11.2 Scarlett's Art Of Believing Lies

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Unblinking, I stare. Unbelieving, I watch.

I feel helpless, guilty, and wishing I could turn back time. An innocent man died, all because I and everyone else responsible for clearing his name were blind to the truth. We fell for it, the lies of a girl who used her tears and smiles to slowly hypnotize us. I can hardly believe the girl sitting in front of me and confessing she accused him is the same Jules who had cowered on the couch and pretended to be scared.

"We had an affair," she seems to be saying, her voice echoing in the small room and reaching me from across the one-sided mirror.

The authorities usually wouldn't allow someone to listen in but they've made an exception in this case. William managed to get Mira and I into the interrogation area so that I can know what the truth really is.

"And then his wife got pregnant and he wanted to end things with me," Jules goes on. "I ... I was heartbroken so I tried to talk to him but he said he loved his wife and ... he picked her and I wanted to get him back."

"So you wrongfully accused him of raping you," the officer in charge asks.

"I never said he raped me," Jules argues, her fingers knotted together in her lap under the sleek white table. "I just ... I wanted to blackmail him into this. I thought that if everyone thought he was harassing me, his wife would leave me and he'd come back to me to clear his name. I wanted to get my revenge but also ... you know, maybe get him back? I never wanted him to die like ..."

She begins to sob, her hands covering her face that I no longer trust.

"I swear I didn't know he'd --"

All the pieces fall into place. Micheal's DNA found on Jules's furniture and clothes: they had been sleeping together. The CCTV footage of him sneaking into the girls' bathrooms after her: they'd been having an affair. Micheal claiming he never raped her and Jules' distress: he'd broken up with her.

Closing my eyes, I turn away from glass separating me from her. I can't stand the sight of her or even myself for that matter. An innocent man died because one girl wanted revenge and another was too blind to see the truth. If only I had known then ... If only I had considered his innocence ... If only I had seen the other side with an unbiased perspective.

"Scarlett."

Mira's hand comes to rest on my shoulder and I look at her through my hazy vision. My always so carefree friend reaches out and wipes my cheek, her fingers coming back wet. A dozen lines evident on her face, she watches me closely, giving my shoulder a gentle squeeze.

"Wanna get outta here?" she asks.

I try to nod but can't, but Mira takes my silence as affirmative, steering me gently towards the exit. We pass William on our way to the exit and he stops talking to the officers when he meets our eyes, quickly saying sorry to them and following us out.

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