04 January 2018
“Listen to me,” David commanded. “Telling them now won’t do anyone any good; it’ll just get us both in trouble.”
“But why?” she questioned desperately. “This is all my fault, not yours.”
“Because I promised I’d look after you,” he answered. “And because if you deny it enough you might forget it was ever true.”
“It isn’t true,” she insisted.
He smiled at her with a bittersweet fondness. “Don’t bullshit.”
Carrie opened her eyes. The room was bright – too bright. It hurt her head. It hurt her whole body. She ached all over and felt physically sick. Something was incredibly wrong, but she couldn’t remember what it was. She couldn’t remember much at all. She had been in a room – a different room – with David Watts and Wendy Pullman. He meant a lot to her. There were others who did too, but she couldn’t see their faces. Something told her she wanted red wine.
“Carolyn?” a voice sounded beside her. She knew that voice well. “Carrie?”
She turned her head to see her sister sitting in a chair at her bedside. That was right; she had a sister. She looked older than she had the last time she saw her. The skin under her eyes was dark as if she hadn’t slept, her hair pulled back into a rough ponytail. She wore a loose, plain shirt and there was no make-up on her face. She didn’t look much like Fiona.
“I’m here,” the older woman took her hand. “Mum and Dad are on their way; they caught the first flight they could.”
Yes, she recalled, their parents lived in Australia. She had parents. That wasn’t the sort of thing a person should forget, even for a moment.
“Fi,” she squinted against the brightness. “Have you got any wine? My head hurts.”
“You can’t have that anymore,” Fiona shuffled uncomfortably.
“Right,” Carrie shut her eyes again. The light was making her want to heave.
They sat in awkward silence for a while.
“Carrie,” Fiona said eventually. “Where have you been?”
Carrie tried to remember.
“What happened to you?” she continued. “All I know is you went undercover, then I’m getting a call from Wendy…Palmer or something, saying you posted something weird on your Instagram and they were fishing you from the Thames. I didn’t know you even had an Instagram.”
“Wendy Pullman,” she corrected her.
Wendy Pullman was important. But the case was over. Wendy Pullman had resigned the day after – the day after what? She remembered but she didn’t. There was light streaming through the window. There was blood on the carpet. She remembered screaming and running and the feeling that there was nothing left. She just ran and ran and ran and then there was blackness. There was blackness for a very long time.
“Yes, Pullman, that’s it,” Fiona swallowed hard. “What happened? You disappeared for years, then you turn up pumped full of drugs in a river.”
Operation Bluebird happened. David had told her not to tell anyone, but she couldn’t remember what it was she was supposed to not be telling. She could see his lips moving but couldn’t hear the sound, like she was only half there.
“Did you do that?” Fiona sniffed. That was strange; Fiona didn’t cry. “Did someone do it to you? Why didn’t you ever call me… if you were in trouble-”
“Are you sure there’s no wine?” Carrie groaned. She felt like death.
“There’s no wine,” Fiona said firmly, wiping her eyes. “Carrie, can you please tell me what’s going on? Wendy wouldn’t say a thing.”
“I can’t remember,” she told her, almost honestly.
What she could remember didn’t make any sense. It was like a highly confidential case file with most of the information blotted out. It was like a movie she had only half been paying attention to while she had her nose down in her work – a movie where herself and David Watts were the stars. She saw the main occurrences as played out on a screen; glitz and glam and somebody else’s emotions that you see but don’t feel. They had been good cops – at least that was what Brian Hole had said. Her information had saved people’s lives.
But David had done something – or was it her? She had done something and he had told her never to tell. She was the only one who knew, and even she saw it through a veil, from a great distance away.
She didn’t want to think about Operation Bluebird.