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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3. Chapter Two

- Chapter Two -

The drive home took longer than it should have as cars all crammed into the roads to rush out of the city. It had been a long day and I was pleased my shift ended, but hitting the traffic wasn’t my favourite. That was the problem with living on the outskirts of the city, it was like they didn’t want you to leave, you had to stay in the centre as long as possible. I supposed it was my own fault for driving at rush hour. 

I was tired and annoyed as I finally parked up into the driveway in front of my small house. It was a beachy stone colour, with white rimmed windows that shook whenever you slammed doors too hard. It was run down but it was cheaper than a tiny flat in the city itself. 

I hung my coat up on the way through the door, shouting, "I'm back!" 

There came some kind of sound from the living room which I knew was my brother Toby, but he didn't run to greet me as though my return was the most exciting thing in the world. I doubted anyone would do that for me. 

Toby was 19 and he didn’t seem as interested in me as he'd once been when we were kids. I think he was just sour about having to live with his sister rather than have his own place. I couldn't really blame him. 

I flung my bag on the kitchen table and went into the small living room. 

"How was your day?" I asked him but he didn't look up. He was sprawled out on the arm chair, legs long and lanky in front of him. 

“Alright.” His reply was muffled as he leaned on his arm watching the TV, transfixed but looking bored all at the same time. He was like this a lot now a days. 

Even though he hadn’t asked me, I told him that my day was pretty boring and I was glad to be home. I couldn’t tell him details of course, I wasn’t allowed, but he didn’t appear to be listening much anyway.  

We weren't far apart in age, I was 22, but I always felt much more responsible than him. It seemed like my job to look after him as best I could. 

“I’ll make dinner,” I announced and he did a half grunt, nod thing before I left the room. I crossed the hall to the kitchen, finding my phone was vibrating from my bag. How convenient of it to wait till I had entered, I thought; I almost laughed.  

I pulled it out to see Vincent Kirby flashing on the screen. I frowned as I answered the call and held it to my ear. 

"You have to come to the office." 

"What?" I was confused. 

I could barely hear him over the background noise. "Hudgens needs you in." 

"But, I," I tried to speak but Kirby cut across me again, breathing heavily into the receiver like he had been running. 

"It's bad, Vanessa. Look at the news," he told me and I ran to the other room, snatching the remote from Toby. He grumbled at me but I didn't care as I flicked the channels over. There was a reporter in front of a partly destroyed building. I felt my heart in my throat as I recognised it as the conference building I had been in hours before. 

'Bomb in VIP Conference Room' the moving title at the bottom of the screen read. 

"Kirby, I don't... What happened?" I could hardly speak. 

"Just get into the office, you're needed!" 

Without any more words, he'd hung up and I was rushing back to the kitchen to grab my bag. I stumbled as I ran to the door, shouting, "there's pizza in the freezer," to Toby before I slammed the door. I clambered into my car, reversing out of the drive so fast the wheels skidded a little.  

This was bad. This was 100% not good, but I knew that Hudgens was safe. I'd escorted her myself back to her office. She hadn't been in the VIP room when it had blown up, I was sure of it; but this was still bad. Hudgens company had been occupying the building only an hour before this explosion and that meant it was infallibly connected. 

I swore as I narrowly missed a red light. I beeped my horn angrily every time someone got in my way. I knew I hated it when people did that to me but I forgave myself for it as this was an emergency. 

I'd hardly taken a breath as I parked up into the car park, running towards the building. I slapped my card against the card reader and hated how slow the automated doors opened. Once I could get through I took the stairs, going as fast as possible, short sharp breaths expelling from my mouth. The corridor was bustling with noise and people as I reached the top but I didn't allow myself time to stop and speak to anyone. Kirby said Hudgens wanted me in her office. 

I ran to the door, knocked briskly and it was opened straight away as though they'd been waiting. Bob Enfield, head of Hudgens's security detail, was the one who had opened it and he jerked his head into the room. I stepped in, focusing on Sophie Hudgens who was looking perplexed as she sat behind her desk. Her huge eye brows were arched and her dark golden hair looked a little more frizzy than usual. 

I tried to catch my breath but I couldn't quite make my words come out calmly. "W-What happened?" 

"Possible attempt at assassination, they're calling it," Hudgens told me as she didn't look at me, just blankly ahead, with her large dark eyes. "You need to be questioned." 

"Questioned?" I queried and there was a certain amount of fear in my voice. I had nothing to do with this bomb. 

"The police are here, Winters," she told me and I couldn't meet her eyes. Why was I going to be questioned? 

I said nothing so she continued. "You were in charge of the time plan for the day, were you not?" 

I nodded. 

"And checking the VIP names?" 

I nodded again. 

I knew this meant I needed to be questioned. I was too connected to the event not to be. 

"This way then," Enfield said behind me and he had reopened the door. I took one last look at Sophie before I left the room. She was looking unnaturally calm for someone who had just said that the bomb might have been an assassination attempt, her assassination attempt.  

"Is everyone being questioned?" I asked as we made our way further down the corridor. 

"Yes," Enfield replied simply without any additional information. He was always very blunt. 

We came to an opening in the corridor which lead to a bigger room with desks and computers. Instead of it being used for its proper function, people were sitting or leaning against the tables, waiting for their name to be called by the officer at the back of the room. I strained my eyes to see the interview rooms being used by the police, no doubt for questioning. 

I joined the huddle of confused and anxious employees. Some of these people weren't on the security team and weren't at the conference. I guess they at least had to question everyone for information, cover all areas of what might have been behind this bombing. 

It was as though 'guilty' was written on my forehead as people kept flitting their eyes over me and muttering to each other. It was discomforting. 

Kirby soon came pushing through to meet me and I hoped he would explain why people kept staring. There was sweat on his forehead and I'd never seen him look so panicked. 

"Vin," I breathed out as he reached me, "what's going on?" I wanted to know more. 

He leaned against a desk behind him, wiping his forehead and then he met my eyes. I raised my eyebrows but he didn't say anything. I had to refrain from snapping at him, maybe he just needed some time to compose himself. 

Vincent Kirby had joined the company at a similar time to me and he was a similar age, except everyone respected him a lot more than they did me. Maybe it was his glittering degree in Criminology or maybe it was the pure fact that he looked like he could crush anyone with his grey, harsh eyes. 

"It's all a big cock up," he finally spoke, coming closer towards me. His voice was hushed. "The security department is being blamed." 

We were in charge of keeping Sophie Hudgens safe, I didn't see how it was our fault that a bomb went off after we left. Nobody was hurt. 

"We checked the room thoroughly," I muttered back at him. "I don't understand this." 

He nodded in agreement, lowering his voice even more. "That's the thing, they're saying it's an inside job." 

That explained the stares.

Curiosity crinkled through my brow as I thought about it. Did that mean someone in the security department did this? I didn't see who would do. Everyone was vigorously background checked for criminal actions before employed and totally trustworthy, or so I thought. Maybe there was someone on our team who wasn't quite what they seemed. 

I looked up at Kirby again and he was studying my face. "What?" I asked. 

He shook his head and looked away. "Nothing." 

I frowned again and poked his arm. "I can tell when you're lying." 

He almost laughed and shrugged again. "It's just all a bit hard to believe. If we'd left later, we could have been blown up to. I'm a bit relieved really." 

I shuddered, trying not to think too much about it as I folded my arms across my chest.  

They couldn't blame this on our department, could they? We were supposed to be the security team, not the people who placed bombs and blew up places in our wake. That was almost what it seemed like right now. 

"Vanessa Winters." 

My eyes flew up when I heard my name yelled across the room. It was my turn. 

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