“I didn’t lie.”
I force myself to meet his eye. “You jumped to the conclusion, I didn’t even know that you dated a Liv, how could I?” My voice is tight and high in my ears, betraying me, but he mistakes it for hurt at feeling accused and backs down, says he’s sorry, just tired and frustrated, and heartsick at yet another dead end.
I slip off the couch and kneel at his feet, snuggle into his chest and rub his back. He drops his head onto mine and strokes my hair as I whisper I’m sorry too. He tells me I have nothing to be sorry about, and I move away quickly, cover by saying I’ll make us some coffee, but really I’m afraid he’ll hear my heart thumping through my ears.
He follows. “You met her at Wirströms? She just started talking to you?” I nod, busying myself with the coffee machine. “What does she look like again?” I can barely remember right at this second, I mutter about being horrible at descriptions, but he isn’t listening.
“She gave you her phone number the first time you spoke?”
“She knew Hanna?”
She knew of Hanna, I correct, she didn’t say they were friends or anything.
“But she knew about Jenny?” He presses on. “Did she tell you she was dead before I did?” My hand shakes as I pour the coffee. I’m struggling to remember, everything is clashing together in this big maze of confusion: who knows what, who told who what. Who killed who. No, no she didn’t. I was stunned when Anders told me what had happened to Jenny, I hadn’t known.
“We need to tell the police about her.” Listening to it from his point of view, I agree. Who is this mysterious person who showed up i my life with stories about Hanna. This friend of mine I never mentioned in passing to my boyfriend. Shit. Hot tears fill my eyes, I turn away so he doesn’t see, blink them away impatiently. I don’t deserve to cry.
My phone rings. Anders pounces. “Maybe it’s her.” It isn’t a saved number. With a deep breath forcing my voice to be steady, I answer. It’s von Dursen. He was so fired up about finding Hanna’s killer after we talked last week, he hired a private investigator, and she just reported some news.
The farmer. I’ve barely thought about him. He’s so incidental to the main players that I haven’t given a moment’s thought to the fact that he was a human being who was murdered because he was near us that night. But he was a person, with a life. A sex life, specifically. I catch myself smiling for a split second at the thought that if Hanna had gone to him that night she would have been second in line. Because he’d hooked up at the local bar, and the investigator had tracked the hook up, a Kiwi backpacker now in London, down.
She had left Sweden the next morning so had no idea about the murder, and if the farmer mentioned her to the police they hadn’t yet contacted her. I guess private investigators have ways and means. She had promised to call the police as soon as they hung up, but told him her story first.
She had woken up in the middle of the night, and while stumbling around in the dark in pursuit of a glass of water, had looked out the window. It is a longish walk through the woods to the farmhouse from the stuga, but the way the coast of the island curves around, there is a direct view from the farmer’s bedroom window across to the jetty, and in the moonlight she could see two people standing on it. Being nosey, she opened the window a little so she could see better, and their voices carried across the still night. Two women arguing. She said she listened for a while as she first thought they were speaking English, then she wasn’t so sure. She told the PI she finally realized they were mostly just yelling in ‘drunk’, and got bored.
As she shut the window though, she caught something screamed. Haneskermey. It stuck in her head for some reason, and the next day on the plane she repeated it to her Swedish seatmate, to see if he could decipher what it meant. Haneskermey Han älskar mig. He loves me.
I hang up and have no choice but to relay it all to Anders as he has already heard most of it. I can’t help but smile at his thoughtful expression as he takes it all in. He does love me.