The doorbell rang again. This time an insistent buzz of a finger exerting a bit more pressure than was entirely polite.
“I’m coming.” Pippa called, hurrying down the hallway. She wondered if anyone would hear her through the double layer of doors that normally muffled out all the traffic noise. It was probably pointless, but it filled a void that might otherwise have been taken over by more difficult thoughts.
A man stood on the doorstep. The police uniform did little to hide the fact he was exceedingly attractive. Possibly the most attractive man Pippa had come this close to since she bumped into one of the singers from a boy band outside the VIP bathrooms at a gig.
“Mrs Coutance?” The policeman’s soft cockney accent seemed slightly out of place in St Saviour, but he clearly wasn’t lost.
“Yes. No. I mean … just call me Pippa.”
Pippa immediately regretted wearing her most mummish outfit. Then immediately felt bad about even caring about what an attractive policeman thought about her clothes when the future of her youngest son was at stake.
He was exceedingly handsome though. The policeman, that is. Not Pippa’s son. Unlike her elder boys, Theo had managed to acquire some throwback genes from someone who had never appeared in any family photos she had seen. Probably someone from Bob’s family.
Before moving to Jersey, a year or so after she and Bob had got married, he had joked about the inbred souls of generations past. At least, she had assumed he had been joking. But occasionally, when their teenager behaved like a total village idiot, she couldn’t quite be sure.
She didn’t hate Theo. She couldn’t do that, even if he murdered someone, and this sort of crime wasn’t anywhere near that sort of thing … yet. She just felt so exasperated with his behaviour, and so utterly useless about doing anything about it, that she struggled to like him. He brought out the worst in her, and perhaps, in return, she brought out the worst in him.
Hot cop looked at her slightly strangely. “Mrs Coutance. As discussed on the phone, I am here to see you about your son. Is he here?”
Pippa showed hot cop into the sitting room, gesturing to the slightly sagging, crumb strewn sofa. He took the chair next to it, taut thighs astride the chestnut wood like Jamie Fraser on a stallion. Pippa felt flustered just thinking about it. She had been mainlining Outlander and here was a Sam Heughan look alike right here.
Pippa shouted from the hall for Theo to come down. After failing to get a reply, or hear a thud of feet, she set off upstairs.
Theo’s room was on the first floor, as far away from the master bedroom as possible until one of her elder sons moved out and allowed him to colonise the attic. Pippa marvelled how they could live in such a large house on Bob’s salary. They had been lucky, though, selling their small London flat on a high, then moving here when property prices were sliding after the economic crash.
Now she wasn’t sure they’d got the best deal. It seemed like nobody else wanted big old houses near town anymore. You’d have to spend double to get half the size in glass and white render anywhere else in the Island. It was like ‘brown furniture’. You could find the most exquisite pieces at the auction house for less than you’d spend getting some flimsy modern tat delivered from the UK.
The door to Theo’s room was closed, as it invariably was when he was inside, music pounding through the cracks.
Pippa knocked loudly. She knocked again, and again, parental rapping competing with teenage rappers. Eventually the door opened, and a vision of goth glared across the threshold.
“Yeah Mum! What do you want?”
“You to be civil, for starters. And you to get yourself downstairs, for seconds. The policeman is here.”
“Policeman? That’s not very PC is it, Mum?” Theo chuckled. He could be quite funny, Pippa just wished she were not always the reason why.
“Theo. The police are downstairs.”
“The police? So, how many?”
“Just one. I expect it has more to do with social distancing than the severity of what he has to say, so hurry up and come downstairs.”
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, or actual events is purely coincidental.