The alarm wakes Lia from a deep slumber. Her hand reaches to her phone, she presses the button to cease its beeping.
She throws back the covers and stands at the side of the bed; with a bounce she makes her way to the en suite.
‘Oh shit!’ she cries.
Matty has already left for the airport but signs of his early morning shower and ensuing departure are littered through the walk-in robe and shower recess.
‘Why can’t he clean up?’ Lia mutters out loud as she places his shaving cream and razor back into the bathroom cupboard. The bath mat is on the floor, sopping from excess water bleeding from the shower recess. She stands on it with her bare feet. It squelches underfoot.
Shivering, naked, she turns on the taps and lets the steaming water cascade over her body.
After her shower, she dresses, makes the bed. The spot where she lay is still warm; she’s tempted to crawl back in, but the sunshine splinters through the curtain edges. She draws back the curtains and lets the light in. It instantly warms her face. She touches the glass with the palm of her hand, closes her eyes.
Life, everything, feels better when the sun shines on your face. She’s got a feeling their circumstances are turning around.
Her phone rings. She checks her watch. Matty couldn’t have landed yet. Who could be ringing her at this hour?
‘Hello,’ she answers. Her voice small, tentative.
She recognises the voice. It’s Matty’s boss. ‘Lia, morning,’ he says. ‘Listen, sorry to disturb you, but I’m wondering if you know why Matty missed the flight?’
Lia is confused. ‘He’s not here. He left at 5 o’clock this morning.’ Her fingers tremble. She almost drops the phone.
‘Well, he didn’t board the flight. I was here at the airport to see them off.’
Lia remembers there were five delegates from Matty’s work going on this junket.
‘He didn’t arrive.’
Someone raps on Lia’s front door. It’s forceful, insistent.
‘Hang on, Barry. Someone’s at the door.’
‘Lia, I’m coming over. I’ll be there in twenty minutes,’ Barry says, as Lia opens the door.
Two police officers are standing on her porch. Their faces drawn, solemn. Eyes downcast.
It’s the last thing Lia sees before she collapses.