The Mysterious Disappearance of Marsha Boden - Chapter 38
Why did Billie need to crash at Lucy’s for a while?
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Lucy sat on the edge of the bed staring at her phone. Saff had sent her a text which read: ‘Watch your back’. That was it. She was sure Billie hadn’t cottoned on to her knowing that he was into some bad shit but she felt sandwiched between a rock and a hard place and suddenly felt really down. Checking her iCal, she had a property to value on the edge of town in Queen Mary Road and decided to text Alex to let him know she was going there early because she couldn’t bear hanging around the office with the coven of witches. She said she was going to make some calls to try and drum up some interest in the property, which had been left by an old lady who lived on her own and had no relatives, and decided to kill some time by walking the mile and a half there instead of driving. The fresh air would hopefully do her good and clear her head but as she wandered through the back streets of Mudlowe, despite the stunning views across the castle and out towards the tennis club as she headed out of town, she felt really sad and not her usual upbeat self. She even stopped off at a One Stop shop and bought some cigarettes and a lighter.
Sitting on a wooden bench in memory of Doreen Kitson who, according to the plaque, loved to sit and enjoy the view across the pretty market town of Mudlowe, she lit up a Benson & Hedges Blue and wondered why she had ever left Boots. She knew the answer. It wasn’t enough for her and she had been bored out of her brains. The same rude customers came through the doors every single day and left without a second glance, let alone a ‘thank you for your help.’ But at least she had known what every day would be like, even if it were dull and boring. She was twenty-six years old and had somehow well and truly managed to fuck up her life. Attractive, funny, and after her break-up with Brian, in great shape thanks to her Personal Trainer, she seemed to have taken a wrong turn and didn’t know what to do about it.
Just as she was thinking about lighting up another cigarette, her phone rang.
“Dad! How are you?”
“I’m champion. How about you, love? What are you up to?”
“Oh, this and that. I just got back from a holiday in the Cayman Islands,” she blurted out.
“Oh, very nice. Isn’t that where that young man was found drowned? Did you hear about it?”
“No,” she lied, trying to keep the edge out of her voice. “Listen, Dad. Can I come over tonight? Perhaps stay for a while. I’ve been feeling a bit down lately, that’s all. And I haven’t seen you and Mum for ages.”
“Oh, pet, we’d love to see you, but we’re off on our cruise tomorrow, first thing. What a shame. And you know how your Mam gets when she’s packing for a holiday. What’s up, pet?”
“Oh, you know. Work. Life. Anyway,” she said, taking a deep breath, “Have a great time and love to Mum. You look after yourself, Dad.” She ended the call before he had a chance to question her further because she knew she would have burst into tears and she didn’t want him to worry on the eve of his holiday. But she was really worried and didn’t know which way to turn. She even thought about calling boring Brian but remembered that she had deleted his contact details. What was that saying about never burning your bridges? Another fuck up.
When she saw Billie’s name flash up on the screen of her mobile, she wanted to throw the phone away but braced herself before taking the call.
“Hey! What’s up?” she piped, doing her best to sound upbeat and cheerful.
“Listen, Luce. I’ve got a bit of a situation going on and I need to crash at yours for a while. What time do you get back?”
“Erm, I’m not in the office this afternoon. I’m heading over to Queen Mary Road to value a house there.”
“Meet you there. I’ll be twenty minutes.”
“But…” He was gone. Mystified, Lucy carried on her journey and wished she had never met Billie Tidmarsh. He was bad news. When she saw his black Porsche outside her heart skipped a beat and she couldn’t make out whether it was excitement or fear.
Leaping out of his car, he almost bundled her to the door and hustled her inside as soon as she had unlocked the door.
“Billie! What the hell’s going on?”
“Ssshh. Nothing. Just keep your voice down.”
The curtains were all drawn and the place was dark and smelt musty. There were clothes and documents all over the place and it looked like the place had been ransacked but whoever did it was trying to be neat and tidy.
“I’ve got a job to do here, Billie. What the hell is going on?” she asked again.
“Nothing that you need to worry your pretty little head about,” and he gave her a bear hug, the sort that made her insides turn into a million butterflies and her whole body screamed out for his. The distinct odour of his Savage aftershave sent a tingle down her spine and her heart was racing. He bent to kiss her and she relented and melted into him.
“Hardly the most salubrious of surroundings, is it?“ Billie announced, breaking away from her.
Lucy’s thoughts turned to the Presidential Suite which was in such stark contrast to the drab surroundings they were in now. An old lady’s home where all her belongings were strewn around, presumably where she had left them before she went into the care home where she died alone.
“Right, let’s see what we’ve got here, shall we?” Billie said, rubbing his hands together and striding about the ground floor mimicking what he thought an estate agent would say. He was pretty good. She smiled. God, why did he have to be so bloody attractive and such a turn-on? She couldn’t help but like him, despite everything she knew about him.
“Seriously, Luce. I’m gonna crash here for a few days. You take my car. Here.” He dangled the keys for her to take. “I can walk into town from here. I might meet up with Ally for a pint later.”
“I know what you’re gonna say. Don’t worry. I’ll square it away with the boss,” and he made a funny face. “I’ll call you.” He kissed her slowly, turning her into putty in his hands once again.
She took the keys and roared off in the Porsche 911, wondering if she would just drive and drive and drive, never to return.
To be continued.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places, events and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.