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Chapter 15: Rome Wants you Dead

Cayne sat in Smokey Jo’s staring absently at the dark liquid that filled her cup. The rain already blurred her view through the window. So now all that was left was to meditate her thoughts somewhere into the coffee that she had yet to touch. Her thoughts had quickly gone from Alex to Daniel. Everything about him infuriated her, especially how he’d just invaded her life, and yet, seemed willing for Michael to pick up some of the pieces he helped break. However, what was more disturbing was how often she did think of him. She could be thinking about something other than what was going on and, like now, he just seemed to stroll into her head and take over. But, if the thoughts were not enough, when she saw him her insides would turn. To see that she caused him physical pain hurt also. Now all she could think about was what if he left her because of it. How would she cope? Could she continue with her life without him there? Shaking her head, she sifted through those doubts. Of course she could. She'd always managed. There was never any choice anyway. What would a man like Daniel want with a girl like her?

A sudden presence made her look up. The once empty cafe she’d first entered was full and in front of her table, a white haired man stood, his size blocking the light and casting a looming shadow over her. His icy eyes stared at her intently causing her to shiver.

‘May I?’ he asked in a strange accent.

Cayne nodded and he sat down opposite. The rain had started to ease and returned to gazing out of the window, with her hands wrapped round the cooling coffee cup.

‘They serve good breakfast here?’

Cayne looked back at him and forced a smile. She was in no mood for friendly tourists.

‘The full English is the best,’ she answered, going back to the window.

‘My name is Henrick.’

Cayne sighed. She was going to have to talk to him and she didn’t have the will just to get up and leave.

‘Are you here on holiday?’ she asked.

‘I’m looking for someone.’ He smiled.

Cayne glanced around for the waitress she knew.

‘Well if you ask Val, she will be able to tell you if anyone’s been in that you’re looking for,’ she offered.

The man smiled at her and shook his head as though she had said something amusing.

‘I have found who I am looking for.’

The intensity of his stare made her realise he was talking about her and in a flash she rushed from her seat, but he was quicker and now held her arm tight. The commotion caused Val to hurry towards them. He pulled her close, so he could whisper in her ear to sit down and not to make a scene. The use of her name shocking her. How many more people were coming for her and been watching? Was she never going to be safe? Admitting defeat, she took her seat once more just as Val reached their table.

‘You okay, Cayne, honey?’ she asked.

She glanced quickly at the man and then nodded her head.

‘Can you give us a minute?’

Val looked at them both for a moment and then with a tight smile walked away. Once she was out of earshot, Cayne leant forward and hissed in his face.

‘Let me go now.’

‘I don’t want to hurt you, Cayne. All I want is to protect you from the priests.’

‘I don’t know any priests,’ she answered stubbornly.

This caused the man to smile and was surprised how warm and open his face was when he did. He turned away from her and indicated for Val to return. The waitress returned to their table with a face tight with tension and a little annoyance.

‘I want two English,’ he said

‘I’m not hungry,’ Cayne snapped.

Val looked at them both, her pen poised ready to change the order that she had already written down. It was so unlike Val to be so patient, by now she would snapping for them to make up their minds, but Cayne suspected that the size of the man made her nervous too.

‘Two English and two coffees.’

Val nodded and shuffled away and Cayne realised she was not going to get any help. The only saving grace was that nothing was going to happen to her in such a public place.

‘I have come a long way to find you. Please honour my wishes and eat and talk with me. I mean no harm.’

‘Why should I?’ Cayne threw.

‘Because you gave the priests a chance.’

‘They came to me,’ she spilled before realising her mistake.

Henrick started to laugh. ‘Ah, you see, we are now getting somewhere.’

‘Okay, so I lied, but why would I need protection from them and why should I trust you?’

With her eyes still on his, she reached slowly into her coat pocket and prepared to push the speed dial number for Mary. It had been a deal made that when one was in trouble they would use the speed dial button, but there was no Mary and she had no idea who she would replace her with. Inwardly cursing, she let the phone go in her pocket and placed her hand in front of her on the table.

‘These are good questions, but I only have one answer. The priest, Daniel has orders to take you to Rome and they will kill you.’

‘You’re lying,’ she shouted far too loud and again the cafe stopped and looked round.

Val hurried over with a tray filled with two plates and placed them down in front of them. Cayne managed to keep her eyes down. The last thing she wanted was Val to throw them both out for causing a scene. If anything, she needed to remain inside. Henrick took his fork and stabbed at the sausage and placed it into his mouth. Juice from the food dripped down his chin and hurriedly wiped it with a napkin muttering an apology while saying how good it tasted.

‘Eat! Eat!’ he said, pointing his fork at her untouched plate.

Reluctantly, she cut a piece of bacon and forced herself to chew on it. She could already feel her stomach wanting to reject it, but had to force it down.

‘Where was I?’ Henrick started. ‘Ah, yes. Am I really lying? What do I have to gain from it? Ask yourself, has Father Daniel ever said he believes you to be a Christ?’

She opened her mouth to answer yes, but then stopped. Henrick smiled once more and this time she grew annoyed.

‘Father Michael...’

‘Father Michael,’ Henrick dismissed. ‘Dear child, Daniel has been sent to you and it is his opinion that counts. Whatever he believes is what they will believe.’

His cavalier attitude was making her more nervous by the minute. The problem was he looked, apart from his size, a man who could be trusted and that was the problem; she didn’t fully trust Daniel. Yet, to suggest that either Michael or Daniel meant her harm was not an option either and why kill her? You couldn’t just kill someone and get away with it. But then who would ask about her? Would it be assumed she had just done a runner? More to the point, who would care, really?

‘If what you’re saying is true then why are you helping me?’

Henrick put his fork down and took a sip of coffee before answering. He sat back into his chair and sighed.

‘All I can say is it’s for your own safety that I only tell you this. I am part of a group of people that are here to protect you.’

‘Why? Who am I to you?’

‘You are the most important person that has walked this godforsaken planet in over a millennia, and you are in grave danger.’

Cayne looked at him for a moment before she could speak. Why could no one give her any answers? She was just a normal young woman trying to get on with her life. Yes, she’d dreamt of fame and fortune, but this was beyond any reasoning. It was far too big to swallow and that was the problem. They all seemed to expect her to accept what they told her with no comeback. But she couldn’t and really she didn’t want to.

‘Can I go?’ she sighed.

Henrick nodded. ‘You have done what I have asked and listened. I will be in touch again and whatever you do, don’t trust the priest Daniel. He is a weak liar who serves a weak god.’

Cayne nodded and then hurriedly ran from the cafe, not stopping to think whether he was following her. She had made her mind up. She was leaving. Where, she had no idea, but it took them long enough to find her before, so it could not be that hard to disappear.

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