THE CRIMSON FLOW

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Chapter 6.0 - NOT AGAIN!

With her suitcase deposited in front of the hotel door, Becky wondered for the umpteenth time what the hell she was doing. Her inner debate had been with her since she boarded the plane in LA - well, earlier than that really; from the moment she saw the email on her laptop, booked her Uber, her flight and the hotel.

Craig had been surprisingly easy to dissuade from escorting her. She’d played the indignant female to a T, resigned to returning home having been dumped by her vampire - ′friend′ - ooh! The term somehow grated. Yes, the tears were real - still, after a few dabs with a tissue, some deep breathing and self-discipline, they were reduced to being ‘understandable’. The scene replayed in her mind again, just to make sure she had read it right.

“I’ll go with you to the airport,” Craig had said.

“No,” Becky replied, heaving her suitcase to the front door. “You go join Nick and Cain, wherever they are. I’m going home. I’ve had enough, Craig.”

“Becky, I’m sure he’ll be in touch...”

“Best not, I think,” she said, gulping back the sob to outdo all broken hearts. She scolded herself severely for being so pathetic, mumbling under her breath, battling her way through the door, out to the waiting taxi.

Once she’d climbed inside, Craig appeared at her window. “You realise I’m going to be in trouble for not going with you, don’t you? He’ll be furious.”

She looked up at the Fallen angel through her damp lashes. “He has more important matters to concern him, apparently, and I’m sure you will survive; you’ve managed this long.” She’d then urged the driver to move off.

Now, here she stood, at the entrance of the Hilton Garden Inn - with not a scooby how to proceed with her plan. Did she even have one? Or was she blindly following Cain in the vain hope to be near him for just a little longer than a day? She huffed. She’d booked two weeks off to follow him across the pond after all, and he buggered off after barely 24 hours! Not on!

Reality check - he was out here hunting vampires - dangerous ones. Hang on! Was there any other kind? She smirked at the irony.

What did she hope to achieve? Craig was right. Cain would be furious with him, but even more so with her. He was inclined to be overly protective since the whole Whitby incident and always ensured his Fallen companions were around if he had to shoot off somewhere and serve his form of justice. Well, sometimes his chivalry bordered on frustrating, she thought.

She took a deep breath, tugged the extending handle on her suitcase and started to wheel it through the revolving door. I really should do a 360o turn, she thought as she pushed through. But no, she didn’t. After a moment’s hesitation standing in the foyer, she moved forward again, toward the reception.

“Hi, welcome to the Hilton Garden Inn. Do you have a reservation?” The woman behind the desk smiled broadly.

“Erm, yes,” Becky answered, oddly distracted as her thoughts continued to play havoc with her. “The name is Rebecca Thomson. I’ll just find the confirmation.” The receptionist started typing on her keyboard while Becky pulled her bag from her shoulder and began to dig through it, looking for her passport and phone which had her reservation details.

“Is that with or without a “p”, Miss Thomson?”

“Without...” Becky looked up from her bag. And that’s when it happened.

She felt a brutal tug and found herself off-balance, falling over her suitcase. She heard the receptionist gasp and a male voice shouting “Hey! Stop!” Landing on all fours, she looked up and caught sight of a man pushing his way out of the revolving door with her bag in his hand. “Not again!” she muttered, both stunned and furious.

A second later, another man ran out the door in pursuit of the thief. He was the one shouting ”Stop!”

The receptionist, plus another member of staff and a couple who had been sitting having a coffee came over to check Becky was okay. She pushed herself up off the floor, embarrassed.

Moments later, the man who gave chase to the thief returned with Becky’s bag in his hand. “Are you alright, Miss?” he asked, taking hold of her elbow to help her straighten. He handed her bag over.

Becky nodded and mumbled a thank you.

“I don’t think he had time to take anything from it, he dropped it soon after he noticed me chasing him, but you better check.”

“I’ll call the police,” the receptionist said, moving back around the desk.

“No! Don’t bother,” Becky said, satisfied nothing was missing. “He didn’t get anything, it’s all here, and he’ll be long gone now.”

“But, Miss Thomson...” protested the receptionist.

“No, honestly. I’m fine. Just make sure you don’t let that individual through your doors again. I trust you have CCTV so you can at least identify him?”

The staff nodded. Becky flicked through her screens and handed over her passport and phone. She turned to the man who had rescued her bag. “Thank you, erm - ” She offered her hand in greeting.

The man accepted. “Riley Moore,” he affirmed. “And you’re welcome.”

Becky nodded, slow. “I’m Becky.” She stared at the man, her brow furrowing as she did so. “You’re not a vampire, are you?” she asked.

Riley staggered back a step. “What?”

Becky shook her head and laughed, a little bitter. “I’m sorry! It was a joke - a poor one, at that.”

The man looked perplexed still. “Well, I haven’t been keeping well of late, but I still have a pulse,” he replied, strained but jovial enough.

The receptionist interrupted to let Becky know her booking was confirmed, then handed over her keycard and passport, directing her to the lifts. Becky thanked her, then gathered her suitcase and bag.

She felt in need of a coffee before heading to her room and turning to the saviour of the day she asked if he would like to join her.

Riley smiled and accepted.

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