The shop looked forlorn with old planks nailed across the front and they sighed and shrugged when they saw that ‘Gazo’ had already tagged it. It didn’t matter. The insurance company had arranged for a glazier who was coming by the end of the day.
“There’s no real damage is there, apart from the window? Did they break in by the back door?”
“No, I reckon they must have come in through the broken glass. Bloody dangerous really, those big shards have been dropping out all the time, whenever a car goes past. They could have been sliced in half.”
“No, you’re right. It was messy but apart from the wood on the skirting boards here and there, oh yes and my trainers and jeans, there’s nothing much to see really.”
“It makes me even more sure that this wasn’t meant to do real damage, not meant to hurt you. You haven’t said but I’m guessing you haven’t called the coppers?” Simon shook his head.
“I don’t see what they could do and I can’t face it. There’d be fuss and risk that the papers might find out and – well you know what it’s like.”
“Yes, but it’s just that they would have access to any cameras and might be able to see the car. At that time of night there wouldn’t be much traffic would there?”
“I think for now at least I’d rather not.”
“Fair enough. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to call Mr Clegg?”
“I am, yes. But for now I’m not planning on mentioning this. I don’t want to worry him; he’s got enough on his plate.”
“Okay, so I suppose the thing to do is to get going on trying to find out about that poor girl and the bloke in jail. I’ve been thinking about that though, since last night and it’s not like you is it?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, you fought it right from the start, you denied everything even after they locked you up. Yes, you knuckled down later but at the beginning you told them it wasn’t you. But this bloke hasn’t. Isn’t that a bit odd? I reckon that for the time being at least you have to keep in mind that he might actually have done it and it’s Mr Clegg who is just clutching at straws. With his sister so ill and everything.”
“I’ve been over that and over it in my mind and you’re right, but this puts a different light on it doesn’t it?”
“Maybe. How are you going to start?”
Simon shrugged and for the first time in months Gloria laughed aloud, it surprised her as much as him. “You haven’t got a clue have you?”
He raised his eyebrows, “Well, that’s not strictly true. I have found out about her friends, the ones she was with that night. I thought if I could find them and have a word it would be a start. I also want to go and have a look where it happened. Charlie gave me a plan, it’s out on the moors.”
“Yeah, that seems like the right place to start. What do you know about her mates?”
“I have their names. They were all college friends. Hairdressers and a veterinary nurse.”
“Well she’d be your best bet I should think.”
“Well, they’ve probably graduated and finding a young woman hairdresser would be like trying to find a piece of wood in a log pile but surely a veterinary nurse would be registered somewhere.”
“Brilliant. See, I knew I needed you.” He leaned and hugged her. She smelled like Gloria, shampoo and the perfume that she had always worn.
“I’ll go on line and see what I can find out about it. Hopefully I can at least find out whether or not she qualified and then if it comes to it I’ll just start ringing round the veterinary surgeries.”
“It’s a start at least.”
“When the bloke’s been to fix the window I’ll drive you to the accident place. I’ll go back home now and make a flask and some sandwiches. Let’s have a picnic.”
“A picnic, it’s bloody cold and it’ll be even colder up on the tops.”
“I know but I feel like a picnic. I’ll make soup. Don’t be a wuss.” She paused for a moment and then raised her eyes to his. “Thanks Simon, I feel so much better already. I can’t believe the difference a couple of days has made. God, I’m a stupid cow sometimes.”
“Yeah, well.” She thumped his arm and then turned to leave. “Give me a call when the glazier’s finished.” And she was gone. Simon went up to the flat with a grin on his face and his spirits in a much better place.
He was surprised that a female voice answered when he called what he understood to be Charlie Glegg’s private mobile number. “Hello. I’m trying to reach Mr Clegg. My name’s Fulton.”
“Hello Mr Fulton, this is Beryl. I’m sorry you can’t talk to Charlie just now.” Simon caught the break in her voice.
“Is he okay, is everything okay?”
“No, not really. We’re at the hospital. Charlie’s having an operation, he broke his leg.”
“I am so sorry, did he fall, is there anything I can do?”
“No, he didn’t – he didn’t fall Mr Fulton. He was in a car crash; his car went into a ditch. We’re lucky he’s still alive. If it hadn’t been for a young woman passing in her car I dread to think what would have happened.”
“I am so sorry. Will it be okay if I call again, in a little while? Just to see how he is?”
“Yes, alright. I’ll tell him you rang. Thank you.”
Simon turned off his phone and stared out of the window. Poor Charlie, his money wasn’t saving him from trouble heaped on trouble. Was it?