Percival Upton sat in the car having a conversation with his only daughter Renee about how much her mother had loved her. And even though the talk was more one sided than it had ever been he got the feeling that she understood him under the circumstances in spite of her responding or even looking at him. He knew she blamed him for what had befallen her mother without her ever having expressed the sentiment. The irony of the situation was that he’d been more than willing to leave Miriam the house and car so she could take good care of their child. No one would ever see things from his side because to anyone who’d review the case would determine him to be somewhat of an absentee father. Never mind the fact that he’d taken the security job in Afghanistan because they’d fallen on hard times and they didn’t want to uproot the family during Renee’s last few years of high school. They’d been enjoying the life they’d made, but work had proven difficult to find once he’d left the military and the job offer had sounded damned good compared to the ones from the bill collectors. The couple had reservations about his working over there until the steady flow of funds into their bank account began to melt away the doubts. Before they knew it the one-year commitment had come to an end and any remaining concerns were flushed once the bonus check cleared their final debts away. His company offered him a continuation incentive and surprisingly Miriam easily went along with his decision to accept it. He chalked it up to their newly found sound financial standing at the time and made up his mind to do one more year.
One of the perks of the continuation package was more frequent breaks for travel and he decided to surprise his family, but the true surprise was his when he had shown up. The house had been empty, so he’d let himself in with his key and went to clean up before anyone came home. He noticed that two sets of bath towels were laying dirty in the master bath, but he didn’t find it too out of place; however, the used condom in the trash can beside the toilet definitely threw up a red flag. He never got around to cleaning up.
His wife came home shortly after he left to find his wedding band, the soiled prophylactic and a note explaining his reaction to his discovery of her infidelity.
After everything we’ve been through and all troubling times we’ve endured, you’d wait until things were going smoothly to do this. I’d have understood if you had left me when things were bad, but you just had to have the best of everything. I will not be the bad guy in all of this, but I will not continue to be taken advantage of either. I am in the process of changing the bank account, canceling the credit cards and arranging for you to receive two thousand dollars each month to take care of our daughter. I intend to speak with a lawyer about serving you papers, but not until Renee graduates so it will not destroy her focus in her last year of school. After then, I will leave it to you to explain things to her.
Once she’d read the letter, the gravity of it all had sunken in and she did the unthinkable act of committing suicide in the master bathroom tub. Sadly, Renee came home due to her half-day schedule during her senior year of high school and found her mother’s note beside the one from her father.
A couple of hours later, Percy came home and saw the note from his wife.
I never meant for any of this to happen especially in the house that you risked so much in order to ensure we could keep. It shames me that I was so weak and inconsiderate as to sully our bed. I am sure that Derrick is ashamed of his actions as well in light of his position of trust. I sincerely wish that you would be kind in your explanation of all of this to Renee when the time comes. I love you both and one day I pray you both will find it in your hearts to forgive me.
Percival quickly realized it was a suicide note and soon found his wife lifeless in the bathtub. He made his way back into the dining room in a daze and as he sat there it dawned upon him that there’d been a backpack on the floor. He sprinted to his daughter’s room, but she hadn’t been there, so he checked the other rooms of the house, yet didn’t find her. As he stood in kitchen, the droning sound drew his attention, so he went through the door that led to the garage. Renee’s car was running and she was sitting inside it. The hose leading from the tail pipe to the window caused a chill to run through his body and he sprang into action to get his little girl out of the car. She’d locked the doors, so he grabbed a heavy wrench from the chest of tools along the wall and smashed the glass. He ripped the door open and pulled his baby girl out of the car while hitting the button to open the bay door. He dragged her out and leaned her against his rental so she could get some fresh air. Rage filled his mind as he reflected on how Miriam could do something so callous, which led to all of this. His thoughts kept going back to her note and he it dawned on him that she had admitted that Derrick had been the one she’d been sleeping with. He and Derrick had served together, so the betrayal was even more dubious than if a stranger had been in his bed. He could still hear his former friends words as he’d told him he was heading to Afghanistan.
“Percy, you don’t have to worry about thing here. If Miriam or Renee need anything, they can always reach out to me.”
He’d even thanked his former comrade in arms at the time.
The yellow sports car flashing by snapped him back from memory lane, so he opened his door and exited the vehicle. He turned to Renee before he walked away.
“Don’t worry baby, I’ll be with you in a minute.”
Derrick Wiggins looked up to see his old friend walking toward him and stepped around his car to greet him. He found it strange for Percy to be wearing a jacket, but he chalked it up to the difference in temperature compared to hot assed Afghanistan. Derrick broke into a broad grin and at that point Percy drew a pistol before shooting him point blank in the face. Within the time it took for his former friends body to fall to the ground, Percival Upton turned the gun upon himself.
The responding investigators were able to quickly link the rented truck with the open door and dead teenage girl in the passenger seat to the presumed shooter. The follow up investigative team that showed up at his residence discovered his wife dead in the tub and after reading the notes began to piece things together. In midst of it all nearly half of the small town force showed up between the two crime scenes. As things were beginning to make sense, a single gunshot rang out from the master bedroom. Several officers burst into the room with their weapons drawn and scanned the room to find Lieutenant Derrick Carter dead from a single self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Clutched against his chest, as his body lay on the bed was a framed picture of the woman lying dead in the bathtub.