Okay I missed a day….yesterday was pretty busy getting ready for Carols at Wembley 😬. But now, back to the story!
Nadine rubbed her hands together. No matter what she tried, she couldn’t bring warmth to them. Even the heat of the underground and the tube ride home had not melted the cold in her.
But she couldn’t die yet. She wasn’t ready to die. Sure life had been a bit miserable in the past few months, the pain of it culminating in her drunken episode at Sonia’s birthday.
But did that really mean it was her time to die? Had her choice to live really been taken from her, stolen by a well dressed devil with fancy cars? It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair.
She trudged up the stairs to the door of her flat with a heavy heart, half expecting the devil to be waiting for her. But he wasn’t. She turned the key in the lock and opened the door to the cold house. Sonia had already left, gone home for Christmas. She’d wanted Nadine to come with her, but Nadine didn’t want to intrude. Christmas was just another day of the week. She could survive it alone like she did every other. Crawling up the stairs to her bedroom, she climbed into her bed, still fully clothed. She was feverish, and her body riddled with pain. As she lay there, her mind began to twitch and drift, wandering over all that had happened since she met the devil in the club.
She’d come to on the night of Sonia’s birthday in the back of a car. A big car with cream leather seats. She remembered the club, she remembered a man buying her a drink, and she remembered vomiting, but not much else.
The car had just turned up her street. The change in motion made her want to vomit again, but she thought better of it – it was a very nice car. There was no one in the back with her. The driver in the front did not seem to notice she had woken. She gripped the arm rest to steady herself, and as the car braked to a stop, her fingers fell on a business card in the curve of the arm rest. The engine stopped, and the driver got out. He skirted around the car and opened the passenger door for her.
“Ma’am, is this your house?” he asked.
Nadine got out and stood up, slipping the business card in her pocket. She looked up at the driver, who offered her his arm to steady her. He was middle aged with tanned skin and a moustache. She did not recognise him.
“Yes it is,” she said.
“Can I help you to the door?” he asked politely.
“No thank you, I’ll be fine,” she fumbled for her keys in her pocket.
The driver had watched her as she went up the stairs to the door, and waited as she turned the key in the lock and opened the door. She turned back to him and the car, “Thank you, good night…or good morning,” she called back sheepishly.
“You’re welcome Ma’am,” he said, as he shut the car door and went back to the driver’s side.
Nadine slipped inside and closed the door behind her. How the hell had she managed to get a ride home in a Bentley?
She pulled the business card out of her pocket, but in the darkness of the house and in her drunken state, she could barely make sense of the words on it. She dumped it on the stand in the hall and went upstairs to bed.
The following morning, her hangover had been cut short by the realisation that she’d lost her purse somewhere over the course of the night.
It took her a good half an hour of panic to remember the business card.
It was on the floor by the stand in the hall. Cream with gold embossed writing. The name of the business was followed by the phrase “Discreet luxury, comfort and transport satisfaction” and the phone number.
“Discreet,” Nadine snorted as she ran back upstairs to her phone. Bentley, discreet? She wondered if she was still a little drunk when it took her three times to get the number right. Finally the line rang.
“Hi, my name is Nadine,” she blurted out as soon as the line connected, “I was taken home last night by one of your drivers and I left my purse in the back seat.”
The surprised man on the other end was a softly spoken professional with a smart English accent. He asked where she had been driven from, and she told him the name of the club.
“Ah yes, that would be Mr Adams’ driver?” he replied, a sudden hesitation of questioning in his voice.
“Yes, that’s the one,” Nadine bluffed. Who the hell was Mr Adams?
“Best you pop by The Mills then, Mr Adams is of course a thorough and efficient customer. Your belongings will be with him. Is there anything else I can do for you, Ma’am?”
Ma’am? Nadine had never in her short life been referred to as Ma’am before, and now twice in one day. Even stranger, she had definitely heard a slight stutter of fear brush over his voice once he mentioned the name ‘Adams’. He was eager to push her on. Nadine hung up the phone.
The Mills. She googled it. There were several places called ‘The Mills’ inside the M25, but the only one to fit a man with a driver and a Bentley was an address in Mayfair.
Nadine sighed as she saved the address in her phone. The plot had thickened, but only in a mildly disturbing way. Why would a man who lived in Mayfair at an address called ‘The Mills’ have been interested in chatting her up in a club as trashy as the one she had been in? More to the point, why was he even in the club?
She downed a glass of water and popped four paracetamol to drown the hangover before she pulled on her long black winter jacket and her black woollen barrette before heading out in the cold to discover more about Mr Adams and the whereabouts of her stupid purse.
“Where the hell are you going?” Sonia asked, looking up from the arms of her Dylon, her current boyfriend. They were both lounging on the couch, and enjoying the benefits of the flat Christmas present, a 42” television – payable on terms – and of course the joys of the central heating.
“Christmas shopping.” Nadine replied as she opened the door.
Sonia snuggled back down into the waiting arms. “Good luck,” she called half-heartedly as Nadine slammed it behind her.