn’t have been able to tolerate the curried food we ate, as often as possible, with it being so hot. Julie did though. She glanced at me. “I couldn’t miss out on this, Jane. Best curry I’ve tasted in a long while.”

“It’s from the restaurant on the High Street. The waiter in there, Raffi, is the brother of Mehmet, in Uniform.”

All she said was, “Small world.” Silent now whilst eating the delicious meal, oblivious of the details filling every other head around our table. This night would be long. Reese looked up and smiled at me.

Luke and Charlie stayed to clear up after dinner while we took Julie to the hotel. Reese had already booked in for the night and was coming to the nick with us. Liam wanted to come as he fancied himself as a sleuth. He joked about it over dinner, but we all knew he was serious, and he knew we wouldn’t object. Building a team with the strength they had down south was one of our priorities, and it was coming together faster than we ever dared to hope.

We were already in the interview room with Rod when Richardson was dragged in. He didn’t come willingly, and he looked like he’d had the shit kicked out of him, when he was forced to sit down. Large yellowing bruises adorned his fore-arms with nicks and cuts across fingers and the backs of his hands. Duke had pressed down on his shoulders with just enough force for him to know he wouldn’t win that battle, and then he joined Liam to stand across the door. Reese was seated behind us, against the back wall, wanting to observe the going’s on.

I slammed my hand on the table, making Richardson jump in his seat. Well, he couldn’t bloody see…again! What I left behind on the table top were more elastic bands. I told him, “I’m surprised that lot’s not been hacked off. Use the bands!”

He went through the same performance as last time. I was pissed off as I knew he was stalling for time – God knows why? He knew he wasn’t here for tea so why delay the obvious?

Gavin tapped my knee with his: Listen to Reese, love?

I’d been so wrapped up in my own thoughts, I’d cut everyone out: Sorry.

It’s not you he’s scared of, Jane; someone at the prison.

Ah, thanks, Reese. Well, I’ll make bloody sure we’re not here all night.

Richardson finished with his mop and sat up straight.

Oh, my God – he’s really pissed someone off – doesn’t add anything, does it?

The guys laughed in my head.

I couldn’t help looking at it. Crude and hasty stitch marks emblazoned the swollen track of the slash across his face, from the outside corner of his left eye, diving under his nose and finishing just above his top lip, on the right side of his mouth.

“Remember you’re still under caution.” He was no Adonis before but the state of his face shocked me. I had to say it, “Pity the doc didn’t wear glasses when he stitched you up. Who the hell did this to you?”

“It doesn’t matter who did it,” he muttered.

“Speak up. The machine has to hear you…”

“Wait, Jane. We have to log everyone in the room.”

“Shit, sorry.” Over the next few minutes, we went through the names to be recorded. When it came to Reese and he said he was MI5, Richardson became very attentive. He was actually thrilled, thinking he was important enough to warrant their presence.

Reese put him straight, “Get that out of your head! They needed you today – I offered – job done!” Richardson’s deflation was massive, sinking into his boots.

He’d missed the fact that Reese had read his mind, in his fascination with MI5.

I tapped the table to get his attention and then I turned to Duke and Liam, “Say who you are please, lads?”

Duke spoke up first: “Ryan Dukes, surveillance.” Apart from his scar, he’s the spit of the main hybrid, Jane.

That’s why I thought I knew him. Thanks, Duke.

Gavin raised his thumb over his shoulder to Duke.

Liam wasted no time to spout, “Liam Turner, M.A., B.A., and Ph. D in Biosciences.” Rod looked up and smiled at him. I felt how proud of him Duke was, as well.

When Richardson heard all the letters after Liam’s name, his eyes were glued on him, straight past me. I shifted in my chair to block his gaze and to keep him focused.

“Rex not been to see you?” He was shocked I knew about him. “Well?”

“You’d know if he had. I’m not daft.”

“Daft enough! Didn’t take him long to persuade you into drug dealing. The trouble is – he’s the reason your kids died, along with quite a few others.”

“Bull-shit!” he blasted across the table. Gavin was annoyed. Leave it to me, love.

“Picked up some nice language in there, I see. Think that’ll stop me digging? Yes, he’s your cousin, only you don’t know what else he is and that’s where you’ve really come unstuck. He’s a hybrid.”

“What the hell is that?”

“A bloody nightmare as he’s insane as well. The worst type of hybrid – cross one of them and you’re headed for trouble – so in point of fact, you, doing the dirty on him, killed your kids and all the others, so I hope that’s on your conscience forever.” He tried to ignore me.

“He’s running the whole show without you now, and there’s something going down tomorrow…”

Richardson left his seat, so fast, leering over the table to bellow at me. Duke did the speed thing. In a split second, he was behind him, pulling him back before he got too close. He was pushed down into his seat again, and then Duke stood between us at the end of the table. Richardson couldn’t comprehend how all that had happened, although he kept looking up at Duke. Fear was buried, but it was there.

“Why did you react like that?” I asked him.

Richardson was seething internally – with me, making him think of Rex again. He was totally pissed at him. Eventually, he couldn’t hold it, blasting, “He’s got no fucking right! And what did I do that was so harmful to him? Nothing! Just tried to stop him creaming most of my money, the bastard!”

“How?” He didn’t want to answer. “If you don’t tell us, I’ll be forced to look inside your head. Wasn’t pleasant last time, remember?”

He had plenty to hide from me, conceding with an answer, “I just added a bit of powder to the next batch he took, that’s all.”

“Enough to kill a couple he knew, THAT’S ALL! And he gave loads away.”

He pulled back in his seat, only I hadn’t finished, “Arsenic and rat-poison isn’t just a bit of powder! Now you’ll be on another charge. Stacking up, aren’t they?”

He huffed at me and lowered his eyes.

Now I used the bargaining tool Reese had given me, “I could get you moved to another prison, IF I asked the right people.” His head lifted slowly waiting for more. “Oh, no. You have to do something for me, first.”

He mulled that over for a minute or two. “What?” he said with his gaze dropping to the table again.

“Tell me about tomorrow. You arranged it and now Rex will take all the credit; looking a big shot with that cartel you took months to hook up with. You’ve hated him all along – wanted him nowhere near that deal. You knew there was something different about him and didn’t believe the explanation he gave you, about you being his cousin. You see, he was telling the truth about that. What you don’t understand…” Before I could carry on, Richardson lifted his head and stared at me, knowing I had no reason to lie. “He’ll live forever; stuck at the age he is now, and then to rub your nose in it, he’ll end up the most important dealer in the country. That wasn’t in your plans – taking it away from you – how bloody dare he? I’m here to stop that happening. It’s your name they should remember, not his. You want my help, or not?”

Well done, Jane. He’s so full of his own bloody importance, he’ll bite.

Hope so.

I had one more thing to clarify before he divulged it all. “Is it Rex who uses that cellar?” He nodded his head. “Say it – out loud.”

“Yes, dammit!”

“Don’t lose your temper with me. You don’t want my help?”

“Sorry, yes.” He was eager to spill the lot now – anything not to go back to the beatings.

Dragging everything out of him still seemed never-ending, although it was only another hour. I couldn’t hypnotise him for the answers, they had to come from him, and one of the reasons why I didn’t delve inside his head for it. In there before was bad enough, the slimy bugger hadn’t a good thing about him, and I wasn’t going there unless there was no other option.

On the way home in the car, Gavin told me that when I was sleeping one night, he and the lads jaunted to that demolished hotel. They’d gone to see if there really was a mushroom cellar, and not just a lie to get him out of the shit. They found it but chose not to go inside. Instead, they hunted for an escape route, finding nothing, though we all knew he could think himself to another place.

I said, absentmindedly, “If push comes to shove, I wonder if I could latch onto his thoughts. At least we’d know where he was, if he tried it.”

Gavin couldn’t take his eyes off the road, but it didn’t stop him speaking, “How the hell will you do that? I don’t want you anywhere near him.”

“You forget – I’ve been in there once, today. He didn’t feel me rummaging around, then, and I’m stronger than he is.”

“Don’t doubt you.” He felt for my hand in the gloom of the car, squeezing it gently. I put my other one over his and held it tight. He knew it was the only way, like it or not.

I was glad to get home when we pulled into our drive and reached into the back behind my seat. I’d forgotten my bag of make-up when we arrived home before dinner.

“Do you want the light on?”

“I’ve got it, love, thanks. Right now, all I want is a stiff drink, Gavin, and tea just won’t cut it tonight.”

“That doesn’t surprise me. Come on, what’s your tipple?” I giggled and lifted the bag onto my lap.

“This is heavier, bloody hell. What’s he put in here, rocks?” The handbrake went on and then Gavin looked at the bag, as puzzled as me.

“Perhaps I didn’t notice with us gassing on the way to the car.”

“Yeah, let’s get in. It’s been a long day and I have to ring Harvey.”

“I forgot.”

We found the four lads in the pool with Reese who was swimming on the far side, keeping right out of their way. They were shooting out of the water, rolling into a ball and dropping back in – creating massive splashes, drenching the place which quickly drained back in. Lucas showed the lads what to do on our last visit and now they were instructing Duke and Liam. I hadn’t taken much notice of anyone when we swam earlier, eager to swim as fast as possible. I was greatly surprised to see our new guests covered in wonderful tattoos. They wouldn’t even be noticed amongst our extended family. Gavin nudged my arm and giggled.

The two boys looked over and laughed.

“Meet me at the bottom!” I was there before my clothes hit the floor. When he reached me, his strong hands wrapped around my waist to stop me from swimming away. We stood on the bottom near one of the corners and watched the antics they were getting up to. Duke swam faster than any of them, weaving in and out of the other three’s legs, annoying the hell out of them before they could take off for their party-piece. It was all done with a cheeky laugh on his face because they couldn’t catch him.

Gavin hollered in Duke’s mind: Jane would give you a run for your money!

His head turned and he swam over to us: I’m game if you are?

Gavin let go of my waist – he knew I was. I smiled at Duke, his cue to push off the bottom, swimming up to the surface. I stayed down there and began swimming, like before when they were in there earlier. The others cottoned on about a contest and got out to watch with Gavin. Liam began shouting for Duke. That’s when I changed gear, leaving him struggling to keep up. The thing was, I kept at it, length after length until Gavin came down to stop me.

When we hit the surface, he burst out laughing. We swam to the edge and he said, before getting out, “He’s gone for a stiff drink.”

“Oh, great minds!” Chuckling, he slammed his hand on the edge of the pool, grabbed me around the waist and we were out a second later, dripping in front of the towel cupboard.

Once we were dressed and I’d towelled off my hair, Gavin picked up my bag, the one filled with my new make-up. In the usual handbag…I carried the kitchen sink in…I hunted for my large toothed comb – the only thing that would separate my ruddy curls. When I found it I used it quickly. Then we held hands, thinking of the attic. That’s where Liam and Duke were chatting quietly to Reese. Charlie and Luke were next door.

Unless we concentrated on anyone, we didn’t tune in, and these three had no idea we were there. Gavin excused himself as he had to walk between them, heading for the drinks cupboard.

When Reese saw me he was going to stand up. “Here, Jane. You’ve worked harder than anyone today.”

“Stay put, Reese. Anyone else want a drink?” My eyes landed on Duke. “Enjoy the swim?”

He sniggered. “Christ, you can turn it on.”

“Think that’s fast? Ask Reese what Alli’s like?” They both looked at him waiting for an answer.

“Like a video on fast-forward. Shocked me rigid when I first saw her, and you’re not far behind, Jane.”

“I wish.” I followed Gavin to get a drink.

Medium Rare
Medium Rare
Devil’s Dyke
Devil’s Dyke
The First
The First
Split Decision
Split Decision
Critical Moments
Critical Moments
Wet Daddy
Wet Daddy