“Shooters. That’s not good…”
Anna held up a hand.
“Sam. Why’d you want a screen grab of that bloke’s ugly face?”
“We need to send it to Geordie Jackson. If the accent was what I thought it was, Geordie is going to know him, and he’s not going to be too pleased to hear that Anna and I have been threatened.”
“No,” Jim said slowly. “He ain’t, is he? Shooters indeed. I think our friend needs to be very careful that he don’t wind up wearing a concrete waistcoat and floating, or not, in the Clyde.”
Anna grinned tautly.
“What a pleasant thought. Right, Sam, gimme your phone and I’ll get the picture on it ready to send. Then you can call Geordie.”
He handed his phone over. Grinning fiercely.
“Let’s fuck up that bastard’s day for him.”
In a very few minutes he was talking to Geordie, who was, to put it mildly, displeased to hear what had been going on. He didn’t like Sam and Anna being threatened, and he most certainly didn’t like the idea that a Glaswegian was at the bottom of it. When he heard about the threats to Jim’s family he became all but incoherent with rage. When Sam handed the phone to Anna so she could send the picture the whole room was treated to the sound of his displeasure.
“Ye don’t go after a mon’s wife and kids. We ain’t living in the dark ages. It’s fucking disgusting.”
Then the picture must have arrived.
“Oh. That mean bastard. I might have guessed. I ken well where he lives. He’ll be getting some visitors within the hour. And I’ll find out who is paying him before I have him dropped in the river.”
He laughed harshly.
“Tell Anna it’s sorted. And as a side benefit I’ll be doing his wife and kids a favour…”
Then he broke the connection.
“That should help a bit,” Sam said.
“It should help a lot,” Jim got up and wrung his hand. “I never thought of Geordie. And I should have.”
“You were a bit distracted. Somebody went after your family.”
Jim stood up to his full height and stretched until his bones cracked.
“I feel a bit better now. After I’ve called my mum, I might even be hungry. What say you, Pats?”
“I’m with you. Once we’ve talked to your Ma.”
Anna smiled at them.
“Soup and sandwiches?’
“You two talk to your family. Sam, can you carve some meat for sarnies?”
“Can do. But I’ll just take Bonnie out for a wee first. You wanna come?”
“What? Oh! Oh yes. I’d like some fresh air for a minute.”
Out in the garden she turned into his arms.
“What a dear man you are. Privacy for Jim and Pats?”
“I just thought they could do with a few minutes. They’ve had a shit day.”
“Sure have, and I wasn’t helping until you rode to the rescue.”
He laughed down into her face.
“Just call me Lancelot. Damsels in distress a speciality.”
She giggled, then showed him a serious face.
“Can I ask you something?”
“What made you look into Mum’s illness? Were you worried in case it was genetic?”
“I wasn’t. But Danny was. He asked me to find out. Said nobody would tell him anything. Also said he looks like your Dad but has your Mum’s hard-edged character, while you look like your Mum but have your Dad’s natural warmth and serenity. He thought that if the dementia was hereditary he was likely to be the one to get it. He was deeply relieved to find out it wasn’t, but horribly shocked by your Mum’s childhood. Paul held him while he cried. A first for them, I think.”
Anna shook her head and one slow tear ran down her face. “Poor cow,” she said softly. “It’s hard enough for me to comprehend and I didn’t love her. Danny did. Probably because she loved him. And resented me.”
“I know love. But you have me and Bonnie now.”
“I do. And I can’t believe how close I came to throwing that away. Why was I being so silly?”
“Easy love. You never had anybody before and the thought I might be in danger knocked you for six. One wobble in those circumstances is quite allowable. You’ll know better from now on.”
“I will. I do. But I feel very guilty about Pats and Jim. Somebody went after their kids and I only thought about me.”
“I reckon they understand. Should we offer them a bed for the night? It’s gone midnight and I think they could both do with a big drink.”
“Yup. I reckon. Let’s go ask them.”
They went indoors, to find Patsy in Jim’s lap with her face against his chest.
“You all right Pats?” Anna asked.
“Yeah. I’m fine now. It’s just my bloody kids. I talked to them to find they are completely unafraid, but are seriously pissed off because I’ve been upset. And that made me want to cry.”
“Little shits,” Jim said proudly. “Mam says they were on a bit of a high when they turned up, especially the twins, but they are settling down at last. They’ve eaten three bowls of stew each, and are watching porn with Granddad now. But it’s OK, it’s only soft porn. And the dogs are fine.”
Patsy snuffled into his shirt front and he handed her a handkerchief about the size of a pillowcase. She mopped herself carefully.
“How much of a hag do I look?”
Jim looked at her and grinned.
“No more so than usual.”
She thumped him half heartedly.
Anna patted them both.
“D’you two want a bed for the night? Then you could have a big drink, which you probably need.”
“That would be so good. But are you sure?”
“Yeah. It’s no bother. Jim can get Gandalf out of the truck, and Sam can do the bed, while I do food.”
“What about me?”
“You go with Sam, and you can repair your face while he does the bed.”