Runaway
Author: Lacey Raine

Chapter 23
Luke

Judging by the Horse and Rider, pubs up North and pubs down South were very different. The club at home was often quiet, with quiet soft rock playing. This pub was loud and had thumping dance music booming out of speakers. I sat in the corner with a pint of beer, though I was more of a gin and tonic man, and scanned the pub again desperately. I couldn't pick out the guy from the picture with Jonah in the crowd. I considered asking someone if they knew Blain Hart, but I didn't want to look like some creepy pervert. I downed the rest of the drink then pulled my jacket on, getting ready to leave. As I reached the door a man with very short dark-blonde hair underneath a baseball cap opened it. I stopped.

Blain was a lot taller than he looked in the photo.

His shoulder bumped mine as he passed me. He turned and grinned at me. "Sorry about that, hot stuff," He winked at me.

"No problem," I said. Flirting back was the only way I could think to get a conversation started. He grinned.

"Not from round here are you, sexy?" He said. "London lad. Am I right?"

"You're right," I winked. "But word about you gets around. Blain Hart, right?"

"Right," He grinned and took us over to the table. "And who might you be?"

"Er... Lewis. Lewis Marks," I lied. I doubted Jonah would've told him about me, but I couldn't be too careful.

"Right, then, Lewis, and what can I do for you?" He said, pressing up closer to me. "Who you after?"

"Er... Zak Sudden," I tried to say it confidently, but my voice wobbled.

"Should've known," He chuckled. "He's popular, my Zakky. Got a busy week this week, mind. I think he's free this Sunday night though. How long are you here?"

"Two weeks," I shrugged nonchalantly. I'd stay as long as it took. "How much is he then?" I hated talking about him like that, like he was something to be sold. He was just a boy, for God's sake.

"Well, how much have you got?"

"Two thousand," I replied. It was all my savings, plus money from loans and favours I'd called in. Blain gave a long low whistle.

"Tell you what, you seem a nice guy and you're paying," He said. "For that, you can have him all night Sunday."

"Brilliant," I tried to sound casual. A night. That would give me enough time to get him back down to London before Blain noticed, surely? There was an awkward silence between us. "Here, I'll buy you a drink." I said.

"Cheers," Blain looked slightly confused but didn't argue. I bought two pints of beer. Then another two. Then another two. A drink ended up being a lot of drinks. Like I said, I didn't get drunk often because I hated hangovers, but there was some kind of influence Blain had that made me want to keep drinking so I could forget this night.

I stood up.  "L-listen," I slurred. "I ha-have to g-go, it's getting l-late."

"K-kay, then. I'll drop Z-Zakky off on Sunday, a-around eight," He replied. "Wh-where're you staying?"

"The Travel Inn u-up the r-road," I replied, before leaving the pub and staggering back to the hotel.

 

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