The #NazandRoz Series - Chapter 5
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Naz and Roz Blog Series
England: Part 2
“Business or pleasure, sir?”
Naz looked up from the line he’d been standing in for well over an hour to see a custom’s agent arching a brow at him. Apparently, he was the next to go through—finally, why did customs always have to take forever no matter which country you were traveling into?—the line to get his shit checked.
“Pleasure,” Naz replied, smirking just a bit.
Yeah, pleasure seemed like the right way to say it. He certainly had business in this part of the world, but that had nothing to do with why he was here right now. In fact, he might regret this split decision later, but right now, he seriously doubted it.
“Bag on the table—open it up,” the agent said with a gloved-wave. “And get your passport out for me, too.”
Naz couldn’t count the amount of times he had gone through customs in his life. Okay, that was a lie—he absolutely could count it. His genius brain didn’t let him forget. He also knew the exact number of countries he had traveled into over the years, too.
It was a lot.
Not so much.
Naz hefted his small carry-on up to the table, and fished his passport out of the back of his pocket, and tossed it over for the man to open up and look it over. He didn’t notice the look the agent was shooting him until he’d unzipped his bag, and looked up at the man.
“What?” he asked. “There a problem?”
That was the tricky thing about being who he was, and by that, he meant a criminal. Naz had a rotating folder of identities he used to run guns, but that didn’t mean somewhere … in some fucking country, he hadn’t gotten caught in some way. Smart authorities wouldn’t plaster his picture and real name all over the place. No, they’d just send his information through Interpol, and let it do the work of waiting for him to show up somewhere again.
It was always a risk.
He took it.
The agent raised a brow, and set his passport down. “You don’t have very many bags if you’re visiting the country for pleasure, sir, that’s all.”
Naz chuckled, and nodded. “Well, I don’t plan to stay longer than it takes me to find my girlfriend and ask her if she’s pregnant.”
The agent blinked.
His father liked to say the best way to put a person off balance was to hit them with the last thing they expected you to say. Naz figured this had done exactly that for the guy across the table. One step closer to Roz.
Without even looking through his bag other than a quick, cursory check, the man brought out the items needed, stamped Naz’s passport, and nodded at him. “You be on your way, then. Good luck; you’re gonna need it one way or another.”
Naz laughed. “Thanks.”
He pulled his phone out of his pocket as he headed out of the customs area. A quick check of the screen told him what he expected—Roz was still here in England, and she hadn’t left yet. She’d been keeping him updated on what she was doing here, and when she expected to leave. She should have left the night before, but apparently, something made her stay.
Naz believed it was the prodigy.
Penny, Roz had texted her name.
That was fine.
Fine and good, really.
Naz was here now, though. Because they had other things to handle—he needed to know if the surprise she was supposed to share with him was the fact that she was pregnant. There was no way in fucking hell he was waiting for her to fly over to his side of the pond to do it.
He was here now.
“She didn’t react well yesterday, what makes you think she’ll be better today?”
Kyle passed Roz a look, and shrugged. “Hope and blind faith?”
Roz let out a heavy sigh. “You’re an idiot.”
“And you’re not in a good mood again. What is wrong with you?”
Oh, other than the fact she’d barely slept a wink because she knew she should have been nin New York by now, and not still in England? Besides the fact that she had a whole freak out moment about the fact she was pregnant because she couldn’t even remember holding a baby before? Besides the fact that she hadn’t been able to keep down her breakfast this morning?
And that was before Roz got into … Penny.
Something was not right with that young woman, and Roz didn’t mean that in a bad way. She meant it in a way that she just thought … she needed help. She was in a bad place, and holding onto a ledge by the very tips of her fingers. She didn’t know how she knew it, but she did.
That was concerning.
Penny barely spoke, and when she did? God, the girl was angry. Confrontational, mean, and rude. She hadn’t even bothered to get out of bed the day before despite knowing they were coming over to visit her. The head of the dorm happened to mention to Kyle and Roz that Penny had almost got into a fight with a girl across the hall, and they were planning a search of her room because they believed she had drugs hidden somewhere in her dorm.
The girl wasn’t trouble.
She was in trouble.
Roz didn’t know how to explain that to Kyle, though. He figured he girl just needed the right mentor in her life—someone to put her back on the right track, and find the reason to make her sit in front of a piano and do the damn thing again.
That wasn’t what she needed.
She needed help.
Something was wrong.
It was only once they were inside the dorm, and standing in front of Penny’s room that Kyle turned to Roz with a frown.
“You know, I can practically feel what you’re thinking,” Kyle muttered.
“Then, you won’t be surprised when I say this girl needs help that we can’t give her,” Roz returned. “Ivory, wood, and gloss isn’t going to fix the parts of her that have been broken by someone or something else.”
“She doesn’t have anyone, Roz.”
Yeah, she figured that out. Somewhere between the many prep schools the girl had been sent to, and the fact her parents were just willing to keep sending their daughter away instead of bringing her home and getting her help … Roz knew Penny had no one.
“Can we figure out something for her?” Roz asked. “Something to get her … in a place where she can be helped, and do music?”
“Where would you suggest we move her?”
That was the thing … she didn’t know.
They weren’t Penny’s guardians. They couldn’t make legal choices for her. They couldn’t even bring in a doctor for the young woman without permission to do so. They had very few moves they could make to help her.
It was sad, really.
“Let’s just see how she’s doing today,” Roz said.
Kyle nodded, and knocked on Penny’s dorm room door. At the same time, the phone in Roz’s pocket started to buzz. She pulled out the phone as Kyle knocked a little harder on the door.
Roz checked the text message from Naz as Kyle continued knocking, and when he didn’t get a response from Penny, tried to jiggle the knob.
“It’s unlocked. She knew we were coming, I just talked to her an hour ago,” he muttered.
Roz nodded, but was still reading Naz’s text.
I decided to meet you halfway, babe. I’m at your hotel room. Surprise. See you when you get back. —Naz
He came here?
The man must have been going stir crazy, but just didn’t want to tell her.
Roz was about to reply to Naz when Kyle pushed the dorm door open, and peeked his head in, saying, “Penny, are you up, or what?”
“Don’t open her door without her permission, that’s—”
Kyle’s face went white when he opened the door a little more.
“Oh, my God,” Kyle mumbled, shoving the door all the way open. Before Roz could even see what was waiting for them behind the door, he shouted at her to, “Call for emergency services!”
She saw what was behind the door, then.
A blue teenager.
Bare arms that she’d keot covered the day before with a long sleeve were now naked, giving Roz full access to see the crisscross patterns of white, pink, and red marks. Old scars, new scars, and fresh marks.
A ripped bedsheet tied to the pipe across the ceiling.
And a toppled over chair.