Thanks to my beta Rachaeljurassic.
I wrote this while I was on holiday. It's just a bit of fun and I really enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy it too.
Be Careful What You Wish For…
Helen sat in the semi-darkness thinking back to how she'd got into this mess.
She put her hand to her neck, feeling the collar there, and tried not to panic.
Why is this happening to me? she wondered.
One minute she'd been walking along the street in Geneva, and the next, a car had pulled up alongside her. Two men had leapt out, grabbed her and bundled her into the car. She hadn't had time to draw breath let alone scream. She held out little hope that the passers-by had even noticed that anything untoward had happened, still less had the presence of mind to take the number of the car that her abductors had used.
They'd driven her to the outskirts of Geneva and then she'd been half dragged, half carried out of the car and brought before an imposing looking man. He'd studied her in silence for a while then nodded his head, seemingly satisfied.
"Yes, this will bring him," he'd said.
He'd nodded to his men and they'd forced her onto her knees in front of him. He'd produced something from behind his back and wrapped it around her neck. She'd heard it snap shut with a sharp click and had raised her hands to it automatically.
"I wouldn't advise that you try to remove it. It's full of explosives, tamper with it and you're dead." The man's tone had been chillingly matter-of-fact.
Why on earth have they abducted me? she asked herself, coming back to the present and feeling the cold steel around her neck. And who was the "he" the man had referred to. Could this be connected with what happened two months ago? She thought back to the day when she'd first met the man she suspected they were after. A tall…very tall… dark and handsome American.
She remembered that it was 25th May when they'd first met. It had been her best friend's birthday and Helen had taken her out for lunch to celebrate. On her way back home Helen had stopped off to get some shopping. As she'd left the last shop she'd had the feeling that she'd forgotten something and was trying to bring it to mind as she walked along. She was just approaching the Jet D'eau fountain in the centre of Geneva, and wasn't really looking where she was going, when she'd been brought to a sudden halt by a solid wall of human flesh. She'd walked straight into someone. The collision had knocked her off balance and she'd fallen, scraping her hand along the pavement as she tried to save herself. She had been vaguely aware of the contents of her shopping bags rolling on the ground as she tried to regain her composure. Then she'd heard a voice saying,
"Sorry I'll help you with that."
She'd glanced up and it was all she had been able to do to keep from staring… the man was gorgeous. She'd flushed crimson, realising that he must be thinking she was not only clumsy but also stupid as she gaped at him. She'd pulled herself together with an effort, thanked him and together they'd scooped up her shopping.
"You're hurt," he'd said.
She'd looked down at her hand and seen that it was bleeding.
"I'm fine, I'll be fine, it's just a scratch."
"Look my flat's near here, just up there," he'd said, pointing to a tall building just visible in the distance. "Come in with me now and I'll patch it up for you. You can't go bleeding all over the pavement."
She wasn't in the habit of going off with strangers, but somehow, instinctively, she'd felt she could trust this man.
"Thank you, that's very kind," she'd said, smiling into his eyes.
She'd thrust her uninjured hand towards him.
"Craig," the man had said and smiled back at her.
That was how it had begun.
He had patched her hand up nicely and kissed it gently. He'd taken her telephone number, saying that he wanted to call her later to check she was okay and was suffering no ill effects from her tumble. He'd called the next day and suggested that they went out for coffee together so that he could see for himself that she was all right. She'd accepted his invitation with alacrity and they'd spent a couple of happy hours sipping coffee and chatting. The sweetest moment for Helen came when they were leaving each other. He'd bent his mouth to hers and given her the sweetest, gentlest of kisses.
In the darkness Helen touched her hand to her lips, remembering that moment. It had been an interesting two months. Craig had called her the day after they'd had coffee and they'd started dating in earnest. The American had been attentive, funny and taken her to lots of places. He'd been a little vague about what he did for a living but had told her that he had to travel a lot. She'd suspected that he was a salesman of some sort. It had worried her a little that he didn't seem to want to introduce her to his friends. She'd tackled him about it once and he'd told her that their time together was precious and that he didn't want to share her with anyone else. This explanation had satisfied her at the time but now she wondered if there was more to it than that. Her being kidnapped suggested that Craig was in some sort of trouble.
Helen got to her feet and once again walked round the small windowless room. She'd examined the walls the day before, hoping to find a way out but, other than the door they'd locked behind her, there was none. She wondered what would become of her, what they would do if this didn't 'bring him' as the man expected.
What if it wasn't Craig they were talking about? What if this is a case of mistaken identity? What if I'm not the person they'd wanted to abduct? Why am I allowing my mind to run round in circles like this? What good is it doing me?
She was beginning to feel really down and the darkness wasn't helping. She fought back the tears as depression threatened to engulf her. She'd seen no-one since she'd been locked into this room. For all she knew she could be alone in the house, she could have been abandoned here. She wondered how long it would be before she died of thirst and hunger. She gave herself a mental shake; thoughts like these were not helping her situation. She tried to keep her hands away from the collar around her neck and think of more pleasant things to take her mind off what was happening to her.
Suddenly she heard a commotion outside the door and then someone shouted,
"Helen if you're in there stand away from the door!"
It didn't sound like Craig's voice but she did as she was told. The door burst open. She closed her eyes and turned her head away as light flooded into the room. A moment later she looked back towards the door narrowing her eyes against the brightness. She saw a tall handsome man standing there, not Craig, but attractive all the same with amazing piercingly blue eyes. He walked into the room and pulled the door almost closed, shutting out the worst of the glare.
"Helen?" he asked.
"My name is Richard Barrett," he said, "I'm a friend of Craig's. He's just dealing with the bad guys to make sure they don't set off that little piece of jewellery you're wearing. We've come to get you out of here."
The relief was too much for Helen and she flung herself into Richard's arms. He held her and gently stroked her head, muttering soothing words as she started to sob. Then she heard the voice she'd been longing to hear for the last two days.
"Good grief Richard! I can't leave you alone for a second. I turn my back and you try to steal my girl!" he said dryly and Helen rushed to him and allowed Craig to enfold her in his arms. He held her tightly for a couple of minutes then, shielding her eyes from the glare, he'd led her into a brightly lit room and sat her down in a chair.
There followed several nerve wracking moments while Craig and Richard extricated her from the collar. They tried to exude confidence but she was aware that they were on edge. She wanted to clasp her hands to her face to stop herself from screaming in terror but she didn't want to obstruct the collar and had to sit with her hands at her side and place her life in the hands of these two men. Despite her fear she couldn't help but notice and marvel at how in tune with each other they seemed to be. When the collar was finally off she broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. Craig held her until the storm subsided and then gently told her that they needed to get out of there.
Together the three of them left the house.
"I think I owe you an explanation but it can wait until I have you in my flat with a drink in your hand," Craig said, as he drove her to his place, dropping Richard off on the way.
Helen sipped her drink and listened as Craig talked.
"Have you heard of an organisation called Nemesis?"
"Yes I have. They're based here in Geneva and they work towards peace for all nations don't they?" Helen said.
"Yes," Craig confirmed, "Well, what you don't know is that I work for them. Unfortunately a particularly unpleasant bunch of people we've been working against realised that you mean rather more to me than any other girl I've dated and they decided to kidnap you as bait for me. Luckily I'm not as stupid as they took me for and, with a little help from Richard, managed to turn the tables on them. I'm sorry you got dragged into this Helen. It's probably better if we don't see each other again. I'd hate for anything like this to ever happen to you again."
The sadness in his eyes made it clear that this was not what Craig wanted.
"It's okay," said Helen. "For you I'll take the risk. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. Anyway, how many times do the bad guys kidnap the girlfriends of people in your business Craig?"
"I must admit it's a very rare occurrence. In fact I've only known it to happen once before but, all the same…
"Once before to you or to anyone working for Nemesis?"
"Not to me, to a colleague… some years ago. But the risk is still there and you're far too precious to take chances with."
"Don't be silly Craig! I'm a grown woman in case you haven't noticed and just two kidnaps in goodness how many years sounds like very good odds to me. Anyway I can always rely on you to rescue me. You don't get rid of me that easily." she said with a smile. She put her arms around him and pulled him towards her.
"Helen," he said, breaking out of her grip and suddenly dropping down onto one knee. "I love you; I loved you from the first moment we met when you cannoned into me in the street. Will you marry me?"
"Oh yes," said Helen.
"You do understand that sometimes I'll have to go away on missions? That sometimes I won't be there for you? I won't always be able to tell you where I'm going or for how long."
"Yes, I understand, as I said before you're worth it."
The next two months passed by in a flurry of preparations for the wedding. Craig didn't want a big ceremony and nor did she, just a few close friends. She'd met Richard on a few occasions since the rescue. She'd also been introduced to Sharron, who worked with the two men. At first she'd been a little jealous of the classy looking blonde agent. Sharron was very attractive and Helen was sure that Craig would be interested in her but it seemed that he treated her more like a younger sister than anything else. Sharron seemed to have no interest in Craig romantically either. Sometimes she thought it would be nice if Sharron and Richard got together but they too seemed more like brother and sister than potential lovers.
The preparations were finished at last and the wedding was to take place that morning. Richard was acting as best man. Sharron was going to be bridesmaid and she arrived at Helen's flat to help her dress.
"Right now let's check the list," Sharron said. "Something old?"
"Yes that's the handkerchief you lent to me."
"Something new, that's your dress of course. Something borrowed… the hanky again. Something bl… Oh, you don't have anything blue," Sharron said.
"Damn! I meant to dye the hanky blue – then it could have covered almost all the rhyme on its own," Helen said.
"I'll just pop out and see if they have anything suitable in the shop on the corner, ok?" Sharron said.
"Fine," Helen replied and Sharron hurried off.
Helen sat down on the chair composing herself, trying to remain calm, keeping down the butterflies in her stomach. This was the day she'd been longing for ever since she'd first seen the handsome American with the beautiful brown eyes. Her mind ranged over everything that had happened and she contemplated their future.
The ringing of the doorbell cut through her thoughts. She tried to stand up to answer it but she couldn't move, she seemed rooted to the chair. She fought hard against the stupor that was overcoming her but she seemed unable to make her muscles obey. The bell was ringing and ringing and still she couldn't rouse herself. She couldn't get out of the chair.
What's happening? What's wrong with me? she wondered. Her arms seemed paralysed, she couldn't move a muscle. She desperately tried to drag herself to her feet but was completely unable to. The ringing went on and on and on, piercing through her brain.
What's going on? Why am I feeling like this? Have I been drugged?
And then the ringing sound penetrated a tiny corner of her conscious mind and she realised that it was the ringing of her bedside alarm clock. She'd dreamed the whole thing. She reached out and shut off her alarm.
Under normal circumstances, the realisation that everything has been a dream is the end of the story but in this case it is not, because Helen has the power of second sight, she's had it since she was a child. Every now and again she would have an exceptionally vivid and detailed dream. Gradually she'd come to realise that these intense dreams, more often than not, came true. The more real the dream seemed, the more likely that it would come true.
She looked across at the calendar and saw it was 25th of May. In her dream that was the date when she and Craig had met for the first time. To set the chain of events in motion all she had to do was to go shopping on her way back from her meeting with her friend and wait for things to take their course.
She got up and dressed, putting on the same clothes that she'd worn in her dream. She took extra care with her hair and make-up, grabbed some breakfast and was finally ready to leave. As she turned to lock the door behind her she experienced a momentary qualm - not everything in the dream had been pleasant. Her hand went to her neck as she remembered the feel of the collar. Disquieting thoughts raced through her head.
Do I really want to put myself though that again? It'll be better this time… surely it will? I won't be as scared because I'll know that Craig will rescue me. But can I be absolutely certain that everything in the dream will happen? What if a few bits of it change? What if I die? What if the explosives detonate?
Helen thought back to how she'd felt in the dream the morning of the wedding and decided it was worth the risk. In her previous prophetic dreams nothing major had ever changed. Minor details, yes, but nothing earth-shattering. Pushing her doubts firmly to the back of her mind she set out resolutely.
She had lunch with her friend, resisting the urge to tell her anything about what she was expecting to happen later that day. Lunch over, she went shopping then headed for the Jet D'eau.
She kept her gaze down despite the temptation to look for the man she'd come here to meet. Then, as she approached the fountain, she collided with someone. She fell forward, scraping her hand along the pavement. She watched the contents of her shopping bags rolling on the floor. Then she heard a voice,
"Sorry I'll help you with that."
She looked up and her eyes locked with those of her tall, dark, handsome American.