Deconstruction – One

It was hot the night that she killed her wife. The kind of weather that made itself known by invading every private space on a person’s body. The murder itself was cold. Clinical, if you really wanted to label it. Harry would’ve said that it was just like her to do it in the way that she had.
It was a wonder that he could stand being near her, knowing what she had done. But it had been because of him, so, maybe there was something in that? Even now, as he sat beside her, streetlights cutting lines on his face as they sped South on the highway, his mouth was held in a line of, something close to, but not quite, satisfaction.

She tried to read it and found that she couldn’t and that troubled her. She thought that she should be able to, especially now. In fact, if she really thought about it, maybe she should be worried about being here, with him. When she looks at him again, she sees him turning his head and suspected that he had been looking at her. Could he tell what she was thinking?

“It had to happen, Alex.” Was he trying to convince her, or him?

“I know.” her voice was not steady.

“She would’ve killed you – both of us probably – if you hadn’t done it.”

She wanted to tell him that he couldn’t possibly know that. She at least knew him well enough to know that he would disagree with her.

“What about the police?”

“We’ve got a head start. Besides, it’ll take them a while to figure it all out. By then we’ll be across the border.”

“You make it sound so easy.” She gripped her hands together in her lap.

“Isn’t it?”

Have you done this before? Is what she wanted to ask him, but instead she said “She wouldn’t have suffered, would she?”

“Not a chance. That stuff acts quick. Besides, it’s for pain relief.” As if that last part was meant to be reassuring.

/////

Alex hadn’t wanted Cally to suffer, but she was glad that she was dead. She had married the woman for her money. No two ways about it. At least Alex could be honest with herself on that point. But who wouldn’t have taken that option?

Growing up poor filled a person with a sort of hungry avarice that was hard to shake. She had seen it in her mother, in her siblings, and, of course, herself. But fuck Cally. She had got everything that she wanted from Alex as much as Alex had got everything that she wanted in return.

Even now, as her body lay still and silent in their bed, she can smell Cally’s perfume. That was how she had known from the outset that she wasn’t tight with her money. What had made her a target. It wasn’t cheap, like some of the other girls she had dated before. In fact, she suspected that it was a sense of pride for Cally that she didn’t hesitate to throw money around.

Even the way she had fucked had been extravagant. Like Alex was a prop for her personal theatre production. Not letting Alex go down on her. Always giving head first. Her tongue performing oral gymnastics like she was competing in the Olympics.

Of course, she had other women beside, but it didn’t worry Alex. Cally’s appetites ran too wide for Alex to ever convince herself that she would be able to adequately satisfy her. But those others were appetisers against Alex as the main course. And so she put up with the way she would have to share Cally. Suffered the whispered gossip with a sort of bruised dignity.

And why not? Their access to Cally’s wealth was a pale imitation of Alex’s own. As long as she attended parties on Cally’s arm. Ran 5 miles a day. Ate a balanced diet. In other words kept herself desirable. Everything had been set up for a slow and gradual slide into an unhappy, but mutually beneficial, marriage, between herself and Mrs. Cally Hammond.

Until Harry came along.

Harry, with his long legs and ready smile. Eyes of desert sky. Drawling voice that spoke of a future where anything was possible. Talking to her as if she meant something. And what was wrong with that? Because Alex did mean something. Something more than what was between her legs.

A flash of light from the wing mirror lanced the dim interior of the car and she stiffened. Headlights back there in the darkness, the vehicle revealing itself like a stalking hunter. Passing from one narrow band of streetlight to the next. She glanced at Harry but he seemed oblivious.

“Someone is behind us.”

“So?” He looked at her, eyes heavy-lidded. “I told you to relax.”

If he wasn’t worried, then should she be? Probably not. She forced her body to loosen, sinking into the passenger seat. Harry drove on.

/////

“You understand what I’m asking you?”

Kurt Grissom didn’t speak, watched as the woman squirmed. Finally he replied.

“Sure, Mrs. Hammond. You want me to find the person who tried to kill you.”

“And when you find them?”

“I’ll bring them back.”

She looked at him, then averted her gaze.

“You want me to kill them?” He spoke evenly, and she turned her head sharply back, giving him a hard look.

With her face reddening, Grissom wondered if Cally Hammond might still be struggling with the recovery from a near death experience. Grissom stared at her, making sure that the woman met his gaze.

Hammond’s eyes narrowed, her lips pressing down hard against each other. She leant back in her bed, closing her eyes. She fumbled beneath the sheets next to her. When they reappeared, her fingers trembled. She reached out, holding an A4 envelope. She re-opened her eyes and her whole frame deflated as she offered the envelope to Grissom, standing on the desk’s opposite side.

“You’ll find everything you need in there”

“Just so we understand each other.” Grissom cleared his throat “There’s no going back from this.”

She nodded.

Across from the woman’s bed, French doors hung open, permitting the scent of Oleander and rain. The tang of it filled his nostrils and Grissom resisted the urge to sneeze. The woman had turned her head, staring away from him through the open doors. He tapped the envelope against the side of his hand. He went to speak, decided against it. Turning, he left Cally Hammond alone with her thoughts.

Posted on: June 1, 2019akalliss