Bomb. The word terrified me as Mendrick came shouting down the stairs and running for the door. Images flashed through my mind; Mendrick and Charlie running into the interrogation room, Alfie looking up at me and telling me to run.
I felt a pair of hands grab my back, supporting me as my head spun. I staggered, trying to keep my balance but feeling horribly disorientated.
"I think we need to sit you down," the soothing voice said.
"No, I'm fine," I insisted, trying to move away from the grasp that was holding me. "My head just went a bit funny that's all."
"Alannah, you're white as a sheet. Come and sit down."
I couldn't fight it and allowed myself to be led into another room and sat down. I saw dark hair flash in front of me and felt a glass being pressed into my hand.
"Have a drink, it might make you feel better."
I tentatively sipped at the liquid in the glass, disappointed to find it was only ice water and not something stronger.
"Yes, thanks." My head was becoming clearer now and the room had stopped spinning so I could see it was George kneeling in front of me. "Sorry about that, I don't know what came over me."
"It's alright, I understand. It takes people a while to get over being nearly blown up, especially when the bomber is your boyfriend."
"What did you say?" I was shocked that George knew about that. Everyone in the building knew about the bomb scare of course, but I thought only my team knew that the bomber was my boyfriend.
"I've been asking some questions about you," George said casually. "You're a strange one Alannah Harrison. First job with the police was as a secretary, then you suddenly managed to get a job on an investigation squad and have worked your way up the ranks since, finally joining David Mendrick's CBI squad three year ago. You dated your ex-boyfriend Alfie for just over five years until recently when it was discovered that he was working for a well known murderer, the Knight."
"You're quite the detective," I said frostily, not ecstatic that a man I hardly knew was able to find out so much about me.
"I have friends in the right places, that's all."
"Well if you don't mind I have a job to do." I tried to stand up, not wanting to have to make small talk with George. Whether he was aware of it or not, he had made our conversation very awkward.
"Sit down," he said, putting his hands on my shoulders and guiding me back into my seat. "You're still very pale and I don't want you keeling over again."
"I don't need you to look after me," I snapped.
"I know that. I can see you're an independent woman and I respect that."
"Then why did you think it was necessary to go asking about me? Prying into my personal life where you have no right to look."
"I'm sorry if I've offended you Alannah," George said looking genuinely concerned. "I only did it because I want to know more about you. You're different to some of the other women here. You're not trying to be a man in order to fit in but neither are you playing the blonde bimbo."
"I don't need to play at that," I muttered, "I do a good enough job naturally."
"And you're funny," George laughed. "You're not trying to be someone you're not, you just simply allow yourself to be who you are without any pretence. Can't you see why I'm interested in you?"
"Alannah!" The door swung open and one of the men in uniform came running in. "Alannah, we're in trouble. Mendrick's been stabbed."
"I thought this was a bomb scare, not a stabbing."
"Looks like things aren't what we thought."
I was out of my chair in moments and following the uniformed police officer outside to where Mendrick was lying on the floor, Charlie kneeling beside him while medics tried to stop the bleeding.
"Lawrence's kid suddenly appeared on the street with a bomb strapped to her," the officer explained. "Mendrick ran down to save the kid and then she stabbed him."
"Do we know why?"
"No one else was near enough to know exactly what happened. Only Mendrick can tell us what's going on and he's unconscious."
"This can't be about Mr Lawrence," I muttered to myself as I looked at the chaos in front of me. "Why would a child stab a detective? It doesn't add up. This has to be something to do with Mendrick. This is personal." I turned to the officer again. "Have you seen Randall anywhere?"
"Not recently," was the response. "Mendrick probably sent him off on a mission."
"Looks like I'll be organising this one on my own then," I muttered.