The hallway of the Matthews’ home remains quiet for a long moment until the loud noise of shattering glass in the living room pierces the silence, followed by a wild pleasured moan from Natalia.
Natalia, with her dress around her waist revealing her tight shapely breasts, is on top of Jay, who’s naked, as they passionately have sex on the floor of the living room.
A few feet away from them, a large piece of Alan’s now shattered orange juice glass rests on the floor beside the coffee table and is surrounded by a small pool of the juice. The rest of the living room is almost as untidy, as Jay and Natalia held no reservations about where and how they loudly and passionately had sex.
Suddenly, the intensity of the intercourse peaks; her moans become louder and more frequent and he fights to restrain a roar through gritted teeth as they both climax.
They are both panting as she lays on her back next to him – their body still in contact.
‘I need a smoke,’ she declares.
‘It’ll kill you,’ he teases.
She smiles, and he smiles back. There is silence for a long moment as neither knows what to say, or if to say anything at all. They just continue to smile at each other.
‘We should get going,’ he says, breaking the silence.
She nods and says, ‘Yeah. Alan would be waiting.’
His smile fades immediately she mentions Alan and he supresses the encroaching feeling of guilt. He stands and walks to his underwear on the floor in the middle of the room.
She sits up and watches him put on his underwear, and as he attempts to step out of the room, she instinctively calls out to him, ‘Jay …’
He stops, but in the moment he turns to her, she gathers herself and decides against expressing any feeling; it never ends well, and this time wouldn’t be any different.
‘When you switch your phone on, you’ll receive quite a few messages from Alan,’ she says stoically. ‘Ignore them. He was frantic, and very drunk. We were all very drunk.’
He nods and walks out of the room.
He steps into his bedroom and walks straight to his bed to pull out his phone from underneath his pillow. As he expected, it’s off. He picks out a travelling charger pack from his suitcase and connects it to his phone. A moment later, the phone switches itself on and begins to load.
He places the phone on the bed and pulls out some clothes from his suitcase. As he quickly dresses up, the phone begins to beep incessantly with notifications, and it continues to beep with message notifications as he picks it up.
He scrolls through the messages, which are mostly notifications of missed calls and voicemails from by Alan seemingly two minutes from 06:15 to 05:18, until he reaches a text message at 04:01, which reads – “I THINK ALAN IS DEAD!!!!”
He stares angrily at the text – angry for many reasons and with several different people, but, mostly, he’s angry with himself for not being there.
As he walks down the stairway, he sees Natalia in the hallway by the bottom of the steps. She’s dressed and cleaned up and holding his jacket. He walks to her and she hands him his jacket.
‘You look much better naked,’ she teases, and they smile.
They exit the house and she leads him to a black Mini Cooper parked in their drive way. She unlocks the door and they both step in.
She deftly reverses out of the driveway into the street and smoothly drives towards the hospital.
The car is quiet for approaching ten minutes as she focuses on the road and he stares out the window, trying to conceal several emotions he’s battling with – guilt, affection, and rage are the most prominent of those emotions, and also the most difficult to conceal as he hasn’t felt them in years.
‘What do you do?’ she asks.
‘I don’t mean to pry. I know what Alan does. Just been guessing to myself the job you do that affords you guys that house. Because, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, it is beautiful and massive.’
‘It’s the family house. My parents bought it.’
‘Oh, okay. I didn’t see any pictures.’ She smirks. ‘And it didn’t seem to me like anyone over-30 lived there.’
He laughs softly.
‘I know what you mean.’
‘Where are they? Your parents.’
There is a moment of silence before he stoically replies, ‘They’re dead.’
‘I’m sorry,’ she says sincerely.
‘It’s okay. It’s been a while.’
‘I don’t know if that helps. Time …’ she pauses to briefly reminisce. ‘My mother died ten years ago. Cancer. Don’t think my brother is over it.’
Jay nods, and the car remains silent for almost a moment too long.
‘I’m guessing it wasn’t cancer,’ she subtly inquires with a statement.
‘You really don’t know?’
‘How long have you lived in Epsom?’
‘A couple years.’
‘Fair enough. They were killed … in the beautiful house. It was all over the news, especially the local newspapers.’
Natalia is speechless.
‘I saw the guy,’ he continues, devoid of emotion. ‘I saw him.’
‘Sorry,’ she says, oozing empathy.
‘It’s okay. It’s been a while,’ he repeats robotically, as if he’s been saying that to himself in every quiet moment since it happened.
She stares at him for a long moment as they wait at a traffic light, struggling with how much more to say; how much more to feel.
‘My mother was killed,’ she says. ‘Shot in the head. But she did have ovarian cancer.’
Jay turns to her, but doesn’t know how to respond.
She smiles softly and says, ‘It’s okay. It’s been a while.’
He smiles back.
‘We should stop at the drive through. I’m sure the guys are hungry.’
Minutes later, the Mini Cooper parks in front of the hospital. Jay steps out of the car, but leans back in to say, ‘Thank you.’
‘My pleasure,’ she says. ‘Keep me updated with Stephen, okay?’
‘I will. See you soon, maybe.’
‘I do know where you live.’
He smiles and says, ‘You’re always welcome.’