“Hey, Kate. Call me back or just text me! I’m worried about you! What happened to you last night, not that I’m worried about you standing me up! I just want to know you’re ok!” Ellie said to Kate’s voicemail. It was the third message she had left since the night before. Ellie was at her desk at Pelican publishing, surrounded by mounds of paper and books.
“Hey Kate, how’s the pitch going with Gregory James’ new book?” Morgan asked over the intercom.
“Not bad,” Ellie responded, putting her mobile down.
“Ok, can you bring it in here? I want to iron out a few points.”
“Yeah, no worries.” Ellie said, standing up with her iPad.
* * *
“Hey how are you?” Morgan asked Ellie as she entered her office.
“Ok, I guess.” Ellie looked at Morgan who had gained her usual colour and vigour after yesterday’s hangover.
“I’m a bit worried about Kate!” Ellie responded.
“Oh the friend that was stabbed? How is she?” Morgan queried.
“Well, she’s recovered from the stabbing but she was supposed to meet me at Yoga last night and I haven’t been able to get in touch with her!” Ellie said sitting in one of the chairs across from Morgan’s desk.
“Is that unusual for her?”
“No. Yes! Well, I’m worried because the police claim she was stabbed intentionally and she must know her attacker, and they haven’t got a clue who it was! In the meantime Kate is flitting around town like nothing has happened. Now she’s gone missing!”
“Hmmm, sounds like a classic head in the sand job.” Morgan said, “It’s a bit early for missing persons, I suppose you’ve tried her place?”
“No, well yes. She’s staying at her mum’s and I left a voicemail with her but she hasn’t called back. I’ll drop by this evening.”
“Good idea. If she’s not there, I’m sure her mum will be concerned as well and will go to the police.”
“I’m not so sure that Lady Stane will be worried!”
“Oh, one of those parents!” Morgan nodded.
Look, I’m sorry you’ve got this worry, but we need to iron out some these fine points on the Gregory James account.”
Yep, no worries,” Ellie said, logging into her iPad.
* * *
Ellie listened to her voicemail from Mike a second time, “Hey Ellie, just your friendly doctor checking up on his patient. Was wondering if you were free for a home visit, with some nourishing Chinese takeaway?”
Ellie pressed replay again. There was something about his voice and the way he spoke, she could hear his smile which he seemed to wear all the time. She smiled to herself as she called him back.
“Hello my favourite patient. How are you doing?”
“Oh, good. So you up for a home visit and some Chinese takeaway tonight?” Mike’s voice purred on the phone.
“Well, I still need to sort things out with Sergio, you know, it’s complicated.”
“Oh, Mr Complicated. So I will need to re-schedule your appointment?” Mike his voice sounding less than pleased.
“Yeah, sorry. I will sort it out but at the moment I’m really worried about Kate.”
“Oh, what’s up with Kate?”
“Well, I don’t know. She was supposed to meet me for Yoga last night and didn’t show. I’ve tried to call her but no answer!”
“Oh, have you called her place?”
“I called her mum and left a voicemail, but she hasn’t returned my call.”
“Yeah, I can see you’d be worried. Let me know if you want me to do anything. Actually, I’ll check the hospital records nearby, see if there have been any admittances that fit her description. I’ll let you know if I find anything, but I’m sure she’s ok.” Mike said.
“Hey, thanks. I feel like I’m overreacting!”
“No, you just care about her, and in the circumstances it’s not surprising.”
* * *
“Hi, Lady Stane. Sorry to bother you but I was wondering if you had heard from Kate since last night?” Ellie stood in the spacious marble entry foyer of the Stane’s house. She had spoken to the butler who had said Kate wasn’t in and reluctantly went to get Lady Stane for Ellie.
“Look my dear, it is not unusual for Kate to disappear for a few weeks at a time. I really wouldn’t be worried. She may have moved back to that hovel she lives in, she has been giving us a hell of a time here!”
“Oh, ok. But aren’t you worried about her safety after the stabbing incident?”
“Look, I don’t need some hanger on friend of Kate’s to tell me how to care for my daughter. When I am concerned about her safety I will call the police. And I am not concerned. Thank you very much Elsie!” And with that Lady Stane turned and walked away.
“It’s Ellie.” Ellie muttered as she turned to leave as well.
“Excuse me, miss.”
Ellie turned to see the butler from earlier.
“Hi, I’m going now!” Ellie informed him.
“No, miss, I just wanted to tell you that one of the maids saw her leaving with her yoga mat yesterday evening. She was expecting her to return last night but her bed hasn’t been slept in.”
“Oh, ok. Have you mentioned this to Lady Stane?”
“Ah, no. We don’t speak to Lady Stane unless she speaks to us!” the butler whispered.
“Ok. Thanks.” Ellie said, not sure what to do with the information.
* * *
“Wake up sleepy head!” Ryder called cheerfully carefully balancing a cup of tea on a small tray along with a few slices of hot buttered toast. “Time for breakfast!”
Kate’s eyes flickered open, the bright light momentarily blinding her as she tried to raise an arm to cover her eyes, only to discover her arms were restrained. She tried to sit up but her restraints pulled her back. Her eyes focussed on Ryder and she began to recall some of the events from the previous evening.
“Don’t worry, love. I’ll help you out, I know you’re not feeling yourself at the moment.”
Ryder perched himself on the edge of the bed, avoiding her restraints, he dribbled some tea into her mouth and Kate hungrily lapped it up.
“There you go! See, I know what’s best for you. After breakfast I will help you to the toilet, but that’s all for you today.” Ryder cooed to her.
Kate continued to lap up the tea as Ryder dribbled it into her mouth, her mind too foggy to think much beyond the fact she was hungry and thirsty.
* * *