Sarah, Returned--Chapter 37 (A Steemit Original Novel)
“Oh my God,” I moan, overcome with the idiocy of it all, and the betrayal. If I wasn’t a married woman and madly in love with someone else, I’d be devastated right now. Instead, all I feel is angry and violated.
“Wait a minute,” Matt says, stepping up to the car. He’s been just a step or two behind me the whole time, letting me take the lead on this one. “You said you were upset because Sarah didn’t call you when she was in hiding. But, you tried to cut the brakes on her car. When she went missing afterward, you should have been happy she was gone. You’re telling me you tried to kill her, and then got mad when it didn’t work and she didn’t call you?”
Carter looks up at us in confusion. “I tried to break into your house last night, and apparently all of Dover saw me try to run her over just now, but I had nothing to do with the brakes. I know I’m going down for what I did, but I won’t take the blame for something that had nothing to do with me. I suspected Sarah would never love me. When she disappeared and didn’t call, then barely spoke to me when she came back, I knew it for sure, and decided to do something about it. I failed miserably, both times. The brakes, though? That one’s not on me, man.”
Matt and I turn to each other, alarmed. It doesn’t need to be spoken, but I say it out loud, anyway, just to make sure the police hear. “You’re seriously telling me you didn’t try to cut the brakes on my car?”
“No.” He’s quite emphatic.
“Then, who did?”
“I have no idea. That’s the God’s honest truth.”
“Matt….” I begin, starting to shake a little again.
“I know,” he comes over and puts his arms around me. “Whoever did it is still out there.”
The two police officers have been standing at a respectful distance, but I know they’ve heard every word of this conversation. They needed to, for their report. At this point, the shorter one, whose name tag has some scratches on it that makes it almost unreadable, but I think says “Smith," comes over. “We’ll leave the guard on your house,” he says with kindness. “Just when you think you’ve got one problem solved, huh? I’m sorry. We thought we could put an end to this for you today, and let you both get on with your lives. But, hey. At least we’ve got one menace off the streets. This one won’t be bothering you anymore.”
“That’s really comforting,” I sniff, and lean my forehead against Matt’s shoulder. I hear a car pull up to the curb a few feet away, probably just behind the police car, but I don’t lift my head to look. It hardly matters who it is. I’ve got an ex-boyfriend who tried to kill me, someone else out there who presumably still wants to kill me, a room that needs more searching to find the key to getting me out of here, and a cousin who still might want to put me on an involuntary psychiatric hold. Too many problems, and so far, not a solution to any of them in sight. I’m overwhelmed into semi-immobility.
A car door slams, then another. Two people approaching, then. “Matt! Sarah!” Karen’s shrill voice calls. “Thank goodness you’re both all right.”
Oh no, he didn’t. I jerk away from Matt, and take two big steps back from him. “You called Karen?” I accuse, furious. How could he?
“Mr. Morgan,” the taller officer says, “wasn’t Ms. Morgan supposed to be filing a restraining order on Ms. Bateman today? I don’t think it’s a good idea for her to be here, since we still have a suspect at large.”
“I didn’t call her,” Matt says, confused, looking from Karen to the officers to me. Karen runs up to him and puts a hand on his shoulder, standing on her tiptoes as if to kiss him, but he pulls away in disgust. Karen furrows her eyebrows, angry, and looks like she’s about to tell him off, when the second occupant of the car joins us.
“I called her,” Great-Uncle Jacob says, smiling, like calling my worst enemy….well, I guess second-worst enemy now, after Carter….is the most natural thing in the world to do in these circumstances.
“I only called you,” Matt protests. “Why would you call Karen, and worse, bring her here?”
“So I could officially be removed from the suspect list, silly,” Karen says, forcing her glare into a smile once more.
Great-Uncle Jacob smiles like someone who’s just won the lottery and can’t wait to tell everyone. “Well, that,” he says, treating us all to a huge grin, “and also to let them know you’re the one who tried to cut Sarah’s brakes. I figured, the cops are here, they’ve got one bad guy. May as well give them the chance to take in two.”
Everyone stares at Jacob in stunned silence for a moment, even Carter. Karen’s mouth is agape, like she doesn’t know whether to confess or protest. Poor Matt looks like he’s just stepped through Alice’s looking glass and is wondering why a caterpillar with a hookah is talking to him. He must feel like he got pulled into a bizarre alternate universe. He’s not the only one.
Feeling like I have every right to be hysterical, but knowing I have to hold it together until I get my chance to go back to my husband and kids, I break the silence, gritting the words out from between clenched teeth. I have to clench them, as I’m trying quite hard to keep my jaw from shaking enough to crack a tooth. “Care to explain, Uncle Jacob?”
“There is no need to explain,” Karen snaps, jutting her chin away from me. “He’s lying. We have the culprit right here.”
“He didn’t try to cut the brakes, Karen,” I say, arms crossed, daring her to contradict me. “Oh, he did some evil things for stupid reasons, and he will pay, but he did not tamper with my car.”
“Oh, how do you know?” she practically spits at me.
Her face falls, the smugness slipping right off like butter. I’m surprised it’s not in a puddle on the ground.
“Ms. Bateman, if you will step over here, please,” the taller officer says, taking her arm. “We would prefer if you were a few feet away from Ms. Morgan. You are still a suspect in the car tampering. Then again, so are you, Mr. Morgan.” He nods toward Jacob, who gives the officer a dazzling, pearly-toothed smile.
“If I may be allowed to explain?” Jacob asks the officers.
Karen looks like she’s going to protest again, but the tall officer tightens his grip on her arm, and she stands down. Instead, she turns her gaze to Jacob with an unusual mixture of interest and hatred. Does he really have something on her?
“I came across Ms. Bateman in the back yard of my dear sister-in-law’s house when I arrived for her celebration of life,” he begins, addressing everyone assembled at the police car in turn, even Carter. “She was just sliding out from under Sarah’s car as I entered the yard, and it was still daylight enough I could see her fingers were wet and black with some kind of soot or oil. I didn’t want to startle her, so I stayed back and watched her go inside. I didn’t even know it was Sarah’s car at the time. That was only revealed later, when Matt, Karen, and Sarah had their argument, and Sarah drove away in the vehicle in question.”
“Why did you come to the back door?” Matt wants to know, and I think the short officer was just about to ask the same thing, the way he leaned forward, and back again. It’s a reasonable question. Everyone but the people who live in the house, meaning Matt, Grandma, and me, uses the front door.
“It was years since I’d been to the house, at Lizzie’s request,” Jacob continues, “but I always came in the back door when I used to visit. It was a force of habit.”
“You’re lying,” Karen cries at him. I think if the tall officer let go of her arm right now, she might jump on Jacob and try to tackle him to the ground. You’d think her youth would be to her advantage, but I’m not sure. Jacob appears almost supernaturally healthy and strong for someone his age. I think he could take her.
“Oh, you think so?” Jacob asks, turning to Karen for the first time, as if she was irrelevant to the conversation up until this point. “Then, maybe we should show the police the video I took of the whole thing. It’s right here on my phone. I didn’t know who you were or what you were doing when I walked into the yard, but I decided it is always a good idea to get video of someone coming out from under a car, especially at a house where two heirs to a fortune live.”
He reaches into his back jeans pocket to retrieve his phone. Waving it under her chin with no small measure of delight, he asks, “Shall we have a look?”
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