forced entry

pg | no warnings apply

She could lose her job.

It's about the only coherent thought she can muster as she fumbles with the doorknob. Her mother, of all people, had taught her how to pick a lock with a bobby pin when she was fourteen, because she couldn't seem to hold onto her keys. It had been eight years since she last tried, but she hadn't even practiced for this today. Maybe she assumed it would just be open.

What she's doing is incredibly, incredibly, incredibly stupid. She knows this, and yet, she doesn't give up and walk away. She doesn't leave. In exasperation, she jiggles the knob with all the force she can muster, and she's startled when the door swings open.

They should have a deadbolt. Why don't they have a deadbolt? Yeah, it's a decent neighborhood and an FBI agent used to live here, but still, they should have a deadbolt. It's too easy to break in.

Her watch says 12:45 PM. She hopes Maria doesn't take her lunch breaks at home.

Some of the things are already in boxes, she realizes. Crestfallen, she searches for the bedroom, hoping that Maria hasn't started packing up his stuff in there. She ignores the few boxes on the floor, turning her attention to the dresser. Tense moments past by, until she finds what she was looking for - an ugly tie she had given him for Christmas, a lifetime ago. The same kind of tie hundreds of dads get every year for father's day. It was a stupid gift (she had never even seen him wear it), but the office party was three weeks after he had first pushed her down onto a hotel bed and brought her to orgasm. She feared anything else might have looked too intimate; no gift at all might have aroused suspicion as well.

She lingers in the room for several dangerous moments, fingering the edge of the bedspread. She doesn't like the idea that he came home to her and made love to her here. That he might have done it on some of the days when they were together.

It's all so pointless now.

She should leave. Her mission objective was complete. Still, she couldn't help looking around. With her investigative skills dulled by emotional exhaustion, it took her several minutes to realize that something was amiss.

The only things that seemed to be packed up were things that were his. All her clothes were still in her closet. Pictures of the girls, of people she assumed were Maria's parents, things that weren't needed every day were still scattered around the home. Careful peering in boxes appeared to confirm that theory.

It didn't make sense. Maria was supposed to be leaving for Chicago in two days. Maybe she was just a procrastinator, or ... maybe she wasn't leaving.

But that didn't make sense, either.

A car horn from outside startled her and reminded her of where she was. Clutching the tie, she slipped out, hoping that she had left everything as it was. She tried to walk calmly to her vehicle, avoiding doing anything that might draw attention to herself.

It isn't until she's in the car, turning the key in the ignition, that she starts to cry. She wipes away the tears with the tie, trembling as she curses inwardly, chastising herself for doing something so stupid. But the tie is all she has now. If they had dated normally, if their courtship had only been impeded by work, not marriage, then maybe she'd have mementos. Flowers or cards or silky lingerie. But they hadn't, so she didn't. And now with him dead, the only thing she has to hold on to is a tie that he never wore, a tie that she had given him, a tie that she had committed a crime to retrieve.

(fin.)