Chapter 5:


Til Death Do Us Part

It’s precarious to say that the Farrows get along with each other. You can say they’re a close family, yes, you can even say they know one another well but the offhand comment of the assumed deduction is wrong. Drew’s older sister, Freya graduated five years ago with a degree in the Arts. She’s, much to the chagrin of the family, doing well off. Drew’s younger brother, Terrance, who is in high school learned how to hold his tongue in elementary school. Mrs. Farrow and Mr. Farrow sleep in separate beds but this choice was the best one they’ve ever made. Where do I fit in? I’m like a puzzle piece from another box that has all the same edges and corners, only my picture is different and that’s okay with them.

“Pass the peas, dear.” Mrs. Farrow’s sweet voice carries over the dinner table and Terrance picks the plate up and jerks it toward his mother. Some peas spill over and wet the tablecloth. “I said, pass, not jostle.” She takes the plate and sweeps her shaggy, vintage-style hair back. She never left the seventies. It’s my favorite part of her.

The memorial ended civilly, and Mrs. Farrow offered dinner to Kristopher and me. I was close to denying but Kristopher twinkled his bright smile and accepted on behalf of both of us. I don’t know where his cocky attitude comes from, but it was a load of pressure off me. I haven’t spoken once since we’ve sat down, as his chattering bounced off every corner of the dining room. The Farrows are taking it with grace.

“Oh, and obviously Mr. Redd has shut down production for the time being. He didn’t want to bring it up earlier because he thought it would be inappropriate, but I think it’s a little rude not to mention it.” Kris rattles on and I savor the rare steak that only Mr. Farrow knows how to delicately grill.

“He left in a rush, I’m sure he was well aware we’ll find out one way or another.” Mrs. Farrow’s pointed smile amuses me, and I chuckle to myself. Kristopher’s mouth is left agape, and I smack his back.

“You’ll catch a fly in there if you don’t shut it for a minute.” I say. Kristopher turns toward me and closes his mouth. Terrance laughs and throws me a sly thumbs up.

“We appreciate the company, Kristopher. It’s nice to see Drew had somebody other than Larrise. We know you’ve been in productions together, but we weren’t sure of how close he was to the other cast. He didn’t talk much of it.” Freya spoke. She dabs the corner of her mouth and rests the napkin on her thighs. Pretty girl Freya Farrow. Her all-black dress didn’t smudge an inch of her radiance. “Larrise, while you were at the station, were they able to share any progress with you?”

The room stiffens. I put down my fork. Everyone’s eyes are on me, expectant. The grey room flashes through my mind, its humidity, the dirty corners. Officer Heisenberg giving up at every end of his shift. The bitter coffee I spilled because of the stupid handcuffs. The relief on my wrists when I was no longer a suspect. A knot ties in my throat and I find it difficult to swallow. I had nothing to tell them. How could I even bring up the pain I felt when I was alone and stuck in a box? I lost my best friend, but they lost family. What was my pain compared to theirs?

“Uhm, no. Unfortunately, they couldn’t share.” I purse my lips. “I have a business card, though. If anybody wants it. It’s,” I reach to my pocket and realize I’m shaking, “crap.”

“Crap?” Freya repeats and quirks an eyebrow. Her eyes are ice-cold. My heart skips and I feel cold sweat run down my back. “Larrise, are you alright?” There was no concern in her voice. Mrs. Farrow pats her daughter’s shoulder and turns her weariful gaze to me. It wasn’t right to be here. No, the invitation was pleasantries, not real. My puzzle piece corners fray and bend.

“I have to go.” I stand and grab my bag. A hand catches my wrist. Kristopher tilts his head and I edge his hand off. “It was a lovely dinner like always, Mr. Farrow. Thank you for everything.” The polished hardwood floors shift to carpet and soon I’m out. Droplets hit my face and I hear a voice call me.

I don’t look behind. Some idiot I was, coming in like I wasn’t a reminder of what they’ve lost. As if they could see me as anything but somebody Drew used to know. I pause at the sidewalk, shuffling through my bag. Why can’t I ever find the darn keys? I dump everything out and drop to my knees. I didn’t care how pathetic I looked. I grab my keys and swat my sodden belongings back in.

“I said, hey!”

Kristopher grabs my shoulder hard, and I jerk back. My hand lands in a puddle and I curse. Why couldn’t he leave me alone?

“Stop! Just, stop it!” I cry out. Desperation tinges my voice and I want to take it back. I’m making a scene. I’m sure everyone is looking through their windows right now. “Please, just go…”

“Larrise. You’re not seeing things right. Come back inside. Mrs. Farrow is worried.” He speaks calmly and inches toward my face. The rain looms and dooms around us.

“I can’t. I just can’t. They think I did it. They have to. Who else is there?” They would be right to think any way they want. I can’t blame them. Kristopher sighs and raises my chin up.

“We’ll find out.” He takes my wet hand and picks me off the ground. “Go home, Larrise. We’ll meet again, okay?”

I sniffle and nod. Kristopher is sweet. I don’t know why he’s nice to me but my mind eases. I take the road across to my car and a light blinds me.