Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Chapter 52

By the time Harry and Danny had processed all the BMD information into the PC, it was getting towards the end of the afternoon. Harry had seemed preoccupied with something, Danny noticed, even as he expertly keyed in the data. Although he didn’t say anything, Danny could sense his mind whirring over the facts.

Or maybe not. Harry was really thinking how much he could do with a drink. It was still a little early for him to suggest to his companion that they might adjourn their work and discuss the case further in the bar across the road. But even as he dismissed the idea, another part of his brain was planning ahead.

“What are you doing at the weekend, Danny?”

Danny thought for a second. “Nothing much, why?”

“How do you fancy a trip to Madrid?” Harry realized it must have sounded an odd proposition to the boy, so he quickly followed it with “Business, of course.”

“Sounds pretty cool, Harry … but why Madrid?”

“There’s someone there we need to see – someone who can help us with the translation of this,” Harry replied, pointing to the folded piece of paper by the medal box. Harry had replaced the medals in their bed of tissue paper, and the box now sat on the corner of his desk.

“Couldn’t we just get someone local to help with it?” Danny knew there were dozens of Spanish students around the Wirral who could provide translation services.

“No. I’ve got a gut feeling this piece of paper is more valuable than we think. More valuable even than the medals. I don’t trust anyone else knowing about it.” It sounded plausible enough, Harry thought. The fact that he was plotting to get to see Ana again was something Danny didn’t need to know.

“Can the budget stand both of us going?” Danny asked.

Harry thought for a second. He hadn’t really considered that Danny didn’t really need to accompany him, and had thought instead that he’d quite enjoy having him around. Apart from that, he’d already learned that Danny could earn his keep. A couple of flights to Madrid were cheap enough these days and, anyway, Laurel McFry would be footing the bill, even if she didn’t know it yet.

“The budget’s not a problem, Danny. You been to Madrid before?”

Danny shook his head. “You’ll love it. Here’s what we’ll do: I’ll book us a couple of flights going out Saturday morning and returning Monday night. We’ll stay at my brother’s place – he’s got enough space and I know he won’t mind. We should have enough time to get a decent translation of the document and maybe even find out a little more about Lillian Blyth or McFry or whatever else she’s called, while we’re out there.”

Danny remembered he’d promised to ring Lillian. “Say, Harry – can we fit in a visit to Shropshire tomorrow, do you think?” Harry looked into the middle distance. Friday. It would certainly be helpful if they could get to see the old woman before they went off to Madrid. They’d have to approach her carefully, but maybe she could throw some light on this mixed up family called the McFry’s.

“Sure – if she’ll see us. It makes sense.”

While Harry booked their flights online, Danny rang Lillian McFry.

Yes, he told her, he’d met Laurel today, but no, he hadn’t been able to give her the medals. Yes, the medals were safe. Yes, he could tell her what Laurel was like, now if she wanted him to, or else how about if he called in to see her tomorrow, while he and his ‘Dad’ were passing? He shot a quick glance at Harry, who was too busy inputting his credit card details to be listening. Lillian agreed that they could both call in to see her, tomorrow morning at 11am. As he ended the call, he couldn’t help wondering how Harry would take to his new role in life, as Danny Longhurst’s father!

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