Next, she reads a summary of the events leading up to Amy’s murder. Of course, the newspapers hash out her relationship with John ad nauseam. They go into great details about how she would disappear for days on end and the rumors that she was sleeping around on John—Freddy. It was common knowledge, apparently, that Amy was bipolar and when she was off her meds, there was no predicting what she would do. She may have thought she was being discreet during her dalliances, but she was often spotted around town with this young man or that—and the young man was always young—some even as young as her brother. She would always stop and chat if she ran into someone she knew, but she never introduced her paramour.
“Wait a minute.” Leslie frowns as she recounts what Rose had told her John had said. Amy had talked about powerful men. How powerful could a boy in his twenties be? She files away this tidbit for further study and continues reading about Amy’s tumultuous relationship with Freddy.
“She loved him,” Candace Brighton, Amy’s sister, the next sibling down, informed the papers. “My sister had her difficulties, but she didn’t deserve to be murdered like that. I hope he goes to hell.” When she was asked if she thought Freddy was the one who had killed Amy, Candace had responded, “I know he is. She called me the night she was killed.”
“Amy, calm down. I can’t understand what you’re saying.” Candace cradled her newborn to her chest as she struggled to hold her cell phone to her ear with her shoulder. She was tired from not getting enough sleep, and she had little patience for her older sister’s ramblings. It was late, and the baby was fussy. Candace wasn’t feeling so sanguine herself. She wanted to get off the phone with her sister, but she couldn’t just hang up on her. “You say Freddy’s stalking you?”
“I see him out there. He’s following me everywhere I go. He’s afraid I will tell what I know. That’s why he won’t leave me alone.” Amy was spitting out the words as if they were on fire. “He thinks he’s so clever with his fancy degrees, but I have more street smarts than he does. How stupid does he think I am?”
“If he’s stalking you, then call the police! That’s their job.”
“Damn. He’s outside my house right now. I have to go.” Amy hung up the phone with a bang.
When asked if she thought about calling the cops herself, Candace answered, “I thought she was making things up again, God forgive me. She’s done it before. When we were kids, she used to wake me up at night to tell me about the sea monster living under her bed. We shared a room along with the sister next to us in age, and she would wake both of us up to tell us scary stories about how the sea monster would flood the room with water, and we would all drown. Then, she would go back to bed, and Tina and I would stay up, terrified out of our minds.”
“Hm.” Leslie leans back in her chair and taps a finger on her lips. Candace recounted this phone call as evidence that John—Freddy. She really has to start thinking of him as Freddy—killed Amy. However, not once did Amy confirm that the man she thought was stalking her was her ex-boyfriend. In fact, what Amy did say made no sense in context to her situation with Freddy. Fancy degrees? John had a BA in poly sci. Afraid Amy would tell his secret? What secret would John have had from Amy, and to whom would she tell it? Lastly, why would John be stalking Amy when he was the one who had dumped her in the first place? No, none of it made sense.
Leslie is forced to admit to herself, however, that the conversation in and of itself does not exonerate Freddy from Amy’s murder—just from being the one stalking her that night. Still, it’s her first bit of evidence that Freddy is not guilty—even if it’s not tangible proof. She returns to the webs and reads about the neighbor who had spotted Freddy outside Amy’s house the night her body was discovered. Which, by the way, the police discovered via an anonymous tip by phone roughly an hour after Amy was murdered. Leslie wonders at that timing. What is a reason for wanting Amy’s body to be discovered before night’s end? If someone was trying to frame Freddy, it would make sense to present as small a window of opportunity as possible. Anyway, the neighbor stated that she was watching the nightly news as she always did before retiring for the night. As the no-good meteorologist started telling her what the weather was going to be like the next day, her mutt, Santos, started barking his fool head off. He was getting on in years, like the neighbor, but he sprang to his feet as if he were a puppy and waddled over to the door. He kept barking until the woman got up from her recliner and went to see what was the matter.
“What is it, Santos?” Mrs. Shear put on her glasses and peered out into the night. She could see a man loitering under a tree. The moon was nearly full, so she got a clear shot of his face. When pressed how she could be sure it was Freddy, Mrs. Shear replied that the police showed her pictures, and she picked his face out of the batch.
Leslie admits this sounds damning. An eyewitness who picked Freddy out of a photo lineup. What could be more certain? Actually, many things. First of all, it depended on how they did the lineup. Did they include any other men who looked similar to Freddy? Did they include any other suspects? Did they subtly pressure Mrs. Shear to pick Freddy’s picture over the others? Eye witnesses are notorious for being unreliable, so Leslie is not putting much stock in the identification, no matter how certain Mrs. Shear is that she has chosen the right guy.
Leslie reads more. She reads about the breakup and how Freddy dumped Amy after tolerating her affairs for two-plus years. In the earlier articles, there is no mention of Amy’s pregnancy. However, that changes once the police have done the autopsy on Amy’s body. The ME’s report states definitely that Amy had been six weeks pregnant when she died. Of course, that fueled speculation that Freddy had killed Amy in a jealous rage because he knew the baby wasn’t his. Leslie is dismayed to see how casually the papers reveal that Freddy had a vasectomy—yeah, sure the public has the right to know, but what if he’s not the culprit? His whole life was being played out in the papers, his privacy, be damned. Innocent until proven guilty was just a myth, apparently. Or rather, it was a luxury that someone like Freddy was not afforded.
Leslie shakes herself slightly to stop the incipient rage. She had been taught at an early age that expressing anger was forbidden in her family—except by her mother. Her mother was allowed to curse, throw things, hit Leslie and only Leslie, and they were all expected to sit there and take it. Several times, Leslie actually drew blood by biting on her lip hard in order not to scream back at her mother. As a result, Leslie has an iron grip on her anger—when she finally loses control, it gets really ugly. She hates feeling like the Incredible Hulk, so she does whatever she can not to reach that point. Usually, this involves thinking of the last really hot sex session she had with John, but that is off-limits for the time being. It’s hurt too much to think of how wonderful they were together when she can never have him again. Despite herself, however, she thinks about the last time. It was the morning of the evening he got—he died.
“Baby, are you awake?” Leslie whispered into John’s ear at the crack of dawn. Neither of them had to be anywhere in the morning, but Leslie couldn’t sleep. As usual. She was rarely able to sleep more than four hours at a time, so she grabbed naps whenever and wherever she could.
“Meow!” Josephine trilled indignantly from her perch on John’s chest. She did not take kindly to being awoken, and she was not shy about voicing her displeasure.
“Out you go.” Leslie scooped up Josephine and deposited her in the hallway before shutting the door. The first several times Leslie had done this, Josephine had let up a howl that could wake the dead. Now, however, she merely hissed and resigned herself to being banished for a while. Leslie returned to the bed and slid under the sheets so her body was pressed against John’s side. Her hand found his cock, which was semi-hard. She moved down until she had his cock in her mouth and slowly started sucking on it.
“Mmmmmm….” John growled, still half-asleep. He placed one of his large hands on Leslie’s head and stroked her hair as she sucked. After several minutes, Leslie moved back up John’s body and kissed him hard on the lips while positioning herself over his cock. She was already dripping wet, so she didn’t need any lube. She slid down his cock until she had it all in her. Then, she started to move in earnest. By now, John was mostly awake and matching her movements with his hips. Leslie kept kissing him, not being able to get enough of his mouth. She marveled at how every time felt like the first time, but better, with John. She never tired of how he felt inside her—and she never tired of kissing him and of caressing him.
“I love you, John,” Leslie moaned as she felt her orgasm hit her. Her hair fell all around her and brushed John’s legs, causing him to pulse inside of her.
“I love you, too, Leslie,” John replied as he rolled Leslie over while keeping himself inside of her. He pulled back slowly until just the tip of his cock was inside her. “I love you more than life itself. I hope you realize that.” Leslie nodded her head, aching to feel him inside of her. “I mean it, Leslie.”
“Me, too, John,” Leslie breathed, pushing her hips up in a desperate attempt to feel John inside of her. “I love you so much. I would do anything for you.” With those words, John plunged back inside of Leslie, fucking her as hard as he could. He kept up the pace as he pushed her over the edge and kept her there. Leslie made herself hoarse by screaming his name over and over again, and John would thrust harder in response. He was whispering Leslie’s name in her ear as he fucked her. He was telling her how much he loved the feel of her pussy on his cock and how much he loved her.
“I’m going to come, Leslie,” John whispered urgently as he picked up his pace. “I can’t hold off any longer.”
“Come for me, John,” Leslie said, closing her legs around John’s back. “I want to feel your cum squirting inside of me.” Upon hearing her words, John exploded. He came for what seemed like minutes, grunting with each thrust. When he finished, he collapsed on top of Leslie with a contented sigh. She kept her legs crossed around his back, and she stroked his matted hair. Finally, John lifted his head up so he could look Leslie straight in the eye.
“I love you, Leslie. You are the most important person in the world to me. I need you to know that.”
“I know,” Leslie said softly, a bit frightened. She wasn’t used to being so important to someone, and while she luxuriated in the feeling, it also scared her. She was used to coming and going as she pleased, not being accountable to anyone. Now, she was linked to John, and any time she did something or made a decision, she would think of him first. “I love you, too. More than I’ve ever loved anyone.” With that, they embraced for a long moment before breaking apart. They took a shower together, then went downstairs for breakfast, allowing a very indignant Josephine to lead the way.
“Damn it, John,” Leslie murmurs as she hugs herself. “Were you trying to tell me something that morning?” John had been unusually somber during their coupling and for the rest of the day after, but Leslie had just chalked it up to him having an off day. Now, it seems more likely that he had recently discovered new information about Amy’s murder, which had made him pensive. At any rate, Leslie wishes she had known that was going to be the last time she and John had made love—she would have noted the time for posterity.
She returns to her computer and reads every scrap of information she can find about Amy’s murder, no matter how tangential—or scurrilous. She discovers that Senator Robertson is being investigated for embezzlement, and she vaguely remembers reading about it at the time it happened over a year ago. He had mouthed the same old shit about how he would be vindicated and how he was a honest Christian man who would never do such a thing. Leslie firmly believes that the more a person states he’s honest, the more of a complete liar he is. Sasha, her tai chi teacher and great friend once said to her that when a person stated something about himself over and over again, he was really trying to convince himself that it was true because he wasn’t sure of it himself. Leslie had been struck by this comment of Sasha’s, offered as an aside a year ago, and it had stuck with her ever since.
Leslie remembers that she hadn’t finished the article mentioning Freddy’s vasectomy because she had gotten too pissed over it. She returns to it and rapidly reads the rest. It doesn’t have anything else to add to the conversation other than baseless speculation as to who the father of the baby could be. Leslie skims more articles. All she can glean is that Amy had not been drunk when she was killed. There were no signs of struggle, so the article concluded that Amy had allowed herself to be tied up. However, it hinted that perhaps she had been intimidated into giving in. Leslie frowns at the shoddiness of the reporting. The article goes from a stated fact—no struggle—to extrapolation—Amy was intimidated into being tied up. Leslie reads a few different articles and sees that the general consensus is that Amy had trusted the person who tied her up—which, as they not so subtly pointed out, was another black mark against Freddy.
Leslie sighs and stretches her back. She knows she needs to keep searching, but she is exhausted. Her eyes keep shutting against her volition, which is a telltale sign that she needs to try to sleep. She gets up from her computer, and Josephine nimbly hops out of her bed so she can follow Leslie into the bedroom. Despite her weariness, it takes Leslie a long time to fall asleep.