Chapter Twenty-NineMature

The pub was looking no different to when I'd last seen it from the outside, but when we all marched into the bar area it was looking in much more of a state.  Tables and barstools were scattered all over the room and some of the glasses had been smashed on the floor.  Savannah crinkled her nose in disgust as she looked around.

'This is really your centre of operations.  I would have thought it would be a bit more...'  She didn't finish her sentence but we could all tell what she was thinking.

'I've locked him in the office,' Ash said, leading the group behind the bar, ignoring Savannah's comment.  There were two large men I'd seen sometimes at the bar guarding the door who nodded to Ash as he got the key out of his pocket.  'He should be passive by now but I still think I should warn you that he's probably a bit annoyed at the moment.'

The key crunched in the lock and the door jolted open to reveal Abril's office.  I'd only been in this room once before but I remembered it well.  The plain wooden desk was standing where is usually was but instead of Abril looking at me from behind it, an unfamiliar, slightly battered looking face glared at me.

'Are you here to let me go?'  The man was forcing out a mock sense of joviality, making light of his situation.  'Or am I about to undergo some horrendous form of torture?'

'It depends if you're going to comply with us,' Abril said, her voice containing a slightly ominous tone.  'Now are you going to tell us who you're working for?'  I could see the prisoner looking up and down the row we had formed when we entered.  We must have been quite a sight, me looking like death, Ash with a black eye and Savannah being her usual eccentric self.  Finally his eyes rested on me.

'So you're the one who's caused all this.  I thought you'd be a bit... different.  Prettier.'  Demitri tensed next to me, showing a protective side of me I couldn't place in any of the behaviour I'd seen in him before.  'A bit more spectacular.  Special.'  Demitri took a step forward, raising his arm to hit the man but I got hold of his arm before he'd got far.

'He's not worth it Dem.'  The man chuckled as we retreated back to our positions in the line.  Our prisoner knew he could get us annoyed if he wanted.

'Touchy subject?  I never had you down as a sensitive type Demitri.'  I could feel him stiffen again under my grip but he remained where he was.  The prisoner's eyes turned again to me.  'All this fuss just because of that piece of jewellery around your neck.  It seems a bit much doesn't it.'

Abril suddenly decided to take control of the situation, marching over to the desk and taking the man by the throat, forcing his head back.

'Enough of the fancy talk.  Give us information.  Who do you work for and what do they want with her?'  She nodded towards me on the word 'her'.  I was really starting to feel special, I didn't even need a name now.

'Do you really think I'm going to give in that easily?  You're going to have to work a lot harder if you want information.'

'And you'd better start talking if you don't want to lose your face.'  Savannah wasn't going to let herself be outdone by Abril and advanced towards the captive, preparing herself to get violent.

'Oh this must be Savannah,' the man said with a sense of admiration in his voice.  'I've been looking forward to meeting you.  You're beauty is legendary.'  But despite his flattery Savannah wasn't impressed and dug the heel of her shoe into his foot, making him grunt in pain.  'And everything I've been told about you is true.  You are brutal.'

'Thank you.  Now if you would be so kind, tell me what you're doing and why your accomplice attacked my man.'  A small smile crept across the man's face which disconcerted me because I had no idea what he had to smile about.

'If you would kindly step off my foot, then I'll tell you why I'm here.'  Before Demitri could give her the nod, Savannah removed the pressure from his foot.  'That's better.'  Once again, his eyes strayed back to where I was hiding behind Demitri.  'I have a message for you.'

'What is it?'

'Come closer.'  I hesitated and instantly regretted it.  I was showing weakness.  'I'm not going to bite, I promise.'  I didn't like his tone.  He was clearly making fun of me and was enjoying it.  I couldn't allow that.

I stepped out from behind Demitri and strode towards the prisoner, trying to appear more confident than I was feeling.  'I've got a message for you,' he said.

'Well what is it?'  Savannah was getting impatient and I didn't want to see what she would do when she got bored.  She was too volatile for my liking.  Trying to position myself between Savannah and our prisoner without either noticing was trickier than you would think.

'Hold your horses.'  The man knew he was in control and he was relishing the moment while it lasted, because I knew it wouldn't last forever.  'I'm getting there.'

The End

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