Even the Score(107)

By: Beth Ehemann


Andy’s shoulders slumped in deflation as he turned and walked toward the door.

“It was me,” Blaire said in a soft, almost inaudible tone.

Detective Larson’s head flinched back. “What?”

Andy spun around and stared at her in complete silence.

“He’s right. I can’t put my kids through any more grief.” She put her head in her hands and started to cry, her shoulders shaking up and down. “I’ll sign whatever you need me to sign and do whatever I need to do,” she said in a muffled tone.

Detective Larson cleared his throat. “Uh . . . I’m going to need an official statement from you and to answer some more questions.” If he was shocked by what just happened, he did a good job of hiding it.

“Fine,” she said through sobs. “Anything you want.”

The woman in me wanted to go in the room and comfort her, tell her everything would be okay eventually. But as I looked down at my casted hand, I thought about all the messages, I thought about my car, I thought about my sweet dog, I remembered the torment I felt as Javier kicked me over and over, and in that moment, I decided that I didn’t need to save her. I didn’t want to save her. She put herself in this situation, and she needed to feel every emotion, burning with pain, or she would never grow past it.

“Okay, can you come with me, please?” Detective Larson stood and held his arm out for Blaire to follow him. She sniffed a few more times and wiped the mascara from her cheeks as she stood.

“Wait,” Andy ordered, looking Blaire straight in the eye. “Can you just tell me why? I have to know why.”

Blaire bit her lip and thought about his question for a few seconds. “I never wanted our divorce, Andrew. Not even a little. You were the love of my life, but I didn’t know how to show you that I loved you. When you ended our marriage, I was so devastated and shocked, I couldn’t function for months. I wanted to hurt you as bad as you hurt me. To paralyze you as bad as you paralyzed me.”

“Then why not just come after me directly?”

The corners of Blaire’s lips turned down slightly. “The kids. They need you more than they need me. So I hurt the next-best thing.”

They both stood silently, staring into each other’s eyes for several seconds until Detective Larson cleared his throat, and Blaire followed him out of the room.

Something shifted between Blaire and Andy when she walked past him. I felt it from the other room. It wasn’t hate, it wasn’t anger, it wasn’t revenge. It was just . . . over.

As soon as Detective Larson closed the door behind him, I rushed into the interrogation room. Andy had slid down the wall and was sitting on the floor with his legs pulled up and his elbows resting on his knees, staring straight ahead with a dazed look on his face.

I sat on the floor next to him, unsure of what to say. That was the single most intense interaction I’d ever seen between two people in my entire life, and I was stunned.

“I wanted to kill her,” Andy finally said in a tone so hollow it gave me goose bumps.

“Andy, don’t say that.”

“I mean it. Knowing that she’s the one behind your attacks and everything else, I wanted to punch her like I did Javier, but then—when she was in front of me and I had the opportunity—I just felt . . . sorry for her.”

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, knowing exactly how he felt.

“Not sorry like I don’t want her to go to prison forever,” he corrected, “but sorry for who she is on the inside.”

I nodded, but before I could answer, he continued.

“As adults, we have designer clothes and plastic surgery and nice cars, and we can portray ourselves however we want on the outside, but if you’re ugly on the inside, no matter how much you spend and how hard you try, you can’t escape that. She’s been trapped in her own ugliness her entire life.”

As my head fell onto Andy’s shoulder, a tear dripped from the corner of my eye and landed on the sleeve of his jacket, slowly rolling toward the floor.

That man didn’t have an ugly bone in his whole body.





EPILOGUE

Danicka

2 months later

“There’s my girl!” Dad said, opening his arms wide for a hug as I walked up to the table where he was already waiting.

“Hi, Daddy,” I said, hugging him under his arms as he squeezed my shoulders. I gave him a kiss on his stubbly cheek.

“How are you?”

“I’m good,” I answered with a happy sigh. “Really good, actually.”

“Good to see you without that cast.” He nodded toward my hand.

“Yeah, it came off this week. I’m going to have to do a little physical therapy to build up my strength again, but at least I can get my hand wet now. Showering was such a pain.”