Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse (17 page)

Carl would, by the end of the night, think that I was like every other dumb nurse in the hospital, desperate for a bit of Italian meat.

Well I wasn’t. Javier didn’t do it for me.

But it was too late. Carl would think that I was a slag, which I probably was in some people’s eyes. That I just wanted to shag and not have a relationship, which, had anyone asked me last week, I would have agreed with. But now …

I tugged the wallet from my pocket. It was pale-brown leather with a football logo on the front, AC Milan. I flipped it open, wondering why it seemed so weighty. It must be full of wads of cash.

Immediately a smiling Javier grinned up at me. It was a photograph of him and a girl. She had long brunette hair held back from her face with large black sunglasses and was stunningly beautiful with dark eyes, wide red lips and smooth skin. They were leaning in close and cosy, behind them a dramatic backdrop of cliffs and then a perfect, deep-blue sea. He was holding her left hand out towards the camera. On her ring finger was a rock the size of a small island.

‘You dirty rat,’ I said. ‘You’ve got an Italian beauty back home waiting for you and you mess around here like some kind of single agent.’ I tutted and shook my head. ‘Poor girl, whatever your name is. I’m afraid your fiancé isn’t keeping his libido under even the tiniest whisper of control. You’d get more loyalty out of a starving tiger.’

I smoothed my finger over the small plastic window covering the picture, my heartstrings tugging that she was in love with such a player. She looked like a nice girl.

Suddenly I paused. There was something lumpy beneath the picture. Something hard, but flat. Curious, I poked my finger beneath. It was narrow and tight. I couldn’t get at whatever it was.

Jesus, it was well tucked in, seriously well hidden. I pulled a pair of small clamping forceps from my pocket, the type I used to get stubborn, fiddly lids off cannulas. I manoeuvered and twiddled and finally got their little pointy ends into the space.

Another few seconds of manipulation and I had hold of whatever was secreted away behind Javier and his fiancée. Carefully I withdrew it.

A brass key.

Small, almost crudely cut. The pointy end that turned the lock precise but the circle for holding it, attaching it to a key ring, was misshaped, there was no hole in it.

‘What the …?’ I held it up to the light. ‘Why do you have a small, oddly shaped key in your wallet, Javier?’

It didn’t look like a house key and definitely not a car key. It belonged to something little but lockable, a padlock, a shed maybe, or even a cycle lock. But why wouldn’t he keep it on his key ring? Why was it separate and hidden?

Thoughts began to bombard me. Outrageous ideas. It couldn’t be true. That was nuts!

I stood, clutching the key.

Sat again.

Stupid. Ludicrous. Absurd.

But I had to go and see.

I shoved the wallet back into my pocket and dashed from the office. Within seconds I was standing in front of the drug cupboard holding the key outstretched.

I didn’t know why, because it wouldn’t fit, I was sure of it. This peculiarly shaped, almost home-made-looking key would never work in this modern, metal cupboard. It was probably of sentimental value, his poor cheated-upon girlfriend had probably given it to him before he’d left for England – the key to her heart or something equally sappy.

‘Go on,’ I whispered and pushed it into the small hole. It slid in, smoothly, perfectly.

‘OK, coincidence. It won’t turn.’

Holding my breath and my heart thudding, I rotated the key.

There was a click and a squeak and the drug cupboard door popped open.

‘Fucking hell.’ Quickly I shut the door, re-turned the key and stepped back. Stared at the cupboard, the key, then the cupboard again.

Had I really solved Iceberg’s mystery? It seemed I had.

Doctor Javier Garelli was the drug thief.

But I needed evidence. I would never have thought Javier was the one taking the benzos, so why would she believe me when I told her?

I quickly opened the cupboard again, left the key in place with the doors ajar and whipped out my iPhone.

One click and I had my first piece of evidence.

I secured the cupboard, whizzed back into the pharmacy office and set the key next to his open wallet. Proof enough that it was his wallet because of the smiling photograph. My hands were shaking as I took another shot with my phone. Then I slipped the key halfway behind the smiling couple and snapped again.

Three pictures, all connecting Javier with the key and connecting the key with the drug cupboard. Proof enough for Iceberg and for Personnel to question him.

I slotted the key away, back into the same position I’d found it, and flipped the wallet shut.

The door opened.

‘Javier,’ I said, looking up.

His face was dark; he didn’t wear his usual smile. ‘My wallet,’ he said, ‘I dropped it.’

‘Here.’ I handed it over with a grin.

He snatched it from my grip. ‘I hope you respected my privacy, Sharon.’

‘It fell open on the floor, Javier, I couldn’t help but look inside.’ I paused. ‘So I’m afraid I know your secret.’

There was a slight decrease in the colour in his cheeks. He curled his hands into fists. ‘What secret?’

‘But it’s OK, I won’t say anything.’

‘I don’t know what you mean. I have nothing to hide.’ He pressed his lips together and pulled his eyebrows low. It occurred to me that he wasn’t nearly as handsome when he wasn’t smiling and getting his own way.

‘Oh, but you do.’

He was silent, his breaths coming quick, his nostrils flaring slightly.

‘Your girlfriend,’ I said. ‘I saw the picture. She is very beautiful.’

Still he said nothing.

‘But don’t worry. I have no intention of telling anyone that particular bit of information, Doctor Garelli. It’s not worth my while.’

A muscle twitched in his cheek.

‘So.’ I stood and brushed my hands down my uniform, slipped my phone away. ‘I’m glad we didn’t actually go all the way, because I’ve realised you’re really not my type at all.’

‘This girlfriend,’ he said, making speech marks with his fingers. ‘Is actually my sister. We were on a family holiday in Sorrento when that picture was taken.’

‘Oh, you look very close.’

‘We are twins.’

‘Really?’ What a load of rubbish.

‘Yes, so go ahead and say what you want. No one will believe you.’

‘You don’t think so?’

‘No, especially when I tell them I rejected you and that is why you are spreading malicious rumours about me.’

Bloody hell, he really did turn off the charm like a switch. Rachael’s words came back to me about his mood swings. Was that his natural disposition or was it benzos that made him this way?

‘You do whatever you feel you need to,’ I said, pushing past him. ‘And I will do what I feel is the right thing to do too.’

I walked up the corridor, speedily, hoping he wouldn’t follow me.

He didn’t, and within a couple of minutes I was heading up the backstairs towards Iceberg’s office. My head was spinning but my thoughts were clearing steadily.

I knocked on Iceberg’s office door.

‘Come in.’

Good, she was there. The sooner I sorted out this damn mess once and for all, the better.

‘Ah, Sharon,’ she said, ‘I trust you have information if you’re here and not skulking around pharmacy.’

‘Actually, I have.’

She raised her eyebrows. ‘Well, sit down then.’

I did as she’d asked, a bubble of excitement growing within me. Not only was I going to get the pleasure of revealing the thief and getting myself off the hook, I was also going to be treated to the satisfaction of seeing her face, when the guy she was smitten with, turned out to be the culprit.

‘Oh, before I forget, this has been sitting on my desk for you.’ Iceberg shoved forward a plain white envelope. ‘And I would appreciated it if you didn’t use the hospital for your private correspondence, we’re not here for your convenience, you know.’

I took the letter, glanced at my name written neatly on the front and addressed simply to care of the senior night nurse. ‘Er, thanks. I don’t know who –’

‘So spit it out,’ she said, leaning forward on the desk, her fingers tapping on a brown file. ‘What have you discovered?’

I sucked in a deep breath and folded the letter into my pocket. ‘I found a key, a small, brass key that looks to me as though it’s been very carefully, but roughly cut. Perhaps with hand tools rather than a machine.’

‘And …’ She gnawed on the inside of her cheek.

‘And the key unlocks the drug cupboard the temazepam has been going missing from.’

‘Really?’ She widened her eyes, almost smiled. ‘So, who had this key?’

‘Has, still has it. After I discovered it, I tested it was the one we were looking for then secretly replaced it.’

‘Bloody hell, how did you do that?’

‘The person in question was, shall we say, rather distracted throughout the whole event.’ I waggled my eyebrows suggestively.

‘Ah, so it’s a man and you’ve used your womanly ways to trick him.’ If she wasn’t such a cow I’d have almost thought her expression was approving.

‘That is one way of describing it.’

‘So tell me, put me out of my misery. Then I can call Personnel first thing and clear this whole scandalous matter up.’

I paused, savouring the moment. His thieving name was on my lips, tingling my tongue. She was going to flip and I didn’t care one bit, she needed to start seeing people for what they were. Sorting out the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff. It was clearly something she had a problem with.

‘The key belongs to Doctor Javier Garelli.’

‘No.’ She gasped. ‘You’re lying.’

I shook my head. ‘Nope, it is true.’

‘It’s ridiculous, Doctor Garelli isn’t taking benzodiazepines. If he was he wouldn’t be able to work as a very skilled, incredibly talented surgeon, saving countless lives.’

I shrugged. ‘In all fairness, how well is he functioning?’

‘How dare you be so impudent about one of your seniors.’ She stood, balled her fists on the table and leant forward, reminding me of a gorilla about to charge.

‘I’m not being impudent,’ I said calmly, ‘I’m merely stating facts. He’s been operating, yes, but Doctor Carl Rogers told me he was the one that managed to get an awkward foreign object from a patient’s rectum the other day, Javier just couldn’t do it. And only tonight they were having major problems with a hemi-colectomy. Perhaps Javier’s skills are not all they should be.’

‘Preposterous.’ Her cheeks were reddening, and her eyes flashed with anger.

‘And you have to admit, he can be pretty moody,’ I added.

‘Not that I’ve seen. He’s always the epitome of charm.’

‘Well, it’s one of the things I’ve heard on my hunt for gossip, at your request, I hasten to add. His moods blow hot and cold and he’s got a history of sleeping issues, which could have easily been why he started helping himself to the temazepam in the first place.’

‘He could have just got a prescription from his own doctor.’

‘In the short term, yes, but my guess is he got dependent, or started taking it recreationally and had to boost his supplies.’

‘Nonsense.’ She pointed her finger at me and set her jaw at a hard, mean angle. ‘You are a lying, manipulative bitch, Nurse Roane, and for some reason you’ve decided to try and ruin a good and decent man’s career.’ She straightened, narrowed her eyes and nodded. ‘And I know exactly why!’

‘You do?’

‘Yes, you’ve got the hots for him and he’s obviously turned you down. I saw the way you were dribbling over him in Accident and Emergency the other night. God, it made me feel sick to see you with that stupid lovesick expression on your face and all giggly and pathetic.’

‘I can assure you that isn’t the case, I –’

‘So you tried to drop your knickers for him in some sleazy corner and he refused you.’ She folded her arms. ‘And now you’re angry with him for the rejection.’

‘I’m not angry at him at all, and it’s Javier Garelli we’re talking about, does he ever refuse a shag?’

‘Like any decent man he does when he’s in a relationship, and the fact that he turned you down just proves his loyal, upstanding nature.’

‘He’s in a relationship?’ I asked. Did she know about the Italian beauty? No, surely not.

‘Yes, as a matter of fact he is.’

‘Who with?’

‘That’s none of your business.’

I leant back on the chair and folded my arms. Oh, my God. This was hysterical, Iceberg was actually referring to herself. She really did think she was in a relationship with him. ‘Oh, you must mean the girl he has a picture of in his wallet. The glamorous one with the red lips and the giant diamond on her finger?’

She sucked in a sharp breath. ‘What?’

‘Yes, his fiancée back in Italy. Everyone knows about her, she’s waiting faithfully for him to go back and marry her when he’s completed his registrar placement.’ OK, so I was making some stuff up now, but I was on a roll. Watching the colour drain from Iceberg’s face was such a treat. ‘She’s a stunner. I’m not surprised he’s staying faithful to her. They will have beautiful children that’s for sure.’

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