“Sir, she’s dead!” announced Scott softly to Professor Martin. It had been ten minutes since he had called his father and the ambulance. The police coroner was examining the body, for some strange, he couldn’t put a name to her face. She had red, wavy hair which came down to her elbows, glassy, blue eyes, and a petite figure. She wore a tight fitted white shirt with thin, black, vertical stripes, and a close fitted pair of black trousers. Her hair was tied back in a big, thick green ribbon, to keep it out of her eyes.
“Who, what, where, why and how?” Professor Martin spluttered.
“That is exactly what I want to know.” Said Inspector Edward Emerson, as he glanced at the dead body of his colleague, “I wonder who will get paired with me now!” Edward looked nothing like his son. He was a tall, skinny, slightly balding dirty blond hair. His eyes were sharp and green. His face was slightly tanned and he spoke with a southern Ireland accent.
“I, I mean, we were just watching her from my window, and then she fell of the wall…” he cried.
“Excuse me, is there a Sergeant Emerson here, Sergeant Emerson?” asked the coroner.
“Yes I’m here, only I’m an Inspector and the sergeant is dead, you know, over there somewhere.” Raising his hand and then pointing at the body randomly.
“Oh hi, sorry. I’m Louise Carey. I’m the replacement for Brad. I have already looked at the body, but I need a closer look. I'm going to take it back to station and will be in the morgue.”
“Okay, I’ll deal with the press, and I’ll see you later.”
“Oh, I nearly forgot. I've been told to pass on a message from Howell. He wants to see you,” and she bustled of to the ambulance.
The press crowded round the ambulance trying to get pictures through the windows. He announced there would be a press conference the next day at three o’clock at the Guild Hall.
“Well, what can you tell me about her?” Emerson asked Doctor Carey attentively.
“Well, there are burns to the mouth and throat, and swelling of the eyes. It also looks as if she was sensitive to the light. She has a bruise to the back of her head and her watch is smashed. It stopped working at two forty-six precisely. I think that she was attacked and was injected with sulphuric acid, as you can see the puncture mark,” as she lifted Jeni’s left eyelid to reveal a puncture mark. “Please for goodness sakes go to Howell, it’s my first week here and he is already making my life hell, he won’t stop giving me earache. He’s going on about that he has found you a new sergeant to help you solve this case.”
“How exciting is this?!” exclaimed Emerson, “Thanks for this, Doctor Carey, please keep me updated.”
“Please call me Louise.”
“Fine, only if you call me Inspector Emerson!”
Emerson finally gathered up his courage and strength to go up to Superintendent Howell. His office was on the third floor of the police station. When he eventually approached the door, he raised his fist and knocked twice.
“Come in,” commanded Howell, Emerson entered. “Ahh, I wondered when I would be seeing you.”
“Uh huh, what about?” starting to regret where the conversation was going.
“As you know, Jeni Walters has, erm, be involved in a death, well her own,” said Howell.
“You have never been good at this sympathy thing, have you?” commented Emerson.
“Anyway I have found a sergeant to help you on this case, and many others if you wish.”
“Hang on a moment.” And he picked up the phone. “Hi Claire, can you send up Mr Webb upstairs to my office please? Thanks,” and put down the phone. “Please will you be kind to him, he is only new, and it’s his first case.”
“But…..” he spluttered. But as doing so, Howell raised his hand.
“The rumours say that you are a bit harsh. She lasted two years and her time here was great. I think you are right, I’m no good at this sympathy stuff really.” He was interrupted by a knock on the door. “Ahh, this must be Webb. Come in,” he called nicely.
“Um sir, you wanted to see me,” squeaked Webb as he came shakily into the room. He was a average height man, with dark brown hair. His eyes were ordinary brown and nothing of great significance about his complexion or appearance.
“Yes, come in and sit down. This is Detective Chief Inspector Edward Emerson. Emerson this is Sergeant Felix Webb. He is new here and this is his first ever case, I hope you will look after him. He was at Thames Valley Police for six months just doing the odd job and paperwork. He moved here because we are getting short on staff. He has three kids, wife divorced. Kids called John who is ten, Colin and Ryan who are thirteen year old twins. Like you then, Emerson. Show him where your office is and talk for a bit, I am going to hold a ten minute meeting in half an hour.”
Emerson showed him where the office was. “It is pretty easy to find, as it is on the second floor, down the corridor thirteenth door on your left and it is a reddish gingerish colour. Anyway, how are your kids settling down?”
“They are not kids, they are children. Either way, they are finding it difficult to adjust; it was just over eighteen months that my wife and I divorced.”
“What school are the children going to?”
“Well, John, who is the youngest, goes to Barkers Lane Primary School, and my eldest, Ryan and Colin, are going Saint Josephine's High School.”
“Oh my giddy Uncle Al’s furry, large, pink shorts, that’s where my kids go, Mabel goes to Barkers Lane, and Scott and Nathan go to Saint Josephine’s. Nathan is older than Scott but he got kept down a year because of his dyslexia, so they are in the same year.” Edward's phone started to ring. “Excuse me for a moment. Hi?”
“Hi Dad, it’s me Nathan, we have a tiny problem.”
“Well there are twins that are new to this school, Colin and Ryan. There father hasn’t come to pick them up, so is it okay if they come to ours. We have also got their younger brother, John, as well. Is that okay?”
“Yeah, can you put Colin on the phone please?”
“Yeah, here you are.” And the phone was passed over to Colin.
“Hi?” said Colin. Edward quickly passed the phone to Felix.
“Hey Colin,” said Felix. “I will pick you up at nine, is that ok?”
“Yeah, thanks Dad.” Colin said sounding slightly baffled. And the conversation was finished.
“It’s nice to see our children getting along!” chuckled Edward.
They went to the meeting Howell had invited them to. It was in the loving memory of Jeni Walters. They made a toast and shared loving memories.
“I can remember going to her house and she made some small meringues and she meant to say, “be careful it’s hot”, but instead she said, “be careful it has eggs in it!”” The room roared with laughter.
Edward’s eyes were starting to fill up with tears. None of them knew Jeni as well as he did, and they were pretending to know her really well. Even Chief Inspector Wigan, bearing in mind he made her life a living hell, was pretending that he got along with her and they were best friends. Edward quickly got up and left, by now tears were streaming down his face. Felix put his glass on the table and followed him out to his office.
“Um Sir, are you ok?” asked Felix.
“Yeah, I'm sorry. I don’t often get emotional, it’s just that...” sobbed Edward.
“Sir, you have bitten off more than you can chew. Go home and we can start again tomorrow. Okay?” and he escorted Edward to the car.
It was a short drive from the station to Edward‘s house. But there was a surprise when they got there.
“What the hell do you think you are doing? I've been home waiting for you to come home and you are here. You could have got lost you could have been hurt. Do you realise how worried and scared I have been?” a woman seemed to be screaming at two boys. “What about your brother? He is only nine, what makes you think that two thirteen years could look after him?”
“I’m sorry Mum, Dad didn’t pick us up, and we don’t know his mobile number, so Nathan rang his Dad to make sure it was ok that we came here, and he said it was fine. By the way, John is ten!” said Ryan.
“How do you know he’s not a paedophile?” By now she had created an audience; people on the street had come out to watch.
“I know he’s not, because he’s in the police, and he works with Dad.” Colin retorted.
“How do you know?” asked his Mother.
“Well when Nathan rang his dad to see if it was okay, and Nathan passed the phone to me and his dad passed it to my dad. Okay?”
Felix got out of the car and confronted the woman. “Hey Flo, I take it you found out where they were.”
“It’s Florence, not ‘Flo’. I'm here as I am concerned about my sons. You left them alone and you are new in the area.”
“I’m sorry; I thought Fraser was going to pick them up. Anyway, why did you come all the way from Stockport because you thought they were in danger, but you couldn’t come home when you were drunk and with Oliver?”
“Leave Oliver out of this conversation, I’m not an alcoholic anymore, so I can look after them. I think it is better for them to be raised in Stockport with me than living with you!”
“So you think it is better for them to live in Stockport where they were bullied and unhappy, where John was put in hospital and Ryan was nearly burnt to death just because John was a hippie.”
“Well anywhere is better than here with you. You are gay and you can’t look after yourself, let alone three kids!”
Edward, who was bored and very tired of the tedious events unfolding before him, stepped out the car and got out his badge. “I’m Detective Chief Inspector Edward Emerson, of Wrexham Police Station.” Brandishing his badge, “Felix and your children in my house now, and everyone else back in your houses, there’s nothing here to see. As for you madam,” he said turning to Florence. “Go home now or I shall call for reinforcement to remove you by force. Thanks!”
“You haven’t seen the last of me!” screamed Florence as she got into the car and sped off. Edward followed Felix into his own house.
“Thanks Sir, I'm sorry for the hassle. It’s my entire fault.” And he crumpled into tears. Edward’s wife came in.
“Nathan, Scott, Mabel. Come downstairs please.” They came down. “Right, I want no bickering, what I say goes. Nathan and Scott, can you share a room just for tonight, and could you lend Ryan, Colin, and John a pair of pyjamas. Ryan and Colin, you can sleep in Scott’s room. John, would it be possible that you could sleep in Mabel’s room. Felix, and his children, will be spending the night with us. You all go to the same school, I presume. Now everyone, upstairs now!” And surprisingly everyone obeyed her. “Now Felix, what can I do for you? Ay, there is no point getting upset.”
“I don’t know if I am doing the right thing for the children. Am I?” sobbed Felix.
“If everything that was said outside is true, then yes you are doing the right thing, and we are behind you every step of the way!” said Mrs Emerson.
“Do you really mean it, Mrs Emerson?” he asked cautiously as if they were playing a foul joke on him.
“Yes, I really do, and please don’t call me Mrs Emerson. My name is Molly. Anyway it is very late, you should get some sleep. You can use the spare bedroom, which is upstairs and straight ahead.”
“Ryan, I want to stay with you. Can’t Colin stay in Mabel’s room? No offence Mabel,” said John timidly upstairs.
“No offence taken,” said Mabel. “I don’t mind as long as Colin doesn’t mind.” Colin shook his head. “Good, sorted! Come on Colin, I’ll show you my room. Good night all.” And she led Colin to her room.
In her room there was barely enough room to swing a cat. She had a double bed, a small wardrobe, a small desk, and a large lion on her bed, all squeezed into the tiniest room Colin had ever seen.
“Oh dear, we have a problem. You will have sleep in the same bed as me,” said Mabel. “You don’t mind, do you?” asked Mabel cautiously looking shiftily at Colin.
“No, I don’t mind. Only if you don’t mind.” Colin said awkwardly.
“Good, sorted. Colin, why is your Mother so uptight about you being here living with your Dad?” Mabel said suddenly.
“Well, get into bed and I’ll tell you.” Mabel did as he said, and Colin slipped into bed beside her. “Well, what happened was,” he started, as he made himself comfortable, tucking the duvet around Mabel and himself, cuddling up to her. “My mother kept on saying she had to go on business trips, but we found out that she was having an affair with a guy called Oliver. John got beaten up and Ryan got put into hospital. Some how, during the events of the last two years, my Dad turned gay and my Mother came home from her trip and found Dad in bed with a man called Fraser. So she filed for a divorce and here we are today, Mother with Oliver, and Dad with Fraser.” He looked at Mabel and smiled. “So, what is your family like you must be about twelve?”
“Umm, no I’m not twelve I am ten. I’m just an early starter,” indicating her chest. “Well, I’m ten, my brother Nathan is fourteen, and Scott is thirteen. My parents have been married sixteen years, they were both seventeen when they got married, had us children and here we are.” She finished, beaming at Colin, who was smiling back. “I have a normal family, no weird mums,” she said smiling.
“Come on Mabel, we need to get some sleep. Tomorrow, could you show me round the place?” asked Colin.
“Yeah, but now, good night!” said Mabel.
“Yeah, night Mabel” said Colin, turning of the lamp, and they curled up together under the sheets. As soon as the lights went out, Mabel fell asleep in Colin’s arms. Colin was left pondering that day’s events. Un-knowingly, he started to stroke Mabel’s long, thick, wavy, silky, brown hair. He had fallen in love with her, but was afraid of the age gap. He wanted to tell her how he felt, but was afraid of alienating her.
“What are you thinking about?” Mabel murmured, stirring from her sleep, “You were mumbling.”
“I like you,” he blurted out bluntly.
“I like you too, I mean more than a friend.” She answered.
“I know what you mean.” He said, as he kissed her gently on the head. “I didn’t think I could get you in bed on the first night.” He joked.
“Shut up and go to bed,” she whispered in mock annoyance.