LONDON'S BURNING

Tainted Love

"As long as you're happy, Sal…"

"I am. You don't approve?"

"I don't like him."

"Oh Rob," she sighed. "Why not?"

"Surely you can see it Sal?"

"He… he's changed."

"Oh yeah and I've got a girlfriend! Guys like that don't change, Sally," Rob tried to warn her as they spoke on the phone. "You know what I think."

"You're not coming then?" she asked, wondering if she should be annoyed with her best friend.

"If I did, I'd probably have to leave at the bit where they ask if anyone objects!"

"That's not funny, Rob."

"I don't like the guy Sal, but if he makes you happy..."

"You can give me away if you like!"

"Um… yeah, maybe," he stalled. "Listen, I'm supposed to be on duty at the moment, perhaps I could phone you later?"

"Yeah," she was disheartened by his sudden end to the conversation. "Make sure you do."

They hung up.


Mick found Frank mulling things over in the gym, lazily lifting a dumbbell up to his shoulder as he sat on the weight machine bench.

"Frank?"

He looked up but didn't stop his absent-minded exercise. "Guv?"

"Grubs up," Mick stood at the gym door.

Frank put the dumbbell down.

"Everything all right?" Mick ventured.

"Fine, Guv."

"How's Sally?"

Frank stood up and wiped the sweat from his brow with a towel. He looked straight at Mick before answering. He could see how much Mick still felt for Sally.

"She's fine," Frank walked passed Mick to leave the gym.


Adam couldn't keep the grin off his face. It was the first time he had been truly happy in ages. Also, it helped that he thought he had regained his stud muffin status. Birds with beaded necklaces just didn't do it for him, however having two beautiful birds at once was just a dream come true. He knew he was playing a dangerous game, but at the moment he was enjoying himself too much to care.

Craig was still looking doe-eyed at cook Lisa, who had just got word that her contract was going to be terminated. She gave Blue Watch the news as she prepared their last meal.

"But… they can't…" Craig was gutted.

"It was only temporary," Lisa reminded him.

"But… what will you do?"

Lisa shrugged. "Get another job."

"But…"

"Have you seen this!" George interrupted as he was reading the paper, outraged at an article he had found.

"Oh yeah," Charlie passed it off casually. "Prats, what do they know!"

"Everyone's entitled to their own opinions George," Frank entered the mess and sat down.

George glanced at Frank, eyebrows raised, wondering if this was the same bloke he had sat down to lunch with a matter of days ago. Frank had mellowed, which to be honest was quite scary. Perhaps it was the prospect of fatherhood that had led to the personality transplant…

Shortly after lunch, Frank continued to surprise everyone even further when Blue Watch were called to deal with a young woman who was attempting suicide. He immediately volunteered his Smaritan services. Mick didn't argue.

Adam and Frank started on the long climb up the ladder of the 100ft-construction crane. The woman was out on the arm, having been noticed by the crane operator who had got a shock when he'd climbed back up the crane after going for his lunch.

Adam decided it was best not to question Frank's motives. The wind chill around them increased the higher they climbed.

"Come on Adam!" Frank seemed in a hurry to get to the top before the girl jumped.

He was several steps ahead of Adam all ready.

They reached the top. Frank edged out along the arm, attached to the line that Adam was anchoring back in the crane's control cabin.

"Hello?" Frank asked carefully as he approached the frightened girl, who looked to him no older than eighteen or nineteen.

She whirled round at the sight of him, almost loosing her grip on the crane's metal structure. Frank stopped dead where he was, only a few feet away from her. He knelt down, the same as she was.

"What's going on?"

"Don't come any closer!" she warned, her pretty face tear stained, her short blonde hair blowing wildly in the cold wind.

"It's a bit high up innit?" Frank asked, glancing down to the ground where the firefighters, paramedics and police officers were no more than tiny dots milling around below them.

"I'm gonna do it," the girl threatened.

"Why here?" Frank wondered.

"It's my dad's company."

"Oh. Has he been giving you hassle?"

"Sort of."

"What about?"

"He doesn't like my boyfriend. Said I wasn't his daughter any more."

"I don't think he'd want you to kill yourself."

"He wouldn't care."

"I'm sure he would. He's down there right now, worried sick about you."

The girl looked at him. "Really?"

"Yes. Sounds to me like he cares, very much."

"He still won't let me see who I like."

"How old are you?"

She looked at him again. "Sixteen."

"And your boyfriend?"

"Eighteen."

"And that's the problem?"

She nodded.

"My girlfriend is expecting a baby. If it's a girl, I'd protect her with my life. I wouldn't want her to get involved with… scum. That's how your father's feeling right now. He just wants to protect you."

"He has a funny way of showing it."

"You can dump your boyfriend when you get bored of him, but you can't just dump your father. You'd never forgive yourself if anything happened to him. And if you didn't care about him in the same way, you wouldn't be up here now would you?"

The girl wiped her eyes with one hand, the other still clenched to the metal frame. She sniffed.

"I just want him to listen to me."

Frank nodded. "I'm sure he will. Come on, let's go down," he extended his arm towards the girl.

She hesitated.

"Come on," he urged carefully. "Between you and me, I'm desperate for a pee!"

She managed a smile and took his hand.


"Hey, Rob! Good to see you, mate!" Adam embraced his friend in the pub, then realised who he was hugging and broke off quickly. "Um… sorry!"

"Don't worry, Adam, I am so over you!"

"Oh, well that's good… I suppose. Anyway, what you doing back here!" Adam changed the subject hastily.

"Sally."

"Oh, as if I couldn't guess. Well, she won't be here."

"Actually it's you I wanted to talk to."

"Erm… well I kinda got a date…" Adam started.

Hyper grinned. "Nothing new there then! I wanted to ask you about this Frank bloke."

"You came all this way to ask about Sally's boyfriend?"

"I don't like him. I think he's up to something."

"You're just being paranoid. Frank's all right, these days."

"What do you mean these days?" Rob asked. "What was he like before!"

"Well… does that matter? It's in the past."

"What did he do Adam?"

"He knew some dodgy people, that's all."

"I knew it."

"I don't think Sally will thank you for interfering…"

"I'll be doing her a favour!"

"Frank loves her, in fact I've never seen him so… soft! She's happy, Rob."

"How can she be happy with someone who's as dodgy as a pint of English Guinness!" Hyper demanded. "I care about her, that's all."

"You're her best mate, not her father!" Adam reminded him. "But don't worry, Blue Watch will make sure Frank treats her right."

"I still don't trust him."

Adam grinned. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were jealous!"

"It's a good job you do know better then. She's been hurt too many times before, I want to make sure it doesn't happen again."

They were interrupted by the arrival of Adam's current girlfriend. A tall, slender, blonde woman, who wore a low cut pale blue dress. Hyper was open-mouthed.

"How did you pull her!" he wondered as Adam finished kissing the girl and was about to go off with her.

"With my charm, good looks and magnetic personality!" Adam replied, grinning.

"Oh yeah," Hyper replied sarcastically. "That'll be it!"

"Will you be all right here?"

"Don't worry, I think I can still find my way round Blackwall! I might go and pop in on Sal."

"Does she know you're coming?"

"No."

"Well don't start anything," Adam warned. "I'll be back later!" he added before leaving with the pretty lady.


"I've told you once, I'm done with all that."

"Oh come on, Frank, you can't leave me in the lurch like this. After all, you know what happened last time you cocked up!"

"I'm not doing this stuff anymore," Frank protested.

His pleas seemed to be falling on Jimmy's deaf ears. He had promised Sally he wouldn't thump anyone else for money. It was a promise he intended to keep.

"Just one more job," Jimmy was telling him. "One more job and we'll call it quits."

"I said no."

"You owe me, Frank," there was a serious warning tone in Jimmy's voice.

"I don't owe you anything anymore."

"You owe me until I say otherwise. I don't think your bird would be too happy with the things I could tell her."

"And what makes you think she'd listen to you?" Frank challenged.

"Oh I can think of a few things. One more job Frank and I promise I'll let you go and play happy families, if that's what you really want."

"And if I refuse?"

Jimmy shrugged. "As I said, I've got a lot on you. Like, oh let's see, murder?"

Frank sighed, he knew he had no choice. "What do you want?"

Jimmy was grinning. "That's more like it."


"Rob!" Sally was both happy and amazed to see her friend, standing, unannounced at her door. "Come in!" she hugged him tightly. "I thought you weren't coming."

"Hi, Sal," he greeted her. "I changed my mind."

She smiled and practically dragged him into the flat.

"This is a bit upmarket, isn't it?" he asked, glancing round the lush furnishings of Frank's apartment.

"It's Frank's."

"Yeah I thought it might be."

"If you've just come round here to have a go, Rob…"

"Where is he tonight then?"

"He told me he was going to the Twist for a pint with the Watch."

"Oh?" Hyper asked. "I didn't see him."

"Perhaps he went in after you left?" she suggested.

"I've been in there most of the night, Sal. I've not seen him, or the rest of the Watch for that matter. Except Adam."

"Well… then… he… Maybe they went somewhere else?"

Hyper was shaking his head. "Don't you think Adam would have said something? I'm sorry Sally."

She refused to listen to him. "You can't stand the fact that I'm happy for once can you? Just because you can't hold down a relationship, you have to try and mess up mine!"

"That's unfair…"

"Frank will be where he said he was going to be. He wouldn't lie to me… not after all we've been though."

"Are you trying to convince me or yourself?"

"Get out Rob. If all you're going to do is slag off my boyfriend then you can just get lost. I don't need you anymore, I've got Frank."

"Sally, listen to me…"

"Get out," she opened the door for him. "You might not like him, but don't you dare come round here lying about him. Just piss off Rob."

She closed the door in his face before he had time to argue.


Rob trudged back to the Oliver Twist, alone, in the dark, troubled by Sally's reaction. He had been trying to get her to see the truth. This guy would never change, he would always be a bad apple. Sally, however, always saw the good in everyone, she refused to believe Frank was lying to her.

"Rob!" someone whispered from a bush by the side of the road. "Rob!"

Hyper glanced round. "Who's there?"

"It's Adam!"

Hyper frowned, he couldn't see Adam anywhere. He stepped over towards the "talking" bush. A grin spread across his face.

"What are you doing in there Adam!"

"I um… I've got a bit of a problem!"

"Yeah, you er… can say that again!" Hyper was almost killing himself through held back laughter.

"You've got to help me, Rob!" Adam begged.

He stepped out from behind the bush. Hyper didn't know if he should be embarrassed or amused, as Adam was completely naked from head to foot.

"Shouldn't you be wearing some leaves with your birthday suit?" Hyper laughed.

"Please, Rob!" Adam covered himself up as best he could.

Hyper took off his jacket and handed it to Adam. "Here get that on before you get arrested!"

Adam took the jacket gratefully.

"What the hell happened?" Hyper questioned.

"They ran off with my clothes!" Adam explained.

"They?"

"Well, yeah, the two birds…"

"I don't think I want to know!" Hyper stopped him.

"You gotta run back to the Twist," Adam begged. "Get me some clothes! I'm freezing!"

Hyper was in hysterics now. "And what do I get out of it?"

"Er… bed and breakfast?" Adam suggested. "Free of charge."

Hyper considered it. "Ok, wait there."

"Hurry up!" Adam begged as Hyper started off in the direction of the pub. "And don't tell anyone!"


Sally waited for Frank to return home. She had waited all night, until realising that Rob had been telling the truth. Frank had been lying to her. She had all the evidence she needed.

"Where have you been?" Frank demanded to know as Sally returned home after some time away to sort herself out. "I was so worried."

"I had an abortion," she told him, without any remorse.

"What?"

"I asked you to do one thing for me Frank, and you couldn't even manage that. I came to tell you that it's over."

"But, Sal… I don't know what you're talking about…"

"You promised me you'd finished with… all that. I'm getting out of London, today. Don't bother to look for me."

"Sal…" he started desperately, not wanting her to leave. "You don't understand."

"Save it for someone who cares Frank."

"I had to do it. It was just one last job. I swear."

"I don't believe you. I came back for my jacket," she found it hanging on the back of a dining room chair.

"You can't leave, I want to make it up to you… Sal, please…" he tried to stop her leaving, but refused to let himself resort to physical force.

He was powerless to stop her as she reached the door.

"I love you Sally."

"Drop dead Frank," she left him stood in the doorway of his flat.

"Sal…" he tried to call after her. "Sal…"

She did not turn back.