“Good afternoon, laddie,“ Brian said when Paul next opened his eyes and blinked at the bright sun shining into the window.
Paul gasped in shock. He had definitely overslept. “Oh god, Marcus will kill me now! How’s Naomi? I have to leave right now.” He tried to get up.
“I would definitely advise against that”, Brian chuckled, “The miniature termagant left word that if you tried to leave before tomorrow, they should transfer you to the closed psychiatric ward for a while. She said that apart from the injuries on your arms, you had taken quite a knock to the head, one of your ribs was cracked, so is your right clavicle. She also diagnosed a severe lack of sleep. Translate that as ‘he’s out of business for a while’. Downey seems stable, though she’s still kept asleep. By the way, you’re missing all the fun at the Yard. And,“ a stern look came to his face, “I’ll only tell you about it if you stay put. Honestly, they won’t let you see her anyway.”
Paul put his legs back and tried to hide that he had just found that getting up was not such a good idea after all. He took the cup Brian was holding out to him and tried to remember when he had eaten last. He couldn’t, so he started on the yoghurt he was handed next. Better.
“So, what is happening at the Yard?” he asked innocently.
“Well, this ‘Yvonne’ person and her two assistants are confessing to all and everything. They are blaming the guy we’ve already got in hospital and another one called Buyden for the attack on Lynd. So far they claim that they left Lynd alive, but give them a little time, and they’ll admit to burning London Bridge and pushing the Tower of Pisa out of line.”
Paul frowned. “Why?”
“It seems that they’ve realised their game is up. So far they are just doing damage control, but they’re cracking. Give me that.” Brian held out his hand for Paul’s yoghurt bowl, put it down on the table and continued. “Apparently Lynd had started inquiring into the nature of some firms he found mentioned in the PM’s papers, and that set the whole thing off. This woman is head of security at one of them. Incidentally that firm has been under investigation by Interpol for some time, and they also want a word with her. What all that was about, we’ll probably never know, no one was even allowed a look at those papers before they were given back.” He looked at Paul expectantly.
Paul shook his head with a weary expression and threw up his hands: “Don’t look at me, I don’t understand that kind of economic gobbledegook.”
“Of course not,“ Brian said ironically, “Who would have expected that from someone with a degree in economics.”
“That was years ago”, Paul cried out.
Brian smirked. “Fair enough, keep your secrets, Mr. Usher. You’re getting more like your father every day. Another thing: Our French friends seem absolutely terrified of the guys who created all the havoc yesterday; they keep asking if they’re anywhere near.”
“Good”, Paul said, satisfied. After the look he had seen Marcus give Buyden, he would have been scared too in ‘Yvonne’s’ place, especially as she’d probably been treated to the same herself. However, he felt that that fear was richly deserved. Probably it was all for the best that he was not at the Yard doing the interviews. “And are they?”
“No, but some very secretive looking Yank from the American embassy came by this morning and confirmed that they were with the “Firm”, as he called it. When I left, the Assistant Commissioner was still yelling into the phone to someone about New Scotland Yard not needing any foreign assistance that was not cleared with him first. I think he’ll grill you on that as well.”
“I can live with that”, Paul said. He knew the Assistant Commissioner would simmer down quickly after having let off steam for a while. At least Clark had functioned.
Brian handed over a sandwich next. “Ah, one piece of bad news: the tall one, Buyden you called him, he got away. We can’t find any trace of him.”
“I’m fairly confident the Americans took him down”, Paul answered, hoping he was right, “Or maybe he’ll turn up in Guantanamo.”
“Are they responsible for the dead watchman too?”
Oh dear, Paul had completely forgotten about him. His sandwich didn’t taste nice anymore now that he remembered. However, he couldn’t let Marcus or Philippe be blamed for that death. “No, he was already dead when we arrived. Maybe he tried helping Naomi, and Buyden killed him for that. That guy was a nasty piece of work.”
“You’re right there. Our doctor was a bit puzzled though by the way he died, but I’m sure she’ll work that out. Look, shall I try to get a new bulletin on your girl?” He looked at Paul affectionately. His partner definitely needed to learn when to keep his head down, Brian thought. Maybe getting involved with a woman would do the trick. It had worked for Brian, twenty-five years ago.
“That would be great,“ Paul said, “And, Brian, could you make sure they let this Marcus chap through to her if he comes? It would be much easier than solving all sorts of complications these violent Americans tend to produce.”
Brian was surprised: “Are you sure about that?”
“Believe me, it’s better that way. He’s a very old friend of hers, who might be rather overwrought with worry.” He never again wanted to see Marcus’s face as worried as he’d looked last night. As a vampire, he was probably dead technically anyway, but last night he had certainly looked it.
“Ok, I’ll see about that, get word back to you and report you out of business for today and tomorrow to the AC.” With that Brian was gone.
When Paul started rummaging around his room for his mobile, a stern-looking nurse held it up through the window in the door of his room, shook her head and pointed to the bed. With a shrug of resignation Paul obeyed, but only after he had got dressed as best as he could. He wouldn’t stay in that silly hospital shirt any longer than he absolutely needed to.
Afterwards he lay down again and continued blaming himself for everything that had gone wrong about the case. Obviously as soon as the thugs got wind of George Usher’s son involved in the investigation, they had suspected Secret Service involvement. It had been him they’d been after, and by becoming involved with Naomi, he had given them leverage over him, which they had horribly used. In his inner eye he kept seeing Naomi in the hands of Buyden.