“Well, I don’t know everything,” I said truthfully, and reluctantly, “But yes, he was, um…murdered.”
My voice fell quiet again.
“But tell me about you. You rang me why?”
“Oh, Belle! I had a baby girl!”
I grinned, a sudden surge of joy splitting through myself. That rain was going and there was sunshine behind the clouds.
“Hey, I’ve decided that, because you’ve been so nice to me, and got nothing back but bad (especially since your ex got coshed), I’m going call her Annabelle.”
“Aww, thanks, Brenda. You shouldn’t have…”
“Honey, do you need me to come down there to help?”
“No, don’t worry, I’ve someone here looking after me-”
“No! Just a friend, okay.”
“Well, as long as you’re happy…and you’re moving on from that meany Peter…”
“Brenda! That’s not fair. Pete left me with so much and I… Well, it’s hard… I mean…”
My bottom lip trembled threateningly. Mike walked to me and placed his arm round my shoulders. Trying not to burst out crying, I listened to the silence through the phone. When Brenda replied, her voice was far more mature, and topped with the sense of motherhood.
“Bella… I’m really sorry. You know I didn’t mean it. Of course, Peter left you a legacy; there’s the memory and sulky Steven. How is he, by the way?”
“He’s been acting rather strange lately-”
“Oh?” Her voice train-wrecked across me, onwards, “Then there’s his house that you reside in, and the mystery he’s left you-”
“Don’t remind me!” I snarled.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Bella,” finally Brenda paused, “The baby is calling me. I’ve got to go now, but if you need anything-”
“I’ll know who to call, yes. But don’t count on it.”
“Bella? Look, I’m sorry, I never meant to be mean or anything…”
It seemed that, finally, I had put a dampener on her chatter.
“I know, but you’re not being helpful. Now, I’m going to apologise; I’m taking all my stress out on you.”
“No worries…” Brenda whispered through the telephone, “Sorry again. I’d better go…”
And, after we said our goodbyes, I hung up on my best friend, feeling worse than ever. As I clung to Mike, I realised the extent of the pressure that my husband’s death had put on me.
Who would have thought that I’d value my enemies over my friends? I don’t know anything anymore…
“We need to get this ‘investigation’ over and done with,” Mike suggested.
I looked up at him and took a deep breath.
“Are you ready?”