a cunning idea which would see me kill two birds with one stone. It feels a little bit like cheating but this post is a teaser for the said novel, the fourth in the Georgie Connelly series. Writing this chapter provoked several flashbacks to the debacle that was my own last driving experience. I admit there were no car chases or criminals involved but I would argue my experience was
infinitely worse. I had to endure a fire fighter sitting in the passenger seat screaming abuse at me, whilst I proceeded to almost kill us both. Add to that the shattered dreams of a new career and romance lying shattered at my feet, as they struggled to remember which peddle was which. Needless to say, I have never driven since and the mere idea can bring me out in a cold sweat. Anyway here it is ...
Marilyn drove away from the house with surprising ease. Sean was in the passenger seat next to her, tossing out instructions whilst Georgie was in the back, leaning forward, her head poking through the front seats. She was still calling James and Julie repeatedly and leaving frantic messages.
“Put your seat belt on!” Sean ordered. Ignoring him, Georgie called Danny who answered immediately.
“Where are you?” she shouted.
“Bel Air, we are on residential streets now, I think they must be heading for a house.”
“We are on our way!” she bellowed. “Call me once you know where you are going.” Leaning even further forward, she spoke urgently. “We need to get to Bel Air; he thinks they are going to a house.”
“Which house?” Marilyn asked.
“Doesn’t matter; keep your eyes on the road!” Sean barked. “Georgie, seat belt on now!”
Disregarding his order, Georgie continued to lean between the seats.
“Alexander lives in Bel Air and his dad’s clinic is in Bel Air. Maybe they are going there.”
“Seat belt!” Sean screamed, wincing in pain and grabbing his ribs.
“Right, which lane do I need to be in?” Marilyn asked as they approached the freeway, weaving across two lanes.
“Keep straight, keep straight!” Sean shouted, turning to look over his shoulder at the traffic behind them, his face contorting in pain at the effort.
“Darling, don’t shout, you’re making me nervous,”Marilyn said, strain showing in her voice for the first time.
“Slow down, Marilyn,” Sean bit out.
Stress was like a living thing trapped in the car with them, Georgie could taste it, smell it, feel it.
“We need to get to Danny.”
“For fuck’s sake, Georgie, we need to get there in one piece. Now put your fucking seat belt on!”
“Please stop shouting,” Marilyn wailed. “I think I’m having a panic attack, I feel a little bit fuzzy.”
“Fuzzy? Sweet Jesus, Marilyn, please just focus on the road. You can see can’t you?”
“You said it would be like riding a bike,” Georgie derided.
“Georgie, please!” Sean was now speaking through gritted teeth, his head looking as if it was in danger of exploding. “Keep quiet and put your seatbelt on. You’re doing great, Marilyn. Foot off the gas a little bit.”
A car beeped as Marilyn careered wildly between two lanes.
“Straight ahead, straight ahead,” Sean said in a strangled voice.
“I think I need to stop,” Marilyn wailed. “I don’t feel well.”
“You can’t stop, Marilyn. There is nowhere to stop. Straight ahead, straight ahead.”
“I knew this was a bad idea,” Georgie said, leaning forward, her phone placed at her ear. “Danny, any news?” she shouted.
Sean opened his window slightly causing air to rush in, the noise adding to the already charged atmosphere in the car.
“We have an address,” Georgie announced triumphantly, her head at Sean’s shoulder. “What’s wrong with you?” she demanded, taking in his clammy, grey skin. “I told you you weren’t well enough to come out of the house.”
“Just put your seat belt on, please,” he moaned. “Straight ahead, Marilyn. That’s it, you’re doing great.” Looking towards Sean, Marilyn smiled tremulously. “Eyes on the road, Marilyn,” he croaked.
Finally, they were on the quieter residential streets of Bel Air. Sean was slumped in his seat, offering directions to Marilyn, who was clutching the wheel tightly looking almost as pale as he did. Georgie was alternating between leaving messages for James and Julie and calling Danny for updates. Her voice, loud and excitable, was doing nothing to alleviate the agitation of the two people in the front of the car.
“Once I stop this car, I am never driving again,”Marilyn was chanting over and over again like a mantra. “I had forgotten how stressful it is. Far too much to think about.”
“It’s okay, Marilyn, eyes on the road,” Sean repeated in response.
Juddering to a stop behind Danny’s car, Marilyn switched off the engine, taking a series of deep breaths. Her eyes were glassy and fixed straight ahead. Sean staggered out of the car, doubling over, clinging onto the door and looking like he was about to throw up. Georgie sprang from the back seat, rushing over to greet Danny. They were parked on a deserted street outside a security gate, which led to a house that was typical in size and style of all of the other homes in this area of Bel Air. Danny was frantically pacing next to his car, the adrenalin of the car chase still coursing through his body.
Hugging him briefly whilst laughing delightedly, Georgie eyed the security gates.
“Good job, Danny. This isn’t Alexander’s house so I’m guessing it must be Ellie Smart’s. Did you see them drive in?”
“Yeah, he keyed in the security code and they drove straight through.” He nodded towards the car, “Are they okay?”
“Yeah, Sean has come out too soon; he shouldn’t even be out of bed.”
“What’s wrong with Marilyn?”
“Oh you know what she’s like. Total drama queen.” She wandered back over towards where Sean was still doubled over, his
head resting on his forearm. “Are you okay?” Straightening up slowly, he looked at her incredulously.
“Okay? Am I okay? I have just been trapped in a moving vehicle with a pair of Goddamn lunatics and you ask me if I am okay. I seriously think I could be having a stroke.”
Looking at Danny, Georgie shook her head.
“And he’s supposed to be a tough guy.”
“Georgie, I seriously don’t know how James’ nervous system is intact. The guy deserves a medal. That was the single most terrifying experience of my entire life.”
“I thought you cops were supposed to be ready for anything?”
“I swear to God, I thought I was going to die.” At that moment, Marilyn finally stumbled from the car, wild eyed and dishevelled.
“I really need a Valium. Does anybody have one?”