The New House by Tess Stimson

The New House by Tess Stimson

Author:Tess Stimson [Stimson, Tess]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published: 2022-06-07T17:00:00+00:00

chapter 36


The malware I introduced into Felix’s laptop when I was in his office isn’t particularly sophisticated, but it works. A tech expert like Tom would spot the Trojan horse in a nanosecond: there’s a slight but perceptible delay when webpages load and a small icon in the corner of the screen that’s a dead giveaway.

But Felix isn’t looking for it. He’s clearly far too preoccupied: he’s spent the weekend scrolling through a variety of stock market indices and updates, opening multiple windows on his desktop and shuttling back and forth between them. Thanks to the virus I uploaded, I’ve been able to watch his every move on my own computer.

I close my laptop and run upstairs to find Meddie. ‘I’m just going out for a run,’ I say, putting my head around her bedroom door. ‘You all right on your own for a couple of hours?’

She pulls one of her AirPods out. ‘Where’s The Freak?’

‘Don’t call him that. Your father’s taken him to the 9/11 Memorial Exhibition in Earl’s Court. They’ll be back later this afternoon.’

Meddie grimaces as she plugs her AirPod back in. ‘Gross. I bet he gets off on it.’

She’s probably right.

It takes me less than twenty minutes to run to the Glass House. It appears deserted – the blinds are down, and there are no signs of life. But I know Felix is in there: when I check the malware feed on my phone, I see he’s still active on his computer. Stacey’s staying with her friend in Exeter, so I know he’s on his own.

I ring the doorbell, but Felix doesn’t come to the door. I give it a few minutes, and try again.

Still nothing. I walk around the side of the house to Felix’s office. The blinds are down there, too, and even when I press my face to the glass and cup my hands around my eyes, it’s impossible to see inside.

I bang on the window. ‘Felix! I know you’re in there!’

No response.

‘We need to talk,’ I shout. ‘I’m not going anywhere till you open the door.’

This time, I hear movement and the scrape of his chair on the expensive bamboo flooring. I return to the front of the house, and, a few moments later, the heavy glass door opens.

Felix looks like he hasn’t bathed or slept in a week. He’s sporting at least two days’ worth of grey stubble, and he must have lost ten pounds since I saw him at the Hurlingham Club just seven days ago. The blades of his cheekbones are so sharp they could cut glass.

‘Why are you here?’ he asks wearily.

‘Take a wild guess.’

He sighs, and then steps back with an exaggerated flourish. ‘You know the way.’

I head upstairs to the kitchen. It looks exactly as you’d expect the kitchen of a man whose wife has left him to look, down to the pizza boxes littering the kitchen island and the plates and dirty coffee cups piled haphazardly in the sink.

I seat myself at one of the


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