The Black Journal – (Take-Away)
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Friday, 9:45 P.M.
Ethan’s driver side door crunched and creaked as it slammed shut. He was home. Another long day of chasing a killer without so much as a single clue of who it might be. Zero answers, just more questions. Questions, that for now had to wait. The only thing on his mind was finally getting to see his beautiful wife, Susan. Take one look at her and no matter how bad of a day he was having, she’d quickly make all go away. A hot shower and some food wouldn’t go astray either.
Ethan made the food part easy. He had stopped along the way and grabbed some Indian take-away, his comfort food and Susan’s favourite. He also made sure to pick up a bottle of wine, another specific request of his wife. If there was one thing Susan loved more than Indian food, it was wine. The more expensive, the better. As Ethan made his way up the path, through the tiny gate and along the rose bushes, he caught a whiff of his supper. It made his stomach pang. Hands full, he quickly tried to recall which pocket he momentarily had placed his keys. Too stubborn to even set his bags down, Ethan feels around his coat in search. Finally, he felt something and pushes it to edge of his right sport coat pocket. The keys, where he had left them. With a free finger, he hooks the key ring, pulling them away from his pocket.
‘YES!’ Ethan whispers to himself.
Using his thumb, a freed finger, and little muscle memory, he miraculously gets the key into the lock on the very first try. Given his last few days, Ethan was going to take a few more seconds to savour this small victory. Something finally going right for him. Then, it was just sliding the key the rest of the way through the key slot and turn. When he did, all his forward momentum suddenly started to work against as the front door swung open. Ethan crashed down across the threshold, falling square on his back, bags held in the air, still intact, staring straight up into the nostrils of his lovely wife.
‘What in the world?, Are you OK, baby?’ She says trying to suppress her laughter, plugging her nose hiding a bursting grin.
‘Yeah, just peachy.’ Ethan replied with a look of defeat.
‘Ah, little help, please?’
Susan reached for the bags, grabbed the bottle of wine and laid them to the side to help her husband to his feet.
‘Sweetie, you could have just rung the doorbell you know?’ She said, letting her laughter finally escape.
‘Really, honey? While I’m still down here?’
‘Besides, if I remember correctly, weren’t you supposed to be getting home after me on account of your meeting running late?‘ His voice now with a smidge of tone.
‘No, my beefy hubba, I told you my last meeting was cancelled and I would be home…before you.’ Susan shoots back in retort.
‘Now babe, stop with the mood. The food is getting cold and I strongly suggest we hurry and get something in that “hangry” belly of yours. I’ve set us up in the living room…come!’
Ethan throws his jacket over the coat rack and places the keys which were still around his finger into a tray on the credenza. He kicks off his shoes and follows the sound of his wife’s voice.
‘Bring the wine, babe. I think we both need it after today, especially you.’ She jokes.
Rounding the corner to their living room, Ethan finds his wife with her legs crossed portioning out food on individual plates. The lights are down with a few candles lite, the fires going and soft music plays in the background. Susan looks up toward her husband and pats the pillow next to her.
‘Sit, grab a cushion!‘
‘Babe, this food looks amazing. I’m so glad you suggested the Indian Palace, my fav…I’m starved.’ Susan says while she uncorks the wine.
‘By the way, where’s Sarah? I thought she was coming with you?’ She asked still twisting.
Ethan’s six-foot four frame plumps down on the stack of pillows surrounding them. He lets out a deep breath in relaxation.
‘She was, then she thought it would be a good idea swing by the hospital to check on Steve. Though, I did make her promise me that as soon as she confirmed he’s OK, that she would call the precinct and have the nearest cruiser pick her up and bring her here.’
Popping the cork, Susan pours two glasses, more than enough.
‘I’m worried about my sister, Ethan. This is getting way too close to home from what dad has told me. How is Sarah dealing with all of this? What does she have to say? I hope she’s taking herself off the case. She is right? Isn’t she?’ Susan questions with more worry slipping into her voice.
She stands up and moves toward the window, staring out at the backyard, arms folded. Ethan stands almost as fast and moves in behind her, pulls her close and places his arms around her waist. With a gentle breath, he blows her long midnight-coloured hair away from the nape of her neck and kisses it softly. Her favourite place.
‘Now, honey, let’s not go there. At least not yet. Remember, your sister is a cop just like me and your father. She knows what’s she’s doing. Though, I’m not going to lie, she’s pretty shaken up, but she also understands that we have a lot of things to consider. And, we still don’t really have anything concrete to confirm that a connection exists. But, I hear you, sweetie. I’m worried too.’ Ethan grabs his wife tighter, spins her, and places a kiss on her forehead.
Ethan and Susan met in college. They both had their sights set on the law, only Susan’s focus was on keeping bad guys out of prison while Ethan’s was on keeping them in. Susan was the first Wilson in her entire family to not become a member of law enforcement. Generation after generation, man or woman, they all donned the shield. When Susan made up her own mind and went on to law school, her father got upset, never really accepting her decision, but he always supported it. Even though Susan had different plans and went against tradition, she was still the apple of her father’s eye. And, well, when Sarah came along, it seemed balance was somewhat restored. Sarah was determined to be just like her daddy, right out of the womb and this took all the pressure off of her big sister. Now, Susan could move on and focus on her own career. A career that has seen her rise to criminal defence lawyer stardom. Her firm has become one of the most recognized and successful criminal law firm’s in the country. A law firm Susan owns.
‘Shhh! Stop that now with the tears. Come here, your sister is going to be fine. Look, let’s switch gears, let’s talk about something else. Like, tell me about your day. What happened with your meeting anyway?’ Ethan asked as he massaged her tight shoulders.
‘Ah, good I guess. We got a break in a case today.’ She replied, still upset.
‘See, that’s great, honey! That’s wonderful news. Tell me about this break, what happened?’ Ethan happy to keep the conversation focused on anything else.
‘Well, it turns out some lab samples were cross-contaminated in the Smith case I was telling you about. So, with this most recent delay on top of how long my client has already been awaiting trial, we should have a strong chance to have this one tossed out.’
‘Babe, I know what you’re doing. Listen, I want you to be honest with me. Is Sarah in trouble?’ Susan staring directly into her husbands deep blue eyes.
Ethan realizing his redirect had failed, walked over picked up his glass of wine and this time it was him who stared blankly out the back window.
‘Susan, I don’t know. These last few days have been too crazy to comprehend. Two murders, both victims are directly connected to Sarah, especially now with what has happened to Jessie. We can’t ignore that Sarah may have something to do with this for whatever reason. Trust me, I’ve tried to get her to step away. Told her in so many words to let me take care of it, but you know how stubborn she is. She’s a Wilson, no offense, but she’s not going to just give up.‘
Ethan lays his glass on the coffee table and looks at his wife.
Susan, she’s made detective for a reason, and the more I try to deter from this one, the more she tells me to get the hell out of her way. I have to respect her wishes, not only as her brother-in-law, but also as her partner. All of this could possibly turn out to be some sort of sick coincidence. Whatever it is, it’s up to us to figure it out, including Sarah. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how close this has gotten. We’re going to catch them. To me she’s still little Sarah…you’re baby sister. Who once used to ride in my squad car flipping switches, wearing my police hat and wanting to fire up the sirens all the time…we’ll catch’em.’
Ethan leaves the window, walks across the room and stands over the fireplace. He picks up the poker and jabs at few embers. Susan follows close behind and now it’s her who places her arms around his waist. Hugging into his back tightly.
‘God, you smell good. Babe, let’s just go to bed, you’ve had a long day, I’ve had a long day, we could both catch up on some sleep. I know you’ll take care of her, that’s what you do best, that’s why I married you. You’re a protector and the love of my life.’
Susan shifts in under his left arm and swings her body to the front looking up into the eyes of her loving husband. They both smile reading each other’s mind. He takes a hand and runs it down alongside her face and pushes a strand of fallen hair over her shoulder exposing her neck. His favourite. She pulls him in closer, anticipating as he raises her chin to meet his lips. They passionately kiss, falling further and further away from reality and deep into passion. Slowly, they strip each other down, piece after piece, knocking things over, and feeling their way blindly to the bedroom. A trail of their clothing creates a path to the master bedroom where Ethan throws his wife down onto bed, tearing violently at his necktie, the one last item he was wearing. He whispers…
‘You’re right my sweet, sleep is a great idea. But, there’s something else we need to catch up on first?’