AFTER YOU MURDER someone, life is never the same.
Ron Jameson found himself thinking about this all the time; he couldn’t get over the before and after differences.
Before, he’d been a hardworking mid-level attorney, billing his mega-hours, fair to both clients and opponents, responsive to his partners, honest to a fault.
Before, he had been a compassionate yet somewhat stern father to his two children, a righteous man who both taught and modeled the importance of respect—for property, for their mother, for other political, social, and religious viewpoints.
Before, he’d lived a circumspect, modestly successful, controlled existence, neither particularly happy nor sad, vaguely content most of the time, occasionally a bit bored, going through the motions.
Before, he’d been half-alive.
That had left the other half.
After he’d murdered the man who’d slept with his wife, it had taken him a while to get his bearings. Most of that time was spent worrying about what would happen if he were caught, about what he would tell his children and his wife. How he could justify himself and what he’d done to those he loved.
Every day he had lived with the constant fear that the police would catch onto him, that in spite of his best efforts he’d left a clue somewhere, key evidence that would convict him. He worried about going to jail, about spending the rest of his life in prison.
He was the sole support of his family; how would they all survive?
After, above all, he worried about how he could have turned into the man who could have actually done what he’d done.
When the police had found the incriminating evidence—a shell casing from the same make and caliber of the gun he’d used—on the boat of Geoff Cooke, his former best friend and partner in the law firm, it had taken him a while to understand. Mystifyingly, Geoff had apparently then used the same weapon to kill himself, which meant that the case was closed.
The police no longer believed that he’d done it. He was no longer a suspect.
It appeared that his law partner had in fact killed the philandering bastard.
When in reality—he came to understand—it had been his wife expertly shifting the blame from him to Geoff, protecting him and their marriage and their family, shooting his law partner and convincingly making it appear to have been a suicide, then planting the incriminating shell on Geoff’s boat.
Which meant that both of them, husband and wife, were killers.
And after you murder someone, life is never the same.