“Can you stay?” Helen asked, her question whispered as not to alarm the others. “I need to beg a favour of you.”
Nigel nodded, sipping his brandy as he watched a modicum of calm grace his friend’s frame. Almost nothing she did surprised him now, unlike when their friendship began a few years ago. Back then she’d been so prim and proper he almost fell over when Tesla tried introducing her but she had to take proceedings over when he tripped over his tongue (again).
“What’s all this then?” he finally asked once the others had left.
Helen didn’t quite collapse into her chair, but Nigel winced at the landing. “It's Mother,” she explained.
Nigel glanced up at the ceiling, as if he could see through it to the upper rooms of the large manor house. “Ah. She not doing so well?”
Helen shook her head. “We have days where she’s herself, remembers who Father and I are, but they’re getting fewer and farther between.”
The fire crackled in the grate. “No offence, Helen love, but why are you telling me this? Surely Jim or John would be better?” In the firelight he could just about see in her what ensnared the others. Her eyes sparkled, although there was a grim determination to her chin. “Oh. That’s why.” Nigel might not have been high class-wise, but he knew when someone wanted something less than legal. “What needs pinching?”
She grimaced, whether at his plain-speaking or just the idea of what she was about to ask he didn’t know. “The vial of Source Blood is in Father’s safe. After our experiment, I believe it might hold the key to curing Mother, but it isn’t Father’s usual combination.” Nigel nodded, an action Helen echoed. “I need you to steal it tonight.”
“Bloody nora, you don’t ask for much.”
Sighing, chucking back the last of his brandy (really, he should ask for something better next time, or persuade the others to meet him down the pub), and rubbing his hands, Nigel replied, “Alright love.”