Непредвиденная вакансия - Часть первая - Вторник I
Two mornings after her husband’s death, Mary Fairbrother woke at five o’clock. She had slept in the marital bed with her twelve-year-old, Declan, who had crawled in, sobbing, shortly after midnight. He was sound asleep now, so Mary crept out of the room and went down into the kitchen to cry more freely. Every hour that passed added to her grief, because it bore her further away from the living man, and because it was a tiny foretaste of the eternity she would have to spend without him. Again and again she found herself forgetting, for the space of a heartbeat, that he was gone for ever and that she could not turn to him for comfort.
When her sister and brother-in-law came through to make breakfast, Mary took Barry’s phone and withdrew into the study, where she started looking for the numbers of some of Barry’s huge acquaintance. She had only been at it a matter of minutes when the mobile in her hands rang.
‘Yes?’ she murmured.
‘Oh, hello! I’m looking for Barry Fairbrother. Alison Jenkins from the Yarvil and District Gazette.’
The young woman’s jaunty voice was as loud and horrible in Mary’s ear as a triumphal fanfare; the blast of it obliterated the sense of the words.
‘Sorry?’
‘Alison Jenkins from the Yarvil and District Gazette. I want to speak to Barry Fairbrother? It’s about his article on the Fields.’
‘Oh?’ said Mary.
‘Yes, he hasn’t attached details of this girl he talks about. We’re supposed to interview her. Krystal Weedon?’
Each word felt to Mary like a slap. Perversely, she sat still and silent in Barry’s old swivel chair and let the blows rain upon her.
‘Can you hear me?’
‘Yes,’ said Mary, her voice cracking. ‘I can hear you.’
‘I know Mr Fairbrother was very keen to be present when we interview Krystal, but time’s running—’
‘He won’t be able to be present,’ said Mary, her voice eliding into a screech. ‘He won’t be able to talk about the bloody Fields any more, or about anything, ever again!’
‘What?’ said the girl on the end of the line.
‘My husband is dead, all right. He’s dead, so the Fields will have to get on without him, won’t they?’
Mary’s hands were shaking so much that the mobile slipped through her fingers, and for the few moments before she managed to cut the call, she knew that the journalist heard her ragged sobs. Then she remembered that most of Barry’s last day on earth and their wedding anniversary had been given over to his obsession with the Fields and Krystal Weedon; fury erupted, and she threw the mobile so hard across the room that it hit a framed picture of their four children, knocking it to the floor. She began to scream and cry at once, and her sister and brother-in-law both came running upstairs and burst into the room.
All they could get out of her at first was, ‘The Fields, the bloody, bloody Fields …’
‘It’s where me and Barry grew up,’ her brother-in-law muttered, but he explained no further, for fear of inflaming Mary’s hysteria.
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