Steve stood over the body with the bloody knife in his right hand. The blade of the knife and his hand were covered in blood. He felt like he was frozen in time. He threw the knife on the floor and bent over the body. He rolled up the rug the body was lying on and rolled the body in the rug. He had to get the body and himself out of that apartment without being seen.
Mary checked the clock on her phone for the hundredth time. Where was her husband? He should have been home hours ago. Tonight was their anniversary and they had special plans. He was taking her to dinner and dancing. They hadn’t been out to dinner in months. He was always working late. She called his phone again and again she got voice mail. She pondered about leaving another voice mail message to go along with the five she already left. He didn’t like receiving more than two messages from her when he was late. He made that very clear many times. And when he makes something clear you do what he said. She decided to text him. This was her second text asking where he was and when he was going to get home. She threw the phone on the sofa in anger and frustration. She kicked off her high heels and sat on the sofa and waited. She did a lot of waiting for him and didn’t like it one bit.
The key turned the lock on the door and her husband entered the apartment carrying a bouquet of red and yellow roses. He smiled and looked at Mary who was sipping a glass of red wine on the sofa and watching a movie.
“Sorry I am late, Honey.” Steve said as he handed her the flowers.
“I’m sorry too. I waited hours for you. Where have you been?” Mary asked her husband in her pissed off voice.
“I had to work late at the office. Time just got away from me. I was working on that big merger I told you about. You know the Kincaid contract. I didn’t mean to spoil our anniversary.” Steve said while sitting down next to his wife.
“Well, it is too late for going out to dinner now and dancing is out of the question. I guess we are stuck once again at home. Since I didn’t cook because I antispacted going out tonight you might want to throw some TV dinners in the microwave and guess that will be dinner. I am going to change out of this dress.” Mary got up off the couch and walked away.
“Honey, I am so sorry.” Steve replied.
Two days later Mary was doing laundry. She hated doing laundry almost as much as she hated mopping the floors. She was supposed to be enjoying her own career by now. They had been married for 7 years now and Steve had promised her that when his business got off of the ground that she could start her own catering business. His business was doing great and she was still at home mopping floors and doing laundry. Somewhere in this marriage she had lost herself. She wasn’t exactly sure when that happened but it did. She was already 30 years old and feeling like she was in a permanent rut.
She had met Steve when they were in the first grade. By the time they were in the ninth grade he had told her he was going to marry her one day. Mary had not believed him. She wanted to go to cooking school and become a celebrity chef like her idol, Julia Childs. She had all of Julia’s cookbooks and had learned to cook almost everything in the books and knew she would be successful. She had hopes and dreams and one of those was not marriage until she was rich and famous. Mary had just graduated cooking school when Steve asked her to marry him. They had dated for 4 years by then and he made all kinds of promises to her and told her that her dreams would never be on hold permanently. He said that once he got his business going that two years after that she would be able to start her dreams of catering. She wished she hadn’t listened to him and did what she wanted to do. But, here she was all those years later in a condo on the tenth floor doing laundry for a man she barely saw anymore.
Mary emptied the pockets of Steve’s jeans and threw them in the washer and she continued emptying pockets of his jeans and shirts until she got to the end of the basket when she noticed something on the collar of one of his work shirts. It was a tiny red spot. She picked it up and held it closer to her eyes for closer examination of the spot.
“Is that lipstick?” She said to their cat, Henry, who was sitting at her feet.
“It doesn’t look exactly like lipstick. Maybe it is blood?” She questioned aloud.
Mary sprayed the shirt with a laundry cleaner and tossed it in the washer with the rest of the laundry and went about her business in the house including taking their dog, Harry out for a walk. But Mary couldn’t get the thought of that being blood out of her mind. Since this was not the first time she noticed blood on one of Steve’s shirts.
Mary was doing the laundry several weeks before and she noticed some blood near the right sleeve on one of his shirts and she asked him about it. Steve’s reaction was stone cold. He looked at her with a look in his eyes she had never seen before and blankly told her that he had cut himself shaving. Mary saw no cuts on his face. But, she let it go. Now, this time there is more blood on another shirt. Was it a coincidence? She didn’t know for sure but she didn’t think so.
For as long as Mary has known Steve, which was most of her life, she had not seen him cut himself but twice. Once in the fifth grade trying to cut out some designs for his paper airplane and once when he was trying to cook dinner for her when they were dating. He was always so careful when using anything sharp. The thought of him cutting himself while shaving was something that Mary found hard to believe but she supposed it could have been true.
Mary sat down to watch the evening news while she was cooking her pot roast in the slow cooker. Steve still had another hour or two before he would be home and she could keep dinner warm in the crockpot and not worry about having to heat anything up. There was a news story that stopped Mary in her tracks.
“In local news a body has been found in Lake Chance. The identity of the woman approximately in her early to mid 30’s is unknown. Police are asking for your help. The woman was wearing a gold necklace with the letter K on it and a gold ring on her pinkie finger. If you have any information please call the local police office.”
Mary sank into the sofa. She knew exactly who the woman on the TV was. She dialed the number to the police. The next day she was at the police station telling the police exactly what she knew. She knew that the woman’s name was Kate Shaw. Kate was her husband’s ex girlfriend. Steve briefly dated her a year before they got married. They both went to school with her and she later got married, divorced and moved to another state. She would come back home to visit her parents every six months or so. The last time she was here Steve met up with her for business he claimed. Mary hadn’t thought anything of it until now.
“Steve did you know that Kate Shaw was killed?” She asked her husband when he came through the door that evening.
“No, I didn’t. What happened? Was she sick?” Steve asked his wife.
“No, she wasn’t sick at all. The police think foul play was involved since they found her in the lake a couple of days ago.”
“That’s sad. I wonder who killed her?” Steve asked.
“I don’t know. The police haven’t said anything about murder just foul play.” Mary continued.
“Foul play usually means murder, Mary. I am sure that they will find out what happened to that poor woman.” Steve said and threw his jacket on the couch.
Ten days later Mary was back at the police station. This was the hardest thing she had to do but it was the right thing. Either way she had to know the truth.
“May I please see Detective Jennings please?” Mary told the officer at the front desk.
“Hold on. Who can I say wants him?” The officer asked.
“Mary. Mary Enteman.”
Officer Jennings appeared a few minutes later and smiled at Mary. He invited her to come with him and sit at his desk. He shifted through a stack of free papers on his desk and then pointed to the chair across from his desk and invited her to sit down. Mary sat across from the Officer and folded her hands in her lap. She nervously smiled and started to speak.
“Office Jennings I think I know who killed Kate Shaw.” She said in a low voice.
“Okay. Who do you think killed her?” Office Jennings asked, looking her straight in the eyes.
“My husband.” Mary responded.
“Why do you think that?” Office Jennings questioned.
“ Well, officer. My husband and I knew Kate. We went to school with her and he dated her briefly right before we got married. I know that he has had recent contact with her too. He said about 5 months ago he ran into her and they started talking about business and they went out for a drink. Well, I have learned that he saw her again around the time that she died.”
“But, that doesn’t mean he killed her because he knew her. I am sure a lot of people knew her. So, why do you think he killed her?” Jennings asked.
“I think he killed her because I found some evidence.” Mary continued.
“What kind of evidence?” The officer asked.
“ Well, first of all I found some blood on some of his work shirts. And I know that was having an affair with her.” Mary continued.
“An affair? Well, what else do you have besides an affair? Lots of people have affairs. And where are the shirts with the blood on them?”
“Well, you see I washed two of them but the last one I didn’t wash. I have it here in my bag. If you test it you will probably see that it is Kate’s blood on it.” Mary continued.
“Okay give me the shirt and continue.” The officer continued.
Mary handed him the shirt and she continued.
“Officer, my husband, Steve, has been working late so he said but in fact that was a lie. One night I went to his office to bring him dinner and he wasn’t there. The security guard said he had left hours ago. I was on my way back home when I spotted his car at the Barrington Hotel across town. I was going in that direction to get gas. The Barrington is right across from the gas station. So, I saw his car. He was parked right in front of room number 5. I went over there to his car and looked around. I didn’t see anything in his car. So, I went to ask the front desk clerk if he was there and who he was with. Well, the kid at the front desk didn’t want to tell me anything at first until I gave him a $20 bill and then he told me the man’s name in room 5. Well, of course he didn’t use his own name but he paid with his company credit card so I knew it was him. I asked the kid to describe the woman who met him in the room. The kid said he was on a smoke break and noticed the woman because she was “hot” as he put it and she had long red hair. Well, Kate had long red hair and was pretty. But, I needed more proof that he was seeing someone so I waited and waited until he came out of the hotel. He came out first and then a few minutes later Kate came out. She got into her car and he got into his. I took a few shots with my camera which I keep in the car. I am a amatuer photographer so I carry a camera with me. Well, I was going to use the photos to confront him about the affair when I saw on the news that Kate was dead and her body found in the lake. That night was also our anniversary and Steve was late coming home as usual. But, I noticed that when he got home there was some mud on his shoes. It had rained the night before so I knew that there was probably mud by the lake. The bottom of his pants were wet too. I didn’t say anything at the time because I wasn’t sure where he had been. And I didn’t want to believe that the man I had known most of my life was a killer.”
“Go on.” The officer said.
“Well, I saved the shoes. I put them in a plastic bag for evidence. I have them in the car. I also saved the pants he was wearing that night. And I saved something else. Was part of Kate’s necklace broken? I found this too.” Mary said holding up a piece of a chain from Kate’s necklace.
“Yes, it was broken. We think that it might have gotten broken in some sort of struggle. We found skin under her fingernails too. But, we didn’t make that known to the public.” The office continued.
“Looks like we need to bring your husband in for questioning.” Office Jennings continued.
Ten days later Mary’s husband was arrested for the murder. Mary was still still processing the thought that she had married a man who was a killer and had killed their friend. She had an even harder time with the reason he killed her. He killed her because she was pregnant with his baby. She had just found out she was pregnant and told him that he was going to be responsible financially for the baby like she was. She had no intention of taking care of the baby alone without help. Steve couldn’t have that getting out it would ruin his business and his marriage. So, he did the one thing that he thought he had to do and that was to end Kate’s life and the life of her baby. Mary would never forgive him for that. There was little justice in the fact that Steve would spend the rest of his life in prison when Kate and her unborn baby would not have a life. Steve had turned out to be a stranger after all and a killer.