A Game of Life and Death · Uncategorized · Writing

Chapter 2 Why Family Weddings Should be Avoided

A/N: Apologies that this didn’t go up  last night. My went out to a work do last night and drank to much prosecco (it’s amazing how much pregnancy reduces your ability to drink).

 

Chapter 2

Why Family Weddings Should be Avoided

Family weddings were a particular breed of nightmare.

Although, to be fair on her cousin, this one had been relatively bearable so far. However, this did not prevent the sense of relief that she felt on the day of her return home.

It was the departure of the happy couple the night before that had eventually opened the floodgates. She had been cross-examined for over an hour before dinner about why she was not yet settled down with a husband. Her mother’s ‘helpful input’ of “she’s married to her job” had not stemmed the tide.

It had been a sympathetic female cousin who had let her into the secret that they were placing bets on Cassie getting married next. She had sighed, exasperated.

Cassie could not remember who had made the original comment at dinner. But, in the same vain as the pre-dinner conversation, Cassie traveling independently home seemed to be another hot topic of debate. Cassie’s grandmother was only silenced when her cousin Mohammed offered to accompany her. He said he had business anyway in the UK and his flight was leaving a little later, so he did not mind being a bit early to the airport.

“The taxi’s here!” Cassie’s cousin called from the bottom of the stairs, “Cas are you packed?”

“Coming!”

Cassie checked the guest room one final time, making sure she had not left a stray book under the bed. It would be a while before she returned and she did not feel like giving them an excuse to visit.

After the traditional series of goodbyes were completed, she finally escaped into the taxi.

Her face was creased with worry as she checked her watch again – making sure she had read the time correctly. How was this trip taking so long? Nervously, her eyes flickered back to the watch face, it was already 15 minutes after the time she had originally planned to be at the airport by.

“Is it just me, or is it some sort of ‘National Roadworks Day’?” Cassie inquired, only half joking as she stared at another group of fluorescent jacketed men the car slowly crept by.

There was a small sound of laughter from Mohammed, “don’t worry so much! You’ll be where you need to be on time.”

By the time the pair arrived at the airport, Cassie was seriously regretting accepting the offered lift. Upon arriving through the departure entrance, her eyes quickly located the nearest flight information screen.

Her heart sank like a rock in a mineshaft.

“I’ve missed check in…” she moaned, realising the possibility of making it home today was starting to slip through her fingers.

“Cassie I am so sorry, I really did not thing that journey would take us so long,” Mohammed had materialised back into her field of vision and was offering her a coffee, “Look, it’s my fault and I will get it sorted.”

Gratefully, she accepted the coffee. It would be nice not to have to worry about paying a horrendous amount of money to replace her non-fundable ticket.

Pulling her phone from her pocket, she figured she had better get in contact with Novel. Otherwise the cat would go unfed and she did not want to have to deal with a grumpy fur ball when she arrived back in the UK.

The phone’s screen flashed into life and a poorly taken picture of the aforementioned cat stared back at her. After deciding that the price of an international call would be higher than her month’s rent (or at least her electricity bill), she made the decision to text her boss.

Missed booked flight home. Organising alternative. Will update you when I know more. Can you feed the furball tonight please?

Cassie knew that Novel could be depended on to be annoyed. It had been hard enough to book the original required number of days off for this trip. God forbid anyone had lives outside the office!

Her eventual return to the office later in the week would then be met with an annoyed glare for the inconvenience she had caused him.

Mohammed’s return interrupted her thoughts.

“The earliest ticket to England is in three days. However, I have managed to get us on a flight to Northern Ireland. It leaves from here in 3 hours’ time and so I’ve got our bags all checked in,” he explained quickly, gesturing her to follow him towards the security and passport control areas of the airport, “I am sorry you know. I know you wanted to get home on time.”

“Thanks for sorting it out,” Cassie replied with a smile, “you managed to get the family off my back yesterday because of the offer. I think that more than makes up for this!”

They shared a mutual chuckle.

“If you’re interested, there will be about 7-8 hours before we’re able to get a connecting flight out. The woman at the desk advised that it might just be quicker to hop on a ferry. So I left booking the transfer flight for now.”

“That makes sense,” Cassie replied, “It will be fun to have of a bit of a sightseeing if we’re having an unplanned delay there.”

They made their journey to duty free relatively successfully and they quickly found somewhere to eat. About half-way through the meal, Mohammed disappeared for a long while to the loo. She used this opportunity to check her phone.

There was a message, and it was from Novel.

The cat will be fed. What is your flight number?

With a couple of clicks, she had armed Novel with the ability to stalk her for the next few hours. Hopefully that should keep him happy and at least the cat would get fed….

“I phoned ahead,” Mohammed explained, noticing Cassie had spotted a sign with his name on, “A business associate of mine owed me a favour. He agreed to pick us up as I have to discuss a potential project with him anyway, saves trying to get a Skype call to connect.”

“That makes sense. If I could beg that we locate coffee before we leave the airport though please? I could really do with caffeine being injected directly into my bloodstream – but an espresso will suffice.”

The pair headed towards the awaiting blur of signs and faces. Mohammed steered them towards his name – which was being held by a smartly dressed man who was tall and has slowly thinning dark brown hair.

“I’m Steven,” introduced the stranger, “sorry to hear about your flight troubles and many thanks for allowing me to take some time out of your day so that I may speak with your cousin.”

“It’s no trouble,” she replied, shaking the offered hand.

“There is a cafe truck just by the taxi rank,” suggested Mohammed, pointing in the required direction before pulling out a rumpled 20 from his pocket, “do you mind grabbing 2 white coffees and what-ever you need while we load the car please?”

She looked to Steven, who nodded in agreement to the suggested coffee order and she headed over the source of her next caffeine hit.

“Have you managed to sort out a connecting flight?” Cassie inquired as they headed towards a smart black Mercedes, trying not to spill the 3 slightly overfilled cardboard cups of steaming coffee.

“I said to your cousin that my secretary would organise the next stage of your trip while we’re in out meeting. I’m a frequent flyer and we get remarkable deals – she’ll ensure you’re comfortable for the rest of your trip.”

Their drive from the airport entailed a road that appeared to skirt around the nearby city. Around an hour later – Cassie could not be completely certain as she had dozed off in the back seat of the car for a large portion of the journey – the trio arrived at a rather bland industrial estate. They stopped in the car park of what appeared to be one of the cleaner buildings.

After Mohammed’s sensible suggestion that she would be comfortable in the office than waiting in the car, Cassie followed the two men into the building. She was led into a spacious office reception area on the ground floor. It was an open plan space and the majority of the walls surrounding the room were glass rather than brick.

After her two companions left her to conduct their meeting, Cassie took the opportunity to study the only other soul in the room.

 

The only permanent fixture within this reception space seemed to be the receptionist. Her action of handing Cassie a cup of coffee scented water in a thin polystyrene cup was the only clue that she was not an innominate object.

As Cassie attempted to consume the ‘coffee’ without wincing, she watched the other woman out of the corner of her eye. After a long span of staring at the computer monitor, the woman shredded some paper – which Cassie was pretty sure was blank – before resuming the staring contest with the computer.

Even the phone was not appearing to be busy – it had not made a sound since Cassie had arrive.

Feeling bored, Cassie pulled out her phone to give Novel an update. No signal. She would have to get back in contact once she was back in the car.

“Do you know how long they’ll be in the meeting?”

The woman almost looked startled for a second – apparently she had forgotten that Cassie was still there. After holding up a quick finger to gesture her to wait, she made a quick call and spoke briefly before responding.

“They think they might be some time yet, can I get you another cup of coffee?”

Knowing that some caffeine was better than no caffeine, Cassie agreed and another cup was passed in her direction.

Instead of the desired buzz of caffeine, she started to gradually feel more tired.

“What is this? Decaf?” She joked as he peripheral vision slowly started to cloud.

That was when the panic quickly set in…. what the hell was going on? Cassie attempted to stand. Maybe, if she could run…

Any option to escape quickly was removed as her legs gave way beneath her. The door that she had used to enter gave a slight squeak as it opened and an unknown man came through.

Her vision slowly began to return to her and she tried to move her arms and legs. However, she quickly found that this option was impossible.

Cassie’s hands were secured behind her back and her legs beneath her.

“You’re awake,” the voice was sourced to her right, just out of her line of sight, “you’ll be pleased to know that your cousin has left you in my tender care.”

“Why the hell has he done that for?” she was started to feel an odd mixed of pissed off and scared.

“I’ve been made aware that you are currently romantically involved with one man known as ‘Novel’. We have crossed swords in the past and I wanted to show him what it feels like to be left rotting in a cell.”

If the situation had not been so serious, Cassie would have laughed. She had never known Novel to be romantically involved with anybody. Ever.

“Your sources are talking shit. If you’ve been paying for your intelligence, well I would be looking at a refund…”

A tall, balding white man in an off – the – rack suit stepped within her vision. There was a rather dangerous looking scowl on his face.

“Your cousin seemed to have the impression that you were engaged to be married the copper.”

“I can promise you that I am currently free and single – with no hope of a husband in the near future. But no, that is not a desperate plea for you to offer,” Cassie responded with a chuckle. If she was engaged to anyone then at least her family would leave her alone for 5 minutes and lose interest.

Without warning, Cassie felt a sharp scratch in the back of the neck.

Aurthors note: That’s all from me! Please feel free to share 🙂

Love to you all and happy knitting!

MrsKirstyHoll

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