Saturday, 17 February 2007

Chapter 14: Another Cuppa

“I haven’t heard a thing from him since last night. Do you think he was hurt? Do you think he went back to the lab after he left me?”

Emily Owen was in a state of panic. Andrew’s Auntie Becky was doing her best to keep her in a positive state of mind but a lack of sleep and an overdose of caffeine were not helping matters at all. She wasn’t really Andrew’s Auntie and Emily couldn’t remember how they were related but they both thought she was sufficiently far-removed to allow her to lay low for a few days until Andrew found a safe place for them to stay.

“Watching the news isn’t going to help,” said Auntie Becky as she turned off the television. “They haven’t said anything about Andrew so he couldn’t have been caught up in it, not like that poor boy he worked with. No news is good news, Emily.”

“You’re right. But it doesn’t stop me thinking the worst.”

“I know, dear. Do you want to go into the other room and try and get your head down for a few minutes?”

“There’s no point. I feel tired but I wouldn’t be able to sleep.”

Auntie Becky looked at the empty coffee mug on the table in front of Emily.

“Another cuppa then?” she smiled.

Emily handed the mug to her. “If you’ve got any coffee left. We’ve been through a lot today.”

“You let me worry about that, dear.”

Auntie Becky left the room and Emily reflected on what a great help she’d been. She was always warm and welcoming to them but she had really gone over and above family duties in the past twenty-four hours.

Andrew had called Auntie Becky to ask for her to look after his wife and she hadn’t asked one question about the situation, even when they heard of the attack on Andrew’s lab. All she knew was that Andrew was in trouble and the people he worked with might come and want to take Emily away. Even the police weren’t to be trusted, but Auntie Becky thought that was taking the story a bit too far. Her late husband had been a police officer after all.

Emily couldn’t say anything about her real fears. If the news had reported that Andrew’s body had been found at Mantek then at least she would know what had happened. It would be tragic of course, heart-breakingly tragic, but she knew his fate could be worse. Much worse.

Many years ago Andrew had confided in her a secret that he had sworn on his life never to tell another soul. He gave her the choice to leave on many occasions but she couldn’t do it. She decided to give up what she wanted out of life to support the man who could change the world for the better. There wasn’t a day that went by when she didn’t question the wisdom of her decision but she told herself that it was for the best.

Look at the bigger picture
, Andrew always said.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the screech of tyres outside. She immediately got up and ran through to the kitchen.

“Becky, are you expecting anyone?”

“No, dear. Why?”

“There’s someone at the door.”

“Are you sure?”

At that moment, the doorbell rang.

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