On returning to the bar, he signalled for another drink. The girl exchanged an almost imperceptible look with her boss who looked over at Rob and then back at her and nodded.
Outside, standing by one of the upright barrels sometimes used as impromptu tables, Rob fumbled for his phone and clicked on the last call and was reconnected, “Husani?”
“Rob...?” His friend had been expecting a call back.
“Best not tell Sally this,”
“Of course, are you ok?”
“No,” Rob was unusually forthright, his trade mark stiff-upper-lip swept away by the devastating news.
“Where are you?”
“Okay, I’m coming over,”
Rob clicked off the phone and drew thoughtfully on his cigarette but it rang before he could put it away.
“Rob?” Sally’s voice sounded distressed. Could she know already?
“Sal,” Rob wanted to cry. Sally increasingly had that effect on him. A picture of Ed came into his mind. Living in his house, sleeping in his …don’t go there a voice told him. Another voice told him that it was Sally’s house anyway. That was usually how the cycle went, until he could get a grip and worry about something else.
Rob would normally have been delighted at the news of Ed’s departure but here now, in the wake of Husani’s call all he could muster was a grunt. Sally put the phone down. Great!
“I’m really sorry my friend,” Husani put an arm around Rob. The architect responded by waving for a second glass. “By the way, you know I shouldn’t have told you? The autopsy results were strictly confidential,” Rob nodded, “of course,” but before he could carry on his phone rang.
“Rob you’d better sit down…” the young Scottish voice said. Rob looked at Husani as he listened, “Nina, you can stop. I know.” He clicked the phone off and turned to his heart surgeon friend, “not that confidential I’m afraid, it’s in tonight’s Chronicle.”
“Christ!” Husani looked up the blonde girl who was standing by the table with a half full bottle of red and nodded.