The pain in his ankle was easing but it still troubled Tony as he tried to put as much distance as he could, between himself and the car wreck. He knew Pippa was pretty much unhurt as she lay in the back of the car and although he hesitated for just a moment, he knew it was the right move to leave her there. They had been working together to bring her father into the limelight. Pippa wanted to give him a shock and bring the police to their door. Her father had been treating her mother really badly for years and now he was beginning to set his eyes on Pippa and although her mother had managed to put a fair bit of money away, there was no way of escaping her husband’s clutches.

Pippa‘s father was bad news. He was mixed up in all sorts of underhand deals but had so far, not been subjected to much attention by the police. It was one of these deals that had brought Tony onto the scene. His parents owned a Pawn Shop and it became a favourite for money laundering, by the people who worked for Pippa’s father. It was when the couple said they didn’t want to take any more business from Pippa’s father that the trouble started. It quickly escalated from just a few broken windows, to personal threats.

Tony had been desperate to find a way out for his parents and when he met Pippa at a mutual friend’s house and she told him her story, they agreed to work together to solve both of their problems. The idea of a kidnapping was Tony’s. He knew of an abandoned car that was still driveable. He would bundle her into the back and drive off into the night. She knew that Mrs Brown, the street “curtain twitcher” would see them, and her mother, who knew the plan, would “find” the note. They would lay low for a few days while the police investigated and then Pippa would miraculously appear at the side of some quiet road with no idea of who had taken her. Her father would be forever grateful and quick to call off the hunt for her abductor, believing it to be one of his rivals. He would, however, be very careful to avoid bringing the police to his door again.

The car accident had changed everything. The agreement had been that if anything went wrong, so long as she was OK, Tony would leave her and she would say that she had no idea what had happened. Her father would still get the shock treatment and if she played it right, the outcome would be the same.

And so it was that Tony was making his way, alone, down the steep bank towards the town where he would have refuelled the car. He rested for a moment t at the tree-line, taking off the coveralls and gloves that had prevented evidence being left in the car. They fitted easily into his back pack and he quickly made his way to the bus station. He was hardly limping at all as he walked into the café to find something to eat before the next bus arrived. It was a ninety minute wait which seemed like an eternity, but by the end of the day he was home and so was Pippa. Her parents were delighted that she was safe and apart from the brief meeting at the friend’s house, there was nothing to connect Tony and Pippa.

Pippa’s family could not avoid the newspaper coverage and her father actually welcomed it. Perhaps he was unlucky then, that someone recognised as stolen property, the heavy gold chain he was wearing in the paparazzi photographs and that the police took him away to relentlessly investigate the depth and breadth of his illicit activities. His absence was quickly seized upon by his rivals, who had no need for a Pawn Shop. The identity of the kidnapper was never resolved and once the newspapers had finished raking through the embers of the story, Tony and Pippa were able to rise above the turmoil and look forward to a brighter future.