Chapter no 54 – NATALIE

The Coworker

THE BAIL HEARING goes as well as it possibly could. Meaning, the judge grants me bail as long as I surrender my passport. Unfortunately, it’s a stupidly high amount that I could never afford. Even the ten percent bond is a higher amount than I can afford.

Which means I will remain incarcerated until my trial. At which point, I will almost certainly be sentenced to some sort of prison time. I’m going to spend the next several years behind bars. If I’m lucky.

However, the overwhelming likelihood, Ferguson has assured me, is that the DA will go after a murder one charge. He updated me this morning that they don’t seem interested in seeking a deal. This has been a very high- profile case, because of the accusations in Dawn’s emails, and they want to make sure I receive the punishment I deserve. They feel confident there’s enough evidence of foul play that they can convict me without a body.

They want me to go to prison for the rest of my life. They want me to die behind bars.

As I sit in my jail cell, all I can think about is how badly I want to go home. I want to take a shower in my own bathroom. I want to eat a giant, juicy cheeseburger. I want to lie in my own bed all alone with a cozy blanket and sleep as long as I want in the morning.

But I have a sick feeling that’s never going to be my life ever again. At least, not for a long time.

So I am nothing short of shocked when one of the guards calls out my name. “Farrell! Your bail has been posted.”

“What?” I leap off the bench in my horrible cell, where I have been sitting and feeling sorry for myself. “By who?”

The guard just shrugs, and it’s not like I’m going to interrogate him. I just want out of here. Even if it’s for a few weeks until my trial.

It’s only after I get back my phone and wallet and other belongings that they lead me to the waiting room, and I discover who my benefactor is. It’s the last person I expected.

“Hey, Nat,” Seth says.

He must have come straight from work, because he’s wearing a dress shirt and tie. He looks tired, but I’m sure I look much worse. My hair feels like a rat’s nest. I’m scared to even run my fingers through it.

“What are you doing here?” I ask. “I thought you hated me.” He offers me a crooked smile. “Let’s talk in the car, okay?”

I’m not going to say no. I’m tired and hungry and all I want is to go home, so even if he’s going to berate me for the entire ride home, I’ll still take it.

I follow Seth out to the parking lot, where his Audi is waiting for us. I get into the passenger seat, rest my head against the headrest, and shut my eyes. If I’m not careful, I’m going to fall asleep right here and now. I never want to go back in there. Ever.

Seth climbs into the car beside me. He starts up the engine and we’re off. I watch his profile, wondering what his game is. The last time I saw him, he was furious and hurt, accusing me of stealing money from the company. But he doesn’t seem angry anymore.

“So,” he finally says. “I… I checked through all the accounts and there was no money missing.”

“What a shock.”

He frowns. “I’m sorry. I should’ve believed you. But that detective came in and he sounded so sure of himself.”


“I’m really sorry.” His voice cracks slightly. “He just… he got to me. I should’ve known you would never do something like that.”

He feels bad about it. And he’s here, which means a lot. Nobody else is here for me. Yes, he was awful to me, but I can forgive him. “I can’t believe you paid the bail. That was a lot of money.”

“I’ve got the money.” He lifts his shoulder. “You did me a favor. It’s less in my bank account for Melinda to get her hands on. Also, you need a decent lawyer. That Ferguson guy I talked to was awful. What is he— twelve years old? I’m going to help you out with this.”

I don’t want to owe Seth anything, but at the same time, I’m in no position to refuse. He’s right. I need a decent lawyer. One who has been practicing for more than six months.

“I didn’t do anything to Dawn, you know,” I say.

“I know. This whole thing is ridiculous. We’ll get it all sorted out.”

He believes me. It feels like he’s the only person who does. Even my parents think I’m guilty. They think I’m a terrible person. All because of that incident in high school with that girl. Amelia.

“Are you hungry?” he asks. It’s nearly lunchtime. “We can grab some food.”

I swallow a lump in my throat. “I just want to go home.” “You got it.”

While he’s driving, I check the messages on my phone. There are about five billion messages and voicemails. I don’t have the energy to deal with all of these. Not now.

Then I notice a text from Caleb. He sent it on Saturday evening.

Checked out the motel. Nothing there. Seems like a dead end.


I stare down at the text message. A few days ago, I would have felt grateful to him for driving all the way down to Rhode Island for me. But now I’m not sure what to think.

I thought Santoro bullied Caleb into ratting me out. But it turns out it was the opposite. Caleb went to the police himself. He voluntarily told them my alibi was a lie. And he said a lot of other things.

“Was Caleb at work today?” I ask.

Seth shakes his head. “Didn’t see him. But I’m sure he’ll come over and see you. If that’s what you want.”

It’s not what I want though. I don’t trust Caleb anymore. He turned on me, and I’m not sure why.

“What do you think of Caleb?” I blurt out.

“Well, I think you could do better. Obviously.” “Seriously, Seth.”

“I don’t know.” He pushes his palm down on his horn as a Subaru cuts him off. “Selfishly, I don’t like him. I don’t think he’s been very supportive of you through this whole thing. But he seems like a nice enough person. I guess. And I’m sure he’s just worried about Dawn.”

“Why would he be so worried about Dawn? He hardly knows her.”

Seth glances at me. “What are you talking about? They know each other. She was the one who recommended him to me for the website job.”


My world has suddenly gone on tilt. Dawn was the one who recommended Caleb? How could that be? They never spoke to each other, except for a polite hello. A few times, Caleb even got her name wrong, which now seems increasingly suspicious.

“Oh yeah,” he confirms. “She went on and on about him. You know how she does that. Gets stuck on some topic and won’t shut up about it.”

Holy crap.

It suddenly occurs to me that Caleb had easy access to my house—more than practically anyone else. Could he have planted that turtle in my laundry hamper? And he could easily have gotten into my trunk. Since he was at the office, he could have put those turtles on my desk every day. And how many times have I drunk from wine glasses in his apartment, then left them behind with my fingerprints on them?

It hits me that when Caleb took away my alibi, he also eliminated his own. He has no alibi for the night Dawn was killed. Moreover, he was the one who told me he was tired and wanted to head out early. I was trying to get him to stay.

Is it possible that Caleb murdered Dawn and is trying to pin it on me? It seems really wild, but in a strange way, it makes sense. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

But why?

That motel. I’ve got to get over there.

You'll Also Like