Ryder had brought down a tray of scrambled eggs for breakfast. Kate quickly searched the contents of the tray for her juice but she couldn’t see the bottle. Her gaze went instinctively to him.
“Don’t worry petal, I’ve got it but we need to talk first and you know.” He winked at her. “Don’t want to miss any opportunities to make some babies do we?”
He handed her the plate of eggs and Kate began to push her food around the plate.
“You need to eat, darling, or you won’t keep your energy up and what about our growing baby inside you?” Ryder put his hand on hers and squeezed. Kate tried to pull her hand away as his grip started to crack her knuckles.
“Now, now, you know I’m only caring for you,” Ryder’s grip became tighter and Kate winced in pain.
“Before you get your juice, there’s something else I want you to do,” Ryder released his grip on Kate’s hand. “I want you to call your mum and tell her you’re fine and that you’re staying at your friend’s place, ok?”
Kate looked up at him as he produced her phone.
“And then you can listen to your phone messages,” he smiled, “see I’m not such a bad guy am I?”
He handed her the phone, “but if you say the wrong thing, well, it won’t be pretty will it?”
Kate nodded taking the phone from Ryder, her hand sore from where he had squeezed it.
“And just to be sure, you’re going to say the right thing, I’ll hold you hand,” he grabbed her hand, pulling her left pinky back, cracking the knuckle, “my dad said this is a useless piece of bone,” he pulled the finger back further, “but it hurts like hell the first few times it’s broken!”
Kate took a deep breath, tears welling in her eyes, he released the pressure and Kate flicked through her phone for her mum’s number and waited patiently while it rang.
“Put it on speaker,” Ryder ordered, bending her finger back again.
Kate did as she was told, the ringing echoing around the basement room.
“Hello, hello, Kate? Where are you? You’re friend, Ellie has been driving us mad! I told her you had just done one of your flings!” Kate’s mum yelled down the phone.
Kate cleared her throat and with a voice that didn’t sound familiar to Kate she said, “I’m ok, I’m at a friend’s place.”
“Well, you could have told someone! Tell that Ellie so she stops bothering us, ok?” Lady Stane said in a more composed voice. “When are you back?”
Kate looked at Ryder, who pulled her finger back again, “I’m nnnot sure,” Kate stammered, trying not to wince out loud as the pain shot up her arm.
“Are you ok? You don’t sound very well Kate?” her mother asked.
A tear rolled down her face and Ryder began to pull her finger back further signalling for her to hang up.
“Yyyes, I’m fine. Had a late night last night and I’m a little hung over.”
“Just like you, life is one party after another. You need to start standing on your own two feet. Well you need to get back soon and sort out your affairs!” Lady Stane said before she hung up, the dial tone reverberating around the small room.
“Good girl,” Ryder smiled as he released her finger.
Kate rubbed it, the knuckle swollen and red, tears streaming down her face.
“Now eat your eggs!”
+ + +
“Hello, Ellie speaking.” Ellie said into her mobile. The caller came up as unknown and Ellie hoped it was someone with more information on Kate.
“Hello Ellie it’s Detective Inspector Thompson. How are you?” The D.I’s voice asked smoothly.
“Oh, I’m fine. How are you? Any news on Kate?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact.”
“Oh really, that’s great.” Ellie exclaimed excitedly.
“Yes, we all agree on that, however, Lady Stane has asked me to give you an unofficial caution on your behaviour. She claims you are harassing her and her family and if it continues she will lay charges against you.” The D.I explained.
“Oh, well I just posted some missing persons posters along her street. I am very concerned for her safety.” Ellie began but D.I Thompson cut her off.
“Kate called this morning, hung over from the sounds of it. She told her mother she was staying at a friend’s house. No apology for not letting anyone know. Lady Stane claims she told her to call you as well, so hopefully you can speak to her yourself.”
“Oh, well that’s good news. Whose place is she at? Ellie stammered.
“She didn’t say, not unusual, apparently. Lady Stane is not concerned nor should you be. If you have any further concerns direct them to me, otherwise just await Kate’s call.”
“Ok, thanks. Well I have a number of concerns, so what time did she call?” Ellie began.
“Not that this is any of your business, but Lady Stane said I could share the information of the call with you. She called at 10am this morning.”
“But that was before Lady Stane saw me. She could have said something.”
“I am not at liberty to talk about Lady Stane’s actions.”
“How long was she on the phone for?” Ellie continued.
“Only a few moments. Apparently she had been out the night before and had a hang over, Kate’s words.”
“Did she say when she would be back?”
“No, she wasn’t sure.” D.I answered briefly.
“Ok, how did she sound?”
“According to Lady Stane she sounded unwell. When asked if the was ok, Kate said she had a hang over.”
“Oh. Alright then.”
“Do you have any further questions?” The D.I asked.
“Umm, not at the moment. I did find out something about the day that Kate went missing from one of the neighbours.”
“Well, Kate isn’t missing, Ellie.”
“No, but it maybe interesting. Apparently she saw Kate walking down the street with her yoga mat and went outside to say hi to her but when she got to her front door, Kate had disappeared and a silver Mercedes was driving away but not with Kate inside.” Ellie gushed.
“Well, that is interesting, however, Kate is not missing. Lady Stane is not concerned and Kate will call you. You can ask her questions then. Now if you are finished, Ellie.”
“Umm, yes, yes. Thank you D.I. Thompson. Ellie said before hanging up.
Ellie sat there for a few moments to take in what he had told her.