Nancy killed the steam on the last leg of her journey. She drew past the Lamborghini and alighted upon the Lakeland slabs to stand before Amy. Amy had not moved throughout. She had ladled on the teal eyeshadow today, perhaps to mask the fraught lines radiating from the lower lids of her eyes. She looked no less pissed though.
Her plum lips barely moved upon the utterance, ‘you’ve got a bloody nerve comin’ back here. Didn’t I make myself clear…?’
Nancy cut her off. ‘Yes, you did, and did you know that I have the powers to report you and get you sacked?’
Amy’s teal eyelids drew over in shock. A molar glinted in a half-scowl. ‘Who the hell are you?’
Nancy lifted her chin, surprising even herself. ‘My name is Nora.’
‘Yes, Nora. I’m a nurse.’ The pulse at her throat nudged against her mandarin collar.
Amy’s hands slipped from her elbows. Quickly, she recovered. ‘You ain’t no nurse.’ Her eyes grew fixed. ‘And Mr. Jonas has all the care he needs.’
Nancy wanted to tell her in Glebe Hollow terms she was a stupid cow, but such vernacular would not do here. ‘I have reason to believe that this is not the case,’ Nancy asserted smoothly.
Amy’s fingers tightened about her elbows. ‘Not that’s it’s any of your business, but you’ve seen for yourself he is under the care of a private clinic.’
‘Manipulating someone’s legs with a little essential oils is not the same as proper nursing care. It’s just frill.’ A wellspring of silken lies was beginning to open up within her; a defense mechanism driven by age-old shame where her mother sat in the centre. ‘I’ve been standing at those gates all afternoon I’ve seen a Porsche and a Lamborghini roll in. I have never known a nurse drive either. This tells me Mr. Jonas has received no nursing care during this period. Every patient undergoing rehabilitation needs a nurse around the clock. Nursing forms the mainstay of a person’s recovery.’ Mainstay? Nancy was getting beyond herself.
‘Who do you work for?’
‘I work on a contractual basis.’
‘How convenient. Like whom?’
‘One of my clients happens to be Mr. Fairchild, Mr. Jonas’ former PA.’
Amy sneered. ‘Bullshit.’
‘We met through a mutual friend at Dennis’s restaurant in Birmingham where Leon used to dine from time to time. Leon had a bad smoking habit which he wanted to kick. CBT and acupuncture had failed him, so we tried nicotine patches and the good old fashioned logbook.’
Amy’s eyes narrowed, crimping the sides of her nose. ‘I knew Leon well enough. He never mentioned you.’
Nancy slipped her hand into her jacket pocket and produced one of Vince’s business cards. ‘Mr. Fairchild was firm about discretion. Sadly, he is no longer with us and I break this discretion at my own risk in order to explain myself. I believe Mr. Jonas does not hand out his personal details unless he trusts the contact.’
Nancy handed the card to Amy.
Amy glared at it. ‘Where the hell did you get this?’
‘Mr. Fairchild and I worked together for several weeks. He had cut down his smoking significantly by this time. I am devastated he did not live to kick the habit.’
Amy was still staring at the business card, visibly troubled.
Nancy’s voice came out clipped. ‘I wish to see Mr. Jonas.’
Amy scoffed. ‘It’s my business to know everybody who comes here.’
‘And is it your business to humiliate visitors who are trying to do their job?’
Amy bunched her lips into a tight seam. ‘I need an ID.’
Nancy sensed Amy’s barriers folding. Without pause, Nancy produced a laminated badge and a copy diploma from Coventry University, bearing her name and credentials.
Amy afforded Nancy’s offering but a cursory appraisal, obviously bluffed. ‘I’m gonna check this out.’