The Weatherman

When Serena Frost starts a new job at the British Weather Centre, she learns about a rival company,, whose forecasts are uncannily accurate. A chance encounter with Readiweather's founder piques Serena's interest, but she soon finds both her heart and her life in danger, as some people will stop at nothing to discover Readiweather's secret.


8. Chapter Eight

Two days later, Serena returned to work, which was also Drew’s first day back from Australia, having flown into Heathrow the previous evening.

“Hey, babe,” he said, tiredly, as Serena entered the office. “I’ve missed you.” They hugged each other by his desk. “Much happened while I’ve been away?”

Serena told him about the fire.

“That’s terrible,” he said, concerned. “Have you found somewhere else to live?”

“Jeff’s letting me stay with him until I’ve got somewhere else to go.” She paused. “You don’t mind, do you?” She didn’t know why she said that. It wasn’t as if she and Jeff were any more than friends – were they?

“Of course not,” Drew answered. “Why should I? Jeff’s a great guy. I trust you and I trust him.” Another pause. “Has he told you how he does his weather forecasts yet?” he joked.

“No,” Serena laughed back. “Not yet.”


Serena arrived home that evening to find Jeff sat at his computer, looking puzzled. He barely acknowledged her presence when she arrived.

“What’s up?” she asked.

“There’s something wrong with the system,” Jeff explained. “For some reason all the forecasts are stopping at eight p.m. next Wednesday.”

“How far ahead do your forecasts normally go?” Serena asked.

“Up to a week. So we’re losing almost a day.”

“So for some reason, it’s failing at T+144 hours.”

“No, it’s failing at eight next Wednesday. It’s been doing it all day, no matter what time the forecast started. The maximum lead time’s been getting shorter.”

“Sometimes a second pair of eyes helps” Serena offered, brushing her hair behind her ears..

“No, I’ll figure it out eventually,” he answered, abruptly. He rose from his chair and unlocked the door next to the desk that he had told Serena never to use. Opening the door the minimum amount necessary, he slipped through the gap. Before Serena had chance to follow him, he slammed the door shut and locked it from the other side.


 “I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier,” Jeff apologised, when he reappeared from the room over an hour later. “I know you were trying to help. But I really can’t let anyone else see the code. Not even you, as much as I’d like to show you. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but careless talk costs lives, and all that.” He sat at the laptop again.

“Could it really cost lives in the wrong hands?” Serena asked.

“Maybe. Maybe not. But I know there are plenty of people who could misuse it for their own ends. There’s no knowing what they could do.” He studied the screen again, scrolling it up and down, scanning the code for any irregularities.

“How long have you been trying to fix it?” Serena asked.

Jeff looked at his watch. “About twelve hours,” he stated, matter-of-factly.

Serena could see he was tired. “Take a break from it. Leave it overnight. Tomorrow morning when you’re fresh, you’ll probably figure it out in five minutes.”


The following day was no more successful for Jeff. Still the computer refused to forecast beyond eight pm on Wednesday, and the lead time was getting shorter. By now, Jeff was having to start turning away customers who wanted longer-range forecasts. With each passing day more customers had to be turned away, and Jeff became fearful for his business.


“Sorted it yet?” Serena asked, when she got home on Wednesday evening.

“’Fraid not,” Jeff replied. The bags under his eyes told the story of the sleep he’d lost to worrying about the business, and in trying to find a solution to the problem.

“I’m sure you will,” Serena reassured him. “Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to help?”

Jeff shook his head and said nothing.

“In that case,” Serena stated. “I’m going for a run. Perhaps you should come too. Loosen yourself up. Take your mind off things.”

“I’ve got to fix this,” Jeff answered. “But don’t let me stop you.” Serena rubbed his shoulder.

“Don’t work yourself too hard.”


By the time Serena returned from her run, Jeff had fallen asleep exhausted on the sofa, the laptop on the coffee table in front of him. Serena was about to wake him when she noticed his keys were also on the table. She glanced at the door by the desk. Even when there is only one rule to break, human beings have always felt the need to break it, if only to find out why the rule exists. Serena was no exception. She swept up the keys silently and headed for the door.


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