I should have known better!
"Is that blood on your coat?"
My freedom flashed before my eyes. There was no escaping; he had 'made' me. Isn't that what they say on those crime shows? I just stared at him like a deer in the headlights. Hell, I felt like a deer in the headlights, or, more fittingly, a criminal in the spotlight.
How had I ended up here? Where did everything start going wrong? I knew that Derek was a loser when I married him, but I hadn't anticipated him quitting his job and leaving me to provide for our two children alone. Nor had I expected him to run into the arms of another woman. Still, would the officer see that what I did was justified? Probably not.
I remained silent - I couldn't force a word out - as the policeman walked toward me. Reflexively, I started to step back.
"Stop, ma'am. I need to see that coat." His tone was firm, and his eyes were steel.
So many thoughts flooded my mind. My precious eight-year-old daughter, waiting patiently for the surprise dinner I promised her. Her sixteen-old-brother, dutifully watching her as I ran my errands. What would happen to them? I couldn't stand the thought of Derek and his mistress keeping them, but it was looking as if I wouldn't have a say in the matter.
Finally, I allowed the officer to search my coat, and I wasn't surprised when I felt the handcuffs close around my wrists. I had brought this all on myself.
On my trip in the squad car, I silently vowed never to steal anything again - especially from a butcher shop with leaky trays!