This is the eighteenth part of a fiction serial, in 891 words.
At eight the next morning, Marian answered the phone to Denise. She found it hard to believe the woman was up so early.
“They let him out. I got a phone call late last night, and they want me to go in and make a statement, ’cause he won’t admit nuffink. I told them Daisy ain’t well, so I can’t go yet. But you said no police, now I’ve gotta deal with them too. I ain’t slept a wink all night, I was sure that Lee would come round raging. I can speak to Daisy, tell her what to say, like. And I will go in and give the statement. But you’re gonna have to come up with more money, and I mean a grand”.
Thinking fast, Marian stayed firm.
“Okay, you need to calm down. You are going to have to keep Daisy off school now you have said she is ill. Don’t do anything else today, just stay in. I’m coming up there this afternoon, and I will bring your money”.
The thought of getting a thousand pounds did the trick for Denise, and she agreed.
Marian’s next call was to Amanda’s answerphone.
“Hi, I will be at your place this afternoon and possibly stopping over, just so you know in advance. Don’t worry about food, I will sort myself out for dinner”. She thought of phoning Lyndsey for advice, but couldn’t face the I-told-you-so that would inevitably happen.
After telling Ros what she was doing, Marian got busy. She had a bath, and did her make-up party style. Then she put on a nice dress, short and low-cut, the kind she would wear to an evening out, or on a hot date. Ros whistled when she saw her sister emerge from the bedroom.
But Marian wasn’t smiling.
“If you want to catch a fish, you have to use the right bait on the hook”.
Before Ros could process what she had said, she was out the door, holding an overnight bag.
Marian’s next stop was at the bank, where she drew out the money Denise had asked for. She had to admit to herself that she had got off lightly, having expected to be asked for five times that amount. Then she headed off to Amanda’s house, where she would wait until the evening.
It was time to implement her original plan, the one she had shelved when Denise had mentioned about Daisy and Lee sleeping together. She wasn’t sure that Denise would hold up, so decided to go with both belt and braces to make sure Lee got what he deserved.
On the way to Amanda’s, she diverted to see Denise and drop off the cash. But she didn’t go inside, not wanting Daisy to see her. She told her to wait until the meeting with Social Services on Friday before making any statement to the police, then added that she was to wait until she was contacted, not ring without warning. The sight of the money made her agreeable, and she nodded vigorously.
Amanda was her usual self, making no remark about Marian’s smart outfit, and asking her to stay in her room. “And if you are going to be very late tonight, please make sure I know. Or I will bolt the door and be asleep”. Already fed up with the woman, Marian just smiled nicely and nodded.
It was an offchance she knew that. But surely Lee would go out at some stage? Marian had little alternative but to sit and wait in the hire car close to his house. She had parked blocking his Subaru, so he would have to say something to her if he wanted to get past. She had got there at just after five-thirty, after filling up with petrol at a nearby service station. Making sure she was seen on CCTV as she bought some bottled water, she also asked the cashier for a receipt.
Her backstory was flimsy at best, and based on a casual acquaintance that she knew lived in Hertfordshire, but had not been in contact with for years. A check on an online map showed that Penny lived about five miles from Lee, at least at the last address she had for her. It would have to do, as she had no other reason for being there.
It was well after seven when the door opened, and he walked out dressed casually. He wandered over to her car.
“You can’t park there, love. I need to get my car out”.
She was all smiles.
“I got a bit confused on the way to my friend’s place. I stopped to fill up the car, and ended up here, totally lost. Now it won’t start”.
He shook his head and smiled.
“Jump out, I’ll have a look”.
Marian stood by the car as he moved the gear selector, then turned the key. He shook his head again.
“It was in Drive. You have to be in Neutral or Park to start it, didn’t you know that?”
“Sorry, it’s a hire car. I forgot. Thank you so much. Can I give you something for your trouble?” She opened her handbag.
He was confident, she had to give him that.
“How about you just take me for a drink? That’s where I was going, I can show you the way”.