They bundle into the dimly lit hallway of the apartment building and slowly climbed the stairs to Billy’s first floor flat, Mike supporting Ellie as she cried relentlessly into Mike’s jacket.
“I can’t believe this has happened here, I’m so sorry.” Noni said, unlocking her front door.
The light from the apartment fell on Ellie’s pale, tear streaked face, as Billy comes to greet them.
“What happened?” Billy asked, shocked.
Noni repeated what she had said downstairs, “second bag grab in two months, I don’t think so!”
Billy looked from Noni to Ellie,
“I’ll make you a cup of tea.” He said, moving to the kitchen area.
“Look, I think we’d better go. I agree with Noni, two bag snatches in as many months is suspicious. I don’t think we’re safe here.” Mike said tersely.
“Well have a cuppa anyway, who know’s when you’ll get another, and it’ll help to calm Ellie’s nerves.” Billy insisted.
“Who is this person that has Kate?” Ellie suddenly cried out, her face wet with tears. “How can they know where we are and what we’re doing?”
Billy returned with two hot mugs, placing them on the small table in front of the lounge.
“I’m calling D.I Thompson.” Mike said, pulling his phone out of his pocket, “then I’ll call us a cab, we’ll head down to your parents’ place now.” He said walking to the kitchenette.
+ + +
“Hi, I’d like to talk to D.I Thompson, please……. Oh, I see, yes this is an emergency.” Mike paused looking around the small kitchenette and then looked beyond to the sitting area where Noni had her arm around Ellie’s shoulders.
He considered the recent events and wondered if he was overreacting, how could anyone know where they were going to be, unless… He looked at Noni and Billy.
“Oh! Hi, D.I. Thompson. Yes, we’ve had another attempted bag snatch, however, again they didn’t get anything…… At Kings Cross….. as we were getting out of the cab…… I don’t feel safe, not for Ellie, we’re going to head to her parents’ place this evening. Now!” Mike shifted uneasily, watching Noni with Ellie. Ellie had calmed, and their eyes met, Mike nodded and gave a little smile. “Yes, it’s in Doddington, Kent…. Okay, thanks, bye.”
+ + +
Everyone watched Mike expectantly as he walked toward them smiling wanly.
“Well, Thompson is going to send an officer around, he’s going to question you and any one else that witnessed the event.” Mike sighed, “but that’s all he can do based on the facts. I told him we’re going to your mum and dad’s tonight.”
Ellie nodded, “I think I’d feel a lot safer there.”
“We’ll get a cab from the station. If anyone’s watching us they’ll know we’ve left.”
Ellie’s eyes filled with tears as she finished her tea and rose, “bye, Noni, Billy,” she said giving each of them a quick hug.
“You’ll be safe. I’ll see you in a couple of days, once this has blown over.” Noni said, forcing a weak smile.
Ellie nodded and took Mike’s hand and their bags as they walked down the steps they had only just ascended.
+ + +
“I’m so worried for them,” Noni said, picking up the dirty mugs and taking them to the kitchenette. Noni, looked at Billy who had sat down, his head in his hands, she took her mobile from her pocket, pressing a saved number and speaking in a hushed and hurried voice.
Billy came in with his empty mug, “Who are you calling?” Billy asked putting his cup on the sink.
Noni put her hand over the speaker, “I have some friends at the estate, one of the hoodies looked familiar, just checking a hunch.” She replied. “I’m ringing one of mum’s neighbours to see if it was him.” Noni returned to her conversation, speaking a little louder this time, “so how’s Marge? … “Oh yeah, I thought I saw her boy round here, just a few minutes ago…..”
Billy tilted his head, listening to the one sided conversation.
“Yeah, look we had an attempted bag snatch just now….. No I’m not saying it was him…… It looked like Rona’s lad, you know, Aidan. I know he was mixing with that gang a little while back. Do you think it could have been him?…… No, he didn’t get anything but gave my friend quite a scare. It’s just I don’t think it was random, I think someone put him up to it…… Is there anyway you could find out? Perhaps Rona, knows something?” Noni looked at Billy’s ashen face as she listened. “Yeah, I’d really appreciate it, sooner too. We’re pretty worried here….. Thanks love, I really appreciate it. Give my love to Geoff, we’ll have to catch up soon.”
Noni put her phone back in her pocket and moved to Billy.
“He looked familiar?” Billy asked.
“Yeah, vaguely. I got a good look at his face, he looks a little older than the last time I saw him but his pock marked face is hard to forget.” Noni said, leaning on the kitchen counter beside Billy.
“This is really messed up.” He said shaking his head as Noni took his hand.
“I know. Look don’t say anything to the cops when they get here. If it is who I think, I can get more from him, myself, than the cops can.”
Billy smiled and pecked her on the cheek. “You never cease to amaze me.” He said as he left the kitchenette.
Noni smiled and went to the bathroom closing and locking the door behind her. She pulled out her phone and pressed redial speaking in a barely audible voice.