4: Carla

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Carla was definitely beginning to feel the effects of a hangover, but she'd be lying if she said she regretted last night. 

In the last couple of weeks, she felt so alive. So young. So desired. So full of life, lust, and energy, all coursing through her veins like some kind of superhero's power. Part of it was due to Alex, maybe, but she didn't trace her new lease of life entirely to meeting him. She felt like she had finally let go of all the hang ups she developed from her time with Karl, and she allowed herself to have a clean state. 

She looked at herself in Ellen's bathroom mirror. For a woman in her mid-thirties, Carla could've easily passed for about 28. Her shoulder-length, naturally blonde hair was a source of pride, and her hazel eyes inspired compliments from many potential male suitors. Few lived up to becoming an actual match, but she wasn't afraid of a little male attention. She stopped herself from enjoying her sexuality when she was in college, and looked back at her younger self as being a little too prudish for her own good. Hindsight was certainly a fine thing to consider, she thought, but Carla had often felt like she missed out on having all the fun when she should have. She was happy to make up for lost time now, and as she wasn't exactly over the hill just yet, she felt like she could have anything she wanted in the world. She felt more empowered and secure in her body than she had done in years

For that moment, though, all she wanted was a warm, soothing, cleansing shower. Just as she was about to step into the shower, though, she heard a crash downstairs, as plates smashed onto the floor. 

"Ellen? You okay down there?" 

The lack of a reply made Carla quickly grab her bathtowel and wrap it around her, as she ran as fast as she could back down to where she heard the noise. When she got to the kitchen, shards of broken dinnerplate were scattered across the floor. The news was being read out on the small radio next to the window, and a box of eggs lay opened on the counter top. She also saw Ellen, lying on the floor, unconscious. 

"Oh my God! Ellen!!" 


When Carla finally managed to bring Ellen around, she called the local police station, demanding that an officer come to visit. When a sergeant arrived at the house an hour later, both of them bombarded the policewoman with questions; most importantly, why Ellen had to find out about her husband's murder on the radio like everyone else. 

"Ma'am, I'm so sorry," Sergeant Perez said with a genuine display of sympathy. "At this stage, I don't know why nobody managed to contact you, but because the incident took place in San Bernardino, police from Liverburg can only ask politely for the information. I'll do absolutely everything I can from here, but when you think you're ready, it may be better for you to pay a visit to my counterpart there. I have his number on my phone, so I can give that to you." 

Ellen nodded silently, not knowing what else to say. Sergeant Perez wrote the name and number of her counterpart across the county line, and Carla took the piece of paper. The name looked familiar to her, but she couldn't tell why. Ramón Diaz. A name Carla felt she'd remember. 

She walked Sergeant Perez to the front door, thanking her for coming over and for her support. She returned to the living room, and sat beside Ellen to give her a hug. 

"I'm not gonna lie. Mike was a piece of dirt that you never should have met, but he didn't deserve to die like that." 

Ellen hardly moved, but instead, coldly replied: "You sure about that? I certainly didn't know the man I married, so maybe he did deserve it. Maybe he got what a small-time crook like him was coming for him. Maybe, he got exactly what he deserved." 

"Jeez, Ellen, the man's body probably isn't even cold yet. Let's not jump to any conclusions just yet." 

Ellen turned her head and stared at Carla. 

"He was my husband, Carla. My knight in shining armor. My Californian Casanova." 

She turned away from her friend again. 

"My conman corpse." 

Carla sighed, patting Ellen softly on the back, as she picked up her mug of cold coffee. 

"I gotta stop buying you those crime novels for Christmas. Their crappy titles are rubbing off on you." 

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