Swan made the call to Spencer. As always his tone was brisk and sharp.
“Is it done, are they are there?”
“Yes Sir, Laura, Stacey and the Dad. They’re all here.”
“Good, then I’ll arrange everything for tomorrow morning. Be here sharp at 07.30 and bring that waster Lucas with you. All the family should be here as well, by that I mean Wife and Daughter, not sure if we want the religious lunatic but if he wants to come then we can’t stop him. Everyone here at 07.30 understand?”
For some reason Spencer found himself standing to attention.
“Yes Sir, I’ll make sure it happens.”
Spencer thought the conversation was over and was about to hang up when he heard the Commanders voice once again. This time it was softer.
“One thing before you go, how is he? How’s he coping?”
“Okay Sir, it’s a shock of course, for everyone, but he seems to be holding up okay.”
Swan put down the phone. They were on the eve of breaking a huge news story so everything had to be perfect. The papers were full of horrific images of the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean and reports were coming in saying that up to a quarter of a million people could have been killed. By comparison the Ray Samuels case was nothing, but he knew that the tabloids would love the mystery surrounding it and would make it headline news. He was sure that one of them would be offering a tidy sum of money for the exclusive Ray Samuels story.
He thought about the set up. Ray should be sitting between his wife and daughter. Then Spencer and Lucas either side of the women. Spencer would do the talking and then Ray would answer any questions. Thirty minutes maximum, that’s it. Then he’s on his own. Spencer should say that the investigation as to where Samuels has been all these years is ongoing, but the facts are quite simple. He went missing and now he’s been found.
He picked up the phone again.
“Home Secretary, I’ve arranged the press conference for tomorrow, everything is in place my end, his close family will attend,
There was a pause as he listened. Then he added.
“Thank you Sir.”
Spencer was in room 41; Ray was in 37, Lucas in 43, Eddie Samuels in 44 and the two women in 42. All together, all safe.
Laura and Ray were left alone so they could talk privately. Laura felt uncomfortable, she knew it was her Ray but she also felt as though she was sitting alone with a stranger. She was struggling to find the right words.
“Ray this is all such a shock. I don’t know where to start. I waited, waited for 15 years then I met someone, his name is Jim, I’m so sorry Ray.”
He held her hand and spoke quietly.
“It’s Okay. I understand, I’d have done the same thing in your situation, life moves on, it has to.”
She looked at him and shook her head.
“I just don’t understand how you’ve not aged. I have, bloody hell look at me, I’m fifty three years old. Old enough to be your Mum.”
They both laughed, shared the joke. But both knew that it was more than that, they were coming to terms with reality. They knew it could never be the same as it was before. Laura spoke quietly.
“My mum and Dad both died within a year of each other, six years ago now, Dad with Cancer then Mum just sort of gave up, died in her sleep, you know about your Mum don’t you?”
“Yeh, Dad told me. I kind of expected she would be the first to go, Dad was always so strong and has such will power, he seems indestructible. But Mum was always the weak one, always in and out of hospital even when I was around, so no, no surprise.”
Laura changed the subject.
“Stacey has grown into a fine looking woman, she’s bright, bubbly, good at everything she does, bit like you Ray, don’t you think?”
“She certainly is a stunner, just like her Mum!”
They smiled and hugged each other. They stayed that way until they eventually fell asleep in each other’s arms.
Stacey was in her room with her Granddad, they’d gone to the pub and got two bottles of wine, they were half way through their second.
“What will happen now Granddad?”
“That’s up to your Dad, sweetheart.”
“But what will he do, where will he live, he can’t go back with Mum. She’s with Jim now.”
“He can live with me, I’ve got a big house, only me there, so plenty of room. He’s got to make his own way now love, don’t worry about your Dad he’s a born leader. He’ll become a household name soon. You mark my words.”
Stacey gave him a look. She wasn’t sure what he meant.
“But how Granddad, how will he do that?”
“Darling, your Dad is special. How else can you explain what has happened? He’s been gone for more than twenty years, but has returned to us, THE SAME MAN, its Gods work, it has to be.”
Stacey was sceptical.
“Granddad, I know you have your beliefs, that’s fine, but surely there has to be another explanation?”
“Like what? Didn’t you hear about about the vision I had before your Dad was born?”
Now Stacey was intrigued.
Eddie recounted the story of his vision and the words that he heard, Stacey was looking at him in disbelief.
“So what you’re really saying is that my Dad is some kind of prophet?”
“More than that Stacey, much more, in the words of the twentieth Psalm, he was brought down and fallen, but now he has risen, and stands upright, let us all hear the King when he speaks.”