By Jessica Gouin
Brent and Elle couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night. Every element was planned and went off without a hitch. It was rare to have more than an hour or so alone together and even rarer when nothing went wrong. That should have been their first inkling that that particular evening would be the worst night of their lives.
“Oh god. Oh god, Sophia! What have we done?” Elle whispered frantically to Brent as they stared down to the bottom of the basement floor from the kitchen doorway.
Brent’s chest expanded and retracted rapidly. He wondered if this was what a heart attack felt like. His entire body was numb, except for the pounding in his chest.
“Shit! It was an accident. I didn’t mean it.” He said more to himself than to Elle.
“You shouldn’t have pulled her away from me that hard.”
Eyebrows raised at her accusation he said slowly. “She was going to kill you. I freaked out. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I didn’t mean to do any of this.”
Elle was shocked by his words. She wondered for a brief moment which part of ‘any of this’ referenced their relationship. If you could even call it that. “She was supposed to be gone all weekend. That’s what she told me, she would be gone for that stupid conference in Seattle the whole weekend. She wouldn’t be home until late Sunday afternoon. Is that what she told you, too?”
He nodded. “Of course. Do you honestly think that you would have been here tonight if I knew my wife was going to come home early?”
“Don’t do that. Don’t for one second act like this just involves you. She was my best friend.” Hearing the words out loud made Elle feel worse. Deep down Elle always knew that if, or rather when, Sophia found out about the affair she would act erratically. Elle always thought Sophia was slightly dramatic. She habitually admitted to Elle details of how her marriage to Brent was basically over.
Still, that never gave Elle the right to sleep with Brent behind Sophia’s back. She knew what they were doing was horribly wrong – immoral even. Elle and Brent would always try to justify their actions each time they were together. Elle couldn’t seem to help what happened any more than Brent could. She always thought it should have been her that married him. Sophia virtually stole him from when they were in College. Elle saw him first. Elle even loved him first.
His voice broke her thoughts. “So, what do we do?” Brent asked quietly, as if Sophia could still hear them.
Elle took one last glimpse at the motionless body lying on the cement, then looked at Brent. “What do you think we do?” She then made her way to the granite counter where the portable phone sat.
“Whoa, let’s think this through.” He said, snatching the phone from her shaky hand.
“What’s there to think about? I’m calling 911; she needs medical treatment.”
Unsure what caused the reaction, Brent produced a tiny sound that resembled a chuckle. “Elle, Sophia’s dead. She doesn’t need medical treatment. If you call 911 the cops will come. Questions will obviously be asked. We’ll be interrogated until one of us confesses to a murder that was an accident.”
“We’ll say it was self-defense. We can tell the police that she attacked me.”
He shook his head. “She argued with you when she walked in her bedroom and found her husband in bed with her best friend. Look around, there was an obvious struggle. The best friend and the husband. Think about how this will look to the police. To a judge and jury. We’re facing real prison time for this. This is murder.”
He was right and she knew it.
Elle couldn’t see another way around it though. Crimes needed to be reported, didn’t they? Yes, what Brent and Elle did was heinous. Their actions were inexcusable from the very first kiss leading up to that nights events. But did that make them criminals? Murderers? Was an accident reason enough to ruin both their lives forever?
Brent could see the gears turning in Elle’s head. He knew that she didn’t want the police involved any more than he did.
“Okay, okay hear me out.” Elle started. “We weren’t the only ones that knew she was going out of town this weekend. Her colleagues knew. Plus, she purchased the airline ticket online. I was with her when she did. There’s proof that she was leaving.” Brent tried to follow her logic but had a difficult time.
“And?” He asked.
“And… what if she just never came back?”
Brent understood now.
Elle marched to the kitchen window that over-looked the backyard. The plan unfolding faster and faster, the excitement of an escape causing her words to rush from her mouth. “Your privacy fence is really high and the woods are dense enough that maybe-“
The ding-dong of the doorbell sliced the air cutting Elle’s plan short and caused them to jump.
Brent tip-toed to the front window and pushed aside the drapes enough for him to peek out. “Shit. It’s Ryan.”
“Your neighbor? What the hell is he doing here?” Elle questioned beginning to panic.
“I don’t know. Calm down, I’ll get rid of him.”
“Just don’t answer the door. Maybe he’ll go away.”
“My car is in the driveway, he knows I’m home. I don’t want him lingering about. I’ll get rid of him.” Brent repeated.
The front door opened revealing Ryan -– the twenty something year old neighbor. Although the guys never got into a physical altercation, Brent and Ryan had a mutual loathing for one another. Neither remembered precisely when the feud began. Shortly after Ryan moved in, almost a year prior, he stopped saying hello to Brent as they passed one another. It never bothered Brent due to the fact that he never liked the frat boy.
“Brent. Is everything alright?”
“Yeah man, why? What’s up?”
Ryan tried to peer in past Brent but he seemed to shift with Ryan’s gaze obstructing any view into the home.
Brent cleared his throat bringing Ryan’s eyes back to him. “I thought I heard screaming. Just wanted to make sure everything was good over here.”
“How thoughtful of you. Everything’s fine. Probably just heard the movie I’m watching.” Brent said flatly.
Brent’s eyes narrowed at Ryan just as Elle appeared in the doorway between the testosterone. “Brent the food’s getting cold… oh hi.” She paused as her eyes rested on Ryan.
“Hi…” Ryan said. “Where’s the Mrs. tonight?” The accusatory glare in Ryan’s eyes was enough for Brent and Elle to understand that he knew what she was doing there. If this was one day ago Brent would be apprehensive about this getting back to his wife. Now, it didn’t matter about the obvious adultery taking place, he just wanted Ryan gone.
Brent snorted in response. “I really don’t see how that’s any of your concern, but she’s out of town for business this weekend.”
Ryan sneered. “I bet.” He turned and began to amble home. “Enjoy your evening.” He said over his shoulder.
Brent slammed the door shut. “Prick.”
Rushing to the window, Elle pushed the curtain back as she watched Ryan retreat to his house. “Do you think he bought it?”
“That I’m having an affair while my wife is out of town? Yeah, he bought it. Thanks.” He said sarcastically.
She closed the space to Brent. “It’s better he thinks you’re cheating than to find out the truth.”
Brent exhaled slowly, refusing to look at the bottom of the stairs again. “Let’s go.” He ordered and began to the back door.
“Where are we going?” Elle questioned as she followed him.
“To get shovels from the shed.”
Brent and Elle decided to leave Sophia’s body where she lay for now until the hole is dug. The woods behind the house bordered the town. Great oak and sycamore trees filled the dense area providing discretion for the unfathomable crime the two were committing.
An hour or so passed and both deviants were drenched with perspiration. Every muscle in their bodies screamed for rest. Both refused to drop their shovel until the deed was done. The faster they got the awful act over, the faster they could move on with their lives –- possibly one day forget the nightmare. Once the job was done, they stepped back to scrutinize their labor.
Brent tossed his shovel to the ground. “It just might be big enough.” He said relieved that part was over.
“No, I don’t think it’s big enough to fit two.” A female voice declared.
Brent and Ella whip around at the same time to see a crimson saturated Sophia standing not but ten feet from them.
“Sophia.” He breathed. “Oh thank god you’re okay!” He took one step toward her as she simultaneously took one step back.
Elle looked from Sophia to Brent who raised both hands palms out. “Sophia, baby – that was an accident. I would never intentionally hurt you. You have to believe me.”
A snicker escaped Sophia’s mouth. “Right. I’m sure both of you had my best intentions at heart this entire evening. For the last few months even.”
Elle’s breathing picked up as she realized what that meant. Sophia was alive. She was alive after they left her for dead. “What are you going to do?” Ella questioned without realizing she did so out loud.
Sophia’s eyes shifted from her unfaithful husband to her back stabbing best friend and a grin spread across her face. “It’s already done.”
Ryan stepped from the shadows of the night and aimed a black 9 mm semi-automatic. He stared at Brent, then to Elle.
Two shots exploded the night.
Ryan lowered his hand and exhaled loudly. He turned to Sophia. “Are you okay?”
She nodded, her eyes closed, yet still seeing the fallen bodies of those she once loved. “I will be. Thanks to you.”
Ryan caressed her cheek gently. “I told you before, I would do anything for you. I knew when I went to your house earlier, that something was wrong. It was more than the affair this time. I could tell. I came back as soon as they went outside.” Suddenly pained by her face he glanced away. “When I found you lying at the bottom of the basement, Soph…”
“I know.” She said. “It’s over now.”
Curiosity took him over. “What made you come back tonight?”
She let out a puff of air and closed her eyes. “I was at the airport waiting to board. I noticed this man and woman nearby. He kissed her goodbye then she went to the café. No more than twenty minutes passed when another man -– a different one — greeted her at the table where she sat. He kissed her just as the other mad did, then they left together. I realized then that I couldn’t do this any longer. I couldn’t pretend to not know what they were doing behind my back. I couldn’t ignore what was happening between us. So I came home to confront them. I figured they would be here tonight.”
Sophia found herself staring at their lifeless bodies. “I knew they were capable of hurting me, but I didn’t think that they would ever…”
His hands swiftly cupped her cheeks making her to look at only him. “Forget them. They’re your past. I’m taking you to my house.”
Sophia nodded, wiped the back of her hand across her forehead and allowed Ryan to take her away from her unspeakable past.
Jessica Gouin is the author of the newly released YA novel ‘Losing Scars’. She lives in Windsor, ON where she is currently working on her second novel among other short stories.
For information on where to purchase her book, exciting events and updates on her writings please visit jessicagouinauthor.weebly.com