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Episode Two: Week Two

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Elise wrapped her legs around Jack's waist as they kissed deeply in the vast, swimming pool-sized hot tub. They'd booked out the entire hotel spa for a couple of hours and paid handsomely for CCTV to be switched off. Jack gripped her ass with both hands, kneading firmly, his fingers inching tantalisingly closer as she sank her hands into his thick curls.

'You want anything?' he murmured, nibbling along her collarbone. His hand swept between her legs, making her jolt, and they both chuckled. 'Like a drink or something?'

'Just you,' she whispered. She reached behind to unclamp her bikini top and let the wisp of material float away as she pressed her breasts to Jack's chest. It felt so right to be close to him. This was all she wanted, just her and Jack, alone and naked. No stupid jobs or agents or photographers. Just them.

'Oh, baby.' His voice rumbled against her neck, sending shivers dancing through her. 'You have me.'

She wrapped her arms around his neck as they kissed again, tongues intertwined as Jack's fingers slipped into her bikini bottoms.

'Oh — mmhmmm —' She arched her back as waves of pleasure drifted over her. Warm, mineral-infused water supported her as she leaned back, and Jack followed her, kissing each breast in turn as his fingers worked their magic until —

He lost his balance, and they crashed into the water, sending a wave splashing over the side of the pool. Elise got the giggles as Jack coughed a mouthful of water. She half-swam, half-waded to rub his back as they both laughed.

'They call me the last of the great seducers,' he chuckled as they collapsed on the underwater loungers at the shallow end.

'I don't know how to tell you, champ —' Elise kissed his tight abs covered in a fine smattering of jet-black hair. 'But no seduction needed. I'm a sure thing.'

'And I'm the luckiest guy that ever lived.' He put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her across his chest. Warm water lapped gently over them as she listened to his heartbeat.

He hadn't said anything about telling her not to come. Unease flickered over Elise as Jack toyed with her hair. Was he just biding his time?

When she arrived, the starstruck receptionist promptly handed her Jack's room key, gushingly reporting that he wasn't working that day but had gone for a run. 'He's a pure nutcase, runs right the way tae the West End and back every single day. Ma feet fall off jist listenin' tae him!'

Not understanding a word, Elise nodded with a blank smile until the front-of-house manager swooped in and smoothly questioned Elise a little more before allowing her to go up to his room. Elise appreciated her professionalism and said as much, apologising that she only had dollars in cash to tip her. An odd expression crossed the front-of-house manager's face, but she accepted the $50 note with a nod of thanks.

Elise tipped the bellboy and closed the door firmly behind him, needing silence and privacy to collect herself. Nerves jangled, and her stomach twisted as though she were on a rollercoaster as she paced in front of the large floor-to-ceiling windows covered by a gauzy curtain. She would just say she wanted to see him and leave it at that. He had told her on no uncertain terms not to dash across the Atlantic like a knight in a shining Airbus, but he couldn't object to her missing him.

Sure enough, when he opened the door a few minutes later, already yanking his sweaty T-shirt over his head and kicking his sneakers off, his eyes widened in delight. 'Tell me I'm not dreaming,' he whooped, leaping across the room in one fell swoop to gather her into his arms. 'You're here? For real?' He wrestled her onto the bed and gently bit her shoulder. She laughed as he thoughtfully proclaimed her flesh and blood.

Round One had been then and there on top of the bedclothes. Round Two when he dragged her into the shower and pressed her firmly against the glass, sank to his knees and licked her every worry away. They had been dancing around Round Three for the past hour, teasing one another through saunas, steamrooms and mineral baths.

'Hey, you think we should talk about —'

Jack grabbed an ice cube from the cold plunge pool with a devilish grin. He shifted them both until she was on her back, and he was leaning over her, trailing the ice over her breasts. Elise shivered as he traced it around her nipple, following it with his warm tongue. She twisted his thick hair around her fingers as he explored back and forth with ice, fingers, and lips, little fizzles of pleasure tingling through her.

'Jack,' she whispered, a little more urgently as his hand moved lower. 'Hold up a second.'

'You flew over five thousand miles for me,' he grinned, placing a little peck below her tummy button. 'I'm pretty sure that means I must make you come at least five thousand times.'

'Five thousand?' she laughed. 'I think I might need to train for that.'

'Five hundred then? Fifty?'

'I flew First Class,' she smiled. 'We can call it, like, twenty.'


'But wait. We don't need to get into it if you're not ready, but —'

'There's nothing to get into.' She heard the edge in his voice, and her stomach twisted.


'I mean it's horrible. It's incredibly sad, but like —' He shrugged, emotion churning in his dark eyes. 'Sometimes life is sad, you know? I had four puppies as a kid. My mom gave away two of them when they peed in the house because I didn't know how to train them. One escaped when we were at the summer house and got hit on Santa Monica Boulevard. A bunch of adults held me back from seeing him. I wanted to go to him because I thought I could save him. Little kids are stupid like that.

'This one guy helped me push them away and get through, and it turned out he was a paparazzi who just wanted the shot of my expression when I saw what was left of my best buddy smeared across the street. The fourth was picked up by the police when I was in jail for the Shutters on the Beach thing, and I guess he got adopted or maybe killed by the pound. I don't know. Like, obviously I'm not comparing Poppy to a dog or whatever, I'm just saying —'He broke off with a shuddery breath. 'Shit happens.'

Elise took his hand. 'I know you loved Poppy,' she said quietly. 'It's okay to grieve.


The address Morvan found online was over a chemist’s on a nondescript stretch of Dumbarton Road. The front door was on the latch, so she pushed it open without buzzing, crossed the shabby, narrow hallway and climbed the steep, creaky stairs. An overpowering stench of weed emanated from what appeared to be a student flat on the first-floor landing. Morvan was starting to think she’d come in the wrong entry when she spotted the lettering on a door at the far end.

The top half of the door was a frosted glass window, like an old-fashioned office, which Morvan found pleasing. She half-expected it to be answered by a flustered man in a three-piece suit with a pencil tucked behind his ear and for the air to be filled with the smell of stenograph ink. Instead, it was opened by a tall bearded guy in a tartan flannel shirt, who looked suspiciously as though he spent his weekends marching up hills carrying sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper.

‘Hello,’ he said cheerily. A nice boy, her mum would say. Why can’t you go for a nice boy like that instead of all your — then she’d wave with a vague air of distaste to convey her general disapproval of Morvan’s life choices. ‘I think you’re maybe looking for the flat next door,’ he grinned. Morvan realised she was so distracted that he thought she was stoned.

‘Actually, I’m looking for Cara,’ she said. ‘I hope I’ve got the right address — Cara Boyle?’

‘Then you have come to the right place.’ Curiosity snapped in his pale blue eyes. ‘I’m Ruari, her business partner.’

‘You’re a private detective too?’

‘Indeed I am. Cara is the big boss, though. I just do the grunt work.’

‘Utter nonsense, Ru,’ Cara announced, appearing from a small kitchen with a chipped mug in hand.

‘Who did the last two all-night stakeouts in the rain?’

‘Aye, okay, fair enough.’ Cara shrugged amiably. ‘I knew there was a reason I kept you around. Hello Morvan,’ she added, giving Morvan a curious look.

‘I don’t have anything specific to tell you,’ Morvan said hastily, in case Cara thought she might have shown up to crack the case. ‘I just wanted to talk a bit more, if that’s okay.’

‘Of course it is. Cuppa?’

‘I’m heading out,’ Ruari said. ‘Greer is landing in Glasgow in an hour. Nice to meet you, Morvan. See you again, maybe.’

‘Night, Ruari,’ Cara called. ‘Give Greer a big snog for me. His girlfriend,’ she added to Morvan. ‘She works down in London, and they’ve been doing the long-distance thing on and off for a few years now. He went down there at first, but he was miserable. She’s hoping to move home at some point, but for the kind of corporate law she does, you need to be in the Big Smoke. More information about folk you don’t know than you probably wanted. Milk and sugar?’

‘Just milk, thanks. That sounds rough, though what would I know. How and why folk keep men about their person for more than half an hour at a time is a mystery to me.’

Cara smiled as she handed Morvan her tea, but something flashed in her eyes that made Morvan simultaneously curious and aware she shouldn’t pry further.

‘Each to their own, I suppose,’ Morvan added with a grin. It was a universal unfairness that there was no way to joke about being single without inadvertently sounding bitter, she mused as she followed Cara to a scratched wooden desk.

‘So —‘ Cara offered Morvan a packet of ginger snaps, and Morvan took two as she sat in the beat-up armchair next to Cara’s desk.

‘It was this guy they’re calling Duck Pond Killer you talked about the other night?’ Morvan blurted. ‘I did some searching online. You said the woman who came to you was found in the pond at Queens Park.’

Cara nodded. ‘Not the most respectful nickname, but that’s the media for you. The other victims were found in Kelvingrove, Victoria and Alexandra Parks.’

‘He’s gonnae run out of Glasgow parks soon.’

Cara raised an eyebrow in cynical agreement and dunked a ginger snap in her tea.

‘But Poppy wasn’t in a duck pond,’ Morvan pressed. ‘She was in her hotel room. What makes you think she is connected?’

‘The police found a pair of shoes in her room with grass and mud stuck to the soles. The grass was still green, so she’d walked in it not more than a day earlier. She may have been in a park and later returned to the hotel.’

‘But he attacked the others in the park.’

‘Many people imagine serial killers are much more ritualistic than they really are. The cases that make the news tend to be the big weird ones, but even then, the details are tidied up for headlines. Real life is just messier. It may be that Poppy isn’t connected, but equally, it may be that life got in the way, and they ended up back at the hotel. Maybe they were interrupted, maybe it started raining.’

‘Okay, but that can’t be enough to think she is connected.’ Morvan took another sip of tea. Cara made a perfect cuppa. Proper builders, flawlessly set off by the ginger snap.

‘Murder by strangulation is extremely rare —‘ Cara began.

Morvan nodded. Years earlier, she’d worked on a short-lived legal drama set in Edinburgh. The first and only season featured the case of a husband who had murdered his wife. It was slam-dunk he killed her, but his defence team argued it was a momentary snap. The heroine of the series had forced the judge and jury to sit through an excruciating four minutes of silence while she held up a ticking stopwatch in court. It took approximately four minutes to cause brain death by strangulation, which was significantly more than a moment of madness. ‘I know. Four minutes.’

‘Right. It takes an inordinate amount of strength and depravity to look someone in the eye and crush their windpipe long enough to kill them. So that’s immediately enough for me to be curious about what happened to Poppy. She’s also young and pretty like the other victims, actively dating — at least two of them met the killer on a date. But the honest truth is — I’m floundering in the dark here. My gut tells me that Isla — the woman who came to me — is telling the truth as she knows it, but parts of her story don’t add up. I want to help her, so — sometimes you just have to ferret around until the picture starts to fall into place.’ Cara shrugged helplessly. ‘I’m ferreting.’

‘Do you have any idea when Poppy arrived in Glasgow?’ Morvan asked suddenly. ‘I don’t know if it would shed any light on the attack, but — I’d like to know.’

‘That I can help you with.’ Cara rummaged on her desk and produced a tablet, which she opened, found the file she wanted and handed it over to Morvan. ‘With Poppy being a celeb, there were plenty sightings, fan photos and folk mentioning on social media they saw her. I’ve been collating them in the hopes there might be a photo or mention of a guy who fits the description Isla gave me. It’s a long shot, but like I said. Ferreting.’

Morvan scrolled slowly through the images, some photos, others screen grabs of posts gushing about how Poppy was really nice or more wee than you’d think in person. ‘This is her arriving at Glasgow airport?’

‘She could have been up and down, I suppose, but given that’s the only airport shot, I would guess she stayed put.’

The airport shot was time-stamped three and a half weeks before Walter told Ali and Morvan that Poppy was cast. What had she been doing in Glasgow all that time? ‘Was she seeing anyone in particular?’

‘There are sightings of her at the Corinthian having cocktails with a man and another having dinner in Finneston — there aren’t photos of that occasion, but going by the description, I think they are two different men. My guess is she was dating but nothing serious. Why do you ask?’

‘No real reason. Just wondering what she was doing in Glasgow so long before production was due to start. Could have just been getting a feel for the place,’ Morvan added quickly as Cara scribbled a note. ‘Might be —‘

And then Morvan stopped, icy chills dashing down her spine, her finger frozen on the screen.

‘What?’ Cara asked, leaning forward to see the photo Morvan stopped at.

‘I — I’m not sure —‘ She pinched to zoom in. The photo was a stealth shot of Poppy drinking at the Rooftop Bar by the Riverside, clearly taken by a fan across the bar. It was a bit grainy close-up, but Morvan’s heart thudded as she stared at Poppy frozen mid-laugh. A lump formed in Morvan’s throat as she thought of the last time she’d seen Poppy, pale and small, on the ICU bed surrounded by wires and machines. But it wasn’t the sight of Poppy that brought goosebumps prickling over Morvan.

It was the fact that the person sitting opposite her was Ali.


When Morvan stepped back onto Dumbarton Road, the sun lay low in the sky, casting an orangey glow over the busy street. Her stomach grumbled, and she remembered that her favourite dumplings place was just up the road. She’d treat herself to dinner, she decided, before attempting the odyssey across a city that did not believe in connecting the north and the south by any reasonable means of public transport.

A few minutes later, she grabbed the last stool at the counter by the window and ordered a small feast of special dumplings and egg drop soup. The restaurant was rammed full of students as usual, and Morvan was grateful for their noisy chatter. She scrolled mindlessly on her phone as she tucked in.

Had Ali known Poppy was cast? How was it possible? Morvan had been right there in the meeting when Ali blew up at Walter. How dare you go over my head on my fucking show? Full creative control, Walter. Morvan remembered it clearly. She had been mildly terrified and deeply in awe at her new boss hopping off a Transatlantic flight to immediately tear a strip off the head of the studio.

But she hadn’t just hopped off a Transatlantic flight. She was right here in Glasgow two days earlier. Ali had video-conferenced with Morvan that afternoon, discussing the ongoing problem of casting Kirsty. They’d debated going back to Kelly MacDonald to ask her to reconsider, and Morvan had pitched a couple of Scottish names she already knew Walter would veto. Morvan closed her eyes and tried to remember as much of the conversation as she could.

Had Ali ever specifically claimed to be in LA? Morvan supposed she hadn’t, and Morvan had never exactly thought to ask. A couple of times on their early calls she’d made daft comments about Ali sending the weather over, but she’d exhausted that particular line of comedy fairly swiftly. She remembered that Ali had been sitting in front of a plain white wall. It could easily have been either an LA flat or a Glasgow hotel room.

If Poppy was attacked by the killer Cara was after, then the fact that Ali arrived in Glasgow earlier than she claimed was probably nothing. And if it wasn’t nothing, how did their laughing over cocktails lead to Poppy almost being murdered two days later? Morvan unconsciously scrunched her nose as she thought, before spotting her reflection in the restaurant window and realising she was thinking with her face again.

Four minutes. Did Morvan really believe Ali was capable of that? A big group of students at a nearby table burst out laughing and Morvan envied them. It was like being in a weird fishbowl, in the world yet separate from it. She could see folk living normal lives just beyond the glass, yet she was trapped in a private prison of serial killers and lies that didn’t make sense.

A chill washed over Morvan as she thought about Liam. Shallow or not, the earnest, self-deprecating way he’d described his wedding that wasn’t, the way he’d been at pains to thank her for what happened between them — he was a decent man. Whatever was happening between him and Ali was none of her business, except —

Was he safe?

Of course he was. She was being ridiculous. Morvan finished the last of her dumplings and pushed her plate aside, the wellbeing the good meal brought evaporating almost immediately.

Her phone buzzed, and she tried to ignore the flicker of happiness that stole over her when she saw the text from Axel. Nothing had happened the other night. Just a brief snog that made her toes curl, then she firmly said she was going to her car, and he amiably ambled off to the Subway.

Nothing was going to happen, either.

She had dozens of actress pals, and not a single one of them didn’t have at least one story of a director, or producer — or both — creeping on them. Or crew laughing about their bodies over lunch. Or no-budget shorts directors suddenly deciding they would be the male actor’s body double. Over the past few years, some progress had been made with big names speaking out, intimacy coordinators, and closed sets for sex scenes, but it was still rife. And rage-inducing. The sheer entitlement of so many men in the industry who were forgiven again and again because they were talented made Morvan’s blood boil.

She knew that flirting with Axel was hardly on a par with 1940s directors puffing on cigars and drawling try it again with less clothes, honey, but how could she judge the male directors she knew who used auditions like Tinder if she did the same?

Hey, I wanted to watch the Greta Garbo movie you talked about the other night, but I could not remember what it was called?

Morvan smiled. Queen Christina, she typed. It’s based on a true story.

She wasn’t doing the same at all. This wasn’t flirting. They were just chatting about movies.

Of course, you said her chancellor was Oxenstierna! She was a wonderful queen who ended the Thirty Years’ War.

There was something ridiculously sexy about a man who messaged in full sentences with flawless grammar — especially in his second language, Morvan thought ruefully. Not to mention a man instantly familiar with the Thirty Years’ War. Morvan had heard of it but had to admit that pretty much all she knew about it came from the movie. Christina’s father is killed in battle, leading her to become queen of Sweden at seven years old. Later, she negotiates a peace treaty before abdicating the throne to live freely and authentically as herself.

It’s not easy to find online these days but I have the DVD.

Do they still make DVDs?

Yes, for dinosaurs like me! She laughed as she typed.

Sadly I did not bring my player :-( It did not fit in my suitcase!

You don’t really have one!

I actually do. It is for video games, but I guess it could play a DVD with a little encouragement.

Morvan laughed, then she noticed that darkness had fallen outside. She’d only planned to stop for a quick bite, but somehow time had marched on. She quickly signalled for the cheque, then crossed the road to run for the bus outside Kelvingrove Museum. As it swung away from the curb, nearly sending Morvan flying in its haste to hurtle down Argyll Street at high speed, Morvan pulled out her phone again.

Maybe I could lend you my player too, she texted. If you ask nicely.

How nicely? His response was instantaneous.

Butterflies fluttered in Morvan’s stomach. She wasn't being fair. Nothing could happen with her and Axel.

She put her phone firmly back in her bag without answering, as the bus flew merrily towards the Southside.


Chloe had never known terror like this. Not when she was nine and chased her sister across Pollokshaws Road before spotting the double-decker bus speeding towards her. Not when she was seventeen, hitchhiking home from a rave near Balmaha and the lorry driver started howling about how she must repent and pledge her soul to Jesus. Not when she was twenty-two and lost her passport whilst backpacking in India.

She'd been panicky then. Bit nervy. But she'd known that things would be okay in the end, because they always were. A passerby had yanked her out of the bus's path. The lorry driver dropped her off in Milngavie and told her to have a blessed day. Her passport turned up, tucked carefully into the folds of her sleeping bag.

But now, on her very first day of nursing placement, she was fairly sure she might expire from fear. And she'd better not, she thought ruefully, because they were already a bed down in ICU. So there was nothing for it but to keep breathing until Dougie, the senior nurse she was shadowing, got back from the toilet.

The patient's vitals were all stable. Nothing had changed in the past thirty seconds since Dougie left Chloe alone with her. Everything would be okay. Nothing would change in the time it took Dougie to pee. Except Chloe knew that wasn't even a little bit true. The whole point of ICU was that patients were on a knife edge; catastrophic events were possible on a second-to-second basis. Chloe's tummy lurched. That was what had drawn her to the speciality in the first place, but now she was feeling very strongly that she might have overestimated herself by quite a bit.

It probably wasn't professional to think the patient was beautiful, but she did anyway. She knew who Poppy Knights was, of course. She'd been addicted to that Regency drama in which Poppy had been courted by a rakish bad boy and a devoted boy-next-door. Chloe had marathoned all three seasons one rainy weekend with her mum.

The big twist at the end of the series was Poppy's character running off with the rakish bad boy just when you thought she was about to settle for the nice guy who didn't really see her for who she was. Chloe's mum thought she was daft, but Chloe stood up and cheered as they galloped away together. Chloe's mum said that girls who knocked back sweet boys who took care of them got what was coming to them, and Chloe didn't waste her time arguing. She'd learned long ago her mum's opinions never changed.

But all the same, she silently decided that she'd have a rakish bad boy who set her heart on fire or nothing. So far, the universe was going with the option of nothing. Which was a bit disappointing.

She'd half-hoped she might catch the eye of some devastatingly handsome doctor one of these days, but it appeared that lowly student nurses didn't register in their vision. She'd tried smiling at about three before noticing their expression didn't change when they looked in her direction. So that was that.

Chloe brushed Poppy's fringe from her forehead and tucked it into the bit of gauze holding her hair back.

'There you are, m'lady,' she murmured, doing a rough approximation of the Yorkshire accent of the servants in the Regency drama.

Dougie had told her the policy was to talk to coma patients as much as possible but not to worry too much about what they said. 'It's just nice for them to hear voices,' he explained. 'But they likely can't make out or remember words, so just open your mouth and let your tummy rumble.'

Chloe didn't specifically clear with him whether it was okay to pretend to be in her favourite TV show, but she supposed it wouldn't do any harm. If Poppy could hear her, it might remind her of filming the show. Given it had propelled her to fame, it was probably a happy memory.

'Lord Alston is riding up from London in the morrow,' she whispered, and Poppy's eyelids fluttered. Chloe's blood ran cold. Poppy stirred, her shoulders twitching like she was fighting to the surface.

'Oh — no — Poppy, please — ' Chloe's heart hammered as she looked frantically around for someone — anyone. The monitor started beeping urgently as Poppy's heart rate and blood pressure soared. Her mouth moved around the breathing tube as she shook her head back and forth. 'It's okay, it's okay, Poppy —' Chloe rubbed her hand. 'Please, just —'

'Hiya Poppy, you're in hospital —' Dougie appeared, and Chloe felt light-headed with relief. 'You've got lots of tubes in you giving you medicine and helping you breathe, so try not to worry, okay?' His voice was calm and authoritative, though Poppy continued to struggle.

He went to the monitor and pressed several buttons, giving Poppy more sedation. Her vitals slowed, and she lay still and peaceful again. Chloe's own heart rate continued to fly high, and she realised she was still holding Poppy's hand.

'You okay?' Dougie asked with a grin.

Chloe nodded, not sure she could trust herself to speak.

'You'll get used to it soon enough. It happens, but she's fine.'

'She was trying to say something,' Chloe whispered.

'That's not likely. She was probably just struggling with the breathing tube.'

'No, — it seemed quite purposeful, the way her lips moved. Aah, ee. I'm sure —'

'Doesn't sound like a word to me,' Dougie shrugged.

'I know, but —'

Dougie glanced at his watch. 'You'd better go on your tea break now because I'm not being late for mine.'


'Cut —' Morvan clapped her hands with satisfaction and beamed. 'That was beautiful, guys. Quite brought a tear to my cold black heart.'

Summer detangled herself from Axel's arms, where Kirsty had fallen asleep with Frej protecting her, and took a bow. Axel led the applause for her, then got up and stretched as Morvan joined them. Conall's team was buzzing about, bringing down lights and pulling up cables.

'Was it really okay?' Summer blurted anxiously. 'Shouldn't we go for one more? I think I could have —'

'It was amazing,' Morvan quickly cut her off. 'We all felt them falling in love. There won't be a dry eye in the house.'

'It felt good,' Axel said quietly, and Morvan ignored the tingle that fired to life at his voice.

'Thank you so much for today, both of you,' she said brightly, sounding like a primary school teacher in her own ears. All she was missing was to remind them they had one mouth for talking and two ears for listening. 'Get a good night's sleep — new location in the morning.'

The following day they would move on to the dilapidated mansion that was Kirsty's ancestral home. Morvan was relieved. They'd deliberately started with one of the trickier sequences, and not only was exterior lighting more time-consuming, they had to deal with planes flying overhead and ambulances wailing by. An indoor set was more contained and controllable, and Morvan looked forward to picking up the pace.

Axel hovered for a moment as Summer skipped to her trailer, but Morvan was saved by a PA bringing her the updated schedule to sign off. She gave him a quick grin as she headed for the office.

‘Sweet dreams, Morvan!’ Summer called after her.

'Have you seen Ali today?' Conall asked, waiting by the office door for her. Morvan's latest script was illegible again, so she had to print off a fresh copy for the following day. She must sponsor that rainforest tonight, she reminded herself as she shoogled the mousepad to wake her laptop.

'Ali is in meetings with the writers' room in LA all this week,' she told Conall, firing the ancient printer to life with a few clicks. 'They're breaking the fourth episode, I think. Or maybe fifth. They must be taking a lunch break soonish — you could try waving at her door.'

'She's not in her office.' Conall shrugged. 'Nothing important, just wanted to talk to her about the new schedule. Raj's sister is getting married in Ireland next month, and he'll have my guts for garters if I'm not there. I'll grab her tomorrow. Night, Morv.'

The door swung shut behind Conall, and Morvan was alone. The printer screeched and thunked, but the office was otherwise still. Ali's office door was shut. Morvan sat down with a yawn. She might as well catch up on some emails while she waited.

Her eyelids grew heavy as she scrolled through a handful of offers to enlarge her penis, a newsletter from her old school and a couple of messages from her agent. She sighed. Drummed her nails on the desk. Grabbed her phone and opened social media.

Axel had forwarded her a funny Reel.

She put her phone face down on the desk, crossed the room and tried Ali's door. It opened. Morvan's heart lurched as it swung in, revealing Ali's office shrouded in darkness. She glanced over her shoulder. The cleaners would probably be in soon, but for now, she was alone.

She and Ali were on the same team. Ali could have texted and asked her to grab some script notes on her way out. She didn't, though. Morvan had no business poking about in her office.

Ali had drinks with Poppy two days before she was attacked.

Morvan quickly entered the room and shut the door, her heart pounding. What was she doing? Aside from anything else, what were the chances that Ali had left a confession note neatly filed in her outbox?

Ferreting, Morvan thought.

Taking a shaky breath, she walked to the desk, barely resisting the impulse to tiptoe like a cartoon character. Most folk these days stored production paperwork on tablets, making notes with those magic pens Morvan could never quite get the hang of and uploading it all to clouds. It seemed, however, that Ali was old-school like Morvan. The desk was covered with printed scripts, notebooks, and loose papers.

A travel itinerary.

Afraid to touch it like a normal person, Morvan leaned carefully over and read the print-out itinerary, emailed by an assistant in LA. Ali was booked on a flight to Glasgow a week before she appeared in the office. She moved into a rented flat in the West End that afternoon. Cleveden Drive. Fancy, Morvan thought, making a quick note of the address even though she wasn't sure why.

The photo of Ali in the bar with Poppy had been pretty conclusive. Even so, Morvan still felt uneasy staring confirmation in the face. Ali had been in Glasgow a week earlier than she claimed. She'd met with Poppy. Had she met with any of the other actors? None of them had said so, but Morvan had never thought to confirm. She pulled out her phone, automatically going to text Axel, and then stuffed it back in her pocket. Maybe she would ask Jack.

Nerves having a carnival in her stomach, Morvan went to the large picture window and stared out. There was nothing much to see except the gloomy car park and a tiny glimpse of the Clyde through some trees, shimmering in the moonlight. She leaned her forehead against the cool glass as she thought.

One day in primary school, Morvan had been bored by whatever letters or sums they were learning that day and impulsively announced to the class that she'd had a twin sister who was kidnapped. She'd been reading some book about twins and fancied that she'd quite like one, then daydreamed an explanation as to why said twin was not in class with her. It was all very straightforward in Morvan's mind at the time.

It occurred to her she'd bitten off more than she could chew when the very young teacher marched her to the headmistress's office to complain she hadn't been warned one of her class was going through a family tragedy. The headmistress glared at Morvan over her desk and warned her of the dire consequences of telling fibs. Morvan stubbornly insisted that she'd woken up one Saturday morning, and her twin sister was just gone. By the time her mum and stepdad came to pick her up and apologise for Morvan wasting their time with silly games, Morvan had convinced herself it was true. She howled with grief over her missing sister as she was dragged to the car by her mortified mother and had to stand up in front of the class and apologise the next day.

Problem was she quite enjoyed her apology performance and by playtime that day, she was telling anyone who would listen that her real dad was in jail for stealing gold from the Queen. She wrote heartfelt letters to him in prison for several weeks before remembering she'd made it up.

It had been a few years since she'd let her imagination run away with her to that extent, but it was time she stopped herself now. She wasn't Nancy Drew, and she wasn't going to catch a killer. She was here to shoot a show, then go on to her next job.

As Morvan turned to leave, a tiny red light caught her eye. She'd never have seen it if she weren't standing by the window in the dark, but stuffed behind a huge potted fern on the windowsill, was —

A phone.

It was a smartphone with a sleek glass cover, but no brand Morvan was familiar with. Grabbing a tissue from the box on Ali's desk, Morvan picked it up and swiped the screen. It revealed a black-and-white photograph. Morvan's breath caught as she realised the phone's screensaver was Poppy's headshot.

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