Status: Active, seeking feedback.

Searching for Estelle.

In Cahoots

Bam, Novak, Jyrki, Ville and Jussi sat around a table in a bar in Stockholm, strategising.

“This is bullshit, man,” Novak yawned “Can't we just get a room, sleep until morning and then look for her?”

“You don't deserve to sleep,” Jyrki snarled, causing Novak to keep his mouth shut for the next few minutes.

“Seriously, Jyrki. We need some sort of plan,” Ville said, sounding both incredibly sleepy and like he'd given up hope completely.

Bam looked thoughtful for a minute. “Billboard?”

Jyrki chuckled and shook his head. “She'd hate us more for putting up a billboard with her face on it than for what Novak said.”

Ville nodded. “He's right.”

Bam sighed. “Well, fuck. I don't know her at all so I'm out of ideas.”

Jyrki shrugged. “Start ringing hotels.”

Novak looked up. “That'll take all fuckin' night.”

“Then get started,” Jussi said before getting up to go to the bar.

Novak began muttering under his breath about not wanting to be in Sweden, wanting to go to bed and Ville's obsession with some stupid 'uptight bitch'.

At that, Jyrki slapped him across the back of the head. Hard.

“What the fuck?!” Novak whined, holding his head and sulking.

“Shut up. Why did we even bring him?” Ville asked, frowning.

“Because he fucked up and he needs to help fix it,” Bam declared.

Jussi reappeared with several cans of redbull and handed them out before triumphantly throwing a handful of travel brochures in the middle of the table.

“Start ringin'.”

* * * * *

I woke up Wednesday morning to Dani jumping on me. I sat up, startled and wondered briefly why my hotel room looked so different.

And why it was Dani waking me up and not Ville or Jyrki.

Then I remembered.

I smiled sleepily at her and she grinned back before snuggling up to me and giving me a guilty look.

“Sorry I woke you up Stelly... but I've missed you and we're in SWEDEN!”

I giggled. “It's okay Dan, and I know where we are...”

She poked her tongue out at me before turning serious.

“Well, this is our last stop together since someone” she gave me a pointed look “decided to cancel on Finland. And a chance to see some of her favourite bands in concert...”

I looked at my feet and bit my lip. I was sure I was about to get an interrogation.

“Which we will talk about after I am clean. So, I'm gonna go have a shower.”

I nodded and she gathered her clothes and went into the bathroom.

I crawled to the end of my bed and reached into my suitcase, beginning to gather my clothes for the day.

I picked out some dark denim jeans and folded them neatly, placing them on the bed nest to me. I added a black tank top with a ruffle around the collar and arm holes and a long sleeved emerald green cardigan. I added my characteristically plain underwear.

As I dug around for some clean socks, my hand brushed my phone. I bit my lip and went to push it to the side, but picked it up instead.

Unable to shake my curiosity, I switched it on. It seemed to take hours, but it flashed to life. I saw, once again, many missed calls and several texts. I scrolled through the missed calls and saw the same familiar names and numbers.

I sighed and closed them, opening my message inbox instead. Again, Ville, Jussi and Jyrki's names appeared in front of me.

I heard the bathroom door open and jumped slightly, pressing the 'cancel' button on my phone and leaving the texts unread. I shoved my phone under my pillow, determined not let Dani know what was going on and grabbed my clothes.

“All yours, Stella Bella!” Dani declared with a smile, drying her golden hair as she walked out.

I smiled and headed past her for the bathroom.

While I showered, Dani was in the room getting ready for the day. She too was just wearing jeans and a knitted top.

She dried her hair off while singing a Pete Murray song softly under her breath. Just as she was nearing the chorus, the ring of my phone broke through her rendition.

Without hesitation- we often answered each others phone when the other wasn't there- she wandered over to my bed, looking for the ring and frowned when she couldn't see the phone.

Digging around in the covers, she began to get frustrated. “Bloody hell, Stella.. where've you put the damn thing?!”

She eventually unearthed it from its hiding place under the pillow but it stopped ringing as soon as she picked it up.

“Bloody typical,” she said, rolling her eyes.

The screen said '1 Missed Call from Ville' which of course meant nothing to Dani. Thankfully, I had acknowledged the other calls, so they didn't all come up, which I'm sure would have made her incredibly concerned.

She frowned and sat it somewhere more accessible, in case the mystery person should call back.

She continued to dry and brush her hair but didn't get very far before my phone rang again. She glanced at the screen to see 'Incoming Call from Jyrki' and frowned once again before hitting answer.

“Hello?” she said, continuing to brush her hair with her free hand.

”Estelle?” a deep, confused voice asked.

“Nooooo, it's Dani.”

“Oh! Dani... I'm Jyrki. A friend of Estelle's from Finland,” he began, sounding unsure of what to say.

Dani put her hairbrush down and, noting that the water was still running in the bathroom, sat down on her bed.

“Okay. Care to tell me why she left so suddenly?” she asked coldly, without skipping a beat. She was a lot more observant than I'd given her credit for and knew there was something I wasn't telling her.

“Because... It's a very complicated story.”

“Oh, I've got time to hear it.”

“Good,” Jyrki replied, a relieved tone in his voice “Because we could really use your help.”

Dani stood up, grabbed a room key and yelled through the bathroom door, over the running water, “Stell! I'm going to get a drink. I'll be back.”

“You've got about fifteen minutes,” she informed Jyrki, her tone of voice still even and calculating “so start explaining.” With that, she left the room.

When I exited the bathroom, around 10 minutes later, I frowned not seeing Dani there. I'd heard her shout something at me while I was in the shower but hadn't been able to make out what she was saying.

I assumed it offered some explanation as to her absence.

Shrugging it off, I proceeded to get ready for the day, which was a fairly straightforward process, and shoved my hair up in a beanie deciding that the red mop was one challenge I couldn't be bothered dealing with.

As I was brushing some powder on my face, Dani strolled into the room, a bright grin on her face.

“Where'd you go?” I asked, curiously.

“To get a bottle of water. I called out to you,” she explained, walking over and taking a seat on my bed, leaning back onto the pillows.

“Yeah, I didn't hear you,” I said, putting everything back in my makeup case and zipping it up.

“Let's go out for breakfast and see a bit of the city,” she declared, jumping up and walking over to me.

I raised an eyebrow at her sudden enthusiasm, wondering where her threat to make me explain my actions had gone.

“Sure...” I replied, hesitantly.

She grinned and leaned over, pecking me on the cheek before skipping away.

She grabbed my bag and handed it to me.

“Phone,” she said, holding that out to me as well.

I frowned, wondering why she had it.

“It was under your pillow. I felt it when I laid down,” she said, turning away from me to grab her own things.

I turned it off again and chucked it in my bag, not wanting to be bothered by calls all day.

Dani held her arm out to me and grinned. “Let us depart, my dear.”

I giggled and took her arm, letting her lead me out of the room.

“Dan, please tell me you have a room key,” I said as the door closed behind us.

“I sure do, Stelly,” she replied, looking proud of herself.

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank God. You remember what happened in Berlin, right...”

She laughed. “We locked ourselves out, there was no one on the reception desk, even after we rang the bell like 30 times. Sooo, I knocked the room next door to find a half clothed couple and climbed from their balcony over to ours and went in through that door because I'd left it open?”

I shook my head and giggled at the memory. I had been absolutely mortified, but Dani took it with a grain of salt and later remarked she was glad she'd had a boyfriend who insisted she take up rock-climbing.

“That'd be the time,” I replied with a smile.

She sighed happily. “Good times, good times...”

We walked out onto the street and headed for a cafe that our map showed wasn't too far away.

We opted for an outside table and sat down, ordering coffee as we did so. As I flicked through the menu I heard Dani's phone buzz.

I looked up and raised an eyebrow as she opened a text and smiled.

She looked up to meet my eye and grinned. “Just a guy I met.”

“Ooooh, the waiter from France? I totally forgot about him. How're things going?” I asked, wondering how Jean-Claude had managed to escape my memory.

“No...” she sighed. “Sadly that didn't end well.”

I tried to look at least a little bit surprised, but she didn't seem too concerned. “Ohh, why not? What happened?”

“Well...” Dani frowned “Turns out he's not French after all. He's an American backpacker who decided to stay. The accent was fake. A good fake, but.”

“So, Jean-Claude is...?” I asked, fighting the urge to giggle at the ridiculousness of the situation.

“Just John,” she replied, shaking her head sadly before dissolving into giggles which I gratefully joined in on until we both had tears streaming down our faces.

“I swear this shit only happens to me,” she said with a grin as we managed to regain some composure.

I couldn't help but admire how she was dealing with it. It made me feel just a little bit silly for being so upset over Ville, Jyrki & Jussi's betrayal.

I looked up a few minutes later to see Dani grinning at me. I raised an eyebrow.


“Nothing,” she replied, looking secretive before checking her phone again.

I frowned and returned to perusing my menu and debating on whether to get waffles or eggs.
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So sorry about not updating yesterday! I totally hit a brick wall with this chapter & decided to work on it a bit more rather than giving you something half-assed and short. I'm glad I waited, because I had a new idea that made everything come together much more nicely. Also, I made this one a bit longer to try and win you all back over =P

Thanks for the wonderful feedback & lovely birthday messages on the last chap, means a lot =D Would love to know what you think about this one because I had such difficulty writing it. So please; comment/subscribe & spread some happy =D Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!