Thursday, 12 June 2008
Ollie toweled himself dry and hurriedly put on his last clean t-shirt and shorts before leaving the nearly finished holiday apartment. The past few weeks living in his camper van at Liam and Cassy’s farm had been an unexpected bonus for him. Access to a hot shower and Cassy’s cooking had restored the energy he had lost on his long drive south.
Travelling down from Kent in his battered camper van had seemed a romantic way to get down to southern Spain as cheaply as possible. He knew from friends that he would be able to supplement his rather meager funds by finding work on farms and vineyards along the way. But what nobody had warned him was quite how lonely you can get when all you have to look forward to at the end of the day was a few hours sleep snatched at the edge of the road with only a pan of boiled rice for supper. But three weeks of labouring and three square meals a day meant that Ollie was probably fitter now than had ever been.
After nearly six months since leaving home he knew that the end of his personal journey was in sight and that all the hardships would be worth it if he didn’t fail at this last hurdle. It wouldn’t be long now before he would be able to do what he had come all this way for. His friends thought that he had been mad to spend so much of his spare time at University gathering the information he need for this to work. The hardest past was keeping it all from his parents but he knew that if his Dad even had an inkling of what he was planning it could have caused a terrible rift between them. But Ollie knew that what ever his Dad might say what he was doing was the right thing. Not just for him but for all of them. All he had to do now was keep his nerve and hope that he could rely on Liam and Cassy’s hospitality for just a few more weeks. He needed to be close to the Los Vista for a little while longer.
‘You’re looking very smart, off out this evening?’ asked Liam as he handed Ollie his wages in crisp new euros.
‘Just going into the village for a couple of beers’ answered Ollie running his fingers through his wet hair. ‘I said I would meet a few of the boys after supper.’
‘Well don’t spend all your wages on drink’ laughed Liam.
‘No chance of that I’m saving as much as I can to fund the rest of my travelling.’
‘’You’re not planning on leaving us just yet are you. There’s still a good couple of months work here if you want it.’
‘That’d be great’ said Ollie ‘I’m in no hurry, as long as I’m not getting in your way.’
‘I don’t know what we’d have done without you these past few weeks. Cassy was only telling Sophie the other day that she is already thinking of as one of the family.’
‘You’ve both been very kind and I really appreciate you letting me stay here.’
‘As long as it’s not too quiet for you here, not exactly the costas is it.’
‘No’ laughed Ollie ‘but it’s exactly where I want to be right now.’
Liam watched as Ollie strode off down the hill to the village. What a strange thing to say, he thought and wondered to himself what Ollie was really doing here and was there more to their new friend than met the eye?
It was nearly midnight before Ollie left his friends in the bar. All evening he had been looking at his watch waiting for it to get dark so that he could make his excuses and leave. He had to work with these guys all day and didn’t want them to think that he was being rude by leaving too early. The trouble was that in Spain a lot of young men wouldn’t dream of going out until they had finished supper with their family and that could be any time after ten or even eleven o’clock at night. Ollie’s body clock after three years at University was used to late nights, but hard physical work rather than sitting in a lecture hall all day meant that by midnight he was usually ready for his bed. Tonight though, he needed to be alert. If what he had learnt in the village this week was correct then his quest was nearly complete but he needed to be absolutely sure before he could carry on. Tonight he had to make sure he was right.
Keeping to the edge of the road out of site from any cars that might pass, Ollie made his way up the hill out of the village. In the distance he could see the lights of Los Vista glowing in the darkness. If he was careful, he knew that he could climb over the wall of the golf club without being spotted. For the past three nights Ollie had been watching the security men arriving at the complex. He knew that that they locked the main gates at midnight and only the residents' swipe cards could open them until the morning. Checking the time again Ollie knew that he had about 30 minutes until the next security patrol was due, so he had to be quick.
Running between the villas, Ollie made his way carefully to the Westbury’s. Just as he thought, all the lights were off and everything was quiet. Using a thin piece of plastic to force the lock, Ollie quickly opened up the large patio doors. Switching on his low voltage torch he slipped into the villa. There must be something here, he thought, rummaging through the papers in the hall bureau, finding nothing he turned and spotted Gloria’s large handbag on the floor next to her arm chair.
Nervously he searched through the coins and tissues until right at the bottom of the bag buried deep in the lining Ollie felt a metal chain. Carefully he made a small slit in the seam of the thin silk lining and found a silver locket. Holding his breath he carefully opened the stiff catch to reveal a tiny picture of a new borne baby. Through the tears welling in his eyes he quickly put the locket in his pocket and returned the bag back to its place beside the chair. Closing the patio doors quietly behind him Ollie ran back to the wall as quickly as he could.
Safely back n the campervan Ollie suddenly felt dizzy and realised that he was still holding his breath.