"No. it…it can't be! Holly's not…Holly's not 15. She's not. She's only 12!" Rachel shouted.
"You're right, she is twelve. It's not the first time Scary Mary's been wrong though is it? She was tall for her age wasn't she?" Gill said, taking Rachel hand and leading her into the office.
"But…that…that gang that came in earlier, they said their friend was…she matched the one found though" Rachel babbled.
Gill smiled sympathetically. "I'm sorry Rachel, we are going to continue looking into this missing girl, but I'm afraid we have the DNA samples, matching this dead girl to Holly. Do you want to tell your sister, or do you want to get me to get Mitch round there?"
"I…think it's best if I tell her...I'll go now" Rachel stuttered, walking out of the office.
"Rachel! Hello! Come in! How are you? How's everything at work? Is that Boss of yours still stretching you? Have you had your hair cut? It looks nice! We need to have a shopping trip sometime! Oh it will be great! I'm sure Holly would love to come! She keeps going on about how she needs more dresses! She-"
"Ali just stop talking for a second. I need to tell you something. This isn't much of a social call. Is…is Tony in?" Rachel interrupted.
"Yes. Tony! He's just sorting out the bathroom. Come in, sit down. Do you want a coffee?" Alison replied, still not understanding Rachel's meaning in her tone of voice.
"I'm good thanks. Look Alison, just sit down. Get Tony, I need to talk to both of you together, and I need to talk to you now"
Alison's face changed, and the atmosphere was growing tense. "Who's it about?" she asked sharply.
"Um…Holly" Rachel said, trying to fight back her tears.
Alison nodded and crept into the living room, joined by Tony a few minutes later.
"Ok sit down; I have no idea how to say this. It's never been so personal before…" Rachel took a deep breath and sighed. "Last night, a girl was hit on the main road outside Oldham. She died later in hospital…is Holly in?" Rachel asked, kicking her herself for not asking this sooner.
"No. she stayed at a friend's last night. They went shopping. I said she could treat herself because she had a lot of money from her paper round. She…" Alison trailed off as she saw a tear roll down Rachel's cheek. She never cried.
"I'm so sorry Ali. It was Holly, the…the dead girl…it is…was Holly" Rachel choked.
Alison's face turned to stone and tears rolled down her cheek.
"It…it couldn't have been"
"I'm so sorry, that's what I said! "She's not 15! She's only 12!" but Gill has the DNA results…it is Hol."
Alison's head shot up in confusion as she listened to what Rachel was saying. "What…what do you mean "15"? Who thought she was 15?"
The pathologist reckoned that the girl was about 15, but Holly's tall for her age! Also, there was a girl reported missing yesterday by her friends, going by the name Brittany. She was also 15, and until those DNA results came through, we thought we had found the dead girls identity." Rachel replied.
"Brittany? What…what was her last name?"
"Is. It is her last name Ali, she isn't dead…and it was Walsh I think" Rachel said, not quite understanding why her sister wanted to know that.
"I could've sworn that's one of Holly's friends, I can't be sure, but I know there's a new girl who joined Holly's school this year, I'm sure her name was Brittany, she was a year or two older than Holly. She was always talking about her; I asked if she wanted to come around to tea once…yes that's it. I said she could come around whenever, she sounded nice, but Holly seemed to go quiet and she said that Brittany would want to come yet, until she knows us or something"
Could the death and disappearance be connected? What happened if it was? That Holly was actually targeted? Rachel knew she needed to get back to the station. She began to rise from her seat. "Ok, well I'm going to go now, Ali I will call you later ok? I need to get to the bottom of this, for Holly's sake, and for ours"
"Ok, drive safely Rach" Alison said, kissing her cheek.
No chance of that. Rachel thought as she got into the car, immediately sticking her foot down.
"Rachel!" Gill squawked when Rachel entered the office. "Why are you here?"
"Um…this is where I work" Rachel replied
"No not here, here. Here. Shouldn't you be with Alison?" Gill said
"No. well yes, but I want to get this case solved so Holly can rest in peace. It's the least I can do for Alison as well. Anyway, you will need your best detective won't you boss?" Rachel cooed.
"No! Her best detective is me, isn't it Boss?" Kevin whined.
Gill scoffed. "Kevin, the only thing you're good at is eating all the muffins before you're even in the office with the tray and staring at Rachel's breasts. The only way you will be my best detective is if everyone resigned and left you all alone" she replied sarcastically.
"Thanks Boss, appreciated" Kevin replied dryly.
"Hey wait! Where do my boobs come into this?!" Rachel said
"Oh come on Rachel. You mean you don't see him? He's practically drooling over you. Honestly, at last year's Christmas party when you came in that dress, he was in his element! Actually, all the men were, especially when you decided to lean right over the table to fetch a glass of wine, my-"
"I think you'll find that dress was fine and very appropriate!"
"Yeah, if appropriate means so low down that pinky and perky can see the world, or so short that-"
"Suits me" Kevin interrupted.
"Yes thank you guys, please can we move on from the topic of my boobs, and get focused on solving this case?" Rachel snapped, clicking her fingers.
"It's my job to boss you around thank you!" Gill replied, but did what Rachel said anyway.
"Boss! Alison mentioned something about Holly knowing a new girl at the school called Brittany, a year or two above her. I was wondering whether the disappearance of Brittany and the death of Holly were connected. Can Jan and I go down to the school, inform them and ask about Holly?" Rachel asked, nodding towards Janet.
"Ok, call us if you get anything. Kevin's going to go and get more CCTV from the shops outside, and along the road where Holly was killed. I'm also " Gill said.
"Will do Boss" Janet said on the way out.
"Oh sure. Kevin will do it. It's not like I'm busy or anything" Kevin butted in.
"You're not busy, that's why I'm asking you" Gill replied
Kevin huffed and stood up, moaning as he walked out of the office.
"Are you Mr. Jefferies? I'm Detective Constable Rachel Bailey and this is Detective Constable Janet Scott. Can we have a word in your office please? It's about Holly Bailey and Brittany Walsh." Rachel asked, ignoring the fact mothers were whispering behind them, trying to ear-wig.
"Yes of course, and call me Harry" the man replied.
"We shouldn't have come at this time. I forgot schools finish at half three" Janet whispered as they walked down the corridor.
"What can I do for you ladies?" the headmaster asked, sitting down opposite them.
"Last night, I'm sure you heard it on the news. A twelve year old girl was hit outside the shopping mall. That girl was pronounced dead at the scene, and I am very sorry to inform you it was one of your pupils, Holly Bailey" Rachel swallowed hard, as she finished the sentence.
"Oh my gosh. I- holly was such a good girl, never got into trouble. She handed in her homework on time; never had detentions…did the person who hit her stop?"
"Well that's the problem. We are lead to believe it was a planned hit and run, who knew exactly where she would be and at what time. That's why we are here; see if you could tell us any of her friend's names? Anyone she may have had a fight with?"
"I don't really know, I'm in my office most of the time! She seemed like a popular girl, she had a lot of friends, always did well on tests…I will speak to her form tutor, see if she will come and see you?"
"That would be great, thanks. Also, we wanted to ask you about Brittany Walsh-"
"I'm sorry, who? We don't have a Brittany come to this school" the headmaster cut in.
"Are you absolutely sure? She would have been either year 11 or 6th form?" Rachel asked, getting more and more intrigued.
"I'm positive. We have never had a Brittany in this school, and certainly not one that started this year"
Janet and Rachel looked at each other and nodded. "Ok, well that will be it I think for now, here's out number. If you find out anything else, please contact us straight away. Thank you" Rachel said, leaving the office.
"Well that was weird" Janet sighed as they got back in the car.
"Ali was so sure Holly knew a Brittany. Something's not right here. Either that Head is lying for some unknown reason, Alison is mistaken or Holly made her up…but then why would she do that? Everyone said how she was popular, had a lot of friends so she wouldn't have a "make believe" one. Can you speak to Taisie and Elise when you get home? See if they saw any new girl? I know it's a long shot, but we have to work this out"
Janet nodded and put her foot down, making their work back to the station. "Janet stop now. I've had an idea, drop me off at Alison's please and you head back, let Godzilla know where I am if you must" Rachel said.
"Why? What are you trying to work out now?" Janet asked, sighing at the fact her best friend always seemed to be getting crazy ideas.
"I'm going to see if there's anything in Holly's room. Alison will want to keep it like it was, but there has to be something in there that can help us. Also, get Kevin or someone to ring that boy who reported Brittany missing, show them a photo of Holly and let's see if they know her, and then see if Holly knew Brittany, ok?"
Janet just nodded and dropper Rachel off outside Alison's. There was no point arguing with her when she was like this.
"Thank you Alison, I know it's hard, but the sooner we find the killer, the faster Holly can be put to rest. Just help me look around her room, anything that can lead us to her killer or to this Brittany."
Alison nodded and began to move some of the boxes out from under Holly's bed. Rachel was moving throughout the wardrobes, until she came across a crack.
"Alison, what's behind here?" Rachel inquired, before ripping the piece off.
"Nothing, why?" Alison replied, stopping what she was doing and walking over to Rachel.
"I think you'll find there is" Rachel said, pulling out a small handbag and opening it.
Rachel looked up and raised her eyebrows. Alison did the same.
"Shit" they chorused.