Jamie padded after his father, feeling fearful and absurd. He didn’t look back at the BMW until Edwyn had completed a three-point turn and the sound of the car’s engine was receding. He watched its rear lights disappear then hurried on a little more before hanging back as Melvyn approached the house and stopped in the porch to burrow in his pockets for his key. He found it, used it and closed the door behind him. A light went on in the front room.
Jamie had his own key but it was useless to him while Melvyn was still prowling around the house in God only knew what mood. Then he noticed Lisa’s car parked on the road. So she’d stayed. On a whim he tiptoed round to the side of the house, where Olive’s granny flat was attached. It had its own entrance and Jamie hunkered down beside it as he sent Lisa a text.
I am outside nans
Within seconds she was at the door, pulling it half open and saying, “What the fuck are you doing out there?”
“He’s back,” Jamie said.
“I know. I heard him come in. What’s goin’ on?”
“Asleep. Did you come back with him?”
“No. He arrived just before me.”
They hissed these exchanges while stepping softly through to Olive’s sitting room. Already they were as one in dreading Melvyn joining them there.
“Sit down,” Lisa said. Jamie did as he was bidden, taking one side of Olive’s dowdy two-berth sofa. His sister dropped slowly on to the other, breaking her descent with one hand, steadying her bump with the other. She wasn’t so far gone but, as Jamie could see, she was tired. “You smell like a whore house, by the way,” she remarked.
Jamie would have blushed at this but Lisa wasn’t looking at him as she spoke. Instead, she was rooting down the side of the sofa. She came up with a blue cardboard envelope file. “See this?” she said, turning to her little brother now. “This is his famous dossier.”
Jamie looked blank.
“Remember?” said Lisa, impatiently. “I told you about it in the car earlier, when we was outside Micky’s. It’s all about Sean and what happened.”
“Oh, right,” Jamie said, just about remembering.
Lisa flapped the file under his nose. Her voice dropped even lower. “I’m telling you, our dad's a fucking nutter.”
She opened up the file and reached inside.