Tuesday 23rd December
I barely slept a wink last night. I feel like a zombie. Hopefully tonight will be better. I can’t focus on anything. Even making breakfast is a chore and that’s just a matter of putting some bread in the toaster. I put it in the wrong way so the top part sticks out and I have to turn it around about half way through. What a pain. If I’m not careful today could be the day we need a new kitchen.
Mei is working late tonight because of the late night Christmas shopping. I think she offered to work it though I can’t be sure. It’s extra money at the end of the day. I don’t mind as long as she’s happy to do it. It means the rush hour should have died down by then and I won’t have to fight traffic. I leave the house to take Mei to work. I see the Starkies. Jason’s death is still the talk of the neighbourhood. I don’t bother telling them about my sad news as I don’t think I told them about her in the first place. I do tell them about Emma in the flats opposite and they look a little sheepish. Makes me wonder what it is that they’re hiding. Perhaps Emma had caught something through their bedroom window. Perhaps they’re into bondage as I thought. I let out a sly smile. That would be funny. Then I cringe.
They tell me that the case of Jason’s murder seems to have gone quiet. There was nothing on the local news about it, which surprises me also. I ask them if they know how Jason’s mum is doing with the older daughter. Nobody has seen either of them since it happened. They have food delivered from the supermarkets so at least they’re looking after themselves.
Mei coughs, which tells me to shut up and get in the car or she’ll be late. I don’t have to look at her to know what it means.
I get into the car with that being watched feeling. As I start up the engine I notice the Starkies scanning the windows of the flats.
I drive into Leyland and head up Golden Hill where I then turn left into Talbot Road and pull up out outside the depot. I don’t really want to go there and answer questions and have to put up with their sympathetic looks. Agatha will no doubt be her old self again. I just don’t want to deal with it. I also don’t want to deal with the jaw dropping Amy.
But the jaw dropping Amy is the first person I see. She’s leaning against her car again. I’m sure she does that while she’s waiting for me. There’s nothing to stop her going inside and getting to know the other drivers. Maybe she has a thing for me after all. I’m half flattered. If I wasn’t married I’d be in there like a shot. But I am. So behave yourself, Lee, you shouldn’t have to keep telling yourself. I’ve never cheated on anyone in my life. Been cheated on, though. It doesn’t feel nice at all.
She has her hair in a playful ponytail today. Even in the chill she looks hot. I get out and join her at her car. Before either of us speak I hand her the letter. She holds it and looks into my eyes for a second longer than I’m comfortable with.
While she reads it I look around. The witch’s blinds flutter as she glances out. I know she’s desperate to find out what’s in that envelope, but I won’t show her. That little bout of sympathy she gave me yesterday looked sincere but I suspect it was an act to get in on the gossip. I won’t give her the satisfaction, not after all the shit she’s given me.
Amy hands the letter back. ‘I’m sorry, Lee. You knew her a long time, didn’t you?’
I nod. ‘I can’t believe I didn’t know she has a son.’
Amy hugs me. I don’t hug back in case something happens. I don’t want that spark to ignite.
It begins, though, when Amy and I collect out boxes and I see her putting hers in her car. That arse. Nice. Tweedle dum and tweedle dee are watching through the open door past me. What can I say? Men are animals.
I get into my own car and leave before I dehydrate from drooling everywhere.