One Year Later

"Has the jury found a verdict?" the judge asked, filling the silence in the courtroom that was filled with anticipation.

"We have, your honor," the speaker of the jury said, standing.

"On the charges for first degree murder, how do you find the defendant?" the judge asked, professionally.

"We the jury find the defendant, Carl Bradford, guilty." Most of the people in the courtroom cheered while others let out relieved breaths. Carl Bradford had raped many women, tortured and murdered them. Rumor has it that there had never been enough evidence to incriminate for he was a smart man. Until now. James had found enough evidence; video tapes of every rape and murder. Finally, after almost two years, Carl Bradford would be put behind bars for life.

"Carl Bradford is hereby sentenced to life in jail. Court is adjourned." The judge hit the gavel on the desk and that was the end of it. A man came up to James who wore a tan business suit and was packing his briefcase.

"Excellent job, Mr. Camp," the man congratulated, clapping James on the back.

James smiled. "Thank you. Just doing my job."

"And you are one helluva attorney." The man walked away smiling. James left the courtroom shortly after, stopping by his office to pick up some papers then went to pick up the kids from school. They were already waiting outside. Rebbecca hopped in the front seat while Kyle buckled himself in the back. When both of them had their seatbelt on, James headed home.

"How was school?" he asked.

"Good," Rebbecca, now ten, answered.

"Yeah, it was fun," Kyle, seven years old, said.

"Good," James said. "What do you say we go out to eat tonight?"

"Can we go to Marco's to see Auntie Audrey!" the children begged.

James shifted in his seat a little, suddenly uncomfortable. "Uh, sure." The kids squealed with joy. James, however, dreaded it. Audrey worked at a restaurant called Marco's. It was a very good Italian place. She was a waitress and manager. It was a very well paying job especially for her since she did not need much because she lived alone and took care of herself. What made it worse was that he saw enough of her already. Ever since the divorce, Audrey had been stopping over often and it killed James. But the kids loved her and she was his best friend so he would suck it up and be grown up about this like he had been for years.

They arrived home. "Go take a shower and get dressed then we can leave," he instructed. The sooner they get this night over with, the better. Sighing, he watched his two beautiful kids scurry into the house happily. Why did he have to promise he would take them there? Why could he not have suggested somewhere else? Anywhere, but there. No, his luck sucked.

James went to his bedroom, one he slept in alone now, and tossed his briefcase on the bed. He loosened his tie, removing it, took off his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his white button up shirt. He unbuttoned the first three buttons of the shirt and sighed, opening his closet. He stripped off his pants and threw on some jeans, leaving the shirt on. He put his shoes on and went to the kitchen, waiting for the kids to be finished. He rested his head in his hands and thought back on the day Carol had demanded a divorce from him.

"I want a divorce."

The words shot through James like lightning, stunning him. He whirled on her, snarling. "What the hell would you want that for?"

Carol glared daggers at him. "You know very well good and why I want one!" Fuming, she went to their bedroom with its queen size bed and grabbed a suitcase from beneath the bed. James followed her and watched as she threw her clothes in the case angrily. Tears streamed down Carol's cheeks. She sniffled and wondered why the hell she had not done this sooner. It would have ended up here anyway, so why go through the hassle? Because she loved James but he did not love her. He probably never had and never will.

"Carol, I love you," James said, but the words had no feeling to them.

"Don't say that when we both know who you love," Carol snapped, shutting the suitcase. She snatched up her purse and when she went to push past James, he placed a hand on her shoulder and stopped her, looking her in the eyes.

"You know you are the only woman I love." The lie tasted bitter on his tongue.

"Stop it, James," Carol demanded. "Just let it go. I hope you're happy with whatever you choose in life." And just like that, she left. Six years of marriage, gone.

"Daddy!" Kyle shouted, jolting James out of his thoughts. "We're ready!" The two stood there, looking at him expectantly. He nodded and grabbed the keys, going to the car with the kids trailing behind him.

This was going to be a long night.