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”I know it’s hard, Bette…” Shane said quietly, her head hung low. ”I get it, I really do…”
No sound came from the woman that lay motionless on her side with her face turned away from Shane, toward the sofa’s back. Shane had let herself in, for the door hadn’t been closed, and since then had been trying to talk Bette into getting ready to go to Marcus’s funeral.
”Trust me I don’t wanna go either. I’m mad as hell at his death,” Shane explained, ”but we gotta pay our respects to him, he deserves it.”
Shane stared at Bette’s back in hopeful expectation, but the brunette refused to respond.
Running a hand through her hair, Shane heaved a sigh. ”Please, Bette, right now you have to find strength to get it done. Somehow, somewhere. I’m fucking begging you, please find it. You know you have to.” She then rose from her feet and advanced toward the balcony. ”I’m going for a smoke and then I’ll leave.”
When on the balcony, Shane received a call from Tasha.
”Where’re you? The service begins in five minutes. Everyone’s here already.”
Shane lighted a cigarette and leaned against the railing. ”I’m afraid we’ll only make it to the cemetery. I’m at Bette’s.”
”I’m trying to get her to start getting ready. There’s a good possibility she won’t go at all.”
”Arnodelo is here, he asked about her. He sounded displeased. Said she hasn’t been returning his calls.”
”Shit,” Shane shook her head.
”So you have to make her come to the cemetery at least.”
”Good luck. I’ll go now. See you.”
Shane took time to finish her cigarette before she would go and make one more attempt to talk sense into her friend. She was sure Bette would hate herself in the future for missing an opportunity to say her last goodbye to Marcus while she still could, in a certain sense. That was what Shane needed to make clear to Bette as of now.
Turning around to stub her cigarette out, Shane jumped slightly, startled. There at the balcony doors stood Bette, already dressed in all black. As soon as Shane took a closer look at Bette’s face, she instantly felt deep compassion for her friend. Bette appeared faded and wrung out, like a worn rag, her thin face sunken with shadows beneath her eyes. Even though there were no signs of crying, for her eyes weren’t red or swollen, but they were hollow and soulless, which made Bette’s mental and emotional health seem even more disturbing.