Weapon of Choice
Chapter 25: Patience
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It was hard for Kerry not to say anything to Joe about Jasmine the next day. The news had shocked Kerry so much that she didn't think she could talk to the teacher about the teenager without giving away that she knew the truth. Kerry had expected Joe to be more careful where Jasmine was concerned so that they could have avoided a situation like this. If he was as careless about other aspects of his relationship with her as he was about contraception it was something of a miracle that no one else, apart from Jasmine's father obviously, had found out about them. Kerry accepted that she had to give Joe the benefit of the doubt, as Jasmine was a skilled manipulator like her father, but she couldn't see what the teenager hope to gain by becoming pregnant with Joe's baby. She certainly didn't seem like the maternal type. How could you, if it really was true, kill someone else's child and months later conceive one of your own? It was also possible that Jasmine was lying about the pregnancy to gain further leverage over Joe but it already seemed to Kerry that the girl had more than enough control over the teacher as it was. As much as she hated to admit it, even to herself, Kerry acknowledged that Cameron's position in the operation might help them out. She just wished it was any other officer who was undercover with them.
Joe's mind wasn't on the job at all the next day and if it wasn't for the fact that Cameron was staying with him, he would have called in sick and spent the day at home. He didn't care how it might have looked to anyone else, he was too preoccupied by the sick feeling in his stomach every time that he thought about Grant finding out his daughter was pregnant. He knew that once Grant knew about the situation, Joe wouldn't be alive to see Jasmine second trimester let alone the baby's birth. He supposed he could try and persuade Jasmine to run away with him to some far flung place but he had no doubt that Black possessed the resources to hunt them down wherever they went. There was no guarantee that Jasmine would even want to leave her father, or if she even loved Joe.
Worrying about Jasmine's absence from school the previous day and then learning about her condition meant that he had very little time to think about the real reason why Cameron was staying with him. He needed time to think about everything, to find the best course of action. He knew that getting out of the mess his life had turned into would not be easy and that Cameron's way out seemed to be the only scenario that would provide him with some semblance of a normal life. This way forward would also be the one that called for the most courage and strength of character. It also meant that he may never seen Jasmine, or his unborn child, ever again. It might also mean that Jasmine would give birth to his baby behind bars.
Grant Black was beginning to feel beyond frustrated as the situation refused to progress in the way that he wanted it to. Joe had carried out every move he had asked of him so far, like a well placed pawn on a chessboard. He had thought that the Jones couple would be as easy to manipulate but he was being proved wrong. Though if they had fallen in with him too quickly Black acknowledge that he would have been suspicious of them. The Joneses were perfectly placed to help him with the next phase of his operation but he needed to make another move to push them into cooperating with his plans. Getting Joe to organise the get together at the pub last Friday night had been too subtle a move but at least he had been able to interact with them face to face. He needed to speak with Joe as soon as the school day was over; he needed to put a strategy in place to draw the Jones couple in hook, line and sinker.
When Joe arrived home from the school he was relieved to find that his house was blissfully free of guests both welcome and unwelcome. He kicked off his shoes, loosened his tie and threw himself down on the bed. He didn't attend to take a nap, he just wanted a few minutes of peace. Whether he intended to or not, sleep claimed him anyway, his brain and body needing to catch up with the restless nights he had suffered recently.
Joe's dream was vivid and disturbing, full of bright colours and loud noises. The image was fractured and made little sense, but he clearly saw a heavily pregnant Jasmine Black wielding a knife with a shiny blade, Grant leering with a Cheshire cat smile and Kerry Jones. Kerry's long blonde hair flowed in ringlets down her back and she wore a dark red dress with a slit up the side and a low cut neckline.
"Joe." He heard her murmur as she descended upon him, pressing her lips to his and loosening the straps on her dress.
Joe jumped awake, startled by the shrill ringing of the telephone and the strange working of his subconscious. He had only just found out that his teenage girlfriend was pregnant, so why was he having a fantasy dream about another woman? A married woman nonetheless.
His heart still pounding, Joe reached for the phone and grimaced when he saw the name on the display.
"Mr Black, what can I do for you?"
"I've got a little job for you Joe, don't screw it up." He proceeded to give Joe the details, but the younger man was preoccupied by one question: did Grant know about Jasmine's pregnancy yet?
"I hope Cameron is having more lucky than us." Kerry mumbled grudgingly as she and Smithy arrived back at the house laden with bags of groceries.
The operation was much more important to her than just a collar and, although it would hurt her pride, she would still be satisfied if it was Cameron who made the job a success. Getting justice for Kathryn was more important to Kerry than getting glory for herself.
"Kerry, it has only been ten days, we need more time, that's all." Smithy soothed as they set their shopping down in the kitchen.
"Time is what we don't have." She stated, putting the groceries away with more force than was necessary. "I'm going to have to something myself soon if things don't start to move more quickly." She continued, more to herself than to Smithy. For a brief moment her thoughts strayed to the camera upstairs.
Smithy watched her with a worried expression on his face. He knew how much this meant to her and that there was nothing that would stand in her way. It was what he loved most about her, but also what scared him the most.