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 Fanfic: Hostage!

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PostSubject: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:19 pm

I intend to post every other day - that should give me time to finish it!!!

My story is basically a comedy -with a touch of suspense and a frisson of romance ... maybe more than a frisson actually (I'm getting to like all this passion etc - lol!)
I hope you enjoy it.
Love Moe xx

Chapter One:

The airport concourse was awash with humanity. It was the run up to Easter and everyone was determined to get the most out of this first big holiday weekend of the year. Charter flights to Majorca, Amsterdam and various other ‘only an hour or two away’ destinations had overbooked and the angry disappointed were demanding retribution, sometimes physically, at every other check-in desk. Then there were the screaming children, tired from too much excitement at too early an hour and now being unceremoniously dragged behind ‘about to break’ parents … who said holidays were fun?

Emily sent up grateful thanks to heaven that she earned enough to be able to escape the melee. The first class lounge afforded a level of comfort that made travelling a much better prospect. She had done her time down there in the clamouring throng and she had no wish to return. If eye watering amounts of travelling was a necessary evil of her job then, at the very least, she should be allowed to do it in style. She had to arrive fresh and ready to do the deal – no compromise. The publishing business took no prisoners

Still, she hated these holiday periods because everywhere was so damned busy. Even the lounge was much more crowded than usual and the attendants were stretched to breaking, trying to keep everyone happy. She had been waiting for her skinny latte for almost ten minutes but she wouldn’t make a fuss – she’d been at the sharp end of the service industry during her university days and, consequently, was never rude to harassed waiters or waitresses.

She turned as the next flight to Dubai was announced and was rewarded with an exodus of passengers. Seats became vacant, some her favourite seats, and she sighed as she settled down on the quiet side of the lounge. Here no cell phones beeped or computer keyboards clicked – perfect. She could rest and reflect on whatever was occupying her brain. She eased further down with a satisfying whoosh as the air was expelled from the plump cushion she was resting on and she closed her eyes, happy to just do nothing.

After a few moments a strangely metallic sound insinuated its way into her thoughts. She frowned … now what? Her frown deepened as her brain sifted the available information and made a quick identification … an overloud ipod - God people could be so thoughtless. The whole point of having those little things to stuff in your ears was so that one could hear without anyone else being bothered. Still, she had the small satisfaction of knowing that anyone having the volume turned up so high on that heavy metal crap that she could now identify, was undoubtedly damaging their hearing if not scrambling their brain entirely.

She fished into her carryon bag and withdrew her own ipod; well if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! The soothing tones of The Dixie Chicks washed over her and the annoying rubbish was banished … perfect!

*****

Urs relaxed in his chair and watched the airport hubbub going on outside the huge windows. He sniggered to himself as a team of baggage handlers managed to scatter practically a whole truck full of luggage over the tarmac. The schoolboy humour soon left him, however, when he imagined his own luggage receiving similar treatment and he resolved never to pack his precious guitars again but instead he would carry whichever one he had with him everywhere – who cared what it cost. He would be devastated if anything happened to any of them.

Actually, he wished he had his guitar right now so that he could work on a riff or too. He always found that so soothing to the nerves. Unfortunately not everyone else found it soothing. It never ceased to amaze him how people, especially those with an inflated idea of their own importance, could whine and whinge about the least little noise - like fingers slipping over strings. Whatever happened to live and let live? He wouldn’t mind if they were civil; a simple please for instance, but they saw the jeans, long hair and guitar and drew their own conclusions. Now, if he suddenly stood up and blasted out the windows with an aria he supposed that would be fine with them … you know … highbrow!

Here, of course, his usual disarming honesty (even with himself) attacked. He couldn’t really call anyone for being a music snob, wasn’t he one himself in the past? It was amazing how three years tearing round the world with Il Divo had straightened out a few of those little preconceptions.
He patted his jacket pocket. At least he had his ipod. He practically purred as the track echoing round his head changed to one of his old ‘Ozzy’ favourites. He drummed along on his thigh, oblivious to the announcement that caused an exodus of passengers for their flight, oblivious also to the fawning look of recognition he was receiving from the pretty blonde waitress.

It wouldn’t have made any difference to him if he had seen it though. ‘Once bitten’ was now his watchword where casual contact with ladies was concerned. Too many times he had been made to feel unclean by bed hopping models and fame junkies. This kind of relationship would never be for him. No, he would stick to his preferred way of getting to know a woman, really know her, before he committed to any sort of relationship. Life in Il Divo wasn’t exactly conducive to conducting a relationship anyway. No, if someone came along in whom he was interested he might think differently but she would have to be someone special to put up with the way he lived right now.

The vacant seats in the quiet part of the lounge were quickly filled, thankfully with quiet people – much better than the chattering bunch that had so recently departed - just a bunch of travellers, like him trying to find a few moments’ peace.

The minutes passed with nothing to disturb his happiness; that is until his ipod battery went down. ‘Gott damn – I packed my charger!’ he muttered. Now what would he do to pass the long hours on the flight? The drumming on his thigh took on a strident, annoyed note. He was a man who was known to be one who would not suffer fools gladly and yet here he was the fool for not charging his battery.
He shook his head, and listened to the sounds of the airport. The servers chatter seemed to boom as they cleared the tables. Somewhere a child was wailing. He offered up a silent prayer of thanks that it was nowhere near him. I mean he liked children but they didn’t go with flying. Then he realised that he could hear a very quiet guitar. He tuned in more carefully. It was a slow, melancholy sound and not unpleasant. Unfortunately the vocalist chose that moment to join in and the whiney, nasal tones of one of those ‘love gone wrong’ country ballads assaulted his ears. His musical taste was eclectic to say the least but the modern twang of this sort of country was not something he couldn’t listen to … and now he had no choice.

In this quiet corner of the lounge the sound seemed to pervade everything. Urs bit his lower lip convulsively and gripped the arms of his chair. He checked his watch and realised that there would probably be around ten minutes before they would be able to board. The noise became much more important than it had a right to be … there was no way he could put up with ten minutes of that wailing.

He stood, shook out his shoulders then straightened his shirt and jacket and went in search of the transgressor.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:20 pm

I know I said every other day but I got to thinking last night that I needed to post chapter 2 asap as, together with chapter 1, it helps to set the scene for the whole story. So here it is!
I will then go back to the two day postings as promised - and keep writing no matter what the muse might say.

Chapter Two:

Emily, lost in her musical nirvana, jumped at the sudden, soft touch on her arm. She looked up at her breaker of dreams, her disturber of peaceful rest. The anonymous muscle bound life guard receded back into the red zone of her mind; filed away for use later on, when time was more conducive to fantasy.

Then confusion! Why was this beautiful male specimen standing over her with a look of surprised expectation wreathing his exquisite features?

“Yes?” Why wasn’t he answering … was he dumb?

For Urs this was unexpected. Indeed he hadn’t felt this tongue-tied since his teenage years but he simply couldn’t force his mouth to operate. And something else he hadn’t felt the need of in a long time was also echoing round his brain – prayer! ‘Dear God, help me. What do I say to her? Excuse me but I did want you to turn that country crap you are listening to down or, better still, off and stop disturbing my peace but now I just want you to know that you are the most perfectly beautiful woman I have ever seen and I would like you to have my children!’ Yeah … that’d do it! Right, say something you moron or at the very least close your mouth before she throws you a fish.

“Erm … hello, I’m wery sorry to disturb you but …." This would never do. He forced his mind to deal with the reason he was standing here like a love sick buffoon. He took a deep breath and charged in:

“wouldyoumind,Imeancouldyouplease,ifit’snottoomuchbother,bekindenoughtoturnyourmusicdownplease?” Gasping now, he took another huge gulp of air to stop his brain cells flapping like headless chickens due to lack of oxygen – where was all that regimented breath training now eh?

“I beg your pardon but I didn’t quite catch all of that.” Emily was now putting the whole picture together and confirming her long held equation about men – too much beauty equals diminished brain power on a sliding scale and the physical attraction of this man was obviously diametrically opposed to his IQ. She waited patiently, not wishing to rush him lest he fall over with the exertion but then had a delicious little flash of her having to give him CPR – oh the possibilities!

Urs was stricken. ‘Dear God, I’ve got to say it all again – okay; here we go.’ This time he chose the careful, mono-syllabic pronunciation of a cheap satellite navigation system.

“I – was – just – won – der – ing – if – you – could – turn – your – music – down – please?”

‘Good God’ thought Emily, ‘now he thinks I’m the bloody moron here. Who does he think he is? And he wants me to turn my music down … me? Where was he earlier when the metal was blasting out, that’s what I want to know?’ An instant of guilt invaded her righteous anger when she remembered how annoyed she had felt just a few scant minutes earlier over that heavy metal rot, but then she remembered how she had dealt with it in the spirit of ‘live and let live’ conviviality. She pointedly hit the ‘off’ button and stared coldly at him.

“Is that better ... sir?” The sarcasm in her voice dripped caustic bile over his earlier assessment of the vision before him, moving his boundaries instantly.

‘Hmm,’ he thought, ‘she thinks her looks mean she can be as rude as she likes. If I had a Swiss franc for every jumped up little girlie like her that I have met in my line of work, I could retire a billionaire tomorrow!’

His smile turned to a sneer and he all but clicked his heels.

“Perfect! Thank you so much for being so considerate.” There was nothing wrong with his speech ability now she noticed. He turned slowly, giving her a view of his equally delectable rear – it really was almost as good as the front - but as her treacherous mind let her notice this it only served to annoy her further.

“Don’t mention it!” Emily’s voice was an iceberg following him back to his chair. She bridled even further when she realised that this was exactly the position from which Ozzy bloody Osborne had been blasting out earlier. She should have known, of course, shouldn’t the ‘throw-back to the eighties’ outfit – how did he get into those jeans – have alerted her earlier to the fact that he was the most likely candidate. He was probably some reject rock star, clinging desperately to his fame and off to tour the frozen tundra’s hottest nitespots. She had half a mind to go over and give him what for but the other half kept her in her chair with caution. Who knows what trouble that could lead to and trouble was not something she needed on this trip.

“Bing bong …Innocent Airlines would like to announce that flight number I796 to New York is now ready for boarding. Could all first class passengers please make their way to gate number seventeen, thank you?” The announcement saved her from having to choose which half of her mind to follow. This was her flight. Unfortunately … it was also Urs flight!

*****

The combatants both simultaneously stood then looked across the room in annoyance as each realised that they would be travelling on the same flight. Urs shook his head then fixed her with the kind of disdainful glower that his fans called the ‘hell freezing over’ look, before stalking towards the lounge exit. A quick look sideways, however, alerted him to the fact that the ‘annoying woman’ as Emily had already become known in his mind, was on a collision course with him.

“Dear God, is she determined to p*ss me off every chance she gets?” He stopped abruptly; looking anywhere but at Emily until she was safely in front of him. Then he looked … he couldn’t help himself! ‘God, she’s built – just look at that a…. Stop it idiot! She’s a moron and no amount of soft, delightfully jiggly curves will make up for it. He closed his eyes, dismayed at the treacherous nature of his own thoughts.

If Emily realised he was looking at the view she was doing her best to ignore it – she was just struggling to make her brain grasp the fact. She could only think of his breath hitting her neck as they each waited their turn to pass through the doorway. ‘At least,’ she mused, ‘he won’t try to speak as we already know that he can’t perform two functions at the same time! Bet he can perform though … stop it, stop it, stop it! He’s a self important imbecile … end of story.’

Any students of psychology would have been able to write a whole thesis about the body language displayed by the two striking people now hurriedly moving towards the boarding gates. As it was, however, the only observers were a couple of cleaners who were unhappily mopping up the excesses of a hen party returning from ‘Ibeefa’
“Gawd, will yer look at that, Gladys? That couple must ‘ave ‘ad one ‘ell of a ding dong!”



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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:21 pm

Okay - next chapter:

Chapter Three:

As they boarded the plane hostilities were put on hold at least, that is, until it came to actually taking their seats - next to each other!

“Oh, this just will not do ... I’m sorry!”

Cindy Roberts, the flight attendant bustled over, a wary look on her face. She was used to awkward passengers but an altercation so early in the flight did not bode well for the next six hours. She looked from the woman to the man, noted the matching scowls and assumed, as the cleaners had before her, that they were a couple. She donned her best placatory smile and went into action.

“Oh dear, madam; what can I do to make things better for you? Would you prefer two seats at the back of the cabin?”

“Two seats ... why would I need two seats ... just the one ... somewhere else, anywhere actually, would be fine thank you?”

“Oh; I’m sorry ... I assumed you two were ....” Her words died on her tongue as two pairs of eyes bored like lasers into hers. But she was a game girl and once she correctly assessed the situation and recognised the hatred she rallied quickly.

“Right; if one of you would like to follow me to the empty seats at the rear of the cabin we can have you seated in no time.” She plastered on the usual smile and was relieved when the man – oh my, what a handsome man he was – followed her. “Is this okay for you sir?”

“Yes, thank you wery much; this is much better.” His tone was clipped and the deep, rumbling timbre and Germanic accent were so sexy but, as the eyes were still throwing bolts of ice, she decided against lingering – she was just thankful that she wasn’t the one responsible for making him so angry. Cindy returned to the woman and was relieved to see that she, also, was now happily seated. As she walked away she couldn’t resist speculating about the cause of that little spat; probably some argument in the terminal ... travelling could drive people to breaking point so easily.

The first hour or so of the journey passed in uneventful harmony. The complimentary drinks were passed out and cushions, blankets etc were handed to those needing them. The two combatants requested no extras but each drank of the complimentary champagne – obviously they were seasoned travellers who knew what was necessary to make the trip go smoothly. The alcohol seemed to be having the desired, nerve calming effect as on the last trip down the gangway both had treated her to warm smiles. Cindy breathed a sigh of relief and returned to the attendants’ area for a quick sit down before lunchtime.

*****

As mealtime approached, Urs checked the menu card and was pleased to see his favourite pasta dish was on the menu. True, it was still airline food but at least in first class it was fresh and hot. He straightened up as that nice flight attendant who had made his earlier annoyance go away, approached the rear of the cabin with the food trolley.

“What can I get you for lunch sir; have you had a look at our menu?”

“Yes I have and I’d like the pasta please.” He could tell there was trouble as soon as the words left his mouth when Cindy’s face blanched.

“Erm ... I’m sorry sir but we have none left. Everyone seems to have wanted that option today. Can we tempt you with anything else?”

Urs shook his head.

“No, not really ... oh let me have another look but there should really be enough for everyone you know ... what are we paying these astronomical fares for, after all?”
Cindy mind answered: ‘so you can moan and whinge at me, who has been on my feet for hours, about things I cannot change, sir!’ but her voice stayed quiet while her smile simpered until it resembled a caricature in a comic strip. He flipped the menu card onto the adjacent empty seat in disgust and sighed. “Okay can I have the Beef Wellington; that is if you have any of that left?”

“Yes, of course we do Sir.” She bent her head, fervently praying that what she was saying was the truth and, when her hand closed over the required tray, her sigh of relief was audible. “Here we go sir ... enjoy your meal.” Urs nodded cursorily but said nothing, preferring to poke at the offending tray as though it was radio-active.

It was the same procedure when she returned to collect the tray – just a curt nod to acknowledge her question about his satisfaction. She bustled the tray into its space in the trolley, anxious to be far away but the fates chose that moment to send Emily on a visit to the plane’s facilities. Cindy smiled at her.

“Did you enjoy your meal madam?

“Yes, thank you; that pasta was delicious. And such a generous portion too ... wonderful.” Her cornflower blue eyes raked her nemesis and she was delighted to see that he was far less happy than her. She knew she shouldn’t ... but she couldn’t help it....

“Oh my, you don’t seem to be quite so pleased with your lunch choice, Mr ‘heavy metal’ ... such a shame.” Urs’s eyes narrowed and poor Cindy automatically thrust the trolley firmly in between herself and him; it was a matter of self-defence. A smirk tugged the corners of his mouth before changing to a full ‘baring of teeth’ snarl.

“Maybe if others had not been so greedy I might be happy. I mean; generous portions ... are they really a good idea for you, my dear?” His eyes, insolent, amber slits now, slid over her figure and the merest shake of his head accompanied by a pursing of his mouth made his meaning very, very clear. So what if he was a dirty, black-hearted liar ... she started it!

Cindy had heard enough and she fled down the aisle to the crew area – if this was going to continue for the whole flight she might just need a tin helmet! But she heard Emily’s intake of breath at the insult.

“Why, what an unpleasant little a ... man you are? I hope the pate in that Wellington is laced with laxative – it certainly would be if I had prepared it.”

“Hmm, so your cooking skills are as bad as your music choices – no wonder you gobbled up all the airline food!” He didn’t wait for an answer but returned the earphones of the plane’s sound system to his ears and resolutely stared ahead of him, suddenly interested in the TV screen.

There was an answer forthcoming before she stomped on up the aisle but, as Emily returned to her seat a few minutes later, she fervently hoped that the passengers surrounding the idiot had also been plugged into their films too or they might have learned a few new words! As she calmed she attempted to shake off the annoyance. Why, she wondered was this man getting under her skin so much. Still, only a few hours to go and he will disappear. She had a momentary fantasy of a huge fiery finger descending for the heavens and squashing him to mush and she relaxed back into her seat with a grin.

“If only!” were the murmured words that Cindy overheard, as she passed on her return, with no little trepidation but she didn’t stop to analyse the quip, being much too wrapped up in her own problems – how, exactly, could she avoid being a further annoyance to Mr Hunk. Maybe he would fall asleep soon. Oh, if only she could doctor the drinks of difficult passengers – a little vallium could go a long way and surely it would be worth the jail sentence!

*****

At the back of the plane, a member of the economy cabin staff was also experiencing problems.

“I’m so sorry sir but I don’t understand ... I don’t speak your language, you see and, quite frankly, I don’t know of anyone who does.” With the usual ‘plastered on’ smile she moved on up the aisle and raised long suffering eyes to her colleague.

“Where’s he from, Chloe? I’ve never heard anything like it.”

“I know, Rochelle. He claims he’s Italian but he sounds more like a Venusian to me. I’m sick of all this. I simply have to get myself moved up into first class ... where the nice passengers are!”


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:22 pm

Chapter Four

Listen, Trev, leave off with the Italian, will yer – youse’ll get us chucked off the bloody plane if yer not careful.”

“But it’s part of me charm, Georgie. I’m the mysterious Italian stranger – the ladies love it, mate!”

“Do they, do they? It looked to me as though that stewardess bird wanted to have you committed. But maybe you’re right. Maybe it was love, not pity that those eyes of hers were laying on you. Hey, maybe she’s gone up there to ask the captain to let yer fly the plane.”

“Ooh, d’yer think so? I’d love to ‘ave a go at that – bet it’s easy!”

“Dear God – I give up! Listen, just keep your mouth firmly shut from now on, will yer and let me do the talking. We are supposed to be keeping a low profile and our travel documents say we come from Manchester – not flippin Turin. You do remember why we’re going to New York, don’t yer? Remember; lie low ‘til the heat dies down.”

“Yes, Georgie, ‘course I do – mind you, I think we’d have been fine just stayin’ at ‘ome – no worries.”

“Yeah, of course no worries, I’m sure that the Boylan Gang would’ve eventually forgiven you for forgettin’ to turn up with the getaway car outside that bank. In fact they’ll probably be sending youse cards from their lovely cells in Strangeways Prison. You are officially a moron, Trevor and I must be almost as daft to still be ‘ere, babysitting you.”

“Aww, Georgie, you know why yer ‘ere.”

“Yes I do, dearest cousin; it’s because Nana Maggie would skin me alive if anything ‘appened to yer. Blood’s thinker ‘n water, she said. You know, Trev, its very lucky for you that I love the old girl, very lucky indeed.”

“I know, Georgie, I know. So … d’yer think they’ll let me in the cockpit, do yer?”

“God help me … why do I bother?”

*****

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the captain has asked me to inform you that we will shortly be starting our descent into New York. The ‘fasten seatbelts’ sign is now lit. Please remain in your seats until we are safely on the ground. Thank you for flying with Innocent Airlines, we hope your flight has been an enjoyable experience.”

Urs smiled; well it was more of a grimace actually, as he clipped his seat belt closed. His thoughts remained on the subject that had inflicted itself on his mind, on and off, throughout the flight. ‘If certain greedy and obnoxious people hadn’t eaten all the pasta, it would have been fine! Still, at least he had been spared any further annoyance by the ‘lady’ at the front of the cabin.’

Emily’s thoughts followed a parallel pattern, except for the pasta, which she had marked down as one of the successes of her day – anything that irritated the idiot rocker was all good by her.

*****

Disembarkation proceeded without incident and the staff and passengers heaved a sigh of relief to be on terra firma again. Passport control passed without problems but when they got to the baggage hall they met a wall of people from several other flights – this was going to be a long wait. Tempers were fraying all over the vast hall and Urs groaned as he dodged a pushy couple intent on squeezing past him in order to get a prime spot by the conveyor. Everyone had to wait for notification as to which belt would have the luggage for their flight so he didn’t really see the point but folk were strange – and air travel always seemed to bring out the worst in them.

Eventually a belt right in the centre of the room flashed their flight number and the seething exodus began. Urs stood back and let the herd have its head. He had been in far too many baggage halls to bother with this ‘first out’ crush. Instead he leaned, lazily, on a nearby wall, hands in pockets; ankles crossed and watched the pushing and verbal sniping develop. And this was before so much as one single piece of luggage had made its entrance through the rubber strips.

The nervous watchers all had one aim as they peered at the veiled hole in the wall and that was to be the first out of the door and into the arrivals concourse. Maybe some were anxious to meet up with much missed loved ones and some, no doubt, were desperate to make business deadlines but Urs’s position was simple: the five minutes or so it saved wasn’t worth the bruises!

Slowly the crowd diminished and he started to move steadily forward. He had spotted his bag as soon as the luggage appeared but it hadn’t changed his mind so he had been patient and, more importantly, was unscathed by the madness. As he loitered by the bottom of the belt, sunglasses on for the sake of anonymity, he had a wonderful smirking moment as he watched his ‘annoying woman’ forced into battle for her case when an elderly lady also claimed it – Karma for eating his pasta! He didn’t stop to consider the unfairness of that statement; everything was fair game where she was concerned.

Next came the furtive part of the exercise when he attempted to melt into the scenery so that he could get out of the airport without hindrance. It was easier today because he was alone – fans always expected to see Il Divo as a foursome. He loved the fans, he really did but it had been a long, trying day so he was glad when he strolled, unhindered, into the cold but welcome fresh, late afternoon air and saw the line of executive vehicles for hire and waiting for their clients. Management had organised the pick-up with Elite Cars, their usual company when they were in New York and he was pleased to see a car showing the company’s sign inside the windscreen quite near to the front of the line. As he approached he realised that the car was missing its driver and he bit back an expletive of frustration. Anger would accomplish nothing – he had experienced enough angst for one day. No, if the driver had co-operated by leaving the car unlocked, he would get into the car and wait patiently – at least he would be comfortable!

He threw the rear door open and backed into the spacious limo, manoeuvring his bag behind him. A satisfying sigh escaped his lips as his rear sank into the comfortable leather upholstery. He pushed his head back and closed his eyes, happy at last.

“Excuse me but what the hell are you doing in my car – are you determined to ruin my whole day?”

Urs’s eyes shot towards his hairline at the now familiar voice and he turned to look into sparking sapphire blue eyes that were echoing their owner’s outrage.

“Oh sh …” was the only reply he managed.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:23 pm

Chapter 5

“Well, I’m waiting … explain yourself, or do I have to summon a policeman? Bloody hell, I can’t have a peaceful minute without you ruining it. I’m beginning to think that you’ve been sent by the opposition to spike my efforts to land the contract I‘m here for and if that’s the case, then let me tell you that I won’t put up with it so you can just skulk off, back to whomever is paying you and tell them that you have failed.”

“Wow, you do love the sound of your own voice, don’t you but if you will only stop screeching for a few moments I will explain that it is you who is in the wrong place … this is my car! We always use this company. Now if you will please go away and find your own means of transport I can get on with imagining that you never existed!”

“Elite Cars, this is one of theirs and look, I have the confirmation email of the booking.” Emily flourished the email as though it was a royal proclamation but had the wind knocked out of her sails almost instantly when Urs produced a similar document from his jacket pocket. She pursed her lips, momentarily thwarted then, with a raising of her head, continued. “Well if you were a gentleman, you would leave anyway and find the other car – it must be here somewhere.”

“Ah, but you’ve been telling me all day that I am not a gentleman.” Urs’s honey coloured eyes glittered with malice that belied the sweet smile he now offered to Emily.

“Oh, you are the most impossible, the most unpleasant … nasty little man it has ever been my misfortune to come across!” With a swish of her hair and a determined set to her jaw, Emily began gathering her belongings to the accompaniment of a truly diabolical laugh from the car’s other occupant.

In truth, Urs had been about to comply with her wishes as his good upbringing demanded, that is until her last barrage of insults poured vitriol upon his good intentions. She had cooked her own goose – good grief, she had even called him little! He flexed the well developed muscles of his torso as he turned his head away from the flustered woman and stared, apparently unconcerned, out of the window. He would let her go, who cared what she thought?

Without warning the deadlock was concluded when both front doors of the car were simultaneously thrown open by two men who jumped into the seats, panting – if this was the driver or drivers, they were in a tearing hurry!
Both Urs and Emily stared, dumbstruck, as the man in the driver’s seat yanked wires from below the dashboard and jump-started the car into life then gunned it away from the hire car stand as though all the hounds of hell were after them.

“Quick Trev, check the road be’ind us – are they coming after us? That big guy was definitely one of the Boylan gang, I’m sure of it. I didn’t think they’d follow us this far, did you? Blimey, you really must’ve p*ssed them off, cuz!”

“Aww, leave off Georgie, will ya. I keep tellin’ yer it was an acci …. Bloody ‘ell, Georgie, yous’d better look in your mirror quick.”

“Oh God, are they following us then – or is it the cops - did they saw us nick this limo?” As he garbled his words, Georgie looked in his mirror. The road behind them was clear so what was Trev on about? But then his eyes settled on something blocking his view – a shoulder? He manoeuvered the mirror … and stared into Urs’s alarmed eyes then slammed his foot on the brake pedal and screeched to a halt at the side of the road.

“Um, hello! I take it that you gentlemen aren’t employed by Elite to drive this vehicle … right?” The two front seat occupants now stared, dumbfounded, at the self possessed man in the rear but said nothing – one could almost hear the cogs squeaking as they tried to make sense of the situation. Urs, on receiving no answer, ran his tongue along the edge of his teeth as he pondered how best to act in what was obviously going to be a tricky situation. Emily, though, was less cautious.

“What are you doing? I’m very sure you’re not supposed to be here so go away immediately or I am going to call the police!” Urs raised his eyes to the heavens in silent supplication; ‘please God, grow this crazy woman some common sense quickly before she gets us both killed.’

“Now, now, there’s no need for threats here. I’m sure these guys have realised that they are in the wrong place and are going to leave – nothing to worry about so calm down.” His look to the ‘about to bluster again’ Emily quelled even her temper as a slight shake of his head conveyed the possible danger to her at last. He returned his gaze to Trev and Georgie but saw only bemused expressions in return. Obviously he was not dealing with a couple of crime lords here, rather two opportunistic thieves who had the bad taste to chose his happiness to disturb – what was it with this day – were the fates against him?

Eventually the one who seemed to be the smarter of the two – if that wasn't too much of an oxymoron – seemed to gather himself.

“Okay, okay … we have passengers … right! And, lady, yous’d better listen to yer ‘usband or who ever this bloke is, because threatening us is not a clever thing to do. To reinforce his point he slammed his right hand into his pocket and made as if to fondle a gun he had secreted there. Urs’s eyes turned to saucers at this but Emily barely noticed as she began to bridle at what she saw as the ultimate insult that had just been bandied at her.

“Husband – are you crazy – do we look like a couple? Why can’t people realise that sometimes fate throws people together – whether they want it or not – and we most certainly do not! I’ll have you know that I am the executive director of White’s Publishing House and I have very important business here in New York so would be grateful if you could all just bugger off and let me get on with it!” Her vocal energy spent she rummaged in her bag for a tissue to mop her brow.

“’Ere, don’t be getting any silly ideas, love. No phone calls or anything like that. In fact you can hand me that phone of yours so yer won’t be tempted … you too Mister – come on!”

Emily was outraged.

“I can’t do that – I can’t exist without my phone … I won’t do it!” Georgie moved his hand in his pocket more pointedly … and pointingly for that matter and finally Emily noticed the gesture and grasped the implications. She was beaten. Slowly she passed over her phone and Urs followed suit.

“That’s better people – a little bit of co-operation is all that’s needed. In fact I’ll borror one of these and phone our friends ‘ere in town. Me own phone’s still in me coat that’s with me case … back in the airport. ‘Ow does this one work, mate?” Urs showed him which buttons to press and the succinct call was made. Explanations were brief and voices were raised – this situation wasn’t getting any better. Georgie turned to Urs and Emily again. “Looks like you two are comin’ fer a little ride with us so our friends can decide what to do with yer – ‘ope fer your sakes they’re feeling friendly!”

As Georgie turned to resume the drive Urs looked at Emily.

“I think we had better start praying that they are all in good moods – we are going to need it!”


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:24 pm

Okay, here we go - it starts to get sticky from here!

Chapter 6

Whatever Urs and Emily felt about the possible consequences of their hijack was soon forgotten. Their main concern had become getting out of the car alive. But the threat wasn’t a gun or even a criminal gang; it was Georgie’s appalling driving! Even his sidekick was forced to comment.

“Bloody ‘ell, Georgie, it’s the right side of the road over ‘ere, remember – you do know yer right from yer left don’ yer!” Emily looked at Urs; horror infusing her demeanour and all Urs could do was nod and close his eyes.

Fortunately it was a short journey and all three of the passengers breathed a huge sigh of relief when they halted a mile or so up the road, behind an impressive Black Escalade with blacked out windows. Georgie moved his pocket again and ordered Urs and Emily to get out of the car where they were greeted on the roadside by a giant of a man who wasn’t attempting to hide his gun – it was poking out of his under-arm holster … and it was huge! He greeted Georgie and Trev with weird handshakes and then looked towards the two hi-jackees. He tilted his head to one side as he studied them; first one then the other, then returned his dour gaze to Urs and pursed his lips, obviously struggling with some thought. Finally he spoke: “Don’t I know you – you look very familiar – what’s your name?”

Urs coughed, uncertain as to whether it would help his cause or hinder it to let them know his identity but lying, on the other hand, could have dire consequences if he made them mad. There was only one course of action; the truth!

“My name is Urs Buhler.” He waited expectantly but the only person who reacted to this news was Emily. His questioner merely shrugged his shoulders and bent to grab the luggage now standing by the abandoned car. But as he looked up again he smiled at Urs.

“Sorry pal, I thought you were a member of the opposition family, you have the same sort of nose but they are Italian not German. Lucky for you – there is a shoot on site command out on them these days … we don’t like people trying to move in on our turf.” Urs laughed nervously and decided that it definitely wasn’t the time to mention his Italian grandfather!

Once the luggage and people were all ensconced inside the capacious car the driver, Bernard, drove smoothly, thank God, to their destination … wherever that might be! The two reluctant passengers were not so much worried about the ‘where’ as about what they would find when they got there. It was impossible to speak to Emily because Trev was also in the back seat. She had scooted along the seat ‘til she was pressed up against Urs in order to leave as much distance as possible between herself and Trev. On another day, in another setting, he would have greatly enjoyed this but he read her mute terror in her every move. Her earlier bravado had deserted her – he didn’t have much to hang onto himself – this was scary stuff!

He dropped his head to one side so that he caught her eye and smiled encouragingly but his only reward was to see the start of tears welling in her beautiful eyes. He lifted a hand to her face and rescued a soft copper tendril that was in danger of catching the salty downfall that threatened. She looked at him sharply, unsure of this small kindness in the man she had nicknamed the idiot rocker but his eyes were so kind that her earlier assessment was dissolving swiftly. Of course she knew more now … she knew who he was!

She smiled, small, tentative and brushed under her eyes. And something new … she worried for her fellow captive. If they found out who he was they would realise what a valuable commodity they had here. Of course that could be bad or good. At least they would be unlikely to kill him … but what about her? She closed her eyes tight, squeezing back the new threat of tears. Yes, what about her?

Urs also pondered the coming events. His name had meant nothing to the guy with the big gun but who knew how long that would last? Maybe they would simply keep us locked up for a while … but what then? We were witnesses and he had seen far too many gangster films not to know what organised crime gangs did to witnesses. Maybe they should make a run for it. But they had missed their chance, of course. That would have been a better idea while they were still sat outside a busy airport. What an idiot he was. Why, that stupid driver probably didn’t have a gun at all, we certainly never saw one. Still, no use worrying about that now; he would just have to keep his wits about him and maybe they would both still be alive tomorrow!

Eventually the Escalade pulled off the road onto an imposing, tree lined drive that wound its way around graceful turns and bends until; finally, it gave view to a monolith of a house. The grey granite façade, that was dotted with myriad windows each echoing the dying sunlight in a showy display of orange and crimson, stared back at them. As he stepped from the car Urs couldn’t shake the feeling that they were about to enter a prison. He felt fingers flutter along his forearm and turned to see Emily beseeching him silently. He pulled himself up to his full height and smiled before tucking her hand into the crook of his arm. They may have started the day as combatants but now they must become allies.

As they were ushered towards the entrance their fear level rose exponentially. Everywhere they looked every vantage point bristled like a hedgehog with heavily armed men. Urs turned to Emily as he felt her trembling.

“Now then,” Urs whispered, “what is your name, by the way?”

“Emily.” The trembling reached her lips so that it was difficult to hear her whispered answer. He smiled.

“Well, Emily, they have to think that we are friends. As soon as I can I am going to let them know exactly who I am, I … er ... may be worth something to them so we may be able to use that to get out of here. I happen to be famous, one of a group.”

“Il Divo, I know, my mum is a big fan of yours. I don’t know why I didn’t recognise you earlier. Her computer is saturated with pictures of you.” She smiled for the first time that day and Urs saw a tiny sliver of her earlier fire return.

“Good, I’m glad you know because now you won’t be scared clueless when I do what I am about to do.”

“What are you going to do – oh … nothing silly, please?” Her plea was met by a dazzling smile and a deep breath before Urs opened his mouth … and sang.

“Regresa a mi, Quereme otra vez ………

The sublime sounds echoed off the forbidding granite, filling the evening with enchanting melody. He had everyone’s attention, as he had hoped.

“Sorry, everyone – but when I am nervous, I have to sing!” His words were greeted with stunned silence - that is until some French doors off to one side of the house, were thrown open and a small plump lady emerged. Her expression was harassed until she set eyes upon Urs and then she screamed in delight and rushed, full pelt, towards the gathered party of arrivals.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:25 pm

Chapter 7

“Urs … that is you isn’t it – singing fit to charm the birds from the trees. Oh, this is wonderful … wonderful! But what are you doing here, darlin’ and on my birthday too?” The ecstatic lady had skidded to a halt in time to avoid crashing into Urs and Emily – but it was a close thing. Now she stood, wringing her hands and smiling as though her jaw had dislocated and, as she considered her question she began to beam again, despite the very real threat of doing her face some permanent damage. “Oh, is that it? Did my Paddy bring you here as a special treat for my birthday - to sing at my party? Oh, what a man … what a son!”

Bridie O’Donnell, the matriarch of the family and a woman to be minded, turned back to the house. “Paddy me darlin’ boy, will you get your self out here, man, I want to bring all the angels and saints down to witness how good you are to your mother. And all these heathens here too – they need to know how a son should treat his mother, indeed they should.” She wafted a hand at the serried ranks of heavily armed men who now watched, open-mouthed.

The main entrance, an imposing structure of double dark oak doors, was suddenly flung open and a squat man with a mop of the reddest hair to be seen in all of Christendom, stomped out into the crisp evening.

“Ma, what in God’s name are you making all this commotion about?” He stopped and surveyed the party now waiting at the foot of the stairs that led to the entrance. “Okay, someone tell me what’s going on … and who are all these people?” Georgie began to speak, Bernard tried too, as well as another man who had exited the house behind the boss but all were quelled by Bridie’s upraised hand and fire and ice glare.

“Ah come on now son – you can’t pull the wool over your mammy’s eyes any longer; I know this was your doing and I will tell you now that it is the best birthday present I have ever had in my entire life!” Words finished she grabbed Urs by the arm and dragged him towards Paddy. “Isn’t he a sight for sore eyes but just you wait ‘til you hear him sing – go on Urs … sing!” Urs lifted his head and blinked his eyes rapidly as he surveyed the taciturn man in front of him – not at all sure that he had any wish to hear singing right now but Bridie wouldn’t be put off. She nudged him with a shoulder that wouldn’t have been out of place on a hurling field and nodded furiously – so Urs did as he was told.

Again Urs’s lyrical rendition - this time he chose Ave Maria as it seemed appropriate, floated up to the heavens where it surely belonged. Everyone listened, everyone enjoyed but, as he came to the end of his song Bernard leaned towards him asking in a threatening tone, “Are you sure you’re not Italian?” He was very quick to retreat again though when Bridie’s searing glower cut him off at his metaphoric knees. Everyone present except the captives knew the power of the boss’s mammy and Urs made a quick mental note as to how useful this might become if things got difficult.

Paddy, of course, now had a dilemma – did he tell the truth and admit he hadn’t the slightest idea who the singer was and risk breaking his mother’s heart – or did he go along with her version of events. His choice, in the end, was simple … he loved his mammy!

“Haha, hahaha,,” he laughed, you guessed mammy and here I was hoping it would be a surprise. Now why don’t you go and make yourself as pretty as a picture while I show … your ‘present’ where he has to perform. Go on, off you go now – we men have things to talk about!”

With a coquettish giggle and a generous pinch of Urs’s cheek she was gone, dancing up the stairs like a girl going to her first ball. Urs turned his attention to Paddy, expectantly. He knew the situation still was dangerous but he couldn’t help the gleam of mirth that was to be found in his almond shaped eyes. The crinkle was there at their outer edges and those who knew him would have realised that only his iron will was hiding the smile that wanted to erupt. Paddy, for his part, was staring back, trying with all his might to remember who the hell he was. He knew he had seen his face somewhere – he was a handsome man and not easy to forget but he couldn’t place where he knew him from.

“Okay, I think we had better start by you telling me who you are and why my mother is so happy to see you.”

“My name is Urs Buhler and I am a member of the singing group Il Divo and, apparently, your mother is one of our fans.” He cocked his head slightly but then immediately gathered himself; he was beginning to enjoy things a little too much given the circumstances that actually brought him here.

“Right, I see … but why are you here? I don’t remember inviting you – did someone else book you for this gig?” He looked around at his henchmen and one who looked like a younger version of him, red curls and all, stepped forward.

“Ah no, Paddy, it’s a bit more complicated than that. See these two guys over here are Georgie and Trev from England; remember Arnie asked us to let them lay low around here after there was a bit of trouble on their turf with the Boylan gang. Now, as they got into the airport they thought they saw one of the Boylans so they did a runner - nicked a limo so they could get away and didn’t realise that these two – Buhler and the girl, were in the back seat! Anyway we sent Bernard to pick them all up so they could ditch the car and we could decide what to do next.” Everyone was quiet now and more than one person present showed their disbelief at the comedy of errors that had just been described.

“Even Paddy was quiet but his face slowly and inexorably turned an alarming shade of puce. Eventually he spoke. His tone was low, dangerous and more than one there took a step backwards lest they got caught in the fallout – they knew their boss!

“Do you mean to tell me that you kidnapped a famous celebrity and his bird and brought them here … to my home? Are you bleeding mental? And now my mammy knows he is here we can’t even ‘off’ them quietly, not if we want to keep all our appendages anyway. Jaysus, what the hell are we going to do?” Without warning he swung a ham of a fist into the midriff of his brother, felling him instantly. He loomed over his prostrate sibling and pointed an admonishing finger at him. “Well I’m telling you now; if we have to do anything to the singer you can tell mammy … it’s your fault so you can tell her – yes, definitely your fault!” He turned on his heel and marched up the steps and everyone else simply looked at one another. No one argued when Paddy was in this kind of mood – that was the easiest way to get a bullet … or worse.

Urs and Emily exchanged glances as they were eventually prodded into following him. As he entered the stately, marble hallway, Urs set his chin in his determined way. As he saw it, the mother was his ally and, as they ascended the sweeping stairway to the upper floors, a germ of an idea began to formulate. Emily looked to him as they were pushed into a well appointed and comfortable bedroom and he raised a finger to his lips before leading her by the hand over to the part of the room that was furthest from the door. Finally he spoke:

“Right, Emily, this is what we are going to have to do ….



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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:27 pm

Chapter 8

“Now, I know you are not going to like this much but I think we have to act as though we are a couple. We need to be very careful if we are both going to get out of this intact.” Urs held both of Emily’s forearms as he spoke, in an effort to fend off the protestations he was expecting. He needn’t have worried, however, as she was still dumbfounded by their whole situation. He continued, “You understand why this is necessary, don’t you? That lady, the boss’s mother, being a fan of Il Divo was the luckiest thing that has happened all day. She is my ticket. I doubt he will harm me while she is around. So we need to extend that protection to you.” He paused, waiting for some sign to show that she had grasped the situation. “Emily, come on … get a grip – where is that woman who spat bile at me earlier?”

Emily looked at him, trying to put together the words that were swimming round in her brain.
“Come on woman … don’t make me have to shake you into some sense.” Emily blinked then focussed – this she could deal with.

“By all means shake me; just don’t count on having both arms when you have finished!” Urs smiled, delighted to see the colour, and spirit, returning to Emily’s face.

“There you are! I was afraid for a minute that I had hitched a ride with the wrong woman!”

“Hmm, sorry about that but my brain was paralysed. That is so unlike me. I am usually good at thinking on my feet but, then again, I don’t encounter gun toting gangs that often. Okay, so I am your woman - girlfriend I suppose since neither of us are wearing rings.”

“Yes, good point but very much in love – you are the woman for me. We will tell them we want to spend our lives together, ride off into the sunset and all that."

Emily couldn’t stop the smirk that lifted the corners of her mouth at the thought of scampering onto the back of a Harley with Urs and a blush raced over the contours of her cheeks at the thought. This heightened the returning colour dramatically and Urs cocked his head, curious. She straightened her face immediately; the subject needed to be changed and quickly.

“Okay, it’s a plan but you had better fill me in on details of our time together and we need to swap at least rudimentary details of our past. People who are madly in love usually know where the other one grew up and such.”

“Yes, yes – so let’s sit down and swap facts.”

The next hour was filled with learning by rote, the one about the other and vice versa until they were able to make a passable imitation at a loving couple. And it wasn’t a moment too soon because, without warning, one of Paddy’s henchmen bustled into the room.

“Mrs O’Donnell would like you both to join her and her family for dinner. She isn’t expecting much of you but the boss told me to tell you to dress up and not to say a word about why and how you got here.” He reinforced his words with a menacing stare that left neither captive in any doubt as to what the consequences of non-compliance might be. He turned abruptly and made to leave but then stopped and reversed. “Oh yeah, the boss also said that he expects you to sing a few songs after the meal.” He levelled the barrel of his ever present machine gun at Urs’s chest to show who he was talking to then smiled. “See you in 30 minutes … I’ll be back to get you. Don’t be late!” As the door closed behind him Urs lifted his head in defiance. He straightened his back and sparks emanated from his slits of eyes.

“I am never late, shmuck!”

*****

As promised their guard turned up at the appointed time to find Urs and Emily looking the part as had been requested. In fact they both looked wonderful. Emily wore a miraculously un-creased, fitted cocktail dress in a cornflower blue shade that deepened the hue of her eyes with startling effect. Her Hair swung loose in soft auburn curls, just the front tendrils twisted and taken back to make a pleasing detail. Urs was forced to return to his earliest evaluation of her when she had stepped out of the bathroom a few minutes earlier – she was breath-taking! But Emily was struggling to breathe herself. If she found Urs to be devastatingly attractive when she first saw him in his casual clothes she was lost forever when she caught sight of him in his black, well cut trousers and flowing, white linen shirt. He stood two ties in hand, trying to decide which to wear. For once he wished he carried more of his work clothes around with him – he didn’t even have a jacket.

Once he could speak he held the ties up for Emily’s opinion.

“Which one?” She looked him over; saw the way the pants hinted at every contour and muscle of his legs when he moved and how the shirt flowed from his wide shoulders down to his trim abdomen and waist, where it was tightly tucked into his waistband. She needed to speak, if only to prove to herself that she still could.

“Do you have a jacket?”

“No.”

“In that case neither. That shirt doesn’t need one. And, if Paddy thinks you are under-dressed you can tell him it’s a stage costume.”

“You don’t think I look under-dressed, do you?” Urs the perfectionist was on duty now. This was a performance, no matter the duress he was under and he had to be professional. Emily inhaled sharply – under-dressed had become undressed in her confused state and her mind couldn’t avoid playing with the visual possibilities. She shook her head, regained her dignity and answered in as even a tone as she could manage.

“You look perfect … the old lady’s gonna love you.”

Urs snorted but said nothing. Instead he bowed formally then returned the ties to his bag and waited, ready to go.

The dining room had a comfortable chic, well decorated yet retaining the ambience of a family home. The huge dining table at its centre was lavishly kitted out with good crystal, silverware and crockery and was laden with platters of fragrant roast meats and tureens of steaming vegetables. It was evident that the family couldn’t decide between the formal and the homely so they went for a mixture. And it seemed that the family celebration had been enlarged. All around the table other ‘non-teenage’ ladies sat and simpered. It was very soon clear that the meal was incidental … Urs had become the dish of the day!

They were seated at one side of the table, Urs next to the hostess, of course, and Emily next to him. She leaned over to him and whispered in his ear.

“Mmm, lots of old ladies to charm, dear – are you up to it?” Urs flashed her a dazzling smile, determined not to let her barb disturb his act.

“Well I’ve never been found wanting … can you say the same?” Emily smiled and ran a proprietary hand up and down his forearm and Urs looked at her trailing fingers and then into her eyes. She smiled coquettishly, as much for the gathered matrons as an answer to Urs. But answer she did:

“You’re unlikely to find out, sweetheart – sorry!”

“Don’t be sorry,” Urs murmured, barely audible. “Actually I’ve always been very particular.” Emily’s eyes flew open and her thoughts rushed to pick up his discarded gauntlet but Urs grasped her fingers urgently and smiled, as though to a sweetheart. “Remember where we are and, more importantly, who we are, dear Emily. We’re both on stage here tonight.” He watched as her expression cooled and the sweetest smile wreathed her features then, without preamble, she leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his lips. No more words were spoken but the conversations that each one let rage in his and her imaginations were far, far better left unsaid.

A tinkling of a knife on crystal brought them both back to the now and they looked at their host who was calling everyone to order.

“Well, isn’t this grand? On the occasion of my dearest mother’s birthday, we have our family and all her friends here to celebrate it with her – so glad all you ladies could get here at such short notice.”

“As if we would have missed it for the world, Paddy love; especially with her special guest here.” There was a hiss of tittering and much nudging at the comment from the other end of the table and Urs looked around, dispensing smiles and his trademark blinkiewinks. Emily could only marvel as she watched him work the house and conclude how good he was at his job. Paddy cleared his throat to stop the twittering. He was anxious to get the preliminaries over so he could eat.

“Now calm down ladies. Let’s all settle down to a hearty meal and then we can enjoy our friend’s singing all the sooner but first will you all raise your glasses to me mammy and wish her many happy returns.”

The toast done, everyone took their fill from the overflowing serving dishes and then, when all had eaten far too much they looked towards Urs and the excitement rose. Urs wasn’t feeling too excited, more worried. He had a rehearsal CD with him that he could sing along to but no one had said anything about music and he blanched as, on turning round at a scraping of chairs behind him, he found a string ensemble seated and waiting for him to join them.

If there was a gulp trying to squeeze past his Adam’s apple as he rose and crossed the room he didn’t let anyone else see his disquiet. But no rehearsal, not even a song list for them to play – sh*t … this was going to be very interesting!




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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:28 pm

Okay - next chapter:

Chapter 9

Urs stopped in front of the violinist, the traditional leader of any such ensemble.

“Good evening, Mr Buhler. We are the Frobisher Strings and may I say how delighted we all are to have this chance to play with a singer of your renown. I have to admit that I laughed when I heard we’d got a gig to work with you but then they told me who had booked us and I stopped laughing. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find the Pope here, saying Mass if Paddy O’Donnell asked him to.”

“Yes, I know what you mean. He is very hard to say ‘no’ to. But where are my manners, how do you do, Mr … er?” Urs lifted his eyebrows expectantly as he stretched to shake the violinist’s hand.

“Ah yes, I’m James Frobisher, the eponymous leader of our little group.” He smiled broadly as he indicated the other members who were all, equally, beaming. "I think the introductions will have to wait until later though – our host seems a little edgy.” Both men looked towards Paddy glowering in the corner and he responded by making tiny hand gestures in an effort to move them on. Both smiled then turned their attention to one another quickly. “Do you have any instructions for us; a song list?” Urs grimaced.

“This has rather been sprung on me, I’m afraid; are you familiar with the music of Il Divo? If you are we could work through a few of those. These ladies will all know them, I’m sure, and that is what they will be expecting me to sing.”

“Not to worry, one of our ladies,” he indicated the cello player who looked as though she might burst with delight, “is also a big fan and took the liberty of bringing her sheet music over for us. We have these if they will suffice. She assures me that these are the choices that will best showcase your voice so I hope you will find them adequate and don’t worry about timing as we listened to your CDs all the way in from town.” Urs smiled, still unsure but prepared to do his best. A performance was a performance and this show was going on!

As it turned out it went better than he could have possibly hoped. They began with Caruso. He had often sung this solo in his early days and, once he adjusted his performance to that of the disc, it was a well received opener. He followed on with Esisti Dentro Me, Si Tu Me Amas, Aranjuez, Over the Rainbow, She, La Promessa and finished with Ave Maria. Each opening chord was greeted with cries of ‘oh I love this one’ or ‘this is my very favourite’ and then the dying notes were invariably met with whoops and calls of ‘Bravo’ as well as enthusiastic clapping. The ladies present tonight had been guests at a unique event – one Divo singing songs meant for four part harmonies. His voice had caressed and cajoled when the softer melodies called for it then soared to the heavens on each crescendo. In truth some of the ladies had no idea how versatile his voice was until then and he won new respect because of it.

When he took a deep bow and announced that he really had enjoyed performing for so wonderful an audience the noise turned to cries of dismay. On hearing this Paddy rushed over to him.

“Come now, surely you can give the ladies one last song to send them to their beds happy. I have one in mind, one I hear my mammy singing along to a lot and it would be very fitting for tonight’s celebration.” Urs looked at him and weighed up his intentions in a split second.

“Ah yes, Mr O’Donnell, I think I can guess the one you mean.” He bent to Mr Frobisher’s ear and after a quick discussion and fumbling though the music he turned back to the waiting ladies. “Now, Ladies, as you have been so gracious in your welcome for we humble musicians, I have one special song for you all but, of course, it has to be dedicated especially to Mrs O’Donnell from her son.” The music opened and sighs rained down from many swooning female mouths as Urs charmed them all with Mama.

Emily watched the whole performance without a word. Even when she received the congratulations of various ladies for having the love of such a wonderful man, she could only smile and nod.

She was in love.

Of course she had noticed the physical attraction of the man from the first minute she set eyes on him but this was much more. To watch him give his all to the song, despite the difficult circumstances was beguiling and endearing but to watch more carefully, see the love the man had for the melody, the lyrics … was enchanting. He gave her a new definition of the word artist as he painted his masterpieces and her heart was lost to her, his to chain to his music from that moment on.

She could not take her eyes off him.

Urs returned to the table to the hand shaking and hugging ladies and to Mrs O’Donnell who asked and received a kiss on her cheek for her birthday. Emily followed him with her eyes and at one point he turned and looked at her and smiled.

Does time really stand still? If you had asked her prior to this evening she would have laughed and made some quip about there never being enough of it but now she knew the truth. There was no time in certain precious moments. They were infinite. He held her gaze and thought she had never looked lovelier than in that second but then he was pulled away by eager hands. The cameras had been produced and the familiar round of smiling for snapshots had begun. But she had her second and she wrapped herself in it, content.

But such auras cannot last forever and, slowly, she regained her composure and with it came the red flags - what on earth was she doing … was she mad? She stood, her hand to her forehead and Mrs O’Donnell saw this.

“Are you alright, my dear?” There was genuine concern in her face so Emily decided that she would be the best means of getting out of the room and decided to feign illness.

“I’m afraid I don’t feel too good, a headache. We’ve had such a long day. Do you think that anyone would mind if I slipped off to the bedroom and lay down? I think Urs is perfectly able to manage here without me.”

“Of course, of course, you go get a rest, my lovely. We ladies will keep your man entertained for a while if that’s okay with you.” Obviously that prospect was not altogether upsetting to Bridie and Emily was able to slip out of the room with only a surreptitious nod from Paddy to their designated watcher to follow her.

Once in the room she ran to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face. She needed to clear her head quickly. She chided herself for her idiocy. He was performing, turning on the charm and she fell for it like all the other fans. She had seen how unpleasant he could be at the airport so how could she be so gullible now? She walked back to the bedroom so that she could prepare for bed.

Bed!

Bloody hell, how were they going to sleep? Would he try it on … would she try it on?

No, she wouldn’t because she wasn’t getting in that damn bed, no siree! He could have it to himself. She would make herself a bed in the corner – the comforter would suffice and if he came anywhere near here he would get more than he bargained for! She rummaged in her bag and found her thick jogging sweats; they would make perfect ‘do not touch’ pyjamas.

As she reached round and began to unzip her dress she heard a small noise behind her and turned to see Urs closing the door with a very large smile on his face. He walked towards her, offering to help. She jumped back, appalled.

“Oh no you don’t, mister!”


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:29 pm

Chapter 10

“I beg your pardon – no, I don’t … what?” Urs’s words followed Emily but there was no answer as she fled to the safety of the bathroom. He shrugged, thinking that it was pointless to try to understand women – especially this one. He crossed the room and lifted his bag onto the bed then sorted through it, packing the discarded ties away and looking for something to sleep in. He didn’t normally need anything, preferring to sleep au naturel but he had the distinct feeling that such an idea wouldn’t be found acceptable tonight. He smiled at the thought but then quickly drove it from his mind when the one ‘naturel’ body became two! “Hmm,” he laughed, “so that was why she ran, she must have been thinking along the same lines as me. This night was simply full of surprises.”

When Emily finally left her refuge Urs couldn’t hold back a snort of laughter when he saw what she was passing off as her PJs and she looked at him defiantly, daring him to say anything … a big mistake.

“Dear me, Emily, are you feeling cold?” He grinned wickedly as he bent forward and fingered the thick duvet. “I hate to have to tell you this but I think you might end up shedding layers in the course of the night. I do hope this isn’t a ploy to tempt me into a moment of weakness.” Emily gaped at his insolence but quickly rallied.

“Tempt you? More like fend you off! I watched you tonight, charming the pants off those poor women. Why, you’re nothing more than a gigolo – a lounge lizard who can sing. But this woman isn’t falling for it and what’s more I have every intention of staying as far away from you as I can.” At the end of her speech she grabbed up the comforter that lay folded across the foot of the bed and marched over to the furthest corner of the room where she proceeded to construct a sort of nest for herself. Urs realised what she was planning and saw the danger immediately.

“Are you crazy, woman? What will happen if one of Paddy’s heavies comes in to check us in the night and finds you on the floor? Even these morons would be capable of working out that our ‘love’s young dream’ act was just that.” He waited for her to realise the truth of what he was warning against and at last she saw sense. Grumbling she picked up the cover and hauled it back to the bed but was still reluctant to actually get into it. Urs sighed. “Emily, please get into the bed. I promise that not one inch of my skin will touch any part of yours. I know how to practise self control and I am certainly not in the habit of forcing myself on women.

Emily slid under the duvet and pulled it up to her neck then took up a position on the furthest edge of the bed and placed one of the pillows between herself and the vast expanse of the rest of the mattress – her ramparts against attack. Urs laughed and shook his head.

“That’s fine, you’ll be safe now – well that is as long as you don’t turnover in your sleep and end up on the floor. But it’s your choice … sleep well!”

But his wicked sense of humour wasn’t quite ready to let her rest yet, not when she had no escape. He turned away from the bed and slowly unbuttoned his shirt as he hummed ‘The Man You Love’ quietly. He freed it from his waistband then slowly and deliberately slid it down his arms, exposing the smooth expanse of his well muscled back. Emily watched. She knew she shouldn’t but she couldn’t drag her eyes away. He dropped the shirt onto his bag and turned back to the bed, his fingers unbuttoning the top of his pants. His eyes met Emily’s momentarily then hers roved down his chest, noting the pleasing sprinkle of dark hair there … and the fingers about to unzip his fly!

“Oh!” She closed her eyes but not before she saw the laughter in his so she turned carefully, hearing only his fumbling in his bag and the pulling of something over his head and then his body - that body – sliding into the bed beside her.

*****

At some point in the night Urs must have been proved right in that Emily found it impossible to keep such warm clothes on in the frankly stuffy bedroom. He knew this because as dawn woke him he looked to her and found an inch of crisp, snowy lace beckoning above the covers. He felt an instant stirring, no doubt fuelled by the lurid dream in which the lady he was now sharing a pillow with, featured. His reaction was equally instant. He leapt from the bed and headed for an early, cold shower. He would need his wits about him today and couldn’t afford to let his libido cloud the issues. Emily would never know how grateful she should be to his self control that was built on his iron willpower. If she did, maybe she might have rued it.

When she awoke, Emily was surprised to find Urs’s side of the bed empty. Her dream had been so real and so, well, hot that she was sure she would find him there panting. She felt herself blushing and hoped that she had not talked in her sleep. How he would make her sorry if she had really called his name out in the seductive fashion that she had just dreamed. But she was safe – that is until he exited the bathroom some minutes later. He was damp and sweet smelling … and wearing nothing but a towel, slung low around his hips.

She was surprised to find that it was he who was the more discomfited by this, however.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t expect you to be awake yet and I forgot to take my clothes into the bathroom with me. I’ll just get them now and dress. He rifled through his bag, grabbing a clean set of clothes and scrambling back into the bathroom before she could comment.

‘How odd’, she thought but she didn’t attempt to decipher his behaviour further as she busily grasped the opportunity to replace her top before he saw her in her underwear. Then she jumped up, straightened the bed, a habit drilled into her by her mother then chose a set of clothes for herself and sat waiting for her turn in the shower.

Once they were both presentable they had no idea what to do. Would someone come for them for breakfast – would they even be offered any food? Urs pushed away the idea of being locked in here without sustenance; surely Mrs O’Donnell would still be counting them as guests. He reassured Emily of this and they both waited.

At some point he heard a car pulling up outside the front door, just below their window and he rushed there to see what, if anything, was going on. He was dismayed to see Mrs O’Donnell climbing into the car and then being driven off. This wasn’t good news.

Almost immediately a key turned in the lock and their regular guard appeared in the doorway.

“Good, you’re ready. Mr O’Donnell wants you downstairs now so move it.” Urs looked at Emily and was dismayed to see the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ look she had worn when they arrived. He reached for her hand and squeezed her fingers then led her slowly after the retreating man.

In the dining room O’Donnell was tucking into a mountain of bacon and eggs and, mouth full, he gestured to them to sit down and help themselves to the food on the table. They had been so hungry a few minutes ago but now their appetites had deserted them and they both looked at him, waiting for him to speak, which he eventually did.

“Jeez, will you cheer up, I aint goin’ to shoot you!” His guffaw was echoed by the minions dotted around the room until he gestured with his hands and they stopped as if someone had thrown the switches on a pile of robots. “Listen, I was unsure what to do with you, it’s true. Cement boots for each of you would definitely have made my problem go away but then I realised that if you didn’t turn up for the concerts you have scheduled then me mammy would wonder what had happened – and I wouldn’t want that – sweet baby Jesus, I would not!” He shook his head and many other heads echoed him. All of the gang knew that the last person you wanted to p*ss off was Mrs O’Donnell! Paddy continued, “so, I’ve come up with a plan … I am going to ransom you! It would be through a third party of course so nothing leads back to me. So now, you have a decision to make – do you go along with it … or get your feet measured!”


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:30 pm

Chapter 11

Urs looked at Emily and Emily looked at Urs then they both looked back to Paddy.

Urs was the first to gather his wits and speak.

“You’re going to ransom us - to whom … and why? Haven’t we done everything you asked of us?” Emily sat shaking her head then blurted her objection before thinking.

“You can’t ransom me; there isn’t anyone who could afford to pay more than about twenty quid for me.” Urs reached again for her hand in the hope of making her use a more cautious tone if nothing else.

“Emily, calm down! Mr O’Donnell understands how important you are to me so, naturally, you would be included with me – we would be ransomed together – isn’t that right, sir?” Emily regained her composure and smiled, genuinely, to thank Urs for retrieving the situation once again.

“Of course you will go together Mr Buhler. I’m sure your management will pay a hefty sum to get you both back in one piece, at least for your sakes you’d better hope they will. I don’t want to have to start snipping bits off to make them realise how serious I am.” He looked pointedly at Urs, enjoying his big, bad gangster role. Urs, however, found this amusing.

“I seriously doubt that my ‘management’ as you call them would take too kindly to that and it would be very bad business from you. I doubt I would have the same appeal if I didn’t remain intact.” Paddy reassessed his captive. He was accustomed to cowering and snivelling so Urs’s bravado made him consider anew. A smirk spreading across his face alerted Urs to Paddy’s next attack.

“Don’t get clever with me pal or you may simply become not worth the bother. And, anyway, I think your lady friend is taking my warning much more seriously so maybe you should. It would be a shame to spoil that pretty face, wouldn’t it?”

“There is no need to frighten her any more than she already is, Mr O’Donnell and no need to harm either of us. You are correct … I am a very valuable commodity. The tour that the group will shortly embark upon will take us round the globe and will net huge sums of money. So what I need to know now is what, if anything, do I have to do?”

“That’s more like it. All it takes is a little co-operation and you can both be out of here before you know it. As to what I want you to do, well that’s simple. I need to know how to contact that big boss of yours – Cowell, isn’t it?”

“Okay, I can do that. If you can let me have my cell phone back I can do it right away.”

“Dear me, Buhler, you really do think you are dealing with idiots, don’t you. Why would I let you use your phone with its GPS tracker telling everyone where you are? No, you give me his direct number and I will set the wheels in motion. In the meantime I suggest you get some food down your necks as mammy is gone for the weekend so I doubt there will be much grub prepared for you. My boys aint too good in the kitchen.” He guffawed and the ‘boys’ joined in; Urs and Emily looked at each other then took the food on offer, even stashing some rolls away for later in the day.

*****

From the furnished terrace of his suite at the Four Seasons Hotel, Simon Cowell looked down on Central Park and then out across the vista of the busy city and wondered where in hell his fourth Divo had got to. He had received the phone call the previous evening from Freddie, Il Divo’s tour manager, telling him that Urs had not been picked up at the airport as arranged and furthermore, had not made his own way to the hotel up to even five hours later. He had blown his usual gasket and demanded to be kept informed of any and all developments and then, when no news came, he had hopped on the red eye from LA. He needed to oversee this personally.

But his presence had made no difference. Police had been informed, hospitals checked and even a private firm of security had been given the task of scouring clubs and bars for any trace of him. Of course this was as futile as it was ridiculous. This was Urs they were talking about; the man would rather die than not keep to a schedule. Simon felt the hairs on his neck begin to prickle – something bad must have happened.

And now the rest of the Divos were here at his hotel, demanding to be kept in the loop. They were going to go crazy when he told them that there simply was no loop – the trail was cold. Urs had last been seen getting into a limo by an airport worker who was a fan but she had not seen the car leave. The driver had been spoken to and informed them that his vehicle had been stolen and that police had found it abandoned a few miles outside the airport. But no one knew if Urs had simply had a mental aberration and decided on a joyride or whether something more sinister was afoot.

The banging on the door drew him out of his reverie and he returned to the lounge to find the other three guys being shown into the room. They immediately all began talking at once and Simon had to put his fingers in his mouth and whistle to get them to quieten.

“Guys, guys, there is nothing more I can tell you. We have people out everywhere but he has disappeared. This is a big city and he could be anywhere in it. He’s probably with some young lovely in a hotel somewhere, having a damn good time.” He smiled but the action did not reach his eyes. He was fooling no one.

“Aww come on Simon, who are you kidding? Urs would rather eat his guitars than do something like that when he is expected somewhere. Now if it was Carlos or even Seb, before his lovely Rachel sorted him out, I might, just might, have gone along with it but Urs couldn’t do it … he couldn’t.”

David was right of course and Simon knew it.

“Well I don’t know what to tell you. He’s my friend too, remember; I’m going as crazy over this as the rest of you.” He was interrupted by the phone ringing and his aide hurried over to answer the call.

“Mr Cowell, it’s the front desk. They want to put a call through – someone asking for you personally … and he mentioned Mr Buhler’s name.” Simon crossed the room in a flash and took the receiver.

“Yes, this is Cowell, put the call through.”

“Hello, am I speaking to Mr Simon Cowell?”

“Yes.”

“I have some news for you concerning the whereabouts of a certain Mr Urs Buhler.” The smooth voice at the other end was cultured, with a hint of New England old money."

“Who is this? Tell me who’s calling and what the hell is going on!”

"I have been asked to contact you by a third party to tell you that Mr Buhler and his lady friend are his … er … guests and that for a sum of £10 million pounds you can have him back. I will contact you further with the details but no police, please – the consequences of such behaviour would be most unpleasant!”

“What the devil … who are you?” Simon’s demands, however, were fruitless … the line was already dead.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:30 pm

Okay, next chapter:

Chapter 12

“Aw, come on Simon, tell us what is happening? Was it Urs, no it couldn’t be … you asked who it was – so who was it – tell us?” Sebastien chose this moment to add his plea to David’s.

“Oui, Simon, we ‘ave to know what is ‘appening.” Carlos nodded and his only comment, an imperious “Si!” reinforced his band members’ demands. Simon, still shell shocked, didn’t hold back as he might have done if he had been given more time to think.

“I have no idea who was on the phone but I will tell you that he said an acquaintance of his has Urs and is holding him for ransom - ten million pounds of ransom! And he mentioned a … lady friend? Was Urs bringing a woman with him; I didn’t even know that he was dating again?”

Three mouths gaped open then all began talking at once – in different languages and escalating levels of volume.

“Shut up guys, please – I have to think. Whoever the mystery woman is she is included in the negotiations so that isn’t the thing we have to focus on. The point, the big point … the very big point … is how do we get Urs back unharmed? Ransom deals are notorious for having a poor outcome. We have to be very clever here.” As always David was the unofficial spokesman, presumably because he didn’t have to translate the information before having an opinion on it.

“Jeez, Simon, don’t say that. We have to get him back safe … we simply have to. So … what do you want us to do?” Seb and Carlos looked from David to Simon and nodded vigorously. Oh great, thought Simon, four Divos lost in New York instead of one … great prospect. He had to nip this in the bud - right now!

“Now gentlemen, think about this. We need to know you are all safe; in fact I was just about to order the doubling of security on the rest of you. Who knows what malevolent forces are at work here? We can’t have you running off, half cocked and putting yourselves in danger. No, I’m sorry but I have to put my foot down here. You are to stay within the confines of the hotel until this matter is resolved.”

Three pairs of eyes stared and again three mouths prepared to speak but Simon cut them off before they could utter a coherent syllable.

“No, I’m sorry guys, my decision is final. You stay here. You would be breaking your contracts if you were to do anything that the management considered to be hazardous and I consider this to be firmly in that bracket. Now, I have taken the liberty of changing your hotel to here so that I can concentrate security in the one place. It’s not all bad news as I’ve had you booked into three suites, very luxurious so you will want for nothing. Your ladies and belongings are on the way here as we speak.
David wrinkled his nose in disdain.

“That’s great, thanks! We’ll stay here and order minions to peel us grapes while our friend is in who knows what danger. This stinks, Simon, it really stinks!”

“Well. I’m sorry but it’s the best I can do.” His face softened as he looked at the three disconsolate men. “Don’t worry, too much. I am sure they are aware that they aren’t messing with frightened individuals here. We’ll get Urs back in one piece and have the b**t**ds responsable behind bars before they know what’s hit them. No one messes with my friends and gets away with it.” The dark look that crossed his face reassured the guys, even if it wasn’t enough to make them believe the efficacy of his words. As they left Simon’s suite with their details of security staff, each was privately resolving that they weren’t going to take this quietly – and each knew that the other two felt exactly the same.

*****

Emily had been stationed by the door all afternoon. She was on alert, hoping to overhear some snippet of information that might prove useful whilst Urs was busily trying to see what if any, were their options for escape. So far he had come up with a big fat zero. The windows were alarmed – he found this out when he tried to open one that was above an inviting trellis of roses - but a strident alarm brought a gun toting hulk to their door with a warning to stop messing or else! Similarly all the walls were thick and impenetrable so even an escape via getting into another room was impossible.

Defeated, he threw himself down on the bed and reached for a bread roll from their post-breakfast stash.

“Hey, be careful with the food stocks; you never know how long they will have to last.” Emily’s demand was barked across the room.

“Jeez, it’s only a roll – no need for the histrionics.” He sulked but he knew she was right and he slid the roll back onto the bedside table. He only wanted food because he was frustrated, not hungry and his honesty forced him to admit that his reaction would have been similar if the circumstances had been reversed.

He looked over to where Emily knelt, bent forward so that her ear was pressed against the keyhole and he couldn’t help admiring the view. He chided himself immediately but it was so difficult. She was soft and curvy in all the right places and he wished, not for the first time, that they had met under different circumstances. Of course that acerbic quality that she threw about her would have warned him off even if they had met at an awards show and she was presenting him with the award for the best guitarist in the universe. He would have still wanted to kill her after a few hours – ah, but how delectable would those few hours have been? Then his mind was off on a flight of x-rated fantasy and he rolled over, feigning sleep so that he could indulge this guilty pleasure without Emily having any notion how she affected him.

*****

Downstairs all was hustle and bustle as the third party that Paddy had engaged to ensure his anonymity, arrived at the house. He stepped from a blacked out Cadillac and looked up to the serried ranks of windows that stared blankly back at him and he wondered if the captors were watching, unseen, somewhere. Of course, it wouldn’t matter if they did see him. He sniggered as he swaggered up the steps and into the house. He had done this sort of business so often before and if Simon had only known who he was dealing with he would have realised how right he was when he said that these sorts of things don’t often end well.

He was the facilitator but if necessary he could also be the executioner.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:21 pm

Chapter 13

The suites into which the three Divos had been ensconced were luxurious indeed but still, right at that moment, they felt like prisons. Each privately chafed at the invisible bindings, wanting to be out doing something to help their friend and colleague but knowing that they would be prevented from lifting so much as a finger. The afternoon wore on into evening and as the setting sun surrendered the sky to the night each one, Sebastien, Carlos and David all reached out to Urs, sending hope to wherever he might be.

Urs watched a similar scene as the red fire left its last traces on a sky that was rapidly darkening from blue to indigo. And he wondered what his friends were thinking. They would know by now and he knew them well enough to realise that the helplessness of the situation would be weighing heavily upon each of them.

He lowered his head as the uncertainty of his own and Emily’s plight washed over him. He rubbed distractedly at his forehead and tried to re-gather his strength. It was the not knowing, you see. The one glaring fact that returned like a physical blow, again and again, was that they could identify their captors. He could find no way to reconcile this. No amount of platitudes or affirmations could alter this one inescapable fact. He had never felt so lost.

There was a soft touch on his arm and he turned to see Emily’s concerned eyes blazing up at him.

“What are we going to do, Urs; how can we walk away from this? Can your manager really strike a deal with these men?” Her voice was soft; almost childlike. Urs pushed a stray tendril of hair behind his ear while he considered how he would answer her. He had no wish to frighten her further but it was going to be difficult to be upbeat about their situation. But he had to try. He cupped her chin tenderly in his large hand and his impression of the frightened little girl deepened.

“We have to try to remain positive, Emily. It will do us no good to think the worst. We still have Mama O’Donnell on our side, even if she isn’t around at the moment and Simon Cowell has a far – reaching web of contacts. He will be setting wheels in motion as we speak. We have to trust in that.” He squeezed his fingers together gently and smiled. “And we definitely have to stay vigilant; any snippet of information may be important so shall we change sides – you watch the window and I’ll listen at the door – your knees must be aching by now.”

A tremulous smile flitted across her features.

“As a matter of fact they are – I’ll be getting housemaid’s knee if I’m not careful!” Urs looked puzzled and for the first time that day Emily giggled. “Don’t try to understand, it’s just an old time saying. Housemaids used to get arthritis in their knees due to the amount of time they spent on them but I don’t think I’m really in danger.” Urs laughed - it was a little forced but it was better than nothing. He strode over to the door and dropped into a sitting position then grinned at Emily.

“Whew, I guess I had better be careful in this position then; I wouldn’t want to get housemaid’s bottom!” Emily closed her eyes and shook her head at the absurdity of his comment. The fear was still there, an undercurrent that was punching and kicking to keep itself uppermost in her thoughts but her heart warmed itself in Urs’s kindness. He certainly was a conundrum, she thought … would she ever be able to work him out?

*****

In the city Simon sat in his mission headquarters as his suite had become. The place bustled with people, favours he had called in; some upright citizens – some not! There were contacts of contacts, people who knew people and the information was already rolling in. He now knew who the crime lords were and how likely they might be to engage in this sort of scam.

The general opinion was that it was a crime of opportunity committed by some nobody who was now rolling for higher stakes. But Simon wasn’t so sure. The man he had spoken to was assured, practised in his craft. But knowing this got him no further towards putting things right. He was going to have to wait for that next contact, much as that irked him. And he would bite the bullet, whatever the demands. Who cared what this might end up costing – this was a friend they were talking about, not just a commodity. But he was certain that they needed to have strategies in place to deal with every twist and turn that may occur. He would never forgive himself if his lack of foresight led to something unthinkable.

There was something he didn’t know, however and if he got wind of it there would probably be a display of that famous Cowell temper. In David’s suite, merely a few walls separating them from the hubbub of Simon’s, the three Divos sat and plotted. They were not only going to be involved in this mess – if they could, they determined, they were going to try to rescue Urs themselves!

*****

As night began to settle its mantle over the quiet house, Emily saw headlights at the bottom end of the driveway.

“There’s someone coming, Urs.” Urs scampered over to the window as one of the sleek black cars that had been coming and going at intervals all day, pulled up to the entrance.

“I wonder if this is anything to do with us. I wish we knew what the hell was going on; it’s driving me crazy not knowing.” Emily only nodded in agreement.

Two faces watched and they didn’t have to wait long to find the answer to their question. The limo door was thrown open and Bridie O’Donnell burst from the vehicle like an avenging angel. She was patently bristling as she entered the hallway below and both of the captives ran across to the door in order to hear the goings-on downstairs. It wasn’t necessary to strain their ears as Bridie went into full flow.

“Patrick James O’Donnell, you’ll get yourself here this minute if you know what’s good for you – I demand to know what the hell is going on in me own house!”


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:29 pm

Right - here is the next chapter:

Chapter 14

“I am waiting, Mister … where are you? I need an explanation and I need one now!” Mammy was in no mood to be fobbed off and everywhere men went on alert … this was not good!

A small woman, with badly bleached hair and a nose that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Pinocchio - when he was telling his lies, peeped around the bulk of Bridie as she yelled her displeasure for all who cared to listen. The new addition to the scene kept attempting to speak but could make no dent into the overwhelming presence of the older woman who was demanding, over and over, that her son show himself. Finally Bridie stopped out of sheer necessity lest she burst a blood vessel and the second woman saw her chance.

“Mammy O’Donnell, will you calm down please. There’s no need for all this commotion – I’m sure it’s all a mistake.”

“A mistake you say? Oh definitely it’s a mistake. You devils all plotting together to pull the wool over my eyes is a huge mistake, Missus and I am going to make you all sorry you were ever born. Why, if there is somethin’ goin’ on here that I won’t like I will skin you all alive, so help me!”

“As God is my witness, Mammy, I’m innocent I tell you. I just … just wanted your company, that’s all.” The smaller woman gulped back a crocodile tear but she was wasting her time.

“My company was it – just my company; and you thought the best way to get your wish was to have them tell me that you were at death’s door with the pneumonia. What kind of a daughter-in-law are you, Maggie O’Donnell?” Maggie screwed up her shrewish little face in preparation to put her point across but Bridie had no intention of letting her state her case while she still had so much to get off her own chest. “Are you still holding it against me that I only let you have me second son, Sean, God keep him safe? I know you wanted Paddy but you just aren’t woman enough to be the matriarch of this family – it’s a fact and you had best get used to it. Stop holding a grudge, woman. You’re a typical Dubliner; you are – holding onto a grudge your whole life and being happily miserable about it ‘til the day you turn up your toes! After that too, I bet. Poor St Peter will probably only let you in heaven to shut you up!” The little woman had listened to enough and, hands on hips, she turned her waspish face to her detractor.

“Mammy O’Donnell, if we weren’t related by marriage I would strike you, so help me. I do not hold a grudge it‘s just that people constantly do wrong by me - I‘m a poor, hard don’t to woman. But it’s true that your Paddy wanted me for a bride and you, being the spiteful harpy you are, wouldn’t let him. Wasn’t good enough indeed. No woman will ever be good enough as far as you are concerned. You want to keep this family tied to your apron strings.”

The last words were choked off as Maggie recognised the need to flee before she was mashed into the Aubusson carpet and, with a scream, she skedaddled over to hide behind one of Paddy’s henchmen. He, of course, wasn’t too happy about this. They all knew of Bridie’s rages and realised it was best to keep out of her way while she blew. There followed a dance that was worthy of Fred and Ginger as the three involved quick-stepped around the hallway.

On the first floor landing Paddy watched the events from a discreet observation point. His plan to remove his mother from the scene of the crime had backfired with a bang and now he needed some serious damage limitation before she wrecked the house in her efforts to get to him. But what, that was the question?

His brother, Sean stood, trembling and useless, by his side and if Mammy found them together, along with the facilitator, not to mention finding out that her favourite Divo and his lady were hostages, well. the explosion would be heard in Times Square. No, he had to get every incriminating person out of the house before she could get up to him – thank God for the distraction that was taking place downstairs!

He muttered orders to Sean who ran to the room in which they had secreted the Facilitator and set about getting him down the back stairs and off the property without being seen. But as for his ‘guests’; they might be a little trickier! There were no more of his men available on the first floor and calling some up would have dragged Mammy’s attention with them. He quickly decided against doing the job himself because he would be needed to bring Bridie round after her bubble burst and she calmed down. His options were limited.

Just then, with the providence often present on such occasions, a door to his left opened and a face peeked out to check the commotion.

“Hey, I forgot about you and your mate – Georgie, come ’ere will ya – I’ve got a very important job for the two of you.”

*****

Urs was in two minds as he viewed the men who had just entered the bedroom. Did he hang fire until he knew what was being planned or did he throw caution to the winds and throw himself on the mercy of Mrs O’Donnell? Mind you the gun, a real one, which Georgie now had pointed at his chest, was making him come down on the side of caution.

“Hello again people. Now, I want you to come with me and Trev without making a fuss. Mr O’Donnell wants youse out of the house ASAP and what he wants he gets, if yer know what I mean. But we have ter go quietly – d’ya understand? If yer go making a fuss there will be more than one gun pointed at youse, and firing … got it?”

Both Emily and Urs nodded mutely and the procession; Trev with their hastily grabbed bags, Emily, Urs and lastly Georgie gunman all crocodiled down the back stairs and out into the evening air and to a waiting car. Trev drove this time and fared slightly better at the task than his partner. The car coasted around the house, no lights as per Mr O’Donnell’s instructions and then slid down the drive to the open road beyond.

The would-be gangsters both sighed with relief when they fulfilled this first part of the task. Now they had to find the safe house that the boss had told them to take the captives to. The countryside was unfamiliar to them so Georgie was forced to keep peering down at the written instructions in his hand. Again, as the gun was frequently lowered and even forgotten, Urs pondered the possibilities for escape but, conscious of his responsibility to Emily as well as himself, he had to remain sensible. He would bide his time and maybe an opportunity would present itself.

They drove through winding roads for around thirty minutes without sighting a single building but they could see the distant lights of the city growing more distinct so Georgie knew that they were at least heading in the right direction. The road widened and straightened and they began to meet other cars as they journeyed. But there was an air of agitation now between the two crooks and the hairs on the back of Urs’s neck prickled with un-explained foreboding. Suddenly a moment of insight revealed itself to him – why Georgie and Trev, why the remote countryside … why the gun?
Panic crawled along his spine as he put his conclusion together – everyone in the car was expendable.

*****

David scanned the unlit road as did Carlos and Seb. Each knew they were on a fool’s errand but also knew that if they had sat in the hotel for a moment longer they would have blown a collective fuse. Getting away from the security teams had proved easier than they expected – it’s amazing the panic a fire alarm can cause! David’s foresight in ordering a hire car via the concierge gave them the necessary transport for a quick getaway but that, of course, was where their troubles began … where the hell did they start looking?

An hour later it seemed as though they had covered every street in the city and quite a few more besides. Now, after they had widened their search, and hit open countryside some time earlier, they were on the verge of giving up and turning around, the futility of searching with no idea of a location having sapped their will and enthusiasm. David pulled the car over and, defeated, dropped his head onto the steering wheel. Carlos leaned across from the passenger seat and patted his friend’s shoulder but it was hard to convey any optimism when his own had long since deserted him. But Seb was pre-occupied. He whipped his head around and craned his neck after a car that was disappearing in the direction of the city. Then he turned wild eyes to his band members.

“Guys … Oh mon Dieu, that was Urs … in that car!


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:29 pm

Okay, next chapter:

Chapter 15

“What?”

Two heads had snapped around to face the speaker and two voices had shouted that same word. Sebastien stared back at Carlos and David, round-eyed and as excited as a child.

“Oui, I saw Urs … at least I think I did - it went by very fast.” The second phrase pricked the bubble of hope and caused an immediate backlash from the hyped up American.

“Jeez Seb, make your mind up - was it him or not? I am on my last nerve here pal so don’t go raising my hopes if you aren’t sure.” Carlos understood the reason for his normally placid friend’s outburst and he stretched out a fatherly arm and patted his shoulder.

“David, try to stay calm. Sebastien, like the rest of us, is doing his best.” David lowered his head, defeated.

“Yeah, I know and I am sorry, Seb - it’s just so darned frustrating driving around with no clue where Urs might be.” Seb smiled. “It’s ok, I understand - we all feel the same.” He looked back along the road again, willing Urs to appear and end their worries.

Carlos tilted his head, pondering.

“Now, let’s look at this calmly. Seb thinks he saw Urs in that car a few minutes ago - so surely it’s worth turning round and trying to catch up to it … in case Seb was right. We’ve had no better clue since we came out so let’s go for it.” Seb looked from Carlos to David and David nodded.

“You are right, mi amigo … it’s worth a try.” The words were no sooner out of his mouth before he slammed the car alternately into drive then reverse until the car was facing the city again and he was able to screech off down the road. He had wasted precious minutes back there with his petulance and now he was determined to make them up.

As he managed to prise his head off the headrest once more, Carlos looked at David with his trademark twinkle.

“David if you ever decide to quit singing you can always get another job … as a stunt driver!”

*****

In the other car that was a few minutes ahead of them, the driver and his companion looked nervously at one another. The task they had been given was daunting and not the sort of thing in which they usually got involved. Murder was for the serious criminals not small fry like them. Still, this was Paddy O’Donnell, he was big time and if he asked you to do something you didn’t argue the toss otherwise you were likely to end up dead yourself. But this didn’t mean you had to like it though.

From the back seat Urs watched their every breath. He could feel their unease and it scared the hell out of him. He was left wishing that he had taken the opportunity to try an escape earlier but those moments had passed so he resolved to be ready for any more that may arise.

Emily watched his face and saw the mask of worry there.

“Are you okay, Urs? This has to be better doesn’t it; I mean anything that gets us out of that house has to be good!” She patted his knee but the familiarity was lost on him. “What are you worrying about,” she dropped her voice to a whisper, “ I’d much rather be with these two than all those monsters with their big guns!” Urs pursed his lips but said nothing; making her worry again was the last thing he wanted to do.

Georgie was watching the road distractedly.

“For God’s sake, where the bleedin’ ‘ell is this farm ‘ouse? Keep yer eyes peeled, Trev or we might miss it.”

“I’m trying to, Georgie but I ‘aven’t seen any kind of building for ages - are yer sure we’re on the right road?”

“Course I’m sure yer dimwit. Just shut up and drive.” Stung by the unfairness of the quip, Trev whipped his head round, ready to give it back to Georgie but a look of fear on his mate’s face caused him to change his mind. Georgie was unable to get any words past his clenched teeth so he merely pointed to the road ahead and Trev, following the direction of the raised hand, saw, too late, the huge black bull that stood in the centre of the road, placidly surveying their progress towards him.

Trev screamed and threw the steering wheel to the right and all the car‘s occupants were tossed to that side. Urs and Emily had used foresight, knowing their driver’s likely competence at the wheel, and buckled their seatbelts but the two crooks had not been so wise. The car smashed through the hedge that protected the road from a steeply sloping field and then careered unhindered, because Trev now had his hands over his eyes, into the green void below.

If the car managed to miss any hillocks or rocks in that field then the occupants weren’t aware of it. In the back seat Urs stretched our his arm to help hold Emily against the seat and she hung onto it for her very life but Trev and Georgie were being thrown about like dolls and when the vehicle crunched to a halt against a very stout oak tree their bodies crumpled, bloodied and battered, against the windshield.

Urs inhaled deeply then turned his attention to Emily.

“Are you okay - nothing broken?” Emily felt her right arm gingerly and flexed the joint.

“My arm hurts but I can move it so it can’t be broken - how about you?”

“I’m fine, I think I’ll have some nice bruises but no worse than that. I don’t think our friends in the front have done quite so well though.” As he finished speaking he released his seatbelt and leaned over the seat to check them. “They both seem to be breathing but they’re out cold so I suggest we get out of here as quick as we can.” He started to pull back then thought better of it. Instead he delved into Georgie’s pocket and came up with the gun. Emily looked at the weapon and then at Urs, waiting for an explanation. “I think it might come in handy and, at the very least, it will be one less shooting at us!”

“Do you know how to use it - have you ever fired a gun before?” Urs sniggered and stroked the barrel.

“The Swiss have more guns per capita than any other nation in the world and we are all expected to do National Service where we learn how to shoot them so yes … I know how to use it!” He checked that the safety catch was on then stuck it inside his pocket. “Right, I think we had better get the hell outta here before these bozos wake up.”

The night air smelled good to the two captives, if a little cold. Urs popped the boot of the car and opened his bag then took a few items out, including his warm jacket then turned to Emily.

“I suggest you do the same - just the bare essentials as well as something warm. Our immediate need is shelter.” He surveyed the clear sky that was awash with diamond points of stars. “It’s going to get very cold tonight.” Emily put a few extra layers on then turned to him.

“So what now?”

“Now we go - as fast as we can … come on!”

*****

High above them, back on the road, the car with David, Sebastien and Carlos inside, slowed down to let the bull finish crossing the road before speeding on into the night. They didn’t see the damaged hedge, they didn’t see the car that was wrapped around the tree below and they didn’t see the escaping figures loping across the open expanse of grass.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:46 am

Chapter 16

As Urs and Emily stumbled though the grass as fast as they could they had cause to be glad of the brightly moonlit evening. The ground was uneven and would have been a serious risk to their ankles otherwise. After a few minutes they reached a small stand of trees that provided a good place to rest and survey the land beyond them.

“What do we do now, Urs?” Urs didn’t stop his survey of the surrounding terrain but he answered her thoughtfully.

“We have to be very careful, that’s for sure. We need to find somewhere to rest that’s dry and warm and then we can push on in the morning when we can see what we’re dealing with.”

This news did not suit Emily’s ‘up and at ‘em’ nature; not one bit.

“What … wait until the morning? Can’t we just find a farm or house and ask them to phone the police for us and anyway, it doesn’t look that far to the city so even if we don’t come across a place out here we should be able to get to safety before too long. I‘m not spending the night outside, not in these temperatures” Urs sighed, wondering how much longer he would have to reel this woman back in - God but she was a liability. He turned to her and stretched his arms out in supplication.

“Emily please stop running off at the mouth without thinking because it’s starting to get really annoying. Think about what we know. Those two idiots were looking for a place around here - it would be just our luck to find that one house. And then who knows what would happen. And you can bet that the O’Donnells will know that we’ve escaped before too long and then this area will be saturated with gun toting thugs ready to make the problem that we have become, go away! And the city, incidentally, is a good few hours hike from here - trust me … I know about distance”

Emily opened her mouth to speak but something about the way Urs tilted his head, his lips clenched, made her think better of it. When she didn’t answer he nodded.
“Good! Now, I’ve been looking around and there is a large farm over to the east there, that has lots of outbuildings and might be just what we need. It will only take us about forty minutes to trek there if we keep our pace up. So, what do you say - are you ready for that?” Emily nodded her assent.

“Okay, a forty minute hike - just what I need. I’m so glad I didn’t wear my killer heels today!” Urs grinned at her, glad that her spirit was finding the humour in the situation and he decided to join her in the joke.

“So am I … they cramp my toes dreadfully!”

*****

In New York the three other Divos look dejected as they drove up East 57th Street towards the Four Seasons. It had been a futile expedition and now they would have to face the wrath of Simon - oh joy!

As they walked between the marble columns that lined the imposing lobby, they looked from one to another and each wished themselves anywhere but here. In the lift they were silent and merely nodded to the security teams that greeted their exit on their floor. Simon had been informed of their return and his aide was waiting for them at his door.

“Mr Cowell would like to see you gentlemen.” She didn’t wait for an answer but entered the room silently and held the door for them - there was no escape.

“Well, if it isn’t the three musketeers returned from their adventure. What, no d’Artagnan swash buckling in behind you? Didn’t you find him then? I was just about to dismiss all the extra security as I was so sure you’d be successful. Fancy that … I was right after all - you really are just three nincompoops who could easily have done more harm than bloody good.”

“Okay Simon, we get it. And believe me we feel quite bad enough about it without this.” If David hoped to fend off the coming storm he was being naïve - he had merely stoked the fires.

“You feel bad, do you? Well isn’t that a damn shame. Did you ever stop to think how I might feel with all four of you out there doing God only knows what? I will tell you one thing, though, I hope you got enough fresh air because its going to be the last you’ll be breathing until this whole mess is over. As soon as you are back safely in your suites - which will happen as soon as this conversation is over, there will be security posted at your doors who have strict instructions not to let you leave the rooms - not for any reason. You will eat in there and have anything else you require brought up - that’s it! I am not prepared to mess about with you fools for another moment. I need to concentrate my efforts towards getting Urs back and I don‘t need anymore distractions. Now get out of my sight, the lot of you!”

The Divos looked from one to another but said nothing; they knew they had no argument to make.

*****

Emily kept very close to Urs as they approached the farm’s outbuildings. All was quiet so they moved steadily forward, hogging the fence that led down to a big barn-like structure that was their target. There were no lights in any of the surrounding buildings, only the distant farmhouse showed bright against the night. No animal noises intruded on the silence so Urs and Emily felt safe in assuming that the barn was un-occupied and was exactly what they were looking for.

Once inside they were dismayed to find that the structure was in poor repair, the starry vista showed through the damaged roof in a fair few places but at least this dis-use meant that it was unlikely they would be found by any of the farm workers. There was straw piled in a dry corner and some old sacking - all that they would need to make their night more bearable.

They set about making a comfortable sleeping area and both wondered how, exactly, they would go about this. Did they throw caution to the winds and share body heat, with all that entails or did they separate and shiver? Emily had made a cocoon of straw with sacking to lie on as well as for a cover and she plonked herself down on it and watched Urs. He too was busily making a place that would be as comfortable as possible as well as warm enough and when he was finished he noticed Emily’s surveillance.

“What’s wrong?”

“Wrong? Nothing - I’m fine … how about you?”

“Sorry, I just thought you were … staring but never mind. Are you ready to settle down?”

“Erm … yes - are you?”

“Yes.”

The verbal tap dancing could have gone on all night if Urs hadn’t sat down heavily at that moment so that his momentum carried him into Emily. They rolled together, a tangle of arms, legs and straw and, somehow, Emily became trapped in her sacking. She struggled frantically and Urs attempted to help her but only succeeded in ending up in a similar predicament. They stopped struggling and each looked at the other. What passed through both their minds at that moment was undoubtedly the same process - a primeval need, as old as time itself.

The distance between their faces decreased without either consciously engineering it - it just happened … and their lips met….


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:32 am

Chapter 17

Can the fulfilment gained in a moment of time tear down misconceptions? Can softness and sweetness clear the mind, sweeping away uncertainties and fear? Or, when the haze of hope and even passion clears, is it necessary to deal with what is real and known?

But the two souls sharing the moment were unwilling to let reality intrude. It was too precious. In a day of fear and uncertainty their need was to hold on to what felt good; close out the demons.

Urs lay with his eyes closed, savouring, reliving. He was afraid to open his eyes lest it be a fantasy - but he knew must. He raised slow eyelids, peering through his lashes at the face before him. Emily was bolder; her eyes were wide, wondering. Urs raised a finger to her cheek and stroked the soft skin that led back to her lips and Emily sighed before capturing the finger as it drifted too near to them to be ignored. It was a moment of exquisite quiet, tender beyond the bounds of usual existence and both participants knew it was something to be held close.

Emily stretched her hand out of her sacking prison and plucked a straw from Urs‘s hair then brushed the soft curls back from his forehead and Urs smiled and stroked her cheek anew. He knew he should speak but was reluctant. Emily saved him from the need.

“Well I think we have found the best way of keeping warm, don’t you - it seems that two bodies really are better than one!” The words, although flippant, were delivered in a soft, sensuous tone and Urs reacted the way a man would. He pushed his arms through the sacking column that enveloped them so that he could hold her against him. Sweetness and fire in equal measure shot through him and he sought out her lips once more.

If the first kiss was infinitesimal and sweet the second was earthier; a precursor to all the pleasures possible to a man and a woman. It would have been so easy for them to plunge forward in the dance that was as old as time itself but experience cautioned them both and they simultaneously broke away. And there were all the uncertainties, queuing up to point them in the direction of common sense.

They didn’t say another word but they wrangled what distance they could find in their cramped bedding and it was Emily who turned away a little and closed her eyes to sleep. Her mind congratulated her for being sensible, for realising that their reaction was probably just in answer to their fears - a port in a storm. Urs stared off into the darkness and let his efficient Swiss psyche tell him that self control was the correct action. Their precarious situation needed to be dealt with first then, who knows? But both, when they dreamed, experienced all, cherished all, loved all.

*****

A cockerel crowing off in the distance woke Urs as morning’s first light intruded through the ruined roof. In sleep they had closed the gap between them and he found that he was cradling Emily against his body. He sighed; she looked so vulnerable and the thought brought a smile because he knew she was anything but. He eased away from her and started the not inconsiderable task of freeing himself from the sacking. This action woke Emily and she raised sleepy eyes to him.

“Is it time to get up?”

“Yes, I think we should be away as soon as we can. We are still too near to the sight of the crash and we have no idea if the idiots have raised the alarm.” He succeeded in freeing himself and jumped up, stretching out his cramped body as he went. “I’ll go and have a quiet look around while you sort yourself out. No modern conveniences I’m afraid so we will have to make do with nature. Then, if the coast is clear we can decide where exactly we are going to go now that we can see the land ahead.”

Emily nodded as she began her own fight with the makeshift bedding. As she stood she looked around. Her body was crying out for the facilities of a modern bathroom. A wry smile of acceptance accompanied her search for a makeshift alternative and eventually, after finding the thought of using the inside of their shelter horrifying, she darted towards the door. A hissed whisper stopped her in her tracks.

“Get back … I can hear voices … we have to hide!”

“But I need to ….”

“I don’t care what you need to do - it’ll have to wait. Grab anything that’s lying around that will say we’ve been here and then bury yourself in that hay pile. As he spoke he was doing the same but in the mouldy wet straw that lay close to the door. And just before he disappeared from view Emily saw the dull gleam of the gun in his hand.

They stayed hidden for minutes that felt like hours and Emily, her bodily needs still uppermost in her mind, was just about deciding to show herself when a squat, muscular man, dressed completely in black and carrying an automatic pistol, entered the barn. He looked around then turned back to the door where a shadow loomed.

“I don’t reckon they would be in here, Frankie; it’s even colder than the other buildings. There’s holes in the roof and every where’s damp.”

“Enough lip, Mickey, just search the place will ya and then we can get outta here.” Mickey turned back to the empty space before him and, with a disconsolate suck of his teeth, moved forward. He looked behind the old ruined stall, a leftover from when animals were kept in the building then he moved on, spraying his gaze from left to right, high and low. He prodded around in the edges of the mouldy straw, his wrinkled nose a testament to how much the task pleased him and he discounted it as a hiding place - sure that no one would want to hide in its smelly depths.

Eventually he approached the dry hay pile and Emily almost stopped breathing. Urs too was alert, thinking what he might do if Emily was discovered. He held the gun tighter, finger on the trigger and moved his body forward as Mickey seemed to be taking a particular interest. The gangster kicked at the discarded sacking then moved it away from the pile with his foot and both captive’s held their breath. A scrap of black cloth caught his eye. It was the corner of Emily’s coat and Urs, seeing the heightened danger, raised the gun. He didn’t want to shoot unless he had to. He could take this thug down and maybe even the other one outside but what if there were more? No, shooting had to be the very last option.

As Mickey bent forward to get a better look there was a whistle from outside and he turned quickly to see what was happening. Frankie appeared in the doorway.

“Okay, Mickey, my boy, we’re heading out. I just spoke to the farmer and he told me that he saw a man and a woman up on the road last night and that and they were trying to hitch a ride into the city. I just phoned the news in and all hell is breaking up at the house. We gotta meet the guys in town for new orders. If that opera guy reaches his boss then all our geese will be cooked”

“Jeez, wouldn’t we be better hiding out ourselves? I don’t fancy another spell in Riker’s … I’m getting too old for the jail house rock!” The words trailed behind him as Mickey trudged out of the door.

Urs and Emily still didn’t dare move until the screech of tyres heralded the departure of the crooks. Only then did they feel safe enough to crawl out of their hiding places and stretch their cramped muscles. Then Urs crossed the expanse of barn floor and clutched Emily to him. For her part, Emily ran her hands up inside his jacket to prove to herself that he was still in one piece. But then she pulled away abruptly.

“Oh dear, Urs; I don’t think I like the new aftershave!” Urs puzzled at her remark then, realising, lifted his arm to his nose. The look of distaste that twisted his handsome features was enough to give Emily her first laugh of the morning. “I think the shower will be the first place you will head to when we get back to civilisation. And I don’t think that lovely jacket is saveable.” Urs’s look of distaste turned to one of dismay; it was his favourite denim jacket.

As they exited the barn they were laughing, happy for the first time in what seemed like days but the happiness died on their lips as they were confronted with the sight of a middle-aged man in work overalls leaning against the fence outside. Urs said nothing but he fingered the gun that he had once more secreted in his pocket ….


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:10 pm

Chapter 18

Emily’s heart sank as she looked at the enigmatic man who stood apparently waiting for them. She couldn’t take another set-back. She looked at Urs, willing him to take the lead again … but there was no need.

“ Now don’t go worryin’ ‘bout me, young lady. I saw you last night, heading for the old barn here. I thought you were just a couple of drifters, looking for a place to sleep ‘til those hoods showed up just now. I told those fellas a cock ‘n bull story about you being on the road ‘cos I have no love for those thieving’ O’Donnells. I figure I’ve given you a chance, whatever you’ve done - the rest is up to you.”

“We haven’t done anything sir. We were kidnapped by them and were going to be ransomed … or worse! Thank you for helping us, now, if you have a phone perhaps you could call the police for us.” The farmer pushed his head back on the wiry column of his neck.

“Jeez no, son. I aint phoning no one, especially not the police. They are all in O’Donnell’s pockets hereabouts so he pretty much does as he pleases. They even tap the phone lines if he asks, which could be now. I’m sorry but I’d wake up with my house burning round my ears if I informed on them. But you can come up to the house and get cleaned up and eat - that’s the best I can do.” Urs considered the information with an expletive or two then turned round to survey the landscape.

“So what do we do now? What’s the best way to get to the city?” The farmer rubbed his chin, deep in thought then nodded.

“You’ll need to stay well away from that high road you came from, that‘s for sure. That will be thick with O’Donnell’s men and everyone else from round here will have orders to look out for you but you see that stand of trees over yonder?” He pointed down beyond the farm, away from the city and Urs, following his indicating arm, nodded as he listened. Well just behind them there is a little track that my pa used to use to haul his moonshine during the prohibition. He used to let me ride along when I was just a little fella and I remember it followed right through to the suburbs. It was well made-up too - it had to be for those heavy wagons. It’s not been used for many a year but you can still see it - just follow it ‘til you hit houses. Take you most of the daylight hours on foot but you should be able to find a safe payphone out there but don’t take risks - hide yourselves just in case. You never know who is watching.”

His finishing warning caused both Emily and Urs to search the horizon around them, sure that gun-toting gangsters would arrive back at any moment. The farmer chuckled.

“Don’t worry, young ‘uns, they won’t come back here. I can be pretty convincing when I want to.” His eyes sparkled with mirth and this relaxed the listeners somewhat.

He threw a “Follow me,” at them then turned and sauntered back to the farmhouse and soon Urs and Emily were clean and fed. The farmer even gave Urs some old jeans and a jacket that had belonged to his son. They had seen better days but they certainly smelled better than Urs’s own clothes. Once they were ready to go the farmer mentioned a few more landmarks to look for to help them on their way and they se off, each hoping that their journey would end in freedom.

*****

At the great stone house things were still far from calm and Paddy was now to be found in his workout room. But he wasn’t working out … he was hiding from his mother. There had never been a soul alive that could sniff out a lie better than his mammy and she was presently rampaging through the house, asking questions of everyone. When she had finally found him earlier she had cuffed him roughly around the ear as though he was still nine years old and demanded the truth. She hadn’t got it but she knew something was wrong and he knew it was only a matter of time before someone cracked. Every single man had been reminded of the consequences that would befall him should they tell her something, anything, that gave the boss more trouble but it was only staving off the inevitable. So he sat and planned his defences for when she came at him through the door he now stared at and he wondered who it would be that caved under the pressure.

When the event occurred it had an air of inevitability about it … of course it would be his brother.

Mammy knew Sean had to be involved because it was him who had come to her earlier that morning with the tale of a desperately sick wife. She had searched the house for him on her return, knowing he would be putty in her hands but had been truthfully told that he had gone out earlier - but no one would … or could tell her why!

And so she had waited. She had dragged one of the big chairs from the dining room into the centre of the great hallway and there she had sat until he returned. And he knew he was a gonner the moment he set eyes on her.

Sean tried his best to be evasive but subterfuge never had been his strong suit - he left all that to brother Paddy. So now he stood like a trembling adolescent who’d been caught sneaking out of the house after dark, while she worked her guilt trip on him.

“Now come on son, I know you can tell me what’s been going on around here. If you don’t tell me the truth you will make me very unhappy - and I’m not a young woman so that wouldn’t be a good thing. Why only last week Eileen Doyle from Tribeca, keeled over and died because she got too upset. You wouldn’t want that to happen to me now, son … would ya?”

“Ah no mammy, of course I wouldn’t.”

“No, I didn’t think you would - so come on … tell me! Where have you just been for instance? You hadn’t been at your house all day; I know ‘cos I was there with your supposedly sick wife. So what have you been doing that is so important you can’t tell your poor ole mammy?” Her beady eyes bore into his very soul and Sean suffered the torments of hell. He wished he was anywhere but here - even the long prison sentence that Paddy had warned of looked a good prospect right about now.

He knew he had to tell her something and it had to be the truth, she would know if it wasn’t, so he decided on a half truth.

“I was on an important business call, mammy over at the Coyle estate.” He smiled hopefully and briefly then he watched, appalled, as her steel trap mind put two and two together - and came up with five!

“The Coyles is it; those dirty rats, creeping around and trading in people - I thought we had nothing to do with their sort. If your daddy was still alive he would have took his belt to you for going anywhere near them. So … what did you want with them? I saw that filthy henchman of theirs once - murder you as soon as look at you if he could get a few bob out of it. They call him the facilitator don’t they - why is that? What does he make happen?” She looked at her son again and saw the fear on his face. Whatever it was this evil man was involved - but what could he want with us … or did we want him?

“We don’t have anything to do with that heathen business - selling people … celebrities and the like.

Celebrities - who do we know who’s a celebrity?” The answering thought plunged cold steel into her heart.

“Urs!”

“Jaysus, if you boys have done anything to hurt so much as a hair on my darlin’ Urs’s head I will send you both to hell meself!”

She leapt from the chair and charged towards the basement gym … and Paddy.

“Paddy O’Donnell I am going to kill you!” Paddy heard the storm approaching. He closed his eyes and awaited the inevitable.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:18 pm

Chapter 19

The thunderous banging on the door matched the hammering of his heart. Paddy knew there was no way of avoiding this confrontation and he also knew that it was going to be far from pleasant. He had wronged his mammy, you see - and that was a hanging offence in this house.

Abruptly Bridie changed tack.

“Open this door Patrick, I need a word with you.” Paddy wasn’t fooled by the quiet tone. He knew what would happen when he unlocked the door. He also knew that he could not put off the inevitable for too much longer. Her rage would only grow if he added defiance to his perceived crimes; thus it had always been. He needed to get his story right … and quick!

After a few minutes’ concentrated thought that was accompanied by a symphony of curses and hammering from the other side of the door, he stood, smoothed back his hair, lifted his remote headphones from the table by his chair and placed them over his ears then strode over to the door. Bridie obviously heard his footsteps because she went quiet again and waited to pounce.

When Paddy finally opened the door he was greeted by the expected whirling dervish that was intent on rending him apart. Hands on her waist, he struggled to hold the small but robust woman at bay and he let her spend a little of her force against him before trying to speak.

“Mammy, mammy, I didn’t know you were there … what’s the matter - has someone upset you again?” As he spoke he pulled the headphones off, letting Bridie hear the hearty tones of the Dubliners that were blasting from them.

“Has someone upset me … upset me? I’ll - tell - you - who,- has; - its - you - boy - you’ve - upset - me.” Her staccato words were punctuated with vast swipes from her now free flat hand against Paddy’s torso. She took a deep breath and then continued her tirade, this time without the battering ram accompaniment. “I just got chapter and verse on your little plan to ransom my Urs. How could you … how could you?” She renewed her efforts to land more telling blows on her son but he had used the last few seconds to grasp her arms so that she could do him no more damage. This enraged her further. “So, it’s come to this, you are manhandling your mother now. My, what a fine son you’ve become … what a proud mother I am. First you trade in people with those dirty Coyles, with no less a person that the singer who makes me happy every time I hear his voice - and then you lay your hands on your own mother. Oh yes; those thirty six hours of labour to bring you into the world were definitely worth it.” She had played her trump card - the guilt trip had begun.

Before his eyes she seemed to shrink as though someone had made a tiny hole in a balloon so that the air could slowly escape, then the tears flowed. If he hadn’t seen this many times before he would have been alarmed but this was the old familiar routine; they could move forward now.

“Ah, come on now, mammy, come and sit down, dry your eyes and let me tell you what really happened.” He guided her to a comfortable couch and sat beside her, never letting go of her hand. The contact was crucial. Mammy was a tactile person; touch reinforced the love they shared - he mustn’t let her forget that or goodness knows what she might do. He remembered his pa’s tale of how he had returned from a drinking session one evening to find his wife vigorously scrubbing the kitchen floor and, when he tried to cajole a hug from her, she had thrown the scrubbing brush at him, opening up a gash on his head that needed ten stitches. Then she had berated him for bleeding all over her clean floor! She was a woman that had to be treated right … or else.

He continued his story.

“Now I know you will find this hard to believe but I acted in the best interests of this family.” The wrath rose in Bridie’s eyes again and she gripped his hand as though it was in a vice. “Now don’t get het up again, let me explain. See I was stuck with a massive problem the moment Sean let those English guys come here. They had lifted a car from outside the airport, without knowing that your Urs and the girl were in it. They phoned Sean and he sent a car to get them. Even then it would have been ok if they had only left the hostages there with the car. No one knows the Brits in this country and as long as they couldn’t be associated with our family it would have been fine but the moment they showed up at this house and met us, they could identify us as part of an abduction.”

Paddy paused to see what effect his tale was having and, glad that she was calm, he carried on.

“Of course you hearing him singing was the finishing blow. From then on we were stuck with them.” Bridie’s hand flew to her mouth.

“Oh no, do you mean that it was all my fault - how can you say that? I really thought you had arranged a wonderful surprise for my birthday.”

"Calm down, of course it wasn’t your fault - it was Sean’s but even he didn’t realise how big it would become. And that was the problem. Here we had a huge celebrity who could identify us all … what could we do? I sat up all night trying to find a solution where no one would get hurt.” At his final word his mother bridled and Paddy made shushing noises so she would let him continue. “I finally came up with the ransom idea out of sheer desperation.”

He paused for effect, making eye contact with his mother.

“Of course I realise now that I have just made a bad situation worse.” He sighed, not for effect this time but rather from the chilling revelation of what these events could bring down on the family. “I fear this could be the end of us, Mammy, I really do.”

Bridie stiffened once more but this time it was caused by the fear that was crawling along her spine. Angry at her boys she may be but this was serious - this could see her boys in prison. She couldn’t let that happen … she was their mother! But what of Urs and his lady friend?

“Where are Urs and Emily now, son? Perhaps I could talk to him and make him believe that it was all a joke being played on me. Let me try.” Paddy looked at his mother with tired eyes.

“It’s too late, mammy. I’ve sent him off to the safe house with the English guys and I had a call from the Coyles earlier; they’re worried that this could turn nasty so they are taking over the whole mess. They could already have the hostages for all I know - I told them where they were heading and, if they have taken them, well … they could be anywhere by now. It’s no longer in my hands.”

“Dear God, son, do you mean to tell me that it’s going to be up to those murdering Coyles whether Urs and Emily live or die? God have mercy on them!”

“Amen to that, mammy, Amen.”


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:51 pm

Hello again - well the story is climbing to its finale now ... if I could only work that finale out satisfactorily~!! The chapter I am posting today is the last one I have that is actually finished I will work hard to keep to my schedule though ... I promise!

Next chapter:

Chapter 20

Emily was beginning to realise that she had underestimated the task ahead of them. She considered herself to be fit but trekking mile upon mile without sight of a house or even another human being was becoming arduous. She needed a break but when she looked at Urs she was reluctant to tell him this. He was the picture of health; obviously used to this sort of long distance endurance - must have been all those mountains in his homeland, she mused.

The sky was a bright, clear blue and the sun was now high in the sky, causing them to need to remove the extra layers they had donned for the early and very cold start.. These had been stowed in the backpack that Urs now carried, courtesy of the kind farmer and, as he strode along, he allowed himself to feel good for the first time in a long while. This was the kind of day he loved most, crisp and clear and physical exercise had always aided his concentration so he felt on top of his game again.

He turned to Emily and smiled.

“This is actually getting to be fun, isn’t it? I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend today - well not unless the farmer could have provided a Harley! Shame about the men with guns … but we can’t have everything!” Emily pushed a sweaty lock of hair away from her forehead and looked pointedly at him.

“I’d settle for a flippin’ donkey, never mind a Harley, right about now.“

He saw the exasperation in her face and, without pause, his teasing gene was reactivated.

“Is everything okay? You seem a bit hot and bothered, do you want to stop for a while? I could march on like this all day but I mustn’t only think of myself. Look, there’s some good shelter under the trees over there. Let’s take a break and I’ll see if I can rustle up something to eat. At least we know we have water. He smiled again and patted the backpack where the farmer had placed a large bottle of water for their journey.

“Do you have to sound so bloody cheerful? My feet must be covered in blisters by now. I’m a city girl - the wide open spaces are something I only get to see on nature programmes. Yes, let’s sit down, and rest … please!” Urs said nothing but his wide grin annoyed Emily intensely because she knew that he was enjoying her discomfort as well as his own superiority at dealing with this turn of events.

She decided, however, to rise above his sneers, especially since he had captured her interest when he had mentioned eating. Her stomach growled alarmingly at the thought - it had been a long time since they had eaten their sparse breakfast. The farmer didn’t have a lot to share to be honest.

“Food sounds good but how are you going to get us some?” Urs smiled as he sat on the shady ground beneath the trees. He took the gun out to re-check that it was fully loaded in case he came across any undesirables on his food hunt but Emily, as was her wont, jumped, immediately, to the wrong conclusion. “Oh no, you’re not going to shoot poor little rabbits or something are you?” Urs grimaced and shrugged his shoulders in mock finality, delighted yet again by the ease with which she bit - she was even more fun than Carlos! He stood and stuck the gun in the waistband of his jeans before hooking his thumbs into his belt in best ‘John Wayne’ style.

“A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, little lady!” At any other time Emily would have giggled at his poor, Swiss accented attempt at ‘cowboy speak’ but she was too appalled by the scenes of bloody carnage that were running through her head to notice. Instead she wrapped herself in outraged dignity.

“Well don’t expect me to eat any of it, you barbarian, I’ll wait until we reach town.” Urs’ answering smile was infuriating.

“Okay … all the more for me … I love wild rabbit!” He smacked his lips for emphasis, much to Emily’ disgust.

“Oooh,” was the only reply she managed to enunciate, though and even that was only thrown at the back of her fast disappearing tormentor.

*****

Waiting for his return in the shady grove of trees, her back against one broad trunk, caused her to doubt her earlier stated ideals. Her abdomen continued to rumble alarmingly and her mind played tricks, conjuring up pictures of steaming platters of roast chicken or heaps of lamb chops, so much that she felt constrained to admit her own hypocrisy. Were cuddly bunnies, as her mind insisted in labelling them, really so different?

As it was Urs was back within fifteen minutes and he tossed a sack that he had picked up from God knows where, at her feet. She recoiled until she noticed a bit of greenery protruding from its depths. Gingerly she lifted one corner of the sacking with her outstretched finger and Urs couldn’t ignore the chance.

“Bang!” His shout echoed around the hollow. Two things happened simultaneously: Emily screamed as she jumped to a standing position - and Urs fell on the ground, howling with glee.

Once she had regained her composure she rounded on the man returned to the boy that was still rolling around.

“Urs Buhler, you are an imbecile of the first order. Give me that bloody gun - I’m going to kill you myself so those gangsters won’t have to!” He was still now, at last but still giggled like a school boy and she bent down in a mock attempt to grasp the gun’s handle, anxious to let him taste his own medicine. But he was too quick for her. Snaking out a hand he grasped her wrist and pulled her down on top of him and they rolled on the carpet of moss that lined the ground below the trees.

He had her now and, still laughing, he loomed over her while pinning her to the floor with his weight. She struggled but it was fruitless, His superior strength and weight meant she had no escape. Her eyes sparked fire and her hands made useless fists of exasperation. His stare, on the other hand, was exultant - like a caveman who had dragged his woman home to his cave.

He looked from her enchanting face to her throat and down to her breasts, still heaving from the recent struggle. The desire rose within his body; no woman had ever pushed his buttons so much before. But Emily had used the seconds well. She regained her calm and proceeded to pour ice onto his flames.

“Excuse me but what the hell do you think you are doing? I thought it wasn’t your habit to force yourself on women so why are you subjugating me now? You are hurting me, you know.” She watched as his eyes cooled … and then panicked.

“I’m sorry, Emily, I don’t know what came over me … well I do but …. Oh God … I‘m really sorry!” He let go of her hands and raised himself onto his elbows in preparation to get up but to his surprise it was Emily who now embarked on a sensual attack. Before he could move she had wound her arms around his neck and then reached up into his hair, tugging this way and that and then dragging his head down to hers. She lifted her head, letting her lips brush his then nibbled, hard, at the corner of his mouth. Then she pulled away And looked at him.

“Don’t ever play the strong man with me again, Urs; I don’t like being dominated.!” Urs looked at her, perplexed and licked the spot on his lips where she had bitten him. And then he grinned again.

“I think I might, Emily … remember that, will you?” Emily snorted and pushed him off so that she could sit up.

“Now why should I do that … I don’t like you remember!” She jumped lithely to her feet and Urs watched her go, wondering how and, more importantly, how soon, he could make her eat those words.

Emily picked up the sack and upended it, spilling the contents so that a cascade of carrots and apples rolled over the ground. She turned back to Urs, hands on hips.

“Oh, my brave hunter, I’m disappointed - no lion or even a deer?” But he, his thoughts still compiling his delicious revenge, just lay back, hands under his head.

“Don’t knock it, woman,” he chided. “I had to wrestle the rabbits for those damned carrots - vicious little swine, they are!” Emily whistled so that he looked at her then speared a carrot in his direction, which he caught deftly and bit into and then Emily joined him on the mossy carpet and together they enjoyed the hunter’s bounty.

*****

In Simon Cowell’s suite at the Four Seasons, the phone rang and, once the call was put through, He listened as a woman, an Irish woman, offered him a proposal.


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:30 pm

Chapter 21

“Am I speaking to Mr Simon Cowell?” The voice was low, thickly accented Southern Irish and rapid in delivery.

“Yes, I’m Cowell.” There was an intake of breath at the other end of the line before the speaker continued.

“Hello, Mr Cowell. I won’t beat about the bush … I have information about a very precious commodity that I know you are missing - a certain Swiss tenor, and I have a proposition to put to you in connection with this matter.”

“What do you mean, a proposition? Are you or are you not connected to the disappearance of Urs Buhler? I have been waiting all day to hear more from the person who contacted me last night and, quite frankly, I’m getting pretty damned worried about it. Are you taking over the negotiations?”

“Not exactly, I’m afraid but I do have to tell you that the situation has changed and that your singer is now in very real danger.”

“What? What’s happened … what do you mean? My God, if you’ve harmed him …..” The menace in Simon’s voice caused Bridie to shiver but she knew she had to keep a cool head if her plan was to work.

***

She hadn’t slept a wink as she agonised over the problem - did she save her sons … or Urs and Emily? Or was there a way she could she do both? When the Coyles rang to say that The Brits and their captives had never arrived at the safe house she had become frantic with worry. It was obvious that something had gone wrong so Paddy had sent men to search along the route to the house and they had found the crashed car with the injured crooks still inside - but no sign of the captives. She had counselled him that this could actually work in their favour. If he cautiously tried to get Urs and Emily back before the Coyles could find them, it would put matters back in their own hands. Then they would have a negotiating tool and also she could keep Urs and Emily safe from the murderous intent of the family she hated. But when Paddy’s men had reported in, telling of the farmer’s story of the escapees hitching a ride, she felt she was back to square one. The unknown quantity, of course was that lift - how far had they gone? Were they already in the city? When no police cars had arrived to arrest everyone, however, she realised that they must still be out of contact with anyone.

It was at this time that the Coyles had arrived. They were in high dudgeon and Paddy had been forced to tell them all they knew but, to his surprise this pleased them. There was no link between their family and the attempted ransom, nor could Urs and Emily identify them so they had decided to withdraw. Bridie had breathed a sigh of relief as the threat she feared most - a shoot to kill order - was lifted. Now all she had to do was contact Simon Cowell to ascertain if Urs was already safe and, if not, play up the danger so that her boys could save the day.

It sounded simple - but it was making it all plausible to Simon that was the problem.

***

“No, no, Mr Cowell, I promise you that we haven’t done anything to him or Emily. The problem is … we don’t know where they are. The car they were in was in an accident … and they escaped!!” Simon’s heart leapt - here was hope at last!

“So you mean to tell me that Urs and Emily … who is she, by the way? We don’t know of anyone by that name who is connected with Urs. Oh never mind that, we can deal with it later - I have to concentrate on the important facts … tell me where you last knew that Urs actually was so that we can start a search … after all, he may be hurt.”

Bridie’s pulse quickened; she hadn’t considered this possibility but then she allowed logic to triumph over fear; he must be alright if he was able to walk back up to the road. Now she had to be careful exactly how much information she shared with the man on the other end of then line - keep her cards close to her chest.

“I don’t think he’s been harmed, there was no evidence of it at the crash and a search turned up no further evidence of them in the vicinity. We even have information of them being seen heading in the direction of the city but there our leads go cold.”

“I see. Let me get this straight … you had him, now you don’t and you have no idea where he is now. Pardon me for being obtuse but what exactly do you have that will be of interest to me?”

Bridie sucked in air … this was the part she had to get right.

“Now I wouldn’t want you getting too complacent here, Mr Cowell; the family who contacted you with regard to the ransom are very ruthless people. They won’t be happy watching their payday disappear like this and they will be worried that your man could lead the police back to them. If they feel compromised there is only one way they will act. Their network extends far into the city so they will saturate the streets with informants and armed men, all looking for Urs before he can get to you. There will be a ‘shoot to kill’ order on both of them!”

The silence was deafening. Simon couldn’t take this in. In the space of just a few short days he had been proved powerless in the face of the escalating danger that threatened a man he was proud to call a friend as well as a business associate. He breathed deeply while his mind processed everything he had been told, looking for any crumb of comfort he could glean from it - and, at last, he remembered the opener to this conversation. He cleared his throat.

“So, madam, you mentioned that you had a proposition for me so let’s get down to it, shall we? Tell me what you are offering to make this situation better and what it is going to cost me!”

“My offer is simple, sir. I can also put men on the streets, to find Urs and Emily before the others do. I know how they work and, hopefully I can pre-empt them. As to what I want in return, that’s simple too. I don’t want your money - trading in people is a filthy business and I’ll have none of it but I do need your clemency. My family will be implicated in this business and I need you to show some compassion to them, and me when this is all over.”

Simon mulled over what she said and found the choice to be simple.

“Madam, if you help me get my friend back in one piece, I will recommend you for a medal. I think we need to meet, somewhere you consider safe if you feel that is necessary, so that we can work out the fine details. In the meantime, please set your men on the streets too and I will begin the search with mine immediately.”

“Ah that’s grand, Mr Cowell, I had a feeling you would be a reasonable man and I thank heaven for you. And another wee idea has just come to mind. I think you should go public with this ransom threat. You may not fully realise it but you have a very powerful counter weapon at your disposal … the fans! If the divas find out that one of their idols is threatened they will do anything they can to help. If you were to ask for any information whilst counselling caution in view of the ruthless nature of the kidnappers, I am sure the information will soon come rolling in.”

“Hmm, that’s not a half-bad idea … maybe it’s time to call a news conference. The power of the divas … why didn‘t I think of that?”


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:14 pm

Chapter 22

The sun was descending towards the horizon as Urs and Emily sighted the very outskirts of the city. They also began to encounter cars and people in fields and, in view of the farmer’s warning, they treated everyone as hostile - just in case. They stuck close to hedges and took advantage of any tree cover they found but they enjoyed the uplifting feeling that they were closing in on civilisation and safety.

In the city at the same time, Simon was bringing a rushed press conference to its close. The news that a member of Il Divo had been kidnapped was massive and flash bulbs popped and hoarse throats yelled in order to be heard over the hubbub. He had been true to his words to Bridie, stating the danger to civilians of getting involved too closely but pleading for information. He asked the fans, he named them as divas, to be his eyes and his ears but no more. A contact phone number looped constantly across the bottom of the screen to this end and he referred to it constantly. But even as all this was going on his security teams were hitting the streets, searching the suburbs that separated the city from the surrounding area as well as the city itself. They wore prominent badges on their jackets so that no one would take them for the bad guys in this pantomime … for pantomime it was, even if half of the players were unaware of this.

Everywhere in the city of New York and its suburbs the information highway was pressed into action. Ladies used only to looking after their homes and families suddenly found they had a much greater task to take care of. And those fans in other corners of the world chafed at the inaction forced upon them. They demanded constant updates from those getting the news first hand and they urged vigilance on all fronts. If it was possible to save Urs by good intention then he was already as good as home and dry.

In fact he and his companion were lying low between cherry trees in an orchard while they awaited nightfall. They had passed a few lonely farmhouses and country places but now they had reached the hinterland where the rural gives way, grudgingly, to the urban. Civilisation in the shape of a small, countrified town loomed beyond the orchard’s boundary wall. It felt as though it was close enough to touch. Finally Urs stood and looked down at Emily.

“You coming or have you decided you like the outdoor life? I think we should be able to make our way through the town now. Remember we need to look out for ….”

“Public phones, yes I remember. Are you sure you’re a singer and not a general or something; you sure like to give orders out.” As she grumbled she clambered to her feet and dusted loose grass from her clothes. Urs looked at her in a ‘stop being a smart ass’ sort of way but said nothing further. Instead he turned to face the town and ran, without warning, towards it. “Hey, wait for me!” Emily’s voice carried more than she expected on the still night air and Urs stopped dead.

“What on earth are you doing? Are you trying to attract attention to us? Have you not had enough danger already for one lifetime?” The questions were fired back to Emily in a staccato whisper. She stopped, knowing she had been stupid but also annoyed at Urs’s tone.

“Right … I’m sorry … keep your hair on!”

“What? Oh never mind just come on … and be quiet!” He set off again and fortunately missed the rude gesture that Emily threw at his back.

Once they had crossed the wall they hugged the buildings that lined the main thoroughfare. Here were small shops and stores and the occasional dwelling - but no phones. Urs cursed under his breath then faced Emily.

“I was hoping there would be a payphone in a street like this but I guess mobile phones have been the death of them. It’s getting harder and harder to find one anywhere in the world these days.” Emily nodded and replied.

“Let’s carry on. Surely we will come across one sooner or later.” No more was said but the couple stealthily moved forward, their eyes everywhere. Without warning an engine gunned close by and a car, sleek, black and familiar coasted into view at the crossroads at the top of the street. Urs said nothing but grabbed Emily’s arm and practically dragged her into an adjacent tight passageway that ran between two of the businesses. They scrambled onwards until the shadows enclosed them and then waited. Urs stood half shielding Emily. It was an instinctive gesture. He put his hands on her shoulders and moulded his head and body to hers so that they were one indiscernible shape should prying eyes search the alley. Their breathing seemed to stop as the car, having turned into the main street, approached their position. Sweat trickled despite the gathering chill and finally Emily burrowed her head into Urs’s chest, scared that she might cry out.

The car slid by without pause and the couple, holding each others as lovers would, dared to look towards the street. But still they didn’t move and, indeed, they remained there until the sound of the car had long faded into the night.

Urs looked down to find Emily’s face raised to him. Huge pools of eyes, the colour indistinct in the blackness, shone with wetness.

“Oh, don’t cry … please don’t cry. We’re nearly where we want to be. You just have to be brave for a little while longer. Emily dropped her head back on Urs’s chest and smothered a sob there and Urs wrapped warm arms around her and began to quietly hum. She was comforted by the vibration in his chest and she raised her hand to feel his heart beating in rhythm to the melody. When it ended and Urs placed his finger under Emily’s chin, raising it slowly so he could look at her again. “That’s better, liebchen. My brave girl is back again.” He stroked her chin, marvelling at the softness of her skin and then he marvelled anew as she reached up on tiptoe so that she could reach his mouth. Her soft lips found his and melded to them and her arms reached for his hair. He pulled her close, back to the closeness they had adopted during the threat and he, as was his wont, pursued the fantasy that they were somewhere else. Somewhere warm and safe and free. Somewhere he could show this woman how much she had become to him.

But this wasn’t the place.

Slowly he pulled away from her delicious lips. Instead he rested his chin on the top of her head and kissed her hair. After a minute he looked down at her, a smile that shone even through the dimness, wreathing his features.

“One of these days, my gorgeous little girl, I am going to grab you and I am going to kiss you and I’m going to take the lead … and you’re going to let me!” Emily’s sweet smile belied her response.

“Who me? But I don’t like you, remember.” The sultry whisper all but melted Urs’s resolve but he was made of stern stuff and he had been issued with a challenge.

“AND you are going to like me,” he added. “Now, push me away before it’s too late.”

“Too late for what?”

“To stop!”

Emily took a step away from him before answering. Then she looked over her shoulder to where he stood watching her.

“You silly man … we already know it’s too late for that … it’s just a matter of time and place.” His smile this time, as he watched her walk towards the street, was wolfish - the triumphant caveman was back!

The street was deserted as they re-entered it and Urs caught Emily’s hand as they turned to carry on with their search for the elusive phone. But, as they passed the next building a door opened and arms grabbed them and bundled them inside!


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:23 am

nice to see it here as well Moe.
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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:39 pm

Chapter 23

“What the …?” Urs’s voice showed his absolute outrage more than any fear he might be harbouring. The hallway into which he and Emily had been so unceremoniously dragged was unlit and he could only make out indistinct shapes. He plunged his hand into his pocket and felt for the comfort of the gun then he pulled Emily close to him and waited. Once the street door was closed someone flicked a switch somewhere so that light flooded the tiny entrance.

“What … who?” Urs managed only a second syllable, principally because Emily launched herself forward. This had been one shock too many and she bristled with adrenaline fuelled umbrage.

“Never mind who … what the hell do you women think you are doing?”

The light had shown their ‘attackers’ to be four women, middle-aged and in a state of high excitement. The one at the front of the group, an imposing mammoth of a woman, her sleeves rolled up to show forearms like hams, put a placating hand out to calm Emily - but she was having none of it!

“Don’t you touch me again, not if you want to keep your fingers. I have just about had enough so start talking. What do you want with us?” The woman said nothing but merely slid her eyes beyond Emily to where Urs was standing and an awkward, girlish grin spread across her features.

“H … hello Urs, it’s so good to see you in one piece.” Urs’s eyebrows made an almost perfect ‘M’ shape and Emily turned to look at him as if demanding an explanation. The silence continued for a few seconds.

“Urs - do you know these women?” Now the tone was definitely accusing and Urs shrugged his shoulders as he looked from Emily to the other occupants of the hall. Then his logic took over. Here was a room full of women, all smiling, all obviously nervous. There was no need for further speculation.

“They’re fans, I think … is that correct ladies?” The resultant twitter and simpering smiles gave him his answer. When no one stepped forward to explain though he knew he would have to take the initiative or this impromptu ‘meet and greet’ would go on forever! “Okay, ladies, can you tell us why you’ve dragged us in here please because my … friend here and I are, to be honest, mystified.”

“Mr Cowell … it was Mr Cowell. He told us in a news broadcast. Yes, he told us that you’d been kidnapped but escaped but that you were still in terrible danger. He asked us, all of the divas, to look out for you and to call him if we saw you. But when we did see you, crossing from the orchard, we realised that it would be better to get you off the streets until he could come and get you.” The speech was delivered without pause for breath by a short, grey haired lady at the rear of the group. Once finished she groped for a wall to rest against, patting her chest and inhaling deeply and all of the ladies waited while Urs and Emily took the information on board.

Urs looked at Emily whose face proclaimed that she had no idea what was going on and had to admit that he felt much the same. He rubbed a hand, distractedly, across his forehead while his mind made order out of chaos.

“So Mr Cowell, Simon Cowell, knows that we escaped - how on earth does he know that … who told him? I can’t get my head around all of this.” Emily shook her head in agreement. Then lifted a hand, one finger extended and waved it in the air in time with her thoughts.

“It has to have been someone from the house but why would they have told Cowell?” Again looks were exchanged and then they looked to the ladies to see if they could furnish any further information but they were destined to be disappointed. The tall lady who had first spoken and who was apparently the lady of the house, stepped forward.

“I can’t shed any light on that, I’m afraid but I can at least show you some comfort while you are here waiting. Please come though to the parlour, out back of the shop. No doubt you are hungry and cold so we can fix that and you can make the phone call to Mr Cowell. Then you will be safe, praise be to God.”

Urs and Emily followed her lead and were followed, in turn, by the other three ladies who exchanged smiles and excited glances., pleased with themselves and their efforts. They had rescued a Divo!

*****

Just before the hands on the ornate ormolu mantle clock showed 8.45pm the ringing of the house phone startled Simon out of his dreary contemplation. He rose and walked over to the console table, praying that this would not be another in the long line of false leads he had received - and that was after the switchboard had already screened out the money grabbers and the crazies. He had been sending teams of security all over the city , following one unsuccessful tip after another for hours now and he didn’t know how much more of this he could take.

“Hello.”

“Mr Cowell, I have a woman on the line who says she has Mr Buhler in her home.”

“For God’s sake, if I’d known that my broadcast would bring every lunatic in town out of the woodwork I would have reconsidered this going public plan.”

“I think I should put her through though sir - I can hear a man with a Germanic accent shouting in the background. It sounds promising so I thought you might want to follow this one yourself.” Simon, the surly, irascible man who was famed for telling it like it is, was afraid to speak as the ‘what ifs’ crowded his mind. He gulped and told himself not to get his hopes up.

“Put her through.”

After a moment the line clicked again and Simon held his breath.

“Hello, Mr Cowell; my name is Marjorie Watson and I have someone here who would like to talk to you.” Simon said nothing as the phone was passed to someone else. He merely waited and dared to hope in spite of all that had gone before.

“Simon, is that you? Speak to me please. I don’t think I could take another disappointment now.” The voice was unmistakeable and Simon closed his eyes and whooped his elation.

“Urs, it’s really you. I was beginning to think I would never hear that voice again. Oh God, are you really safe? Sing me something!” Urs was taken aback.

“What?”

“Sing. Then I will know it’s not some elaborate hoax. It could be a recording of your voice for all I know! Sing me that descant thing you do while Carlos is singing - from Caruso … now!”

Urs could only laugh but he complied, much to the excitement of the ladies in the room and Simon’s grin looked as though it might split his face.

“Ah beautiful … you should do that more often on the Cds, you know.” Urs laughed, he couldn’t contain his delight.

“Simon if you can only get me back, safe with the others, I will sing ‘I’m too Sexy’ - without wearing a shirt, if you want me to.” Simon let out a bellow of a laugh.

“Don’t tempt me, Buhler … don’t tempt me. Right, tell me where you are and I will come to pick you up immediately.”

“I’m not entirely sure, Simon, so I had better put Mrs Watson back on the line and she can give you the details. But, Simon … hurry … please!”

As the details were discussed an unseen hand also scribbled them down. Times were hard, you see, so there is always someone that can be persuaded to pass along information for the right amount of money - a cop here … or maybe a switchboard operator there. When the call ended and she disconnected it, she dialled a new number and waited til the phone at the other end of the line was picked up.

“Mr Coyle … I have the information you require ....


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PostSubject: Re: Fanfic: Hostage!   Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:35 pm

Chapter 24

You know how sometimes, you can’t explain why, your nose almost seems to smell out trouble or even excitement, well David was experiencing just such a sensation as Simon was preparing for action in his suite just a few doors along the corridor from his own. He had been moping aimlessly around all day but suddenly he felt driven to action … any action!

He picked up his phone and dialled.

“Hi Seb, have you heard anything going on next door to you in Simon’s suite - I have a funny feeling.”

“A funny feeling eh … I know you and your funny feelings - the last one got us in a whole lot of trouble with Simon.”

“Aww, this is no time to get stern on me, mon ami, Just go hold a glass against the linking wall or something; maybe they’ve heard from the kidnappers.”

“Ah you and your schemes, David. Okay, just a minute, I’ll send Carlos to do it. He was allowed to come in here with me so that we could work, as long as we didn’t go anywhere else.

“Jeez, you could have told me. I’m on my own in here, remember and I am bouncing off the walls.”

“Erm … we couldn’t, Simon said that if the three of us got together we would probably go off searching again; we are only allowed to be two - sorry!”

David fumed at this final indignity and aimed a mental kick at Simon’s nether regions.

“Oh, that is it! We are grown men not schoolboys and he employs us not owns us. Why, if he didn’t have two gorillas in suits outside my door to stop me, I would go and punch him on the nose … right now!” He frisbee’d a cushion across the lounge, decimating a chess set and a stack of CDs in the process but then he inhaled through thin lips and remembered why he had phoned Sebastien in the first place. “Sorry Seb, getting side-tracked here. Okay, breathe deeply, David.” Sebastien giggled. He was used to his band-mate letting his emotions out. Just then Carlos returned to the lounge after dutifully doing as he had been asked and listening in on the suite next door.

“Si … there is definitely something going on in there, lots of raised voices and banging of doors.” David heard the report before Seb could relay it to him; Carlos wasn’t one for whispering.

“I knew it … something has happened. Hey, hold the line, I am just going to check something out ….” David crossed to the door and slowly opened it a crack and what he saw all but caused him to yelp with excitement. He lifted the phone back to his mouth. “Oh guys, you gotta see this. There are men going back and forth out there and something else … our guards aren’t on the doors any longer, they must have been needed for whatever is going on. This is our chance, fellas … we can get out … we can be part of this! Get yourselves ready and I’ll meet you in the corridor in two minutes. … and then we will follow them!” He hung up without waiting for an answer.

*****

A dark sedan sped away from the country house that was only a few miles away from the O’Donnell’s imposing mansion. This was a clandestine mission, he was alone - no need to let the rest of the family in on this. They had washed their hands of the whole business after all, which was fine for them, especially as none of them could be identified as having any part in it … unlike him. He had looked up at the windows when he’d arrived at the O’Donnell’s and had wondered if the captives were somewhere watching him. Buhler might have seen him and that wasn’t a chance he was prepared to take.

How fortunate he was then, to bear such a feared name. True he was professionally known as the facilitator but he was also a Coyle, if not a blood relative. His mother had married into a distant branch of the family and, when it was his coming of age, he had joined the family business. Then, with blood and fear, he made himself fit in perfectly. But he wasn’t stupid. He knew they didn’t regard him with the same fondness as they did the blood cousins so he would be alone in this - have to look out for himself.

It had been surprisingly easy to bribe the telephone operator at the Four Seasons - a little knowledge of the woman’s family and he could have made her do anything. And she would keep quiet, she knew how much information he had - her address, her shift pattern … the name of her daughter’s school. It was all so easy!

So now he knew the address where the hostages were holed up. He would be there in fifteen minutes.

*****

The insistent ringing of the cell phone disturbed the couch’s occupant from her reverie and she jumped to attention as she lifted the phone to her ear.
“Hello Auntie Bridie - you were right. I’ve just seen him leave the house and, you’ll never guess what, he was driving himself … never seen that before.”
“Well done Martin, you’re a good boy. Now I want you to follow him but stay on the line as I’m going to drive myself too and I will meet you wherever he ends up. Don’t let him see you, mind, just keep your distance and keep relaying the details to me. I’m getting in the car now.”
“Okay auntie, whatever you say.”
*****
Simon tried hard to keep a lid on his elation as he slid into the back seat of his car. He knew that counting chickens before you even had sight of the eggs, never mind waiting for them to hatch, was foolhardy but he couldn’t help it. After the last few days he was ready to jump the gun. He had spoken to Urs, now he just had to get him in this car, safe and well, and he would be happy.

And if, by any chance, they encountered trouble then the other three cars loaded with burly security men would come into their own. He didn’t employ mummy’s boys, these guys were the real deal - ex SAS and American special forces; they would know how to bring this business to a successful conclusion.

So why was he sweating?

Of course he wasn’t aware of the fifth car in the convoy, the one full of Divos, or he might have been even more worried.

*****

Urs sipped his camomile tea and smiled as he listened to the ladies’ excited chatter. They were his saviours and, if there wasn’t a real risk of getting them over excited, he would have happily kissed each one of them. Next to him on the couch, Emily drank deeply of her black coffee. Urs had tried to convince her that the soothing properties of Camomile would be much more beneficial to her ragged nerves but she would have none of it. She just keep mouthing ‘coffee’ to his every word.

They sat very close, arm against arm, leg against leg, fingers frequently touching. Their siege mentality had been forced upon them for so long that it was difficult now to let it go. At least that is what they were each telling themselves.

The chatter lulled and the air of expectation grew palpable until, as one, they all jumped to their feet as a car was heard to pull up outside.


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