Jetta pushed open the door of the hotel
room, dropping down on the bed and casting her husband a questioning
look as he hesitated. A shadow touched her face as she read his
"No." She said frankly. "We've just flown twelve bloody hours and I'm
knackered. All right? I don't want to think about your bright ideas
right at the moment. I want to get some sleep an' jus' relax. It's half
seven in the bloody mornin' local time an' I ain't slept a wink all
"Okay." Justin said evenly. "To be honest, it suits me too. I'm just as
tired as you."
He sighed, dropping down beside her. "I'm sorry. It wasn't really the
arrival that I hoped we'd have, was it? I should have kept my mouth
shut till we got here."
"Yes, maybe, but it's said now." Jetta rubbed her temples. "An' we are
here. Honeymoon suite, no less. All the trappin's an' a view of the
city thrown in."
She offered a faint smile. "Welcome to London, Justin. Enjoy your stay."
"I hope so." Justin owned. He leant across to the bedside cabinet,
pulling out the What's On guide and a map of the area. He spread the
map out on the pillow, flicking open the guide and casting her a glance.
"I guess you won't need this." He remarked. "But is there anywhere you
want to go while we're here? I know you want to speak to Laura, and you
need to call her to set that up, by the way. But anywhere else?"
"I actually hadn't thought about it." Jetta admitted. "I've never
visited London as a, well, a tourist before. When I come with the
girls, I'm workin'. When I came for Laura's weddin', I wasn't in the
centre of the city. An' when I lived here, well..." She trailed off,
shrugging her shoulders. "Let's just say my part of London ain't on any
"So you're telling me you've never visited anywhere famous?" Justin
stared. "The Tower of London? Buckingham Palace? None of that?"
"What, to 'ave tea with the Queen? Fat chance she'd 'ave me." Jetta
snorted. "No, Justin. I ain't really delved into that. I think we went
on a school trip when I was fifteen to visit somethin' in the Tower -
but I know I cut out of part of the tour to 'ave a fag round the back
with one of my mates. So I can't tell you much about it."
She spread her hands.
"That part of the city is as new to me as it is to you. Wherever you
want to visit - it's fine with me. I'll tag along. But don't turn the
whole trip into a history visit or a photography project, huh? London
'as some pretty ace night spots an' I'm demandin' at least one night at
the theatre. I'd like to go for once an' have a posh seat."
"I'd like to visit the West End too." Justin smiled. "So we'll do that,
for sure. And as for nightlife, I've never known a place you haven't
managed to root that out. So...I'm in your hands."
"Okay. It's a deal." Jetta rolled onto her front, resting her chin in
her hands as she peered over his shoulder. "I'll deal with our nights,
you 'andle the days. Fair enough?"
"Fair enough." Justin nodded his head. Jetta bit her lip, then glanced
"And if you really want me to...do you know what, I will." She added
unwillingly. "But not today. Please. I jus' got 'ere. An' I don't see
how it's even possible so...I don't want to be worryin' about it. I got
me diary out on the plane an' picked out when I should've come on, an'
Vegas was right in the middle of my cycle. Two weeks after that you
almost got yourself bloody killed, and in December we were
movin' and I was lookin' after you an' workin' like crazy an' yes,
okay, 'avin' stupid dreams. The doctors said they thought my pattern
was upset by stress once. Seems likely to me that's all it is this
time, too. Makes a lot more bleedin' sense, when you put it all
"Perhaps you're right." Justin agreed. "But we'll do it, anyway. And at
least then, if that's not it, you can know as much for sure."
"Okay." Jetta sighed. "But you're buyin' it, because I'm sure as 'ell
not going to."
"Fine." Justin nodded his head. He reached over to turn the page of the
guidebook. "In the meantime, I'm interested in seeing Buckingham
Palace, the Tower of London and Big Ben. I'm curious to see how much
the London Underground resembles the New York Metro and I have to admit
want to visit a fish and chip shop, since you keep moaning about LA's
lack of real fries."
"Don't, you're makin' me hungry." Jetta grimaced. "Whatever that was
they served on the plane wasn't very fillin'. Do you suppose they'd
bring us up some grub? I'm too knackered to trot down to the
restaurant, an' I'm not sure I can wait till lunch."
"I'll call down if you like." Justin agreed. "Then I vote we both get
some sleep and worry about sightseeing later. You can call Laura and
set up when you're going to see her..."
"Aren't you coming too?" Jetta looked surprised. Justin shrugged.
"Do you want me intruding?" He asked softly. Jetta hesitated. Then she
"Yes." She replied firmly. "I do. She won't believe me if I don't bring
you with me."
"Then I'll come." Justin promised, his eyes twinkling as he leaned over
to grab the phone. "Meanwhile, breakfast coming right up!"
* * * * *
Jetta pushed back the covers, faltering as her gaze rested on her still
sleeping husband, and then very gingerly slipping out of bed, returning
the duvet to it's former position. Exhausted by his jetlag, Justin
slept on, oblivious, and Jetta grabbed her dressing gown from the
barely unpacked case, slipping it over her shoulders and tying it
around the waist as she stifled a shiver.
"January in London, complete with freezin' cold weather." She muttered.
"All we need now is snow an' we're sorted."
She reached over to pluck a bread twist from the basket Room Service
had brought up hours earlier, idly tearing a chunk off it and putting
it in her mouth. "An' these are better before they've spent 'alf a day
out on display, but I'm too hungry to care right at the moment."
She settled herself on the end of the bed, reaching over for the
telephone. After casting another glance at Justin, she decided he was
lost to the world, and she scooped up the receiver, dialling her
friend's number with quick, deft fingers. Sitting back against the
bedhead, she waited for someone to answer, idly counting the rings as
they chimed through her head.
"Milligan residence, Laura speakin'." Her friend's voice startled her
and she bit back an exclamation, sending Justin a rueful look.
"Laura, it's Sheila." She said in muted tones. "Surprised?"
"Sheila?" Laura let out a shriek. "What did you do, rob a bank or
somethin'? Since when did you call me transatlantically like this? An'
it's a bloody good line, too...don't tell me, it's on Pizzazz's phone
"No, and no." Despite herself, a smile flooded Jetta's features at her
friend's levity. "I'm not callin' on Pizzazz's line. I'm not even
callin' from Los Angeles. I'm in an 'otel in Queensway."
"What?" Laura sounded floored. "Queensway? As in Central London?"
"Well, I do remember you passed Geography." Jetta teased. "Yes, of
course in Central London. Where else would it be?"
"But...you didn't say a word! Why are you here?" Laura demanded. "Is it
work? I didn't read anything..."
"I'm not workin'." Jetta paused, as Justin let out an incoherent grunt.
"Look. 'Ang on a second...I can't talk so well 'ere. Just hold the
"Sure." Laura sounded nonplussed, as Jetta clambered carefully off the
bed, taking the cordless phone and crossing the floor to the en suite,
pushing the door open and slipping inside.
"There." She said into the receiver. "It's all right now. Laura, I have
a whole lot of stuff to fill you in on an' I'm not sure all of it
be done over the phone. Plus, if you shriek that bleedin' loud again,
you'll wake that silly brat of yours, so keep an 'and on it, all right?"
"Cameron's not with me. He's at his Gran's this morning. I just got
back from Tesco an' he always screams when I take 'im grocery
shoppin'." Laura objected. "And why would I be shrieking? What have you done?"
"That's a bleedin' good question." Jetta was rueful, gazing down at her
ring finger. "Okay. Brace yourself. Laura...I'm not in London alone,
but it ain't work. Actually...actually it's sort of a...well...a
For a moment, there was a stunned silence. Then,
"Are you playin' with me?"
Jetta laughed at the incredulation in her friend's tone.
"No. As a matter of fact, I ain't." She admitted. "It's all for real,
Laura...done an' dusted. Actually, it was in November, but it was all
kinda sudden an' then we 'ad a small complication. Stupid git decided
to go an' drown 'imself an' muggins 'ere 'ad to be on tap pretty much
twenty four seven since no bugger else was about to do it. Pneumonia,
'ypothermia, 'e 'ad it all. An' then there was the 'ouse, an'
She trailed off.
"An' I wanted to talk to you in person, really." She admitted. "So when
Justin suggested we come here..."
"Justin?" Laura echoed. "You mean you actually took my advice about a
guy an' stuck it out with 'im? What about Roxy? You don't tell me
anythin' any more!"
"I guess I deserve that." Jetta admitted. "But honestly, I didn't see
where it was goin' until it already went there. We took a trip to Las
Vegas an' he asked me there. We kinda did it on the spot. An' then he
had 'is accident, an', well..."
"You realised you'd miss him." Laura sounded resigned. "Trust you to do
everythin' the wrong bloody way round. An' I at least invited you to my
"All right, already." Jetta retorted. "Look, do you want to meet the
bloke or don't you? Because part of the reason we came to London was
because I wanted to talk to you face to face an' drag 'im along so you
knew I wasn't makin' it up."
"Of course I do!" Laura exclaimed. "Someone brave enough to choose to
live with you for the rest of time? I have to meet him!"
"Shut up!" Jetta objected. "You lived with me an' survived to tell the
"Yeah, but that wasn't quite the same." Laura laughed. "Oh, but 'ow
long are you in London?"
"Long enough to pay you a visit, don't worry." Jetta assured her. "When
can you slot us in? We ain't got any fixed plans yet. In fact, Justin's
still sleepin' off the flight, so I figured I'd settle with you before
'e woke up an' decided 'e wanted to go take photographs of bits of
"That's right. He's a photographer, ain't he?" She remembered. "Oh
well. At least it'll save you a fortune in scenic shots. And as for
when, I'm squintin' at the calendar right now. Keith's roped me into
'elpin' him with some work do or other - he has to entertain the boss
an' his wife tomorrow night an' he's all a fluster about it, so I've
got to hoe in an' sort that pickle out. Promotion's on the cards I
think, if all goes well. But...Friday? I can do Friday, durin' the day
while he's in the office. Get a sitter for Cameron...suit you?"
"Friday is fine." Jetta nodded. "I'll tell Justin when he wakes
up...which I think is any minute, judging from the noise coming from
the bedroom. I better ring off. But I'll see you on Friday, for
certain. Ten o' clock?"
"Ten is great." Laura agreed. "You can still remember where we are?"
"Yep, got the address scrawled in my date book somewhere." Jetta
agreed. "All right. Friday it is then. See you then...an' you can
inspect 'im for yourself!"
"Already looking forward to it." Laura assured her. "Bye, Sheila. Take
care and I'll see you then!"
"Who were you phoning from the bathroom, Jetta?"
As she returned to the bedroom, Justin sat up in bed, stifling a yawn.
"How long have you been awake? It must be about lunch time."
"Laura." Jetta said succinctly, dropping the phone back into it's
cradle. "I didn't want to disturb you. We're goin' to see her Friday at
ten. An' yes, it's more than time for lunch, thank you! I'm starvin'
and I thought you were going to sleep forever."
"You could have eaten."
"Justin, when you're in the honeymoon suite, anythin' that you do
without your spouse in tow means people think you're 'avin marital
problems." Jetta shook her head. "No ta. I don't want lots of nosey
hotel staff pokin' in here to see if they can figure it all out."
"Well, I'm awake now." He said. "So how about we both get up and then
go find some lunch? At least you seem to have your appetite back. Maybe
you were right - you just needed a vacation. And a bit of home grown
"Maybe I did." Jetta grinned. "An' I'm lookin' forward to seein' Laura.
I've missed her."
"I'll be interested to meet this woman." Justin acknowledged. A wicked
look touched his face. "In some ways it's thanks to her that we're such
a hot item these days...after all, wasn't it her wedding you were
coming back from when you got caught in New York and wound up at my
"Yes...it was." Jetta pinkened at the memory. "Not my most subtle of
moves ever, it 'as to be said."
"But it was an adventure." Justin winked at her. "Who knows? Maybe none
of it would have happened if not for that night."
"Shut up." Jetta said bluntly. "I'm too hungry to play word games with
you and talk about what ifs."
She grabbed her bath towel up from the rail.
"I'm goin' to have a shower." She added. "An' then I'm dressin' and I
expect you to be ready just as quick else I will go without you, spyin'
staff or not."
"All right, message received." Justin chuckled. "I'm getting up. Go
have your shower. I'll be ready."