Olivia let herself into the house, her key rattling slightly in the lock. The lights all seemed to be off, and she could hear the TV from deeper inside. Her heart felt cold at the familiar scene. A box by the door had two threadbare stuffed toys in it, as well as a doll who had lost most of her hair. A dark stain marred the doll's left arm and skirt.
"Dammit! Can't you worthless louts do anything right?" A crashing sound came from the living room and Olivia put down the toys. Xavier seemed to be watching the football game as if nothing had changed. She clenched her fists and stalked toward him, barely keeping her emotions inside.
There he was, next to two empty beer bottles. A can of some other alcohol was crushed near the TV, slight amounts of liquid seeping out of it. Three pizza boxes were stacked on the side table, and Olivia guessed that they had all been empty for a while. She flicked on the light and Xavier spun towards her, almost as if he was prepared to throw the beer bottle in his hand.
"Liv! What are you doing here? I didn't think you'd get out of prison for a while yet."
"They let me go for good behaviour," she lied. The truth was she'd broken out, and probably left some traumatized guards in her wake.
"Really? Nice. Can you go get groceries? These are my last beers and I've just been eating take-out. A home-cooked meal sounds great."
"Where's Keyla?" Olivia couldn't squeeze out any other words. Her fists were shaking. She knew full well where their daughter was. But did Xavier care?
"Huh? Oh. Got a notice from the hospital that she died. Couldn't afford the procedure, so they just kept an eye on her until she was gone."
The way he said it so casually made Olivia's chest swell with what felt like burning magma. Their eyes locked and she wanted nothing more than to make this man wish he'd never been born. But no. Not yet. She exhaled slowly as Xavier continued.
"I packed up her stuff. The last of it's by the front door. None of it's worth anything, so I guess I'll just send it up to the recycling plants. The books actually fetched more than I thought they would. And the best part is now I don't have to worry about Social Services dropping in."
"I'm heading out," Olivia muttered. As she turned to go, Xavier called out one last request.
"Could you turn off the light, Liv? It's easier to see the TV." Olivia turned and forced a smile on her face.
"How about I take those empty bottles for you too?"
"Thanks, love. Could you make something nice when you get back? Like lasagna?"
Olivia didn't answer, pretending she hadn't heard him as she flicked off the light and rinsed out the beer bottles. But instead of taking them out, she left them in the sink to dry. An idea had formed in her head.
No, it had been forming for some time. Ever since she got out, she hadn't been able to fully focus on her revenge against Achilles. She had to know what had happened with Xavier. Did he feel any regret? Had his life changed at all? Olivia had avoided going home since they'd look for her here, but her curiosity had finally gotten the better of her.
Xavier didn't care that Keyla was gone. In fact, he seemed happy that she wasn't there anymore. Hatred burned like a hot stone in Olivia's chest. He'd even had the nerve to get rid of Keyla's things, giving them no more thought than the amount of money they could get him. She'd been toying with the idea, but his attitude had cemented her desire.
Their daughter was dead. And all he wanted was more beer and for her to cook for him. He'd get his booze all right. Olivia was careful to hide the twisted emotions in her heart as she stalked down the street. The elevator went down a couple floors to the store and she flicked her eyes over the merchandise.
There. The drugstore portion. That was what she was looking for. She found the bottles she was looking for and brought two up to the front. The employee rang up her total and she internally cursed. She didn't even have enough money for this.
Olivia smiled and looked the kid in the eye before reaching into her pocket and then placing her hand in his for a brief moment. He smiled and gave her change, before closing the till and bagging her purchases. She took the bag and left, relief flooding her.
This Miracle really was the best. She thanked the purple god once again.
When she opened the door this time, Xavier called out to greet her. Olivia called back, keeping the hatred out of her voice. The beer bottles were mostly dry now, so she took out her purchases from earlier and set them on the counter. Two bottles of rubbing alcohol. She filled the beer bottles and swished them a bit. This way, it would look like an accident. She wouldn't be arrested for murder.
Yet. The murder trial could come when Achilles was dead.
Olivia headed back to the living room and smiled what she hoped was a gentle smile as she handed Xavier the bottles.
"Thanks, Liv." He looked her in the eye for a brief moment and started chugging away. Olivia nodded and retreated to the back of the room, where she sat as if to watch the game. But the whole time she watched as Xavier knocked back the alcohol. When the deed was done, she made sure the bottles were empty, took the empty rubbing alcohol bottles and half the money Xavier had stashed away and left as if nothing had happened.
Now she could really focus on Achilles.
First she'd need a wig and some makeup. That way she could really do what she pleased. The plan formed more and more concretely in her mind as Olivia walked through the darkening streets.
Soon the famous 'hero' would meet his end.