The second punch also missed. Carolyn laughed and ran out of the pub. The thug was being held off by a couple of his mates. She lit a cigarette outside and waited for her mates to join her. It took them a few moments – first Hels, pulling on her jumper, then Veronika and Sam, struggling with the coats, bags and assorted junk that had been left on their table.
“What the fuck just happened, Caro? One second we were talking about rent going up, and the next some fucking… bloke was swinging at you at the bar and you fled?”
Carolyn was still laughing. “Let’s go to the Parkspew.”
They all groaned, but started walking down Scotchmer St. The Empress was just about to close. The Parkview was open late. It wasn’t always the clientele you’d want to spend time with, and certainly not find in your bed in the morning, but they had beer and that was pretty much all that counted.
“That was Trent’s brother, Gaz.”
Veronika and Sam made noises of understanding, but Hels looked confused. She was a new acquisition to their friendship group. She had just started working with Sam, lived around the corner and the friendship just seemed to click. But, she hadn’t been around for Trent, Carolyn’s ex.
“My ex. Cheated on me, at least twice that I found out about. But, I just found out also that he told his family that I was the slut, that I’d been doing anyone that moved, that I broke his heart and took a whole bunch of his cash.”
Veronkia pulled Carolyn to a stop. “Mate, that’s pretty serious. His brother’s a bit of a stand-over man, you know. This could be shit hitting the fan time about now.”
Carolyn looked at her, put an arm around her should and pulled her close. “Don’t worry about it. It was fine.”
“Well, what did you say back there? He was swinging for you.”
“I just told him that Trent didn’t have any cash for me to take, and that he and all his mates were losers and… I may have said something about his mum.” She started laughing again. “He was livid! His eyes…” her voice slowed down as she saw a vehicle slowing down near them. “Oh, shit. Run!”
Out of the car jumped Gaz and his two mates. Gaz had a cricket bat although his size suggested he wouldn’t need it, especially not against a girl. They started chasing.
The girls were running, but Veronika had heels and Sam was getting caught up in her bag. Carolyn looked around. “Split up! Go home!” she screamed and peeled off down a side street. The others looked at each other, ran across to St George’s Rd and, seeing they weren’t being followed, grabbed a cab. Veronika called the police on her mobile. Hels directed the driver to Park St, hoping to find the direction that Carolyn had run in. Both Hels and the driver were hopeless. They got a red light; then ended up going the wrong way down Park St, and having to reverse back out when a car came down the right direction. All the time, the three girls were frantically looking out their window for their friend.
Carolyn had made it to Park St way ahead of the thugs. She ran straight ahead until she got some cover from the trees on the reserve, and then tried to think of what to do. She peered out from her hiding spot. She saw the thugs pacing up and down. Her breathing was rough, but she gave herself a mental pat on the back – if she was still smoking, she’d never be this far away from them. The thugs started walking across the Park, all three making kissy noises, Gaz thwacking the cricket bat into his hand.
Carolyn leaned against the tree. It was a big tree. She should remain hidden for quite some time. She heard them getting closer, saw the dull light from their mobile phones getting brighter and brighter on the ground. It was only a matter or seconds. Suddenly, a bright light lit up the whole place. “Right, drop any weapons and hands on your heads. We need to have a chat to you gents.”
Carolyn felt her heart soar. She stayed hidden, waited until a police officer came to get her.