His Secretary Mistress(4)

By: Chantelle Shaw

‘I’ll probably be out for most of the day,’ Margaret said apologetically as she gathered up her coat and handbag. ‘I imagine we’ll have a long wait for the consultant.’

‘Don’t worry about it,’ Alex advised gently. ‘The most important thing is for John’s condition to be assessed.’

He felt a deep sympathy for his PA; Margaret had worked for him for ten years, and had encouraged and supported him when he was a young man trying to prove his worth as a criminal lawyer in his father’s law firm. Morrell and Partners had built up a reputation as one of the country’s leading law firms, and Lionel Morrell’s son had come under intense pressure to demonstrate that he was a creditable successor to his father. Now in her fifties, Margaret had been looking forward to early retirement with her husband, but over the last year John had experienced increasing memory loss, and, tragically, had been diagnosed as suffering from the early signs of dementia. After thirty years of marriage Margaret was devoted to her husband, and determined to stand by him, but in a bleak moment had confided to Alex that sometimes her job was the only thing that lifted her spirits.

He certainly did not want to add to Margaret’s problems, Alex thought grimly. Another five minutes and he would phone the temp agency himself.

Jenna purchased a new pair of tights from a corner shop and hurried along the street as quickly as her new stiletto heels and the blister on her heel would allow. She was hot and flustered, and so intent on reaching her destination that she barely noticed the cyclist until he rode up onto the pavement. There were dozens of bicycles weaving their way through the London traffic, even the cyclist’s black balaclava didn’t strike her as particularly odd, and she was stunned when he suddenly screeched to a halt by a woman on the pavement and wrenched her handbag from her grasp.

For a few seconds Jenna was rooted to the spot, unable to take in what she had just witnessed, but as the woman cried out she followed a basic instinct and ran towards the cyclist. ‘How dare you?’ she screamed, outrage making her oblivious to the danger as she threw herself in the cyclist’s path and snatched the bag.

‘Get off me, bitch.’ His voice was muffled through his balaclava, but the cyclist’s aggression was obvious, and he quickly pushed Jenna out of his path and sped off, before any of the other pedestrians who had witnessed the scene could intervene.

At little more than five feet tall, Jenna was a lightweight, and the cyclist had used all his strength, so she literally flew through the air and met a concrete bollard with a resounding thud, her shoulder taking the force of the blow.

‘Oh, God, are you okay? Have you hit your head?’ The woman’s hands were shaking as she stooped over Jenna. ‘I can’t believe you did that. I can’t believe he did that. Do you need an ambulance?’

‘No! I’m fine, really. Just a bit winded.’

Jenna was unable to disguise her panic at the thought of an ambulance. She really didn’t have time for any further delays, she thought frantically, and she pinned a smile on her face, ignored the screaming pain in her shoulder and scrambled to her feet.

‘Here’s your bag,’ she said belatedly, holding out the handbag to the woman, who shook her head disbelievingly.

‘You read about these things, but I never thought…’

A curious crowd of onlookers had joined them, and Jenna smiled faintly at an elderly man who’d come to help. ‘I’ve called the police. That was very brave of you, my dear; stupid, but brave.’

‘I really must go,’ Jenna said to the woman, with a hint of desperation in her voice. ‘I’m late for work; I don’t have time to wait for the police.’

‘But you’re hurt,’ the woman began, and then paused, aware of the anxiety in Jenna’s eyes. ‘But of course you must do as you think best. Thank you for your help. Write down your name and where you work, should the police want to talk to you—although I don’t suppose they’ll bother. It’s not as if anyone has been killed.’

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