“Hi, Mike.” Ellie said as she opened the door.
It was 11:30pm and Ellie had sat up, her mobile phone with her at all times waiting for both Kate to call and Mike to arrive.
“Sorry it’s so late. I had a last minute emergency, some drunk hit by a car, broken leg in three places and head injury.” Mike said wearily, giving Ellie a kiss. “How are you?”
“Ok, come in and sit down, I’ll tell you over supper.”
“Oh, you’ve had some more information?” Mike asked.
“Yes, but I’m not sure it’s all good.”
Ellie put the antipasto platter she had prepared, for supper, on the table and opened a bottle of red wine.
Once they were seated around her tiny dining table she began to tell Mike about the call with D.I Thompson and how Kate was to call her but hadn’t yet.
“Well, that’s good news. At least we know Kate’s not lying in a ditch somewhere, dying over the weekend.” Mike offered.
Ellie gave him a sharp look and then relaxed, “Yes, I know you’re right. I just wish she would call me so I can speak to her myself.”
“You don’t think Lady Stane spoke to Kate?” Mike asked.
“Of course she did, she knows her daughter’s voice, but I just have so many questions, and then I need to tell her how pissed off I am with her.”
“Well, why don’t we just relax for the rest of the night. Have a glass of wine, turn off your mobile and spend some time not talking about Kate?” Mike asked.
Ellie gave him another sharp look and then nodded. She knew he was right. They had become a couple because of Kate and now they spent most of their time talking about Kate.
Ellie sighed. “Ok, I guess I can relax knowing she’s not dying in a ditch somewhere. But I can’t turn my phone off, is that ok, we’ll compromise?”
+ + +
Kate paced the room. Ryder had left the room once they had breakfast and returned with some sandwiches for lunch. He spoke about them having babies again and Kate felt like she was losing her mind.
She considered her options, remembering how she was determined to stay strong, but felt hopeless. It was incredulous to think that Kate was kept prisoner in the middle of London, perhaps only a few miles from her family home. And that she was in danger of losing her life if she didn’t do as she was told, in fact no one knew where she was and now that he had made her call her mother, no one would be out looking for her.
Kate began to scratch at her arm again. She looked at the itchy spot and noticed she had worn away the skin. Her cravings were not as strong but Ryder had also reduced the medication he was giving her to stave them off.
The door opened and Ryder entered a tray of food for dinner.
“Hello my lover.”
Kate mustered a smile and searched for the bottle of her medication.
“Don’t worry lover I’ll bring it down with desert. I am sorry to say, though, that I won’t be staying for dinner. I have a prior engagement.” Ryder smiled. “Speaking of which, I think we should get engaged. I will get you a ring next week. Then you can tell your mother all about it.”
Kate shivered and smiled at him again, scratching her arm.
“How about we call that Ellie friend of yours tomorrow? I noticed she put some missing persons posters up around the town, nosy busy body. I bet your mother told her what for!” Ryder said placing the tray onto the bed.
“I think one more week down here and then we might let you into the rest of the house.” Ryder said giving Kate a quick peck before leaving the room.
Kate stared at the door he had just closed. She wasn’t hungry, she just needed her medication.
+ + +
“Hey Ryder, good to see you. You’ve been lying low over the past couple of weeks. Easing back into things then?” A tall blonde man greeted Ryder at the bar of the Slow and Easy.
“Hi Phil,” Ryder said, shaking his hand heartily, “yeah don’t want to rush things. Besides have a missus now, so need to make sure we spend some quality time together.”
“Oh, wow, you got married?”
“No, not yet. Actually I’m going to propose to her next week. No she’s moved in with me so we’re just seeing how things go, but I think we’re ready for the next step. She’s pretty keen to have kids, you know how they get with their biological clocks.” Ryder said.
“Yeah, women. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them!” Phil said, “what are you drinking?”
“Just a pint of lager, where are the others?”
“They’ll be here shortly. We’ll have a quick meal and then off to RJN’s. You’ll have to behave if you’ve got yourself a missus.” Phil replied.
“Oh, you know. What happens on a lads’ night out, stays on a lads’ night out.” Ryder winked at Phil and took a sip of his lager.
+ + +
Ryder had not returned after dinner as he had promised, the night before, with her medication. Kate had paced most of the night, the scratches on her arms deeper and bleeding. She felt like there were spiders crawling under her skin.
It was daylight when Ryder emerged with a tray of food and her medication. He didn’t look his usual self, looking equally tired.
Kate lunged for her medication, gulping it down.
“Oh my dear. I forgot. Don’t worry you’ll be fine shortly.” Ryder cooed. “I was so excited about a lads’ night out I forgot to come back down with it. I hope you can forgive me?”
Kate looked at him pointedly. Her thoughts were still jumbled but she felt indignant that he was out on the town whilst she was being held prisoner in his basement her withdrawal symptoms at their worst.
“Oh, don’t look at me like that. At least you had night off,” Ryder continued, “I met a lovely red head, not as good as you but you know, if things don’t work out, between you and I, I am quite a catch.”
Kate closed her eyes, wishing for the medication to work faster.
“Now before you go to sleep I need you to listen to your messages and then call that meddling Ellie, along with your mum. Don’t tell her our exciting news yet, wait until I get the ring. Give us a few more days to see if we’re going to work out, ok. There are so many more fish in the sea.”
Ryder sat down on the bed next to Kate rubbing her scratched arms.
“We need to get you off this junk though. I think the only way is cold turkey now. We need to get a move on with our family, after all your biological clock is ticking. Tick, tock.”
Kate looked at him, wanting to hit him with all her strength but she knew that would be pointless, she would come off worse or even dead. She nodded her head and turned to face him.
“Oh, Kate. You are a state aren’t you?” Ryder said looking at her drawn face and the dark rings around her eyes. “Look, eat something and then we’ll call your mother and that meddling friend, that’ll make you feel better?”