Public stories, Private lives
When Shell had been carted off by the police, Denny and Victoria went to sit outside primarily so that Denny could have a much needed cigarette.
"So, are you going to tell me what's going on?" Asked Victoria. Denny took a long drag and began.
"About a year ago, I started going out with Shell. She's always liked blokes and girls and she was kind of exciting. She was always ready to try anything new. I think that's what going out with me was, something she hadn't tried before. She got me in to drugs for a bit but then Mr. Barrett caught me smoking a joint at work and told me that if I didn't quit, he'd grass on me to Mr. Meyer and I'd get the sack."
"At least he gave you a chance," Commented Victoria.
"Yeah, he did. So, when I told Shell that I wasn't gonna do drugs any more she finished with me. Then one night I saw her out looking for work."
"Yeah, she was walking the red light area looking for blokes to pay her. She was still working as Mr. Barrett's PA at the time and one of the cars she approached happened to be his."
"Yeah, I think that even gave Shell a bit of a shock. He reported her to Mr. Meyer who kicked her out."
"I'm not surprised. But how did Shell become involved with Rachel Hicks?"
"All the time Shell was working for the paper, Fenner kept eyeing her up and flirting with her. Shell enjoyed it, she said it gave her power over men to have them looking at her like that. That's bollocks if you ask me but that's how she works. After Shell was kicked out she began seeing Fenner for real. I saw them out together a few times and it wouldn't surprise me if he became her pimp."
"I know Jim Fenner's an arse-hole but would he really risk his job like that?"
"Fenner don't give a shit about his job. The only reason he keeps at it is because he gets to interview lots of tasty women."
"But what you have to realise about Fenner is that he gets bored of his women very quickly. He was fed up with Shell in no time, though it did take longer than most."
"Did she know about this?"
"No. Fenner just moves on to someone else and keeps the other bird going at the same time."
"And he moved on to Rachel Hicks?"
"Yeah. Rachel was working not far from Shell's patch because she needed the money. It's my guess that that's how Fenner met her. The fire at Rachel's house and Shell trying to nick Rachel's baby has to be because Shell's found out about Fenner and Rachel."
"Jesus! Is she really that much of a psycho?"
"Oh yeah! If I'd not been forced to move away from Shell, I'd probably be inside by now. Shell's got more brains than me which is why she never gets caught."
"Oh Denny, I'm sure that's not true!"
"I can't write to save my life, so I take pictures instead."
"And you're very good at it."
"Cheers, mate. You're cool." Victoria knew that this was the biggest complement she could have received from Denny.
"So you're with Shaz now?"
"Yeah. She joined the paper about three months ago and we clicked straight away. She's as mad as me so we get on really well."
Denny suddenly raised her hand and waved at Nikki who was coming towards them. Victoria hadn't even been aware that anyone was approaching them but she thought that Denny's time with Shell must have tort her to constantly be on the watch. They drove back to the office in silence. Nikki was constantly thinking about how they were going to write this story without putting Rachel Hicks in more danger and Victoria couldn't take her mind off all that Denny had told her. Halfway back Denny asked Nikki to stop so that she could get some more cigarettes. When she got back in to the car, she was also holding a newspaper.
"What the hell's that?" Asked Nikki swiftly removing it from Denny's hand.
"It's only The Sun," Said Denny in a pleading little voice that made Victoria laugh and that Nikki couldn't resist.
"Jesus!" Said Nikki in disgust. "If Meyer sees you with that, he'll burn it."
"You should see the really tasty birds on page three, they're awesome, man!"
"Maybe, but just keep it out of Meyer's way. Buying a rival paper, that's almost a sackable offense."
"You what!" Said Denny in outrage. "He can't kick me out just because I buy a paper with prettier women than the one I work for."
"Denny, when you work for any newspaper, buying the Sun is immoral."
"You know me, Nik, immoral's what I live for."
"I've noticed," Said Nikki but she was smiling.
When they arrived back at the office, they went straight in to the coffee lounge for lunch as it was nearly a quarter to one. Julie J came up to them and said,
"You had your mobile switched off so we just got the same sandwiches as yesterday."
"Cheers Julie. We were in the hospital talking to Rachel Hicks."
"How's she doing?" Asked Julie S.
"Horrible thing having your baby snatched like that," Added Julie J.
"Her baby wasn't taken, fortunately. She's doing okay." Nikki took her packet of sandwiches and walked over to where Tash was sitting talking to Kirstie, the human resources manager.
"Hi," She said as she sat down. "What's been happening this morning?" Tash looked a little annoyed at being disturbed from talking to Kirstie but Nikki didn't notice.
"Oh, I've been following up those two reported cases of Meningitis."
"So you were at the hospital too then?"
"Yes, for a little while." Nikki reflected that a few weeks ago, Tash would have told her something like that but she didn't think anything of it.
"Oy, Den, over here," Shaz called to Denny. "Did you get it?"
"Yeah, there's some great ones in this week," Denny said as she crossed the room to join Shaz, Danny and Ray at one of the corner tables. She handed Shaz her recently acquired copy of the Sun and sat down. Victoria walked over to the kettle and started brewing herself a coffee.
"Anyone else want one while I'm here?" She asked to the room at large.
"Please Love," Called Yvonne. Victoria took both coffees and her sandwiches over to where Yvonne was sitting and sat down with her.
"What's Denny brought in for Shaz?" Victoria grinned at Yvonne.
"A copy of the Sun, no less."
"Jesus! If Meyer sees that he'll kill her."
"Oh, speak of the devil," Whispered Victoria as she gestured towards the door where Anton Meyer had just appeared with Mike Barrett.
"Oh, you should have said," Said Julie J.
"We'd have brought some coffee up to your office." Added Julie S. Anton smiled and said,
"No need, but thank you." He then spied Denny and Shaz giggling over something they were gazing at in the corner. He walked over and leaned over Denny's shoulder.
"Very entertaining I'm sure." Denny looked up aghast.
"Mr. Meyer, we was only spying on the competition sir."
"The day that The Sun is considered to be in the same category as the lark City Post, will be the day I grow a ponytail. Please see that this finds its way in to the rubbish at the earliest opportunity. Do I make myself clear?"
"Cheers, Sir," Said Shaz.
"Thanks Mr. Meyer," Added Denny. As Anton walked away to where Mike was brewing them both coffee he couldn't help but smile. Luckily, nobody saw him do this or his reputation as the hardest taskmaster in the business would have been crippled for life.
"So, how've you got on with your fraudulent vicar?" Asked Victoria. Yvonne grinned.
"I don't think his wife was too happy to see Cassie this morning. Her and Alex are taking it in turns to wait outside her house till she gives us a few quotes."
"Yvonne, can you fill me in on some of the couples round here? I don't think I'm up on all the goss and as a reporter I think I ought to be."
"Too right. Well, you know about Nikki and Tash and Shaz and Denny. Karen, you remember her, I was arguing with her yesterday, she's currently living with Fenner."
"You aren't serious!"
"I am. They've not been together for too long but hopefully what you've found out today might persuade her she really is living in the clouds."
"How much do you know about that?"
"Nikki told me that Fenner's been seeing Rachel Hicks and that he was screwing Shell Dockley after she left."
"Well, it seems that Shell was the one who started the fire in Rachel Hicks' house."
"Jesus! It makes sense though. Shell always did get jealous. She was knocking around with Alex for a while till he moved on to Zandra. Shell gave her a really hard time for it."
"She always has a go at the other women, doesn't she, never the men."
"Yeah. That's always her style. I wonder if this latest piece of dirt will finally make Karen see sense."
"It's all go around here, isn't it."
"Never a dull moment, love."
As Mike walked passed Nikki with his and Anton's coffees she put out a hand to stop him.
"Mike, I need to see you about this morning's work as soon as you're free."
"Can you tell me about it now?"
"No, absolutely not." She leaned closer to him and lowered her voice.
"I need you to do a little enlightening job on Karen. There's a lot come out about Fenner this morning and I think she should be told."
"And you want me to do it?"
"Well, you're about the only one she takes seriously in this place."
"Oh, thank you. Are you sure this shouldn't come from Anton?"
"No way. This is going to get personal for Karen, very personal!"
"Okay, come up to my office straight after lunch. We've got a meeting about departmental budgets at two so make it about one thirty?"
"Sure. See you then."
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