Still unsure as to why everyone was so down in the dumps, Anna spent the next few days alone or with Christoph.
She spent quiet time at the coffee shop, reading a book outside in the glorious sunshine. It was such a pretty place, and so quiet and relaxing during the week, with just a few customers coming and going. You could occasionally hear the doorbell tinkle as someone went inside, or came out. Anna was deeply engrossed in her book though, and didn’t take much notice of who came and went.
Christoph took her out for a quiet romantic meal at The Precious Pearl. Quiet that was, until another couple had a lovers tiff right in the middle of the restaurant.
“I saw the way you looked at him. You don’t look at me like that anymore” said one of the men.
“Oh don’t be so jealous. I was only looking. It doesn’t mean anything” said the other.
“Guys, come on please. We’re trying to have a romantic dinner here. This isn’t the time or place” pleaded Christoph. “why don’t you sort this out at home in private”.
“There’s nothing to sort out” said the man wearing the glasses “I’m done. See you later” and with that he stormed out of the restaurant.
“I’m so sorry to disturb you” the other man apologized and then sat back down at his table. He hung his head in a mix of shame and sadness, and finished off his meal in silence, before paying the bill and leaving, with his partners food still on the table.
“I feel so sorry for him” said Anna to Christoph “Poor guy. I hope they can sort things out”.
The following day Anna went back to the coffee shop and decided to hop on one of the free computers to do some work. Saved being home alone and their computers were a bit faster than her own.
Jacqui sat down beside Anna with her coffee “Hi Anna. How are you?” she asked.
“I’m fine thanks” Anna replied “I see everyone’s here today…are they all feeling a bit happier?” she asked.
“Happier?” Jacqui questioned. “Was something wrong?”
“Yes, everyone was so down in the dumps the other day when they came to my place. I’m not sure why”.
“Oh really” said Jacqui and then she excused herself as if trying to avoid the conversation.
Precious came and sat beside Anna a short time later and they struck up a conversation. These two have become quite good friends, and so Anna asked Precious what was wrong with everyone the other day.
“Well, I don’t know how to say this Anna, but it seems there are some rumours going around town about you and Christoph” Precious told her cautiously.
“Rumours? What kind of rumours?” Anna asked, fearing that they may have found out about the pair running away.
Before Precious could answer though, Karim and Christoph walked in and sat down with the girls.
They were followed soon after by a police detective who seemed to be hanging around their group. She seemed to be listening in on the conversation, innocent as it was, just general hello’s and how was your day kind of stuff.
“So tell me more about these rumours” said Anna.
Precious looked at Karim, who looked at the detective and then shook his head “Later” he said to Anna motioning his head towards the snooping cop.
“Can I help you?” Anna said sternly to the detective.
“Actually you might be able to help me with my enquiries” the detective responds “I’m looking for a couple of runaways that match your description”
“What! That’s ridiculous!” Anna yells out “Do we look like runaways? Do we? Don’t you think if we’d run away we’d be disguised and trying to hide our identity? Anna’s stomach was in knots as was Christoph’s, he began to shake and sweat. Why was this cop looking for them?
“You gotta be joking” Precious tells the detective. “Anna and I go way back. She’s no runaway”.
“Yeah that’s right, same here” says Damian. “Why don’t you go and find some real criminals to go pick on and leave the innocent people alone”.
The detective mutters something under her breath and then leaves. Anna gives Damian a big hug. “Thank you my friend. Thank you all of you. I guess we have some explaining to do huh?”
They all grab a coffee and sit down, and Anna and Christoph begin to explain all about the forced marriage to his brother Crown Prince Casper. Their love for each other and the reason they indeed did run away.
“I’m sorry we didn’t tell you all sooner” Christoph says to the group “but we didn’t want people to judge us”.
“Hell no!” Exclaims Linda loudly “we don’t judge you and we don’t blame you for running away either. Nobody is gonna force our friend to get married to someone she doesn’t love. Don’t worry guys, we’ve got your backs. Haven’t we?” she asks, as she looks around her friends.
“Absolutely” they all agree.
A short time later the detective is back but everyone has already left. She is looking on her Simpad at something when Johnny Zest walks up behind her. He hears her talking to herself…
“I know there is a picture of them here somewhere. Them runaways think they can get the better of me do they? I’ll show them”.
“Ah ha! There it is. It IS them! I knew it!” she says triumpanhtly. She scratches the side of her face as she takes a good look at the picture. It’s a habit she has when shes onto something. She flicks off an email to King Berold. “I’ve found them”. She writes. “I will investigate some more and will get back to you but I know where they are”.
She puts her Simpad away and gets up to walk away unaware that Johnny is still watching and listening.
“I better warn Anna and Christoph” he says to himself as he casually walks away.