Friday 31 December 2010 – Monday 3 January 2011
Oh, to love someone that intensely. It’s all a little bit too creepy for me.
Robbie wondered what he could say. The truth of the matter was, he didn’t how to explain about Benji’s death.
‘I don’t know. One minute he was standing next to me in the batting cage, the next minute he was down on the ground. No one saw anything. Did the autopsy give you any idea?’ He hoped he didn’t sound heartless.
She shook her head, ‘He had a small puncture mark on his arm, like a needle mark. But other than that, nothing. Inconclusive is what they said. What the hell does that mean? Inconclusive?’ She paused. ‘I hope he wasn’t using again. I mean, that would explain the needle mark, right?’
Robbie didn’t know how to answer her question, but he didn’t think that she was really expecting an answer. She just needed to vent, to get out all of her frustration. He always was happy to sit and listen to Ava, and he didn’t mind at all what she chose to speak about. The woman had the most enchanting voice.
‘Well, I guess rehab isn’t guaranteed to cure anyone of their addiction. It’s not uncommon for drug addicts to go back to their habit after spending time in rehab.’ He tried to sound as conciliatory as possible. The last thing Robbie wanted to do was upset Ava. She took it hard enough when they first discovered that Benji had a severe drug addiction.
‘We should go back downstairs, Ava.’
She didn’t move. Robbie thought that she hadn’t heard and repeated his statement. It drew a bewildered expression from her.
‘People will notice that we’re not there. They’ll talk.’
‘Let them talk. I don’t care what they say.’
He stood and walked towards the door, hands in his pocket. Ava could see him fidgeting. She smiled, thinking that her proximity to Robbie was making him nervous. She knew it wasn’t uncommon for men to react this way to her. It happened quite often, even before she was an A-list actress.
Robbie opened the door and waited anxiously for Ava to move. He studied the floor, unable to look at her now, feeling as if she knew what his secret was.
‘After you,’ he said quietly.
Ava walked out of the room, deliberately brushing Robbie as she went. Her attitude towards him was beginning to soften. This was the Robbie Bartell that she had fallen in love with as a teenager. While he had seemed objectionable earlier, she was now starting to remember just how charming she used to find him.
He closed the door behind himself and they walked slowly to the stairs.
‘We made a great couple, Robbie, when we were younger.’
Robbie smiled. ‘Yeah, we did.’
He paused at the top of the stairs, waiting for her response. It came quickly.
‘I’ve got some time off from filming. I wasn’t planning on sticking around town, but I think I’d like to spend some time catching up with you. Do you think that would be possible?’
His smile broadened. His plan was falling nicely into place, but he momentarily paused before responding to Ava’s question.
‘I guess so. I mean, that would be great.’
Ava reached out and squeezed Robbie’s arm. For a moment, he thought she might pull his hand from his pocket, so he let go of the object he was holding in his hand. For that moment, Robbie froze with panic. But she did not try and take his hand, instead heading back down stairs.
When he knew she was out of the way, Robbie removed his hand from his pocket, and looked at the object that he held.
‘I’ll have to get rid of you now,’ he said quietly to the small vial of clear liquid. ‘No need for you anymore, and they obviously didn’t find you in Benji’s blood. And now, I have my Ava back.’
He replaced the small glass container in his pocket, and followed the love of his life back down to the wake, satisfied with the knowledge that his heinous plan had worked exactly as he had intended.
. . . The end . . .