Chapter Thirty-Four: Girls Gone Wild

Delia awoke in pitch-black darkness, feeling sweaty and out of breath. She'd no idea how long she'd been asleep. Her plan to escape with Daisy depended on fooling the ever-vigilant Mrs. Huddleston, making Lady Violet's housekeeper believe that she was tired, utterly worn out after a long day in the recording studio.

Clearly the first part of her plan had succeeded!

Trembling with nerves, the keyed-up redhead scrambled out of the enormous bed. She didn't dare turn on the light for fear of alerting the housekeeper. Mrs. Huddleston had been watching her like a hawk all through dinner. Delia remembered having soup from a tray in bed while the stern housekeeper stood nearby. Beneath her gaze, Delia felt exactly like a prisoner under guard!

The clumsy redhead cursed in the darkness, nearly falling over her own guitar case. She'd fallen asleep soon after dinner, forgetting that she wanted to sing and work on a new song. It was funny how Mrs. Huddleston hadn't bothered to put away her things. She always scolded the young singer for leaving her jeans and boots just lying about anywhere on the floor. Now Delia was feeling about for the closet, tugging on the door, hoping she could find something to wear before Daisy turned up on her motorbike.

Nothing was in the closet! Delia felt around frantically in the dark, but all her fingers found was a frilly robe and a pair of slippers. And then she remembered Mrs. Huddleston grumbling about taking her grubby jeans and dirty boots for a proper cleaning.

Delia had no idea where her clothes were. Lady Violet's villa was huge, and in the dead of night she could hardly wander around in her robe and slippers, searching rooms and switching on lights at random. She had to find some outdoor clothes in a hurry!

Daisy laughed and laughed when she got a look at Delia's mismatched attire. "Are you supposed to be a scarecrow?"

"It isn't funny," the redhead panted, still out of breath after her run through the garden. She'd climbed a high wall after raiding the gardener's shed, knowing the boy who clipped the hedges and mowed the lawns kept a rag-box of odds and ends in the corner. She'd found a pair of cut-off denim shorts, as well as a boy's tattered soccer jersey and a straw hat. Her feet were bare but that wasn't such a hardship. It was summer in the south of France.

"You won't stick out on the dance floor dressed like that," said the tall girl with the spiky black hair. Perched on her motorcycle, Daisy looked like one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. "Climb on," she commanded.

"Do we really have to go to the discotheque?" Delia had to shout to be heard over the roar of the engine. She also had to keep her bare feet well away from the burning hot exhaust pipes. She hung on for dear life as Daisy zoomed down the narrow dirt road, wrapping her arms tightly around her friend's narrow waist.

"Just the place to find him," Daisy shouted back. She added something else, but Delia couldn't catch the rest of it. Find who?

The dance floor was packed, the discotheque was sweltering hot, and Delia needn't have worried that she was barefoot and wearing rags. Everyone was squeezed so close together, and the lights were so dim (and the music was so very, very loud) that it hardly mattered what she was wearing. Daisy simply shoved her into the thickest part of the pack and there was no looking back.

"All right, now that boy over there is named Lucian," Daisy shouted, prying Delia loose from the pack after twenty or thirty hot and sticky minutes. "He's an absolute genius with computers."

"Computers? What?" Delia's ears were ringing from all the loud music, and her head was buzzing from the drinks she'd gulped down. A couple of naughty French boys had groped and squeezed and rubbed against her in all sorts of wicked ways, but Delia didn't really mind. She felt more alive than she had in weeks!

"All you have to do is dance with him," Daisy was shouting in her ear. "Get up nice and close, rub up against him, and then grab that thing that's sticking out of his back pocket."

"What thing?"

"The video you wanted to find, silly! The one that shows your friend Lady Agatha having sex with that bulked up bodybuilder. Lucian hacked in and retrieved it for me this afternoon."

"Then why do I have to dance with him?" Delia pushed back against Daisy, so the two girls were face to face for a moment under the pulsating red and blue lights.

"He's shy," Daisy whispered, when there was a quiet moment. "You don't understand, you're Delia Simms, the famous singer. He's an internet geek with no life except for playing games on his computer. He's been waiting all his life for a moment like this."