Chapter Twenty Five

Noni had been run off her feet.  It was always the same when the end of the month coincided with a Thursday.  Thursday was when the weekly magazines were finalised for press the following day and the end of month for the monthly magazine releases.    

Noni was now editing the typesets before running off one of the smaller weekly magazines, it was only a small amount of responsibility and she knew she could do more but it was a small step and she was happy with that.

Actually, Noni felt happy about a lot of things lately.  She was very happy with Billy and had been staying at his place most nights, only going home once a fortnight to give her mum her board and check she was still alive.  It always amazed Noni, that no matter how drunk her mum got she always managed to get home in one piece, never being robbed or worse, and despite having suffered a number of falls when walking home completely plastered, she never broke a bone.  Once she fell down a whole flight of the concrete stairs that led to their flat, but only suffered minor bruises.

It was in one of those states she discovered her mum the previous fortnight and was dreading her visit this evening.

The only other thing that clouded her otherwise happy life was D.I Thompson who continued to dog her, either phoning or calling in on her mother’s place once a week.  This annoyed her mother, no end, but as she didn’t know Billy’s address she couldn’t give it to the D.I and he wouldn’t believe her mum when she told him that Noni was staying at her boyfriends.

Her friendship with Ellie had continued to develop and Noni was meeting her at the usual cafe for lunch today, but it had turned into afternoon tea, as neither of them could get out earlier.

* * *

“Hi Ellie, how are you?” Noni greeted Ellie outside the usual cafe.

“Ok, I guess.  How are you?”

“Good, pretty good.” Noni smiled back but immediately her face fell when she noticed Ellie’s rather grim expression.

“Wow, what’s happened?” Noni asked immediately concerned for her.

“I’ll tell you inside.”

Once they had collected their coffees, they made their way to what had become their familiar table by the window, however, today there were no rays of sunshine, just greyness and constant drizzle hitting the large windows.

“I haven’t been able to get in touch with Kate for the past couple of days!” Ellie began, “I went around her place on Tuesday evening but her mum isn’t too worried and I called D.I Thompson yesterday but he was the same.”

Noni flinched on hearing the D.I’s name.

“Oh, sorry is he still harassing you?” Ellie asked.

“Yeah, he keeps popping in on my mum’s and asking where I am.  She’s pretty sick of it.  I call him after his visits but he still comes around.  I guess I’ll be getting another visit from him today!”

“Oh, where have you been staying?” Ellie asked.

“I’ve been staying at Billy’s.” Noni smiled again, it was difficult for her not to smile when she mentioned his name.

“So things have been going well?”

“Yeah, he is so kind and generous.  He really understands me and doesn’t think I’m a complete nutcase.  He got me to put my name down on the NHS list for a psychologist but the wait time is forever!” Noni added.

“Oh, that’s good.  How have your blackouts been?” Ellie questioned.

“I haven’t had any for the past few weeks. I feel a lot more settled.  I have been given some extra responsibilities at work, they’re pretty happy with me and the guys in the department are great.”

“Well, good for you.” Ellie said, pleased to hear Noni’s good news, a ray of light in the midst of her own worries about Kate and the meeting with Sergio this evening.  When did her evenings with Sergio become meetings instead of dates?

“How’s things with you and Sergio?” Noni asked, as if she were reading her mind.

“Umm, well, I’m meeting with him this evening.  I need to tell him about Mike.”

“Do you, I mean that was a while ago now, surely you can let that go?”

“No, I met him again this week.  It was completely by accident, I went to the opening of Jonnie Agave’s new restaurant with Morgan and he was there.  Apparently he had gone to school with Jonnie!”

“Oh.  Did you, you know?” Noni questioned, embarrassedly.

“Yes, he took me and Morgan home and after dropping Morgan home, walked me to my front door.  He came in for a cuppa and one thing led to another.  I didn’t feel bad the first time but now I feel terrible.”

“Why because you cheated on Sergio?”

“Well, no I don’t feel like I cheated on Sergio, it’s really confusing.” Ellie sighed, “I tried to get Sergio to commit to us, moving on or in together, the other weekend but he is so smooth, says he’s working for us to be comfortable when we finally settle down together.  I knew when he was talking about it, that I didn’t feel the same way, that I didn’t want to work together with him for the same things anymore.  I need to break it off with Sergio as I feel like I’m cheating on Mike!”

“Hmm, it’s never straightforward.  What are you going to say to him?”

“I’m just going to have to tell him I’ve met someone else!”

“Bloody hell, how do you think he’s going to take it?”

“I don’t know.  He is so adamant that we’re made for each other but he doesn’t want to commit to us being together all the time.  I really don’t know?”  Ellie shook her head as she sipped from her latte.

“So what about Kate?” Noni asked, changing the subject.

“I’m not sure, I keep calling her mobile but it just goes to voice mail.  I’ll have to pop around to her mum’s again I guess.”

“It sounds like it’s typical for her to go away for a few days and not tell anyone!”

“Yeah, but I’m worried about the mad person who stabbed her being out there, somewhere!” Ellie persisted, “No-one seems to be concerned, but I can’t let it go.”

“So you have no idea who this person could be?” Noni questioned.

“Nope, Kate won’t divulge anything either.  I was hoping to see her more regularly see if I can help jog her memory, not that she really wanted to do that.”

“Do you think she’s just trying to keep a distance from you?”

“Oh, possibly!” Ellie sniggered, “I hadn’t thought of that!  I’m pretty sure she’d answer her phone and tell me to bugger off, though!”

“God, it could be anyone!”

“Yeah, but you know the last time I saw her with Sergio at the Slow and Easy, she looked really frightened, practically knocked me over in her rush to leave, she was looking over her shoulder at someone.” Ellie said, remembering the Saturday evening, “I wonder if Sergio saw who it was?” Ellie suddenly said.  “I’ll have to ask him tonight!”

“Hmm, good idea.  That way you can start the conversation with something neutral before you have to tell him about Mike.”

Ellie nodded looking at Noni.  She suddenly noticed how Noni looked less drab, her hair shined and she seemed to be fitting her clothes better.  Some people just need the right person in their lives to make them whole, Ellie thought to herself.

“Ok, well I’d better head back, it’s bedlam in the editorial office, and everything seems to be taking me twice as long to get through as I’m having trouble focussing!” Ellie said standing up.

Noni stood up and pecked her on the cheek, “Look after yourself as well, ok?  If you need a hand with anything, editing, copying, you know, call me.”

‘Thanks, Noni.  I will.”

“Let me know how things go tonight, ok?”

“Yep, see you,” and Ellie left the cafe, leaving behind her designer scent.

twenty five

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