Catalin shook her head and sighed as if she wasn’t going to do it. “It’ll take a minute or two.”
“Oh, thank you, Cat,” Beth said, squeezing the girl’s hands.
Catalin closed her eyes and opened them thirty seconds later.
“He’s found a way around his promise to Alex,” she said. “He left town early this morning and drove far away. And he killed someone. A homeless man.”
“I told you he was dangerous, Beth. I know you won’t listen; you don’t even listen when I tell you the answer to a maths problem. You always have to go and work it out for yourself. If you do that in this situation, Beth, if you play this game, you will die.”
Beth didn’t say anything. She just turned around and walked towards the car.
“Beth, I’m sorry but it’s true and you know it. This is a dangerous game you’re playing.”
Beth just carried on walking.
“Beth, what’s wrong?” Alex asked worriedly.
“Nothing,” she said sharply.
She got straight into the car and folded her arms across her chest angrily. Alex got in beside her and touched her knee. She didn’t respond to his touch. He sighed, frustrated, but left her alone. Catalin sat in the back and wouldn’t look at either Beth or Alex. Alex glanced between them and drove away.
The awkward silence in the car remained all the way to Beth’s house. When she got out, she gave Alex a quick kiss before getting out.
After shutting the car door, she went straight to the front door of her house and unlocked it.
“Oh, hello, darling,” her mother said as she closed the door behind her. “Where’s Jack?”
“I don’t know; Alex brought me home,” Beth said as she headed for the stairs.
“Okay. Are you going to bed now?”
Beth walked up the stairs and stepped into her room. Robert was sat on the outside edge of her windowsill, her window open. Her mother must have opened it.
“What was that all about?” he asked, with a raised eyebrow.
Beth shook her head and sighed. “Just... had an argument with Catalin.”
“She told me about the man you killed.”
“You asked her about that? You could have just asked me. I would have just told you.”
“Catalin said that I play this game, I’ll die.”
“I take it she meant that it would be my fault.”
“Isn’t it wonderful how much faith she has in me?” he murmured.