They had last visited grandpa when she was 13. After that Texas never featured in their vacation plans although she didn't know the exact reason behind it.
It was her duty to take grandpa sightseeing, a duty, she obediently performed, showing him all the major attractions the city had to offer. Grandpa had a jovial personality, a trait which her dad inherited from him. He always saw the positive in everything that happened. So, with lots of enthusiasm, typical of a child, grandpa checked out the tourist attractions of London. Grandpa took a lot of pictures to show her grandma who was back in Texas. They couldn't leave the ranch and grandma wasn't fit enough to travel so far with her heart condition not being too well.
Brittany's eighteen year old brother Brian was too busy with his life as a teenager to accompany them anywhere. He kept to his own, rarely seen at home though. Brittany didn't mind, she was used to being on her own. When her best friend was around, life was more meaningful, but when she left suddenly after her mother's death, Brittany returned to her hometown, Boston in Leicestershire.
While still in a dilemma about what to do with her life, she had applied to a few fashion houses in London for a job as a fashion designer but till now there was no success. Her heart however did not like the prospect of working at a 9-5 job like an automaton. She did want to design clothes but exactly what, she had no idea.
She was waiting for a brain wave to happen when out of the blue, her grandpa appeared. What exactly was the purpose of his visit she had no idea but yes, there was a lot of talk in hushed tones behind her dad's closed study door between her parents and her grandpa.
She warmed up to her grandpa and he proposed that she visit them and stay for a few days in Texas. However, her parents did not approve of the idea and it was thus dropped without a mention in their discussions.
After a week's stay grandpa suddenly was down with viral fever and they got busy looking after him. Her dad had procured a few tickets to a football match which grandpa had wanted to watch very badly but since he was unwell, her mom, dad and Brian decided to go, watch it.
She was least interested in football so no one even thought of asking her and she was grateful. Three days went by and her grandpa was well again as the day of the match neared. It was to be played at Manchester's Old Trafford football stadium between Manchester United and Chelsea FC, a premier league match that Brian and her parents couldn't afford to miss. Grandpa was agitated as the doctor didn't give him the permission to go. It was an approximately three hour drive from Boston, Leicestershire to Manchester.
One day prior to the match, they left for their venue while Brittany and her grandpa stayed at home, bidding them goodbyes. It was a short one and half day trip and they would return after the match at night as her dad had an important meeting to attend the next day. Brittney was against this, but her dad did not pay any attention to her.
Brian sent her videos and pictures of the trip, the stadium and the match. He was very excited she could say. The match ended by 9pm and they left the venue to drive back home. Her mom messaged her saying that they had started the journey back and would reach home by 1am.
Brittany lay down on the sofa in the family room, waiting for her family to return home. She must have dozed off to sleep when a soft nudge woke her up. Yawning and groggy, she looked up at her tensed and agitated grandpa.
"What happened? Oh what time is it?" She asked as she stared at the wall clock and rubbed her eyes in disbelief.
"It's nearly 4am and they haven't returned home, Brit, " he said as her eyes widened in horror.
"They should have been home three hours ago," he said as Brittany stared at him, imagining the worst.
"What do we do grandpa?" She asked confusedly.
"Let me call the police, they can find out," said her grandpa as a shrill sound filled the room. There was a call on the landline. Brittany jumped and ran to the phone in the hallway corridor, snatching it out of the wall bracket, holding it to her ear as the line went dead to her dismay.
She tried to redial but the line was busy and the call didn't connect. Frustrated and feeling lost, she turned to go back to the room when the phone started ringing again. She rushed forward and picked it up, holding it to her ear,"Hello," she croaked into the receiver.
Her grandpa came to stand beside her, to give her some support, "Calling from the South Yorkshire Police Department. I'm Assistant Chief Constable Michael Clarke. I need to speak to Ms Summers urgently," said a man as Brittany's hands started trembling while she held the receiver.
"Yes, speaking," she said hurriedly not knowing what to expect. Her grandpa switched the phone on speaker mode.
"We had an accident on M18 between M1 J32 (Thurcroft) and J1 A631 (Bramley). We need you to arrive here as soon as you possibly can," the officer said clearly.
"Yes, but where did you get my number from?" She asked nervously. Why were they calling her if there was an accident? She didn't want to think about the possibility of her family being involved in the accident.
"Please come soon," said the police officer as he disconnected the call leaving Brittany distraught with worry.
"Come on Brits, we need to go," said grandpa as he pocketed his wallet, her mom's car keys, the house keys, hia credit and debit cards, his phone and waited for Brittany.
Brittany followed him in a daze, sitting in the car as her grandpa drove towards M18.
It was the most tortuous time of her life. She didn't know what to expect and grandpa was in a world of his own.