Danger In Havana – Episode 09

MARK GREENSTREET’S chin was set in a determined line. Bryony noticed he didn’t smile much, but focused on every word she said.

He was a listener.

“Then we need to do something about it, don’t we?” he said. “The first twenty-four hours of a disappearance are the most important in determining whether someone will be found. I’ll get myself a bit of breakfast, and you can give me some background.

“I want to know everything about your daughter, exactly where you were when you last saw her and anything strange or untoward that has happened to you since

you arrived here. Then we can go out and start looking.”

While he made his way through an impossibly large plate of bacon, eggs and toast, Bryony couldn’t help comparing and contrasting him to Warren.

Mark Greenstreet couldn’t have been more his opposite – tall, broad and formal, wearing shirt and trousers, even while on holiday.

Once he wiped his mouth with his serviette and polished off a third cup of coffee, he stood up briskly.

“Right, we’d better get going then.”

“But this is your holiday, I can’t impose in that way. It’s so wonderful of you to offer to help, but shouldn’t you be out sightseeing?”

He gave her a hollow laugh and told her briefly why he was here on his own. About his rift with his wife Pippa and how his hope they might put things back together looked now like a false hope.

Then he chuckled as he told her how bored he’d been.

“I have a very short attention span on holiday. I go crazy with nothing to do. It makes me feel useless. If I can be of some use to you then I’ll have justified all this lazing about doing nothing.” He rubbed his chin.

“One of the reasons I came to Cuba is that I wanted to brush up on my Spanish. When I was a student I ran a couple of holiday camps in South America for disabled kids. I learned a lot of Spanish there and I’ve always tried to keep it up. Maybe I can go with you and question some of the people at the restaurant. If we go there at lunchtime today, we might find diners who were there when Anna disappeared.”

For the first time since Anna had gone, Bryony felt the weight on her shoulders to be slightly lighter than before. Mark Greenstreet was such a decisive man, so sure of himself.

When she got back to her room, her hotel phone was ringing. She ran to pick it up.

“Hi, I’m so glad I caught you.”

It was Paul, Warren’s brother. Bryony lay on the bed. It was good to hear a familiar voice.

She’d tried to get hold of Paul as soon as Anna disappeared but he was away working on a building site. Owning his own successful building company, he spent a lot of time travelling round England.

“This stuff with Anna sounds awful – is there anything I can do?”

Paul was always helpful, he’d been a rock and a comfort through her dark times.

It helped that he didn’t look at all like Warren, although they were brothers. Paul was the sporty outdoors type whereas Warren had always had his head buried over a laptop.

“You could do something for me,” she said. “I can’t get a phone signal and the internet connection over here is hopeless, you can hardly ever get it and when you do it’s as slow as a snail.

“Could you possibly go on to Anna’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and see what activity there’s been? Whether there are any clues to where she might have gone, or who she might have gone with.”

“I’d need her passwords and e-mail account details. Isn’t that just a bit too much like snooping? If she has just maybe gone off with someone and slept on their sofa or floor, won’t she be livid at you intruding?”

“I’ve thought of all that, Paul. In fact I churned it over in my mind endlessly last night. I have to do something, though, don’t you see? If she turns up and she’s angry with me then I’ll have to live with it. I have her password details in my handbag. Let me go and get them for you.”

She retrieved the bit of paper and read him the details.

“Warren insisted she give us her passwords when we allowed her to become involved in any social networking. Being an IT geek, he knew the dangers as well as the benefits of having a virtual life. It was one of his many ways of protecting her.”

“OK, I’m happy to be of help. Look, Bryony, the job I’m working on at the moment is going fine. I’ve got a brilliant project manager who’s keeping it all on track. I could come over, I could fly there right now.”

“Absolutely not. I couldn’t pull you away from your work, I know how important it is to you. I have to sort this on my own.”

“I’m sure I’m worrying unduly. Anna’s like any teenager, she may just have gone off with some of the young Canadians at the hotel, they seem to like having fun.”

Bryony was trying to convince herself as much as her brother-in-law.

“I keep on trying to rationalise what’s happened,” she continued. “After all, she’s eighteen, she’s not a child anymore and I wonder whether I’ve just been too much for her lately, trying to be superwoman and keep it all together.

“Maybe she needed a break from me, and maybe she’ll just wander in any moment. To have you spend all that money and pull you away from your work for nothing would be ridiculous. Besides, I came over here to try to be more independent without Warren.”

“You don’t have to be.”

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!