Angers was steaming. ‘What the fuck did you say to her?’
Angers thumped his desk and scattered papers about. ‘DS Steel, this is not a disciplinary hearing. Just tell me what happened.’
She held up a hand to pacify him. ‘That’s what I said when she asked me about the investigation. I told her it was low key, and to talk to you.’
‘Good grief, Jackie. What exactly did she say?’
Jackie screwed up her face and tried to remember how it had gone. ‘Something like she’d heard differently. That Serena had AIDS ... that we’ve set up honey traps. She said it was a costly use of public funds and she wanted to know why.’
‘I wanted to know her source. She jumped to the conclusion the investigation was a lot more important than we’d disclosed to the media.’
DCI Angers leant back in his chair and appeared to drift off somewhere. When he came back he leant forward.
‘And Doctor Bean?’
‘He wouldn’t give me the patient’s name and address, he cited patient confidentiality.’
DCI Angers frowned, and then piled on the pressure. ‘So you arrested a highly respected doctor, who is a director on the hospital board, and who moves in the same circles as our own dear Chief Constable. Whatever were you thinking about?’
Jackie was defiant. ‘Saving lives. Making damned sure we’d catch Serena’s killer before the whole bloody town goes down with AIDS.’
DCI Angers held up a hand. ‘Jackie, I’m the one who should be making those decisions, not you.’ He waved a hairy paw at her. ‘Hear me out. If Tania bloody Simpson gets wind of Bean’s arrest, we’ll be hung out to dry. This case is too sensitive to provoke any public panic.’
Jackie’s blood pressure lessened. Angers was quite right - for once. On reflection, she had gone in heavy-handed. Time of the month thing, when she felt edgy. A touch of crawling was in order. ‘Sorry guv, I was out of order.’
His reaction was not what she expected, but it made her feel a whole lot better. ‘Jackie you’re a hard working cop, with a lot going for you. Don’t blow it on assholes like Bean. Now get the fuck out of my office and get an early night. First thing tomorrow, I want you in here fresh and ready to go. We’ve got a killer to catch.’ He made shooing motions with his big paws. ‘Come on then. Chop-chop, while I go and mend bridges, and pacify the hobnobs.’
Outside, Jackie breathed a sigh of relief. Too many things were happening at once. She resolved to get back to basics and to catch up on her outstanding enquiries. Tie up loose ends, resolve inconsistencies. Deep in thought she nearly bumped into Paul - DC James.
‘Whoa there,’ he yelped.
She flashed him a brief smile. ‘It’s still a bad time, and I’m exhausted.’
He grinned. ‘Want to talk about it? Have a quick drink?’
He persisted. ‘About the other night ...’
Jackie felt an overwhelming burden being placed on her shoulders. ‘Look I’m not your agony aunt. Go and see a therapist.’
‘Jackie ...’ he started to say, but she brushed past him. ‘Not now.’
Make him sweat for it. After her period, maybe.