Chapter 12 of my work-in-progress novel, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Visit https://lunasonline.wordpress.com/wip-novel/ to read from the start.
Much later Lucy was awoken by the bright morning light shining through the open curtains. She sat up and looked over at Pierre who was staring up at the ceiling. He turned his head and smiled.
“‘Hey, sleepy head,” he said, reaching for her hand and caressing her fingers.
“You went somewhere last night,” Lucy murmured.
“I had to pop out. I brought back a surprise for you.” He let go of her hand and leant over the edge of the bed. He plucked the leather case from the floor and laid it on the bed beside Lucy. “Let’s see what we have in here,” he said as he sprung the catches. He opened the case and took out a document holder and a large, fat envelope. “Well, go on, have a look.”
Lucy picked up the folder and leafed through the contents, her eyes widening. She looked at Pierre. “You’re going to the Isle of Man?”
“We’re going to the Isle of Man,” Pierre emphasised. “Look it’s all arranged. Ferry tickets, hotel reservations and…” he picked up the envelope and opened it. “A whole stack of cash,” he announced triumphantly.
“Oh, but…” Lucy hesitated.
“No buts, my beautiful Lucy, it’ll be fun.” Pierre paused and looked up at her with his large brown eyes. “Come on, what d’you say? It’s just a couple of days… and we’ll be able to really get to know each other.” He watched her frown and then as she stroked the ruby, her expression changed.
“I say…yes. Yes, I want to go. I really want to go,” she laughed. “Why not?”
“Right, well, first things first, let’s get some breakfast.”
Lucy was frowning again. “But where did all this come from?” she asked, pointing at the case.
“I have contacts.” Pierre touched his finger to the side of his nose.
“In the middle of the night?”
“Hey, don’t worry about it.”
“Well, okay, fine.” Lucy shrugged.
Pierre was already on the bedside phone ordering half the breakfast menu from room service. Lucy threw back the sheets and padded over to the bathroom. “…and we’ll be staying another night…” she heard Pierre say as she closed the door behind her.
Lucy removed her necklace before stepping into the shower. She closed her eyes and let the hot water cascade over her shoulders. As she reached for the shower gel she stopped. What have I got myself into? Those men…? She finished showering abruptly and flung one of the thick, fluffy bathrobes around herself. Lucy wiped her hand over the steamed up surface of the mirror and stared at her reflection. Everything had happened so fast. She noticed a dark bruise on her wrist and remembered how she had felled one of their attackers. She shuddered. Suddenly, Lucy was full of doubt and alarm. Heart pounding, she gripped the edge of the wash basin tightly, trying to calm down.
The bathroom door opened and Pierre’s face appeared behind hers. He picked up the necklace and held it around Lucy’s neck. A beam of sunlight from the bathroom window fell on the ruby. Its reflection glowed in the mirror bathing both their faces in a warm red glow. Lucy smiled. All her worries melted away. She felt Pierre pressing himself against her.
There was a knock at the door. “Room service,” a man’s voice called from the corridor. Pierre let go of the necklace and grabbing the other bathrobe, bounded to the door. Lucy pulled her robe tightly around her, tucking the necklace into the pocket, and followed him back into the bedroom.
Pierre opened the door to find a large, balding man beaming at him from behind a laden trolley. “Breakfast is served, sir,” he announced, wheeling the trolley over to the table by the window. “I’m Harold by the way,” he said as he busied himself laying the table for them. Table laid, he paused with his hand on the trolley ready to go and looked deliberately at Pierre. Pierre strode across the room and opened the bedroom door. Harold tutted loudly as he wheeled the trolley into the corridor.
Pierre closed the door and joined Lucy at the table. “I think he was expecting a tip,” Lucy said as he sat down.
Pierre shrugged. “I leave him something later,” he rubbed his hands together then picked up his knife and fork. “Well, let’s dig in.”
Lucy hadn’t realised how hungry she was until her breakfast was in front of her. Pierre was the same, judging by the speed at which he was putting his food away. As they ate in silence, Lucy’s mind started to race and she lost her appetite. She put her knife and fork down and pushed her plate away.
“Pierre,” Lucy hesitated.
Pierre looked up. “What’s the matter?”
“I’m just…I don’t know…those men last night. The one I hit, I don’t know what got into me. All that blood on the floor. What if I killed him?”
Pierre stood up and walked around the table. He crouched down beside her. “We were running for our lives Lucy.”
“But why, Pierre? You said they were following you. Who are they?”
“Come and sit by me,” he took Lucy’s hand and together they went and sat on the bed.
“One of them said they were after the necklace?” Lucy’s hand went to her neck.
Pierre turned to her and took both of her hands in his. “Lucy, from the first moment I met you I knew you were special.” He took a deep breath. “And now I need to tell you the truth.” Or some of it, he thought to himself. “Those men work for someone I’ve done a bit of business with now and then. Your necklace…and it is yours…I gave it to you,” he looked at her earnestly before continuing. “I originally got it for him, but when I met you I knew it should be yours.”
“So he wants it back?” Lucy freed her hand from Pierre’s and took the necklace out of the pocket of her bathrobe.
“Listen, Lucy. I gave it to you and I want you to keep it. It’s special. And I told Chan…that’s his name…that I’d get him something else. I have people working on that now,” he finished grandly.
Lucy looked at the glowing ruby, at how it caught the light and how the six-pointed star moved over its surface when she tilted it. “You could give it back to him?”
“No way,” Pierre said, taking the necklace from her and fastening it around her neck. “I told you, it’ll be sorted by the time we get back from the Isle of Man, we just have to lie low until tomorrow. In any case, I’m sure we’ve lost them by now.”
Lucy stroked the stone, feeling less anxious. “This Mr. Chan, he knows you.”
“Sure, but he doesn’t know where to find me. And now we’re going away.”
Lucy frowned. “I’ll need to go home and get some stuff.”
“No need. I’m going to take you shopping.”
“But Pierre, nothing’s open on a Sunday. Besides, you just said we should lie low.”
“That’s where the tunnels come in handy. Come on, get dressed,” he said, pulling her to her feet.
Ten minutes later they were outside the door to their room. Pierre had put most of the contents of the leather case in the safe. Lucy had wondered whether she should put the necklace in there too, but had decided to wear it after all. She was overdressed anyway, not that anyone was going to see them, Pierre had assured her.
Hand in hand they made their way to the foyer. A whole crowd of people were checking out so no-one noticed them as they ducked through the side door into the bar beyond. As Pierre and Lucy disappeared into the tunnels, a Chinese gentleman approached Harold in the busy foyer. He said something before tucking a five pound note into Harold’s top pocket.
©2018 Chris Hall
Go to Chapter 13