Dirty Daddies

Page 14

I pick up my tablet and thumb through my emails, checking my flights again for tomorrow. My schedule is rammed, back to back meetings in London before I fly late evening. I’m seriously considering firing an email off to Tom to get him to take my place at everything when Mike sighs at me.
“Seriously, Jack, what do you think I’m going to do? Elope with her? She’ll be at Rosie and Bill’s for a few days and then I’ll do my best to hook her up through the proper channels.”
“And that’s it? No ridiculous maverick stunt moves? No smuggling her into your apartment?”
He smiles like I’m a crazy man, but he’s the crazy man these past few months. “I’m sure I’ll be able to hold things together until you get back.”
“Fine.” I put my tablet back on standby then finish up my beer. I open the fridge as he finishes his. “Are you having another? A goodbye drink before I head overseas?”
It’s nice to see him relax a little. “As long as you don’t mind an overnight guest.”
I hand him a fresh beer. “When have I ever minded an overnight guest? Stay the whole week if you want, keep an eye on the place.”
That would suit me well enough and he knows it. This place is too big to be empty, not so much in that I’m worried of a burglary attempt, it’s just old. A little rough around the edges. Places like this need to be kept an eye on.
He pulls his keys out of his pocket and my front door key jangles on his keyring. “I’ll make myself at home. Scope out your porn subscriptions on your big screen.”
He’s not even joking and it makes me smile. “Might as well get the best out of them, I pay enough. At least it might keep you out of trouble.”
Somehow I doubt that.
Call it instinct, but there’s a niggle in my gut. Something that tells me I’m walking away from a disaster about to happen.
It eases off a little as we move to the living room and kick back with beers as usual. Talk of Carrie eases up, and it leaves me no reason to red flag my travel plans.
So I keep my schedule intact.
We drink and make the same old in-jokes we’ve always made. We talk through the same old stories we’ve relived a thousand times, and at the end of it all, when it’s past two sensible men’s bedtimes on a work night, we head upstairs and I finish up my packing for Germany.
I’m gone before him in the morning, and I hover one last time on the driveway. I fire off a text before I drive away, one last passing message before he’s on his own for the next ten days.
Don’t do anything bloody crazy.
I just hope he heeds the advice.CarrieI walked for hours before I was too tired to keep going. I wake up feeling groggy, my neck stiff from using my backpack as a pillow. It takes me a second to remember where I am.
I’m in one of the old bike sheds at the back of Lydney Primary School. My arms feel stiff as I stretch them and my feet are like blocks of ice in my crappy boots. I’m starving hungry, too. My belly rumbles the minute I sit up, and I have to fight back the panic as I realise I don’t have either food or money to help fill it back up again.
Part of me wants to go back to Bill and Rosie’s and say sorry. Maybe if I asked kindly enough, maybe if I begged… but there’s no way I’m gonna beg those dicks. No way.
They hate me and I hate them. I can take care of myself, just as my ancestors did.
I get to my feet and shake them out a bit, trying to get back the feeling. I’m not scared of the outdoors, it’s in my blood to belong here. I’m not scared of being alone, either. I’m not scared of anything.
It’s just… I don’t know what it is. I don’t know why one night away from a warm bed makes me feel so weak and small, but it does. I fucking hate that it does.
I take my bottle of water from my backpack and I’m disappointed to find there’s only a couple of sips left. I’ll need to find a tap and fill it up, and then I’m going to need to find something to eat and work out a plan to get out of here.
There’s only one place I can head, and it’s going to take some walking, but I can make it. I’ll need to stay off the main roads in case Bill and Rosie call the cops and tell them I’m missing, but I can’t imagine they care enough to do that.