"She doesn't want to talk."

"Could I just…"


Denise looked up from her pacing in the darkened room. She smiled to herself. Why, that's nice of Lex, she thought. She could almost see him barring the way to the door. A jolt of guilt pierced through her heart.

Why this, why now? Couldn't it have ended another way?

"But I need to talk to her – it's important."

Is it ever? Hah.

She fingered the tiny heart-shaped pendant she wore – Casey's last birthday gift. Impulsively, she took it off and put it on the table beside the bracelet she'd taken off earlier. She tried surveying them dispassionately, but tears welled up all the same.

Why must there always be such tension? Why must they fight? Can't he see it's his fault?

Her fingers shivered nervously as they fingered the jewellery.

"Don't…" Lex's voice had risen suddenly. The doorknob rattled.

"Denise? Denise, will you talk to me?"

Get lost. Go away. Leave me alone. She kept silent. Maybe he would give up. She snorted at the thought

"Den, don't close up on me. You've always been able to share with me, right? Can't you tell me what's wrong now?" Her eyebrow shot up.

He'd said I had changed. 'I don't know you anymore!' were his exact words. Now he says I've always shared with him? He's never listened hard enough.

She glared at the door. The silence seemed to rattle him as he started talking faster and louder. She lay back on the bed and pictured him in her mind.

He would be standing, hands on hips now, in a very motherly pose. Occasionally, he'd lift a finger and point, even though he knew she couldn't see him. He seemed to be talking about Mark now. How she'd been drinking with Mark, how he'd been seducing her, how he made her…

She pushed the word out of her mind, but her fingers started fiddling at her long sleeves anyway. Casey had never listened to her – not really. Never long enough to actually hear anything important. She'd given up trying long ago.