tagNon-EroticThe Long Road Back Ch. 11

The Long Road Back Ch. 11


My mind was in shock. I followed the officer to the waiting police car, barely listening as he read me my rights. He forced me into the backseat and I just faced forward. I couldn't look at the house. I couldn't see the faces staring back at me. I knew there would be a lot of them. Sheila was dead? I couldn't fathom it. I had just talked to her yesterday.

As the car started to pull away from the curb I chanced one glance towards the house. John was pounding on the glass and I could tell from his lips he was calling to me. Then something made me look towards the front door. Hawk stood there watching me taken away. Before I tore my eyes away I saw his face, full of determination.

On the way to the police station I heard the officers in front talking. I don't know what they were saying. I didn't care. My son had watched me taken away in a police car. The look of determination on Hawk's face scared me. Was he going to try to prove my innocence, or did he think I did it? I turned my face to look out the window. Watching as buildings I had seen ever since I was a little girl fly by. I heard the sirens on the top of the car blaring. I closed my eyes trying to fight back the tears. I had to be strong now; crying wasn't going to get me out of this situation.

After what seemed like hours, but I'm sure was only a few minutes, we arrived at the police station. I didn't resist as the officer pulled me out of the back of the police car. My mind was in a fog as we walked towards the door to that big building. I went through booking, answered the questions asked of me as though I was a robot then was surprised when I was suddenly standing in front of a pay phone. The officer who had talked to Hawk was standing next to me with money in his hand. "It's time for your phone call miss." He kind of smiled. "If I were you I would call a good lawyer."

I just took the money, punched in my home number then waited for someone to answer the phone. It was picked up on the second ring. "Hello?"

"Amy?" I said unsure why she would be answering the phone. "Where is Hawk?"

"Oh god Crystal. Are you okay?" She sounded like she was about to cry. I knew she didn't need this in her condition but there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it.

"I'm fine Amy, is Hawk there?"

She stifled a sob. "No....As soon as the police car was out of sight, him and your mom got their heads together. Then suddenly your mom picked up her cell phone, dialing a number as they ran out of the house."

My heart sank. Hawk, my hero, my savior, wasn't there when I needed him. I needed to hear his voice. I felt tears well up in my eyes. Blinking them back quickly I tried to find a strength in my voice. "When he gets home, tell him...." My voice broke. "Tell him I Love him."

I heard Amy sigh on the other end of the line. "I will, don't worry Crystal. I'm sure Hawk will get you out of this somehow."

"Yea I know." Just then the officer next to me tapped me on the shoulder. When I looked at him, he pointed towards his watch then nodded at the phone. He was telling me my time was up. "Listen Amy, I have to go now. Take care of John for me and I tell him I love him."

"I will." I heard her say before the phone went dead. I slowly hung up the receiver then turned to the officer next to me.

He grabbed my arm in a surprisingly gentle grip, and then led me down the hall to a locked door. Opening the door, he led me through it. On each side of the room were cells. Several of them had women in them. When I looked at them, I shivered. Not many of them looked too friendly. He led me down the hall towards the end, and pushed me into an empty cell. I turned back around in time to see him close and lock the cell door. As I heard the metal clang against metal I shivered. "Could life possibly get any worse?" I wondered to myself as I moved over to the cot lying against one wall.

Sitting down on the cot, I looked around my new home. At least my new home for a while. It was just like the jail cells I had seen on TV. There was a toilet over in the corner as well as a sink next to it. Neither looked like they had been cleaned in months. Then I looked down at the bed I was sitting on. In every movie about jail I had seen most of the cells had bunk beds. The cell I was in didn't. I figured this was just a holding cell. Someplace to put someone until it was determined if they were guilty or not. I lifted the wool blanket, beneath it was a white sheet covering what looked like a thin mattress. At the top of the bed was a thin pillow. "Now I know why it's called jail." I said to no one in particular. "They keep you as uncomfortable as possible." In disgust I dropped the blanket back down onto the bed.

Just then I heard running footsteps and a yelling voice. A voice I would know anywhere. "I don't care about your damn procedures; I'm going to see my wife." I heard Hawk yell. Then I heard his footsteps.

It didn't click that he had called me his wife. All I knew was that he was here. He hadn't abandoned me. Then suddenly he was really there. He was standing on the outside of the bars looking in at me. "Crystal..." he said grasping the bars.

I didn't say a word, just jumped up then ran over to the bars. I wrapped my arms as far around him as I could while I pressed my head against the bars wishing it was his chest. I felt his arms go around me. "Hawk, oh Hawk." I cried trying to get as close to him as I could, while tears ran down my cheeks.

"Shhhh....It's okay baby." He crooned, stroking my back as he kissed my hair, my eyes, and then finally my lips. At least the best he could with bars between us. Finally he pulled back looking me in the eye. "Are you okay? They didn't hurt you did they?"

I shook my head as I wiped my nose on my shirt sleeve. "No I'm fine. Just scared." I reached out for him again.

He gathered me into his arms. "Don't worry baby. We are working on getting you out of here."

"Mr. Wallace is on his way."

It was then that I realized my mother was standing there. Pulling back just a bit but still holding onto Hawk, I looked at her. "Mr. Wallace? As in Derek Wallace? The lawyer who handled you and dad's divorce?"

Mom nodded. "He is also a good friend of the family. He does everything from political law down to criminal law. Wherever he can get his money. If anyone can get you out of here he can."

I nodded. "Amy said you called someone as you and Hawk left the house. She didn't know who though."

Hawk looked at me. "Mom called Mr. Wallace as soon as they took you out of the house. He said he would check into what the DA has on you then get down here as soon as possible. He's going to talk to the DA and see if we can't get you out on bail."

Just then voices came down the hall. "Alright you two. We have visitor rooms, you're not supposed to be here by the cells. I'm going to have to ask you to leave." I looked at the man talking. He was a portly man, about 50 or 60 with thinning gray hair. I guessed he was the warden.

Hawk's arms tightened around me. "I'm not leaving my wife.

The warden looked at Hawk, saw the determination on his face and cracked a smile. "I'm sorry son but there isn't anything you can do for her right now. Her lawyer is waiting to see her." He reached up and put a hand on Hawk's shoulder. "If she is truly innocent, her lawyer will get her out of here. But I have to ask you guys to leave. You can either leave quietly on your own or I can have you escorted out." His eyes took on a dark glare. "Unless of course you would like to share a cell with your wife."

I put my hand on Hawk's chest, holding it there until he looked at me. "Go home Hawk. Our son doesn't need both his parents in jail."

"I can't just leave you here." There was pain in his voice.

Reaching up, I put my hand on his face. He closed his eyes, holding my hand there. "There's nothing you can do. I'm innocent, you know that. Mr. Wallace knows that. He will get me out of here. You need to let him do his job."

He opened his eyes. They were wracked with pain. "I love you." He whispered. Then leaning forward he kissed me gently before pulling away. He put his arm around mom's shoulders then they turned away.

"I love you to." I called as they walked down the hall.

Hawk stopped, turning back to look at me. He had a soft smile on his face. He nodded then continued walking. It looked as if he was holding my mother up. I watched them the best I could until they were out of sight, then continued watching until I heard the door close. Then I turned to the warden.

"No funny business now." He said as he opened the door to my cell. He nodded to the officer next to him. It was a young woman officer. I guessed she was about 30 with blonde hair. Once the door was open she moved slowly up behind me as if expecting me to attack her or something. Once she was behind me, I felt my arms gently pulled behind my back and flinched when I heard the click of the handcuffs.

Once I was secure, she grasped my arm, leading me back down the hall the way we came. When we got past the door leading to the cells, we took a right. I walked for about 2 or 3 minutes before I was stopped in front of a closed door. The officer holding me opened the door, and then pushed me inside. Once again I felt like I was in a movie. There was a table with four chairs around it. On the left wall was a mirror. I figured it was a two way mirror and that there were probably officers on the other side of it. Off in one corner was a video camera on a tripod.

The officer led me to a chair on the other side of the table then took of the handcuffs before pushing me into it. Then she moved over to the door. My first thought about Mr. Wallace was that he didn't look like any lawyer I had ever seen whether on TV or real life. He was a man in his mid to late 30's with coal black hair, which rested against his shoulders and brown eyes. He was dressed in blue jeans and a flannel shirt. I had a feeling that if I looked under the table I would find him in cowboy boots. "This is the man who is going to save my life?" I wondered to myself. Then I remembered that he had made sure that mom got what was coming to her during the divorce. I suddenly relaxed.

"Hi Crystal. I'm Derek Wallace. I will be your attorney." He held out his left hand to me.

I looked at his hand, almost expecting to see rings on every finger. Instead there was only a gold wedding band. I shook his hand. "Hi Mr. Wallace." I licked my suddenly dry lips. "Do you think I'm innocent?"

He looked at me seriously for a minute and I felt like he could see into my soul. I forced myself to meet his gaze. "Yes I do." I released the breath I didn't realize I had been holding. "However, I will be honest. We have our work cut out for us. The prosecution has a pretty strong case against you. Luckily for us it is mainly circumstantial." When he smiled it lit up his whole face.

I nodded. "When can I go home?"

His face was all seriousness again. "Unfortunately you are to remain in jail until the arraignment on Monday morning at 9:00."

My heart sank. "Monday? That's two days from now."

He nodded. "Yes I know." He had taken some papers out of his briefcase. "Unfortunately with it being a Saturday night and so late, there isn't a judge that will sign off of your bail."

"What is my bail?" I asked nervously. Hawk and I had some money saved up. Hopefully it would be enough.

He looked at me seriously again. Then he sighed. "The DA agreed to $25,000.00 bail and house arrest until the trial."

"$25,000.00?" I sat back in my chair. Hawk and I had nowhere near that much. How were we supposed to come up with that kind of money?

Mr. Wallace nodded. "And house arrest until the trial. I had to talk fast to get him to agree to that. He was asking for $75,000 dollars bail. I had to agree to the house arrest to get him to lower the bail."

I looked at him. "House arrest? Why?"

"He seems to think you're a flight risk."

I looked at him in shock for a minute, and then suddenly burst out laughing. "Yea right. Where am I supposed to go? It's not like I can leave the country."

A small smile crept over his face before he became serious again. "No that's true. But you can take off for LA. He knows you have friends down there."

I hadn't even thought of that. "Yea okay, I guess he has a point there."

Mr. Wallace nodded again. He dug into his briefcase again coming out with a notepad and pen. Opening the folder he looked at me. "I need to know everything that happened to you from the time you left the mall yesterday until you were arrested today. Whenever possible I need times. Where you were, what you were doing. If we are going to prove you didn't kill Ms. Rodriguez, we need to have all the facts."

I nodded then started talking, trying to remember what had all happened between yesterday and today. "I left the mall around 1:30, coming straight home. I arrived home around 1:45, took a shower, ate something then sat on the couch watching TV. After a while I wrapped Hawk's birthday present." Mr. Wallace nodded as he started writing on the pad in front of him.

"Go on."

I took a breath. "Well let's see. I laid down on the couch and I must have fallen asleep."

He looked up at me. "What time was this?"

I thought about that for a minute. "Probably around 3 or 3:30."

He nodded again. "When I woke up it was quarter to five. I knew Hawk would be home soon, so I went into the kitchen to start dinner."

He continued writing, not looking at me. "What time did Hawk get home?"

"About 5 after 5."

He looked up at me. "So you were home from..." He looked down at the tablet in front of him. "1:45pm until 5:05pm when Hawk got home." I nodded. "Was anyone there with you?"

I looked at him nervously as I shook my head. "No, I was alone."

He nodded, scribbled on his pad again, and then looked at me. "Did you talk to anyone while you were at home? Make any phone calls? Did you notice if any of your neighbors saw you come home? Anyone who can corroborate your story?"

Again I shook my head. "No. I didn't call anyone. Our neighbors on both sides of us work during the day and the old lady across the street is in Florida visiting her daughter."

Mr. Wallace, put his pen down on the tablet then rubbed his eyes with his hand. "This doesn't sound good for me does it?"

He looked at me. "To be honest. No it doesn't. According to the police report Ms. Rodriguez was killed sometime between 2:30 and 4:00 yesterday afternoon. Her mother found her body this morning when she arrived home from spending the night over at her sisters with her grandchildren." He reached out and grasped my hand. "Crystal, you have no alibi and you have a motive."

I pulled my hand roughly from his. "What motive? I never wanted Sheila dead."

Again he looked at the report in front of him. "The DA has two eye witnesses who will testify that you threatened to kill Ms. Rodriguez just a couple of hours before she died. Also he has 4 other witnesses from the mall that not only saw you fighting with the victim outside in the parking lot but saw you pull her out of the mall."

My eyes suddenly filled with tears. "Mr. Wallace, I didn't do this. I swear I didn't."

He patted my hand. "I'm sure you didn't. But unless the real killer happens to turn himself or herself in, the odds don't look to be going in your favor at the moment."

I sat there in shock. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "There has to be something we can do."

He looked at me, then down at the police report. "Ms. Rodriguez was stabbed 7 times in the back with a kitchen knife. A knife from her kitchen no less. The police think she knew her attacker because the door wasn't broken in. She was found in a pile of blood in the kitchen." He showed me pictures of Sheila's body. I could see the blood pooling around her, see the marks on her back where someone had stabbed her repeatedly. Without warning, I turned my head and proceeded to puke all over the floor. Mr. Wallace didn't even flinch. When I finished, he handed me a handkerchief then waited until I composed myself before speaking again. "Mrs. Johnson, Ms. Rodriguez's next door neighbor head shouting coming from the house next door around 2:00 yesterday afternoon. She was used to Mrs. Rodriguez and Ms. Rodriguez fighting so she didn't think anything of it. Although she did remember seeing what she thought was a young woman leaving the house a little while later. She was dressed in blue jeans, with a hooded sweatshirt. The hood was covering her face. The strange part was she didn't run from the house but walked away as if she was just over for a visit. She said she thought this was about 4:30 but she couldn't be sure."

I nodded; I was suddenly in a daze. Then suddenly I thought of something. "You said they found the murder weapon. If they got the prints off it, they could prove it wasn't me."

Mr. Wallace shook his head. "Whoever did this knew what they were doing. They washed up in the bathroom sink; the police think they used the washer to wash the blood off their clothes because there was blood in the washer. Also whoever it was wore gloves."

My heart sank. This was sounding worse and worse. "After Hawk returned home last night, were you alone at all until the police arrested you today?"

I thought about that for a minute. "No. My friends from LA showed up last night. We stayed up talking till around 3 this morning. We got up around 11, went out for breakfast, then went back home. My family showed up around 2:00 for Hawk's birthday party. Everyone was still at the house when the police arrested me."

Mr. Wallace started scribbling again. "Who all was there? I need names."

I tried to think. "Well, Hawk and I were there, along with my son John." I stopped for a minute. "My friends from LA, Amy and Jericho Monroe were there. Um...My brother Robert Miller and his wife Suzanne were there, along with my mother and her husband."

He looked over his notes. "Okay, so from 5:05pm yesterday until when...? When did your friends show up from LA?"

"Well..." I tried to think. "Hawk had only been home about 5 or 10 minutes when they showed up. So I would say around 5:15."

He scribbled that down on the pad. "Okay. So from 1:45pm until 5:05pm yesterday you were at the house by yourself?" I nodded. He looked back down at the pad. "At 5:05pm, Hawk arrived home. He had been home around 10 minutes or so when your friends from LA showed up?" Again I nodded. Again he looked at the pad. "At around 2:00 this afternoon, your mother, father..."

"Stepfather..." I said automatically.

He looked up at me. "Stepfather." He corrected, "Your son, brother and his wife arrived for the party?"


"Was anyone else there from the time your friends arrived last night, until your family arrived today?"


He nodded then scribbled on the pad again. "Can they verify that you were at the house all night?"


Mr. Wallace sighed. "This might help. Apparently the police think the killer came back." I looked at him aghast. "Yes I know. But Mrs. Johnson was out on her porch around 8:00 last night. She saw a woman that looked an awful lot like the woman who was there before show up at the door. She went back inside then so she assumed that whoever was in the house let her in."

Suddenly I got excited. "But that proves it wasn't me. I was home with Hawk and my friends last night around 8:00; we were watching a movie on TV.

"Don't get your hopes up to high. She said it looked like the same girl but she couldn't be positive. Also the DA might try to say that you sent someone else to make sure that Ms. Rodriguez was dead, so you would have an alibi."

My elation suddenly shattered. "So there isn't any way to prove I didn't do it?"

He looked at me seriously. "I won't lie to you. Like I said, the DA has a pretty strong case. A few things might go in our favor. #1. That most of the evidence is circumstantial. #2. Mrs. Johnson is an old woman and she doesn't have the best eyesight. It is very unlikely that if she was actually asked to make a positive id that you were the woman she saw, that she would be able to."

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