A/N: Okay, this will be five chapters long, plus a companion (not from Jo's POV, not from Lorna's either). It's located in the same universe as 'I'm Not in Love' (INIL universe, for short!) but works alone if you haven't or don't want to read that. The couple is Jo Masters/Lorna Hart and all feedback is welcomed. It just felt like another story I had to write! And this is dedicated to Lou, because without her none of my stories would get past the idea stage!
'So much for a quiet Monday morning with my paperword,' Jo complained, turning the key in the ignition and starting the car. 'Where is it again?'
Mickey checked the piece of paper Gina Gold had pressed into his hands ten minutes previously before leaving with talk of a possible terrorist attack. 'Hackroyd House on the Cockcroft.'
'Is it just me or…'
'Nah,' he answered quickly. 'It's the second body over there this week. Might as well start up their own funeral service.'
Almost half an hour (and a horrendous traffic jam up Canley High Street) later they arrived on the scene. Jo was pleased to see someone familiar amongst the normally faceless CSE team. 'Lorna, hi.'
The Scottish woman acknowledged her as she came closer. 'Drew the short straw?'
'Mmm, had to leave my coffee and everything,' she confirmed, glancing over her shoulder as Mickey distractedly answered his phone and started backtracking towards the car. 'I'll deal with this shall I?' she called to the response of an absentminded wave. 'Right.'
Lorna smiled. 'Get a suit on and I'll give you the tour.
Standing in the living room of the small flat soon after, Jo examined the body from afar. 'Any ID lying around?'
'Yep.' The CSE passed her a wallet in a plastic bag. 'From the driving license, her name's Chantelle Brooks; twenty-six years-old.'
Jo nodded, taking a closer look at the woman. 'She looks like she's been battered a bit. Those bruises on her arm?'
Lorna kneeled down, indicating for Jo to do the same, and pointed to the limp right hand. 'If you notice, and I'd need a lab to corroborate it, the bruises on the knuckles here seem to match where the punches to the arm would've hit. They're about the same strength too, I'd imagine.'
'Right, so she was hitting herself.' Jo let her gaze shift to where the primary wounds were. 'These punctures- suicide, do you think?'
'Well,' Lorna answered, standing, 'that was my first thought. Then I found this.'
Jo moved over as the CSE picked up the edge of a rug and exposed the beige carpet beneath it. She raised an eyebrow. 'Someone trod in the blood.'
'And made a conscious effort to hide it,' Lorna added. 'The print's a lot larger than her size, I'd say it's around an eight but again I'd have to wait to confirm it.'
'Here was me thinking this'd be clear cut,' Jo muttered. 'So how old do you reckon the bruises are?'
'Very recent. The last twenty-four hours or so.'
'Okay. Anything else?'
'There were no prints on the rug,' replied Lorna. 'If the attacker was wearing gloves then I doubt we'll get any prints from last night at all. But I'll keep you posted.'
'Cheers. What about the weapon?'
'Almost certainly a knife, there's one missing from the kitchen block.'
'Any sign of it?'
'No such luck.'
'Thought not,' Jo said as Mickey arrived behind her, frowning. 'You decided to join us then?'
'Leave it out, will ya?' he answered shortly. 'What we got?'
Jo shook her head. 'I'll fill you in on the way back to the station.' He disappeared before she could say anything else. 'I'll meet you at the car then!' She turned back to Lorna. 'Was the door forced?'
'No,' she said. 'So she let her attacker in or they had a key. Either that or she didn't shut the door properly.'
'How likely's that?'
Lorna smiled. 'That's your department.'
'Just reckoned you could do my job, that's all.'
'That'd take away all the fun wouldn't it?'
Jo grinned then shrugged. 'Depends which way you look at it.'
Following her out of the living room and into the kitchen, Lorna questioned, 'Is he always like that?'
'Mickey? Think he just woke up in a bad mood, that's all.'
'Oh, I think I know the feeling.'
Smiling, Jo began to remove her white suit. 'If you do come up with any miraculous theories, let me know?'
'Well, I might,' Lorna said evenly then disappeared back into the living room. Jo lingered for a minute whilst she removed the boiler suit then took the belongings the team had prepared for her and left.
'Hang on, hang on…' Typing the last few letters of her search she then spun around on her chair. 'Tony, what can I do for you?'
He passed her a tape. 'Got the CCTV from the Cockcroft. Now, the camera covering the entrance is broken but there's one covering the stairwell of the fourth floor. Last night about twenty or so people went onto that floor. Some left, obviously visiting, others didn't appear again.'
She nodded. 'Okay. Any chance you can go down there and check off the residents against the faces? Just gives us an overview.'
As he turned to leave, she called, 'Oh, Tone?'
'Ask if anyone had guests last night.'
After he'd gone she turned back to her computer screen. Having been able to identify an ex-boyfriend of Chantelle Brooks via her text messages she was currently looking him up. Andy Sharp had been arrested once for theft and had received a suspended sentence, but that had been five years ago. It looked like he'd been clean since then; not so much as a parking ticket. From what she could gather from the in and outboxes on Chantelle's phone, the couple had been very much together up until the last three weeks when the lovey-dovey texts had stopped and the pleading ones (from Chantelle) had begun. So it looked like a one-sided break-up: they were always fun.
His last known address was on the Jasmine Allen Estate. She was about to ask uniform to pay him a visit when her mobile rang. 'Jo Masters.'
'Hi, Jo, it's Lorna.'
'Oh, hi,' she answered, settling back into her chair. 'Did you find something else?'
'Not exactly. A man has just turned up, he claims to be Chantelle's ex-boyfriend.'
'It's not Andy Sharp is it?'
'He's currently having a cup of tea with one of my photographers.'
'Lorna, you're a star.'
'I'll see you in a little while,' the Scot replied.
She found the CSE on the balcony in front of the flat. Bending down beside her, she whispered, 'Boo.'
Lorna started then turned. 'You scared me half to death.'
Jo shrugged. 'You were concentrating.'
'So, naturally, you just had to…'
'Right.' Lorna shook her head and lifted the palm of her hand upwards. 'Broken glass. There's quite a few fragments lying around.'
Jo straightened. 'What, from a broken tumbler or something?'
'Could be. But the placement of it suggests the window might've been broken from the inside. It's something to look into.'
'Yeah, thanks. So, where is he?'
'In the flat next door. He seemed a little agitated when he arrived but he didn't seem especially anxious to get away.'
'Did he say anything?'
'When he heard he was shocked. But… I'm not sure; you know people can put on any face they want.'
'I've heard it said,' Jo answered then cleared her throat. 'Best have a chat with him.'
Lorna nodded. 'Find me when you're done.'
'Got something else to show me?'
Andy Sharp had been a fairly useless interviewee, but the one silver lining Jo could see was that he hadn't run away already and so wasn't likely to. He'd been at home all night, so he claimed; with his uncle to back him up. He'd split up with Chantelle because she apparently was getting too possessive of him and he'd wanted a little freedom. She was unstable and had been intermittently self-harming since she was thirteen. He'd only found this out a few months ago and hadn't been able to cope with it. So he'd left. As much as Jo understood why he'd abandoned her she couldn't help but feel it was a little heartless, especially since Chantelle had seemingly fallen off the wagon and attacked herself. She'd left Sharp with a warning not to leave the area but was mentally filing him away in her no-go category.
Searching out Lorna in the bedroom, she asked, 'Find anything madly exciting?'
The Scot turned and smiled at her. 'There's some fingerprints on the living room door which I don't think'll match Chantelle's. Probably not from last night but…'
'No, no, that's good. Anything else?'
'Well,' she went on, passing her a bagged hardback book, 'I found this diary you might want to take a look at.'
'Could give some insight, I suppose.'
'Not just that,' Lorna answered, opening another book on the dresser. 'I found that in the drawer, I found this one hidden at the back of the wardrobe. They're both apparently authored by Chantelle but the handwriting isn't the same. Looks like one's a fake.'
'Right. Cheers for that.'
After putting the second one in a bag, Lorna handed it over and removed her gloves. 'I need to go to Sun Hill to speak to Superintendent Heaton.'
Jo grimaced. 'Rather you than me.'
The CSE smiled. 'Well, it's not my idea of a good time either really.'
'Ah, that makes you my sort of woman! Listen, do you want a lift back to the nick? I'm going back there now anyway.'
'Best get going, don't want Mickey on my case again.'
Five minutes later, as they drove back to the station, Lorna queried. 'Did you find out what was wrong with him this morning?'
'What, Mickey?' Jo glanced sideways and shook her head. 'I reckon girlfriend trouble, not that he's said. Just got the whiff of it.'
'Does reek a bit, doesn't it?' Lorna agreed. 'Rather like our Miss Brooks.'
Jo nodded, refocusing on the road and the case. 'Assuming one of those diaries was a fake, that pretty much rules out any hope of suicide.'
'Any hope?' repeated Lorna.
For a moment she was a little unsettled but then she caught the small smile playing on the Scot's lips and she shrugged. 'It would make my life easier.'
'But not Chantelle's.'
'No, not Chantelle's. Lorna,' she continued after a moment, 'how do you do it?'
'What, the job?'
'Mmm, working with bodies day in day out.'
'Well, it's a job,' answered the CSE evenly. 'I suppose you get used to it. You learn to leave it at the door when you go home. I think you have to. I thought it was the same with you?'
Jo nodded. 'It is a bit. But it still shakes you up sometimes.'
'You just can't get personally involved, that's all.'
'So does that make you emotionally inept or what?' Jo queried innocently.
'If you listen to anything my ex-husband says, probably.'
'You're divorced?' she asked then checked herself. 'Sorry, it's none of my…'
'Oh, it's fine,' Lorna replied. 'It's not exactly a secret. I split up with Alex eight years ago now.'
'Right. I'm sorry,' she added uncertainly.
Lorna laughed. 'Well, I'm not!' After a few minutes of comfortable silence, she questioned, 'What do you think about the boyfriend then?'
'Claims to have an alibi but I'm not ruling him out completely. I mean, he did leave the girl in bits but… I don't know, he just happens to be the only suspect. Hopefully those diaries'll shed some light.'
'With a bit of luck.'
They arrived at the station, Lorna disappearing off to converse with Heaton whilst Jo proceeded back up to CID. She found Mickey at his desk. 'Did you find anything out about that broken window?'
He nodded, though he still seemed a bit disgruntled. 'Yeah, council replaced it couple of weeks ago. Was put down to vandalism, so she claimed it back easy, but you reckoned it was done from the inside?'
'Yeah, it was fairly obvious. Why wouldn't the council pick up on it? You know how stingy they are.'
'You know your Andy Sharp? Happens to work for 'em.'
Jo rolled her eyes. 'Right. I think we need another word with him about that.'
'What did you find out?'
'Well, he was with his uncle all night, so he says. My gut's telling me he's not our man but…'
'Worth keeping him in the frame,' Mickey finished for her.
'Yep. Lorna also found two diaries I should probably take a look at.'
'I'll do that if you want,' he offered.
'Thought you'd wanna be out of the station in your mood,' she commented, only to receive a glare. 'Maybe not.'
'There's nothing wrong with me, alright?' he snapped, standing. 'Where's these diaries?'
She tossed both bags towards him. 'Anytime you feel like talking…'
'Yeah, I won't, alright?'
Muttering a curse under her breath she speedily left the office, not wanting to spend anymore time with him than she had to. Passing Heaton's office, she spotted Lorna still in there and doubled back to wait in the corridor.
Two minutes later Lorna emerged. 'Oh, hi. Are you waiting for me?'
'Of course. Just wondered if you needed a lift or something. I'm off back out and anything that keeps me away from that moody…' She let out her breath and smiled. 'Put it this way, I wouldn't mind being out of the nick.'
Lorna began walking. 'Mickey giving you trouble?'
'Like you wouldn't believe. Why is it always life or death with men?'
'Something in their chromosomes, that's what I like to think anyway.'
'I'm on board with the philosophy. So, the lift?'
The CSE nodded. 'Yeah, if you wouldn't mind. I've got a million and one things I should be doing.'
'How was Heaton?' Jo asked with a small smile.
'On form then.'
'Something like that.'
She should've known better and avoided Canley High Street like the plague after the jams of the morning but it had slipped her mind completely. So here they were, stuck behind a bloke who seemed to think music was only good if listened to at full blast with the windows down and a woman in the car beside who was constantly examining the inside of her nostrils with her little finger.
'Sorry,' she muttered. 'I think they're digging up outside the bank.'
'Don't worry about it,' Lorna answered.
'No, I knew, I should've…'
'Jo,' the Scot said firmly, placing a hand over on her knee. 'Stop it.'
She shrugged then shook her head. 'Some quick lift this is turning out to be.'
'Look on the bright side, you'll be away from the station longer.'
'You know, I didn't think of that.' Resting back in her seat, she frowned. 'Something doesn't add up about Chantelle Brooks.'
Lorna faintly smiled. 'And that surprises you?'
'Well, no,' she admitted. 'But there's something bugging me.'
'Mmm, that's the million dollar question,' she asked wryly. 'Can't put my finger on it.' Glancing out of the window, she raised an eyebrow. 'Isn't that Andy Sharp?'
Lorna followed her gaze. 'Nasty looking head wound he's got. Why don't you pull over?'
'Oh, I should probably call uniform.'
'And miss the arrest yourself? There's a space just there.'
Jo smiled briefly before honking her horn and managing to get the idiot in front to move the few inches forward that allowed her to slip into the parking space. Getting out of the car she jogged after the figure of Andy Sharp, who was swerving from side to side quite alarmingly. 'Andy!' she called. 'Stop!'
He, unfortunately, didn't. Instead he took off, which was a fairly extravagant feat considering his demeanour. Jo picked up her pace and followed him as he dodged through the market stalls that adorned the pavement on this stretch of Canley High Street. Pushing past the shoppers, she emerged at the other side of the market and glanced around, spotting a figure disappearing down an alley. The cheeky beggar, he was trying to loop around her! Catching her breath very slightly, she continued after him, skipping over the piles of excrement she'd rather not step in. She could see him about to turn at the end of the alley and knew she was about to lose him when-
'Gaargh!' He went flying to the floor in a heap, moaning as Lorna's head appeared.
Jo ground to a halt. 'Thanks.'
The CSE shrugged. 'It was quite enjoyable actually.'
'I will get you back to the flat eventually,' Jo promised, kneeling down and turning Andy Sharp's head. 'I think you knocked him out.'
'What happened, Jo?'
Moving herself and her phone out of the hospital entrance- and away from Lorna- she replied, 'Guv, it was an accident.'
'I'm not going to be dealing with any accusations here am I?' Jack queried, fairly knowingly.
'No, course not. Look, he came out of the alley and tripped. That's the end of it.'
'Well, I'll take your word for it. Has he come round yet?'
'Yeah, the doctors want me to give him a bit of time though.'
'Keep me informed,' answered the DCI curtly before hanging up.
Jo let out her breath deeply then went back into the hospital. Lorna was waiting for her. 'Everything okay?'
'Fine,' Jo replied with a strained smile. 'Look, I'll give you some money for a taxi or something. No need you hanging around here.'
'They can cope without me, you know.'
'I just thought…'
'Perhaps it's best if I do go,' Lorna interrupted, beginning to walk away.
'No, wait,' Jo said meekly. 'I could do with the company.'
The CSE paused then finally smiled. 'Coffee?'
They'd been chatting for twenty minutes or so when the nurse came out and informed them that Andy Sharp was fit for questioning. Leaving Lorna in the corridor, Jo pushed aside the curtain. 'How you doing, Andy?'
He wouldn't look at her. 'Fine.'
'Funny, the doctor seems to think you've been hit a few times with a blunt object.'
'Just fell over didn't I? When I was running away from you.'
'Mmm, nice try. You were bleeding pretty badly when I first saw you. CCTV from the area could easily prove it, you know.'
There was a pause. 'What do you want with me anyway? I told you all I knew this morning.'
'Yeah, well, this isn't about last night. When did Chantelle's window get smashed, Andy?'
'Don't know what you mean.'
'Don't feed me rubbish! You cleared it with the council for her, didn't you? So was it you that did it?'
'It was vandals. Kids.'
'It was smashed from the inside,' Jo answered. 'The kids inside were they?'
'Yeah,' he replied lamely.
'Okay,' she said swiftly, 'here's what I think happened. You and Chantelle had an argument, you smashed the window, in anger maybe, and then you got your pals at the council to put it down as vandalism.'
He shook his head. 'I didn't have anything to do with it!'
There was a lengthy pause. 'I cleared it with the council because I knew Chantelle couldn't afford to pay for the repairs out of her own pocket. But I didn't smash it.'
'Then who did?'
'I don't know!'
'Come on, Andy! Don't mess me about!'
Exasperated, she sighed. 'You're lucky your alibi's so tight otherwise I'd have you in. But I'll be back.'
'Well, I'll be here.' For the first time in their conversation he seemed to be fighting emotion.
'Bye, Andy,' she muttered, returning quickly to Lorna in the corridor. She found the CSE examining the papers that had most likely been in her bag on their journey. 'I really should have taken you back to work, shouldn't I?'
Lorna looked up and laughed lightly. 'I just had a thought.'
Jo sat down next to her. 'Worth sharing?'
Passing her the particular page she was reading, full of her own small handwritten notes, Lorna explained, 'I routinely take notes of anything that appears out of the ordinary, it's something I got into the habit of doing during my marriage.'
Raising an eyebrow, Jo barely contained her question.
It was read on her lips, however. 'Oh, trust me, you would've too in my situation.'
'Fair enough. So…'
'Yes. There was a key holder in the kitchen, five hooks, four keys. From the dust mark at the back of it the key had been there until very recently.'
'No ideas who could've taken it? Sharp, perhaps?'
She shook her head. 'He's got his own set. Something to look into though.'
Lorna began putting away her papers. 'I take it he was no help?'
'Not really.' She glanced down the corridor, surprised to see a familiar face coming towards her. 'Tony?'
The constable nodded. 'Hiya. Narrowed it down to four people unaccounted for on Chantelle's floor last night. Mickey said you might wanna ask Sharp about them?'
'Yeah, thanks. Any likely candidates?'
He handed her four still CCTV images. 'Three possibles, I'd say. There's two blokes, a young woman and an…'
'OAP,' Jo finished with an eye roll. 'Suppose we have to cover all the bases.'
Tony shrugged. 'Well, you never know.' He looked to Lorna. 'Do you want a lift somewhere or something?'
The CSE glanced briefly towards Jo before answering in the affirmative. 'Thanks. I'll see you later, Jo.'
She had to admit, she was a little disappointed that their afternoon of murder mystery was ending so abruptly but, after all, that's what it was: work. She watched the pair all the way out of sight then went back into Andy's cubicle.
Five minutes later she emerged again, well aware that the baffled grin on her face could be construed as psychotic. Once she was out of the hospital, she pulled out her mobile. 'Mickey? You're not gonna believe this.'
'Run this by me again,' the DC said, crossing his arms and frowning.
'Believe me,' Jo answered. 'I was the first pessimist but… Sharp reacted to the photo of the woman…'
'This Mrs Jenkins?'
'And how old is she?'
'Seventy-two. Anyway, he reacted and I got it out of him that Doris Jenkins was the one who smashed Chantelle's window.'
'What, with her walking stick?' Mickey queried, trying and failing to contain his snigger.
Jo rolled her eyes. 'Mickey, I'm serious! She knew Chantelle's mother, who was a right cow herself by most accounts, and she wasn't happy about the way Chantelle was living and who she was going out with. Usual stuff.'
'So Doris, the little old lady,' he added, just to clarify, 'went round to Chantelle's flat last night and stabbed her four…'
'Five times? Then bashed Andy Sharp because he knew too much?'
'You think I'm crazy,' Jo muttered, sitting down. 'Cheers, Mickey.'
'Well, you've gotta admit, it's a bit far-fetched.'
'The truth can be,' said another voice.
Jo swivelled on her chair. 'Lorna!
'Back already?' Mickey asked. 'We should start charging you rent.'
'Or giving you compensation,' Jo retorted, glancing at the welcome new arrival. 'I take it you heard some of that?'
'Doris Jenkins, yes.' The CSE passed her a folder. 'Those unidentified fingerprints match an ABH from a decade ago.'
Jo flipped open the file then let out a triumphant laugh. 'Mickey, you owe me a drink.'
Lorna smiled. 'Doris Jenkins.'
'It's enough to bring her in,' Mickey replied, picking up the phone.
'Wait, there's more,' Lorna said, causing Mickey to place the receiver down again. 'One of my staff found a box of letters under the sofa. Nasty things, I can't think why Chantelle kept them. But they were signed D Jenkins.'
'And it matched the handwriting in the faked diary,' Jo realised.
'Yep. We also found incriminating prints on that.'
This time Mickey was on the phone ordering uniform to pick her up before Lorna had finished speaking. Jo looked to her. 'Thanks.'
'Well, it's my job, Jo,' answered Lorna, zipping up her bag and carefully avoiding eye-contact.
'Still… You know. Besides,' she went on, trying to lighten the mood, 'I thought it was only us coppers who were allowed to beat up suspects.'
A small grin crept onto Lorna's lips. 'I can see why you enjoy your job.'
'It does have its perks,' she confirmed. 'Seriously, thanks for all your help today.'
'You off home now?'
Lorna sighed. 'Heaton.'
'I sinned in a past life.'
When Mickey put the phone down he practically slammed it towards his desk. 'Me too,' Jo confided.
So Doris Jenkins, faced with the evidence of the diary, the letters, the forensics and the fact that she possessed the elusive missing key for Chantelle's flat, confessed to her crime, though she did claim she acted in self-defence. Her lawyers could argue that till they were blue in the face: Jo didn't believe one word of it and she hoped a jury wouldn't either.
As she left the station around eight she was surprised to find Lorna also crossing the yard. 'Haven't you gone home yet?'
Lorna turned at hearing her voice and smiled. 'It's been a rather long day.'
Jo walked towards her. 'Yeah, sorry about that.'
'It was hardly your fault. I'd blame Doris Jenkins and John Heaton myself.'
She shrugged her agreement. 'Listen, do you wanna go for a drink or something? Feels like you've earned it today.'
'Oh, erm…' Lorna shook her head. 'Sorry, I can't.'
Feeling suddenly embarrassed, Jo plunged her hands into her pockets. 'Sure. I was just…'
'Jo,' Lorna interrupted, placing a hand on her arm and smiling again. 'I haven't got a sitter and I'm already late as it is. But another time definitely.'
Rather embarrassed at her embarrassment, she nodded. 'I'll hold you to that.'
'I'd be disappointed if you didn't,' Lorna replied before walking off.
She watched her around the corner then grinned softly to herself. It hadn't been such a terrible day after all. As she moved to leave herself she spotted Mickey coming out into the yard. She debated for half a second before going over to him. 'Come on. I'm buying you a drink.'
He shook his head. 'I'm really not in the mood, Jo.'
'So you can sit there looking like someone ran over your cat and I can watch the bottom of my glass. That way we're both happy.'
'Mickey! I'm offering to buy you a drink, don't knock it.'
He managed a minute smile. 'Doesn't happen that often, I suppose. Yeah, alright.'
Mickey wasn't saying much but Jo was still a little hopeful. If there's one thing she knew it was that there was no better way to loosen a person's tongue than with a drop, or sometimes a bucket load, of alcohol. Well, there were other ways, but she wasn't that desperate to find out what was going on with Mickey Webb.
After finishing his third pint, he shoved the glass across the table towards her. 'Had a visitor last night.'
Finally, he was ready to talk. 'Oh, yeah?'
'Mia,' he continued eventually, practically spitting out the name. 'Only she weren't alone. Brought her little baby with her.'
Jo raised an eyebrow. 'She's had a kid?'
He nodded. 'Claims it's mine.'
'And how do you feel about that?'
'Dunno. I mean, I don't hear from her for months and suddenly she won't leave me alone. Going on about how it's mine and how much she's sorry for what happened.'
'Was it her on the phone this morning?' Jo queried, trying to be careful not to poke her nose in where it wasn't wanted.
'Yeah.' He let out his breath in a frustrated sigh. 'I don't know what to do,' he admitted.
'Do you want kids, Mickey?'
He shrugged. 'Yeah. I mean, I think I do. Haven't really thought about it in a while to be honest. Not since…'
'Not since you split up with her.'
'What are the chances of Heaton being the father?' asked Jo.
'I don't know. Don't particularly wanna know. If I had my way she'd disappear for good and I'd never see her again.'
'Right… But it's not just her, is it? Is it a boy or a girl?'
He looked down into his empty glass. 'Boy.'
Recognising that the fact stung him a little, she was very careful with her choice of words. 'Surely you need to know, eh? If she's adamant, get a DNA test. But you have to talk to her, Mickey.'
'I know, I know. I just… I was getting back on track, you know? It took a while but I was getting there. She turns up with… Michael… and I'm back to square one.'
'She named him after you?'
'Mmm. Maybe she's just after some money.'
'Well, has she said that?'
'I haven't let her say anything,' he confessed with a lacklustre shrug.
Jo smiled sympathetically. 'Don't you think you'd better?'