Chapter 18 - Catching Up
Scarlett was confused… and beyond terrified.
After receiving the phone call from her Mafia Boss fiancé threatening to harm her roommate if she didn’t return home, Scarlett was unsure of what her next move would now be. She knew full well that if she did obey his command and return home that she would certainly be in serious danger, as would her friend Kate. They would have no reason to continue holding onto her roommate once Scarlett had returned to Dimitri and Kate would probably be killed anyway; nothing but a loose end to be tied.
But if she stayed away Dimitri may possibly harm Kate and that concerned her greatly. Her friend was innocent after all and had nothing to do with this terrible mess.
No, what she needed was some help.
She needed to talk to someone and figure out a new way to handle the situation; in her own terms. And she knew just the person to speak to about her unfortunate situation, someone she trusted but who hadn’t yet been introduced to her fiancé and would therefore be unknown to him; Aunt Steph.
It took most of the day for her to travel along the winding highways and mountainous roads of the countryside as Scarlett finally turned onto the long dirt driveway of her Aunt’s homestead. It was late in the afternoon by now and Scarlett sighed with relief as she noticed her Aunt’s blue Ford Pickup Truck parked just outside of the large house standing at the end of the driveway. At least her Aunt was home.
Coming to a stop, she put her car in park and turned off the ignition, releasing a large breathy sigh before reaching across for the handle of the door and opening it. As she climbed out of the car and walked across the crunchy dirt below, she caught sight of two medium-sized black and white dogs that were running in her direction and her eyes widened with excitement.
“Ollie, Oscar!” she shouted happily, bending over and proceeding to scratch and pat the two easily overexcited Border Collies as they pounced at her repeatedly. “Oh, I’ve missed you two so much!”
“They’re not the only ones who’ve missed you, missy.”
A voice spoke, causing her to glance up from patting them at the middle-aged woman with dark brown hair and green eyes who was making her way down the porch steps to meet her with wide open arms.
“Get in line boys, she’s all mine!” she joked, wrapping her arms around Scarlett, who returned her affection.
“Aunt Steph, I’m so glad to see you.” she mumbled over her Aunt’s shoulder as they squeezed each other for a moment and then stepped back.
“Oh luv, look at you…” Aunt Steph complimented with a smile, getting a better look at how much her niece had grown since they last caught up, “You’re all grown up now. And quite a stunning young woman I might add.”
Scarlett looked down at the ground as she blushed.
“Stop, Aunt Steph.”
“Na really, you look amazing Scarlett. So what brings you out this way then, huh? It’s quite a long drive for a brief catch-up, wouldn’t you say?” her Aunt queried as they both began walking back in towards the house with the dogs prancing around them.
“Well actually, I need to speak with you about something.” Scarlett’s tone had now changed, showing that she was serious as she side glanced to her Aunt. “It’s… well, its bad Aunt Steph.”
Frowning, the middle-aged woman stopped walking and turned to her niece.
“Well, come on inside. We’ll have a chat about it over a cold beer.”
“Oh my gosh, I thought I heard voices!” came the sudden excited voice of a familiar face as her sixteen year old cousin Haley came bolting through the hallway and into Scarlett’s arms, “Scarlett!”
“Hey Haley.” she replied with a smile, hugging her teenage cousin with both arms.
“Mum, why didn’t you tell me Scarlett was coming over, I would have dressed properly for the occasion.” Haley whined with a frown.
Aunt Steph shrugged her shoulders as she voiced her reply.
“I honestly had no idea Scarlett here was making an appearance this evening… I would have gone out and bought steaks if I knew we were expecting this much company in one day.”
“Oh, please don’t trouble yourself Aunt Steph,” Scarlett cautioned, placing her hand on her Aunt’s arm, “I don’t want to be any trouble. I won’t stay long.”
“Like hell you’re going anywhere now…” her Aunt corrected, making her way across to the freezer and bending down to check what they had for dinner, “…especially this late in the evening!”
Scarlett rolled her eyes as her Aunt took charge and continued.
“Now how about chops, sausages and bacon… and I’ll fry up some of those eggs we’ve got in just this morning. You’ll like those, fresh from our hens.”
“Sure, that sounds lovely.” Scarlett agreed with a smile, “Thanks.”
“Are you staying the night Scarlett?” Haley asked, glancing up from her phone.
Scarlett seemed to panic at the question as she stumbled with her answer.
“Oh, um… I hadn’t planned to-“
“Yeah she is!” her Aunt cut in, answering for her and working to de-frost the frozen meat she had found in the freezer with their microwave, “She’s staying in the guest bedroom.”
“But, I thought Jake’s friend was staying in there tonight?”
“Well, he’ll just have to be a real gentleman and spend the night on the couch instead, now won’t he?” Aunt Steph smirked as she began preparing dinner for them.
“Here, please let me help. Can I perhaps make a salad?” Scarlett asked, stepping into the large kitchen and washing her hands under the sink.
“That’d be great!” her Aunt replied. “See Haley, you can offer to help with dinner every once and a while you know. Scarlett’s got the right idea here.”
Haley rolled her eyes at her mother’s comment. A moment later her eyes widened as the realisation hit.
“Hey wait! Mum, now that Scarlett’s here we HAVE to have a girl’s night in...” Haley practically commanded with a raised brow. “You know, the kind with the popcorn and movies… and the wine?”
“Hell no!” Aunt Steph shot back at her teenage daughter with a frown. “No wine for you Haley, nice try.”
The frustrated teen narrowed her eyes and let out a big huff.
“Fine, I won’t have any wine but I’m choosing the movie then. My friend got me to download this awesome version of the latest horror flick out now. It’s called ‘The Turning’ and I’ve heard nothing but good reviews about it online. You like horror movies, don't you Scarlett?”
She glanced across at Scarlett who was now busy cutting up carrots and cheese.
“Um, yeah. What’s it about?”
“Oh, it’s about these kids whose parents both die and they get a governess in to take care of them. And then all this weird shit happens-“
“Haley!” her mother snapped with a frown.
Cringing, Haley looked to her mother, “Sorry… I meant all this weird STUFF happens...”
Scarlett fought back a giggle as she finished with the carrot and began slicing thick pieces of cheese to put into the salad. She missed these conversations. She missed her family.
“So what was it you wanted to talk to me about Scarlett?” Aunt Steph asked, sideward glancing to her niece and catching her off guard suddenly.
She needed to speak with her Aunt but not with her cousin within earshot of their conversation. The fewer people who knew about what was happening to her, the better. She had to come up with something fast.
“Oh, um I’ll talk to you after dinner about it, if that’s ok Aunt Steph?” she suggested with raised brows.
“Sure?” her Aunt could tell something was up, though she couldn't begin to guess what it was.
Haley didn’t even glance up from her phone as she continued to swipe her fingers across the screen at a super-sonic speed. She suddenly stopped and looked up to her mother again.
“Hey, what time is Jack and his friend getting back anyway?” she asked, “Will they even be home for dinner?”
Aunt Steph shook her head.
“No, I’m pretty sure those two were planning on being out for most of the night. You know how it is, boys being boys. I don’t see them getting back anytime soon.” she answered, keeping her eyes on the meat she was marinating in a large glass bowl.
"Jack's out with a mate huh?" Scarlett asked. "What is he now, 29 or something?"
Aunt Steph nodded, her brows up high.
"Yep, my big boy is set to hit the big 'three', 'zero' next year. I can't believe it! Soon they'll be out on their own, in their own place, making babies-"
"-Um... NO." Haley commented from her seat.
By the time night had arrived both Gabriele and Marco had the information they needed and were currently on an important phone call with their boss to inform him of their update.
“Apparently she traded your car in for a crimson coloured Mazda CX-5 early yesterday morning and headed off in a Southerly direction along the highway.” Gabriele reported as he and Marco both sat inside of the black sedan which was silently driving along.
Dimitri mulled this over for a moment from where he stood in his office at home. As he spoke he looked out the window as the sun which was beginning to set off in the distance.
“So she’s got a day’s head start on us at least... She would have needed to stop for the night somewhere along the highway.” he thought to himself out loud, “Check for any roadside motels about a day’s drive from your location. See if they have any records of her staying there last night.”
“Already done boss.” Gabriele smiled as he reached to his side and took the notepad from Marco who handed it silently to his superior as he continued to steer the car simultaneously.
“There were five possibilities but we ruled out four of them for various reasons. The owner of the fifth however, was more than happy to send us a recording of the night she would have booked in.” Gabriele continued to report, clicking on the button to play the camera recording video on his laptop.
“Is she on the footage?” Dimitri asked impatiently.
“Oh she’s on here alright boss… We also found a video posted on a social media webpage of Scarlett at some pub that night too.”
Dimitri’s eyes narrowed.
“Pub, what pub?”
“Um… It’s called Porky’s Pub, just behind the Motel she was staying at. Got our hands on the Pub’s surveillance footage too, which has her leaving with some guy at around 9:00pm that night.”
Dimitri instantly tensed up upon hearing about ‘some guy’ with his fiancé. His fists clenched tightly beside him in anger as he gritted his teeth and spoke.
“Not sure boss, but we’ll soon find out.” Gabriele tried assuring the clearly high-strung Mafia Boss on the other end of his phone call.
“See that you do. Call me soon with another update.”
With that the phone call ended and Gabriele let out a sigh of relief as he hung up on his end as well. Marco raised his left brow in response.
“How’d he take it?” he queried with one hand on the wheel.
“How would you take hearing that some guy had his hands all over your woman? He’s pissed.” Gabriele replied, reaching for his bottle of water and unscrewing the lid to take a swig.
“Mark my words Marco, someone's gonna die tonight. When Mr. Mancini is pissed, the spilling of blood is sure to follow...”