Chapter Six - Sometimes Dreams Do Come True
Back to: Chapter Five - A Surprise Meeting Next: Chapter Seven - Changing Times
After a shoddy night's sleep, Romany woke up feeling pretty snappy and tense. It took her a few moments to gather her thoughts and remember where she was. Ah yes, in jail with Seth Snape, her nemesis for some reason. She supposed insanity didn't need a reason.

She sat up and looked into Seth's cell. She realised quickly that the cell was empty! Where was Seth? Had she slept late and he had been released?!

His bed was freshly made, so it was quite clear he had gone some time ago. Romany felt very worried and disappointed. She had been hoping to question him today, with the protection of the bars between them, about why he hated her so much. She had to know where he was, he had hurt her once and she was sure he would do it again.

'PC Dunham! Are you there?' she yelled, standing up from the bed. The door to the cell area creaked open and Tobias looked in at her.

'What do you want Pike?' He asked coldly. He had not forgotten her blatant lies as of yet. Even worse, the beautiful Bethany had not liked his macaroni cheese dinner and had split up with him by the end of the night. His mood was not good.

'Where is Seth? Has he been released? I have to know, he is a danger to me,' Romany said, worriedly.

'He was released first thing this morning. Technically I couldn't keep him in custody as I don't know whom the money belongs to, as such he wasn't exactly stealing. Why do you ask? Worried what other lies of yours he might have revealed to me?' Tobias said.

'You dont understand PC Dunham, I only lied about my name because I have run away from a horrible home after my father died, I could not stand to be sent back there! Seth is dangerous, he is the one that gave me this scar on my face. He hates me for some reason and I am sure if he got half the chance he would do a lot more than what he has already done!' she cried, feeling near to tears.

There was something so vulnerable about Romany, with her skinny little face and big dark eyes, Tobias felt himself almost believing her. Perhaps, just perhaps, she was telling the truth and if so, maybe her life actually could be in danger. Then he remembered how she had lied to him so smoothly, without even a moments pause, when asked her name. Naive innocent people didn't tend to be able to lie so easily. He should remember that there was no room for believing the best of people in his line of work.

'And why would I believe you Pike?' He queried, nastily. 'You lie like a professional.' He hardened his heart to her and unlocked the door to the cell.

'It's time you were going. I won't caution you this time, but if I catch you stealing from people's rubbish bins again, I most certainly will. Goodbye,' He said tartly and walked away.

Romany panicked. She couldn't just go out on the streets again, it wasn't safe. She desperately wanted PC Dunham to believe her, she could see the kindness in his eyes sometimes. She felt he wanted to believe her. What could she do to convince him she needed his help?

'PC Dunham, may I please use the phone before I leave?' She queried, sadly.

Tobias looked at her. Most people were desperate to get out of the cells. Romany looked frightened.

'Um, well yes you can, just don't be long' he said, a little more kindly, before turning out of the cells.

Romany sighed with relief and picked up the phone. She called the only friend in the world she had. Jack Bunch. She couldn't sleep on the bench again, Seth would find her.

The phone rang and rang. Romany silently pleaded for Jack to pick up. Still it rang, until eventually the line just clicked off. He wasn't home. That was it, she was done for. She would have to try to hide from Seth and he would find her in the end. She had no money, no one to help her. Defeated, she stood, head bowed, and began to cry quietly.

' one answer? I am just going off shift, I could give you a lift somewhere. If you like,' Tobias said gently. He had come back in unnoticed and observing her, felt just maybe there was some truth in what she said. He could at least get her somewhere safe for the night to come.

'I don't have anywhere to go. Why do you care? I am just a lying little tramp, remember?!' Romany sobbed, past caring what PC Dunham thought of her. Then an idea came to mind. She couldn't make him believe she was telling the truth, but she could show him that she was.

'Actually, if you are going off shift, why not come with me and see how I live? See if you believe me then?' Romany asked, confrontationally.

Tobias thought about it. What was the alternative? Go home and be down about Bethany? Maybe he should humour Pike. Hell...why not?

'Al right then Pike, why not? But as I am a plain clothed PC, you must call me Tobias when out on the streets. I don't want people to know my job,' he stated.

'Only if you call me Romany, its a bit nicer than Pike,' she said, flashing him a small smile. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all.

'You don't want me to call you Emily then?' Tobias teased as they walked out of the cells.

'Oh very funny!' Romany twinkled back. Despite herself, she liked Tobias. He had a good heart, she could tell.

She decided the best place to start would be Central Park. It took ten minutes to walk there from the Jail but they filled the time with idle chatter. They discovered they both had the same taste in music.

Arriving at the park, she turned to face him.

'Welcome to Central Park, the best restaurant in Sunset Valley!' she said, with a little flourish.

'Restaurant? You mean you EAT here?' Tobias asked, surprised.

'Yes!' Romany replied, amused. 'There is often a picnic, I can beg for a meal from. There is the grill to cook any fish I catch from the river. Sometimes there is even hot dogs. If I need the toilet or a wash, there is bathrooms. Best of all, its outdoors, clean and pretty to look at!' she laughed.

Tobias thought of Bethany and her disapproval of his macaroni cheese. He doubted Romany would have turned down a meal, not if she lived off park food. No wonder she was skin and bone. Oh, there he went, feeling sorry for her again. He reminded himself that plenty of people these days pretend to be homeless, just to mooch money out of people, when really they had perfectly good homes!

They sat down on a bench near the fountain. For a moment neither of them spoke.

'How did you become homeless?' Tobias queried.

'Its a long story, but in summary my dad was murdered, someone tied him to a chair and threw him in his pool and I was sent to stay with my Aunt and Uncle whom were cruel to me, so I ran away,' she said flatly. No point beating around the bush.

'Patrick Pike! That was your father wasn't it!' Tobias suddenly exclaimed. 'I was one of the policemen called to the scene. The whole town of Twinbrook was horrified by his death, he was well thought of. I remember seeing a girl must have been you, but you look very different now!'

Romany was open mouthed. He had been there that night?! She had been so distressed she couldn't remember much of that evening past trying to save her father.

'Yes, Patrick was my father. He was a great man,' she said quietly.

'They never found whom did it, did they?' Tobias queried softly. 'All we found was a small yellow duck, floating in the pool.'

Romany jerked her head up. 'What? A duck you say? I never knew they found anything? Why didn't you tell me that?' she said, startled.

'To be fair, I remember my colleague did tell you, but you were in such a state, I don't think you took it in.' Tobias replied.

Romany sat still, pondering over it all. She rubbed at some dirt on her hand. She needed a bath, then she could think about all this later. Standing up she told Tobias they were moving on to the next place, in the tour of 'a day in the life of Romany Pike'.

She took him to the Wellness gym, trying not to think of the new information she had just been told. She didn't want to break down in front of Tobias. She didnt like to be vulnerable. She left him overlooking the pool whilst she had a quick shower, then rejoined him. They both stared down at the water.

'I believe you now, Romany' Tobias said softly. He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a bundle of simoleons. 'I can give you your money back, but I don't know what you want me to do. I could take you back to your Aunts? Maybe find you a hostel to stay in? I could report Seth to my colleagues but without any actual evidence and no way of knowing where he has gone, I don't know how seriously they will take it.'

It seemed hopeless. All the red tape meant that Tobias couldn't actually do anything for Romany. She was too old to be taken home like a naughty school girl and there really was nothing else he could do for her. They looked at each other, each feeling a touch of despair.

Romany was glad Tobias now believed her and held his gaze. Suddenly she felt self conscious as she looked into his warm dark eyes. She looked down, bashfully.

'It's okay Tobias,' she said quietly. 'I will figure something out.' She turned to walk away.

Tobias couldn't just let her walk away and caught her arm. Turning her to face him, he saw how sad she looked and before he could help himself, he leaned in and kissed her.

For a moment, Romany kissed him back, feeling his strong arms and steady heart beat against hers, enjoying the comfort that only physical contact could bring. It had been so long since she had been that close to anyone. Then she remembered what she was...and what he was and pulled away angrily.

'What did you do that for PC Dunham!' she threw at him. 'Did you feel sorry for me, the pathetic dirty tramp that I am? This isn't some sort of theatre show you know, with a nice happy ending. My life could be at risk and you think kissing me will help?!'

She turned and ran down the stairs, out of the gym. Tobias stood, rooted to the spot. What had just happened? Why on earth had he kissed her? He realised that there was some chemistry between them. Romany was right though, he was a police constable and she was a homeless thief. It did sound like a theatre show, but with Seth out to get her, how could there be a happy ending? He should just let her go.

Romany ran down the street, crying a little. She knew why. She did like Tobias, she liked him very much. She had loved his kiss, but look at how she lived. Raiding bins, sleeping on benches, no prospects, nothing. She wasn't good enough for the likes of him, with his nice house and job. Better to stay away and not bring trouble to his door.

One thing she was sure of, was that she needed to find $3000 simoleons and in a hurry. It was now the only way she could get off the streets and away from Seth. She was so close, all it would take is one more good find in the trash and she could buy her lot. Refusing to let herself think about Tobias, she went in search of some trash cans.

Spotting one outside a wealthy looking house, she got stuck in, hardly caring if anyone saw her or not. She pulled out a bottle of bubble bath. A newspaper. A Worthington teddy and finally, some space rock! It was worth $3200 simoleons! She stared at it in awe. That was it, she had done it, she had $16236 simoleons! She could by her own lot, get off the streets!

But not tonight. It was now very late and the estate agents would not be open until morning. What was she going to do? Seth was on the streets. He knew where she hid out, but there was nowhere else to go. She would have to chance her luck, hide in her park and hope he was not around.

She snuck back to her park and carefully surveyed it. All was quiet. She looked at the mud on the ground, no obvious fresh tracks. She was pretty sure the park was empty. She sat on her bench, tense and listening. Still nothing. Seth probably knew that the police may still be keeping an eye on the park and had stayed away. Romany however, had nothing to lose if she was discovered there.

She sat on the bench and thought about the day. Tobias and the kiss. The yellow duck found in her fathers pool. What did it mean? Her father hadnt owned a yellow duck. It had to be relevant somehow. She could feel herself getting sleepy as she turned different ideas over and over in her head. If she could just get through the night, she would have her house tomorrow. She would be safe. That was her last thought, as she fell asleep.

She needn't have worried about her safety. There was a policeman in the park. He stood watching over her sleeping. Tobias knew it was well over and above the call of duty and that Romany would not be happy to find him in her park, but he would just make sure she was safe tonight and be gone before she woke up.

He hadn't told Romany, but he had her Aunt's number. She had been reported missing, but he couldn't make her go home. It was however, his duty to let her Aunt know that she had been found and was okay. He took out his mobile and dialled...

Click Next: Chapter Seven - Changing Times to continue...

Back to: Chapter Five - A Surprise Meeting Next: Chapter Seven - Changing Times
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