Alex sighed internally. Cat probably knew exactly what he was thinking about but he didn’t care at that moment. No matter what he did to forget, he couldn’t. There was nothing that could make him forget anything, not even for a moment, except for... No, he couldn’t – wouldn’t – think about that.
Pulling into the driveway of the large, Victorian house, Alex realised he’d completed the journey absent-mindedly, not even focusing on the slippery, snow-covered roads.
Getting out, he quickly hurried to Beth’s door and helped her out. By the time the two of them reached the front door, Catalin was already inside, waiting to shut the door behind them.
After Alex had stepped into the house, he shut the door, dusting off the snow that had clung to his hair and shoulders. He looked out of the window. It was becoming heavier now, falling even faster. There was already more than an inch of snow smothering the ground. Alex frowned; he knew this most definitely wasn’t natural, even for England. Beth was frowning too, but not because of the weather, not really; but because she was worried about Alex – and he knew it.
Catalin called to him. “Alex, can I have a word please?”
Alex didn’t respond, he didn’t move. He didn’t make any acknowledgement that she’d even spoken.
“Alejandro,” she said, more firmly.
Alex slowly turned to look at her with blank eyes. She hadn’t used his full name for decades.
“A word?” she asked again, though it was hardly a question.
He followed her into the kitchen, rudely leaving Beth in the entrance hall. He knew she would be okay; she’d just go and sit in the living room, watching TV or something.
“He’s here,” Catalin murmured.
“Did you expect him to leave us alone?” Alex said emotionlessly. He’d known this would happen eventually.
“Of course not!” she hissed. “But what are we going to do?”
“I’m not leaving. Not again. I won’t run anymore; I’m tired of it.”
“Okay then. We’ll stay. But he’ll hurt people, Alex. I can handle that, but can you?”
Alex looked down at his twin sister, with her light blonde-brown hair, several shades paler than his own. They both shared their mother’s dark green eyes but Catalin had inherited the freckles, where Alex had not.
He knew that, as she said it, she was thinking of Beth. He wouldn’t be able to handle it if anyone got hurt – killed – because of him, not again, but especially not her.
“No,” he whispered in reply to her question.
“What are we going to do then?” she asked.
Beth was sat on the sofa, thinking. She’d never seen Cat and Alex so worried before. No, ‘worried’ was the wrong word... They were scared. Whoever that man was, he’d frightened them, and that was enough for her; her friends never got scared or nervous, not in the whole eight months she’d known them.
She loved Alex, with all her heart, but she hadn’t told him. Recently, she felt as if they’d been drifting apart, as if something was eating away at their relationship.