“They used your card to take out over two thousand pounds in cash! How did they get your card?!” Nigel fumed.
“I must have left it in my jacket, they’ve got that too,” Tristan sighed.
“Because this is all your fault were stopping whatever we don’t get back out of your pay checks!” Nigel threatened.
Tristan had heard it all a dozen times. “I don’t doubt you will.”
“Don’t take that tone with me, you’re on thin ice as it is! Go and find them!” Nigel snapped.
“With respect, how? They were on Queens Street for half an hour, yesterday. That’s hardly enough information to find them with,” Tristan said.
“Go to all the cheap places first. Ask around. Look for somewhere they can access money easily. Don’t be an idiot!” Nigel yelled.
“Yes, sir,” Tristan rolled his eyes.
“And we’re scrapping the money we were giving to you. You’re on your own now, payment wise,” Nigel stated.
“But they took my card too!” Tristan whined.
“Then why didn’t they just use that?!”
Nigel slammed the phone down furiously. The next words through that phone was Mr Edwards shocked tone demanding:
“They did what?!”
“Stole a lot of money from my business. We could be looking at criminal offences here,” Tristan repeated.
Mr Edwards scoffed. “No we aren’t. If your company involve the police they’ll have to answer why they didn’t report the van missing, or call about an unlicensed, uninsured driver. Dorothy would find the real reason, report on it, and make them look negligent.”
“They are negligent,” Tristan stated.
“What makes you think they wouldn’t use you as a scape goat?” Mr Edwards asked.
The way Tristan saw it, they would anyway. All of the problems that they would have following this would be smoothed down by firing the person responsible.
“My ex said that I was negligent too. Ignoring her for my work. I regret that now,” Tristan sighed.
Mr Edwards pitied him. He was about to offer some words of comfort when a thought struck him that took precedence.
“How’d you get money from a card when you don’t know the pin?”
“Take it to the bank,” Tristan shrugged.
“But they don’t have any formal ID, and the card has Tristan on the front. Clearly none of them are you,” Mr Edwards said.
Tristan frowned. “So they can’t get money from a card or a bank. How would they get it?”
There was a long silence as both of them tried to think of an answer. Both of them were blue eyed boys from posh backgrounds. Neither could imagine a group of young girls asking a stranger in a dark Glasgow alley to clone a card.
“Where are you now?” Mr Edwards asked.
“Dodging drunks on Dury Street,” Tristan grumbled.
“Obviously. I had to drive all night and I have no idea where they are.”
Well he’d driven for hours. It was only one in the morning so it was still very much the middle of the night.
“They’re not stupid. Ravi has one of the highest-grade ratings in the entire school, and Tahati’s read more library books than anyone else here-” Mr Edwards began.
“From what you’ve said about it there, I’m assuming she’s read three of them,” Tristan interrupted.
“Don’t be mean. I’ll have you know we have to buy crates of new books each year!” Mr Edwards snipped.
He neglected to mention that it was to replace the ones stolen the previous year.
“When I was helping build the orphanage in Africa-” Mr Edwards talked about this as much as every other middle class snob that helped a charity once and now thought themselves a saint, did, “We had to stay in a hostel. Are there any hostels in Glasgow?”
There was a blare of horns as a bus whirled past Tristan. Mr Edwards missed the beginning of the reply, but heard the ending clearly.
His eyes widened in alarm. “WHAT?!”
The phone line cut dead.
What Dorothy inferred from the heated phone call with her boss, was that her loyal assistant and lover, had betrayed her. She hadn’t let her boss know where she was, so he had been furious with her for being gone for three days with no excuses. And shed missed a partners meeting.
Dorothy’s job was hanging by a thread.
There was one thing that could change that.
She had to find those girls.
But they kept moving! They never stood still long enough for her to find them. Now her lead had gone cold because Ravi stopped posting to snapchat. She needed this. She needed this story to keep her job.
Then she spotted Tristan, and recognised him from old instagram posts.
And so the boat got one more member.
“Hey! You! I need your help!” She yelled.
Tristan frowned as she ran across the road towards him, narrowly avoiding being hit by a bus.
“I don’t know you,” he stated.
“I’m a reporter and I need to do an interview with the girls you lost because Kelly Clarkson is out for my job. My name is Dorothy Richards,” she explained.
In that moment, he put a face to the name. A far prettier one than he had thought.
“Why should I help you?” He demanded.
“I need to find them for an interview. You need to find them to get them home. We can help each other find where they are,” she shrugged.
“But if you report on them, it’ll get into the public knowledge and I’ll be out of a job,” he said.
She raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you already?” When he didn’t respond, she added, “it’s just a matter of time.”
He knew she was right. If she managed to get to them first, she could expose the company, and him, and it would serve them right.
But, she would expose Mr Edwards too. The only person who supported Tristan. He couldn’t do that to him.
“I’ll pay for you to stay in my hotel with me,” Dorothy offered.
“You’ll need to do better than a premier Inn if you want me to be a grass,” Tristan scoffed.
“Carlton George actually,” Dorothy stated.
Tristan raised an eyebrow. That was a posh spa hotel. Expensive, even for one night’s stay. He’d never be able to afford a room there alone.
Very quickly he came to a conclusion. “Fine. One night. But after that, I’m going to find them without you!”