Chapter Thirty Three

“Hey Mike!  It’s so good to see you.” Ellie said opening the door to Mike and a large bunch of flowers.

“Mmmm, my favourite patient,” Mike said as he put his arm around her waist and pulled her to him, kissing her deeply.

“Wow, well come in.”

“Smells good, what have we got for supper?”  Mike said as he walked into Ellie’s small kitchen to pots bubbling away.  He began opening cupboard doors.

“What are you looking for?” Ellie asked.

“A vase, or vase,” he said pronouncing vase in two ways, “don’t tell me I am the first to buy you flowers?”

“No, keep going, you’ll find in in two doors time!” Ellie laughed as she lifted a pot lid.

“So what have you prepared for us?” Mike asked arranging the cut flowers in the vase he had found.

“Well, I didn’t want to make anything too heavy so I have made a Jonnie Agave recipe, skinny carbonara!  Besides I had everything I needed for it, including the frozen peas.”

“Sounds good, smells delicious,”  Mike placed the vase of flowers on the sideboard in the small lounge area, “can I help with anything?”

“Nope, just about done.”

Ellie began sharing the carbonara onto two plates, “can you carry the wine and glasses to the table?” she called to Mike.

Mike placed the two wine glasses and wine bottle in the middle of the small dining table and pulled out a chair for Ellie.

“Thanks,” Ellie said as she put the bowls of carbonara down and sat on the proffered seat, “let’s make this complete.” Ellie produced a lighter from her pocket and lit the two candles that were placed in the middle.

Mike sat opposite her and twirled some carbonara around his fork.

Ellie watched him surreptitiously through her lowered lids, watching his large hands deftly spin the fork, and then lift the loaded fork to his mouth, his full lips parting.  A dribble of sauce escaped his mouth and he quickly caught it on one of his fingers.

He nervously looked at Ellie and Ellie quickly turned her attention to her food, twisting a small amount of pasta around her fork.

“This tastes fantastic.” Mike said, licking his fingers.

“You can always count on Jonnie Agave to deliver a delicious recipe.”

“You can’t discount the cook, though,” Mike put his fork down  and caught Ellie’s eye, “it takes a certain amount of skill and dedication to make it work.”

Ellie smiled and watched his face, her initial butterflies easing as she watched his expression return to a relaxed look and his tone becoming less anxious.  She reached across the small distance of the table and touched his hand, stroking along one of his fingers.

“I think anything tastes better with you.” She declared.

Mike twisted his fingers around Ellie’s as he looked into her eyes.

+ + +

Noni rounded the corner of Kings Road, the supermarket she had seen Kate in a few months back was now opposite her.

Her head was still in her mother’s stinking council flat, which she had left not 5 minutes earlier.

The flat was in a state, empty wine bottles and spirit bottles scattered the lounge room floor.  Takeaway containers stacked deeply in the crusted sink and the over flowing bin The fridge was an experiment in penicillin and her mother’s bedroom was so deep in clothes and other items strewn across it that the bed had become lost.

At least when Noni lived with her mother the flat had some semblance of order, most things put in their rightful places and her mother was fed at least once a day.

Noni was not able to get any sense from her mother and she begun to worry about whether she should notify authorities of her condition, however, if her mother lost the flat Noni’s life would not be worth living.  The last thing she wanted was to find her mother sleeping rough on the street, and for her to be the cause of it.

Noni sighed audibly as she entered the small supermarket on Kings Road, she scanned the shoppers cruising the aisles, looking for Kate’s long blonde locks.  There was no sign of her. Noni went to the fresh food aisle and picked out a punnet of strawberries.  Billy loved strawberries, Noni thought as she walked toward the checkout, smiling to herself.

Suddenly a slim blonde walked past her, Noni quickly turned her head, ready to call out Kate’s name, but it wasn’t Kate.  Noni quickly turned her gaze to her feet and quickened her pace to the checkout hoping the blonde hadn’t noticed her looking.

+ + +

When she emerged from the supermarket, there were couples everywhere, arms linked talking to each other in the mild summer’s evening.  The outdoor tables of the bars and cafes were all taken by similar looking groups of people, laughing and talking, sipping on tall glasses of exotic looking drinks.

Noni turned into Bywater St, where Kate’s apartment was, it was a short street, of pastel coloured  Edwardian buildings.  Kate’s apartment was in a building half way down the street with a security entry.  Noni knew that if she buzzed Kate’s apartment Kate would not let her in and would probably call DI Thompson, but at least Noni would know she was there and could let Ellie know, on the other hand if Noni waited long enough she could probably get into the building with another tenant returning from work.

Noni decided to wait, it was the end of the working day, it shouldn’t take too long before someone came along to enter the building.

Noni stood not he front step of the building looking at her phone and before long a smartly dressed man in a suit began to climb the stairs to the front door.

Nonie began to speak loudly into her phone, “Yes, I’m just downstairs, ok, um, yes someone has just come up I’ll ask them to let me in, but you need to get the buzzer fixed.”

“Oh you need to get in, no problem,” the young man said, sliding his card into the entry system,  the door clicking unlocked.

“Thanks so much, I’m jut heading up to apartment 4.” Noni said, heading straight up the stairs as the resident checked his letter box. “Yes, I’m in, I’ll see you in a moment.”

Noni put her phone away and went to Kate’s apartment at number 5.  It was closed, fingerprint dust still visible on the door knob and frame.

Noni knocked on the door and waited, listening for any movement inside.

She knocked a second time as the resident who let her in, walked past her and up the steps.

Noni shuffled through her bag again and turned her face away from him.

She washed his feet disappear up the steps and then put her ear to the door, she could not hear anyone moving around inside.

Noni decided that Kate had not been to her apartment since the stabbing, judging by the fingerprint dust on the door knob.

Well she tried, she thought to herself before making her way down the steps again.

Thirty Three

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