A week later…..
Allie had argued her point for an hour with Bea who really didn't want to let her go, Allie had tried to point out that the sooner she packed the remainder of her things up at Franky's the sooner she she could move in. Not that Bea was convinced by that argument at all, as she pointed out most of her clothes had found their way to her house already so what could she actually have left there. The second part of her argument Bea couldn't really deny was true, she did have to tell Franky that she was moving out but she couldn't understand why she had to do it today of all days, it was Saturday afternoon and Bea had planned on the three of them spending the whole weekend together.
“I haven't even told Franky I'm leaving yet.”
“So leave it until next week.”
“And we'll have this same conversation again then, it's one night, I'll be at Franky's for one more night, you can cope without me here for one night.”
“I guess.” Bea frowned.
“You know the whole point of moving in means I actually have to move out of Franky's, if I don't actually move out properly how can we say I moved in?”
Bea couldn't argue with that logic, and she knew she was being clingy, but she really didn't want to spend the night without her. She found that actually laughable, how could she have changed from a person who wanted nothing more than to live alone, just her and Debbie, to a person who didn't want to spend a second longer than she had to without Allie there.
“Sorry…it's not like one of us isn't going to have to travel again we both know that's on the cards.”
“Yeah, I heard a rumour that they need someone in Sydney in a couple of weeks, not a place I want to go anytime soon.”
“Yeah, there's an investment conference or something, Will usually finds an excuse not to go and Fletch takes his place.”
An hour later Allie had let Franky know that she would be on her way over soon, not that she wanted to give anything away over the phone, she hadn't been back to Franky's for a week and hadn't seen her much, an irregularity on an old account had caused a major headache for Franky because she'd been dealing with all the anticipated legal fallout that it might cause. It was the only irregularity that had been found in anything that Sonia had been involved with but it looked remarkably like what Joan had pulled off, all be it on a much larger scale, and Franky was trying hard to cover them on the legal side from every possible angle.
After walking into the house she eventually found Franky slumped over the kitchen table laptop sat in front of her and a pile of papers spread out across the table.
“Has the illustrious Francesca Doyle not worked everything out yet?”
“Hmmmm.” Franky hummed. “Can't help but think I'm missing something….you're the financial genius round here wanna help a girl out?” She glanced over at Allie looking completely drained.
“I think genius is a bit strong, but I do know finance well enough, what's the problem?”
“Take a look at this, I can't see any discrepancies.” Franky turned her laptop so Allie could see the screen.
Allie sat down and pulled the laptop closer to her scanning the screen something jumped out at her, nothing huge but she saw it, continuing to look down the document there it was again only on a different account.
“Franky I hate to tell you this, the discrepancies are barely noticeable to the untrained eye but as far as I've got there's about seventy thousand dollars missing already, thought they were going to hire a forensic accountant to go over all this.”
“Can't start until Monday can he, said he's in high demand because he's the best there is.” She rolled her eyes.
“Then you need to leave this alone, these are Wills accounts and only a few years old, I know Will can't have done this….does the London office have full access to our servers?”
“Would need to ask IT that.”
“Franky as much as I'd love to help you I can't, this is out of my league….and I did come round to talk to you amongst other things.”
“Yeah, guess ya right, so where ya bin all week….wait hang on stupid question right?”
Allie laughed, “Just a little.”
“Ya stayin or is this just a flyin visit?”
“Thought I'd stay the night if that's ok with you but if you're expecting Bridget I'll just do what I've got to do and leave you to it.”
“Na, she's been having a bit of a bad week, said she needs some alone time, don't know how she does her job sometimes…so do tell you seem…I don't know, like you have something on ya mind so spill.”
“Later, put your feet up and I'll order in.”
“Great pizza and a movie, bout time you agreed to watch girls trip with me.”
“Think I'll just have the pizza, how many times do I have to tell you I prefer movies that are a little more intellectually stimulating? “
“Fine! The man who knew infinity it is then, ya really have been spending way too much time with Red ya know.”
Allie settled herself down on the sofa, Franky always lost when they were choosing a movie to watch and Allie figured that she secretly always enjoy whatever they watched not that Franky would ever admit to it. Franky finally sat herself down beside Allie actually finding herself wondering why she was even there, she'd expected to be alone for the whole day trying to figure out a spreadsheet that Allie had deciphered seconds after looking at it.
“Hand over the remote Novak.”
“No not happening Doyle, last time I did that ya made me sit through Baywatch, I'm not falling for that again.”
“Yeah, the way I remember it ya slept through most of it!”
“And you're never going to let me forget it are ya?”
“Nope.” Franky grinned.
Halfway through the movie that they both finally agreed on Franky was distracted by her phone, grinning from ear to ear when Allie glance at her.
“And who may I asked has got you smiling like that? As if I couldn't guess.”
“Oh ya know, just a friend.”
“Yeah, I'm your friend and I hope you never grin at your phone like that when I text you.”
Franky spun around to look at Allie a look of pure disbelief etched on her face.
“Red asked ya to move in? Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously, what's wrong with that?”
Allies phone chiming indicating a text message grabbed her attention, expecting it to be Bea she pulled it out of her pocket and groaned internally when she saw Jess’s name. Sitting down she opened the message not expecting to read what she did.
I know you won't believe me and honestly I don't expect you to but I need you to know that I'm leaving Sydney, for good. I may travel for a while, something you always wanted to do and I always stopped you. The house is yours anyway so I needed to let you know that you'll need to arrange to sell it or rent it out, whatever you decide. I won't try and contact you again, I'm changing my number and will delete yours after I send this. I'm sorry for what I did to you, you deserved better than that, better than me, and from what I've heard you've found who makes you happy! I was wrong and I screwed it up, I always knew you didn't trust me, I gave you no reason to and if I'm honest I never really trusted myself, I've done things I'm not proud of but I want you to be happy, that was all I ever wanted.
Allie read and reread the message, something told her that she couldn't believe a word she said, how could she? Jess had lied so many times in the past and after reading the message again she was pretty sure that something she had suspected had been true weather she admitted to it or not.
“I'm guessing that's not Red?”
Allie slowly shook her head holding her phone out for Franky to take. Reading the whole text once then twice Franky was of the same opinion as Allie, Franky had never trusted anything Jess had ever said. She'd always been convinced that Jess had cheated on her, she'd never raised those suspicions with Allie not wanting to hurt her feelings or cause an argument with her but something told her that she was half heartedly finally admitting it. Handing Allie her phone back she placed her hand on her shoulder giving it a reassuring squeeze.
“Ya gonna show Red?”
Allie nodded, “I have to…she's left me alone for weeks, I thought she'd given up and now I get this, not sure if what she's saying is true and I'm not planning on going to find out either.”
“We'll work something out, ya still got friends back there ain't ya, could get someone to check it out.”
“I guess.” Allie sighed. “I didn't want the house so if it's really true I'm guessing I'll have to sell it, I don't want to hang onto anything that she was part of.”
“Hey come on….todays meant to be a good day yeah? The first day of the rest of your life with Red right?”
“Yeah.” Allie smiled, what did it matter right then that Jess was trying to get under her skin again, when she left Franky's she was going home to be with the two people who meant the most to her in the world, she just wished she could have got to this point in her life sooner, that she could have saved Bea from going through over two years of hell at the hands of Harry but she couldn't turn back time no matter how much she wished she could and her main priority now was making sure that Bea knew just how much she loved her, how much she always had and always would love her.
After breakfast she packed the last of her things and put her bags in her car after telling Franky that she'd catch up with her at work the next day she left. Pulling up into the drive it was still a little early but she didn't care, she wasn't going to disturb anyone as she quietly let herself into the house surprised when Debbie came bounding out of the kitchen closely followed by Bea.
“Hungry?” Bea asked with a bright smile.
“Not really, Franky made me eat already but why are you both up so early?”
“Debs going over to spend the day with Booms, so trust me when she gets back she'll be bouncing off the walls because Booms will let her eat junk all day.”
Once Debbie had left with Boomer Allie was quieter than usual, she wanted to tell Bea about the text message but wasn't sure how to, after quietly debating with herself she pulled out her phone opened the message and handed her phone over telling her to read it. Just like Franky had Bea had to read it twice not sure herself if after everything she was saying was the truth.
“Are you going to go back to Sydney?”
“Not unless I can find out if it's true and she's gone, and even then I'm not sure I want to go anywhere near that house again.”
She knew she still had a few friends left who might possibly go over to the house and find out once and for all if Jess was telling the truth, but if she was still there there was every chance that she would cause a scene and that was the last thing she wanted. Picking up her phone she sent a text receiving a reply within five minutes.
“Sorted.” She announced as she walked into the kitchen.
Bea turned around, “I knew you'd think of something, so what's the plan?”
“My solicitor, well she's more of a friend really, Simon told me she was the best conveyancing solicitor in all of Sydney when I was buying the house and well I'll put it this way it wasn't my first choice but she saved me from a nightmare and we became really good friends. So Michelle has agreed to go over to the house, funny I forgot I left a spare key with her after a rough patch with Jess and she still has it, says she'll go over tomorrow after work.”
It was late the next day when Michelle finally left her office, as eager as she was to get home she had made Allie a promise to find out if Jess was still at the house. Pulling up right in front she glanced out of the window, it all seemed to be in darkness and there was no car parked in the driveway. Getting out of the car she checked that she had the key before making her way to the front door and knocking, getting no response she knocked again when a neighbour across the street called out to her.
“If you're looking for Jess she's not been here for two weeks and I've not seen Allie for for a long time.”
Michelle walked down the drive when she saw the man crossing the street. “Allies in Melbourne she asked me to check on the house, Jess isn't here?”
“Last I saw of her she putting stuff in her car, that was, well I guess a little over two weeks ago, not seen any sign of life since then.”
She thanked him and made her way back to the door, retrieving the key she opened the door and stepped inside, flicking on the light in the hallway she was shocked when she saw the mess that was already laid out before her. She hadn't asked Allie that morning when she'd called her to go into details so all she knew was that Allie had split up with Jess and moved to Melbourne when she'd been offered the job at Liberty Brown, looking around it was obvious that something more had happened.
Making her way through the house she knew Allie would never have left the place in the state it was in and when she noticed dry blood on a wall in the living room she could only try to guess what must have happened before Allie left, the thought made her blood boil. She'd agreed with Franky that Jess was completely wrong for Allie and had gone into great detail on a number of occasions explaining her reasons why they shouldn't be together but Allie had never agreed and just said it was a rough patch and they'd get through it.
Standing in the middle of the kitchen that Michelle had decided looked like a bomb site on steroids she placed a call to Allie wanted to let her know that Jess had in fact left the house all be it left the place in the worst state possible. Allie was still at work, going over more recent accounts with Will on the hunt for any more discrepancies, they may have a forensic accountant working on it but Allie wanted to help and like she had said two heads were always better than one when Will and Matt had both said they wanted to help. Hearing the news that Jess had been gone for a couple of weeks did surprise Allie, the news about the state of the place hadn't not really but it still annoyed her, Jess was never the most tidy person in the world and really she should have guessed that after what had happened she wouldn't have cleaned the place up. Michelle said she would organise a professional cleaning crew to clean the place up after Allie had told her what she needed from the house. Not that she wanted a great deal, after hearing everything all she wanted were the suitcases that were still apparently right were she had left them the night she had left.
“Everything alright Allie? You look a little pale.” Will asked as she placed her phone back down on the desk.
“Yeah, just a friend…she going to help me sell my house back in Sydney only it appears to have been left in a bit of a mess.”
Will nodded, Franky had told him that things had ended badly with her ex and even though she'd not gone into detail Will hated to think that anyone could or would ever treat Allie badly.
“Kaz was wondering, well she suggested that maybe you and Bea could have dinner with us one evening? If you want to that is.”
Allie sat back in her seat, it had been so long since she lost contact with Kaz thanks to Jess and she wasn't sure if she wanted to face her questioning. “I'll have to ask Bea first before I agree to anything, we have Debbie to think of.” She glanced at the time. “Shit, I better get out of here before they both come looking for me, I said I'd only be here an extra hour.”
Will dropped Allie off at home after she realised her car was at home, her and Bea had decided that it there was no point them going in separate cars but now Allie was starting to rethink that, right now there was a lot going on and if she was going to end up staying late she'd rather not have to rely on other people to get home. Walking into the house she kicked off her shoes, hearing Bea laughing she hoped that her late arrival home wasn't going to cause an argument, she'd only meant to stay an extra hour and that had turned into three, she always got caught up and lost track of time when she was working on something important.
Shrugging her jacket off she didn't realise Bea was right there until she turned around, slipping straight into her waiting arms, in that moment she was sure that time didn't even exist, it was like having no time and all the time in the world, the best feeling in the world was melting into to her arms as their lips met.
“I kept your dinner warm…you are hungry aren't you?”
“Starving!” Allie smiled, “I'm really sorry I'm late, lost track of time like I always do.”
“I figured as much…come on you need to eat and you look tired.” Taking her by the hand she led her through to the kitchen as Debbie followed them through a few minutes later sitting next to Allie.
“I thought you'd forgotten where you lived, I told mum she should call Franky and ask if you'd gone back there.”
“No kiddo, I was just busy and wasn't paying attention to the time.”
“Hmmm…mum said you do that too, I hope you're not going to keep doing that.”
“I'll try not to.”
“Good because mums useless at geography.” She giggled as she got up saying she was going to bed.
Allie was not happy when she was informed that her and Will would be attending a conference in Sydney for three days, the director had returned later than expected and had thrown them both in at the deep end. She was glad she wasn't going to be there alone because part of her wasn't convinced that Jess had left Sydney, leaving the house didn't mean that she had gone altogether. Michelle had already let her know that the house had been cleaned up and put up for sale as she had requested and she expected a quick sale since it was in a great area.
The day before they were due to leave for the conference Allie was sitting in her office when she received a call letting her know that an offer had been made on the house, she accepted it straight away when she was told that it was a cash buyer she asked that all the paperwork be sent through to Michelle.
“That can still take 30 days before the paperwork is complete, could mean another trip back to Sydney.” Bea sighed as she sat and looked out of the window while they ate lunch.
“That's usually the case I know but Michelle reckons the buyer wants the house pretty bad, they even offered above the asking price, no idea why?”
“Then we better keep our fingers crossed that your friend can work miracles.”
“She's pretty good at her job, but you're right I don't want to have to make another trip to Sydney if it can be avoided, not unless you can come with me.”
“Not sure that would be possible anytime soon not with everything that's going on. The detectives from the fraud investigation squad are going to be interviewing everyone at the office who worked there while Sonia was there.”
Bea was relieved that she'd never had a great deal to do with Sonia unlike Will and this conference couldn't really have come at a worse time for him, he had a lot to worry about and absolutely no answers to the questions that he knew he was going to be asked when he returned to work. Nothing that had been uncovered so far was looking good for him and he didn't even seem to know who he could trust anymore, going to a conference was the last thing he wanted to do, the only thing that lightened his mood a little was that Allie would be the one going with him, Allie could always lift his mood even if it were only for five minutes.
Allie really didn't want to get out of bed the next morning, it was way too early, she hadn't even left the house and part of her already missed Bea. She was trying to convince herself that three days would fly by even though she knew that they wouldn't, every conference she'd ever been to had been boring and time had dragged.
The flight hadn't been as bad as she'd expected, falling asleep twenty minutes into it had helped, arriving at the hotel they were staying at still half asleep wasn't such a great thing when she knew that they had a full day of listening to other people talk she thought that there was every possibility that she might just fall asleep again. Will seemed wide awake and ready to get on with the day ahead and Allie couldn't understand that, he'd had to get up just as early as she had, he didn't fall asleep on the flight yet he was already to get on with it.
Sitting in the conference room Will nudged her, “You don't have to stay all day.” He whispered, Allie turned to look at him puzzled. “Bea told me you had things to sort out with the sale of the house, if you need to go and get things organised.”
“I might take you up on that.”
“So go, get out of here, no point in us both being bored, by the time we get home you'll know everything I know.”
She really was glad to be getting out of there, she did have a couple of things she needed to take care of while she was there, the first thing on her mind though was calling Bea, the morning had been crazy and she'd not found the time to call, the texts they'd sent each other after they landed just weren't enough anymore, it had only been a few hours but she missed her voice, missed just knowing that there were only two floors between their offices when they were at work. She knew that Bea had no meetings planned for that morning so as soon as she got back to her hotel room she took a chance that hopefully she wouldn't be too busy to talk to her, even if it was only for a couple of minutes, a couple of minutes were better than nothing at all.