The day was bright and frigid and Ray was underdressed and without her sunglasses. She stepped lightly down the flight of stairs that led from the two apartments on the second floor. She and Dennis lived in the one on the left and Anthony lived in the one on the right. Well, had lived.
Her body ached but her spirits were up. The ticket was in her hand and that meant a new beginning. A fresh start. A new lease on life. Never again would she be without the best sunglasses money could buy and for the rest of her life she would always be dressed appropriately.
This made Ray smile in spite of the pain it produced in her face. The thought of living the lifestyle of the rich and famous made her heart trumpet, in spite of the disaster that she had left behind in apartment #11.
She wandered into the apartment complex parking lot looking like she just clawed her way up out of a grave. Her sailor blue shirt was torn down the sleeve and her jeans were dark with a suspicious red coloring. Her face looked like she just went three rounds with Gina Carano. But it had all been worth it. That’s what she would continue to tell herself until eventually she believed it.
She looked down and confirmed again that it was still in her hand. It was.
Standing next to a beige mini-van she looked at her reflection in the side mirror. Her face was abstracted with purplish-blue bumps. Her right eye was bloodshot and her cheek was puffed out like she had a mouthful. It brought back assorted visions of the night and suddenly she was afraid.
What was she doing outside? Shouldn’t she go back to her apartment and take a shower? Change clothes. Make breakfast for…
No. She just needed to get organized. Take care of a few things before this whole thing blew up. Maybe give her boss a call and tell him where he can stick it. Give her sister a call and rub it in her face. Back stabbing bitch.
Feeling energized Ray edged past the mini-van and spotted her husband’s car parked in the third spot from the end. After today, there would be no more apartment living for her. No more uncovered parking. No more scraping ice off the windshield. No more running in the rain to get to and from her front door.
She took a few steps toward the black Acura and then abruptly stopped. Where was she going? What was the best course of action? She wished it were possible to talk to Dennis, just for a second. He was always good in situations such as this. He would know what to do. But that was not a possibility. Dennis would be talking to no one.
Her mind was still reeling with the past evenings events and she wasn’t thinking clearly. How much time did she have? Hours? Maybe even as much as a day or two if people would just mind their own god damn business. But she doubted they would. They would start calling and coming over. Not for Dennis. No one gave a **** about him. But Anthony would be missed.
At some point she was going to have to start answering some questions. And she had better be prepared or else it could all too easily unravel. She was an emotionally unstable girl as it was. If they showed her pictures, or if they badgered her for hours in some dank interrogation room…she just might crack.
She had to remain in control. She needed to piece together a puzzle that the boys in blue would buy. She could easily cry on command and act hysterical. And she had always found men to be pretty easy to manipulate. Even cops. She knew she was beautiful and she knew she was sexy and she knew if she put her mind to it she could make it through all of this to freedom. Freedom and riches.
A car pulled out of a spot on the other side of the parking lot and a glint of sun reflected off the windshield momentarily blinding her. In that blindness a vision of Anthony’s head flashed before her eyes and a fresh wave of nausea washed over her. She dropped to her knees in the grass waiting for her stomach to find something else to purge.
Ray noticed that she had drawn the attention of an older man walking his dog. She had seen him before, dragging that ugly little mutt around the neighborhood. Letting it **** all over the place.
“What the **** you looking at old man?” She managed through a few breathless dry heaves.
The old man shook his head toward her and moved off in the other direction. She let out a little laugh. That was how it was gonna be from now on. When she spoke, people would listen. And they would do what she wanted them to. That was what money meant. It meant people would do what ever you **** told them to.
Ray doubled over and wet the grass with some stomach acid. Her throat seared and her tongue felt like a microwaved water balloon.
**** them all. She was a millionaire now and millionaires got away with everything.