“If it keeps me alive, then it’s exactly what I’m looking for,” I try a smile, and it works.
“Why are you standing here in plain sight? Get inside,” Fynn pushes past us, separating me and Anderson as he does so.
Anderson pretends to roll his eyes, but there is still a smile on his face, and for some reason, I know that the relationship between these two is strong. It has gotten past those little insecurities people have, and they have obviously accepted each other, flaws and all. Not that it looks like Anderson has much of them. Pleasing on the eyes, charming, helpful, chatty. He’s the exact opposite of Fynn.
Anderson gestures at me to go first this time. We walk up a small wooden patio, covered in splotches of darker paint. It creaks underneath the weight of our bodies. There are two rocking chairs, and a small table between them. I can’t really see myself having my morning coffee here, but I understand the purpose behind this scene. It’s supposed to convey an image of a house where the dwellers aren’t afraid to sit outside and be seen by occasional passers-by. Not that there is much traffic around here. We were brought to this place by a small patch of dirt road, and I bet you can only find it if you know what you’re looking for. Otherwise - good luck.
Fynn is already inside, so we follow him. When I enter, an unpleasant smell of a lack of usage hits my nostrils. I guess it shows on me, because Anderson immediately jumps to explain.
“Yeah, we definitely need to air the place a little,” he winks at me, and I chuckle. Maybe it won’t be so bad with him here.
Fynn walks out from the last room down the hallway. “Your room is that one.” He points. “Anderson and I are sleeping in the room next to yours.” I just nod. “The kitchen is to your left. You’ve got your basic utilities, but the coffee sucks. The machine has its own mind and will refuse to make you coffee occasionally. Apart from that, the toaster is working fine, and the microwave, too.”
“So, we’ll be cooking?” I wonder.
“We can’t quite order out here, princess,” he snorts at me.
“That’s not what I meant,” I reply.
“Cut her some slack, Fynn, will ya?” Anderson’s soft voice tingles in my right ear, where he also places his hand upon my shoulder. “The girl’s been through enough for one night.”
“She will be through more if we aren’t careful. Sven isn’t finished with her, you know this yourself, Anderson.”
“I know, but come on.”
“You can be all freakin’ lovey-dovey for all I care, but someone here needs to keep his head on his shoulders, if we’re all gonna get out of this alive.” With those words, he sighs, then shakes his head. “I’ll go outside to check the premises. You can help her settle in.”
“Fynn, I didn’t mean - “ Anderson starts, but Fynn is already out the door.
Now, it’s Anderson turn to sigh, as he gestures helplessly at me.
“He’s not really a bad guy.”
“Yeah, he just sounds and acts that way,” I furrow my brow.
“I know that’s how it looks to you, and I’m pretty sure that’s how it looks to most people. But, once you scratch that hard, edgy surface… trust me, there’s no one else I’d rather have by my side when shit hits the fan.”
“Like it did this time?”
“Well…” he scratches the back of his head, and gives me a mischievous, boyish look to die for.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” I chuckle. “So, you know this guy? This Sven?”
“Sort of,” Anderson nods, walking around a small coffee table and sitting on the sofa. “We got unofficial records saying he’s done everything under the sun, but we could ever only catch him on some minor stuff that would barely hold up in court. That, plus his lawyer is an unforgiving piranha, so we always need to do everything by the book, otherwise the evidence we get on him is deemed unacceptable in the court of law.”
“Tell me about it,” he sighs again. “Every time something big happens and we manage to connect it to him, he’s nowhere to be seen. And, it’s been a while since he’s been active. Maybe even a few years. The fact that he’s out of hiding, sort of, and pulling a stunt like this, kidnapping you, tells us more’s at stake here. There are some big players involved, I’m sure of it.”
“Big players? You mean, like my dad?”
“That’s really big then. But, I don’t understand, what does any of this have to do with my dad? And, what is it that Sven wanted? Why didn’t he ask for money, like any normal kidnapper would?”
Anderson allows me a moment or two, before replying. He gazes at me deeply, his eyes the color of ashes and smoke dispersing in the wind. I could sense that there is an intense truth he wants me to know, but he’s still not sure if he should tell me.