“What do you think of Richard?”
“I think he’s quite mad, but I haven’t met a stage actor who isn’t.”
“Laurie was lovely.”
“He smacked his skull against the concrete and drowned in the Thames.”
“He was wasted.”
“Normal people don’t die like that.”
“Anyway, there’s something off with Richard.”
“He thinks you’re fit.”
“He’s everywhere I go. I can’t study my lines for a minute in my flat without him showing up.”
“He’s your lead man now.”
“But Laurie was never like this. It’s as though Richard doesn’t want to let me out of his sight lest I disappear into thin air.”
“You’re overreacting, Angela. You’re still upset over the way that Laurie died. It was quite tragic.”
I sigh, about to resign my attempts to explain my experience. I couldn’t well tell Reagan that I feel like I’m being squeezed by a bloody boa whenever Richard is near.
And then he walks into the pub. The telly above plays an advert for a pest control company.
“Hello, ladies,” his hollow cheer strikes me alone.
I send Reagan a hard sideways glance.
She dismisses my reaction with a clucking noise.
“Richard! It’s lovely to see you, darling.”
I stand to leave.
“Seems as though Angela feels differently.”
“Don’t be silly,” Reagan says, “she’s off to run her lines.”
“Do you need me, then?”
“No.” I can barely say the word. My lungs feel like bone.