Nick and Jessica's relationship has been going downhill, but it's about to get worse.
|“I can’t believe you did that. What were you thinking?” Jessica asked, slapping the phone from my hand. The screen shattered as it slid across the linoleum floor of our kitchen.
It’s hard to say what I was thinking. What is anyone thinking when they do something like this? I was thinking that I’m sick of this relationship. I was thinking that I’m sick of being treated like I don’t matter, like I’m replaceable. But how do you tell someone you love that it’s over?
“I’m sorry,” I try, stupidly.
She shakes her head in disbelief, tears flowing freely now. She throws her hands up. “How could you do this to me, Nick? After everything I’ve given to you?”
I swallow hard, feeling the emotion build in my throat. I steady myself on the granite countertop and watch her throw her long red hair into a messy ponytail. How could you do this? I ask myself. It’s so hard when you get to this point in a relationship. You both know it’s over, beyond repair, but it’s so comfortable. It’s all you know.
“Was she worth it? Was she worth all that you’re throwing away?” The disgust in her emerald eyes burns through me. “Just stay away from me.”
I watch her stomp down the narrow hallway and slam our bedroom door behind her as I sink to the floor, my hands gripping either side of my head. We have been together for so long and I just ruined everything, but wasn’t it already ruined? It was over before I slept with Lisa. How long had it really been over? Was it over before we even moved into this apartment? Was it over when we met in that coffee shop four years ago?
A pounding at the door snaps me away from my thoughts. My knees ache as I rise to my feet, making me wonder how long I’ve actually been sitting there. I open the door to find two police officers standing on the doorstep, concerned looks on their stern faces. “Are you Mr. Hayes?” The younger of the two asks.
“Um, yes, what is this about?” I ask, feeling my heart race.
“We have a warrant to search the premises.” They have their hands on their guns now. The young one, who must have been a rookie, flashes a white piece of paper at me.
“Wait, what are you talking about?” I question as they pushed past me.
“We have reasonable suspicion you have something to do with the disappearance of Jessica Daniels.”
“Disappearance? Jessica is in our bedroom.” Who did these guys think they were? Jessica hasn’t disappeared? I follow them down the hallway.
“Sir, what is that smell?” The older cop asks, pulling his gun from the holster. He pauses outside the door.
I suddenly smell it myself. It’s the most rotten stench I’ve ever experienced. I cover my face as they slowly turn the handle and step into the room. I linger back in the hallway, knowing Jessica still won’t want to see me. They’ll find her in there, pouting and talking to her mom on the phone. She’ll tell them this is a big misunderstanding. But instead, there’s a burst of commotion.
“Oh, Oh my God!” I hear one of them cry as they stumble backwards into the hallway.
“Get down!” They draw their guns on me now. “I will shoot! Stomach on the floor!” the superior screams.
I scramble to the ground with my hands over my head. “What’s going on? Wait! Please, Officer! What happened?”
They jump on top of me, putting their knees in my back. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law…”
“Why am I being arrested!?” I cry, my face smashed against the rough carpet of the hallway.
They pull me to my feet and begin dragging me out of the house as the rookie continues reading me my rights. The next words of the superior make my blood run cold. “Nick Hayes, you are under arrest for the murder of Jessica Daniels.”
“Murder? What? Jessica is dead?” I feel tears streaming down my face as I was half-dragged to the squad car and thrown in the back. “Please, Officer. Tell me what happened to my girlfriend!”
“As if you don’t know,” the newbie sneers. “I usually forget stabbing the people I love, too.”
The door slams in my face and I slump over, head against the window in complete shock. How could this be? This has to be a nightmare, but I can feel the metal handcuffs cutting into my wrists. I felt the car lurch forward as we moved. No, this isn’t a dream at all. How long had I been there on the kitchen floor? Maybe I fell asleep. Maybe someone came in while I was asleep and did it. My poor Jessica!
But even as I promise myself I didn’t do this, the sinking feeling in my gut tells me that something terrible has happened. I try to think back to the argument. I see myself grabbing her wrists. I can see myself throwing her to the ground as she screams. I shake my head, my breaths coming quick and shallow. I’m hyperventilating as the tears flow freely. I intake a sharp breath and scream as loud as I can as the cops fly through the muggy night, bringing me to my grave.