Miles put down the menu when he spotted his lawyer waddling towards him. The lines on his forehead seemed more pronounced, and the pace was definitely slower. Booth Watson was dressed in a well-tailored double-breasted suit that attempted to hide his ample frame, a pale blue shirt and a creased Middle Temple tie. He was carrying a Gladstone bag that looked as if it was permanently attached to his hand.
‘Welcome back, Miles,’ he said as he leant over and shook hands with his most remunerative client, before slumping down into the chair opposite him. He placed the Gladstone bag on the floor by his side.
A few platitudes were exchanged, which neither of them believed, before a waiter appeared. Miles took his time perusing the contents of the large leather-bound menu, not sure where to start. Booth Watson, on the other hand, had selected both his courses and a wine he considered would complement them even before Miles had turned to the second page.
‘I’ll have the sirloin steak, rare,’ said Booth Watson, handing the menu back to the waiter.
‘And for you, sir?’ asked the waiter, turning his attention to Miles.
‘The smoked salmon.’ Another dish that hadn’t found its way to the Scrubs. ‘Bring me up to date on what Hawksby, Warwick and Hogan have been up to in my absence,’ he said once the waiter had departed.
‘Commander Hawksby is still in overall charge of the Royalty Protection squad, while Superintendent Warwick remains his second-in-command.’
‘And Hogan?’ demanded Miles, not hiding the disdain in his voice.
‘Inspector Hogan is no longer Princess Diana’s personal protection officer as the authorities thought they were getting a little too close for comfort, so he’s been transferred back to the Yard.’
‘So what are they all up to?’
‘Today, for example,’ said Booth Watson, ‘the Lord Chamberlain is being driven from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London to pick up the Crown Jewels in preparation for tomorrow’s State Opening of Parliament. Warwick and Hogan are part of the back-up team, and tomorrow they will escort the Crown Jewels back to the Tower, a responsibility they carry out once a year.’
‘As you are clearly so well-informed,’ said Miles, ‘I assume Lamont is still on the payroll?’
‘The retired superintendent is still part of my team, and I can assure you he feels the same way about Warwick and Hogan as you do, so will continue to keep me informed on what those two are up to.’
‘Now I’m back, you can tell him to redouble his efforts. It remains a priority for me to see those two humiliated, and it would be a bonus if you could throw in Hawksby.’
‘Now you’ve returned to London, Miles, don’t you think it might be wise to put all that behind you and keep a low profile?’
‘Not a chance. In fact I’ve thought of little else since Warwick had his say in court. Have you forgotten he was responsible for me ending up in jail? I won’t be satisfied until I’ve repaid the compliment and he finds out what it’s like to be deprived of his freedom. I don’t give a damn what it costs – he and those who were responsible for that must be humiliated.’
‘But I would have thought—’
‘Then you can think again, BW, because I look forward to the day when the Lord Chamberlain escorts them both to the Tower and leaves them there.’
Booth Watson stared at his pay cheque and thought again about trying to change his client’s mind. Then he remembered Faulkner’s face as he’d stood in the dock and realized he wouldn’t rest until he’d had his revenge on Warwick, Hogan, and Hawksby. Nothing Booth Watson could say would change that. He satisfied himself instead with sipping a rare Bordeaux he hadn’t enjoyed for some time.