‘Listen to me, I . . . uh . . . completely forgive you.’ Jesse said, ‘I understand, okay. I know you got angry.’
‘I don’t want to talk to you.’ she said quietly, ‘what made you call?’
‘Well . . . it’s a long story,’ he said, ‘I’ve been talking to this guy on Facebook called Matt, and-’
‘What’s his handle?’ she cut in.
‘It’s gather gay if you ask me,’ he hesitated, ‘He told me never to tell anyone that he existed-’
‘WHAT. IS. HIS. FACEBOOK. HANDLE?’
‘It’s ‘Geo Luvs fashion’. Rather gay, like I told you.’
‘Now you listen to me’ Holly said, trying hard to control her anger, ‘what did you guys talk about?’
‘Well . . . he basically said hi to me about a week ago. We got familiar. He said that he was good with counselling. I told him about us, how you had . . . shot me, out of the blue. He said that I had probably provoked you. I realised that it was my fault. I shouldn’t have said those things about your parents. I don’t hold anything against you, now that-’
Holly shut her phone, and chucked it across the room, disgusted. She couldn’t believe that Matt had contacted Jesse even after she had told him firmly to never do that. It didn’t seem like Matt- he always listened to her. She would’ve normally associated this kind of thing with Ian. There was a small knock on the door, and a scared Jeannie looked in. Holly tried to breathe deeply, keeping her anger in check.
‘Is Matt still there?’ she asked. Jeannie nodded. ‘Can you send him in, please?’ she closed her eyes, feeling drained out.
Jeannie shut the door behind her, but she could hear her speaking right outside the door, as if all four of them were eavesdropping. Matt came in within a few seconds, and shut the door again. Another time, Holly would’ve laughed at this shutting-the-door routine, but she didn’t even feel like smiling now.
‘Why did you do that?’ she asked, getting up. He didn’t answer, confused. ‘Why did you talk to Jesse?’ she asked, furious.
‘I . . . I don’t know what you’re talking about’ he said.
‘Oh you do’, she continued in the same tone, ‘You talked to him on Facebook.’
Now he knew that she had found out. He silently cursed Jesse in his mind- he had specifically told him never to tell anyone about him.
‘Well, there’s nothing wrong in-‘
‘I TOLD YOU NOT TO TALK TO HIM!’ she shrieked.
‘Why?’ he asked, ‘What is it that bothers you so much? Why can’t you just hear him out? Don’t you feel the least bit bad about what you did to-?’
‘You think I haven’t been down there? D’you think I’ve never felt guilty about what I’ve done?’ she said, trembling with anger, ‘If he had opened his mouth back then, I would be behind bars now. I’m . . . glad that he’s all right, and that he didn’t open his mouth, but that’s it. I DON’T WANT ANYTHING ELSE TO DO WITH HIM.’
‘Is it so bad just to talk to him?’ Matt asked.
‘I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO HIM. WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?’
‘Caroline, listen to me-’ Matt tried again.
‘No, Matt Callahan, you listen to me this time,’ she spat, ‘I don’t want him to know that you know me, or you’ll repent it. I KNOW Jesse, all right. The only reason he didn’t report me back then was because he needed me. I wanted to break up, but he didn’t listen. When I didn’t listen, he started abusing me on the phone, picking fights with every guy I was seen with-‘
‘Then why would he say that he has forgiven you?’ Matt cut in.
‘he’s trying everything he knows to make me . . . He wants me to owe him, so that he can blackmail me to get back with him, and then it’ll be hell, For me and for every guy I know. I DON’T WANT YOU TO SUFFER BECAUSE OF THAT. He taunted Shaun into mild depression. I was there, I know.’
Matt didn’t say anything, for he didn’t know what to make of anything she had said.
‘Then why didn’t you report him to the cops?’ he asked at last.
‘I did something illegal too. If I went to the cops, so would he.’
‘How about reporting him before you shot him?’
‘I . . . was scared, okay. Initially, he was a very nice person. Then something went wrong in his family, and he became incredibly possessive. He had started stalking me, breaking into my room to talk to me. He was obsessed. That day, I went over to his house, and threatened him that if he dared to stalk me again, I would call the cops. Then he started abusing and my parents. . .’
‘Okay . . . so how do you know about him taunting Shaun?’
‘I had told him about Shaun back when we were dating! Once I started avoiding him, he thought that I must be going out with someone else, and started pestering me about his name. I asked Shaun, and he was ready to help, so I told Jesse that I was going out with him. He’s been stalking Shaun on facebook ever since then.’