“I tried to tell her. I’ve been trying to call her since I found out she existed, but I feel responsible. He’s a killer, and he stayed free because I lied for him. I don’t know why, but I never imagined he’d kill again. I’ve known for all these years, and somehow it just never occurred to me. Why do you suppose that is? I should have thought of it.” My voice was pitched low, but it seemed to crack through the stunned silence of the car.
Everyone began to speak at once.
“You are not responsible for this,” James said, his voice firm and harsh and full of pain.
“You couldn’t have known, Buttercup,” Stephan said, his voice passionately sincere.
“Please don’t do that to yourself,” Javier implored quietly.
I ignored the reassurances, feeling the weight of her death like a heavy burden on my soul. And shamefully, even stronger than that guilt was the fear. My father had killed at least two women now, something he’d threatened to do to me more times than I could count. Even with the numb state my brain seemed to be in with the disturbing news of Sharon’s death, what I felt the most was a chilling terror that ran so deep I couldn’t remember a time that it hadn’t been a part of me.
I shared a long look with James. In his eyes I saw a wrenching helplessness that mirrored my own.