Summer Girl, Winter Boy(10)

By: Barbara Elsborg


Cameras would have captured her arrival. With the case. And she had to be the only person in the airport with pink hair. Damn. No way was she walking out of the restroom with her luggage. She changed from her jeans and t-shirt into the only dress she had and fastened a silver belt around her waist. She kept her sweater out, pulled a Peruvian hat on her head and selectively chose what she could push inside her backpack. There was still a pile of her things remaining but if she walked out with them in her arms, it would look suspicious.

And wearing a wooly hat in an airport wasn’t?

With a silent groan of frustration, she dumped the remaining items into the case and zipped it up. Then unzipped it and took out a pair of trainers and her jeans. She set the shoes up on the floor in front of the toilet and arranged the jeans so that at a quick glance it might look as though someone was in there. The case would stop anyone checking under the door from getting a better look.

She stood and closed her eyes for a moment. Had she removed everything personal? The little zipped compartments were all empty. She’d taken off the luggage tag and old security stickers. There was nothing in it that could link back to her apart from her DNA and fingerprints—hell—but hopefully, she’d be on a plane before anyone came looking.

Once she was sure the restroom was empty, Summer squeezed under the door, dragged out her backpack and tried to look casual as she walked to the checkin desk.

All she needed now was for her plane to take off before the restrooms were inspected. In the States or the UK, an unattended suitcase would shut the whole airport down. They’d have bomb squads in and detector dogs running all over the place and who the hell knew what else. Maybe here, whoever cleaned the toilet would just unzip the case and look inside. Maybe the washroom attendant would think it was his or her lucky day. Maybe the police would be waiting in Mexico, America or London.

Anxiety made her heart swell in her chest and brought her to the point of throwing up. She imagined every person she passed was checking her out, noting her nervousness. The moment she made it through security with no alarm raised, she should have felt relieved but she didn’t. Anger burned alongside her anxiety. She’d been so fucking careful the entire time she’d been here. Seen drugs, never touched them, let others do what they wanted but she’d declined. Before she made any trip she’d checked her baggage, but she hadn’t thought she’d been in danger in Piero’s parents’ house.

*

Once the plane had taken off, she thought then she’d feel safe. But something else occurred to her. Whoever owned the drugs she was supposed to carry out of the country wouldn’t be happy they didn’t reach their destination. Would someone be waiting for her? Where? Oh god, they’d kill her because she’d fucked-up their plans. Her stomach churned. She could go to the police when she reached England, but that still opened up the issue of making trouble for Javier and Piero’s parents.

If the brothers had used her, she had no reason to feel guilty about landing them in trouble, but what if they hadn’t? What if those looks they’d given her weren’t what she’d thought? What if they’d been forced into it? Put the drugs in her luggage or we’ll kill your mother.

Oh shit. Summer had done nothing wrong but the way she felt, she might just as well have had the words “Arrest me” tattooed on her forehead.

*

There was no issue in Mexico apart from the late takeoff of the plane from Cancun to Philadelphia. Not because the police were about to board and arrest her but due to bad weather in the States. By the time the plane was in the air, she was so emotionally exhausted she passed out and didn’t stir until landing.

The bump onto the runway jarred her awake and for one horrible moment, she remained caught in a dream that they’d flown her back to Bogota and she’d be thrown in jail. She looked out the window and, to her relief, all she could see was snow.

When she turned her watch to the correct time, she groaned. Her flight to London should already have taken off, though with the weather so bad, there was a chance it had been delayed. Those with connecting flights were allowed off first and Summer grabbed her backpack, sweater and hat, and ran, only to have to wait in line at immigration.