A Date With a Stranger

by Mandy Gray

A DATE WITH A STRANGER

By Mandy Gray

   'So you really are going through with this then?' Kate sighed, brushing crumbs off the front of her pyjamas, and taking a sip of her coffee.

   'Yes.' Robyn plucked a red rose from the vase that stood on the windowsill. Kate her housemate had a talent for stating the obvious.

  'But I would have thought after the last date with Mummy's boy, what was his name?  Steven, Stevie?'    

   'His name was Stefan,' Robyn looked down at the red rose in her hand. A dozen of them had been delivered the day before to the office where she worked. She knew that she should have rejected them because they were from Stefan. She had made the mistake of telling him where she worked. Stefan had seemed a nice guy at first, good looking too, and the date went well, but that was until he had started to get a bit fresh. Robyn wasn't the type of woman to sleep with anyone on the first date, but that was clearly on his mind, so she had thought. He had suggested they make a quick detour through the park and that had scared her. She thought of the story in the news about a poor woman who had been raped and strangled in a neighbouring town. She had made her excuses and wanted to leave early, but he had tried to coax her to stay. When she still refused his advances, he called her a tease and seemed to get angry and that made her feel very uneasy and she gave him the slip in a crowded bar.

  'Well, whatever his name was, from what you say he was very weird,' Kate said.  'How do you know this date will be any different?'

  'Because this time the first signs of any insanity I will be gone,'  Robyn answered.  She looking down at her watch, it was now seven-forty-five.

  'Where is that taxi?'  Robyn looked out of the window and into the street.  She pressed her forehead to the cold glass to get a closer look, but it was too dark and she couldn't see anything.  A car pulled to a stop outside the gate and hooted it's horn, startling her.

  'What's wrong?'  Kate asked.

Robyn shrugged. 'Nothing. The taxi is here. I'll see you in the morning, so don't wait up.

  'Oh, I'll be up, just be careful, okay?' Kate said.  'And make sure you are in a public place all night with lots of people around.'

   'Okay mum.'

   'Sarcasm doesn't suit you and I'm serious, you see all kinds of stories in the news.   Like the one the other week, you know they still haven't caught the killer. I don't want to read about you being strangled and left somewhere. And I particularly don't like this dating from the internet. I know you have talked to him through the chat rooms, but what do you know about him? You know you could be meeting a real nutcase.'

   'Jesus Kate, why don't you scare me to death?'

The taxi gave another impatient hoot.

   'Look I will have to go and I promise I won't get strangled tonight, okay?'

   'I care about you that's all,' Kate said, walking with Robyn to the door.

   'I know you do and I promise I'll be careful, see you later.'

     Robyn climbed into the taxi and settled back into the seat and sniffed at the rose clutched in her fingers, enjoying its aroma. She thought about what Kate had said. She couldn't make the same mistake twice and Stefan was a big mistake, but she had to take a chance on this one. Robyn had been chatting to Michael for a couple of weeks now and he seemed a nice, honest sort of man. For safety sake, she had insisted on meeting in a public place. She knew what dangers could lurk when using the internet for dating, but she was a sensible woman, who knew how to look after herself.

         She arrived at the station just after eight o'clock, and being a few minutes late she scanned the area for her date.

  'Maybe Kate was right and I shouldn't have come.'  She thought, as she watched people gradually leave the station and make their way home.  She stood under the big clock and

chuckled, this was like a novel, girl meets the boy of her dreams under the big station clock. She had read the scene before in one of her romance novels and things had turned out okay for the heroine. She looked at her watch, ten past eight. Where was he?

   'Robyn?' A male voice came from behind her making her jump, she swung round and hit the solid wall of a man's chest nearly knocking him off his feet. She looked up into his eyes and was hit by sudden feeling of recognition. Something about the eyes seemed familiar, she couldn't think why. She had never met him before and so she shrugged off the feeling. Maybe it was just nerves, she thought.

   'I'm sorry,' she said, reaching out automatically to steady him and noticing the red rose in his lapel. 'Yes, I'm Robyn and you must be Michael.'

  'Yes, sorry I startled you,' he said.  'I am very pleased to meet you, shall we go, I thought we might go for a meal at-'

   'Robyn darling, there you are.' Robyn turned and couldn't believe what she was hearing or seeing. Stefan was hurrying towards them with a bunch of red roses clutched in his hand. When he came close he bent to kiss her on the cheek, but she backed away, appalled.

  'What the hell are you doing here?' She asked, the feeling of horror settled in the pit of her stomach.  She edged closer to Michael, who was at that moment looking totally bewildered.

   'Why sweetheart, we have a date tonight, don't you remember?' He held out the roses to Robyn.

   'We most certainly don't have a date tonight, go away,' She hissed, pushing the roses away.

   'What's going on here?' Michael asked, his attention switching between Robyn and Stefan. 'Who is this person?'

   'She hasn't told you about me? Darling are you playing those games again?' Stefan asked, with mock indignation.

   'What games? And stop calling me darling, I've only met you once before and it was one time too many, go away or I will call the police.' Robyn was feeling slightly sick now.

  'Look, I don't know what is going on here, and I don't want any part of it,'  Michael said, backing away.  He held up his hands up in front of him, as if to ward off something terrible.  

  'I came here to meet you and have a really nice evening, but I don't want to step

on anyone else's toes.' He looked at Robyn and she could have cried. 'I think I should leave,' he said.

   'No! Please don't go,' she pleaded, 'he should leave. I really don't know him, I have had one date with him and now he won't leave me alone. He even sent me flowers at work.'

   'Is this true?' Michael asked Stefan.

   'Of course it's true, can't a man send his girlfriend flowers.'

   'Girlfriend!' She shouted. 'I don't believe this is happening.'

Robyn's fist clenched at her side and it took all her willpower not to hit Stefan in his smug little face. What was she going to do? She looked up at Michael, who was glaring at Stefan and Stefan was actually smiling.

   'You see, she's playing games. She always does this, she likes the thrill of it all.'

   'What I see here is that you are obsessed,' Michael said, jabbing a finger in Stefan's chest. 'You will leave this lady alone, if you don't then you will answer to me.'

   'I will answer to you, you say, you won't even be in the picture tomorrow.' Stefan said, angrily.

   'Is that a threat?' Michael asked, squaring his shoulders and towering over Stefan.

   'Take it any way you want to take it, but I warn you Robyn here is a temptress,' Stefan backed away slightly and continued. 'She will devour you and then she will spit you out, as she did to me.'

Robyn could take no more. She all but hid behind Michael. 'Please make him leave.'

  'You heard the lady, leave her alone,' Michael said, putting a comforting arm about her shoulders, 'and as for her being a temptress, I'll take my chances.'

They turned to leave and Stefan put a hand on Michael's shoulder to turn him back round. 'This is not finished,' he said.

Michael swung his fist so fast, Stefan didn't get the chance to react and it connected squarely on his nose. Robyn heard the bone crack and saw the blood spurt from it. She quickly looked away.

   'Now it's finished,' Michael said shakily, as if regretting his sudden act of violence. He took hold of the front of Stefan's shirt and pulled him up, so his face was just an inch from his own. A flicker of regret passed over Michael's face as he watched blood run from Stefan's nose. "Just remember I will be watching you,' he said and quickly let go of the shirt and watched as Stefan dropped to the floor.

     Michael turned and led Robyn away. She was shaking from head to toe and he put his arm around her shoulder once again. She could feel a slight tremor in his touch and she felt responsible for what had happened.

   'Don't worry he won't bother you again, I promise.' he said.

She looked over her shoulder at Stefan who was being helped to his feet by people who were passing by. He shrugged them off and glared at her, snatching a handkerchief that was offered to him and she doubted that she had seen the last of him. She turned away and they left the station.

   'As I was saying before we were rudely interrupted, I thought we could have a meal at Louis, what do you think?' Michael asked, gently squeezing her shoulder.

   'Yes, that would be okay with me,' she said, looking up at him. 'But are you sure you

still want to carry on with this date, I mean with everything that has happened?'

   'Yes, now more than ever.' He watched her nervously looking over her shoulder.             'Don't worry you have seen the last of that maniac.'

   'I hope you are right, I thought for a moment back there you believed what he was saying.'

   'At first I had my doubts, but then I thought no way would a beautiful woman like you be connected to a lunatic like that. Well, I hoped not anyway.'

   'Oh my god never!' She said, vehemently.

   'That's what I thought, come on I'm starving after all that excitement, let's go and eat.' He smiled at her as he hailed a taxi.

     As they climbed into the taxi they didn't notice Stefan standing in the shadows staring at a young woman waiting on the platform. Nor did they notice the smile that spread over his face under the bloodstained handkerchief. Another plan was forming in his mind as he stepped out of the shadows and dramatically stumbled towards the woman and collapsed in front of her, letting out a convincing groan.

       Some time later Michael paused outside the door of his flat and wondered what kind of welcome he was going to receive from his flat-mate. He turned the key in the lock and cautiously opened the door; he stepped inside, tripping over something on the floor. Cursing he picked himself up and fumbled for the light switch. He bent down and rubbed his knee, noticing a high-heeled shoe. He picked up the offending object and turned it around in his hands.

    'So you got lucky tonight after all.' He thought, as the bedroom door opened and a scantily clad man stepped out of the shadow.

  'Jeez, you certainly know how to make an entrance.'  The man said, stepping more into the light, revealing his face.

Michael winced as took in the swollen face of his brother, bruises had started to develop under his eyes.

   'God Stefan, I didn't mean to hit you so hard. Sorry, I really am,' Michael said, putting a hand on his brother's shoulder.

  'Hey don't sweat it, it worked out just fine for me,' Stefan whispered, indicating the bedroom. 'But shush, I was beaten by a gang, okay?'

  'What ever you say, bro.'  Michael answered, but he felt a little uncomfortable.  In the past week Stefan had brought home two different women back to the flat, this one being the third.  Michael had always been in bed when Stefan had brought them home, so he had never seen them, but he had heard them arrive and leave.  They never stayed the night.

  'So how did it go with Miss prim?  Did she get scared and do a runner?'  Stefan asked.

  'On the contrary, she thinks I'm a hero for sorting you out,' Michael laughed. 'In fact, I have invited her to come round here for dinner tomorrow night.  Will you be home?'

  'I wouldn't miss it for the world, I can't wait to see her face, nobody makes a fool of me and gets away with it.'  Stefan said, sulkily.

'Stefan, where are you? I'm getting cold in here without you.' Came a female voice from the bedroom.

  'Well, duty calls and all that.'  Stefan said, walking towards the bedroom.  'Oh and

thanks Mike.'

   'No problem.' Michael answered, and he entered his own bedroom and closed the door. As he undressed for bed he couldn't shake the feelings of regret and he couldn't decide who these feeling were for, his brother or for Robyn. How Stefan had described Robyn, conflicted with the Robyn he had met tonight. She wasn't the bitch Stefan had made her out to be. Robyn was intelligent and funny. He hoped his brother wasn't thinking of hurting her, because however much he loved his brother, he wasn't going to allow it. He sighed and climbed into bed.

         Robyn arrived home to find Kate waiting up as promised. She was watching some old movie, trying her best not to fall asleep. She bolted upright on seeing Robyn enter.

   'Well,' Kate said, 'you're not dead then.'

   'No, but boy what a night I just had.' Robyn flopped down onto the sofa beside Kate and kicked off her shoes.

   'Well, tell all. What happened?' Kate asked eagerly, fumbling with the television remote and switching it off.

Robyn gave her an account of the evening, pausing every now and then for Kate to gasp and say. 'Oh my god, how awful for you. I told you Stefan was weird.' and 'What did this Michael have to say?'

Robyn told her about Michael knocking Stefan to the ground. Kate jumped up.

   'Good for him, I like Michael already.'

   'That's alright then,' Robyn said, 'because I will be meeting him again tomorrow. We are going to the museum and then onto his place, he is cooking me dinner.'

   'Are you sure that's a good idea? You don't really know him.'

   'Kate, I know enough of him to say he is a sweet and caring man and he is poles apart from that nutcase Stefan.'

   'Oh, I don't know, I just wish you would do the dating game in a safer way.' Kate said, with a worried look on her face.

   'I've been there and I don't like being ogled by some drunk in a club, who by the time morning comes has no idea where he is, let alone who you are.' Robyn said, looking at

her best friend. 'Besides it's alright for you, you have a boyfriend, okay, granted he is away working more than he is at home, but you two are so in love.'

   'Okay you made your point,' Kate said, getting up from the sofa. 'I'm going to bed now, see you in the morning.'

   'Goodnight Kate,' Robyn said, and went into her own room and closed the door.

         The buzz of the alarm clock woke Michael with a start; he reached for the button and knocked the clock onto the floor, the buzzer reached a high pitch and suddenly stopped. Michael leaned back on his pillow and folded his hands behind his head. This is the way he had lain all night staring at the ceiling, thinking about Robyn. Was she as bad as Stefan had made her out to be? She had to be, he had never seen Stefan so hurt the night he came home from his date with her.

Michael remembered how Stefan had arrived home. He had been going through some paperwork for the museum, where he had worked since leaving college seven years previously. Stefan had slammed into the flat, shouting that all women were bitches. He also recalled that he had made a quip about Stefan's date not going too well, and was rewarded with a look that would have melted ice. Stefan had stormed to the cupboard and pulled out the bottle of Jack Daniels, that they had been saving for a special occasion and had watched as Stefan had poured a triple measure and knocked that back in one go. Then he viscously turned on Michael. 'You don't know anything. Leave me alone' And he picked up the bottle and went to his room and slammed the door.

The next morning, Stefan had apologized for being an idiot. He wouldn't say what had happened on his date the night before, but he had vowed to pay her back, begging him to help him with his quest. Stefan planned to humiliate Robyn, by laughing at her, when she realised that she had been set up and that Michael and himself were in fact brothers. Now, he wasn't so sure he wanted any part of it. He thought about his own date with Robyn, it was wonderful, they'd had a great evening. He closed his eyes and he could remember just how good she had looked, she had the most beautiful deep blue eyes he had ever seen. He could see the fear in those eyes when she was confronted with Stefan at the station. She was really scared and it made him feel like a total loser for being involved in Stefan's plans.

When he had met her under the clock at the station, his heart had done a summersault in his chest. His first thoughts had been, 'No wonder Stefan had been upset that Robyn had brushed him off.' She was beautiful and smelled of summer, so feminine.

He remembered the guilt he felt during dinner at the whole charade. Even then he couldn't believe that she was capable of hurting anyone, she looked so small and vulnerable. But she had hurt someone, she had hurt Stefan and so had he when he had hit him hard. Maybe Stefan was right when he had said she was a temptress, because she had definitely tempted him. He opened his eyes and threw back the covers and climbed into the shower to cool off his hot body. He couldn't go through with this, he knew that he couldn't.

        Robyn poked her head round the kitchen door and grinned, as she looked at Kate being kissed for dear life by Carl, her long, lost boyfriend.

  'Eh em,' Robyn coughed.  'I'm off now, don't wait up and hey it's nice to have you back Carl.'

  'It's good to be back,' he grinned, tickling Kate as she tried to wrench herself free from his grasp.

  'Let go of me you big bully,' she giggled, and slapped at his hands.  'Robyn remember what I said last night, please be careful.'

   'Yeah, like Kate say's, be careful, there are some real psycho's out there. I should know I'm one of them.' Carl said, taking the stance of an old black and white horror movie monster and began to chase Kate around the kitchen.

   'Have fun you two,' Robyn said, shaking her head and laughing at the antics. 'Bye.'

But she couldn't be heard over the squeals coming from Kate as she ran round the kitchen table with Carl in hot pursuit. She turned and left the room as she heard the taxi pull to a stop outside.

         Robyn paid the driver and stepped out of the taxi and looked up at the museum.

   'Why on earth did I agree to go to the museum, I haven't been to a museum since that school excursion when I was ten, I found it a total bore then.' She mused.

The swing doors opened and Michael stepped out. Robyn gasped, she had forgotten just how handsome Michael was. She could make out his muscled body under the cut of his suit, and he was tall, so tall she was a dwarf in comparison, with her five foot two frame.

Michael waved and beckoned her up the steps. She swallowed hard and ran up the steps to meet him, hoping she wouldn't trip up and fall back down them in her nervousness. She had felt giddy and a little scared all day.

   'Hi,' she said, smiling up at him. Hoping that her nerves didn't show.

   'Hi yourself,' he replied. 'I'm glad you came, are you ready for the grand tour.'

He held open the door for her to enter and she walked passed him into the foyer.

There were only one or two people mulling around looking with avid interest at the selection of artefacts in glass cases dotted around. Michael watched Robyn as they wondered from room to room. She listened with genuine interest as he explained about some of the things on display.

   'How do you know so much about these things?' She had said at one point.

   'Oh, I come here all the time,' he had answered, giving nothing away.

Robyn was looking at a rare piece of Chinese pottery and he stood back and shook his head. She had been in his thoughts all day. He had decided he couldn't go through with Stefan's plan to humiliate her. He hadn't the nerve to tell Stefan this as his brother had more troubles, which involved last night's lady friend. Stefan claimed she attacked him as he walked her home.

   'She turned into a wild cat.' He had told Michael that morning over breakfast. 'I only wanted a kiss and a cuddle on the way home and she turned on me. I mean, she was only

too willing while she was here, in my bed.'

Michael saw the scratches on Stefan's hands and wondered why she would scratch him there. He worried about the way Stefan was acting lately. Ever since their mother had died a year previously, he had gone totally off the rails. Michael had done everything to make things better for Stefan; inviting him to move in with him, looking after him, but at twenty surely he was old enough now to look after himself. It was this huge chip on his shoulder concerning women that really worried Michael. He wondered what was going on in Stefan's mind. He had decided then that he would do whatever it took to keep Robyn away from Stefan.

Last nights fiasco with Robyn had kept him up all night. He had felt disgusted with himself for being part of it. Seeing Stefan's bruised face when he had got home had made him angry with Robyn, he couldn't say why, only that if she hadn't gone on a date with Stefan none of this would have happened. But, there is also the fact that, had she not gone on the date with Stefan, then the chances of himself meeting her were next to nothing. It was easy to talk to her in the chat rooms on the internet, because Stefan had still got her user name, which she still used on there.

   'Hello, earth to Michael,' Robyn said, bringing him out of his reverie. 'Where were you just then, you looked a million miles away.'

   'I'm sorry, I was just thinking, maybe we should go somewhere else instead of back to my place for dinner.'

Robyn looked concerned. 'Is there a problem?'

  'No, there isn't, it's just thinking about it, you would never forgive me if I made you eat my food.  I'm not exactly a great cook,' he said, making her laugh out loud.  It was the first time he had heard her laugh and he hoped it wouldn't be the last, it was like music to

his ears, deep and throaty.

   'Okay then what do we do now? I'm sure the museum will be closing soon.' She said.

   'I have an idea, come with me.' He took a gentle hold of her arm and lead her towards some stairs. 'We will have take out and eat it here.'

   'Don't be silly, it will be closing soon and besides they would never allow it.'

   'Ah,' he said, smiling. 'I am friends with the curator and he will allow it.'

They walked up the winding staircase that led to the curator's office and Robyn stood still and looked at the name on the door. 'MICHAEL FLETCHER CURATOR,' and then she looked at Michael who was leaning against the wall looking smug.

  'Is this you?'  She said, not able to hide the shock in her voice.

  'Of course, I told you it would be alright, didn't I?' He took a key from his pocket and opened the door.  'Step inside madam, I have a table for you near the window.'

Robyn walked into the room and there by the window was a table set out for two. She looked back at Michael, who was smiling in the doorway.

  'You had this planned didn't you?'  She asked.

He held up his hands. 'Guilty as charged.'

   'Well, even though you are very devious, I must say this is a great idea.'

   'If my timing is right we should be dining in twenty minutes,' he said, looking at his watch. 'If you would make yourself comfortable, I will just do my job and lock a few doors and turn off a few lights.'

    'And would sir like to tell me what we will be dining on?' Robyn asked, her eyes shining with glee.

   'Nothing but the best for my lady, it's all the way from Italy, well no that would be a little far fetched. I mean all the way from round the corner, Pizza Palace to be exact.' He said, guiding her to the leather sofa that stood in the corner, sat her down and kissed her cheek.                        

   'Now don't move from there, I won't be long.'

Robyn watched him leave, her hand still resting on her cheek as she turned and looked at the table set out. 'He is such a lovely man.' She mused.

   The telephone on the table started to ring startling her. She stood and rushed to the door shouting Michael's name.

   'Michael! The phone is ringing.' She shouted down the hall, but the hall was empty. She heard the answer machine switch on and Michael's voice, followed by the beep. She stepped inside the office and stared at the machine. Her blood froze at the message it was receiving.

It said. 'Mr Fletcher, hello, this is Sergeant Cooper from Baker Street police station. It is of the utmost importance that I speak with you. We need to discover the whereabouts of your brother Stefan Fletcher in connection with an attack on a young woman last night. We have called at your home on a number of occasions today but found no one there. So please, if you get this message contact me as soon as possible, if only to rule out your brother from our enquiry's.' The message ended. Robyn stood frozen to the spot, her mind in turmoil.

    'Michael is Stefan's brother,' she said, aloud. 'How could this be, they acted like strangers last night.' And then it dawned on her. 'Oh my god, it was all a trick.'

She rushed over to the sofa and picked up her bag, she'd got to get out of there.

   'Going somewhere?' Came a voice from behind her.

Robyn spun round and came face to face with Stefan, seeing the bruises on his face, bruises which his own brother had given him. 'What kind of a family have I stumbled upon?' She thought. Stefan stood in the doorway barring her way.

  'Please let me pass, I want to leave.'  She pleaded.

  'Do you really think I'm going to let you run away again?  Everyone tries to run away from me,' he said, looking over at the table set out near the window.

   'Did that poor woman try to run away from you last night?' She said, bitterly relating to the message on the answer machine.

He wasn't listening. He was still staring at the table.

   'Even my own brother has betrayed me tonight, bringing you here.' He said, turning

and glaring at her. 'I knew he'd betray me. I knew it this morning, he hasn't got the guts, but then he never had. The stupid man has fallen for you.'

This statement made her heart soar. Maybe she would get out of here, she just needed Michael to return.

   'You see,' he continued. 'It doesn't matter what happens to you and Michael now. I'm a wanted man, a fugitive from the law, as you just heard on the answer machine. God, that woman must have nine lives. I was sure I had done the job right.'

Robyn's blood ran cold. 'Michael please come back!' She thought.

   'It won't take long for the cops to put two and two together and connect me to the other women.' He said.

     Robyn stared wide-eyed as Stefan lunged at her. She wasn't quick enough as she whirled round and tried to run, he grabbed her arm, stumbling, they both fell to the floor with Stefan landing on top of her. She let out a whoosh as her breath was squeezed out of her. She tried to put up a fight, her whole body bucking as she tried to wrestle him off, but he was too strong for her to even move him an inch. Stefan smiled at her as his hands closed round her throat and started to squeeze. She tried to scream but no sound came out. She knew at that moment that she was going to die. As she felt herself drift to unconsciousness she thought she caught some movement behind Stefan and then everything moved quickly. Four police officers rushed in and tackled Stefan to the floor away from Robyn. Another officer helped Robyn to her feet and was letting herself be led to the leather sofa. She held on to her throat and struggled to get her breath back. While Stefan was being handcuffed one read him his rights.

  'Mr Stefan Fletcher, we are arresting you for the attack on a Miss Burgess and in connection with the murder of two more women.'

Stefan looked at Robyn and sneered. 'Lucky escape for you Robyn, dear.' He said, and made a move towards her, but was dragged out of the room by the officers.

     Robyn put her head in her hands. 'If this is a nightmare, please let me wake up.' She thought, as a feeling of nausea overwhelmed her. Her head hurt and her throat was sore.

   'Robyn?' She looked up to see Michael standing over her, his faced etched with pain and sadness. 'I am so sorry, I heard everything. I let the police in, I thought it was the food being delivered.' He sat down beside her and she moved away. 'Robyn please, the

police told me everything. I thought I knew my brother, but now, I realize I don't know anything. You see, I hadn't seen him for years and when my mother died I asked him to stay with me so I could get to know him again. I cannot believe that my own flesh and blood is involved in murder.'

Robyn looked at Michael, she had a lump in her throat so big it threatened to choke her. Tears spilled from her eyes and they rolled down her cheeks. Michael stood, and in the space of a heartbeat she was in his arms and sobbing.

   'Oh Robyn,' he soothed, kissing the top of her head.   'Please forgive me. I feel so ashamed for hurting you.'

   'What would have been in store for me had we gone back to your place, Michael?' She asked, her voice sounding hoarse.

   Michael winced knowing the reason why her voice sounded that way, his own brother had almost choked the life out of her. He remembered her question.

    'Nothing, I wouldn't have let anything happen to you. I promise you that.' He looked down at her and wiped the tears away from her face with his thumb. 'Please say you can find it in your heart to forgive me and tell me that we can work this out. I've only known you a couple of days but it's seems like a lifetime. I strongly believe in love at first sight, and that's what I felt when I first met you, love.'

Robyn looked down at the floor, her head was telling her to get away fast, but her heart was telling a different story. She looked at him and swallowed hard.

   'I forgive you Michael and yes I have feelings for you too, but I think we should take

thing's slowly, and right now I need to go home.' She said, reaching for her bag and edging away from him.

   Michael watched her turn away and felt that this would be the last time he would ever see her. 'You don't have to be afraid of me Robyn and in case you were wondering,' he said, his voice trembling with emotion. 'My brother is dead to me now, I would never let anyone hurt you, I promise.'

   'Oh, Michael.' She said, still with her back to him. She stared at the door, her only means of escape, pondering whether to go or stay.

  'Robyn, are you afraid of me?'  She heard him say.

  'Yes I am afraid of you,' she said, turning round to face him and looked deep into his eyes.  She could see the hurt in them caused by her words.  'But, I am afraid of myself too and the feelings that I have for you.  I should hate you for what you and your brother did to me, but I don't.  I suppose I must believe in love at first sight, because I love you too and it's that fact that makes me scared.'

Michael walked over to her and held her in his embrace. 'Don't be afraid of me, I couldn't bare it.' He said, tenderly stroking her hair, making her shiver at his gentle touch. She looked up at him and reached up to put her hands at the back of his head and pulled him down so that his lips touched hers. Ever so gently he kissed her with feather light kisses that left them hungry for more. So lost in the kiss they didn't hear the door open behind them.

'Eh em, excuse me but did someone order pizza, the front door was open so I came right in. You know its not safe to leave the door of a museum unlocked there are all kinds of criminals out there.'

The pizza boy came into the room and shook his head at the couple who were still locked in a passionate embrace.

   'I mean,' he continued, thumbing up the peek of his cap revealing two swollen black eyes and an evil grin. 'Even the police aren't able to keep a tight hold on some of the criminals they have in custody. But when a man has murder on his mind nothing can hold him. Well, not some scrawny little detective, that's for sure.'

THE END

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