The story written by Suzanne and me continues. Amber and Moira are holed up in Moira’s office whilst they wait for back-up:
‘Here you go.’ Moira interrupted her thoughts, handing Amber a mug of tea and a chocolate biscuit before sitting next to her on the floor. ‘I didn’t think you’d take sugar, hope that’s okay.’
‘Cheers. I’m going to need to borrow your phone, Moira.’
‘Oh, of course.’ She found her bag and handed it to Amber.
Amber hung up and handed the phone to Moira. ‘I have a friend who can meet me in two hours. Ok if I hide out here until he arrives?’
‘Um sure, I guess… but I should let my dad know. He’ll be worried.’ Moira studied the older woman’s reaction and imaged her pursing her lips though she couldn’t see her face clearly.
Eventually she heard a sigh. ‘Fine, but just text him. Say you’re out with mates from work or something.’
Moira sniggered. ‘Yeah, right, he’d never believe that. He’s met the stuffy old bastards I work with. There’s only Alfie, and he’s not my type… I’ll tell him I met up with friends and not to wait up.’
‘Whatever he’ll believes to keep you both safe,’ Amber said.
There wasn’t any overt threat in the words, but Moira’s fingers still shook as she typed in the message and sent it with a smiley face emoji.
The phone pinged a minute later. ‘Be safe.’ She smiled; her dad was such a worrier. She couldn’t image what he would think of her current situation; he’d probably have a heart attack.
‘So, two hours.’ Moira sipped her drink. ‘What are we going to do for two hours?’
Amber had grabbed the biscuit pot and was munching her way through the receptionists’ supplies. ‘I need sugar when I’m stressed,’ she said wiping away crumbs. ‘It helps me think.’
Moira didn’t feel like eating anything. She suddenly remembered the crazed knifeman and wondered how this woman could stay so calm. Apart from stuffing her face with calories, she hadn’t even broken a sweat.
‘Why were you in that alley and why was that lunatic chasing you?’
Amber drained her tea and took her time to answer. ‘If I told you that, I’d have to kill you.’
Moira spurted out a mouthful of tea.
‘I’m only joking… It’s just the less you know about me, the better. In two hours we’ll part ways and you’ll never see me again.’
‘But you are a spy, aren’t you? All this talk of handing something over, a friend coming to get you in the middle of the night, no police. It’s not exactly an average day at the office.’
‘Spy. That’s such an old fashioned word. I’m in the information business. Simple as that.’
‘Oh, that’s what my Dad says. He’s a journalist.’
‘Yeah, he works for The Guardian.’
Amber considered this information. She had planned to give the evidence on the flash-drive to the highest bidder, but maybe going public with it would be better? Not only would it bring down half of MI5, it would be the moral thing to do really. Yeah, right. Amber had given up on morals a long time ago. But a newspaper might also be willing to pay, maybe not quite as much as certain countries might, but enough to make it worth her while. Revenge and money. Two of Amber’s favourite things.
‘What does he write about then?’ Amber said casually, mentally crossing her fingers that he wasn’t a sports writer or restaurant reviewer.
‘Politics mainly. He did that big story on election fixing last year. Did you see it?’
Bingo. ‘Yeah, it was everywhere for a while, wasn’t it?’
‘He’s doing something about the police at the moment. Cases that have been dropped because of cock-ups, that sort of thing. I think that’s why he worries about me so much, he’s always reading about really bad crimes, makes him paranoid something’s going to happen to me.’
Amber was barely listening. This could be good for her; she could get his details from Moira, hide out with Roman whilst she made a deal then take the money and run. Off to some country with no extradition treaty – mind you, they were usually a sweaty shithole, some bloody war raging or full of malaria-ridden mozzies. She racked her brain, making her way through the list of countries. Yep, shithole after shithole. Although, wasn’t Japan on the list? That might not be too bad, she did like sushi. And there was always Russia. She chuckled silently to herself. For every enemy she had in England, she had at least five in Russia. Her Moscow posting had been extremely busy.
‘Although, maybe he’s right,’ continued Moira. ‘I mean, this is dangerous, isn’t it? Hiding out here, running from that man. George. And you said you’d kill me.’
Amber sighed. She needed to get Moira on her side. ‘Moira, I said that was a joke. I’ve never hurt anyone. It’s a misunderstanding, that’s all. Once my friend arrives, we’ll head off and you’ll never have to see me again. You can go back to your nice, peaceful life as an accountant.’
‘Um, I’m not actually an accountant. Well, not yet. I mean, I want to be one but, well, if you must know, I failed the exams. Twice. So bloody stupid. So, anyway, I’m just working as an assistant.’
‘I’m sure it’s a very important job. Your dad must be proud of you.’
Moira shrugged her shoulders. ‘I dunno, I’m sure he thinks I’m thick.’
‘I’m sure he doesn’t. Anyway, talking of your dad, I may have some information he might be interested in. I could maybe give him a bell. What’s his number?’
‘You want to ring my dad? Isn’t that a bit weird?’
‘Believe me, if he wants a big story, he’ll be very happy to hear from me.’
‘Okay.’ Moira sounded uncertain but she opened her phone and scrolled through her contacts. ‘Shall I text it to you?’
‘No, no. Just read it out.’
Like she was going to give her number to Moira. No, she’d call – ‘What’s his name, your Dad?’
‘Pete. Pete Gibbons. Have you heard of him?’
She’d call Pete on a secure line, give him a little flavour of what was on the flash-drive and then – shit. The flash-drive. The fucking flash-drive was still in the alleyway.
More to follow…