Day 271 – Half Hour Hitman – Part 21

Word count: 860

She was in tears. Fortrose had come unexpectedly.

Thunder clapped and a parade of rain ran down the window. The kettle boiled and some letters had just arrived through the letterbox. The flat was immaculately clean for a student. The desk was perfectly filed with what looked like an essay in progress on the laptop.

“I’m sorry,” Fortrose apologised.

Tanya was a beautiful girl. A model figure, luscious hair and a pretty face, she seemed to radiate a lot of nervous energy. When she had answered the door her bottom lip had been trembling. When Fortrose identified himself she could barely form the words to ask him in and whether or not he wanted a cup of tea. Fortrose felt uncomfortable.

“Don’t be sorry, it’s… it’s still hard,” Tanya wiped away her tears with her hands. “There we go, better now. Two sugars?”

Tanya busied herself making the tea, “So what is this about? It can’t be anything good or bad, I guess?”

“What makes you think that?”

“Good, you’d have found have him. I’d have heard on the news or through the grapevine. Bad, I’d have gotten a phone call.”

Fortrose nodded.

“Then why are you here? I heard the case was closed, wanker walked away?”

“You’re angry at him?”

Tanya sat down dramatically, “I don’t know. I don’t know what to think? I can’t just believe my boyfriend walked out on every one he knew, but what else is there? What else could have happened?”

“Something tells me that’s not what you really believe?”

“I don’t know what I believe. It changes. Daily,” she poured a little whisky in her coffee, “Don’t judge. Exams are difficult,” she cut in before he could open his mouth, “Some days I wake up and I wish he was lying next to me. Sometimes I text him in the off chance he’ll respond. Sometimes I can’t stop crying because I hate him so much. If he fucked off to find himself in Nepal, he has pretty much ruined my life. I’m on the brink of failing my exams. I don’t have any friends left.”

“Your friends were mainly in Andy’s circle?”

“Sort of yes, but I lost a lot through…” she eyeballed the detective. He looked back at her, feeling unnerved. “Just things,” she looked away, “But yes, his friends don’t speak with me at all now.”

Tanya took another drink of her now-Irish coffee, “But why are you asking about all this now? Isn’t it one of those closed cases?”

“No, not until we find him.”

“Dear or alive?” she sat forward in her chair.

Fortrose could not help but be intrigued by her strange character. She seemed both sad and excited that he was here.

“I’m reviewing new lines of inquiries,” he utilised his rehearsed line. From his suit jacket he took out a notebook, flicked to the latest used page and read the words on the page. “You said the last time you spoke to him was the night he disappeared. You were arguing?”

Tanya sighed, “Yes…”

“Did you argue a lot?”

“Listen, I’ve been through this already. I have an alibi.” Tanya was on edge immediately.

“Miss, I’m not accusing you of anything…”

“Good, I’m just saying. I’ve been through this before.”

“I know, that’s why I’m asking you about it. Perhaps my colleague before me missed something. Now, did you argue a lot?”

“We were a couple. It was never over anything serious.”

“I understand that you contacted him a lot…”

“No more than a girlfriend does…”

“Gimme a clue, every day? Every evening?”

“Once or twice a night, but you know…”

“I heard differently. I heard it was much more than that.”

“Who was it? Tom, James, Jack? Bunch of losers hated me anyway.”

Fortrose was not entirely sure what to make of this girl. From her appearance, she looked as if she could be a calm, collected and sophisticated student who would one day nab herself a rich man, a first class degree and make a good life for herself. But her words were still twisted by the teenager in her – she even knew it herself by the way she was covering up her faults. This girl knew she was not perfect, but wanted to absolutely maintain that illusion through the way she looked.

“Did you love him?”

“I don’t know, it’s… it’s all confusing,” she stood up and turned her back on him to look out the window. “It’s so long ago.”

“It’s been a few months.”

“I don’t know! Okay? Just drop it.”

“Have you spoken to his mum at all?”

“No, she threw me out of the house the last time I went round.”

“Why?” Fortrose moved closer to her.

“We never got on, when… when he was around. I think she thought I might have been the reason he left.”

“And were you?”

“He’s out there, somewhere. I can feel it. But it’s not because of me,” she turned around to come face to face with the detective, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes, Fortrose, but driving a man to disappear off the edge of the Earth isn’t one of them.”

~ by S.G. Mark on July 4, 2012.

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