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Authors: Debbie Viggiano

Lipstick and Lies (62 page)

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
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For a moment I tried to kid myself we were at cross-purposes.
That her words
had simply come out wrong.
‘Lovely
,’ I smiled brightly
.
‘I’ve been looking forward to th
is
opportunity
of
girly bonding
.
Having
a nice chat and wotnot!’

‘Oh we’re going to have a chat all right Cass
.

Selina’s
tone clarified there was no misunderstanding.
Her voice was filled with loathing.
‘We’re going to chat all the way to
Oxford
.
So what shall we chat about eh?’
There was a pause before she thumped the centre of the
steering wheel.
I jumped
at the sound of the horn blaring
.
An ancient Renault
that dared to be in the outside lane at seventy-two miles per hour
,
winked
its left indicator and made
the
transition to the middle lane.
‘I know!
Let’s talk about me overhearing a voicemail meant for somebody else.
A message where you
referred to me as a
bitch
and a
basket case
.’

I clung on to the sides of my seat as the Mazda whooshed along.
Right.
Clearly it was cards on the table time and p
ointless pretending otherwise.


Look Selina
.
C
an we just leave the past in the past?’
I was amazed
at
how steady my voice sounded.
Inwardly I was cacking myself.


I think not.

S
he pursed her lips.
‘There are times where I might have been a bit of a bitch
Cass
, but
I’m not a basket case.
Understand?’

Was she kidding?
After everything she
did
to Jamie and me last year?
I felt my face flush with anger.
‘That’s your opinion,’ I shrugged – not easy in the stranglehold of the seatbelt.
Suddenly I was seeing stars as the back of her
hand connected with my temple.

‘DO NOT
FUCKING DISRESPECT
ME!’ she s
creamed.

Something warm was trickling down my face.
I put up a hand and touched my cheek.
When I took my fingers away they were covered in sticky blood.
Selina’s massive engagement ring had split skin.

‘So Cass
,’
Selina took a deep breath and calmed herself.
‘Now that we’ve cleared that little matter up, let’s cut the crap a
nd be honest with each other.’

I took a deep breath.
‘Okay.
Where’s Stevie?’

Selina let out a high-pitched squeal of laughter.
‘Excellent!
Now we’re both talking the same language.
Stevie is a bit tied up at the moment,’ she
sniggered
.
‘Literally.
Get my drift?’

Suddenly my mouth was devoid of saliva and I had a horrible urge to throw up.
A detached part of me wondered
if it were possible to
projectile vomit over her face, blind her with puke and wrestle the steering wheel from her hands.
We were now right up the backside of a Mini.
The speedomet
er said eighty miles per hour.

‘Is Stevie alive?’ I croaked.

‘For now.’

‘What
– are
you going to kill him?’

Selina smirked.
‘A man committing suic
ide is nothing to do with me.’

I cleared my throat.
‘And how is that going to happen?
Would it be in conjunction with G
amma-Hydroxybutyric
A
cid
by any chance?’

Selina laughed.
‘Aha!
Methinks you sussed out your drink was spiked at the
OXO
Tower
!
That was
such
fun to watch.
Did you also realise I’d tampered with your food
too
when you came to dinner
at
Ethan’s
apartment
?’

‘I suspected,’ I said through gritted teeth.
‘What special ingre
dient did you use that night?’

‘Nothing fancy.
Just a
tasteless liquid laxative bought from the local health shop and drizzled over your food.
Call it
my naughty sense of humour,’ Selina chortled.
‘But regarding the GHB, forgive me for using you as a
guinea pig.
I wanted to test it
out prior to giving it to
Stevie.
In time I’ll overdose him.
But not until I’ve killed you first.’

I felt the hair stand up on my head.
Selina uttered her last sentence so matter-of-factly I felt as though I were caught up in some frightful movie.
The thought of dying didn’t bother me as such.
But the timing most certainly did.
To leave this world right now was simply not on.
I had children.
Two of whom had already lost their biological mother.
I wasn’t going to
let them lose a second mother.

‘If you want
me dead
, why didn’t you kill me
at the
OXO
Tower
?’

‘Couldn’t,’ Selina sighed.
‘A post mortem would have revealed the cause of death.
That would never
have done
.
So when
the time comes for you to
die
– which will be in about an hour or so – i
t will look like an accident.’

‘W-What do you mean?’ I stuttered.
‘Are yo
u going to cause a car crash?’

‘Sort of,’ Selina nodded.

‘Then surely
you risk dying too!’ I cried.

‘No,’ Selina shook her head with supreme confidence.
‘I’ve checked out the spot where it’s going to happen.
And I have a
crafty
plan,’ she promptly convulsed.

I waited for her mirth to subside.
‘Would you mind sharing?’

‘Of course.
Wilsham Road
.
It’s in Abingdon
– a
lovely part of
Oxford
.
There’s a very pretty stretch of road right by the
Thames
– and not a safety barrier or set of railings in sight.
So that’s where the car is going to end up.
In the river.
With you in it.
Trapped
,
due to a dodgy seatbelt.
You will drown.’

I began
to frantically
press the seatbelt release button.
Nothing happened.
The
strap
was so tight I couldn’t
even wiggle my way out of it.

‘Selina you can’t just career off a road.
There will be questions by t
he police – an investigation!’

‘Of course.
And I’ll say how very sorry I was Officer – I should have known better being an ex-copper myself.
But reflexes are reflexes.
And when that damn
ed
cat ran out from nowhere, I found myself automatically throwing the wh
eel to the right and – SPLASH!’
Selina
shrieked with laughter.


So
why won’t
you be drowning?’ I quavered.

‘Because I will wind the window down, let the sinking car fill with water, and then simply swim out of the window.
It
is
possible to survive these things Cass
, p
rovided you don’t panic
.
A
nd
you’re not wearing a seatbelt!’ Selina gave another screech of amusement.

I stared out of the window as we overtook a Tesco
truck
.
Calm Cass.
Keep calm.
You have an hour to talk y
ourself out of this situation.

‘Look Selina.
Can we start all over again?
I apologise for calling you a bitch and a basket case.
There’s time to stop this.
We can put things right.’

‘I don’t want to
put things right
.
’ Selina
blar
ed
her horn at the Mini
that was
still resolutely hogging the outside lane.
‘As far as I’m concerned, everything is going just swimmingly.
Oh I say -
s
wimmingly
!
Ah ha ha ha!

‘Look, I kno
w you don’t care for me, but–’

‘Oh that’s an understatement Cass
.

T
he laughter stopped
abruptly
.
‘Make no mistake about it
.
I absolutely
detest
you.’

‘Fine.
You detest me.
So why implicate Stevie?’

‘Because I
need him out of the equation.’

‘But why?’ I cried.
‘Just what the heck is this all abo
ut?’

‘What’s it all about?
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?’ she screeched.
Some spittle flew from her mouth and dotted across the steering wheel.
‘In a nutshell Cass, it’s all a
bout wanting what you’ve got.’

‘But
I’m not with Stevie anymore!’

‘Funnily enough,’ Selina said through clenched teeth, ‘I’d worked that out for myself.
And I’m hardly surprised you divorced Stevie.
The man is a total letch.
Very good between the sheets mind you.
But definitely not husband material
,
and certainly not for me.
Oh no
.
T
he husband I want Cass
,
is the one
you’re married to right now.’

Well what a surprise.
‘Selina, Jamie is married to
me
.
He loves
me
.’

‘Don’t kid yourself Cass.
That man is deeply unhappy.’

‘Now you listen to me–’
My head momentarily buzzed as Selina lashed out a second time.
‘If you do that again,’ I said hoarsely, ‘I’ll–’

‘Shut up
BITCH
,’ Selina spat.
‘You’re not doing anything other than sitting there and listening to me.
And you might as well give up trying to get that seatbelt to release
,
because it isn’t going to happen.
My car hasn’t been with a regular mechanic, know what I mean?’ she gave a high pitched laugh.
‘Now
,
where was I?
Oh yes.
Jamie.
I was absolutely devastated when he left the police force.
Bereft.
And then I heard he was
going into partnership with a man called Ethan Fareham.
So I asked
around – a few
questions
here and there
.
Did a bit of digging.
And
I
succeeded in finding
Ethan
– and
set my cap at him.
It was so easy.
Like taking candy from a baby.
A whirlwind roman
ce, an engagement, plus a new job.
A
nd
da-da
aaa
,’ she
made a sound like a fanfare of trumpets,
‘suddenly I was seeing Jamie again
.
Bliss!
And now it’s just a short hop, skip and a jump to being back by his side.
You see Cass, Jamie
might have been enthralled by you in the beginning, but
he’s
not anymore.
Since you had Eddie and let yourself go
, he’s been miserable as sin.’

BOOK: Lipstick and Lies
9.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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