Grey got up early and took her car to be valeted. She waited for an hour while the Eastern European gang swarmed round it like locusts, spraying here, buffing there, vacuuming, waxing, polishing. After an hour the gang boss declared he was satisfied and invited Grey to take a look. She had to admit that for twenty quid they had done a great job. She handed over a note and climbed in behind the wheel to be greeted immediately by a whiff of Ronnie’s stale ammonia mixed with lemon polish. Hey ho, you cannot have everything, she decided.
Giordano had been released from hospital late the previous night and was at home resting when Grey called her. Giordano was privileged. Her family had bought her a penthouse flat in the centre of town when she joined the police. Before being converted her building had been a shoe factory, and many of the original nineteenth century characteristics remained. Her rooms were spacious with high ceilings, oak roof beams rising to the apex, rough red brick walls, and lead flashing securing the windows.
‘How’s it going Jo?’
‘Oh God, amused to death to be honest, and the plaster’s beginning to itch. Headache’s gone though so that’s something I suppose.’
‘Feel like volunteering to make a few calls and do some back-office stuff on the Markovic case? Thomas has cleared it with the union rep, but only if you volunteer.’
Giordano’s face lit up. ‘Definitely, I think I’ll go mad sitting here all day.’
Grey was pleased. She needed all the help she could get, and Jo was perfect. ‘Great but come and go as you like. I don’t want you to feel that you have to do this because you don’t.’
‘I understand, but truly I will be happier doing something. I’ll come in first thing if you like.’
‘Ok, I’ll work out a schedule for you. See you in the morning.’
McVey was anxious to make his latest nest operational. One of Cameron’s trusted men, Micky, had already befriended the girl he had watched at the pharmacy. Her name was Alicia, and Micky had confirmed that she lived alone with her sick aunt. She was always short of money. McVey had arranged to meet Micky in his car outside the Railway station at Castle Hill. It was raining again, and Micky had been waiting five minutes with his collar turned up and his hands in his pockets when McVey pulled over.
Micky shook himself dry and climbed into the smoke-filled cabin. McVey had a cigarette between his lips, two hands on the wheel. He pulled off as Micky was strapping himself in but travelled only a few yards before turning into Chalk Lane and finding a place to park. He switched off the ignition and pulled on the handbrake before turning towards his employee.
‘How long is this gonna take Micky? I need her place operational by the end of the week.’
‘Could be a stretch boss unless you want to go down the physical route, but Cammy ordered dependency only.’
‘Aye well Cammy don’t pay your fucking wages.’ McVey said, but then sighed and carried on. ‘But maybe he’s right. We dinna want to spook the girl. So how long?’
‘I’d say two weeks minimum boss. Time to make her comfortable to take the money, then enforce the repayment terms.’
‘She using yet?’
‘No boss but she will. I’ll guarantee it.’
McVey pondered for a few seconds then stubbed out his cigarette. ‘You have a week Micky, no more.’
Micky knew better than to argue. He nodded quickly. ‘Can you drop me off boss?’ He asked, looking at the rain beating down. ‘Need to get to Regent Square.’
McVey gave him a fierce look. ‘Do I look like a fucking taxi driver?’
Micky smiled in gracious defeat, pushed open the door and climbed out of the car. McVey sped off as soon as Micky was clear.