Welcome to Chapter Six in the addictive serialisation of There There My Dear, the highly original and critically acclaimed new novel that may soon be banned. If you’ve missed events so far, then you’d better catch up quickly. Follow this link to revisit Chapter One!
There There My Dear
Pursed lips and furrowed brows revealed the level of tension in the room. With three men sitting at the table and three women perched behind them on office chairs placed against the glass walls of the airy meeting room, the scene was set for a confrontation.
Despite the fact that they had each claimed one whole side of the vast table as their own and that their respective assistants were seated directly behind them, none of the men looked at each other. In fact nobody looked at anybody else. All of the people in the room remained silent, trying to keep their powder dry and trying even harder to not let on.
All three men knew each other and their assistants at least recognised each other. None of the women dared smile or engage with their counterparts in fear of betraying their employer. Such an act would show a weakness.
Kyle Andrews could be heard long before he could be seen, despite the glass windows. Walking swiftly through the open plan office towards the boardroom located on the fifth floor, he was surrounded by some key staff and some nefarious individuals commenting on his schedule and commitments diarised for later in the day.
At exactly midday Kyle Andrews entered the boardroom and so the ice began to melt. He looked to his left and saw Graeme Fletcher, the former Political Editor of the Observer and sometime news reporter for the BBC. Andrews noted that Fletcher was very slim across the chest and shoulders and his wrists looked positively thin but his neck was flabby and his stomach seemed to squeeze up against the table. Through the glass-topped table Andrews thought that Fletcher’s legs looked fragile and weak. There were distinguishing streaks of grey to his temples, the rest of his hair was an unnatural reddish- brown. The darkness of his hair gave his face a washed out look that was in-keeping with his heavy eyes but worlds apart from his mottled skin. Andrews knew of a host of remedies to address Fletcher’s aged look.
Fletcher stood up and smiled at Andrews who walked towards him and pushed aside Fletcher’s outstretched hand, preferring a hug to a formal handshake. The two men had known each other on and off for about four years and there seemed to be genuine warmth between them.
Unwinding from the manly embrace, Fletcher lost his footing and tumbled back down onto his seat. Andrews looked away from Fletcher and towards the man sitting at the back of the boardroom. The lean man with an enigmatic smile and solid eyes was completely motionless. Andrews offered a smile and held his arms down and out with his palms facing upwards – a true request for an unwanted and overstated greeting.
Gordon Ames allowed his smile to broaden as Andrews approached him. Very slowly he stood up and straightened his back in order to tower over his host. Andrews was not a short man, standing just under six feet but, with the breadth of his chest and a tendency to tilt his head to one side, he seemed tiny next to Ames. Andrews did not know for sure, but he estimated that Ames was six feet five at least. Again, it was difficult to guess accurately because Ames was so slim. That slimness accentuated his sharp features and rendered him evil in appearance. Ames had always claimed that his looks had had a negative effect on his political career. However, those same looks had, he believed, helped his career as an author of racy political novels. There was something of the night about him.
Ames’ writing career had started long before he left Parliament and he had held himself out as the government’s confessor, claiming to expose the real behaviour of Parliamentarians in fictional scenarios within his novels. This claim was often scorned by fellow politicians due to the sordid nature of Ames’ books that delved into the depravities of sex orgies, corruption, drug abuse and financial anomalies.
Andrews owed Ames but Ames owed more to Andrews. Their relationship was exclusively professional. Neither man really knew the other but Ames had been represented by one of Andrews’ media agents for many years. The results of some serious investment in marketing and promotion were clearly seen, with Ames selling millions of books across the world and Andrews gaining valued revenue as a result of Ames’ success.
Their embrace was very brief and Ames did not wrap his lengthy arms around Andrews’ broad shoulders. As soon as Andrews broke away he headed for the third man in the room who had been waiting patiently on the right hand side of the table. He was the youngest man in the room and the only one with a wholly natural demeanour. About the same height as Kyle Andrews and with a slim build that suggested either great genes or a rigorous fitness regime, Michael Sills had been the nearly-man of the Labour Party just a few years previously. A nearly-man because his political dreams had been shattered at the hands of the two other men in the room.
Just a year into Labour’s second term in power, when Michael Sills had won promotion to a junior minister position at the Home Office, Gordon Ames had released Keep It, his fourth novel. The main character in the novel was a young left wing minister with a penchant for fast cars and a chronic cocaine addiction who mortally wounds his lover in a high speed car crash. In the novel the young minister tried to cover up the fact that he had paid for the very best in medical care in order to keep his injured lover alive for a year and day after the crash. He had done this in order to avoid a murder or manslaughter charge. The dénouement of the novel was typical Ames, with vast amounts of money changing hands, plenty of sex and the odd murder here and there. It sold millions.
Graeme Fletcher, heading towards the end of his journalistic career, had read the book and recognised a few of the characters therein. He had struggled to identify the young minister until he did some digging. Desperate to find a story within the story, he had paid a member of the Metropolitan Police to run background checks on a number of Labour MPs aged between thirty and forty. What had come back was stunning. Truly he had found his story within the story.
The report on Michael Sills was damning. He had been suspected of driving the vehicle that mounted the pavement late at night and struck a young couple as they walked home. The young lady had taken most of the impact and had her hip shattered while the young man suffered a broken arm and severe bruising.
The tragedy started out as a hit and run incident but, after a lengthy investigation, it came to light that Michael Sills’ car had been stolen earlier that night and this was the vehicle involved in the accident. Footnotes and side notes on the report suggested that the car theft had been made up in order to protect Sills from prosecution and to keep him from imprisonment. Had he been charged and prosecuted for the offence he may have faced a lengthy sentence. Officially, the case was declared closed with the verdict that a thief had taken the car, crashed into the young couple and then disappeared into the night.
Fletcher had taken this as manna from heaven. He exposed the police report and pointed out the anomalies, adjustments and inaccuracies for all the world to see. Sills fought the Observer through the courts and won, but decided to retire from politics and set up his own IT consultancy. Since that time he had built a significant business and then sold it for several millions of pounds.
The Andrews and Sills relationship had been built on genuine friendship. Michael Sills had been a good friend of Andrews’ younger brother at university and the two had met at a Student Union event at the University of East London way back in the early 1980s. Neither of them could recall the event exactly but it no longer mattered and they remained good friends.
Andrews lifted Sills off the floor in a big hug that threatened to snap a few of Sills’ ribs. The two men laughed and Andrews finally put Sills back on the floor after kissing him on the cheek.
With the niceties and posturing over, the men took their seats again around the table and their respective assistants opened notebooks in preparation for the meeting ahead. Andrews took a while to settle into his chair, ensuring that his demeanour was one of relaxed domination. It was a well- rehearsed procedure and his facial expressions suggested that he relished the attention as all around him looked on in expectation. Although it was difficult to be certain when reading the expressions on Andrews’ face, such was its limited repertoire.
‘Now, gentlemen, is the time for us to make this thing happen. And remember, what goes on in this boardroom stays in this boardroom.’
Deep inside Andrews knew, despite his own affirmation, that details of this meeting would be released to the press, leaked even, and that the media frenzy was only hours away. He was certain in this because he would be the one to leak some details to his favourite journalist. And some of the details would be accurate and true.
To Be Continued…
Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey of politics, lies, deception and Reality TV. If you’re enjoying it, then I’d love to read your comments below. Has Kyle Andrews reminded you of anyone yet? And does Reality TV have anything to do with reality? You can also get in touch with me via my Contact Form at the bottom of the Home Page , or through my Facebook Page. I’d love to hear from you and you will always get a personal reply from me.
Chapter Seven to be published next week.
Very best wishes,
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