Summer Kids

When Lucas Tweedle, leader of Left Hand Private Investigators, receives a box containing a film he hasn't seen in years, he is prompted on a road trip across miles and years. He has to save Eva Grey, the only girl that ever loved his teenage self.
She may be in the clutches of the Nemesis Crime Ring but the memories of the summer after college graduation haunt the both of them.

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13. LETTERS

 

CHAPTER TWELVE - LETTERS

LUCAS

Lucas was still in the grave yard, picking the pumpkin flowers between his fingers like they would solve all of the world’s problems.

His phone tinkled by his side. He knew that it wasn’t his team since he had given them explicit orders to not follow him and leave him be for now. Sighing, he picked up the phone, more to get the annoyance out of the way than actually wanting to know who was calling him.

“Hello?”

“Is this Lucas Tweedle?” the voice asked cautiously and Lucas only stood because he knew who it was. Eva’s mother, the one who had shooed him out of the door just a few hours before.

“Yes, Mrs. Grey what is it?” he was buzzing, vibrating in place because he knew that Mrs. Grey wouldn’t call for nothing especially after the stern talking to that she had delivered to him.

“I would like to hire you.”

The world stopped.

His brain to mouth filter stopper working almost automatically. “Why now?”

“We got a letter, from the Nemesis Crime Ring,” her voice was shaken, and there was the sound of crumpling of paper over the line. Lucas envisioned her with the dreaded letter in her hands, nervousness wracking her voice and her hands, the conflict of not wanting to hold the letter and hold it to provide it as evidence nearly tearing her apart. “We want you to take a look at it?”

“Why not hand it over to the police?” Lucas asked framing his question like Mr. Grey had done when asking Lucas about the box.

“Because it mentions you.”

Lucas was out of the graveyard and heading towards the cottage on the river faster than you could have said go.

He knocked incessantly on the cottage and a harried Mrs. Grey opened the door. Lucas could tell that Mr. Grey was also in the house because you could hear him talking to himself in the next room over.

“Lucas come in.” Mrs Grey looked extremely nervous, even going to the lengths of looking out onto the street to see if there were anyone looking at them. There was no one there but the fear was justified. Lucas didn’t put it past the crime ring to be everywhere and anywhere.

“When did the letter arrive?” Lucas asked, shooting a text off to his team saying that there was a possible lead that he was following up.

“Nearly two hours ago?” Mrs Grey motioned and this time the letter wasn’t in her hands. She ushered him into the living room where Mr. Grey was holding the letter in his frustrated hands. The elder man didn’t acknowledge the younger, even though he looked up from the letter to stare at him.

“Can I have a look at it?” Lucas asked not wanting to physically snatch it from the other man. If he did that he would probably get his head chopped off.

Mrs Grey looked at her husband and nodded, the other man reluctantly handing it over and pacing the room without the pages in his hands. The pages were first written in the stereotypical ransom note font, the first line written using cut out letters from magazines and newspapers. Then it devolved into changing script to prevent anyone from distinguishing between handwritings. 

Dear Grey family,

Following the sending of a box to a Lucas Tweedle we think that you deserve a token of your own.

Nearly two months ago our team walked into Eva Grey’s home and retrieved her so that she could perform a higher purpose than the life she lived.

Your daughter has been a qualifying, lovely asset to our team and we continue to welcome her into the Ring. However, we understand that you may want her back.

To receive your daughter back we require £250,000. £5000 is required in cash to be dropped off at the carpark of Edinburgh Napier University in a weeks’ time – October 25th - at exactly 11.30 pm. The remainder of the sum should be wired to the account number 3564 5642 4116 by 11.30 pm the following day – 26th October.

However, if this money is not received, either in cash or wired, then your daughter will remain with us indefinitely. Harm may come to her or it may not but you will not be contacted by her again, unless that is in a body bag by the side of the road.

But be grateful that your daughter is, for now, serving us well and therefore has so far bartered for her own life. That does not necessarily barter her safety.

With the welcoming of this letter you and Mr. Tweedle can be rest assured that the Ring are not the sinners but the saints. Perhaps it is you humans that are the sinners. Perhaps giving your daughter away to us is your way of repenting those sins.

Forever thankful,

Nemesis Crime Ring (N)

“They have never sent a ransom note before,” Lucas noted and Mr. Grey smacked his own forehead.

“It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out,” he seethed leaning against the fireplace as though the leverage would comfort him. Eva’s mother had shut down but not completely, sitting heavily in a worn arm chair with her head in her hands. She must have known what the letter said off by heart by now because the words were chilling enough to stick.

“Then why would they ask for money if they haven’t before?” Lucas asked the room at large, “Sixty kidnapped females later and they’ve never had need for money. What makes Eva so special that they ask for money now?”

Was it because of him, the private investigator that made the kidnapping of Eva all the more daunting and exciting? Evading not only the police this time but a private investigator who had close ties to a victim. Was asking that question presuming too much especially about his own figure?

“Although it looks like a stereotypical ransom note, they deliver it two months after Eva was captured, therefore the want for money isn’t a need. Maybe it’s a taunt just to say that they can, maybe just to put more pressure on us to find Eva. But then why would they want police attention?”

“How do you know they want police attention?”

“They don’t ask us not to involve the police. Why? Because they know that the police are already well involved. They know that I’m involved since the box was sent directly to my office and not my parents’ house which is technically on some records still.”

There was silence in the room as Lucas finally put the letter down, not liking the feeling of it in his hands. This letter sealed Eva’s fate even indirectly. If they didn’t do what was asked of them then Eva could die, that was if she wasn’t dead already. Lucas didn’t trust the word of criminals, which was a good call if you asked him.

He stood heavily, thinking on what they could do.

“See dear, I knew I was right when I said we should hire this guy,” Mrs Grey then said, noting the genius thought process that Lucas seemed to be going through.

“You’re the one that said that you wouldn’t let the guy back into our lives.” Mr. Grey grumbled, moving closer to his wife.

“That was before we knew that Eva was still alive.”

Lucas didn’t want to say that there was a possibility that Eva was in fact dead. He didn’t want to believe it, like everyone didn’t. But his experience as a private eye meant that he had to believe in it at least partially.

“Hiring him lets him back into our lives, we could just hand this into the police.”

“And they take it off us and deal with it themselves instead of involving us.” Mrs. Grey muttered, adding that that was what they had done with the box that Lucas had received. It was almost as though Mrs Grey was a new person, since he had left she had had a complete change of heart. “What do I sign to hire you?” she asked and Lucas didn’t even answer her.

He pulled out his phone and loaded up the online contracts that they had on the system. They had both paper and digital copies but the digital copy also sent it out to Kayleigh and that way Farren would know that they had more luck than they anticipated.

“I just need you to type your name and the date on the dotted lines,” Lucas had to stop himself from smirking and handed the phone to the elder woman.

“Do you really want to do this?” Eva’s father asked.

“Do you really want Eva home?” her mother asked.

“Of course I want her home, but we don’t have this kind of money.”

“We’ll sort it.” Mrs. Grey whispered and her elder hands pushed down on the keyboard, signing her name on the fifteen dotted lines that were interspersed around the contract.

Lucas could barely contain his excitement, although he felt that his joy as unjustified because his joy came out of Eva being missing and a ransom note being delivered to her parents.

 

EMMA

In her daughter's recklessness she had come home one night, the night after her road trip, and she had arrived in a black taxi instead of the silver death trap that was known as Lucas’s car. That night her daughter slammed down her suitcase onto the floor and confessed that she and Lucas had had a fight. Lucas had berated Eva, and Eva had wanted to stand on her own two feet for some reason or another. Lucas had lamented on all the qualities that he didn’t like about Eva calling her daughter a waste of a human being. 

Eva didn’t want to be in the same house or the same car as that boy again and so she had gotten a taxi and came home at the first chance she got. She had racked up a hefty bill from driving from Penrith to Newcastle but her daughter said that it was worth it.

Emma had hugged her daughter then and kissed her head. Eva had made her swear that Lucas would not step foot in the door ever again.

The next morning Eva had changed her mind and wanted to see Lucas as soon as she could but Emma fought tooth and nail to make sure that the boy wouldn’t corrupt Eva further. Emma swore to her daughter and to herself that Lucas would never be able to worm his way back into their family.

So when Eva had went missing and she got alerted to it with a dodgy text saying I love you and later a call from the police, Emma was adamant that Lucas’s involvement would only make things worse. She knew that he was a good private investigator, making it big in the forensic world with a good success rate. But she didn’t want him near the situation, nevertheless near her daughter again.

But then the letter had arrived, and Emma no longer thought her daughter to be dead. She knew that the police wouldn’t handle it with the care needed. Everyone knew that the ransom money wouldn’t be generated but would she want a group of strangers telling her that she had just sentenced her daughter to death, or would she want a boy she used to know deliver the news and feel the heartbreak she too felt? Because Lucas would feel just as responsible for Eva’s death as she would.

Luca’s care for Eva would be his downfall and his saviour because he would do anything for that girl, even wreck the friendship they had for some stupid reason. Emma may have never liked the boy completely, knowing what boys truly wanted when they had a friendship with a female, but she had to admit that if there was thing that she was sure of it was that Lucas would do anything for her daughter.

Anything included dying. Anything included selling his soul to every devil possible just to get an idea of where Eva was.

But then Lucas had walked out her door on that evening, kicked a lamp post at his displeasure and said half broken to his team that finding Eva was near impossible because although he wanted to do it on his own, on his own was not enough. He had admitted his own faults then and there, allowing the comfort of his team before seeking solitude. Emma had heard him call loudly over his shoulder that he wanted to be alone, because if anything was possible it was that Lucas would think of something on his own. Something that would help find Eva.  

She knew that the boy she once knew, not completely back then due to her own stubbornness, was different to the man that stood on her front door step that day. He had changed and maybe the absence from Eva had allowed that, maybe Eva was the one thing that allowed him to be a teenager and now that he was an adult he was ready to be a teenager again, like most adults wished. But the difference between normal adults and Lucas was that he only wanted to be young again if Eva was by his side and his past wrongdoings had been rectified with her.

Because Lucas loved her daughter. He had kicked the bucket on their friendship all those years ago. But god forbid if miles between them and a crime ring was going to stop Lucas from ever loving Eva in a way that Emma overlooked all those years before.

So she signed the god damn contracts, arguing about it to her husband, because she knew that it was the right thing to do, even if all of her didn’t agree with it. Even if some of her still saw the immature boy that broke her daughters heart after they had finished a road trip of a lifetime. 

 

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