Authors: Rachel Hanna
by Rachel Hanna
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No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the author.
The scanning, uploading, and/or distribution of this book via the internet or any other means without the prior written permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law.
All characters are fictitious and not based upon any real person, alive or dead.
Copyright Rachel Hanna 2012
November 4, 2010
Carly Davenport-Caine never imagined that she would be here. Sitting in the cold and stark questioning room at an Atlanta police station was not in her grand plan. The smell of bitter, burned coffee pervaded her senses as she tapped her foot nervously on the dingy white tile flooring. Her life had started off so promising, so how in the world did she end up here?
Waiting for the detective to come question her yet again, Carly knew that they were probably staring at her through those double mirrors that she had seen on TV crime shows. Did they think that she had something to do with this? How could anyone think that she was capable of killing another person in cold blood? How could anyone believe that she had participated in the sick scheme to take the life of another person? She had never even had a speeding ticket, so surely they weren’t concocting a scheme to put her behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit.
She knew who did it. She told them who did it. Did they even believe her? Did they think she was an accessory? Every episode of
that she had ever seen in her life was running through her head. Every legal show that she had watched with bated breath seemed to be playing out in her mind as she tried to think through what would happen next. She had been at the police station for hours now. She felt disgusting, like she needed to take the world’s longest shower.
Telling the police the whole story had been the most frightening thing she had ever done. Watching someone get murdered was horrific enough, but knowing that she was putting her very life in the hands of strangers was just as scary.
She tapped her fingernails on the cold, metal table in front of her. Sighing, she closed her eyes and ran her fingers through her long blond hair. At thirty years old, she felt as if her life might be over soon. If anyone knew what she had witnessed, would she be dead soon too? Even though the killer was now in custody, she felt evil lurking around every corner.
“Carly?” Detective Cloud appeared behind her. He was an older man, and he reminded her of her late grandfather who used to take her fishing and camping when she was very young. His bushy white hair and matching mustache made him approachable, even if he was wearing a gun on his belt.
“Yes?” she said quietly. Looking in the mirror, she noticed that her mascara had stained her cheeks, but vanity was not high on her list of priorities at the moment.
“We need to talk a bit more about what happened tonight, okay?” Detective Cloud’s deep Southern drawl put her at ease, but she still wanted to get the heck out of there. He slid back into the chair across from her and cleared his throat before taking a sip of the stale smelling police station coffee.
“Detective, I have told you everything I know. I am exhausted mentally and physically. I just don’t know what else to say…” She laid her head down on the table for a moment before looking up at him with her sad blue eyes. Those blue eyes had gotten her out of some tight jams before, but they didn’t seem to be doing a darn thing this time.
“Carly, I need you to run through the events one more time with me while I record our conversation,” he said as he took a digital recorder out of his shirt pocket.
“What? Why? I thought you recorded it earlier.” Carly put her head in her hands. She got the feeling that they were trying to wear her down - that they were trying to make her so exhausted that she couldn’t think clearly. She decided that she had better play along to protect herself. “Fine,” she said sitting back in her chair and crossing her legs.
“Good. Let’s get started,” Detective Cloud said as he pressed the record button. “For the record, please state your name.”
“And your age?”
“I am thirty years old.”
“And what is your relationship to the accused murderer, Ethan Caine?”
“He is my husband.”
Carly looked at her alma mater, Tisdale High School, and sighed to herself. Four long years of torture had finally paid off, and she was leaving this place within the week. Graduation was coming, and college was quickly approaching right behind it. Her life was about to change. She could leave this tiny town behind along with all of the memories that she wanted to forget.
“Girl, can you believe we made it? Finally!” her friend Zinnia said as she hugged her around the neck. Zinnia had been her constant companion since ninth grade. Her curly red locks and bubbly personality went along with her quirky name.
“It’s hard to believe, that’s for sure. It’s been a very long year to say the least,” Carly said with a slight smile. A lot had happened during her senior year, some good and some bad.
Her parents had divorced early in the school year, so she had to say goodbye to her former family life. Being an only child, she had always felt a bit lonely. While other kids spent their Christmases and Thanksgivings with a house full of siblings, Carly often sat alone in her room with her new toys crying. She had desperately wanted that closeness that she saw other families having. She wanted the big family dinners, a brother or sister who had her back, and siblings to share a history with.
Her parents divorced because her father cheated with his best friend’s wife, thus breaking up two families in one fell swoop. He moved to Sacramento to start over at a new job with his mistress-girlfriend. Carly hadn’t heard much from him during the school year, and he wasn’t coming to her graduation. She wondered how a man could father a child, raise her for almost eighteen years, and then just walk away.
Carly’s mom was a workaholic. She spent most of her time trying to keep up with the bills. This left Carly feeling alone at home. The only good thing she had to look forward to each day was the mail that brought letters from Aidan.
She had met Aidan Harrison in her freshman year of high school. Originally from England, his accent caught her attention immediately. Not many guys in Georgia talked like Aidan. He was tall, kind of skinny, and funny with his quick British wit that she didn’t always understand. He had a crooked smile, huge dimples, and the longest eyelashes she had ever seen. Carly had been immediately attracted to him, but he only wanted to be friends it seemed. He was a year older than her and didn’t seem to date much either.
In French class, they had been the cut-ups. She thought of him like an older brother, and he thought of her like his little sister. They were best friends for three years until the unthinkable happened.
Something had gone wrong with his visa when he was in his senior year. Before he was able to graduate, he was deported back to England while the rest of his family stayed behind. Carly had no idea that he was being sent away because she missed a few days of school due to strep throat. When she came back at the end of her junior year, Aidan was gone.
After asking around, she found out what happened. Luckily, he had left his address with another friend. Carly immediately wrote to him, and he wrote back. As the year went on, Carly was the only friend of Aidan’s who kept writing. She supported him and stayed close to him even though he was so far away.
Not having family around her and never having had siblings, she felt close to Aidan. He appreciated how she kept in touch and started telling her so in letters. She didn’t think anything of it when he said in his last letter, “You will never know how much it means to me that you have stuck with me all this time.”
A part of her wondered if Aidan had more than friendship feelings. A part of her hoped that he did, but that idea scared her. Her father had taught her that men leave, and she thought it best to have his friendship for life than a dating relationship that would only end in heartache.
“So what are you doing tonight?” Zinnia asked as she pulled her kinky red locks up into a ponytail.
“I am staying home. I have one more exam on Monday, and I need to cram for it this weekend,” Carly said with a smile. She knew that her mother would be out of town over the weekend. She had a new boyfriend who lives in Alabama, so she was often away seeing him. Carly hated it because she needed her mother during her senior year. So much was changing in her life all at once, and the thought of it scared her to death.
“Well, have fun with that! See you next week, girl!” Zinnia said as she jumped into her yellow VW Bug and peeled out of the parking lot. Carly had no idea what was about to happen that afternoon.
Studying was the last thing on Carly’s mind as she sat in her living room on the sofa. She felt alone in her house, like no one else lived there but her. Gone were the days of her mother cooking a big breakfast on Saturday mornings and watching old TV shows with her on Sunday afternoons.
She slammed her book shut as she leaned back against the sofa. After recently breaking up with yet another boyfriend, Carly had decided to retire from the dating scene until she went off to college in a few weeks. While her other friends were planning to wait until fall to start college, Carly had scheduled summer classes to get a head start. No reason to stay home alone for the whole summer. She was anxious to get a fresh start in a new town with new friends. She dreamed of meeting a man who would sweep her off her feet and make her forget about this dark time in her life.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a random knock at the door. She wondered who could be there at seven o’clock on a Friday night since all of her friends were out partying. She felt like such a hermit staying home to study, but she had to do well on her exams.
“Who is it?” she yelled while simultaneously opening the door. There stood a tall, handsome guy with brown hair, dark brown eyes, and a devilishly crooked smile. “Aidan!” she yelled as she threw her arms around his neck.
“Carly!” he yelled back picking her up in the air. “Am I glad to see you!” His thick English accent bowled her over. She had missed hearing that voice. He held onto her for what seemed like an awfully long time, burying his head in her strawberry-scented hair.