All the cheer and bluster left the lad. White could see him positively deflate at the news. He rested his elbows on the table and buried his face in his hands. “She's gone? Just like that? I only saw her yesterday.”
“I'm sorry lad.” White reached across the table to pat Percival's arm. “I can see it's a bit of a shock to you.” He wondered if there were any female officers in the building. Acton, perhaps, or Wilde. He's had the training course in breaking the news of the death of a loved one and had been the bearer of such bad tidings several times in the course of his career but he didn't like it. Even now, after thirty years on the force he was at a loss. He couldn't just tell the lad to pull himself together. It was a shock for him.
Percival moved his hands away from his face. His eyes were red-rimmed, his complexion splotchy with grief. “How did she die?”
“Er...” White racked his brains. All he had in front of him was 'Mother: deceased' but he generally kept an eye on what happened in his manor. He cast his mind back to nineteen ninety-four, mentally reviewing the papers and police reports until the tidbit of information was revealed. A photo of a sorrowful woman holding a picture of the lad in front of him and the headline 'Mother of missing youth loses battle with cancer.' “Cancer. I'm sorry, son.”
“Where's she buried?”
“I don't know. I'll find out for you.”
White stood, relieved to be released from the duty of minder to an upset teenager. He opened the door and spoke to the constable. “Take the lad to a cell for the rest of the night, would you? Go easy on him. He's just found out his mother's dead.”