It was approximately 2 months after Beth's disappearance that I found myself finally on my feet again. I'd taken a job for a side line company to what was my company, and I'm sure they took pity on me but I hadn't much choice, I was just thankful I had taken them on when I did. Now though, I can't think about my company, it isn't mine.
I tried tracking them down, both Beth and Michael. The building I rented for my ex-business had been dropped and they'd moved on, but no one would say where to. I tried everything but had no luck. It was when I decided to give it up - let it go, that something happened…
It wasn't long after I'd started my new job and quite typically I was rushing around my apartment in a fluster! Being late was never an issue when I was my own boss and quite frankly this was all new to me, I couldn't afford to slip up. I slipped on my red heels, grabbed my bag and my keys and opened the front door, down the steps and along the cobbled pathway toward my car parked by the gate.
I must admit to not looking up, as I was reaching inside my bag for my mobile that was now ringing. Managing, I continued to walk as fast as I could in heels and put the mobile to my ear.
"Susan, are you on your way, the…"
"Hi Susan" she said softly with a wavering smile.
"Susan, please? Let me explain?" Beth's voice came more solid now as I threw my bag into the car.
I looked up at her with a screwed face "Explain it? What makes you think I give a flying fuck for what you have to say?" I cursed and sat in the driver's seat, closing the door before she could answer.
The sound of Beth's voice muffled as I turned the engine on and put the car into gear. I gripped the steering wheel, begging myself to have the strength to just go, but I didn't I just sat there looking ahead feeling her eyes watching me through the window.
I sighed, and opened the window to her. I looked at her just once and then ahead again whist putting the car in neutral.
"Thank you…" she began.
"He made me do it, he made me and it wasn't what I wanted, Ok? It wasn't what I wanted" her voice wobbled on the last word and she reached for air to steady herself.
I turned slowly and looked up at her. Her face was as soft and as beautiful as it was the last time I saw her. She held her hand over her mouth to hide how shaken she was by the whole thing and tears began to build in her eyes. Suddenly I felt sorry for her. I could see she was genuinely upset. I turned the engine off and that's when I heard my mobile ringing again. Ignoring it I looked up at her to see surprise on her face.
"Aren't you going to answer that?" she asked, now wiping the few tears cascading down her cheeks.
"No" I said as a mater of fact and reached for it, cancelling the call. Again I looked up at her "We need to talk" I added and grabbing my bag I stepped out of the car. I moved passed her and with a nod I silently asked her to follow me; again she looked surprised but took up the path with me toward the house.
"Oh, was it that hard to open before?" she asked.
Once again silent we moved into the hall where I dropped my keys and bag on the side. Then she followed me into the front room.
"Beth," I interrupted her nervous mumbling and parked my bum of the arm of the sofa "You have to tell me what happened" I told her.
She nodded gently and stepped closer, "Michael, he has always had his way with me Susan. I never planned any of it, I had no idea what was going on until he met me in the lobby of the hotel, telling me that if I didn't get in the car with him then he'd kill you!" she shook her head "I'm sorry, I couldn't risk it, he wouldn't think twice about it, believe me!"
"Yes" She said in a sorry tone. "He also told me that if I ever saw you again he'd kill me."
For a second I couldn't breathe, I cast my eyes up toward hers and as I finally took in the air my lungs so desperately needed I felt my heart began to throb at the thought of him ever doing such a thing. "Then you shouldn't be here!" I sighed.
"He will never know I came to see you!"
The tone in her voice only worried me - she wasn't convincing me or herself. I stood and slipped out of my heels so that I was eye level with her, and then moved in closer "You shouldn't be here Beth" I said softly, and watched her mouth open to reply but nothing came out. She was fighting something; I could still read her like a book.
Beth folded her arms and looked to the ground to hide the tears building in her eyes.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Wait, he was planning?"
"Yes, but something happened. I accidentally walked in on him making plans on the phone to have it done. I was scared as to what he'd do knowing I overheard and so I somehow…" she sniffed and her eyes looked up meeting mine sharply.
She hesitated, and then leaned over putting her face a few inches away from mine. "I killed him. I shot him with his own gun!" she said softly, the hot breath of her words tickling my lips.
"What?" I asked under my breath.