This Man Confessed (Page 82)
‘John! The embankment. City bound. Call her in two.’ I hear car doors closing. ‘Baby, listen to me. Just keep driving, okay?’
‘Okay.’ I agree, my earlier anger giving way to pure fear.
‘I’ve got to put the phone down now.’
‘I don’t want you to.’ I murmur. ‘Stay on the phone, please.’
‘Ava, I’ve got to put the phone down. John’s going to call you as soon as I hang up. Put it on loudspeaker and place it in your lap so you can concentrate. Understand?’
He’s trying to stay calm, but he’s failing to conceal his distress. It’s thick in his husky voice, and I’m frightened by it.
‘Ava, baby. Tell me you understand!’
‘I understand.’ I whisper, and then the distinctive roar of a motorbike pours down the line. One of Jesse’s bikes. The phone goes dead.
My heart has gone berserk and is punching its way through my chest, my hand is visibly shaking on the wheel and my eyes are glazing over with panic fuelled tears. When my phone starts ringing, I fumble with the keypad until I manage to connect the call.
‘Hey, girl. Are you on hands free?’
‘No, wait.’ I quickly place the call on loudspeaker before dropping my phone into my lap and replacing my hand on the wheel, gripping harder to try and stop the shakes. ‘I’m done. I’ve done it.’
‘S’all good, girl.’ He sounds so calm. ‘Just take a quick peek and tell me how far back Jesse’s car is.’
I do as I’m told. ‘It’s only one car behind.’
He hums a little. ‘I want you to drive as slowly as possible, without looking suspicious. Just below the limit, you got it?’
I instantly ease off the accelerator a little. ‘Okay.’
‘Good girl. Now, tell me exactly where you are.’
I glance to my left. ‘I’m approaching Millennium Bridge.’
‘That’s good.’ he muses. ‘Concentrate on the road now.’
‘Okay. Why are you so calm?’ I ask. I’m not complaining because it’s rubbing off on me. An air of serenity is traveling down the line and calming me, which is crazy, considering the source of it—a giant, mean looking, wraparound wearing black man, who oozes terror.
‘One crazy mother f**ker is enough, don’t you think?’
I manage a small smile through my growing fear. ‘Yes,’ I agree.
‘Now, tell me how you’ve been today.’ He asks it like we’re having a perfectly normal conversation.
‘Fine. I’ve been fine.’ Of course, I’m not being truthful, but what sort of question is that when I’m being chased down in a car? What next? An axe wielding madman? Jesus, since I’ve met this man I’ve been through the wringer, but this is going into the realms of a Hollywood blockbuster. Who the hell is following me?
‘He’ll be an extraordinary daddy, Ava.’
John’s softly spoken words that seep from the phone and seem to linger in the closed air around me, immediately pull me back. ‘I know he will.’ I can’t see John, but if I could, I know I would see that illusive gold tooth.
‘So you two are going to stop f**king about and sort this s**t out?’ He sounds like a father, and my fondness grows for the burly beast of a man.
‘Yes,’ I agree. ‘Oh!’ I’m suddenly thrust forward in my seat and my seatbelt locks, pulling straight across my collarbone and burning the skin beneath my dress.
‘Ava?’ John’s voice is distant and muffled, and I can’t work out why. ‘Ava, girl!’
‘John?’ I feel around on my lap, but there’s nothing. ‘John!’
I’m jolted forward again, my arms instinctively locking on the wheel and sending a sharp flash of pain straight up to my shoulders. ‘S**t!’ I look in the rear view mirror and freeze when I see the DBS now directly behind me, but it’s quite a way back. ‘John?’ I yell. ‘John, can you hear me?’ My eyes are moving constantly from the road ahead to the mirror, back and forth, and each time they’re back on the mirror, Jesse’s car is closer. I attempt to step on the accelerator, but all body functions are failing me, except my eyes which are watching in horror as the DBS gains on me.
‘No!’ I cry, as I swerve and struggle to regain control on my Mini. I don’t stand a chance. My brain is being inundated by a million different orders, but I can’t gather any cognitive thought to establish my best move. I straighten up my car to be immediately hit again. Now I’m crying. My emotions are taking hold, telling me that I should be crying, that I should be frightened. And I am. I’m terrified.
This time I lose complete control. I scream as the wheel starts spinning of its own accord, and I’m suddenly travelling sideways down the carriage way. Then I’m hit again and facing forward once more. I frantically grapple with the steering wheel, but it’s got a mind of its own and in a total panic, I yank at the handbrake. I’m not sure what happens next, but I’m thrown forward and back again, and I’m dizzy, blurred images whirling past the windows. Buildings, people and cars are all spinning around me until eventually a loud crash rings through my ears, my body jolts violently and my eyes close. I don’t know where I am. But I’m still. I’m not moving anymore.
I flex my neck on a groan and open my eyes to look out of the window. The traffic has stopped. All of it. People are getting out of their cars and wandering over to me. I shuffle my legs and move my arms, quickly noting that I have feeling in all of them, before I unclip my belt and let myself out of my car. People are walking towards me, but I’m walking away. I’m walking towards the DBS, which is sitting a few yards away, the engine still purring. I should be running in the other direction, but I’m not. I’m running towards it. The desperate need to know who would do this has suddenly flattened my fear. Date rape, threats, and now this? What planet if this person on? The accumulation of incidents is now hitting me hard.