Family Intervention – Chapter 11
By 10am he was on his way to the hospital to report on Taniyah’s father’s visit the evening before. She was quite angry at the mention of his name, but Charles insisted she accept his apology and work with her father for the future of both her and her baby. They talked about that future as Charles checked emails and messages piled up over the past couple of days on his phone. There was one from his friend an investment banker who managed his investment portfolio. Charles had done very well in emerging technology investments, particularly with innovation start-ups whose share prices had hit highs on the stock market. His friend urged him to sell as the market was expected to correct within a month as economic conditions changed for the worse. He quickly responded to sell and convert to cash while the market clarified. Real Estate was being urged as an investment by the financial pandits now. Charles had an idea and made a note to talk with Ewbank about it.
It was late morning when Taniyah’s father appeared at the door while Taniyah and Charles were enjoying lunch served up to them early. Charles had viewed the note by Taniyah’s doctor on his complimentary meal with appreciation. Taniyah paused and looked angry as her father entered despite Charles reporting on the visit the evening before which had been quite satisfying. Charles flashed her a look of disapproval and she acknowledged her father’s visit respectfully. She further relaxed as her father apologized and assured her he was there to look after her interests getting settled without Omario.
Charles asked if Ewbank had made any contacts after their meeting last evening and he assured him he’d been working on them all morning by phone. No one in Cambridge had accommodation to spare among relatives and friends though they were willing to offer temporary accommodation while she looked for a home of her own. Charles asked if Ewbank had the means to provide a home for her. Ewbank shook his head sadly. On the island they were considered wealthy as their travel business between islands was profitable and they had considerable real estate investments. But their personal cash wealth was tied up in their family educational pursuits in England and America. There were trust funds in the hands of solicitors in Cambridge sufficient to care for all Taniya’s educational costs and they were presently supporting two children being educated in the US, one in a PhD program. The best he could do would be to pay for a rental but that would be a stretch to do that.
“I will look into that when I return to work on Monday, and we’ll see what can be arranged together.” Charles was beginning to think of a plan and moved out into the corridor to let father and daughter bond as the father was anxious to set things right and see his granddaughter and Charles needed to make a phone call in private.
Charles contacted a friend in the real estate business in Cambridge and after exchanging pleasantries and catching up for a while Charles asked if there were opportunities for a home investment there which would be reasonably priced and suitable for a rental. His friend continued to talk as he searched through his files. There were several empty properties for sale on his list. When would Charles be able to return to Cambridge to look them over? If he made a decision on one of them, they could negotiate with the owners if Charles wanted to make a counteroffer to the listed price. Often foreign students owned or rented properties so there was always something on the market when they left the UK. Perhaps this was a solution to what to do with those cashed in shares. He looked at his watch 11.30 am. It would take about an hour and a half to travel the 103 kilometres. His friend indicated he’d stay at the office late on Saturday to accommodate and they made an appointment to meet at 1.30pm. Charles entered the room and indicated he had an urgent business to attend to and would be back at the hospital on Sunday. He was happy to see father and daughter bonding again after their misunderstanding.
He was at the Real Estate office in Cambridge earlier than the appointment given having had an easier passage out of London than anticipated and his friend greeted him warmly. After seeing several houses quickly travelling around the area, he found an older three-bedroom home within a reasonable time commute to Addenbrooke’s Hospital where it was most likely Taniyah would complete the year and become eligible to be recognized as a doctor. It needed some limited renovation, and the agent did a rough estimate as to how much it would cost to make those renovations. Then after considerable negotiations by long distance call with the owner who’d moved to Europe a price was agreed that Charles considered reasonable considering the cost of renovations that would be necessary and he agreed to begin the process of accessing his money and beginning the legal paper trail for purchase of a home. He paid the required deposit.
It was quite late when he arrived back at his apartment satisfied with his purchase. It would become his rental investment and he’d get back into the stock market when conditions were favorable. He presumed Ewbank would be prepared to sign a rental agreement with him. If Taniyah was to do her residency, then that would require a live-in person to care for the baby when Taniyah was at work. That would not be his problem and her father would have to solve that it. He checked his messages as he entered the apartment. There was a message from Taniyah thanking him for forgiving her father and expressing joy at spending the day with him. There was a voice message too. He’d turned off his phone while driving. It was Jane Howlett. She needed to talk with him urgently and she gave him her New York contact. He wrote the number down then messaged back that he’d been away on business and had just returned home. Within five minutes the phone rang.
“This is Jane Howlett Charles, can we talk?” He could tell she’d been sobbing and marveled at that as he’d not detected any kind of emotion in her before. He listened as she continued.
“My Dad died today, and the office is in an uproar with everyone jockeying to take over the reigns of power. I always knew they detested me for being favored by him, but they were too timid to challenge him as he was a powerful personality. When I revealed I was his daughter on his death they pounced, and I’ve been pushed aside. They’ve always looked on me as a Gentile and now they view me not only as a Gentile but one who is illegitimate and unworthy of office. I don’t care but I really don’t have close friends as I’m viewed as aggressive and power hungry. Dad has looked after my mother secretly all these years and provided for my education even up to Harvard where I graduated though I didn’t know who my father was until I graduated with a PhD, and he attended to congratulate me and offer a job. Dad’s family did not know about the support for me and Mom so you can understand how angry they are all that money was spent without their knowledge. Fortunately, Mom has title deeds to the home and a career of her own. You are an ethical man Charles and in the short time I’ve known you your attitude and lifestyle have spoken to something inside me that wants to live a better life. I need someone to assure me I’m worth something and I don’t mean financial wealth as I have plenty of that. I want to find something useful to do with my life Charles. Will you help me find a purpose for my life? I know you don’t like me, but I need a friend right now and couldn’t think of anyone I could get that help from but you. Mom and I have been at odds for years as she didn’t like what big business was doing to me. I want out of all that now and help to find purpose in life.”
“What are your plans Jane and I’m so sorry for your loss. How can I help?”
“I’m going to attend my dad’s funeral though his family don’t want me to. He was good to me despite his obvious weakness in giving in to his family. He really loved my mother and me though introducing me to his kind of business world was probably not what I needed. It made me hard and cynical, and I have realized that now. Then I’ll make it up to my mother as best I can and see she is cared for. If dad’s family make any moves against her and the property, they will see the worst of me. I’ll protect her. And I’ll take every cent owed me by the company even if it takes legal action to get what is rightfully mine.”
“What about your finances Jane?”
“Oh, that’s not a problem. at my age I have the wealth to set up business on my own and the contacts to be successful in whatever I venture into. But I want to be in a business that is not pushing the ethical limits when I do. If you’re willing to be used as a sounding board as I make decisions, I’d really appreciate that and for a while I’d like to stay in touch just to help me over my time of grief when one’s head is not always clear for decision making.”
Charles shook his head. It was bad enough he was attempting to help Taniyah a woman in need but now Jane wanted to add her burdens on him as well. He hadn’t realized he was a rescuer before but how could he be expected to absorb and solve every troubled soul’s problem? Solving client financial problems was more than enough! But once again he ventured into rescue mode.
“You can count on my moral support Jane, but I can only be available evenings after attending to my work during the day.”
“Thanks Charles, I really appreciate your kindness and I know you don’t like the old Jane but hope you can get to like the new Jane.”
Tragedy Strikes – Chapter 12
When Charles turned up at the hospital mid-morning on Sunday, he was looking forward to seeing his godchild again. He remembered the warm feeling he’d felt as he delivered that baby and held her in his hands. Entering Ward D, he headed for room 31 now familiar to him and paused as he saw a police presence outside the room. They were holding Taniyah’s father and questioning him closely. He rushed to see what was happening and looking inside could see more police inside the room. He turned to Ewbank and spoke.
“What’s going on Mr. Ewbank?”
One of the police stood between the two men.
“Who are you sir and how do you know this man? What is your interest in this room?”
“I’m the neighbor of Taniyah Gordon and have delivered a baby in her home and have been giving her support. The hospital staff know me well and you can confirm that with Dr James her doctor.”
“We will do that sir and how do you know this man we are holding?”
“He is her father officer, and I can vouch for him. We can clear this up by talking with Taniyah.”
“I’m afraid we can’t do that sir you see she’s dead and this man is a suspect as during the nurse shift changeover one of the nurses saw him heading for her room and soon after he rushed to the nursing station to inform Ms. Gordon had been murdered. He was the last person seen entering the room after the night shift nurse was released.”
“It has to be Omario!”
“And who would Omario be?”
“Her estranged husband. He injured her the night before she had the baby, and I delivered the baby there and accompanied her to the hospital.”
Charles began to weep as it sunk in Taniyah was no more. He glanced at Ewbank whose fear now turned to grief and he sobbed loudly along with Charles. One of the police went inside and the one in charge of the unit came out.
“What’s your name?”
“OK Mr. Nelson, why don’t you start at the beginning and tell me your story.” So, the events of the past few days were given in detail while one of the police recorded the story.”
“The nursing staff have given us an interesting story about Mrs. Graham’s contact with her father by phone and the conversation was not what you’d call polite. Mr. Ewbank was the man at the end of that phone conversation it seems, and he was angry. Now we find him here and his daughter is dead. Would that look like an honor killing to you Mr. Nelson?”
“No officer. I would suggest you look for her husband Omario Gordon as he has been very unstable and angry with her. It is possible he may try and leave the country so you will need to find him as he is the most likely person to have done this. Can I pay my respects to Taniyah?”
“That will not be possible as you may not be able to handle the sight. A madman did this! Now where can I get a picture of this Mr. Omario Gordon? You and Mr. Ewbank will have to accompany us to the police station for further questioning and sign statements.”
Charles took out his cell phone.” I have a picture of the three of us at one of the pubs. We used to be good friends before he turned on his wife, and I have a recorded conversation of Omario threatening me when he couldn’t find her after I brought her to the hospital if that’s helpful.”
The officer reached over and took his phone looking at the photo. He pressed on the photo and selected send then typed in a destination secret email address. Then he picked up his phone dictating an all alerts search for the man on the right of the picture.
“Now where is this recorded message you were telling me about?” Charles found it and he listened to the playback. “I’m afraid I have to confiscate your phone sir as this is potential evidence!” Charles protested this was his vital work communication link, but the officer held up his hand to silence his protest. The one in charge indicated to one of the officers holding Taniyah’s father. “Take him to the station for a written statement and hold him until I say so.”
He then turned to Charles. “I want you to come with me to the hospital Security room and we will review video surveillance to see if such a person as this Mr. Omerio has been in this building today. You will point him out to me if you see anyone matching the photo on your phone.”
The officer reviewed surveillance over night and there was no sign of their target and rightly so as only those on night duty had access to the buildings to open doors with their issued stripe card. Then the early morning tape commencing just before night duty staff were released and the building opened for day activity. There was an increase in activity and after a while a tall person in a hooded jacket headed for the information desk. There was a brief conversation and at first Charles did not identify that person as Omario. Then as he turned from the desk Charles caught a glimpse of a face that looked familiar under the hood. “Can we trail that person, I’m not sure yet.” So, they observed the person head in the direction of elevators.
“Can we do a trace on Ward D?” Security worked with the equipment and located Ward D. The same figure they’d seen at the security desk emerged from the elevator. “I think it’s Omario!” They watched as he progressed down the ward opening doors and peering inside as he went. At room 31 he opened the door and was about to close it looking around again at the empty corridor then he opened it and closed the door behind him emerging soon after with hood drawn over his face as he saw nurses clustered around the nursing station getting their orders for the shift. They traced him to the elevator and watched him as he exited the building later. With the help of security staff, they took still pictures from video and printed them out. Then they retraced their steps to Ward D and showed the pictures to nurses there. Had they seen a person like this in the corridors at the time of shift change over. The nurses studied the pictures. Yes, some remembered a person with a hooded jacket passing the station earlier.
In the meantime, an image of Omario had been taken from the group picture Charles had supplied and circulated around the UK for urgent apprehension. Security at all transit stations had been alerted. Rail, airports, ports were on alert and Charles had given the Bank address where Omario had worked. Police checked the bank and reported Omario had reported in sick earlier.
Eventually after giving statements at the police station Charles and Ewbank were released with a caution they were not to leave London, or they’d be arrested. They were both still persons of interest. Each was to keep in contact with the police while background checks were done on them. Charles was incensed that his phone had been confiscated and would have to arrange for a new phone next day with a new number so he could keep in touch with family, clients and friends. His secretary would be kept busy next day he thought inputting all the necessary numbers he had on personal client files.
He was grieving for Taniyah and was surprised to reflect on how deeply this had affected him. Did he have feelings for her that were not of a brother sister nature? The thought baffled him. He saw Taniyah’s father standing shell shocked at the entrance of the Police Station and his heart went out to him. Then he remembered his godchild still in hospital care. What would he do with that child? He walked slowly to Ewbank and both men silently looked at each other. Then Charles reached out in sympathy and hugged him, and the old man wept as he held him. When Ewbank managed to control his emotions, Charles spoke.
“Mr. Ewbank I’m so sorry for your loss and it has affected me deeply too. Both Omario and your daughter were close friends until Omario showed his true colors and harmed her. I delivered her baby and that has brought her close to me. I bought a house in Cambridge in anticipation that you would rent it from me for her and was going to bring you that happy news today, but she is no more. Taniyah made me the godparent to the child when you and she had the fight that day in hospital, but the child is really a family responsibility. I’ll somehow keep my promise to Taniyah if you don’t want that responsibility though I don’t know how I can do that yet.
“I’ll take the child with me to Jamaica when this mess has been sorted out Mr. Nelson.”
“Please call me Charles, sir and you can count me as a close friend of your family in future. Your daughter was someone you can be proud of, and I will miss her greatly. Would you like to use my apartment in that you are in such a state after your daughter’s murder? I could use the other apartment. My apartment is more comfortable.”
Ewbank faced him. “Thank you, Charles. I’m privileged to count you as a family member after this and no, I will return to my hotel as that’s where the police will expect to find me. I will take my grand child with me when I return to Jamaica as we have a large extended family to love and support the child as she grows, and she will certainly be made aware of you as a godparent. Hopefully, some day she will be able to visit you and get to know you as the one who delivered her and was such a good friend to her mother.”
As they were standing there a police van arrived at the station and police pulled two handcuffed people from the back of the van, Omario was one of the prisoners and the other was Amoy. As they passed the two men Omario spat in their direction and their captors apologized as they hurried their prisoners inside.
To be continued.
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