This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 1173 words.
The doorbell went again, and still Roxanne hadn’t moved. Roland wanted to ask if he should answer it, but he was transfixed on the scene in front of him, watching as Roxanne’s heavy breathing made her chest rise and fall. Someone had opened the door, and he could hear loud voices from the hallway, unable to take in any words.
As Finn walked into the living room, he could immediately see that his mum’s dress was unzipped, and pulled down. Roly was stood stock still, like a shop-window dummy. His mum didn’t even bother to turn as he opened the door, acting as if she was in her own world. He spoke in a frantic whisper, his voice sounding like steam escaping from a fissure. “Mum, it’s the police. They are asking for dad, and say they have a warrant to come in”. She slowly turned to him, her face blank. “Well then why are you telling me? Go upstairs and get your dad. He can deal with them”. As his friend left the room in a hurry, Roland took his chance to retreat, and sat down heavily on the sofa. Roxanne sighed, and pulled her dress back up, struggling with the sleeves. She didn’t bother to zip up the back, or ask Roland to do it for her. She presumed there was a problem with the car dealership, and that Anthony had managed to ruin her night by default.
As Roxanne turned to open the door to the hallway, Roland could feel himself trembling. It wasn’t because the police were at the door. It was the sudden realisation of what Roxanne had been about to do, and the way she had placed her hand between his legs, and grabbed him. He couldn’t stop his legs as they started to judder, as if he was jogging whilst sitting down.
The door opened again, and a stern-looking policewoman entered. She was in scruffy plain clothes, and had a black stab vest on. As he looked at her, she snapped at him. “Who are you, son? What are you doing here?” He swallowed hard. “I’m Finn’s best friend. We’ve just been out for his birthday, and I’m stopping over”. He had never had any dealings with the police, and was surprised by how grumpy she was. “Not tonight you’re not. There is going to be a full search of these premises, and you need to go home. Can your mum or dad come and collect you? Give them a ring.” She pulled a phone from a band on her arm and walked over to give it to him. He did exactly as he was told, and it was his mum who answered. “Mum, there is something happening at Finn’s. The police are here, and say that you need to pick me up. But I can walk home if you want”. Her voice sounded strangely happy, almost joyous. “The police? No, don’t walk, love. We will be over to get you soon”. He handed back the phone, and the policewoman sounded less grumpy. “OK, stay in this room, and don’t leave it. When your parents come, I will take you out to the car”.
There was a lot of noise in the hallway. People coming and going, walking up and down the stairs. Radios crackling and beeping, and unfamiliar voices calling out to each other. Roland couldn’t hear the voices of Finn, Mr Mellor, or Roxanne, and he started to wonder if they were even still in the house. Ten minutes later, the policewoman came back in. “Your mum’s outside, I will take you out. Come on”. He followed her out, completely forgetting about his overnight bag upstairs. They had to stop in the hallway as a very tall policeman walked by, carrying Mr Mellor’s laptop, sealed in a big plastic bag. In his other hand, he had Finn’s smaller laptop, also sealed in a bag.
Out in the street, Roland could see three police cars. In the back of the nearest one, Mr Mellor was sitting next to a policeman, staring blankly out of the window. Across the street, he saw Roxanne by another police car. Her dress was still undone at the back, and she had no shoes on. She was standing next to the open door of the car, holding Finn’s neck.
He was bent forward, vomiting uncontrollably all over the road.
Then he saw his mum appear from the left, walking diagonally across to where Roxanne was standing. As she got closer, Roxanne lifted a hand and raised the palm. “Not now, Hannah. I will ring you tomorrow”. He looked across again, and caught her eyes. He wanted to stay with her, protect her. She just nodded. “Go with your mum, Roland”.
Dad was in the driver’s seat, and when Roland got into the back, he started the car. Hannah jumped into the front, turning to her husband. “Did you see the state of her? Made up like some tart, and her dress all undone at the back. Finn’s throwing up all over the place, and Tony’s in the back of a police car. Looks to me like he’s been arrested”. Roland’s dad did’t reply. He turned in his seat, and leaned into the back. “You alright, son?” Roland nodded. He wished his mum would just stop talking.
When they got home, Hannah began what sounded like an interrogation, as Ian looked on with a worried frown on his face. They were all sat around the dining table, and Roland was just wishing he could be left alone, and go up to bed. His mum was on a roll. “I always knew this day would come. That Tony Mellor was always a creepy bastard, and his son wasn’t much better. Weird, the pair of them. I reckon he’s been interfering with the boy, and I can’t believe that Roxanne didn’t know, even though she lives in a bloody dream world”. She looked across the table at her son, the small eyes like tiny dark camera lenses. “You can tell me, love. Has he been fiddling with you too? Is that why you’re round there all the time? Does he give you stuff, you know, money or presents? ” Her husband cleared his throat, about to tell her to leave their son alone. But she gave him a look that silenced him. “Come on, Roland, you might as well tell me. It’s all going to come out anyway. We need to know. We have a right to know. I bet the police will be round here at some stage. They took my name and address. You will have to tell them, so you might as well tell us now”.
Roland thought about what she had said. Could any of that be true? Why was Finn throwing up by the car? And why hadn’t Mr Mellor looked at his son, or said anything? Roxanne had certainly not looked even remotely guilty, just concerned for her boy. He raised his head and looked directly at his mum.
“No mum, nothing like that ever happened. Never”.