Hidden First Date Part III
Not everything is as it seems
Looking around the room, the first thing I notice is the half glass of Merlot on the sideboard.
"What happened" I start to panic out loud.
"Shh, shh Liz, don't worry, it will be much easier for us all if you stay calm and quiet."
Felicia looks at me with a grimace as Eli gives this patronising and slightly smug response.
I start to get up but notice that I can't. I'm tied to the post of a large solid oak table and at 5ft 7 and 125lbs, it's very unlikely I am going to be able to move it. My head is positively spinning and I'm trying to track back and relay the last few hours. I walked into a bar, I watched Eli, I drank lots of Duckhorn, Felicia joined me, I approached Eli, we came back here to The Corinthia Hotel, Felicia was supposed to be playing him with me but now they know each other. How?
Eli said he was hired by Felicia and that he hired me? What does this mean? I mean, I've had some absurd cases over the years of being a private investigator but this one takes the bullet. From a seemingly dream date with a glass of merlot to a rather confusing nightmare.
"I imagine you're rather confused right now Miss Taylor"
Elis' words ringing in my ears, I felt like snapping his fucking neck.
"Confused, confused, I'm past confused. Can you please explain to me what the hell is going on!"
Felicia picks up a large Italian crystal glass from the bar in the corner of the penthouse suite and begins to pour herself a glass of Duckhorn.
"Do you want to explain Mr Grant or shall I?" She asks him with the smuggest look across her face. He simply gestures his hand forward, inviting her to take lead. She started to explain.
"I imagine Liz when you got this case you thought the source of the job was a jealous wife, wanting to know if her rich and successful husband was cheating on her. I mean, after all, most of our cases are just like this right?"
"Well, you are not far off. Eli hired you as you already know but he also explained I hired him and in a way I did."
As if I wasn't confused enough already, her poor excuse for an explanation was just making me more tense and far more confused than I was before.
"What do you mean 'in a way?"
My scour becoming visibly clear with my response before I quickly snapped.
"And can you fucking untie me!"
"Not yet, Miss Taylor, we like it like this don't we Mrs Grant?"
I looked at Eli with shock as those words left his mouth. 'Mrs Grant'. What did he mean?
"Felicia? What on earth is he talking about?"
"Well, like I said" She responded. "In a way, I did hire Eli, in the sense of I told him to hire you. Eli is my husband and he can't very well ignore his wife's request can he?"
Felicia downed the last part of her Merlot before passionately pulling Eli towards her and holding him close, teasing his lips with hers and sliding her hand down his leg. They looked utterly insane at that moment and I started to worry about what was to happen next. After all, here I am tied up, drugged and all in one of Londons most expensive and prestigious penthouse suites.
"Married? I thought you hated the idea of marriage? I've worked with you now for 2 years and you have never given any indication that you were married."
"Why would I?" Felicia responded. "I have never really told you anything about myself".
She was right. I hadn't even known where Felicia lived. I didn't know her middle name, anything about her past or even her real age. You could call me a sloppy investigator for not finding this information out but I never felt the need. The woman was good, she was very good at getting our jobs done so I felt any digging into a life she wished to keep private was wrong Obviously, I was wrong.
"So you're married, what has that got to do with me being tied up and drug you fucking maniacs?"
Pouring his wife another glass of Merlot, Eli turned towards me and suddenly his face seemed to change. I saw a grimace, a wash of extreme anger and yet his face was still as handsome as before. It was something I had never seen in someone before, except maybe in horror films. I was beginning to think I was in one. And, I wasn't far wrong.
"We like the game Miss Taylor, do you think you're the first?"
Not the first? What did he mean?
Felicia laughed. Not a dull, dark giggle or even a menacing laugh as she had before. But a full-blown belly laugh. I was growing more confused and even more scared.
"America, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, England and across most of Europe, you may have or not have noticed the connections the police try yet utterly fail to make with the missing women cases?"
Eli goes on to list several women.
"Jane Ledger, 34, single, one teenage kid, USA. Sophia Lisseman, 22, engaged, no kids, Australia. Jenny Reina, 18, exchange student, Sweden."
Felicia carries on.
"Veronica Sorrenson, 30, no kids, single, Norway. Josie Smith, 25, Married, Pregnant, Ireland."
Then they both look at each other with something that trumps menace before slowly looking back at me. Eli pours himself a Merlot and indicates to Felicia to lift her glass. they toast before he goes on to describe one last person.
"Elizabeth Taylor, 35, No kids, Single, England."
Before I have any chance to ask what they mean, they place a laptop in front of me and untie one of my hands.
"Look up the names and places of the women we have just explained to you," Felicia says.
So I do.
Jane Ledger, USA. Missing.
Sophia Lisseman, Australia. Missing.
Jenny Reina, Sweden. Missing.
My fear began to turn to utter terror as every name I typed in came back with the same information. Missing. Trying to hide my terror but utterly failing, I quivered as I asked them,
"Missing? How do you know this? Why are they missing?"
Eli starts to walk over to me removing his fine Silk Valentino tie and gently placing it over my shoulders. Felicia kneels in front of me and looks me dead in the eyes before exclaiming.
"Oh Lizzy my naive friend, they're not missing. They're dead."
My utter terror has become a nightmare in reality. I go to scream but Eli suddenly pulls his tie tighter around my neck and squeezes until I feel the life slowly leaving. I kick, hit with my free hand, grab but it's no good. The last thought I had was unexplainable and still to this day I can't comprehend.
'No more best legs this side of the Thames'
As I began to fade I heard a loud bang and a sound that could only be explained as something from a James Bond movie. Like a silenced weapon. I passed out.
When I finally awoke, I was no longer in that suite. Blue lights surrounded me and I was laying down, clothes slightly ripped, burn marks around my neck and in the back of an ambulance.
"What happened?" I asked the paramedic.
"Well, we were hoping you could tell us?" He replied.
I began to explain what had happened. I explained it all. My job, who Felicia was and how I had been hired to watch Eli and have a date with him; making sure to take pictures and record any intel along the way.
After relaying the entire story to the paramedic, including the 'James Bond' like a shot at the end of it all and the police officer who had joined me shortly after my story began, I was met with confused and slightly unbelieving faces.
"Miss Taylor" The officer began, "You were the only one in that suite. It was hired in your name, with your credit card and nobody else questioned tonight has seen you with anybody else."
I was in utter dismay, I felt mad. I was not mad. It had happened, all of it. It had. I started to raise my voice with a mixture of panic and anger.
"No, no, it did happen, I'm not mad, I'm not mad."
With my voice manic and my temper rising, I tried to sit up but noticed that I couldn't. I was strapped down. What? Why was I strapped down?
Before I had a chance to ask I drifted in and out of sleep before finally waking up to the sound of my name being called.
"Liz, Lizzy, wake up, you have visitors. Your brother and his wife have come to see you are you ok for a visitor?"
Before I had time to respond, my brother walked in and sat on the sofa opposite my chair positioned perfectly in front of the window with a perfect view of my parents' favourite hotel. The Corinthia. I grabbed my duck teddy and blackcurrant juice, which I sipped out of the plastic wine glass that had been given to me on my last birthday and greeted my brother with a big smile.
"Eli, I've missed you and Felicia I've missed you too."
"We've missed you too Liz," Said my brother, "And the girls."
"Yes we wanted to bring them" Continued Felicia, "But these mental health facilities are no place for young children, especially 5 of them."
"Of course" I responded. "I've written them all Christmas card though.
As I handed the cards to my brother, I saw his face light up.
"I haven't forgotten anyone have I, Eli?" I said. He responded.
"Jane, Sophia, Jenny, Veronica, Josie...No, they're all here Liz, Thank you."
My brother gave a concerned look as he took my hand.
"We will have you home soon Liz, we will have you home soon."
They kissed me and walked to the exit, Felica looked back and shouted,
"Hey Liz, you still have the best legs this side of the Thames."