The opening and closing clicks of the shutters of the cameras feel like a part of me now.
Lights flash, some white, some blue, some red.
Chester is walking behind me, his hand on my back, trying to protect me from the crowd and comfort me at the same time.
My parents and Courtney got left behind, calling everyone they knew to get enough money to get me out.
Microphones are shoved at my face, trying to get a word out of me.
But I’m not going to say anything.
Anything and everything I say will be used against me.
I pointed out to the lawyer that not saying anything could be used against me too, but he gave me a look that clearly said that I had brought this on myself, so it would be best if I just shut up now and let the professionals handle this.
But I didn’t do it.
Why doesn’t anyone believe me?
The boyfriend is always guilty.
Contrary to popular belief, all guys aren’t creepy jerks.
Some guys love their girlfriends.
Some guys are normal.
Some guys are not murderers.
I had spent hours in this interrogation room, the walls seeming to close in every time I looked around.
Ms Davis, the police officer stared at me with an unrelenting gaze, her face tired but determined.
“Caleb Lowell, I’m asking you one last time, why did you kill Ophelia Winters?”
“And I’m telling you one last time, I didn’t kill her!”
“Then why were you seen at the crime scene with her blood on your hands?”
“I already told you, I was trying to stop her wound from bleeding any more."
“Because you felt guilty after stabbing her?”
“No, because a normal person would try to save their girlfriend’s life after she’s been stabbed.”
“After you stabbed her?”
“I didn’t kill her! I loved her! Why would I have any reason to take her life?”
“You tell me.”
“But I didn’t do it!”
“So you didn’t know that she was pregnant? With your child?”
I look at her, numb with pain and anger.
“It wasn’t my child.”
“So she cheated on him, and the other guy knocked her up? That seems like a pretty solid motive to me.”
“But he is still denying murdering her.”
“I can hear you guys, you know.”
The lady who was interrogating me and her colleague stop talking and look at me until I look away.
Beautiful, moody, maddening.
She had told me that she loved me.
When had she stopped meaning it?
When had she decided that I wasn’t anything to her?
How could she have possibly thought that I wouldn’t find out?
We hadn’t even slept together.
But I didn’t kill her.
Please believe me.
She was a quiet presence, seemingly everywhere but not really anywhere.
Ophelia kind of always melded into the background.
I would never have met her had it not been for a friend of mine.
He suggested going to watch the school play, a reimagination of ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’.
I didn’t even concentrate on the story. When Ophelia appeared, everything else came to a standstill.
She was marvellous, her expressive eyes and her rhythmic voice making me restless and calming me at the same time. Her dress seemed to float around her like a cloud.
After the show, I congratulated her in person, and soon we started hanging out more.
I don’t even remember when we stopped being friends and started dating, it all just felt so natural and meant to be.
She loved me.
But I loved her more.
“Who is the father of Ophelia’s child?”
“Why should I tell you? So that you can convince him to prove me guilty?”
“No, because he might be guilty.”
I looked up, startled.
I can’t tell them.
Telling them would put me off the hook for sure, but it would mean betrayal.
And I hate betrayal.
“I don’t know who the father is. I do know, however, that it wasn’t me.”
“Why are you protecting him? You must hate him for what he did.”
“Trust me, I don’t. If anything, I hate myself.”
“And why is that?”
“I couldn’t stop it from happening.”
I had invited her over for a few days to meet my family.
She immediately hit it off with my parents, her demure nature impressing them.
When she did open her mouth to speak, what came out was always witty and clever.
Then she would clam up again for a few more hours while the rest of my family was still reeling with the after-effects of her statement.
Everyone was convinced that I wouldn’t find anyone better than her.
I had agreed at the time.
She became good friends with my sister Courtney, though there was a stark contrast to their personalities.
Chester approved of our relationship, and I saw them laughing to jokes and bonding over shared interests.
I thought nothing of it at the time.
Even when I saw her hang out with him without telling me, I was just happy that they were getting along.
I hadn’t known at the time that the worst was yet to come.
Demure little Ophelia wasn’t as modest as she seemed.
I don’t expect much from a relationship.
All I expect is for my partner to be faithful.
How hard is that?
Just concentrate on your partner for a period of time.
And she managed to break the only expectation I had.
She managed to break me.
I wish that I could have done that day differently.
Instead of going back to my house, I should have gone to hers and waited.
If I had done that, I wouldn’t have been greeted by the sight of her and Chester going at it in the living room.
I wouldn’t have gone completely ballistic.
I wouldn’t have cut off both of them when they tried to explain.
I wouldn’t have called her a slut and said that Chester wasn’t my brother anymore.
I wouldn’t have ignored their calls.
I wouldn’t have been helpless when she lay there dying a few days later.
I had gone over to Ophelia’s place to tell her that I was willing to work on our relationship if she stopped seeing my brother.
I wasn’t ready to see her lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood.
I wasn’t ready to see the gaping wound in her stomach, staining her clothes.
I tried to stop her bleeding, but it wasn’t working.
She opened her eyes and smiled at me.
I called the police and an ambulance.
“You’re still not going to tell me who it is?”
“No, I told you that I don’t know who it is.”
“I think you do know. I don’t know why you aren’t telling me though. It would easily take the heat off you.”
At this moment, another police officer entered the interrogation room and whispered something into Ms Davis’ ear.
“Bring him in. I’ll be right there.”
“It seems that we have a person willing to confess something about Ms Winters’ death.”
She looks at me, trying to discern my sudden attentiveness.
“A Chester. Why, do you know him?”
What could he possibly have to confess?
He had told me that he wasn’t her killer.
“Caleb? Do you know Chester?”
I knew there was no point in lying now, he had gone and screwed it up anyway.
“Yes, Chester, he – he is my brother.”
I sit there in the room, unable to stay still.
Chester came to confess.
Was he lying when he said that he didn’t kill Ophelia?
Should I have believed him when he said that he loved her?
Ms Davis enters the room, looking slightly triumphant.
“Chester has confessed to being the father of Ophelia’s child.”
I stare back, unblinking, without an expression on my face.
“I think that we have arrived at our prime suspect.”
“Chester? Just because he made her pregnant, it doesn’t mean that he killed her. How can you be so sure?”
“Because he told us that he did.”
The police should have looked closer.
They should have scoured everything, inside and outside the house.
If they’d done their job well, they would have found the only proof they needed to free any suspicion off the Lowell brothers.
Lying in the bushes of the backyard, having flown away from Ophelia’s desk.
Explaining why Ophelia had decided to take her own life.
Maybe if they had found the seemingly insignificant paper, they would have gotten the real truth out of Chester.
That Ophelia threatened to stab herself, and that Chester had merely pulled at her knife only to see one second later, that the knife was already plunged into her stomach.
That Chester had panicked and ran, believing that he had murdered her.
When in the end, it wasn’t his fault.
It was no one’s fault, really.
Just an unfortunate series of events.