After the Bomb

Before the bomb, Vanessa Winters was normal, or as normal as a 22-year-old could be when they’re part of a security detail, for billionaire business woman, Sophie Hudgens.

After the bomb went off things changed. Thrown into a pool of mystery and foul play Vanessa finds herself wound into the plot of something much bigger. Maybe it would have been better to keep her mouth shut, and play along, but she wants to know the truth, whether people want her to find it or not. Along with hasty alliances, mysterious clues and the help of her brother, Toby, can Vanessa really find the truth?

Money means power but it also means problems. Maybe you can hide behind the fame for a while but sooner or later someone can wash that away, and all your left with is the truth.

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Author's note

Updates are probably going to be pretty irregular with this.
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4. Chapter Three

- Chapter Three -

You can never underestimate how imposing it feels when you're shot a million questions about your background. There was some kind of vulnerability about it as the police man, DI Matthews, circled the table, scribbling it all down madly. It felt like he was judging me for my life choices and I couldn't lie about anything so that was even worse. I had some regrettable choices. 

Then the questioning turned into about the bombing. I was determined to prove I did my job properly and there was no way I was connected. 

"Why did you add Harry Baker to the VIP list?" He snapped at me, and I knew he was trying to be intimidating. 

I tried to keep calm as I replied, "Sophie Hudgens told me to." It was true, she had, and if this elusive Harry Baker was going to get me in trouble, then I was certainly going to regret ever letting him through the door of the VIP room. Although I knew I didn't have much of a choice, I couldn't disobey Hudgens at the time.  

"I was going to have him escorted out but, I was told to allow him in," I continued to explain as Matthews was staring harshly at me again. I didn't let my eyes stray from him, I'd only look guilty if I did. 

He threw down a piece of paper on the table. It was the rota of the day I had to type up. 

"Recognise this?" 

I nodded. "I wrote it out and circulated it round the security team." 

"Who else got to see this?" He questioned. 

"The rest of the security team and Sophie Hudgens, no one else," I replied and pulled the rota towards me. Everyone had to memorise it, this was the only paper copy. I looked at the last time on the rota: 4:30  - Escort Sherlock to HQ. Sherlock was code for Sophie Hudgens as SH were the initials of the fictional detective as well as her. I'd thought it was funny when I'd first joined the department, but there was nothing funny about it now. 

"You realise, the bomb was set for 5:30, exactly an hour after you'd left," Matthews told me and he sat down heavily opposite me. I felt my face flush hot. I'd changed the rota time. Originally, we were going to leave at 5:30.  

He noticed the shift in my face and eyed me curiously. 

"It was 5:30 before, we were going to leave at 5:30," I explained why my face looked so shocked. Had my last-minute change of time saved Sophie Hudgens? 

"Why was it changed?" He asked me and he looked kind of excited as he scribbled, thinking he was onto something. 

"I thought it would be easier to get through the traffic before 5, we could get Miss Hudgens back quickly," I explained the truth, because that had been why I had changed it at the last minute. Some of the security team hadn't been happy at receiving a new rota so close to the time but it was only one little change. Many of them didn't feel it was my place to make changes. 

"I suppose that decision makes you a hero," Matthews said, realising what I had, and it almost sounded nice. I could feel my face flush with more colour but I didn't think I was a hero. I still didn't stop the fact that there had been a bomb in that room. 

"There was still a bomb though," I told him my thought and he nodded, his serious expression coming back. 

"What do you know about Harry Baker?" He questioned, returning to his original line of inquiry. Was he a suspect? 

"I don't know who he is," I replied, with a confused expression. "I'd never seen him before today, but it looked like Miss Hudgens knew him." 

The man scribbled again. "What was he like?" I wondered if he knew who Harry Baker was; I surmised that he probably did. 

I shrugged slowly. "He seemed like a wealthy business type." I mean most of Hudgens' business friends were. Despite his humorous attitude he had seemed exactly like all the other VIP's, apart from not being on the list of course. 

"He didn't have a pass though?" 

I shook my head. That's why he was suspicious, he wasn't even supposed to be at the event... and now there had been a bomb. Were the two things connected? 

Once the officer had seemed to exhaust all the questions he could, he told me I could leave. I was still a 'person of interest', after all, I was the one who made changes to the rota and was in charge of who came and went into the room, but I was glad they weren't casting aspersions that I was deeply involved. I definitely wasn't. 

Kirby waved me over when he saw me walk out of the interview room and pulled me down the corridor which I had come from earlier. 

"Vin?" I questioned him but he said nothing, pushing me towards Hudgens' office door. What now? 

I walked through the door and saw Enfield was standing next to Hudgens' desk, which she was still sat up straight behind. They both looked right at me when I entered. 

"What's going on?" I asked them, confused at them summoning me again. Twice in one day was never good.  

"Miss Winters, sit down please," Enfield spoke first and I sat myself in the chair in front of Hudgens' desk. I fiddled with the edge of my pencil skirt nervously; this definitely wasn’t good.  

"Do you know what something like this can do to a company?" Hudgens spoke suddenly and I tried to meet her eyes but they were so dark it was hard not to feel intimidated. 

I remained quiet as she continued to bore holes in me. 

"It looks like my security department had a mishap," she continued. "People won't trust me if my own company can't keep me safe. It will break some of my business connections." 

I knew this but why had she brought me in here to tell me specifically? 

"This isn't the departments fault," I muttered out feeling like I couldn't quite make my words seem important when she was glaring me down. Surely, she should be telling Enfield all this, he was the head of the department after all. 

She said nothing at first, cocking her head to one side and studying my face. 

"You typed up the rota for the day, you were in charge of VIP entrance," she said and somehow, I don't think she was just stating these facts for no reason. "You let in Harry Baker, who was not on this list." 

Because you told me to, I thought in my head but didn't say. Why was she bringing this all up? 

"It makes you look guilty," she replied and I quickly shook my head. No. 

"I only did as I was told." The words rushed out of my mouth and I hated how desperate they sounded. I just didn't want to be called guilty. I was only doing my job as best I could, the bomb was not my fault, in fact I saved her by changing the rota time. Did she know that? 

"Maybe you aren't actually guilty, but not everyone will see it the same way. Especially not the media," she continued and I could feel my eyes stinging but I didn't want to cry. I wouldn't let myself cry in front of them. I wanted to be strong. "They'll eat this up like you're the bad person, like you might be a bomber." 

"I'm not!" I protested quickly and my voice snapped out at her before I could stop it. 

She raised her eyebrows. I knew I shouldn't be talking to her like that but I couldn't help it right now. 

"It's likely you're no such thing but," she paused and tilted her head again as she looked at me and she didn't seem sympathetic at all, "I don't want to seem as though I employ people who could possibly get the company in trouble, or have an employee caught in the media connected to this." 

I couldn't believe this. I felt like I knew where this conversation was heading. Were they just going to chuck me under the bus for this? Blame me for a security mishap? Make me out as some sort of connection to the bomber? 

I had worked so hard for them, I had put everything into this job and now this. They didn't want me. 

I couldn't speak as I stared at her, willing the stinging in my eyes to not continue. I was so close to tears. 

"Enfield and I have decided you'd be better off elsewhere." There it was; tears began to form. 

"I haven't done anything." I wanted to scream it but it came out muffled and pathetic. 

"Please collect your stuff and Kirby will escort you off the premises," Enfield added in. So, Enfield was on board with this to, when he was the one who had interviewed me to start with, he was the one who chose me? Now they were just cutting me off. 

I couldn't take this, I turned on my heel and flung the door open. Kirby was waiting for me on the other side and opened his mouth to speak but I didn't want to hear it. 

"Shut up." I stormed off. I couldn't believe this was happening. 

This was all Harry Baker's fault. If I'd never let him in, maybe this wouldn't have happened; but Hudgens told me to let him in, so why was I being punished for following what she said? It was like they needed someone to blame, and they'd chosen me. I was so insignificant to them that I could take the fall for the security mishap, when I shouldn't. 

This wasn't my fault. 

As I slammed the door of my car shut I tried to bite back the tears. That job was everything to me and now it was gone. I reached for a tissue from my pocket when I felt the cream card touch my hand. I pulled it out, angrily. 

I punched the number into my phone and listened to it ring. He picked up and his voice expelled into my ear, "Hello, Harry Baker speaking." 

"It's Vanessa Winters," I spat into the phone. "The girl you got fired for letting you in." 

He seemed taken aback, breathing in air quickly. I was so angry, I blamed it on him.  

"I don't know who you are or what you've done, but I've been sacked because I let you in that room. Get me my job back!" I shouted into the phone and hung up. 

Harry Baker needed to pay. I didn't care how he cleared my name but I wanted my job back. 

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