The Weatherman

When Serena Frost starts a new job at the British Weather Centre, she learns about a rival company, Readiweather.com, 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.

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9. Chapter Nine

What Serena saw when she opened the door took her completely by surprise. Expecting to see a room full of computers performing countless calculations, she instead found herself looking at the swimming bath itself. Although many of the fittings around the walls had been removed or were in an advanced state of decay, a large glass roof had recently been constructed over the pool area, giving it an airy feel, while the pool itself had been cleaned and returned to a useable state. The water had a reddish sheen, caused, Serena realised, by arrays of flickering red lights below the water level on each side and end of the pool. Why had Jeff banned her from coming in here? she wondered. Didn’t he know she loved swimming? She kicked her trainers off and sat on the edge of the pool, dangling her feet in the water. The temperature was pleasantly warm and inviting. As she was only wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts, Serena pushed herself off the side and into the water.

This was the deep end, she realised, her feet not touching the bottom. Kicking off from the wall, she breast-stroked towards the other end. That was a deep end too, she discovered as she turned and commenced a second length.

 

Jeff could hear splashing as he woke up. Probably Serena taking a shower after her run, he thought, until he noticed his keys were missing from the table. The door by the desk was slightly ajar. That wasn’t how he’d left it. Rising quickly, he ran to the door and tore it open.

 

Serena was in the middle of her fifth length – backstroke this time. “Come on in,” she called when she saw Jeff. “The water’s lovely.”

“Get out of the pool at once!” he bellowed. Serena had never seen him so angry. She swam to the side, where Jeff – now wearing rubber gloves – helped her climb out.

“Did you swallow any?” he asked.

“No,” answered Serena. “Why? It’s just water. Isn’t it?”

“No, Serena,” Jeff answered, still angry. “That pool contains a complex mix of chemicals, some of which are toxic.” Serena was shocked. Toxic chemicals? What was he doing with them in a swimming pool? She was about to say “You should have warned me,” when she realised he had. He’d told her not to go into the room, hadn’t he? He’d kept it securely locked and she’d stolen the key.

“I’m sorry,” she stammered.

“Have a really thorough shower. Leave your things outside the bathroom door and I’ll incinerate them. Then when you’ve showered, pack the rest of your stuff and get out!” he demanded.

Serena realised it was useless to protest. An hour later, her hair still wet, she stood in the living room carrying a large holdall containing her belongings. She looked pleadingly into Jeff’s eyes, hoping he’d change his mind.

“You betrayed my trust,” he glared. “Now get out!”

 

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