Chapter 6: At Long Last

Nina strutted along the sidewalk drunkenly and double checked through her mental checklist once again. Ernie had explained the whole situation in detail, making it clear that even if it took weeks to get this guy to fess up or to uncover some hidden secret, she had to stay put. Of course, the first challenge was to get him interested in her and that couldn't be done is she was all tight and nervous. She had to chill out and act like she belonged, which would be pretty difficult but Nina figured the whiskey would simply help her to loosen up.

The house was huge. A simple mansion-like build and marble structures with the usual double-glazed windows and chandeliers etc. Nina couldn't help but gape at the sight before her. Never in her life had she visited such an enormous house but it was pretty obvious that it was in full-swing party mode. It was dark so it was kinda hard to see straight but Nina was positive that there were at least a dozen couples making out on the front steps and that there were others up on the blaconies.

Gulping back her fear, she swaggered towards the entrance, ignoring the cat-calls and protests before reaching the double door. Yanking one open, she peeked inside and almost fell back as two white guys pushed past her into the night, yelling like maniacs.

Okay, deep breath and get in there! encouraged her fearless side.

What? Are you kidding? Turn right around and go back to the station! yelled the coward.

What're you talking about? You've got a job to do and besides, this Fillio dude may be hot.

Silence. The whole of her agreed that this guy was loaded and ready for her. Before any more internal battles, she strode into the hall and paused to look around. Hardly anyone had noticed her and she felt practically invisible. Spotting the bar, she walked over to the stools and got herself a drink as her gaze roamed over the crowd.

Which one was Josh Fillio? It could be practically anyone, for all she knew. For a moment, she wondered what on Earth she would do to get him to notice her. Perhaps she'd just say hi, make up a story and chat to him, flick her hair, roll her eyes and smile a lot. That'd probably clinch it. But Nina wasn't so sure that he was that type of guy. If he was rich then all she'd have to do was buy himself a good-looking lady. It'd make him look respectable.

On the other hand, he might not go for the whole batting-of-the-eyelids thing. He probably liked the dangerous types...and right now, Nina had never felt less dangerous. She wished that stupid PC Chris was here. But no, she shook her head bitterly, that guy was a tosser. First he gave her this stupid mission, then he doesnt even show up to make sure she was ok before she left the station. The Cow.

On that note, she gulped down the drink and asked for another...and another...and another until she felt more than a little light-headed.

"Heya, wanna dance?" A grinning lizard leered at her. Nina screamed and would've toppled over if it hadn't been for the dude. She held her head for a second then looked back up. It was a guy alright, but his skin was covered in tattoos. Unconsciously, she recoiled and went pale.

"You okay?" He looked at her weirdly.

"Yeah, sure...had too much to drink." The guy grinned instead and grabbed her hand.

"C'mon, let's dance babe." Before she could protest, she found herself surrounded by sweaty, warm bodies...all crushing her to the grinning Lizard.

"Sorry...I gotta go to the loos." The guy didn't even notice. He just kept on wobbling his head and stamping his feet.

Shuddering, Nina pused through the crowd a little desperately and looked for the way out to make her escape. She didn't care if those station guys sued her. She doubted this was even legal.

Halfway across the floor however, her escape route was bloacked by a big, black bloke. He had a huge gold ring on his middle finger and several chains around his neck. He looked dangerous but in a way, he was hot...or maybe Nina's brain was malfunctioning.

Placing a strong hand on her shoulder, his voice boomed,

"Hey, ain't you Nina Smith?" Nina froze. What? She wans't even two hours into the party and somebody already knew who she was? But then again, maybe he'd seen her in the paper or something. Somehow, she doubted it.

Shaking her head, she swivelled out of his grip and tried to nudge around him.

"Nu-uh mister. You got the wrong lady." But the guy just took both her arms and twisted them behind her back.

"Yeah right babe. I know you're Nina and someone's been looking for you. Now, don't start whining, or you'll create a scene and I'll be urged to kill you clean. I'm sure you'd prefer to die another way." Nina froze and taking his chance, the guy shoved her through the crowd, up some stairs to the first landing and into a white painted bedroom. He locked the door after exiting.

The room was empty of people and almost completely silent. Moonlight spilled through the locked windows and onto the four poster, highlighting its' fine carvings. Nina considered yelling for help, but with the party, she doubted anyone could hear her. There were no escape routes at all. Sitting down on the mattress, she waited, wondering what to say to Fillio. She didn't want to blow her cover like they did in the movies and then ended up suffering the consequences but right now, she was as sick as anything. Why delay the inevitable? Wouldn't it just be better to spill the beans and get it over with?

"Scuse me people, but I've absolutely no idea why I'm here and you guys have gotta explain dat. And I don't exactly appreciate being locked in a room and-"

As she spoke, a figure with green eyes akin to her own stepped forward and surveyed her intently for a second, as if he couldn't believe his eyes. Nina broke off and looked back at his masked face, a little confused. He was a bit taller than her and he carried a gun just like the rest of them but her heart leapt twice when he whispered softly,

"Nina?" She knew that voice. She knew those eyes. She knew the expression behind the mask...but it was impossible. It just couldn't be. She was here to seduce a supposed criminal by the name of Josh Fillio and instead, a ghost of her past floated up.

Feeling a sudden urge to step forward, she slowly pulled off the balacava and revealed olive-coloured skin, long-lashed eyes, jet black hair and a face she thought she'd never see again.

"Andrew?" She whispered disbelievingly as her eyes became blurry. She's found her brother. At long last.