After a couple of silly chapters it's back to the plot :-)
He waited impatiently for his luggage to come round the carousel. It had been a long flight from New York and his mood hadn't been improved by the delays, subsequently a very cranky Dan had landed at Heathrow.
He checked his watch, 5.22 am. His body didn't know whether it was night or day, he stifled a yawn as he watched suitcases and bags judder past him. Eventually, his luggage appeared from the plastic tunnel.
Finding a quiet part of the terminal and a much needed coffee, he pulled out a diary and read his instructions with all the enthusiasm of a sulky child. He was not best pleased when Coltrane had told him he was to go to London to assist with the cause, he'd barely been outside New York State let alone been abroad and the thought of doing business with the London underworld filled him with trepidation. He'd read about London gangsters, they didn't operate like New York hoods; they had their own brand of thuggishness. In New York, gangs fought with guns, in London they had a taste for the macabre, preferring to torture their victims to get what they wanted...he'd read it, the likes of the Krays were world famous.
He read his directions...he was to make his way to the Edgware Road and meet some guy in an Irish Pub called the 'Shamrock'. He surmised it wouldn't be hard to find an Irish pub on a road, this was England, he imagined a short street lined with quaint shops in a residential area. But, first he had to find his lodgings so that he could get his head down for a couple of hours, he was knackered.
He stepped out into the summer drizzle and looked up at the grey skies 'Urrghh! England.'
"Need a cab Guvnor?"
A burley cockney yelled at him from a black cab, it took a few moments for Dan to register what the cabby had said.
"Er yeah sure, I need to get here." Dan showed the cabby the address he'd been given. "You know where that is?"
The cabby beamed with amusement "Not half," he chuckled "It's not bleeding difficult to find it, is it?"
His hotel was in Wembley it had been chosen for its proximity to Wembley stadium, in fact virtually opposite, therefore, easy for a New Yorker to find.
It wasn't what Dan was expecting; he had assumed he was staying in the Wembley Plaza opposite, or even the Hilton further up the road, instead he got a pub, which called itself a hotel, tucked behind a row of semi-detached houses.
It was deserted at that hour of the morning, not a soul in sight. He tried the reception door...locked, he had no choice but to lean on the bell. After ten minutes of trying, a surly landlord appeared dressed in his pyjamas and dressing gown.
"Alright, alright, keep ye bleeding hair on!" he yelled through the glass as he proceeded to unlock several deadlocks and bolts. The door opened a couple of centimetres, "Whass your game, do you know what time it is?"
"I have a reservation, Riley, the names Riley."
The landlord, on hearing the American accent, looked Dan up and down suspiciously "I've got a few reservations meself."
"Yanks! I don't trust 'em. Check-in isn't till two. "
"Look Pal, I've been up far too long, I need sleep like now. You want cash? I'll give ya cash, just lead me to a bed." Dan fished out a wad of notes from his pocket and shoved a handful into the landlord's grubby paw. The landlord's face lit up with surprise and delight.
He quickly thumbed through the notes counting. "That will do nicely." The Londoner moved aside to let Dan in to the pokey, dimley lit reception area. The first thing Dan noticed was the stench of stale cigarette smoke emanating from the bar area. Unbeknown to Dan the stadium had played host to some rock band the previous night and the fans, not wanting to go home, had piled into the bar to continue drinking into the small hours. the wallpaper was peeling off the walls and disgustingly stained mattress was propped up against the stairs.
The landlord moved to the other side of the reception desk and opened his reservation book "Riley you say?"
Dan nodded while looking around the room at the many old newspaper clippings and football photographs which crowded the walls. "This a soccer pub?"
"No mate, it's a football pub, we don't play soccer. You might have noticed the small building opposite." said the landlord sarcastically, "Wembley Stadium."
The landlord handed him a room key with an enormous, bright yellow fob "Room six, breakfast is from 7.30 to 10.00, you get discount on an evening meal. We don't tolerate drugs in the room or women...this is not a knocking shop."
"What if I wanted to bring a guy back?" replied Dan sarcastically.
The landlord balked horrified "Queers aren't welcome either!"
"Dontcha worry, I'm all man." With that Dan headed up the threadbare stairs to his room and some much needed sleep. He needed to be fully refreshed for his mission...he couldn't wait to get even.
"What's all this about Sir? I thought we we're supposed to be on sick leave." said Harry, taking one of seats in Spikings's office.
Spikings looked serious and agitated as he motioned to Dempsey to do the same. Dempsey obliged by plonking himself down next to Harry. He had to call them in; he needed to speak to them desperately. He cleared his throat uncomfortably "There's no easy way to say this, so I'm going to come right out and say it...Are you two having a relationship?"
Dempsey and Harry laughed nervously and protested their Innocence.
"What a ridiculous idea!" she shrieked
"That's crazy talk!" exclaimed Dempsey throwing a hand in the air.
Spikings's was not convinced by their overzealous, somewhat theatrical reactions. "Is it?" he growled "Lyon's seems to think otherwise...he seems to think YOU..." he pointed at Harry "killed that Grey woman out of jealousy."
"That's absurd!" she shrilled in amazement.
"Hey chief..that woman was nuts!"
Spikings regarded them with disdain, were they taking him for a fool. "You think I was born yesterday. Since Spain both of you have been off your game, the Jimmy debacle a case in point. Shoddily filled out paperwork...more than usual, evidence being missed, witnesses not being protected, arrest rate much lower than what is acceptable, not reading danger signals...like 60 barrels of chemicals, walking into traps, dead bodies all over the shop...shall I go on? I'm beginning to think the coroner may have a point!"
Dempsey and Harry dropped the innocent act and scowled at the Guv...he was right, they had dropped their game.
"Look chief, we may have been a little distracted..." Dempsey tried to explain.
Spikings cut him short "He has tape recordings of you two in the apartment...that infernal Grey woman recorded everything. Nuts doesn't quite cover it...eh?"
Their expressions said it all, they hadn't thought for one moment Monica had recorded everything although they knew she had listened to them.
Harry was thinking hard as to what Monica could have recorded "But, nothing happened! We shared an apartment...Dempsey was ill..."
"So you keep bloody telling me Sergeant." He barked. Spikings leant menacingly forward, his knuckles planted firmly on the desk. "Don't take me for a fool...I have eyes." He looked from one to the other "Now, are you going to tell me the truth or do we all wait for it to come out at the inquest?"
Dempsey and Harry glanced at each other nervously, this was an impossible situation.
Spikings, still watching them very carefully, lowered his voice "I can't help you unless I know the facts, so I will ask again, are you two having a relationship?"
Dempsey and Harry looked resignedly at each other, the game was up, it was just a question who had the guts to say it.
Finally Harry plucked up the courage "Yes." She said simply and quietly and braced herself for the fall out.
"But not in Spain." added Dempsey, equally quietly.
Spikings nodded, no fallout, no volcano, he already knew the answer. "You do realise this could be problematical?"
Dempsey and Harry gave him a pained look and he instantly felt sorry for them.
"Yeah, we know, that's why we didn't put it on a billboard." sighed Dempsey.
Spikings huffed in frustration "If the commissioner gets wind of this he may post one of you to a different department."
Harry suddenly found his comment irritating "Sir, that's not fair! Gene and Alex are a married couple in the same department and no-one's complained about that!"
"They are not partners in an undercover unit having their judgement skewed by personal feelings...geddit? If they have an argument Drake can still do her job with her colleagues, she is not relying on Hunt every second of the working day. You two, on the other hand, have to remain an effective working team to stay safe."
"But, but we argue all the time anyway...what would change?" Harry protested, trying to reason with him.
"Harry's right," blustered Dempsey "No-one will know the difference, except we'll be fighting less, at least now we can kiss and make up. Your life will be easier."
"Hmmmm, " Spikings rubbed his chin thoughtfully "Okay, okay...but I wouldn't advertise the fact. Does Robert know?"
"He knows I have a man, whether he's twigged it's Dempsey...I don't know." admitted Harry. "Surely Lyons has told him by now?"
Spkikings shook his head "Thomas Lyons has his own agenda going on it would appear."
"Huh?" Dempsey and Makepeace asked together.
"He doesn't think the inquest is going to get very far as it is."
"So, what are we worrying about? I don't understand." Harry looked puzzled.
"Blackmail, he wants me to get Chapman off in return for the tapes."
Dempsey rubbed his confuddled brow "But, the tapes don't matter if the inquest goes kerflooey?"
Spikings was trying to make them understand "Lyons wants to make a name for himself and by getting Chapman off, he would get more high profile cases his way, the tapes, although an embarrassment in an inquest, would be far more damaging on a personal level...i.e think what Robert would do with them...he'd take you to the cleaners girl, make sure every rag in the land knew the score and your social standing would be non-existent."
What Spikings was leaving out, was that if the media got hold of the story and published Dempsey's name, it could blow his cover and put him in danger again. Of course, Harry still knew nothing of the contract on Dempsey's life.
Dempsey understood fully what the chief was driving at, it hurt him he couldn't explain it all to Harry, he so wanted to tell her, but it was safer that she was kept in the dark. What was even more galling about the whole situation was that they didn't get up to anything in Spain, to Dempsey's mind, if she had recorded their shenanigans over the past three days that would be worthy of printing in a newspaper.
Spikings softened towards Harry "Harry, you know how the gutter press loves a slice of landed gentry tittle tattle, they will blow it up out of all proportion and dine out on yours and Dempsey's relationship for months...could you both cope with that...being in the spotlight? It would be sensational enough a titled lady working as an undercover agent let alone that she is dating a Yanky policeman from a much more lowly class than herself."
"Gee, thanks." muttered Dempsey sourly "Lowly, I know my place Guvnor." He pronounced the 'Guvnor' in his own version of a cockney accent.
Harry accepted his explanation, it made sense, but he didn't give any answers "So where do we go from here? Can we get those tapes?"
Spikings sighed "I dunno, I'll have to think of something...it wouldn't hurt for you two to do a bit of thinking while you're erm on sick leave...you don't look very sick to me though. Tired perhaps, but not sick."
Harry gave him a little coy smile, somehow, Spikings knowing had lifted a huge weight off their shoulders...they really didn't know how he would react; now they knew.
It was quite fortunate Pipa had the office to herself. Robert had gone out for a lunch meeting, Dora was at the dentist having root canal work and Thomas, well who knew where he was, he was barely in the office dashing in and out like a yoyo. That left Pipa alone to do some detective work. Having raided Dora's desk and read through all the opened post she had turned her rummaging to Robert's office. Once again finding nothing she quickly turned her attentions to Thomas's office.
Surprisingly nothing was locked up giving Pipa a free rein. She made light work of his in tray and was now rifling in the desk draws. In the bottom draw she found a rather uninspiring brown folder marked 'Monica Grey Private and Confidential' 'Not anymore it isn't.' She chuckled to herself.
Her cheerfulness soon dropped like a stone as she read on through the pages. 'Oh my God!' she whispererd as she turned the paper in shock 'Oh my God! You bastards!'
She was shaking her head in disbelief, it couldn't be true...could it? 'How low can you go, dear Robert?' She read on incredulously, she had learnt more about her partner in the past two days then she had in the whole time she had been with him. This was what he was keeping secret from her because he knew she would flip.
Pipa flipped, grabbing the file she stormed back into the admin office seething with anger which had been pent up for far too long. Her partner, her child's father, the man she supposedly loved was a liar, a cheat and a money grabbing little shit. Alex had been proved right, it was plain to see, the sole reason for Robert representing Jeremy Chapman was to get at Harry and her money.
Pipa cursed herself for having ever fallen for Robert in the first place 'Stupid, stupid, stupid'. She yanked off her engagement ring and hurled it at the opposite wall. He never had any intention of marrying her, she was the booby prize, second best. It became all too clear to her, she was only ever his bit on the side, he only stuck with her because of Mathew, 'well, we'll see about that won't we.' She ground her teeth in rage. All those nights spent alone knee deep in nappies, the strange phone calls which prompted him to suddenly get up from his dinner and leave the house. The heated arguments which resulted in Robert telling her she was useless because she had 'baby brain', telling her she looked cheap when she bought a new dress, the put downs, the snide nasty comments, the hurtful jokes in front of friends 'STUPID,STUPID, STUPID!' She yelled to an empty office and promptly burst into tears.
She sat at her desk head buried in her hands, her whole body racked with pitiful sobs of frustration and misery. How could she have been so blind? How had she let him control her life so much? The more she thought, the more the truth hit her. He had systematically cut her off from her friends and family, he had forbidden her to go back to work for so long, probably because he feared he couldn't control her when she was at work. Why did he do this to her and not Harry?...but then why did he sleep with her when he had Harry? Why did he do the dirty on Monica? 'MONICA!'
Pipa quickly picked up the folder and scan read again through puffy eyes. Monica had turned into a hit woman! She had completely missed that bit, it hadn't really registered in her brain that she was reading about Thee Monica on the first read-through. A hit woman who was trying to kill Harry! This just didn't make sense.
Pipa scrunched her hair in her hands, Monica, Harry, Pipa, three very different women who had one thing in common; they had been screwed over by Robert Makepeace. 'You are not going to get away with this!' She hissed. 'You sly, twisted, sick, charming, money grabbing, lying, cheating, grubby little shit! You may have destroyed Monica, but you're not doing the same to me and Harry, and I won't let you ruin our son's life either.'
"Everything okay Pipa...you seem a little distraught?" It was Thomas entering the office.
Pipa quickly shoved the folder under the desk out of sight. "Oh, hi Thomas, I'm fine, just a touch of hay fever, makes me feel quite poorly." She lied.
"You sure?" Thomas peered into her eyes unconvinced. "Here, " he handed her a handkerchief.
Somehow Thomas felt a little sorry for Pipa, on the few occasions Robert actually took her out in public, he always seemed to be-little her. Thomas found her rather attractive, he imagined that she was once a stunner, but motherhood had turned her into a more mumsy figure...still attractive nevertheless.
Thomas perched on the edge of her desk and smiled "Maybe we should go for a drink."
"Welcome you to the team, it would be nice to catch up."
"Oh erm, I think Robert has plans tonight." She was a little taken aback at his suggestion.
"Yes I know, I meant you and me."
Pipa blushed, was he coming onto her? It had been a long time since any man had done that. "I can't...Mathew."
"Ah yes Mathew, how is the little feller, becoming more like his dad by the day?"
'I bloody hope not' Pipa said in her head "Yes," she grinned "he does look like Robert."
"Maybe another time then, just let me know when." He said it with a slight leer, he didn't like taking no for an answer. He got off the desk and started heading to his office " I'm expecting a call from a Chief Spikings...put him straight through will you? Oh, and could you dig out the number for Fenchurch East CID, I need to contact an officer there...thank you."
Now, who is Dan here to get revenge on? Dempsey or Leroy? And what is Pipa going to do next about that rat Robert?