In all my afternoon/evening’s trouble, I hadn’t noticed the large pub that seemed to have grown out of the rough ground next to the Hotel. I followed Erica to the toilets of the pub, where she suddenly was thrusting a handful of clean clothing at me. Oh, they had come from her bag. Why didn’t I think of that? In fact, where was my bag and stuff? Damn, they better not still be on the bus…that bus driving away into the distance with a ‘kidnapped’ girl’s stuff on…
I was given a brown t-shirt with a tacky picture of an enthusiastic yellow smiley face giving me a cheesy thumbs-up, and black jeans in place of my lovely (but stained beyond belief) new green dress. Hmm. Not really my style, but I put them on obediently. And surprisingly they fitted. I mean, who wants an ambulance crew asking around you for a live dead body?
After changing, Erica whisked me back into the pub.
“I’ll pretend to be your sister, okay? Choose a name…I’ll be Cassie.”
“Right…” Erica seemed to know what she was doing. I wonder how long she’s been doing stuff like this. “Just call me…Rachel.”
Whoops, that hadn’t meant to slip out, but I had been wondering where Aidan was, whether he was back at home now with his sister, and her name had just arrived to the tip of my tongue.
“Um...If we’ve got disguises, shouldn’t we have wigs or sunglasses or something?” My clump of gold and frizzy locks (unwashed for a couple of days now-note to self: find a shower and some new clothes after I’ve found Aidan…or perhaps before, I don’t want to stink whilst trying to persuade my man to come back) would stick out anywhere in that flock of tanned, dark /bleached-haired American pub-goers.
Erica rooted around in her bag again, and I noticed she had already put on a pair of sunglasses.
“I’ve only got one of each, sorry,” She said, pulling out a cropped purple wig.
“That’s okay,” I cringed, “You have it. We’ll just have to stop at a fancy dress shop soon…That’s if they have them in America.” The only type of wig I was ever gonna wear would be a long dark red one; to be honest, I wasn’t a great fan of wigs themselves. “D’you have a hair-tie?” I added.
Erica grinned and pulled out a pack of about 20, “Sure. Now, I think we’d better grab a couple of drinks to appear inconspicuous.”
Erica waved a wad of notes in my face. I boggled at them.
I heard the shot loud and clear, but couldn’t stop. In fact, I didn’t register the sound until five minutes after it. That was only when, waiting for another bus to arrive, I saw Meg leave the Hotel in a hurry, her dress soaked with crimson blood. An ambulance was racing towards where she was standing with a new girl. I watched the new girl lead Meg into the pub that I had noticed when the bus crashed, as though she was running from the brick-red and off-white vehicle that was approaching.
It’s really probably nothing to do with us… A little voice in my head whispered, though I knew that it was just telling me what I wanted to hear, and lying through its (metaphorical) teeth. So I made myself busy by continuing to think whether I was doing the right thing…Pondering what matters more, my duty to my parents and sister, or the girl I think I’m in love with?
But the peace was disturbed soon enough, when the ambulance did stop, right in front of me for that matter.
“Excuse me,” The paramedic practically jumped at me, “But do you know either of these girls?”
I glanced down at the grainy photos of Meg and the other girl I saw a minute ago, but what came out my mouth what not what my mind was telling me to do.
“Nope. Never seen them, sorry.” Did I just lie? What? Why?
I moved to head towards the pub, but felt a strong hand on my shoulder.
“Hey, where’d you think you’re going? We have a possible suicide case here.”
“Yes,” I bit back on my tongue to stop myself from snapping, “But you’re not the police, and I have places to be.”
So with that, I pulled away from the paramedic and started walking. In the opposite direction to the one I was meant to be heading. I suppose that meant I was called to stay right here.