Cruel Infidelity

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“Heather, just what the hell were you doing out there—and in nothing but a bra. What the hell happened to your hand?” Her mother exhales audibly, her eyes wide with concern. “Do you need to see a doctor?”

“Mom!” She holds her good hand up. “Just stop, alright. I needed to think.”

“You needed to think.” Her mother snorts. “Right. Makes perfect sense.” She shakes her head, putting the car into Drive.

“Can you just bring me to your place, please.” Heather slumps in the seat.

Her mother doesn’t say anything for a long while. “Are you in some kind of trouble?”

“I’m tired, alright? I just need a hot shower and a warm bed.” She turns away, pressing her forehead to the glass.

“You’re going to catch pneumonia pulling shit like this,” her mother mutters. “You’re lucky I was still awake, otherwise I never would have gotten the call.” She sighs.

She stands in the bathroom, the cabinet wide open as she wraps medical tape around the gauze bandage she’s fastened to her palm. All she can hope for now is that it heals quickly and without infection. She doesn’t know how she’d explain it to a doctor otherwise.

Her mother’s nightgown smells like lavender and baby powder, and she wonders if her mother always smelled like an old woman or if this is new.

“Did you hear? Rachel got married tonight,” her mother calls through the door.

Heather rips the door open. “What did you say?”

Her mother freezes, staring at her wide-eyed. “Rachel,” she repeats. “She got married tonight—well, they had the ceremony anyway. I’m surprised you didn’t bring her by while she was in town.”

“We don’t talk.” she snaps.


“Don’t you listen to anything I say, she stole my man!”

“This again?”

“She married the man I’ve been with for the past two years! Are you serious right now! I was living with him!”

“Are you sure you’re not thinking of someone else. That doesn’t sound right.” She shakes her head.

“Are you saying you don’t believe me?”

Her mother sighs. “I just think you’re getting your facts mixed up.”

“I’m not!” she yells.

Her mother clears her throat. “So is that why you were hiding in the woods tonight?”

Heather rolls her eyes. “No,” she says, slinking into a chair. “Kind of. I don’t know.”

“What’s going on, Ducky?”

She hasn’t called her Ducky in over a decade. “Mom, stop.”

“There’s nobody here but us.” She smiles. Besides, you’ll always be my little duckling.”

“No matter what?” she asks.

“No matter what.”

She licks her lips. “I had a fight tonight. It was about Andrew, but it wasn’t with Rachel, well not really.”

“Andrew’s the guy Rache married, right?”

“Are you saying you believe me now?”

“I’m keeping an open mind.”

“Andrew got this girl Tammy pregnant. We were friends and then we had a falling out and, well yeah, stuff happened. We all made mistakes...”

“Go on.” her mother nudges.

“I just thought if I went to Andrew’s parents’ house and introduced myself everything would make sense.” She inhales. “Like, maybe he wouldn’t be able to hide me away any longer.”

Her mother scratches her head.

“But it backfired, and he called me with Rachel on the line and told me he never wants to hear from me again. He’s pretending like I’m the crazy one. Me.” She rolls her eyes. “So I was really upset about it and thought Tammy should know where he really was—because all he ever does is lie—and I told her about Rachel and she just acted like I was crazy. Everyone always acts like I’m crazy!”

Her mother’s expression is one of concern. “Well, what happened?”

“I never told you this, but I had an abortion.”

“Heather!” She holds her hand to her mouth. “You didn’t. Please tell me you didn’t.”

Heather’s bottom lip quivers. “Not a day goes by that I don’t regret it.” She takes in a big gulp of air. “I hate myself for what I did.”

Her mother rushes around the table and hugs her.

Heather shakes as her mother rubs her back. “Mummy,” she croaks. “I might be in a lot of trouble.”

Her mother pulls back from her. “Look at me. Heather! Look at me. What happened?”

She inhales deeply and exhales slowly. “I tried to warn her about him. I just wanted her to know what she was in for. While I was telling her about what he made me do, she acted like it was my fault, but I explained to her it wasn’t. He knew there were only two possibilities.”


“The baby. He knew it could have only been him or Chris.”

“Who’s Chris.”


“Okay, I’m sorry.”

“She told me Chris was sterile and that Andrew knew that already.”

“Oh, my God.”

She shakes harder. “I lost it. Mom, I’m so sorry, I lost it.” Tears drip off her face and land on the floor.

There’s a pounding on the front door. Heather looks up, her eyes wide. She holds her breath.

Her mother stares at her, a look of terror sweeping over her face. “What did you do?” she whispers.

Bang! Bang! Bang! “Police! Open up!”

“I wanted to kill her. I wanted to fucking kill her.”

Bang! Bang! Bang!

“What did you do!” She shakes Heather’s shoulders.


“What the hell do you mean, nothing!” She gets up on her feet and makes her way toward the front door.

“Mom, no, don’t.”

She shrugs her shoulders. “There’s nothing I can do for you now.”

In a flash she’s grabbed and pulled outside, her face is slammed into the cold, wet concrete of the walkway. Pain radiates through her spine as knees press heavily down on her back. Her arms feel as though they’re nearly ripped from their sockets as the police cuff her.

“Heather Anderson, you’re under arrest for the attempted murder of Tammy Littlefield. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say or do…..”

She stares up at the sky in awe. The clouds are parted just enough to catch a glimpse of the moon shining through, and she can’t help but smile.

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