The biggest story of our lifetime: Meetings in the dark
She lifted her head off of the silky soft pure white Egyptian cotton pillow case, as the ring of the landline interrupts her deep sleep. Again. This can’t be happening. It’s pitch black outside and inside her husband grunts and turns his back away from her. She looks at the glowing light of the clock on the bedside table. 2:35am.
“Yes. Yes. Right. I’ll be there in 30 minutes.” Rena stares at her phone before she puts it down and for the fourth time this month, reluctantly throws her legs out of bed and pulls on her jeans, a bra and a blue woollen jumper. She grabs her Burberry mac and slips her feet into a pair of brown leather flats. She completes the ensemble with a beige hat and turtle shell sunglasses.
Thirty minutes later she’s impatiently waiting behind the wheel of the inconspicuous navy blue Ford Mondeo, under a secluded railway bridge in London’s Southbank. It’s now 3:07am. A drop of rain hits the windscreen followed by a tap on the passenger window. She opens the doors and they get into the car. Mika in the front, Richard in the back.
“Rena, how are you?” Mika enquires, as always, polite and oh so friendly.
“I don’t have the patience for small talk Mika. What’s happened?” Rena checks her reflection in the rearview mirror and sees the nervous look in Richard’s eyes.
“They’ve got her.” Richard stares out of the back window, “I can’t believe they’ve reeled her in.”
Rena covers her hands with her face, “when?” The rain’s now pouring down on top of them. Big, heavy droplets bounce off the roof, the bonnet, the windscreen.
“Five hours ago. But we didn’t know until we called you. Alex wanted to make sure the information was correct before he contacted us.”
“Where is Alex?”
“He’s in the Tower, with the others keeping tabs on what’s going on.”
“No. No. No. We can’t let this happen. How did this happen? Who does she think she is. We made her. We made her who she is and this is how she repays us? I want to go to the Tower. We have to go now. We need to stop this before it gets out of hand. We can get her back.”
“I’ll get the jet ready.” Mika takes out her phone, makes a call whilst Rena is already driving off.
They drive straight up to the jet. As they board the plane, the rain still coming down heavily, Rena texts her husband to let him know she won’t be home for breakfast. Or dinner.
Several hours later the jet lands and they head to the Tower where Alex, Joseph and Janine are waiting on the 159th floor.
“Update please,” demands Rena as she strolls along the marble floors with Mika and Richard close behind. The sun is already beating against the floor to ceiling windows and they can see for miles across the city and out to the desert.
“Well hello to you too Rena. Would anyone like a tea or coffee? You must be exhausted.” Alex turns around, taking his eyes off of the flashing wall of flat screens to face the trio.
“Three coffees please. Now tell us where we’re at.”
Whilst Joseph and Janine go off to organise the drinks, Alex gives them the rundown.
“So it’s not a lost cause,"Rena takes a seat on the cream leather swivel chair and removes her shoes. She rubs her eyes and takes a large gulp of coffee."It’s been less than 48 hours. I’ve tried calling her but she's not picking up."
“Well, we think it would be best if you go to her. If anyone can bring her back you can. Go with Joseph and Janine. We know where she is staying. We’ll book you in to the same hotel.”
“I can’t go now. I have meetings and duties to attend to today.”
“We’ll tell people you’re sick. We’ll get a press release drawn up and sent. That’s why you have a Deputy PM. This is more important than anything else right now. We need to protect ourselves Rena. You need to do this or…”
Alex looks at Rena and no more words need to be spoken. She hates feeling like she has strings attached to her hands, her feet, her mouth. Hates being the one who has to fix everything. It’s not what she imagined life would be like as Prime Minister. And she could feel her stomach churning with frustration and anger. But she didn’t allow it to show. She hated him. From the moment they met three years ago, she knew she would find it difficult to be around him. But here she was. Not just being around him. Being ordered around by him.
“Yes, of course, you’re right, I am the best person for this,” she said with authority. “Can someone grab me an emergency suitcase please and then we can go. I can sleep on the jet.”