Having slept badly, she got up early, careful not to wake him. She moved about the room quietly. It was true he was exhausted. It was evident in his pale skin and darkly shadowed eyes. Perhaps he was ill. That could explain his uncharacteristic violence of the night before.
Lifting a stack of CDs from the chair, she noticed a small square box of Native American design. It was worked in turquoise, coral and jade and was beautiful in its ethnic simplicity. Inside was a collection of baubles; turquoise stones, a sparkly-yellow stone brooch fashioned in the shape of a turtle, some cheap earrings. Her fingers moved them around in the box. When she saw the chain she thought it was another piece of fake jewellery and freeing it from the tangle, felt the crucifix swing loose. Encrusted with dirt, the ornate design was barely visible. Taking the crucifix to the light, to study it more carefully, she leaned too close to the CDs and they toppled to the ground with an explosion of noise. Sue looked towards the bed where Liam had sprung upright, his eyes wild.
“What the hell …” He glared at her. “Christ, its not even seven yet!”
She was re-stacking the CDs on a nearby shelf, the crucifix swinging from her fingers.
“What d’you think you’re doing ?” Liam was throwing back the duvet. “What are you doing with that? ” snatching the crucifix from her hand, the chain biting into her flesh.
He turned about angrily, his eyes narrowed in a gleam of dark blue hatred. With a gasp, Sue stepped back as he poked a long finger into her face. “You keep your hands off my things. You hear me, lady?”
Shocked, Sue began to turn away, but he grabbed at her arm twisting her back to face him. “You answer when I talk to you!” his voice sinisterly soft. He was going to hit her again. She could see it in his face. It was as if a stranger glared down at her from cold eyes. Attempting to pacify the sudden rage that claimed him, Sue nodded, anxious to escape but too late she saw him swing his hand. The fist caught her on the side of the head, stunning her as she fell back against the wall.
“You try to steal it back from me, but it will not save you.”
What was he talking about! Although his words registered, she was only intent on survival.
With an expression as dark as the hate filling his eyes, he closed in on her, sneering down into her terrified eyes. She could taste the blood trickling from her mouth, and her eyes smarted. “Liam, don’t do this …”
But her words only infuriated him further. He grabbed for her but she managed to duck beneath his arm to run across the room, heading for the door but her feet became tangled with the fallen duvet and she lost her footing. The fall cost her precious seconds. His fingers clawed at her, gripping her upper arm. She screamed, twisting out of his grasp. Staggering to her feet, she stumbled to the door but he was after her, swearing and cursing her, muttering. Pulling the door open, she heard a thud on the wood just inches beside her head. Her eyes widened in disbelief. He had thrown a brass figurine at her. Sue stared back at him, horror draining the colour from her cheeks as he hissed through clenched teeth. “You’ll not escape me…”
Sue’s scream collided with the unexpected ringing of the telephone. Not waiting to see if he would answer it, she fled, her bare feet silent over the carpeted hall and stairs. Dressed only in her house-robe, she needed to hide and ran down to the games room in the basement, locking herself inside the bathroom. Sitting on the closed lavatory seat she tried to steady her thoughts. There was something very wrong with him. It must be drugs. It wouldn’t be the first time a musician had taken some substance but whatever it was, it was affecting his mind. Six weeks ago he had been his normal loving self. Something must have happened on tour. The crucifix. He had reacted so violently. Perhaps he planned to give it to Allie. Maybe Allie had given it to him? Had she been on tour with him? She imagined him with Allie, making love to her, giving her his body so that Sue’s imagination tormented her until the tears began to fall. Then angrily she stood up, moving restlessly back and forth, punching at the wall. She would shed no tears for him, the bastard. If he suddenly enjoyed beating up women, let him give Panda Eyes a bashing. Recalling the hate in his strangely alien eyes, Sue swallowed hard. He had tried to kill her.
Hearing a car engine spurt into life, she pulled herself up to peer out from the bathroom window which looked up on the front of the house.
Liam’s car was heading off down the street.