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The Adventure of the Venetian Pearls (part 4)

"Hi, I'm Nicky."

"Er... Yes?"

"Your cousin, Nicole," she prompted. "Your uncle's daughter from London."

"Aah... Yes."

Chris would never have recognised her. They had met only once, an eternity ago. He was
frantically searching for something clever to say. Eventually, he had to settle for,

"I didn't know you'd be coming as well."

"No. We were going to France but mother got a summer 'flu. So my parents sent me here

They both sighed in mutual understanding.

Then Nicky pointed to the almost empty conveyor.

"Will you manage?"

"Sure, it's just that backpack there."

It was a bright day with a fresh breeze from the sea. St. Mary's is the main island of the
archipelago. Although it seemed possible to see everything at a glance, the heliport was a fair
distance away from Hugh Town where they were going to stay.

"Do we have to walk?" Chris asked. His backpack was rather heavy.

"No," Nicky laughed. "Mike brought me here and promised to pick us up. He's a driver for
one of the bigger hotels and very nice, you'll see."

Relieved, Chris put his backpack down and had another look around. The rest of the heliport
was much more modern. Just behind the entrance glass door, two people were waiting for
transport: Barbie and her husband. He was standing near a counter and arguing with an
official. She was stroking her dog, smiling sweetly. Suddenly, the man grabbed his two bags
and, with his wife in tow, came marching towards the two children.

"Imbeciles, the whole bunch of them!" He dropped his bags a few metres away from Chris
and Nicky. "I ordered a taxi! But did they send one? No. As I say... Imbeciles."

"It's all right, caro," his approaching wife tried to calm him down.

In the meantime, Nicky called the collie. "Hello boy!" She crouched downd and told Chris,
"I'm crazy about dogs, and they are about me."

At once the collie came towards Nicky, and she stretched out her hand for it to sniff.

"Get away there!"

(To be continued)