Michael finished drying his lunch plate and put it neatly away in the cupboard. Wiping down the already clean draining board he washed out the dishcloth and hung it over the kitchen tap to dry. He had spent the whole morning dusting and polishing the house ready for Sonny to come home to. He knew that if he kept busy it would stop him brooding. Since the trip to Barcelona all he could think about was Sonny and Carl together. The pain was gnarling away at him, waking him in the night and turning eating into an agony of indigestion.
He prayed that he was wrong. Maybe Carl was just being friendly, maybe Sonny would get off the train and explain that Carl had turned up unexpectedly with Andy and Gerry.
Maybe I’m just kidding myself, he thought. Michael jumped as the phone rang;
‘Hi Michael I’m on my way home, can you pick me up from the station, we’re due in at eight o’clock’
‘Don't I always’ said Michael
‘Don’t be late I’ve got something important to tell you’
I’m sure you have, thought Michael as he cut the connection, I’m sure you have.
Sonny looked around the carriage and not seeing anyone he knew, settled into a window seat and closed his eyes. I hope that Michael will be pleased that the boys have asked me to be a regular at their new bar. It will mean a lot less traveling back to the UK, thought Sonny. It would be so good if Michael would come with me to Barcelona when I’m gigging there. Maybe we could rent a little apartment by the beach and make a little holiday of it?
With dreams of being the headline act again, Sonny settled into a contented sleep.
Michael over here’ called Sonny as he struggled from the train laden with bags and parcels. ‘Can you give me a hand with some of these’ he asked passing Michal three carrier bags. ‘The sales were on and I’ve found some brilliant bargains, lot’s of lovely new clothes, thank God, it’s so hard getting decent clothes around here and I was beginning to look like a tramp’ Sonny laughed as he threw his overnight bag onto the back seat of Michael’s car.
‘We’ve got lots to talk about but do you mind if we wait till we are home. I’m nackered after that journey and it was a bit of a late night last night.’
Michael didn’t speak as he pulled out of the station car park. Picking up speed, he drove out of the village, his gloved hands gripping the steering wheel. Late night! and bet I know who you spent that with, he seethed to himself.
As they approached the forest Michael pulled to the side of the road and switched off the headlights. He looked across at Sonny who fallen asleep as soon as they had left the station. Sonny stirred and sitting up in his seat asked ‘are we home?’
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ asked Michael
‘I haven’t had a chance to tell you anything yet’ Sonny snapped. rubbing the sleep from his eyes ‘what’s the matter with you? where are we?’ he asked, peering through the windscreen into the darkness.
'Why didn’t you tell me that you were going to see Carl?’
‘How do you know that I have seen Carl’ snapped Sonny ‘Have you been following me?’
‘So it’s true then?’
‘What if it is? Andy and Gerry need help financing their new bar and Carl has offered to put up the money until their bank loan is finalised’ Sonny explained breathlessly ‘He is just the moneyman’
‘If he is, just the moneyman, why didn’t you tell me that you have been seeing him’ screamed Michael.
‘Because I knew you'd be like this.' he snarled You have always been jealous of Carl’
‘And can you blame me’ Michael looked at Sonny, the hate burning behind his eyes.
‘You stupid old man’ screamed Sonny,’ let me out of the car’ as he tried to get out he realised that Michael had pressed the central locking button. Struggling to unfasten his seat belt he looked in horror as Michael pulled the carving knife from its hiding place in the pocket of the door. The scream froze on his lips as Michael plunged the sharp blade into Sonny’s neck.
‘Never call me an old man’ he sreamed as the blood pumped from Sonny’s neck.
Scrambling from the car Michael stood at the side of the road pulled out his mobile phone and with trembling hands dialed 112.
‘Police, help, they’ve killed my friend!’ sobbing into the phone Michael explained that there had been a robbery and his friend had been stabbed.
While he waited for the National police to arrive he calmly open the passenger door, reached into Sonny’s pocket and removed his wallet. As he heard the wail of the police cars approaching, he carefully removed his gloves and put them and Sonny’s wallet into the pocket of his jacket. Hearing the police siren get louder Michael knelt in the pool of blood forming just outside the car. Calmly he lent forward to cradle Sonny in his arms and started to sob just as the police cars screeched around the bend.
‘Michael we’ve just heard the news, you must be devastated, I phoned as soon as I could’ cried Gloria Westbury.
‘I just can’t believe what’s happened’ sobbed Michael, ‘we were driving back from the station and we saw a bloke standing by his car at the side of the road. I thought that he had broken down so I stopped to see if we could help. The next thing I knew he yanked open Sonny’s door, he was screaming at us, he wanted our wallets. Oh Gloria, he pulled out this huge knife and Sonny went hysterical. I was screaming at him, just give him your money’
Michael’s sobbing was tearing at Gloria heart
‘Oh Gloria he stabbed him, my poor beautiful Sonny, that bastard stabbed him.’
‘Michael do you want Malcolm to bring me over?’
‘Thant's very sweet of you Gloria, thank you, but I just want to be on my own tonight’
‘Of course dear, I understand. I’ll phone again tomorrow and don’t you worry about a thing, we are all here to help’
‘Thanks again for phoning, you’re such a good friend, I don’t know what I’d do without you’ Michael put down the phone and smiled to himself, well that’s one problem solved he thought, Gloria would soon make sure that everyone knew how poor Sonny has been butchered by a stranger and that poor sweet Michael was taking it all very badly.
The police had insisted that Michael should go to hospital himself to be checked out after giving his denuncia at the local station. Playing the part of the grieving partner beautifully the doctor reluctantly sent him home with sleeping pills and advice to stay with friends and not be on his own.
The police had fallen for his story, hook line and sinker.
‘What do you expect with all these foreigners moving into the area’? They had muttered.
Michael poured himself a small scotch and thought that it had been a nice touch of his to say that the attacker had sounded Russian. He knew that all he had to do now was keep his head and everything would be fine. He wasn’t even worried about being alone, it’s better than living with a lying cheat, he thought bitterly.
If you don’t let anyone get close you don’t get hurt. ‘And I won’t let anyone hurt me like this ever again’ Martin swore as he emptied his glass.