This is Part 3 of ‘Murder and Mince Pies’, if you need to catch up before reading: click here.
Patrick turns around to face her for the first time, an indecipherable emotion flicking across his face before moulding itself into concern. Emmeline bites the inside of her cheek and explains how her DNA may have ended up at the scene. He raises his eyebrows and stares at her for a moment before returning his eyes to the road.
“In that case I’d better take you elsewhere, don’t want you getting put away all for a coincidence.”
Silence fills the car with its suffocating presence for the remainder of the journey. Emmeline makes a conscious effort to continue breathing evenly, hyperventilating will not help her situation. She watches through the window, making mental notes of every turn they take and the street names surrounding them, she stops when she realises they’re heading for her house.
“You’re taking me home?”
“There’s no place like it.” His voice is flat and hollow, devoid of any emotion, perhaps fear does that to a person. He pulls over beside her flat and gets out slowly, walking round to her door, which is locked. When he opens the door, Emmeline is blocked by the bulk of her partner who stands inches from her face and grabs hold of the handcuffs. “Better get these off.” He whispers, before clicking the key in the lock and setting her free.
She hurries up her path, Patrick following closely behind, his shadow hiding the light from the winter sun. Once inside she runs to her room, grabbing a rucksack from beneath the bed and slamming a few essentials into it. Patrick waits in the living room. With the exception of the jangling and crunching of items being crushed into her bag, silence again ruled in the household.
The shrill beeping of Patrick’s phone cut through the quiet as efficiently as a knife. Emmeline knocks over a photograph in shock and finds herself looking into the eyes of her mother, the woman who at the present moment would be wondering about the presence of her Christmas Pudding. For a moment Emmeline questions whether her mother would put out a search party if she never arrived.Patrick’s voice echoed from the kitchen where he was barking into the phone.
“Yep, on our way to the station, traffic’s a nightmare mate been sat on this road for ten minutes. Yeah it’s ridiculous, that roundabout up on Harley Street’s closed innit causing mayhem. Nah, I’ll survive, she’s not about to murder me is she!” The conversation ceases for a minute while both ends of the phone erupt into helpless laughter. “Alright mate, better concentrate on the road I s’pose, what with the increasing fines! Ha! See ya later. Alright, yeah, The Admiral at nine? I’ll be there. Bye”
“You lied for me? Thanks Pattie.”
“Well I’m not about to tell ’em that I’m now working with someone whose s’posed to be in the cells am I? It’d look as bad on me.”
“Well, thanks anyway. I’ll get going now, there’e a flight in forty-five minutes, I can get it if I hurry.”
“Ah no! No one’s looking for you yet Em, have a coffee before you go.” It isn’t a question. Emmeline walks around behind the kitchen counter and flicks the switch on her kettle, pulling two mugs from the cupboard and filling them each with a teaspoon of cheap, instant coffee. She watches her partner fiddling with the bauble she’d opened this morning, a slight smirk playing about his lips.