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So Claire made the call. They were expecting it and plans were made to meet that very afternoon. It would just be the two of them. Both were allowed to have a lawyer present but that was it. Both declined the offer.

Janice was back. Her parents and Joline knew it. Claire was beginning to get it. And Jason? He already knew how formidable she was. Frankly, he was intimidated, but he had to talk to her. He had to try and explain the inexplainable.

She’ll understand. I know she will. I know she still loves me. She knows I’d never hurt her! Oh God, thank you! Thank you!

Jason was beside himself. She wouldn’t come if she didn’t still love me. See! I knew it. He needed to prepare. “Guard, I need to shave! My wife is coming to see me!”

He couldn’t believe how nervous he was! “I guess that’s what being in love does to a person.” to himself. “Oh happy day!”

The abyss had called his name and he had succumbed to it willingly. He didn’t know that at the time but it became readily apparent to those who knew him. He hadn’t been an easy person to get to know, and although respected for his extraordinary mind, he had always walked on the other side of the street. They had tried to include him on numerous occasions but his overt arrogance put the others off to such a degree that they forged ahead without him. Being around him felt like one was being put under the lens of a microscope. For Gods sake man, this is a social gathering! Better not to invite him. Stay on the other side of the street for all we care!

And then it was time. “Oh my God, she’s here!” to the guard. “I can’t wait to see her!” He shook his head. “These crazies are all the same.” he muttered under his breath.

So they explained the rules, and marched him to the waiting room. He was locked down as per regulations. God he was nervous! He kept slicking back his hair. “Oh my God, here she comes.”

It’s time. The rules of engagement were explained to both of them. Any violation of said agreement and the interview is over. Got it?

Jason was marched out first. Orange jump suit. Leg shackles. Hand cuffs. Sit down at the table. Prisoner secured to the floor. Guard in room at full alert.

Janice took a deep breath, walked in and sat down, never taking her eyes off Jason. He held her gaze until she was fully settled. Janice was as composed as as a cucumber. Jason was unnerved. This was not going to go well.

Finally Jason spoke, fumbling for words. She involuntarily sneered at his inadequacy. Mr. Big Man. Not so big anymore, are you?

“I never meant for this to happen. I need you to believe me. I would never harm you.” Janice remained silent. He continued “I know you’ll find this hard to believe but I love you, I’ve always loved you!” Again, she didn’t speak, unnerving Jason even further. “Please say something.”

She sat there looking at this pathetic creature she had called her husband only days before. Then she spoke “Who are you? Who the hell are you?” He was taken aback by her tone. She had never spoken to him like this. Never! And that’s when he knew that it mattered not what he said. He was dead to her. Dead! Dead and buried!

And that’s when he began to cry “Please talk to me. I need you to talk to me. Please!” This intellectual who was so much smarter than anyone else was made the more pathetic by his blubbering.

And all she felt was contempt for this excuse for a human being. And that’s when she began to talk. “Don’t you dare say a word until I’m finished talking!” Oh what a reversal of roles! And he didn’t say another word.

She continued “You killed at least 6 women. 6! Are there more? Tell me right now or I’m leaving!” She was definitely in control! “I want to know now!”

And before he knew it, Jason was telling her everything, and the cameras they had fixed on them right from the start. Derek, as well as Claire who was allowed to join him, gasped at what they were hearing.

Detail after details rolled off Jason’s lips. My God, he’d even murdered his parents! And he didn’t stop talking. The interview was supposed to last an hour. They waived that rule and prayed he’d go on. Janice hadn’t moved a bit and they prayed she’d hang in there. She wasn’t going anywhere, and with each breath Jason took them deeper and deeper into his world. Not one did he request a lawyer. And he talked and he talked as if there were no tomorrow. Perhaps he knew something they didn’t. Janice never budged, and if at any point Jason appeared to be wrapping it up, she’d ask another leading question. This went on for over two hours. And as abruptly as he had started talking he stopped. “I have nothing more to say!”

When he stopped, Janice got up, never said a word, and walked out of the room. Jason began to scream “You promised me you’d talk to me. I need to talk to you. I need to tell you something. It’s important. I love you! Please, please don’t go. Its not fair. How can you do this to me? After everything I’ve done for you! Come back! Please!” But she didn’t. And that’s when he began to scream. And that’s when the guards dragged him back to his cell. And that’s when he realized how much he’d said to her and to the watching cameras.

They sedated him and placed him on suicide watch. This guy was seriously crazy, by anyone’s measure! And he was a Doctor! My God, how could you ever send anyone to someone like him?

Had they seen him out in the so called real world, they would have bowed down to him like all the other peasants, at least that’s what Jason thought! Cretins!

Janice had never been so scared in all her life! She had seen evil personified. She had watched evil speak. She wanted to puke. But he was talking and every word was another nail in his coffin. So she stayed. If she could have spoken she may have said something. She couldn’t but thank God he didn’t know that. And now he had hung himself!

She didn’t know what to feel. They had been together over four years. No way! Not with that person in the other room. There was no way that could have happened. And yet it did. My God! God, I’ll give you one more chance to explain yourself! Yeah, right!

When Janice emerged, she was met immediately by Claire. This was not the Janice that had met with Jason. This Janice could barely breathe and if not for Claire rushing to her aid, she would have surely collapsed. She was spent completely. She needed to sleep. Now. Claire gently rocked her as she stroked her hair. “Now, now, it’s ok, baby girl.” And that’s how Derek met Janice. And that’s when he knew he’d never let go of Claire. Ever!

“She needs to rest. Let’s take her back to the hotel. I’ll call ahead so they know we’re on our way.”

Derek went to get Claire’s car. He’d get one of the guys to take his vehicle back to headquarters. He needed to be with Claire and Janice right now. It was time to meet the rest of the family.

He could barely contain the excitement within. My God, Janice had gotten Jason to reveal more information than they could have gotten from him in a lifetime. It was like he needed to be exorcised. By her. And man, what a job she’d done! “I bet she has no idea of what she’s done!” to himself.

And of course, she didn’t know. And she’d be no further help for the next couple of days. Upon their arrival she was immediately whisked to bed, without protest. And that’s when Claire could final introduce Derek to her family. “Derek I want you to meet”, and hesitating ever so slightly, “my Mom and my Dad.” Tears were streaking down Claire’s face as she spoke, as they were on not only her parents, but on Joline’s face as well.

“Young man,” Dad was always in control ” Welcome to our family!”

Derek had never had this kind of love, even with his parents. And here they were, inviting him in just like he’d always belonged. Claire had told him about these people and how scared she’d been when she knocked on Janice’s door just a few days ago, and about how her parents had embraced her like the prodigal son, okay, daughter, and how accepted she had felt immediately. And watching her now, and the way they interacted, all of them, and seeing Claire and Janice’s bond at the jail was overwhelming. And what Janice had just pulled off? Oh my God!

She might have pulled it off but it wasn’t because she was in control. In fact, it was the opposite. She was totally freaked out. Thank God Jason had kept talking! And did he spill the beans! What shocked her the most was that it didn’t matter what he said any more. They had lived a lie and now each of them would have to live with the consequences. At least he was in jail. Her jail was much larger.

But she would rise to the occasion. Just a few days ago she would have rather died than deal with the fallout that she knew was coming. How could she blame anyone for doubting her? After all, how couldn’t she have suspected something? There had to be signs, surely to God?

These were the same questions, and a hundred more, that she asked herself ad nauseum. But the answers were always the same. I didn’t know. Having her family gather around her the way they had was priceless. And then there was Claire. Where do I even start? Where would I be if Claire hadn’t shown up? I don’t know if I would have survived. And Mom and Dad welcomed her just like she’d never left. So many questions!

And my beautiful, precious daughter! She rushed home the moment she knew I was in trouble. And now she and Claire were inseparable! What a crazy world!

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