“Attention, all passengers! This is your captain speaking. Please fasten your seatbelts and ensure your tray tables are upright. We will be landing at John F. Kennedy Airport in ten minutes.” On hearing the announcement, there was a stir of energy on the New York-bound Air France flight.
Emma peered outside the window and saw the familiar skyline approaching. This was the first time she wished she could leave all over again and go back to Paris. What a surreal honeymoon trip it had been! Thinking about it made her smile and turn towards Lucy, her newlywed wife, who was fast asleep. “Lu, wake up! We’re almost home,” whispered Emma. Lucy groaned and pushed her brown hair aside, as she struggled to open her eyes. The light from outside gave her cheeks a rosy glow and made her hazel eyes even more prominent than they were. “Emma, do you ever sleep?”, joked Lucy as she gazed at an energetic Emma. Emma chuckled in response and began pulling her short, blonde hair into a ponytail while searching for her glasses.
Dreamily, Lucy began to recount their adventures in Paris. “You know, I really want to do this again,” she said in her melodic voice. “Those boat cruises on the Seine with all that wine, running around the Louvre trying to find one empty spot for a picture and searching for your earrings near the Eiffel Tower, I want to do it all again.” Emma grinned and chipped in, “I’d do it exactly the same way – even the Montmartre part.” Emma was referring to when they mistook someone’s house for a restaurant and sat on their couch waiting for the maître d’. It was arguably the funniest part of their trip, seeing the family’s bewildered reactions. They’d spent their days roaming around the dreamland that Paris was, gorged on tons of bread with delicious smooth butter, listening to Claude Debussy’s enchanting music and exploring the tiny cobble-street avenues in the tranquil city – it was a hopelessly romantic two weeks.
“I’m so happy I have you in my life, Lu. After Mike, I thought I was alone and would forever be lonely – but you never left. You understood me, you helped me and you loved me. I’ve never told you how grateful I am, but I need you to know,” said Emma croakily. Lucy knew that Mike was a sensitive topic and smiled understandingly, as she clasped Emma’s hands. Their history was by no means close to ordinary.
Mike was Emma’s ex-husband. To everyone, they seemed like the perfect couple – a modern Bonnie and Clyde. Alas, even a seemingly flawless marriage can have its underlying problems. That was when Emma met Lucy, an attorney at a legal clinic in downtown Manhattan. They began to grow into romantic partners. However, six months into their relationship, Emma’s guilt began to weigh down on her and she admitted to Lucy that she was married and couldn’t leave her husband due to family pressures. Lucy was distraught and proclaimed that she never wanted to see Emma again. A few months later, Mike suddenly left Emma. It had happened out of the blue. He’d left no trace at all – but for a note revealing his exasperation with their marriage. Post the incident, Lucy entered Emma’s life again and was her strong shoulder to cry on. It was not long before they began to live together and two years later, they were a happily married couple.
“Look, the runway!”, exclaimed Emma, now wishing to divert the topic. Lucy obliged and stated, “Home sweet home, here we are!” The aircraft touched down and began heading towards the terminal. A few passengers began to clap as the plane ground to a halt. “I’ll never understand why these morons clap when they land,” said Lucy in a bemused tone. Emma laughed and was about to say something when the aircraft’s door opened and two well-built policemen with serious faces rushed in. “Everyone stay seated!”, yelled the taller of the two in a gruff voice. He and his partner then hurriedly approached Emma and Lucy. “Lucy Holland?”, the officer inquired. “Yes, that’s me, but…” and before Lucy could finish her sentence the two policemen pulled her up to her feet. The shorter one slammed a pair of handcuffs on her wrists and in a Southern accent said, “You are under arrest for the murder of Mike Lawrence. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” “No stop, wait! There must be some kind of mistake! I haven’t done anything!”, screamed a panicked Lucy. Emma’s jaw dropped. She was speechless. Lucy continued screaming as the officers dragged her out of the aircraft. Emma was white as a ghost and began to tremble in fear as she witnessed the scene.
What followed, Emma couldn’t quite comprehend. It was all a blurry haze, the entire journey home. Another officer had informed her that she could visit Lucy the following day and handed over to her the details on a gray slip of paper. She could barely utter a word and lifelessly dragged herself out of the cab when she reached her house. Her heart weighed down on her as she made her way to her enormous backyard. She couldn’t bring herself to enter the house. For hours, she sat against the fence staring up at her majestic red-brick house – one that radiated warmth, but nothing could make her feel better at that moment.
She began to sob. “I wouldn’t have done it if I knew this would have happened – I just wanted her to talk to me again and this was the only way she’d even look at me again,” Emma shakily let out, as she looked at the part of her yard where she’d buried Mike that fateful night.
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