Helena - Chapter 16
They had left the guest house early that morning, after settling the bill and stopping at a local shop to grab some food Joshua had insisted that she eat some fruit. Coming out of the shop he was beaming with two carrier bags. One had bottles of water, crisps and biscuits the second held apples, bananas and a punnet of local strawberries.
'You need some proper food, not Chinese and junk' he told her tossing an apple towards her.
'Im eight weeks pregnant, I don't think a few days of quavers will make much difference.' But she still bit into the apple. It was ripe and sweet, the juice tricked down her chin and Joshua wiped it away with his thumb. He sucked the juice off and smiled at her. 'You ready, we got along drive?'
It took them a few hours to reach the city and then another hour to find the meeting spot where Joshua had arranged to meet his guy. He refused to let Helena get out of the car telling her that it wasn't a good neighbourhood. She had to agree with him on that.
On the street that the car now sat, small terraced houses lined both sides. About three quarters of these house where boarded up with grey metal sheets over the windows and doors. Well the sheets had been grey once. Now they sported a mixture of scorch marks from where someone had tried to burn various houses down. A myriad of coloured paints where kids had tagged the metal. In some cases the sheets had been overtaken by ivy and moss indicating that this street had been in this state for a while. She looked up out of the he window to see the setting sun was now far behind the houses and only red rays of light drifted between them. Just above her she noticed a telephone wire which had seemed to have become some kind of game for the local kids as at least 5 pairs of trainers hung from it by their laces.
She jumped as the car door opened and Joshua climbed back in. He threw her a brown envelope and quickly put his seat belt back on and started up the engine.
'I wanna get out of here. Plus the flat in only about 40 minutes away.'
She looked at him and hoped that 40 minutes was enough to get them out and away from this neighbourhood.
After stopping a petrol station for the third time, she couldn't control her bladder very well. She opened the envelope a few sheets of paper and a two passports fell onto her lap.
Curious she flipped open the first one. Mr Joseph Baxter. She looked at the picture he still had his longer hair, but no glasses. Looking over at him she decided that she liked the shorter hair, made him look hotter, especially with the line of stubble that ran down his jaw. She absent mindedly ran her hand over his shaved head whilst picking up the second passport. Helen Baxter. She looked back at him. Noticing her stare, he raised an eyebrow.
'We have the same surname' secretly her insides were cheering but she wanted to hear from him why.
'If we’re going to be living together, it would look better if we pretended to be a couple.'
The cheering stopped, pretended to be a couple. Had she read him that wrong? The kisses, the help. Had she hoped for too much? She heard him laugh. Looking back over at him she could see his white teeth as he smiled.
'We only have to pretend to be a married couple.' As for anything else, I'm not letting you out of my sight.' He wrapped his free hand around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. Checking the sat-nav he had attached the dashboard he announced. 'Home sweet home.'
She looked up. It was an old building, one of the old factories that had now been refurbished into a number of trendy flats. Close enough to the city so that they didn't cost a fortune, but still close enough to commute. This meant that the other residents were not crack heads but city professionals. They took the lift to the fourth floor and walked down the wide red brick corridor till they stopped outside from number 413.
'Are you ready Mrs Baxter' he smiled.
'Yes Mr Baxter she giggled back.
He tried to pick her up and when they slammed into the wall behind them they both burst into fits of hysterics. A combination of tiredness and the events of the last few days had caught up. From beside where they now lay against the wall a door opened and a handsome but stern looking man appeared.
'Sorry mate, Joshua shrugged, just married, tried to carry her over the threshold but she ain't as skinny as she used to be.' Joshua nudged her in the elbow.
The man just tutted and shut his door. 'At least the neighbours ain't gonna be butting their noses in' Helena suggested to him as they walked through the open door.
The first thing she did was run to the bathroom. She couldn't wait until she didn't need to pee every 5 minutes. She sat down on the loo and noticed a piece of paper fall from her pocket. The second letter from Marcus. She turned it over in her hands until she had finished and placed it on the side next to the sink. Whilst washing her hands she debated telling Joshua what it said but decided against it. He didn't need any more to deal with right now. She folded the paper as small as it would go and flattened it on the counter top. As gently as she could she pushed it behind the mirror that was fixed to the wall hoping that for now it would be safe.