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The next instalment of U Murder U (Suicide) below – Chapter 2
Clarissa Williams paced around her bedroom. Shocked and agitated, she bit the last remaining fingernail on her right hand as she thought about what Elle had told her moments ago. She knew she needed to do something about the situation her daughter was in but she didn’t know what to do. She contemplated calling her mother to get advice; her hand reached for her mobile phone but her brain intervened before she picked it up. Her mother was still on holiday in New York and not back for two days. Anyway, she knew what her mother would say; her mother said it all the time.
“Your children are a gift from God – never forget that!
Don’t neglect your child for someone else’s child Clarissa!
Never hold someone else’s child higher than your own child!
Discipline your children early and they will grow into wise teenagers and be wise adults!
Direct your children onto the right path and when they are older they will not depart from it!”
Clarissa picked up her leather tote bag, left her house and walked quickly down the road determined to put an end to the madness wrapped up as upper-class normality she had allowed her daughter to be a part of.
“I think you have a very serious drinking problem!”
Like most functional alcoholics in denial, Lady Eloise Carmichael had mastered the fine art of deception extremely well. Being an alcoholic from a wealthy English family, she had married a handsome man of Scottish decent she thought beneath her social class and thus hoped would be easily malleable and tolerate her drinking. What she got was an oxymoron – a man kind to and tolerant of everyone but her. A man who acted as if he hated and resented her. What she gave back was her pain of rejection, well disguised but displayed for all to see, constantly doused in whisky, vodka or rum – it didn’t matter which. Lady Eloise Carmichael didn’t ‘do’ being accountable, answering questions or taking criticism. She thought only people in her inner social/financial circle were qualified to criticise her and even then with all the tax avoidance loopholes, ‘gross’ (not ‘net’) income played a major part in what she took on-board. She looked at Clarissa with cold, irritable, angry eyes as she would something unpleasant she had just stepped on while wearing a pair of expensive one-of-a-kind designer shoes. Her foggy brain struggled to think of a rebuff to Clarissa’s statement – she decided to bluff her way through. She took a swig of Dutch-courage disguised as orange juice from her glass, “What do you mean? I don’t have a drinking problem! How dare you suggest I do, how bloody dare you Clarissa?”
“Elle said that you were drunk, half naked and lying right here in your own vomit! Your daughter said that she wished she was dead! She’s always telling Elle that she wishes she were dead because she hates you and what you’ve done to your family with your drinking and promiscuity. Elle thinks she might be self-harming because she’s always wearing wrist sweat bands and won’t take them off. And you think you don’t have a problem!”
“I do not have a problem!”
“Yes you do and you need to get help because your daughter needs you.”
“I don’t need help and Jessica can take care of her bloody self, I’m not her keeper. Look, why don’t you just get out of my house?”
“That would be so convenient for you wouldn’t it? I just ignore everything and you continue to drink and drag Jessica down with you.”
“Listen, she’s my child, I can do whatever-the-hell I want-”
“I don’t think Social Services will see it like that, do you want me to call them? Shall we see if they have the same view as you?”
On hearing the ‘SS’ words Eloise froze, she stood dead still momentarily as fear flooded through her then her survival instincts kicked in. She plastered a condescending smile on her face, “Come on Clarissa, I think that Elle might have exaggerated a little, I was sunbathing in the garden as one does, I walked into the kitchen and stumbled on a loose kitchen floorboard, see it was that floorboard right there,” she pointed. “It’s happened before, in fact the last time-”
“Really, Eloise? That’s the best that you can come up with? You were sunbathing in February, one of the coldest months in England!”
“You know how emotional teenagers can get. Elle probably misinterpreted what she saw. Jessica gets like that, all emotional, hormonal and confused. I have to literally stuff Evening Primrose Oil capsules down her throat just to get a bloody civil word out of her sometimes.”
“Look, no more excuses, I think we need to work on separating the girls. It’s not just your drinking I’m concerned about. I’m not comfortable with the language Jessica uses which I know Elle is picking up because of Jessica’s subtle bullying. Neither am I comfortable with Jessica’s drinking. If she is self-harming I don’t want Elle exposed to that. I don’t think that you or your daughter are people I want Elle to be around anymore. Then there’s Maddy to consider-”
“Whoa, whoa, what did you just say? My daughter and I are no longer suitable companions for your precious daughters? Who the hell are you to say that to me? Who are your daughters? They’re the product of a broken marriage! What is your social status? At least I have echelon. At least Jessica lives with both of her parents. At least my husband isn’t out there screwing everything and anything with a pulse!”
“I said stop.”
“Or what? What are you going to do if I don’t stop?” She took another swig from her glass and wiped her lips with the back of her hand. “You think you scare me? You think I’m intimidated by you or your threats? You stupid, weak woman, you couldn’t keep hold of your bloody husband! You went all manic and depressive because women out there were giving him something you obviously weren’t giving him!” The images of a broken, weepy pathetic Clarissa pouring her heart out, day after day, thinking she had an ally in her, made her smile and gave her a false sense of bravado.
Clarissa walked up to her and slapped her hard across her face, “I told you to stop! Watch your mouth around me! You were one of those women my ex-husband screwed remember? Or has the booze robbed you of your memory?” The images of a lying, back-stabbing friend who sat with her while she cried and poured her heart out then had one tryst after another with her husband, Neil, in tacky cheap hourly-rate motels filled her mind – she pushed them out of her mind. “I forgave you and kept quiet because our daughters have been friends for years and I didn’t want them affected by you and your screwed up behaviour. So don’t you dare, ever, speak to me in that manner woman or I will show you exactly what I can and will do! Have I made myself clear?”
“I’m not interested in your apologies. You may not care about your daughter but I care about mine and I will not neglect her for yours. Their friendship ends! You work on your daughter and I’ll work on mine. Something isn’t right with you and something isn’t right with Jessica and I will not hold your daughter over mine. You may not give a toss about Jessica but my children are a gift from God and I will not back down on this, am I clear? Work on your daughter and I’ll work on mine or everyone especially your psycho joke of a husband will know about you and Neil!”
“Okay, okay, I’ll do it,” Eloise said as a wave of fear and nausea engulfed her and sobered her. With a shaking hand she lifted her glass to her lips, drank some more of her Dutch-courage which had become a little lacklustre then stared at the back door Clarissa had slammed shut on her way out. She knew that she could probably end up in a body bag if her husband ever found out about the affair she had with Neil.
Her husband, Inspector Patrick Carmichael was the head of the UK Central Police Domestic Violence Unit. A job description and person specification as far away from his true character as East was from West. Why? Because Patrick Carmichael had a violent temper, was a wife-beater and made many of the men arrested by his unit for violent domestic crimes look like cherubs. He was careful; the residents of their posh cul de sac had never witnessed anything and the detached houses afforded confidentiality but somehow the neighbours knew (walls can’t always contain the sounds of violence). Yet, strangely, it was something that no one in his unit knew about, or, professed to know about. Eloise knew that if he ever found out about her indiscretion he would beat her up and put her in the hospital – dead or alive! He had put her in the hospital before for a crime less severe. It was a few years ago at her sister’s wedding, she had had a little too much to drink and been a little too friendly with a man, a stranger, she had danced with him and in her husband’s words ‘rubbed her arse against the toe-rag’s privates’. Members of her family watched in shocked horror as Patrick kicked, slapped and punched her like a mad-man with no fear of repercussion from the police. The police were called but when they saw Patrick calmly drinking whisky and talking on his phone, no interviews were held, no notes were taken so obviously no report was filed.
With a shaking hand Eloise lifted her glass to her lips then frowned, her glass was empty, her lackadaisical Dutch-courage gone.