Heather’s Busy Week Pt. 02

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(Saturday, 20th April 2002)

Rita joined Heather on the ancient leather settee. They sat with their arms around each other while Alex took his phone call. Not that he got to say a lot beyond “hello”. Heather could hear his sister’s voice jabbering away at the other end, but couldn’t make out what she was saying. Half-hearing gibberish was, it seemed, par for the course tonight. Abandoning all attempts to translate, she watched Alex’s face instead. If she read his expression correctly, he went from cautious, through curious to mild relief.

And seeing that really was a relief. Rita’s tender attentions had banished her worries, but not forever. Her worries had returned when she learned the caller’s ID. Returned big-time.

Sad cow’s got it in for me, she’d thought. She must have.

‘So we’re in the clear,’ Alex said enigmatically.

Carrie jabbered away again. This time Alex started to smile. ‘Forgive me for this,’ he put in (when finally given chance), ‘but I don’t give a stuff about your friend Ross. They can throw away the key as far as I’m concerned.’

Carrie had one last jabber before hanging up. Grinning his blinding grin, Alex enlarged. ‘Like we saw for ourselves, the hotel manager called the cops as well as an ambulance. While the paramedics attended to Robert, one of the cops got up on the stage. He said they’d arrested a pusher and wanted witness statements from everybody who’d been offered a deal. He also said he wasn’t asking for grasses; this was a serious case that might end up as manslaughter or even murder.’

‘My God,’ said Rita. ‘Don’t say the lad died.’

‘Er, I don’t know. I didn’t get opportunity to ask.’ Alex shrugged, obviously aware he’d messed up. ‘Anyway, about ten witnesses came forward straightaway. The cop said that was enough to be going on with and the party was over. Everyone else could give names and addresses, then they were free to go. Everyone apart from Carrie, that is. She was staying whether she liked it or not.

‘She said the hotel staff had locked Ross in their secure room; the one where they keep the safe. The cops spoke to her in a small office next door. Two hours of brutal interrogation, she said it was. Two hours and she told them eff all. That’s typical of her, by the way. She has an acute sense of self-preservation.’

‘And?’ Heather prompted.

‘And they accepted what she told them. Wrote it up for her as a statement, which she signed. Then they got friendly. They said they’d been in touch with their colleagues in Leeds, where Ross is under surveillance. They call him “The Professor” over there. They’ve been watching him because he’s suspected of manufacturing, which he’s supposed to be very good at. He’s not very good at selling, though. That’s how they got onto him. Apparently he does most of it himself. If he had any common sense he’d sell big quantities to wholesalers, who’d shift it on through smaller dealers. Not him; he gets personally involved. More often than not, he targets students. Gives them free samples . . .’

‘Tasters,’ said Heather.

‘. . . and invites them to buy a proper hit if they like what they’ve tried. According to Carrie, the Leeds cops were pissed off by our boys nicking him before they were ready. They’re probably raiding his house at this very minute.’

‘So they’ve got him by the short and curlies,’ Rita anticipated. ‘Witnesses here, manufacturing gear in his bedroom or wherever . . .’

‘What did you mean when you said “we’re in the clear”?’ Heather wondered.

‘I meant Carrie’s done her bit and nobody’s going to care about us three.’

‘Us three who scarpered without leaving contact details.’

‘I’m not with you. How would they know?’

‘They took details so they can do interviews at a later date,’ Heather said patiently. ‘And they’ll be making sure they see everyone who was there. Cross-referencing and verifying everything they’re told. You’ll be noticed as missing straightaway.’

‘Because it was a joint twenty-first? Come on, Hev, the cops know Carrie organized that party single-handedly. They’ve accepted her version of events . . .’

‘No Alex, they’ve temporarily accepted her version of events.’

‘What are you saying?’

‘I’m saying that skipping a few details won’t work in this situation. For example, what did your sister tell them about me?’

‘Nothing. She said she air-brushed you out.’

‘Ring her back.’


‘Ring her back. We need to co-ordinate our stories.’

‘Do as she says,’ Rita put in. ‘She’s got her determined head on.’

Reluctantly, Alex dialled. ‘It’s me,’ he began. ‘And yes, I do know what time it is. I’m here with Hev. She’s got . . . I dunno . . . a couple of questions for you.’

‘Ask her about Robert first,’ Heather said.

Alex did and then relayed his sister’s reply. ‘He was flaked out on the floor in the gents’. When the paramedics mentioned stomach pumps, he threw up. That seemed to bring him round. He was able to walk to the ambulance more or less unaided.’ Alex snorted. ‘Carrie says the cops kept tekirdağ escort that to themselves until she’d signed her witness statement.’

‘Ask what they said about her party frock.’

Alex stared at Heather before speaking into his mobile. ‘This is like Chinese whispers. I’ll put Hev on so you can talk direct.’

Heather was surprised to be unseen by Alex’s sister but self-conscious, what with her boobs out and thong God only knew where. ‘Hi Carrie,’ she began. ‘Truce?’

‘What do you want? And what are you doing with my brother?’

‘I want to keep out of the Vice-Chancellor’s bad books, that’s all. I’m betting you do, too.’

Lengthy pause.

Audible sigh.

‘That goes without saying.’

‘Okay then. We need to revise our story.’

‘Heather, it’s too late to revise my story. I’ve already answered a million questions.’

‘Without mentioning me once, so I understand.’

‘I kept it simple, stupid.’

‘You’re being stupid if you think that’s the end of it. How many other statements have Lancashire’s finest taken? Ten? A dozen? Someone has to have said I was there with Ross. And as you so kindly pointed out, I am quite well-known. Tomorrow they’re going to come looking for me, wanting my version of events. And then they will be back onto you, wanting to know why you missed me out of your statement.’

‘Not necessarily.’

‘Carrie, you were the hostess. You marched me up to Ross twice. Me in my red whore’s outfit. Someone’s going to have reported that. And even if it isn’t a murder inquiry anymore, it might be gross negligence. Do you really want to take any chances?’

‘Gross negligence!’ Carrie scoffed.

‘Ross had dozens and dozens of those tiny packets. Dozens and dozens. He gave some to me without asking if I was used to it or not. He just assumed I’d be used to it, whatever it was. I don’t know how many Robert got, but he gave me four. For all I know four might have killed me. If that’s not negligent, I don’t know what is.’

There was another silence before Carrie said, ‘Okay then, truce.’

‘Are you all right to talk tactics?’

‘I’ve come down, if that’s what you mean.’

‘Okay. What did you tell the police about the wine stains on your dress?’

‘I said I was trying to calm a drunken guest who went ape on me.’

‘Without naming her?’


‘Okay,’ said Heather. ‘Shall I give you my version? You can improve on it when I’ve done.’

‘Makes sense.’

‘Here goes. Ross is your friend’s brother. That’s right, isn’t it?’


‘So Ross was due to visit his sister this weekend. You felt obliged to invite him to your party, even though he would hardly know anybody. You invited me because we play on the same football team. When I said okay, but I’d be coming alone you suggested the blind date as a joke. You were surprised when I went for it . . .’

‘Heather, I suggested a blind date because I thought you’d cheerfully fuck him.’

‘That’s not for the police to know, is it? Pressing on. The big night came around. You handled the introductions and left us to our own devices. Being so busy with all your hostessing duties, you completely forgot about us, dealing with a few drunken guests instead of worrying about sober ones. It was a big surprise when that lad started shouting accusations. And you were totally gobsmacked when you saw Ross being carted away.’

‘Hold on a moment. Why didn’t I say this to start with?’

‘Because you’d just had a confrontation with me and didn’t understand what it was about. Air-brushing me out was a knee-jerk reaction.’

Yet another silence. Pensive, this time. Then, ‘Go on.’

‘You were alarmed to see the hullaballoo around Ross. Not knowing why he was being carted away, you rushed to his aid. But I jumped in before you could get to him. To your amazement I was furious. You couldn’t understand what I was raving about and never expected me to tip a glass of wine over you.’


‘And that’s it. You now know I was riled because you’d fixed me up with Ross. If you’d known that before, you’d have said so in your statement.’

‘Hmmm. What’s your slant on this fairy tale?’

‘Much the same as yours. I went for the blind date because it seemed exciting and kinky. And I’ve always liked kinky. Sadly, Ross was a disappointment. If he hadn’t been there on his own I’d have done a runner. So I stayed and was as gobsmacked as you were when I found out he was a pusher. I hate drugs, which is why I lost it with you and stormed out.’

‘People saw us arguing,’ Carrie said, thoughtfully.

‘We say we were trading insults in the heat of the moment. Can’t remember what was said or why. Nobody else will remember, either. Not word for word.’

‘It fits together,’ Carrie admitted. ‘But everything hinges on Ross. The police hadn’t got a lot of sense out of him by the time they let me go.’

‘No surprise there, then.’ Heather allowed herself a wry smile.

‘He’s going to tell them things about me,’ Carrie went on. tokat escort

‘Deny everything. He doesn’t have photos or tapes, does he?’

‘No, he doesn’t even have a mobile. He’s a scientist who’s very picky about the technology he uses.’

‘That makes him a fantasist as well as a scientist. If he can’t prove it, it’s all in his imagination. Right?’

‘Right,’ said Carrie. ‘So what happens next?’

‘Like I said, they’ll track me down and then get back to you. If we make it sound like we’ll never be on speaking terms again, they’ll buy the story.’

‘What if they want to test us? For drugs, I mean.’

‘I’m cool. They’ll only find vats of Shiraz in me. Not that it should come to that. We’re testifying for them, not against them.’ Then, after a pause, ‘Did they find anything in your handbag?’


‘What was it anyway?’

‘Coke, cut extremely professionally.’

‘Does he cut it in his university lab?’

‘Get real, Heather. Can you imagine anyone doing that in one of our labs? We’d go deaf from all the whistles being blown.’

Heather supposed Carrie was right. Her friend Edith spent most of her life in the labs. If Edith found out someone was abusing the facilities . . . well, she’d blow her top, never mind the odd whistle. And, absent-minded Stinks expert or not, she would find out soon enough. There was not much that escaped her notice.

‘And one of those little packets would do . . . what?’

Heather could almost see Carrie’s shrug. ‘Not a lot, if you’re a regular user.’

‘What happened to Robert, then?’

‘The police reckon his mates had more sense than him. Robert collected their free samples from them and said he’d flush it all away. He snorted it instead. And he wasn’t a regular user.’

Heather feared she knew the answer before she asked the next question. ‘Do you know how many he snorted?’

‘Three or four, according to my friendly copper.’

‘But for the grace of God . . .’

Carrie seemed unmoved. ‘I guess that’s it, then,’ she said. ‘We stick to our story and keep out of each other’s way, yes?’

‘Sounds good to me.’

‘Last question. What are you doing with my brother?’

‘That’s where I have the edge, Carrie.’ Heather chuckled. ‘Think about this before you go to sleep. I know precisely what you did . . . three times . . . in Ross’s room. You don’t have the faintest idea what I’ve been doing with Alex, or what’s still to come. Night, night . . . and have the very sweetest of dreams.’ She tossed the mobile back to Alex.

‘Feeling better?’ Rita wondered.

‘Much better.’

‘What was that about Ross’s room?’ asked Alex.

‘Nothing you want to know about.’

‘Little brothers can be protective too. Especially when their big sisters do drugs.’

‘I think she was just experimenting,’ Heather said optimistically. ‘I bet she’s learnt her lesson.’

‘Talking about experiments,’ said Rita, ‘it’s getting late. Sleeping arrangements haven’t been made yet.’

‘One double and a spare room with a single,’ Alex said helpfully.

Heather really was feeling better. The usual, unmistakable signs were there. ‘A double sounds good to me,’ she said. ‘So long as there’s room in it for all of us.’


The three of them were still in bed when Alex’s phone rang again, late into Saturday morning. Leaning over Rita, he retrieved it and checked the caller. ‘Don’t recognize this one,’ he said.

Heather knew it would be the police, no doubt provided with the number by Carrie during her “brutal interrogation”. And she was right. The voice on the other end came through loud and clear. She’d have heard it introducing itself as “DI Fazakerley” even if she hadn’t been lying mostly on top of Alex.

Fazakerley didn’t beat about the bush. He said that Alex would be aware of events at his party last night. A statement was needed as a matter of great urgency. Twelve o’clock at the station would do. And by the way, did he have a contact number for one Heather Hunter?

‘I’m here,’ Heather blurted, surprising herself as well as everyone else. ‘Do you want to take a statement from me too?’

‘We do. Same place, same time.’

‘Hev,’ said Rita as the connection was broken, ‘you know what they’ll think, don’t you?’

‘I know they won’t think you were involved, so that’s one for the good guys. And it gives us a reason for not sticking around last night. That can’t hurt, can it?’

‘I am involved.’

‘Not on the surface. On the surface it’s me and Alex. And Alex was only in it for the shag.’

Rita briefly considered. ‘Okay then,’ she conceded. ‘I’ll let you sully my boyfriend’s previously untarnished reputation. And you’d best get a change of clothes before you go. Otherwise Vice might take an interest.’

Alex waited in the taxi while Heather nipped into her house to change. That didn’t take long. Nikes, white socks, a fresh thong and faded blue jeans at the bottom, a relatively loose T-shirt above. After a moment’s consideration she pulled on her university trabzon escort hoodie, zipping it halfway. As usual she didn’t bother with makeup, but she did tie her still-damp hair in a girlish ponytail.

Pure and innocent, she hoped. As if butter wouldn’t melt . . .

Letting herself out of the house she hesitated. There was no sign of any official visit having taken place in her absence. No forced entry, no summons stuffed through the letterbox, not even a calling card on the doormat.

Quicker and easier to ring around, isn’t it? They can’t be so desperate to grill me.

‘Let me guess,’ Alex said as she climbed back into their cab, ‘this is the usual scruff-look, isn’t it?’

Heather had memorized the number earlier, when she used his phone to speak to Carrie. She dialled it now from the back seat, smiling to herself when he scrabbled in his pocket. ‘Scruffy!’ she said. ‘Moi!’ Then, before he could reply: ‘Save my number. Then we can ring and console each other when we’re sent to different prisons.’

They were dropped outside the police station at ten to twelve. ‘My place,’ Heather said before they went inside.


‘If they ask, we spent the night at my place. Let’s keep Rita right out of this.’

‘How do I describe it?’

‘As a blur. I had you in my bed before your feet touched the ground.’

‘Is that how you usually operate?’

‘Alex . . . behave yourself!’

The uniformed officer on the front desk took their details without showing much interest. Then, saying someone would be with them soon, he suggested they took a seat. Half an hour went by, slowly and uneventfully. A couple of respectable citizen-types dropped in to produce their driving documents. Apart from them there was only one other person waiting: a teenaged boy with a tic and an annoying habit of drumming his nails on plastic surfaces. Heather read the public information notices twice then decided she’d rarely if ever been so bored. If she hadn’t been almost bricking herself she might have dozed off.


Rita had volunteered to make tea and toast while Alex and Heather saved time by showering together . . . at Rita’s prompting, of course. They were both naked already, she’d pointed out. After last night, they had nothing to hide from each other. And the police were sticklers when it came to punctuality; it wouldn’t do to turn up late. She’d lied about the tea and toast, though. In reality she’d got out the bread and jam, clicked on the kettle and sneaked back upstairs to watch.

Now, alone and back in bed, she smiled ironically. Heather was nothing if not predictable. In fact she was even more predictable than she was beautiful. And she was very, very beautiful. Rita had had a physical shock when she’d first set eyes on her. Tall and tanned, with a mane of jet-black hair halfway down her back, flashing green eyes . . . she’d looked like some jungle princess. Once glance and Rita’s heart fell out through the bottom of her trainers.

I’ve got to get to know her, she’d thought, but how?

How indeed. Heather was on a completely different course and moved in different circles. By shamelessly roaming the campus Rita managed to catch occasional glimpses of her, from a distance, usually with a sports bag in hand. But occasional glimpses hadn’t been enough. No, not nearly enough. Nor were Rita’s increasingly racy fantasies.

She’s obviously sporty, she decided. Maybe I can get to her through that.

Rita made subtle enquiries, soon learning that her jungle princess was well-known. She was a member of the elite hockey team, highly skilled in martial arts and could play a mean round of golf. She also used the gym “like a fitness junkie” and ran half marathons as “her way to wind down”. Rita supposed she could join the gym but she couldn’t play hockey for nuts. Running a half marathon wasn’t an option. As for golf and martial arts . . .

Much more encouragingly, she found out Heather was in LGBT. Apparently she claimed she was “very much on the lezzie side of bi”. She was also purposely single and notoriously horny. A lot of members of the uni’s lesbian community could already testify to that. And she was only in her second term!

Rita’s conclusion was easily arrived at from there: She’s well out of the closet . . . so stuff the gym. I’ll get myself noticed in the clubs and societies. Bump into her that way, so she knows straightaway where I’m coming from.

At that point, having transferred universities mid-year, Rita was still finding her feet. It wasn’t tricky to meet likeminded girls, though. She’d already had a few dalliances and was steadily networking. When she stepped up her efforts she’d soon met Marcia.

Marcia was older and showed immediate interest. Also, (although it may have been a tactic of hers), she showed surprising consideration. Rita was barely nineteen, she said. She probably shouldn’t be trying to chat her up, not at the advanced age of twenty-one. And definitely not as a renowned profligate. Smiling at her, Rita said she had profligate moments herself, lots of them. And twenty-one wasn’t really old, was it? Not in the scheme of things. After a few more drinks and agreeing that “serious” and “relationship” were taboo words, they spent the night together. The sex was good so they did it again the following week. And then Marcia asked if Rita wanted to come to her Friday night bash.

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