Perjury by Proxy
James Bellamy has been to hell and back. Accused of a crime he didn't commit, he fights tooth and nail to prove his innocence. In desperation, he turns to the services of G.Baxter and Co, private investigators and is shocked by what they discover. A vengeful, jealous woman, whom James only met briefly, is prepared for her own daughter to commit perjury if it means he ends up in jail.
James was looking for a secretary, someone capable of keeping his appointments diary up to date, sorting the mail, answering the phone.
He had inherited a thriving business—import and export of fashion footwear—from his father, and up until recently he had seen to everything himself. Now, at the age of 38, he thought it was about time he afforded himself the luxury of a secretary.
He’d placed an ad in the Nottingham evening post: Wanted male or female willing to work irregular hours, pay negotiable. He received a couple of replies that looked promising the day following.
The sun was shining in through the office window. Sat behind his desk on a comfortable chair, James Bellingham leaned back and waited impatiently for the first person he had invited for an interview to arrive. He had a lot on today and couldn’t afford to waste time.
He glanced at his wristwatch; the applicant was already fifteen minutes late. Not a good start, he mused.
He got to his feet, strolled over to the window and looked out. His personal parking space was empty, his BMW was at the garage being serviced.
Ten minutes later there was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” he barked.
The girl who walked in had dark shoulder-length hair, blue eyes and a trim figure. She was also disturbingly beautiful.
James tore his eyes away from her, told her to take a seat and asked if she had brought her CV with her.
“I didn’t think I needed one,” she said in a husky voice.
“Well, I am afraid you do,” he said. “I would like to know what experience you’ve had as a secretary.”
The girl teased her tongue round her bottom lip. “Oh, I’ve had plenty of experience, but not as a secretary,” she said.
James was shocked at the girl’s behaviour. “Just how old are you?” he asked.
“Old enough,” she whispered.
James had seen and heard enough. He got up from his desk and walked over to where she was sitting. “I’m sure you realise, Miss Wells, that you are not the only person who has applied for this post, but thank you for coming anyway.”
The girl looked shocked. “Are you saying I haven’t got the job?” she said, wide-eyed.
“Yes, I’m afraid I am,” he said. “But you are young, pretty, and I am sure you won’t have any trouble finding suitable employment elsewhere.”
What happened next was something James hadn’t been expecting. The girl buried her face in her hands and started crying, sobbing. He passed her a tissue, told her to dry her eyes.
“What on earth is going on?”
James spun round, so taken up with the situation he found himself in, he hadn’t heard his wife walk into the office. “Thank goodness you’re here,” he said. “I’ve just told this girl she hasn’t got the job, and she’s upset. Can you calm her down?”
His wife walked over to where the girl was sitting and knelt down by her side. “Just because you have been turned down for this job is not the end of the world,” she soothed.
“That’s not why I’m crying,” sobbed the girl. “It’s him, he’s been touching me up. I begged him to stop it, but he wouldn’t. That’s why I haven’t got the job, isn’t it?”
James couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “You didn’t get the job because you don’t have any qualifications,” he said. “Now get out.” He pointed to the door. “I said get out,” he repeated angrily.
He looked toward his wife for support, and found none forthcoming.
“Surely you don’t believe her,” he mouthed.
“I don’t know what to believe, Jim,” she mouthed back, “but something’s been going on and I’d like to know what it is.”
James shook his head in disbelief. “Apart from me telling the girl she wasn’t suitable, nothing, I repeat nothing, has been going on.” He could feel his temper rising. Here was the woman he had been happily married to for over fifteen years, doubting his word.
He took a deep breath and turned to face the girl. “In case you didn’t hear me the first time, Miss Wells, I said this interview is over.”
“I’m going,” she said raising to her feet, “but I’m telling you, you haven’t heard the last of it.” She banged the door on her way out.
“I can’t believe that just happened, I’m only glad you arrived when you did. Anyway, what are you doing here? I thought you had an appointment at the hairdresser’s this morning.”
His wife stood with her back to him, looking out of the window, watching the girl as she walked away.
“It’s later this morning, actually. I just popped in as I was passing to ask if you would like a lift home later, as your car is in the garage.”
“Yes, please, around five thirty, if it’s convenient.”
“Five thirty it is, then.”
James walked over to where his wife was standing and put his arm around her shoulder. She shook it off.
“I’ve got to go,” she exclaimed, pushing past him. “Traffic is heavy and I don’t want to get caught up in it.”
Left on his own, hands behind his back, James paced the office floor. It is inconceivable, he mused, that my wife could think me capable of paying unwanted attention to any woman. He wasn’t that kind of man, and she should know that.