As soon as Honey Dale woke up, Steve Taylor’s face swam into view. It was a waking nightmare. She stopped herself from screaming as memories flooded back. In spite of the occasional nightmare, Honey knew everything was so much better now.
Warmth was already building in the room, so she threw the sheets off. As Honey lay gazing out through the open window on this summer Saturday, the swifts who had built their nest in the eaves above the bedroom window, were busy flying in and out. A bee buzzed past. She hoped it wouldn’t end up as breakfast for hungry baby swifts.
Despite the abundance of summer in bloom outside her window, Honey’s mind raced back to the bike trek in Morocco. A lot had happened since then, some she wanted to forget, and some she always wanted to remember.
Born to be wild
It had all started when Honey thought she needed a new challenge and joined an enhanced rider’s training course. OK… motor bikes had a bad press sometimes, but her brother Chris had almost been born on one, and even though Mum wanted her to be riding ponies at that age, she chose to ride pillion with Chris, clinging on for dear life, and then when she was old enough, on her own bike. She loved the exhilaration of feeling free, leaving her worries far behind.
And she’d met a lot of men. More often than not though she’d meet Mr Right, but then he’d take her admiration as an invitation to treat her like dirt. And amazingly that made her want him even more.
She and Chris had taken their bikes to Andalusia when she was twenty two, eight long years ago. She was terrified when he’d suggested it to her. How would they get there, what about the bikes? She realised eventually, after Chris had gone over it all a million times, they’d have a fantastic holiday.
And she’d met beautiful Juan… He was a ranch owner near Coin. His dark eyes, olive skin and black shiny hair had captivated her completely. He’s got a killer’s eyes she thought, like the eyes of the bulls he breeds. Of course she didn’t find out he was a murderer straight away. He’d introduced her to Mama, Papa, and his sisters Cristina and Pia.
Poor Chris was left to his own devices for a couple of weeks then Honey begged they should stay for another. He was happy enough riding through the cork forests, swimming and sunbathing by the pool, but there’s only so much of that you can do before you need another challenge. He’d stay one more week though.
Honey tried to persuade Juan the bulls would be a lot happier running round the fields wooing cows. But he roared with laughter, saying if she’d come to see his bulls fight during the fair, he’d think seriously about her idea. At first she’d said no, but cracked under his spell.
It only took an hour, after the fanfares had died away and the first bull ran into the ring like a moth looking for a light. Although she’d promised herself she’d be strong, she left soon after the picador had attacked the bull. She’d slapped Juan’s face for bringing her. The family called her “Loco” and that was the end of them as a couple.
At the Yacht Club
Still dozing, Honey mulled over the other men she’d met. The best was probably David Ross. But there was also his creepy father. Both were luminaries at the yacht club where Honey occasionally called in for a mid-week drink with some friends. David was potentially loaded, but the current owner of the massive bank balance in question, was Percival Ross, proud owner of a string of convenience shops.
Her friends said that the way Percy chased Honey up and down the promenade outside the club while David stood there saying “Oh Dad, leave the poor girl alone.” was obscene. It could only have looked worse, if he had actually managed to have his way with her, in full view of the entire yacht club membership. Percy told David it was every man for himself, and if he wasn’t man enough, that was his look-out. If David couldn’t tell his father exactly where to sling his Jolly Roger, or whatever that silly flag was, he might as well tie himself to the end of a rope and jump off the yardarm as far as Honey was concerned.
At the end of a quiet couple of days they had alone, David explained that, although he admired her for her speech, he could not deprive himself of his fortune, by telling his father exactly what he thought of him. He would find a girl, nearly as wonderful as Honey was, but who was prepared to bend to his father’s will. She decided the sort of woman David wanted, no longer existed. He would have to toddle off and find this out himself. It was a pity. He was a looker, and a sweetie, but inside, he was just mush.
So she was really surprised when he joined the motorcycle club. Friends teased her, saying he’d only done it so he could still be near her. She’d tried to put David out of her mind, but he’d turned up like a bad penny. She thought about leaving the club, but why should she? So she just ignored him now.
Mean and moody
Steve Taylor. Now there was an entirely different set of abs, no mush there, just rock-hard muscle. They’d met at the motorcycle club. He’d immediately stood out to her as having massive potential, and maybe it wouldn’t just be his potential that was massive. And she wasn’t wrong. They’d had a marvellous time in bed after the New Year’s Eve ball, well as marvellous a time as she could remember after having downed that amount of champagne. Every woman had envied her being on Steve’s arm, and she’d loved that.
It was shortly after, at the next club meeting, that Steve put forward the idea that some of them might be interested in a trip he was planning to take to Marrakech, before it got too hot. She’d been up for it right away. They were almost living together now, between his place and hers. The only bad part was that Honey’s Mum hated Steve, and this “”Living over the brush” as she called it. Old fashioned Mum, Honey thought. What was wrong with being boyfriend and girlfriend, courting, and a nice marriage? But not with Steve. It could only end in tears, and she’d be crying them for her girl. Honey had listened patiently but then went off and did her own thing. Her Dad quite liked Steve she had thought, in the few times they’d had a chance to speak, when her Mum hadn’t been hanging about.
When she broke the news about the trip, her Mum went through the roof. Marrakech in Morocco? she’d said to Honey. No Mum, not that Marrakech, the other one near Poole. She caught her Dad smirking at that one.
You’re not going with Steve Taylor? What was wrong with David Ross, lovely young man he is. For goodness sake Mum, Honey replied I’m 30 years old. I may live at home, but I’m not your little girl any more. What have I got – a career as a temping secretary? Not much excitement in that Mum. Well Honey, you just mark my words, Steve’s trouble, and no mistake.
When they’d got to Morocco, it was fabulous, a journey into the unknown. They’d travelled into Spain, her and Steve, and six others, to get the Algeciras to Tangier ferry, then picked up their bikes, ferried over from the UK. The only slight downer was David Ross was coming too. At least his creepy Dad had been so tied up with his shops that he hadn’t joined the club as well.
The whole port of Algeciras was a city with a souk and tented mosques. The crossing was relatively short, and dodging crowds of beggars, they set off on the 12 hour ride, along ancient roads, even dry river beds, and once, over a huge plain of uniform sized rocks. They stopped for the night in a village eating a delicious lamb tagine at the only restaurant, then moved next door to a bar for a couple of drinks.
Some local men were taken with Honey’s blond hair and gave her admiring glances which she eventually found intimidating. Steve had laughed saying “Don’t worry love, they’re just jealous of me.” She didn’t like that, but when David had said, in his posh accent “Hey Steve, that’s not a good attitude. All very well you liking these chaps being envious of you but what about Honey’s feelings…” She was a bit surprised at David. “Leave it Ross. Who asked you?” So David turned away and started talking to old Ronnie.
“I’m turning in now Steve” Honey said after that. It had been an incredibly long day and a soft bed was all she needed now. “All right darlin’” he said and carried on drinking and chatting. Honey hoped he might have taken her back to the hostel. It wasn’t far up the street but the place wasn’t well lit. She grabbed her jacket, and left the room, after giving Steve a frosty kiss.
When she’d left, the street was very dark, apart from one or two lamps casting a dim yellow light. She tripped and was terrified when a hand grabbed her arm. Then a pad was placed over her mouth to keep her quiet, and another pair of hands grabbed hold of her, and marched her away. As they passed by the quiet end of an alleyway near their restaurant, one of the men suddenly dropped like a stone, and fell to her side, dragging Honey down as well. Another quick struggle as David Ross wielded the piece of hardwood again, and the 2nd man fell to the floor. He felt both men’s pulses, and neither was dead.
She didn’t know what to say, but tried. “I can’t thank you enough, David. Anything could have happened to me, for all Steve cared.” She couldn’t help saying that. It was true. Steve hadn’t risked his life to save her, not like David. She turned to her saviour, seeing him with new eyes. So what if he had an idiot father, he was twice the man Steve was. “Oh David” she said and melted into his arms and ardent kisses.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t stick up for you against my father. I had a hell of a row with him when I realised how stupid I’d been. But I knew you wouldn’t listen Honey.”
“ I would have, David. You only had to tell me you’d stood up to him and I’d have realised you cared.”
“Listen Honey” David said, looking down at the two fallen men. “It won’t be long before their mates come looking for these two. We’re going to have to leave here right now.”
“What about Steve and the others?”
”They’ll be ok. We’ve got to go Honey.” They ran down the street to the hostel, gunned their motor bike engines and were away in minutes. They decided not to head for Marrakech but to a small but luxurious hotel David knew, where they had several wonderful days and nights. When they got home they never saw Steve Taylor again. Apparently he’d moved away to a job in London, and was doing fairly well Honey heard later.
Home at last
Turning from the window in their bedroom, Honey looked at the hero in bed next to her, and smiled. She bent lower and kissed his forehead tenderly. “Oh Mr Ross, I do love you so.”
David opened his eyes, looked at her, smiled and said “I love you too, Mrs Ross.” Sighing contentedly, Honey lay down in his strong arms, and forgot all about her bad dreams.
© adewils 2009