BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
'Augusta,' Keith touches my hand, startling me, 'it's ok. I know it's painful for you but I need to know what your angle is on this. Is it revenge? Open ended story? An unfulfilled request? There can be no secrets, however hard it may be.' He licks his lips, 'and I'm sorry for that Augusta, I really am.'
'So am I, Keith.' I laugh rather than let the tears fall down my face. I didn't think I would get this emotional. 'I'm not sure what my angle is other than curiosity at the moment, I don't think I could quite delve into my own subconscious and find out what inner demons I'm dealing with, but just know I fully intend to find Albert Healy. In fact,' and I blush, 'I have made some headway already.'
I spend the entire morning at the office going through details I uncovered over the weekend with Keith. Frankie buzzes through and confirms an appointment with Mr Nelson, tomorrow at 8:30am. I'm a little bit miffed that he put off my time of this afternoon, but I can cope with the time to recuperate, and it never hurts to be a little bit more prepared.
After a working lunch, Keith has to go back to his own schedule of clients. We've decided to split the Healy case between us, Keith is going to represent me in court, if it gets to that point, and continue with the legal matters, whereas I am going to continue my investigation and will be readily available for Mr Nelson to have a word with me, on my terms. No more, no less.
Playing games with legal firms has always been one of my favourite aspects of the bureaucratic world, something Jonathon always frowned at, but how else am I supposed to find some enjoyment in what could otherwise become a nasty family feud?
I want to go back to the church in Bermondsey. I doubt Clare Miller will be around on a Monday and I don't particularly want to disturb Father Thomas as I'm sure he has much more important duties to attend to, but the church was a good place to start, and it gave me a sense of purpose. I say my goodbyes to Keith and Frankie and nod my acknowledgements to the rest of the firm, who go about their business with nothing more than polite recognition. Maybe I am getting too old.
My age has never concerned me greatly, which I suppose is one of the perks of living in the twenty-first century when there are procedures to take years off your face. But I couldn't think of anything worse than erasing my laughter lines and worry wrinkles. They are who I am supposed to be, but if I look around the streets of London on a Monday afternoon, I am older than most pedestrians. There are even some women whose ages I couldn't guess as their faces are frozen in time.
Bernadette Cynthia Healy may have been one of those women. She certainly would have changed her appearance to seem younger. That wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. I wonder if I would have even recognised her in the streets had she lived any longer. I wonder if I have ever walked past her without realising. She oozed glamour and sex appeal in comparison to my higgledy piggledy life where I juggled my children, my career, my husband and his mistress.