Synopsis : The book centres around two characters called Casey Alder and Jodie Flynn. Casey is a mid-twenties cycle courier in London and lives in the area of Finsbury Park which is in the North end of London. She rents a first floor flat from an older lady, who lives in the ground floor of the house. The lady insists that Casey calls her Aunt Essie and she treats her like another grand-daughter. Casey is known as a player though out the gay scene, and is happy with that. That way it is easier to be safe. A childhood in care can make you uneasy of relationships.
Aunt Essie, though feels that Casey could do with being in a relationship, and would love for her to meet her grand-daughter Jodie. This proves harder than she thought and the two girls keep missing each other. Then Casey is shot and sees another person killed as she does a late night pick up for her job.
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With the work over for the morning, Casey headed back home for a few hours' sleep. She was completely shattered and couldn't wait to fall into bed. As she came to the house, she jumped of her bike and lifted it onto her shoulder to carry it up the stairs to the front door. Getting her key out of her pocket, she dropped the bike to open the door, as she turned she spotted a girl she recognised, leaving the house two doors down. “Oh shit what's she doing here? she muttered 'If I can just get in without her seeing me I'll be ok.
Two doors down, Nicky has just popped out the front door, to see if Jodie was back with the extra bit they needed to finish the job. Looking up the road, her eyes caught those of Casey. She started, gave a half wave then ran back into the house.
'Thank god she didn't want to speak' thought Casey as she pushed the bike in the door, and hung it up on the wall out of the way. Aunt Essie was coming down the stairs as Casey shut the door on last night's events.
“Is everything ok? Your home really early, you haven't hurt yourself have you” Aunt Essie came over and held Casey by the shoulders and stared at her face to see if she was ok.
“I'm fine Aunt Essie; Cliff wanted me to do a split shift today, which is cool as I really need to sleep, not sure if I am safe out on the roads'. Casey grinned at Aunt Essie.
“Why don't you join me for lunch? Jodie's coming; it's about time you two met”
Casey looked at herself “I look a state, no sleep, bad hair day and I'm dirty. You really think that Jodie would like what she saw? And I don't know why you think we would make a lovely couple as I'm love and leave 'em girl and I don't think it would be wise to do that with Jodie, I'm sure she is lovely but seeing as how, not once, mind you, have I seen this niece of yours out, so we have nothing in common. End of. Casey kissed Aunt Essie on the cheek, then ran up the stairs to her bed. Aunt Essie looked sadly up the stairs at Casey's back as she disappeared from sight. One day that is going to realise she is worth so much more she thinks.
Jodie arrived back to find Nicky pacing up and down the living room. “Yo! What's up with you?”
“I just saw Casey going into your Aunts house, I didn't know what to do so I just waved and ran away”
Jodie sat on the floor and opened the box with the part that she needed to finish the job, “Well, that was elegant' she laughed, 'did you run because you're shy or what”
“I'm not shy Nicky exclaimed indignantly. 'I decided she's not my type and I didn't want her coming over asking me for another date”
“Are you being truthful Nicky or trying to look like it don't matter when inside you really want to see her again” Nicky sat on the arm of the sofa, “Really I don't want another date, It just kind of happened last night. I got carried away with her when I shouldn't have. I mean I really like this girl called Ella, and that's the direction I want to go, not a few flings with a player. So, when I saw Casey there now, I freaked. Very mature don't you think.
Jodie looked up at Nicky grinning down at her, “Ella, eh?? She's cute and I heard through the grapevine that she does like you” Laughing at the blush on Nicky's face, “I might actually get to meet Casey then if she is at home, as I'm supposed to be going to my Aunts for lunch. Would you like to join us? I'm sure they wouldn't mind an extra mouth to feed.” Jodie laughed as Nicky kicked her leg out and pushed her onto her bum.
After finishing the last bit of work needed to complete the job Jodie checked her watch, and realising that she didn't have enough time to go to Aunt Essie's for lunch, putting her work gear in the van and told Nicky she would be back in two tics, she then ran across the road to knock on the door. “Hey Aunt Essie, guess what?”
Aunt Essie leaned on the door frame “Let me guess. You're pushed for time and want to cancel lunch”
Jodie dropped to one knee and begged for forgiveness “I'm really sorry, how about we make it dinner and I cook?”
Aunt Essie laughed “What is it with the two girls in my life thinking one look from their puppy dog eyes that I will forgive them anything today”
“Eh?, Jodie said as she clambered back onto her feet , 'What you talking about?”
“Nothing at all Jodie, nothing at all. Now for tea I fancy a nice risotto. That ok with you? And don't worry I'll cook if you don't mind, or otherwise we will be eating at midnight”, Aunt Essie looked at Jodie with a fond look.
“Jodie laughing replied 'Ok. You win!' Looking into the hall she spotted Casey's bike hanging on the wall “Oh is Casey home? I was beginning to think I would never meet her”
“Yes Casey is home, but I would think she is fast asleep by now. She said something about being on a split shift which is good, because she got no sleep last night if the girl I met this morning running down the stairs was anything to go by” Noticing the slightly disgusted look on Jodie's face, “Now don't you start on about her now Jodie. I love Casey as if she was family. I don't know what I would do without you, Sean or Casey”.
Jodie noticed the emphasis on Casey's name and knew better that to argue. “Ok' Jodie held her hands up, 'let's call it a truce and I will see you at seven, is that Ok?”
Reaching down to give her niece a hug. Be good and safe you hear me my girl?” Hugging her back, Jodie kissed her Aunt on the cheek, said “See you later. Love you!', as she ran across the street back to the van.
Opening the door to jump in, she looked across and Nicky was fast asleep with her feet on the dashboard. 'Well', she thought to herself, 'you were right about Casey getting no sleep, I have the other one here fast asleep, Must have been a busy night
Jodie sat in the van and thought about what they may have got up to, and then blushed. Maybe Nicky is right, and it has been too long. A night out might do me good, and you never know I met actually meet someone. Jodie turned to look at Nicky as she started the van, then hit her on the legs with a newspaper, “Wake up sleepy head, today's your lucky day, I'm going to drop you home so you can sleep and then you and I are going clubbing tonight!”
“Christ Jodie you scared the shit out of me!! And what do you mean clubbing, you don't do clubbing, I mean ….. Ever!!
“Well as of today I do, so are you up for it are what? Or can you not hack two nights out on the row? Maybe getting too old for it”, Jodie teased as she pulled out into the traffic. Nicky snorted “Me too old? Never whereas you? Well this should be fun”
Fun, yeah that's a word for it, thought Jodie as she drove back to the office after dropping Nicky off. Should I try something different, be more open? But being open had got her heart broken once before, and since then, love or lust or whatever was out there was not for her. Life was simpler when she just worked and spent time with her family. Recently though, she found she was craving the closeness of a female; she missed it more that she had realised. I want to wake up with someone. I want some girl to want me, to cry out my name as she comes clenching down on my fingers. “Oh my God” Jodie spluttered. 'Where did those thoughts come from? I think tonight could be interesting.
Casey plugged herself into her IPod as she got ready to head out for the second part of her shift. Getting herself settled on her bike, she wondered what her so called friends would think if they knew that she was listening to soundtracks from the musicals. Probably laugh at her. Well their loss!
As she pulled into South Street, she checked the paperwork for the house number. Casey left her bike against the steps as she knocked on the door of twenty two, a rather scary looking middle aged lady opened the door. The woman stepped out of the doorway and looked sharply up and down the street. 'Odd' Casey thought, I'm sure Cliff said it was a scared old woman who insisted he send no men. Well the lady, and she thought lady in the loosest terms, could have taken any of the men Casey knew and not be out of breath, but she just shrugged and said “Ace Couriers for a Mrs Horris?'
“Yes that's me, she then looked Casey up and down, “You any good girl, are you quick and discreet”
“Casey tried not to look irritated at the woman, “Yes ma'am I am. If you would like to sign here to say I have received the Packet, I will get there as soon as I can for you” Mrs Horris looked at her again, then sighed, passed the packet to Casey and once she signed the paperwork, she shoved it back at Casey, and told her to go right now, looked up the street again. Casey followed Mrs Horris' eye-line as she wondered what the rude woman was looking for. Just as Casey went to say thank you, the door was slammed in her face.
Well it takes all sorts, she thought as she went back down the steps to her bike. She got on the bike and free-wheeled a bit down the street away from the house, stopped and put the small packet in her combat short trousers as it was quicker than putting it in her backpack. As she got herself ready to go, a door banged behind her and a young man stepped out the door and jumped down the steps to the street and through the garden gate. At that point a car came racing round the corner, slammed its brakes on and then a gun appeared out the window and shot the man in the chest.
Casey froze “What the fuck…? The young man was flung back onto a small wall surrounding the garden by the force of the gunshot, Casey screamed as she saw the blood pumping out of the man's chest. The car started moving towards her and Casey stumbled in panic as she tried to get off her bike looking for some cover or way of escape. Casey hit the ground as the gun went off again and she felt a blinding pain in her left arm.
As Casey lay on the ground with her feet tangled up in the bike, she tried to reach her phone to call the police, but realising that the phone was in her back pocket on her left side, she let her head fall back in frustration and just cried.
Jodie let herself in the door and shouted her arrival. She then heard her Aunts voice coming from the kitchen, “Hi darling, come in here and lay the table for me, dinner is just about ready.'
Jodie walked into the room and kissed her aunt on the cheek then leaned over her shoulder to look at the food. “That looks divine, I am so hungry” Grabbing the cutlery, Jodie began setting the table just as the phone rang.
“Get that for me Jodie” said Aunt Essie as she moved the dinner of the stove
“Flynn residence, Yes she is here, but she can't come to the phone at the moment, I'm her niece can I help at all? Aunt Essie put the plates down she was holding as she looked at Jodie frowning on the phone. “What?” she mouthed at Jodie, “The police” Jodie mouthed back. “Yes that's right Casey Alder lives here, as she said that Jodie noticed the stillness in the room as the police told her what had happened to Casey. What hospital is she in? Ok we will get there as soon as we can. Tell Casey that we are coming please. She hasn't got anyone else but my aunt”. And for some reason I'm feeling something though I've never met the woman. Strange thought Jodie as she put the phone down on the officer and turned to face her aunt.
Jodie moved to her aunt and made her sit down, before getting down on her knees holding her Aunts hands. The look on Aunt Essie's face was one of sheer worry and fear for this girl who Jodie has never met, but her aunt loved her like a child.
'Ok. Just so you know, Casey is awake and talking, but when she was at work tonight, someone was killed and Casey was shot in her left arm.”
“Shot? My Casey has been shot? Are you sure? Casey is a good girl. She's not involved in anything bad. She just does her job, loves mountain bikes and musicals.
Jodie frowned at her aunts description of Casey. That's not the impression she had in my mind given what Nicky and others had told her about Casey. Gazing at her aunt she put her thoughts to the back of her head Jodie got her Aunt and grabbed their coats and coaxed her aunt to the door. “Come on then' she said gently, 'lets go and see if we can get her home'. Jodie smiled at her Aunt.
To be continued in Part 3
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