When disposing of a human body and committing a murder there are several things to consider. The most important thing is time. You see, time is a precious commodity that we all take for granted. We never fully appreciate it until it runs out. I had a feeling this would take all day. Of course I was sporadic and didn't think things through clearly. That was my first and only mistake.
"Good morning cupcake."
I could hear the smirk in his voice. I've never enjoyed this time of day. The false truths between us.
"Hello my love."
"Serena, why are you up?"
I really didn't have time for these marriage unpleasantries. I wanted to tell him the truth but I needed to get to the bathroom. The blood was starting to dry on my face.
"I'm going for a jog. I figured I get a headstart. I have a busy morning."
There was a brief silence and then the air filled with curiosity. My husband knows my schedule better than anyone. It is a schedule that has been the same since we've been married. It was 4:30am. The darkness still saturated the sky. I was calm and waited for the question that would come next.
"Serena, it's 4:30am. Why so early?"
And there it was. The change in schedule caused conflict. Ethan was never the type of man who loved conflict but I relished in its uncertainty. I started for the bathroom. I heard the light switch go off. My skin began to crawl and the adrenaline started to pour out of my pores. Luckily I went to the basement first and grabbed my pajamas out of the dryer. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply. I really had nothing to worry about. Most of my wounds were superficial. What caused me immediate fear was Ethan getting out of bed. That would be unpleasant because I had no explanation why my back looked like a jigsaw puzzle. It was partially exposed but unnoticeable from across the room.
"I'm running a new route. You know 5 years of the same sidewalk can get boring and I'm going into the office early."
I headed for the bathroom. I closed the door. The relief that encompassed my body was intimate. I missed this feeling. I often lust for it. Control in its simplest form. It's addictive. You have to know your limits and appreciate them. It's something I taught myself after Rachel. I barely heard Ethan's voice from behind the door. It was muffled.
"Oh. Well what time will you be home?"
"I don't know Ethan. Seriously I have a lot on my plate."
The bathroom door opened. Yep I touched a nerve. Conflict. He needs to know because he has a 11:15 am session with Jessica. I took care of that. Her phone was in the dryer along with my clothes. The bathroom was humid and filled with steam.
"Serena I'm sorry."
There was a long pause. I couldn't tell if he was searching my body through the glass door or if he was waiting for me to forgive him. It was funny. Jessica had made him soft. Jessica gave him options. Jessica made him second guess us. I was getting irritated. The bathroom door closed. I turned the water off and stepped out of the shower. I checked my face. The blood was gone. I did a once over and looked at my body in the mirror. It wasn't as bad as I thought. I could explain away the scratches and bruises. It's the cut on my inner thigh that's gonna be hard to cover. I had to hand it to Jessica, she was a fighter. I walked into the bedroom and noticed Ethan on his phone. The look of confusion in his eyes was pure ecstasy. He started flipping through his screens. I could tell he was reading his messages. Now I had to test my first theory.
"What time are you leaving for your business trip?"
"I'll be leaving at 9:00 pm. Paul needs me to go over some paperwork and I have to meet with the architect to sign some release forms."
Liar. I had to admit he was good. Somehow after all these years he has convinced himself that he is smarter than me. I'm ok with that. I've never had a huge ego. What gets me off is the fact I already know he will lie to protect me. I will be the first to tell you, I don't need protection. It's an insult for him to think I'm sensitive. I've spent our entire relationship making him comfortable. Now you're probably wondering why he is a liar? Remember…I have Jessica's phone. I texted him and told him, rather Jessica texted him and told him that she didn't want to go to Rome and she had to think about the engagement. I needed time. I needed Ethan to lie. I needed him out of the country for this to work. He walked towards me. He pulled at my towel. I held it tight.
"Not in the mood?"
His voice was heavy and his eyes grew dark. I knew that look. He was over Jessica. He had quickly dismissed her. She became an afterthought. She was my mess to deal with. I smiled and reached for his neck. My lips caressed the center of his chest. I whisper in his ear…
"Maybe later, Ethan."
He looked up. I saw relief. He was hoping I was ok. He wanted to confess but we both knew he would never do that. He couldn't admit that he was unhappy. For a brief moment he had to convince himself that what he was doing was ok. He was just giving himself options but he made one fatal mistake…he proposed and meant it. He proposed to others but for some reason Jessica was different. I was different. For ten years I let Ethan play the field. I let him test his options. I discovered over the years each woman carried one of my personality traits. I noticed the pattern and was at first flatter but then I was furious. He was trying to replace me but wanted some part of me to stay. I pushed away from him and walked towards the closet. Ethan stood there looking surprised and then he started getting undressed.
"I'm going to head into the office early myself. Maybe I can catch Paul early. Do you want to meet up for lunch later?"
Oh this was erotic and amusing. I was impressed. To Ethan, Jessica was no longer important. Jessica had crushed Ethan's heart. Too bad Jessica couldn't see this for herself. I had become his obsession again. I walked out of the closet completely dressed for my run. I walked over to Ethan and kissed him on the cheek. He grabbed me by the waist and pulled me close. I looked into his eyes. He kissed me deeply. He pulled away and I licked my lips and smiled.
I was never one to bring my work home. It was a rule I've always had since college. Home is an environment where I'm the least comfortable. I've made exceptions to rule, well only one exception…when I have a deadline. I had about 6 hours to meet Ethan at Bigertons. It was a little bistro off Lexington. I stood in front of the window and watched his Jaguar pull out of the driveway. I went back to the closet and pulled out my gym bag. It was heavy and full of new clothes. Jessica's clothes, well replicas I bought. Her taste screamed poor socialite. The Lululemon yoga outfit was atrocious and the Louis Vuitton bag made me want to gag. The only thing she had going was the shoes. The Brooks were fabulous and the color scheme seemed to be customized. I changed my clothes and pulled my hair into a ponytail.
"Crap that's not right!" I said to myself out loud. I immediately pulled my hair loose and started to braid it. I placed the headphones around my neck and I grabbed my sweatshirt and tied it around my waist. I went to the mirror and checked for any errors. I looked very convincing from a distance. I thanked God we were built the same. The only issue I came across was the hair color. That was an issue I resolved last month when I decided to dye my hair on a whim. I dyed it blonde. It was temporary and Ethan hated it. He told me it was too loud and it didn't fit my face. I was astonished because it had the opposite effect but it accomplished what I set out to do, I needed to look like Jessica. When I felt satisfied enough with my appearance I grabbed my gym bag and went downstairs. I put my things near the door and went down into the basement. I went to the dryer and pulled my clothes out. I looked through Jessica's phone. She only had messages from Ethan. I threw my clothes in the washer and turned it on. I put the phone in my pocket and I walked over to the bucket that was filled with bleach. I reached for the knife that had been soaking for a few hours. Good thing it was recently bought. That was one thing I learned about Jessica, she loved the holidays. Autumn was in the air and she had already purchased a pumpkin carving kit for her nephew. I on the other hand saw it as a perfect weapon I could replace easily. I dumped the bleach and grabbed the pumpkin knife. I checked it several times. No blood. I took the knife and dropped it in the trash. I pulled the trash and placed it in the garage. I didn't see this as a problem because I already purchased another kit using Jessica's credit card. I cleaned the laundry area and once my clothes dried I folded them and put them away. I was making excellent time. I still had 4 hours. I jumped in the car and headed towards Jessica's apartment. I pulled into the underground garage. I adjusted my mirror. I put on Jessica's shades and pulled out a stick of gum. I checked my mannerisms. The gum chewing, the hair, everything seemed right. I took the stairway to Jessica's apartment. I didn't want to take the elevator just yet. I need to come in unseen and leave with everyone's eyes on me. I had made it to the fifth floor. So far so good. Nosey Natalie across the hall in 5-B, she noticed everything. This was the hardest intel to get by far. Natalie had a tendency to peep through her peephole whenever she heard anyone in the hallway. I had ran into her several times. I purposely rent 7-B for a few months just so I could get Jessica's routine down. I also needed to know who would remember me and who wouldn't. Natalie often mistaken me for Jessica. She would come running out of her apartment when she would hear the lock click. Today I made sure I wouldn't have to deal with that. Natalie was out of town. So I had nothing to worry about. I entered Jessica's apartment. I went to the bathroom to check on the body. I did a pretty good job with the clean up. I had changed her clothes and cleaned her wounds. Even though the pumpkin knife was short, it was pretty sharp but the exit wounds were not clean. They were jagged. More than likely it was going to be hard for the coroner to determine the murder weapon. If anything it was going to take time. I went to her closet and grabbed her suitcase. I know its cliché but it was the only way I could move her body. I finished organizing her apartment. I didn't overdo it because I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that her murder happened in her apartment. That would be wrong and cause me a headache. I learned that lesson with Victoria. After I evaluated my work I grabbed the suitcase. It was heavy with Jessica's body in it. I grew annoyed. Why was she so heavy? Of course it's all dead weight but give me a break. She was smaller than me. After struggling to get her body to the front door, I grabbed my gym bag. I pulled out a floral white dress. It was simple with a deep v neck. I pulled out a pair of wedge heels. I changed my clothes again for the last time. Now the hard part. I needed to make it to the underground garage and I had to be seen on camera and by people to make this believable. I grabbed the suitcase and placed it on a baggage dolly and headed towards the elevator.
"Omg hi Jessica!!"
I turned around. It was Walter from 8-B. He had a thing for Jessica. She turned him down. You gotta hand it to the guy. He was persistent. Now the one and only problem I had is I didn't sound like Jessica. So I did the one thing I could only do…I turned around and kept walking. I heard footsteps approaching me.
"Jessica…" Walter seemed anxious and rushed to grab my arm. I yelped and immediately flipped out. I screamed to distract him from my voice.
"Are you serious right now WALTER! Back off!"
I flung my arm and the suitcase fell over with a loud thud. Walter reached for the handle and I pushed him away. I didn't need this right now. I had to get to the garage.
"I'm sorry Jessica, I can help."
I pulled the suitcase back on the dolly. I had to think fast. Life never prepares you for uncertainty. So I did the one thing I could only do, I let Walter help me.
"OK wait here." I yelled rapidly. I needed to keep him distracted. I walked away and then turned around and shook my head like I was extremely angry. I pointed to the exit door that went to the garage and signal Walter to bring the suitcase to the door. I searched for Jessica's car keys and headed to her parking space. I brought Jessica's car around. Thank God she had a jeep. A very old jeep with a deep enough trunk. Walter lifted the suitcase. I was adjusting the seat when I noticed Walter was approaching the driver side of the jeep. I immediately turned up the radio and rolled down my window. I yelled thanks, hoping the music provided a distraction from my voice and I sped off.
I parked a block away from Lexington and decided I would walk to Bigertons. I didn't want anyone to see me in Jessica's jeep, especially Ethan. I saw Ethan sitting on the patio. He looked alarmed when he saw me. I walked over to his table.
I took off my shades. I saw terror creep inside of Ethan's eyes.
"Hi love, you said 2:00 pm, right?
I smiled. I imagine he couldn't understand. He never would. No one could replace me or be me. Not even the barbie doll in the trunk. Jessica, Rachel, Victoria, Alice, Laura, Trisha, Alexis, Michelle, Rebecca. No one could. Sure they shared my personality, some even share my bone structure but no one could make him happy like me. That's all I ever wanted was for him to be happy but he was too comfortable to see that. I reached for his glass and took a sip.
"Where did you get the dress?"
I looked down as if unaware and searched my words carefully.
"From a girl I knew."