Mail Order Bride, Romance, Part 4
Ana has been arrested by the immigration authorities, and now Luther can’t find her passport. What is going on?
Ana gets invited to live in the UK with Mr Townsend. They met through an internet agency, but instead of a happy marriage, Ana is put to work in the household. Ana and her housemate Luther become closer and they even share a kiss, until Elise steps in. During a raid at Luther’s residence, Ana gets arrested for not being able to show her passport or visa.
Luther Townsend was still slightly confused from the telephone call he had just received. The immigration authorities had asked him whether he knew Ana Vasilyev as they had a woman by that name in their custody. They had been surprised to hear he knew her and invited her from Russia. He needed to find her passport and pick her up. He couldn’t stand the thought of her sitting in a small cell worrying about her residency.
He went to his office and turned the lock of the small drawer. He always left the key in. His housekeeper Betsy wasn’t going to snoop or steal from him. And he even trusted Ana, even though she’d only been with him for a short period. Strangely, he couldn’t find Ana’s passport. It was the last thing he had added to this drawer, so it should have been on top of the documents inside. He took everything out and went through the items one by one. There was no passport.
This was strange. He checked the other drawers where he might have placed it but when he could not locate it, he began to feel concern.
When he left his office, he bumped into Elise.
“Oh hey, big guy. I was just looking for you. Care for a cup of tea?” She purred.
Luther sighed and shook his head. “No, I can’t do that right now. There’s something I need to set straight first.”
“Oh no-sies, you shouldn’t have to work on your days off.”
Her voice was so sickly sweet it made him want to barf.
He could not believe he had once been interested in her romantically. Secretly, of course, since she had been his sister-in-law. During his marriage, he had always wondered if he had chosen the right woman. Turns out that, yes, he did choose all right when he married Miriam. He had never seen this side to Elise and he didn’t like it one bit.
“It’s not work. Something to do with Ana.” He pushed her aside and made his way over to a spare bedroom he also used for storage.
“Ana? I knew she spelt trouble from the moment she set foot in this house.”
“Yes, well, I invited her into my house so she can become my wife one day.”
Elise feigned shock. It was so obviously fake that Luther could not consider it sincere even for a moment. He did not understand why she held such a deep dislike for his companion.
“Sorryto refuse your tea, but I must finish this first.” He strode off and turned the guest room upside down. No passport there either.
A few cabinets and boxes later, he was at his wit’s end. He had promised Ana that he would keep her papers safe. He was no human trafficker. He had checked the visa and was confident he’d stored Ana’s passport safely with his own.
He returned to the first spot he looked. Elise was there next to the open drawer.
She jumped guiltily as he entered the room but triumphantly held up a Russian passport. “Look, here it is!”
He snatched the document from her hand and rifled through it. It was Ana’s passport, and it looked to be intact. “Where did you get that from?”
“Just here. I thought I’d help you look for it. You must have missed it the first time.”
He shook his head, grumbled and made for the door.
“Please leave,” he called over his shoulder as he slammed out of the house.
He hurried to the location where the officials were holding Ana. He hoped she wouldn’t be too traumatised by the event. He guessed she would be stoic enough to be able to deal with the situation, but it still couldn’t have been fun.
He approached the front desk.
“Hi, I believe my housemate Ana Vasilyev is here in custody.”
The woman eyed him as if he’d disturbed her massively. From what he could glimpse, she had actually been browsing Facebook.
“That may be.”
“I have her passport here. She is in England on a valid visa.”
The woman took the passport and studied the contents. “I’ll call someone for you.”
She summoned the person in charge, who joined them a couple of minutes later.
“Captain McDowell. Nice to meet you.”
“I believe you have information regarding one of my detainees?”
Luther gave a short nod. “Yes, Ana Vasilyev.”
The captain nodded. “We apprehended her earlier today. We raided your residence?”
“You owe me an apology, I’ve been onto my legal team and you should not have accessed my property without me present. I have nothing to hide, but neither is there anything illegal going on at my house.”
The man smirked. “We had reason to believe you were hiding illegal foreigners, so when we found this lady claiming to be from Russia….”
“She’s not illegal. I have all the paperwork right here.”
“Yes, we’ll investigate. Please take a seat.”
“There is nothing to investigate! I brought you her passport and visa. I’m here to take her home.”
“I shall check the validity of these documents as per protocol. I’ll be back in a minute.”
While shaking his head at the rigidity of bureaucracy, Luther went to the waiting area and sat down. All he could do was wait.
An hour later, the captain returned.
Luther put his phone away and approached the officer.
The“We have been able to corroborate your statement, and both the passport and the visa are valid.” He handed Luther back the documents.
Luther put them in his briefcase.
“Good. Can I take her home now?”
“I’ll ask the officers to bring her out.”
“How did you come to be at my house, if I may ask? I’ve never done anything to arouse suspicion.” Luther inquired.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. Your name came up in our investigation.”
“I expect my name is cleared now, and this will not happen again,” Luther said menacingly.
“The situation has been resolved, and the case will be closed.”
The two men nodded stiffly to each other.
Another ten minutes later, Ana was finally brought into the hallway.
“Ana!” Luther said, a little louder than planned.
A smile of relief washed over her face. “Mr Townsend.”
He took her into his arms and pressed her head against his shoulder. It felt right to be together again.
“Thank you, Mr Townsend,” she said.
“I’m sorry this happened to you, Ana. Let’s go home.”
Luther quickly brought her to his car. Once in the safety of its luxury confines, a different plan came to him.
“Are you hungry, Ana?”
She looked up in shock, having been far away in thought.
“Yes, I could eat.”
“Good, then we’ll do that.”
Instead of his house, he now steered to a restaurant nearby. It was a tough call, but it fitted the situation.
The waiter at the door greeted him personally when he entered. “Good evening, Mr Townsend. Long time no see.”
“Good to see you, Frederic. I hope your food is still good?”
“Excellent as ever, sir. Would you like the same table? The diners before you have just left.”
“That’d be perfect.”
“Certainly.” Frederic led the way to the table. It was quite far back but near the window, as Miriam had preferred.
“Anything to drink, sir, madam?”
“Yes, please. A chardonnay for me, please. And you, Ana?”
“Same for me, please.”
“Coming right up.”
Luther smiled as the waiter walked off. “Miriam quite fancied that one.”
“Your wife?” Ana asked him carefully.
“Yes, my late wife. We came here often. She was always delighted with the food. I hope you’ll enjoy it too.”
“I’m sure I will.” She pulled at her T-shirt. “I feel like I should have dressed up, into something more fancy.”
Luther shook his head. “They know me here, and we dined here both in black tie and casual after a day in town.”
“Also after prison?” Ana asked cheekily.
Luther laughed heartily. “We never had that before. Let’s not ask.”
They had a pleasant dinner. After their starter Tartar, Luther had his favourite ‘Seared Alaskan Halibut’, and he advised Ana to try the ‘Seared Atlantic Salmon.’
The two of them enjoyed the interlude immensely and shared a pleasant conversation. Ana had a trio of desserts while Luther had chosen the Grand Marnier chocolate mousse, but just as he was feeding her a small bite from his plate. A loud voice suddenly boomed through the dining room. “Stop this charade right now!”
Cutlery clanged on the plates as people dropped it in shock. Luther’s heart sank as the irate woman marched toward his table. Elise.
Elise began to pull on Ana’s chair.
“She does not belong here! She should be in jail. I hid her passport for a reason; filthy Russian whore.”
Luther rose and tried to get in between the two women.
“Elise, cut it out. What are you doing here?”
“I told you before: that slut needs to go. I’m here to protect your legacy.”
“Please stop, Elise.” Restaurant security was edging closer. “You have no say in this. Ana is my choice. I invited her to the country and today to this restaurant.”
Ana looked in shock from one to the other.
“Luther is my friend. You are not my friend.”
“What would Miriam say if she saw the two of you together here?”
“She’d be happy I have moved on with my life. You know damn well how hard this has been for me. Please, just leave us alone.”
He nodded to the two security guards.
“It’s time to go, miss,” the one closest to her spoke.
He grabbed her upper arm and began pushing her towards the exit. Elise squealed like a pig and spewed swear words toward Ana and Luther.
When she was pushed outside, calmness returned to the dining room.
“I am so sorry, Ana. It seems to be the only thing I’m saying today.”
Ana shook her head. “Is not your fault. The woman is crazy.”
Luther agreed. They finished their desserts, but had lost their appetite. This really needed to end. He still didn’t understand what Elise had against Ana and how he could make it stop. Should he send Ana back to Russia, perhaps? Would that be the solution? Or did he think they could have a chance of a relationship together? So many questions. He would need to have a serious discussion with Ana sometime soon. Because the current situation couldn’t go on.