It's been six weeks. He can no longer pretend that he's convinced Random's coming back because it's been six weeks. It had been knowledge to cling on to and he'd succeeded up until the last week, holding on because he knows it'll be over sometime.
But that was before there were drugs. Before he'd stopped trying to hang on to the diminishing memory of Random promising to return. Before he'd stopped going to Texorami to work because he can't muster the will to care. Now he's up, or down, or alternating between the two fast enough to make anyone's head spin. He needs pills and alcohol to crash, powder to wake up again. He'd sleep through most of the day if it weren't for Martin.
Even he'd be able to see that things are spiralling out of control, if it weren't for the fact that he can also no longer pretend that anger isn't eating him alive. It doesn't matter what he takes, there are images that just won't go away. Speed and coke make him think, barbituates and valium make him dull and morbid. The outcome is the same either way. Random in his head, laughing, making her smile, calling her 'lover', taking her to bed, falling in love with her. It makes him want to smash things but he doesn't, he keeps a lid on it all. Has been for weeks. Because he's Ramon Salazar, damnit! No one is going to make him jealous. It's preposterous that anyone might suggest he's falling apart over this. He isn't. He knows this, and he thinks it as he unclenches the tight muscles in his jaw and bends to inhale another line of neat white powder. One thing going for drugs is that they never disagree with you.
He has the house to himself for the afternoon and his plans include nothing more exciting than taking whatever he can to try and escape the images in his head, the burning anger in his chest. He's succeeding too, and almost misses the knock on the door because of it. But when it gets more insistent he hears, and rouses himself enough to answer.
There are five men standing there, a truck parked in the driveway.
'Delivery for Senor Ramierez? Shipped from Buenos Aires?'
Ramon blinks at the man stupidly, forgetting that that was the name he was using in Argentina. When he clicks on, there's a nod.
'Sign here, please.'
The pen feels like it's made of stone and he almost drops it as he scribbles something incomprehensible. Because there's only one thing this could be now ("She's beautiful") and his heart has turned to stone and dropped into his boots.
A large box is carried inside and deposited on a sideboard in the sitting room. Ramon watches mutely, staring at it. He says nothing to the men and simply shuts them out when they're done, forgetting about them instantly. The place is quiet, warm, and the waves from the beach can be heard hitting the sand over and over, almost in time to the clock ticking on the mantelpiece.
He'd forgotten. Hadn't been expecting this. He stares at the box as though it might explode, willing it not to be here. But it is, it doesn't disappear. And he can't leave it there forever.
For the first time since Random left him in charge of his son, Ramon walks to a cabinet and pulls out a bottle of tequila. No drinking in the day? Fuck that. Fuck everything. He sits on the sofa and starts to pour, not taking his eyes off the box. Not opening it, not moving except to drink. Not thinking except to be aware of the heat flooding his brain, circulating through his skin, the anger starting to climb through his muscles and make them tense. This was not something he'd been prepared for and even if he had been, he wouldn't have anticipated the way it would hit him.
Half a bottle is gone and he's standing, stalking across the room to the basement stairs, pulling keys from his pocket. When he returns, a crowbar is with him and he doesn't hesitate now, he just attacks one side of the box, taking satisfaction from the creaking and breaking of wood, the crash as it breaks and falls to the floor along with a cascade of packing material that pours out like water from a jug. He brushes the stuff away, almost impatient now. If he lingered, it might have appeared as though he were scared. And that's not an option. Ramon Salazar knows no fear.
...three hours later, when he hasn't moved from the sofa and his eyes haven't left the sculpted woman laughing at him, Ramon Salazar would be more convinced than ever that he knows no fear. But he'd admit to knowing other things. Things that are now speaking to him in voices he can't ignore because there comes a point where you have to draw a line, you have to put your foot down and say enough.
He will not be made a fool of. And he can't just sit at home and pretend this is OK. Ramon sits and watches her face, wondering what she's saying and what she's doing right now. And without even thinking about it, he knows what his response is going to be.