A Penny For Christmas

A Penny For Christmas Chapter 32: In the Slammer

They didn’t waste any time with her booking. It was almost like they were expecting her. Her wheelchair had been yanked away and replaced by wooden crutches, but that didn’t bother her.

She had a feeling she wasn’t going to leave there alive.

She didn’t know how her exes found her, but she was sure her pseudo-brother-in-law had information about their whereabouts. Was the judge angry at her for the death of his brother? Was this his revenge? As the officers led her to the already- crowded holding cell, she pondered on her fate. Was she going to last the night? The atmosphere in the cell was musty and stale, and as expected, no one spared a thought for the woman on crutches, but she was grateful she found space, and no one wanted to speak with her at the moment.

If she let her guard down, someone could strangle her from behind. Sarah looked around wildly for suspicious faces. It was going to be a long night.

At least, her girls were safe, and Christopher was with them. Christopher, she thought with a groan. She had brought another problem to his doorstep. He had to be wondering when all of this was going to end. Maybe, now he would cut her loose and find a more suitable partner to raise the girls.


Her insides turned as the image of that woman formed in Sarah’s head.

She remembered the letters Gina would leave in their mailbox professing her undying love for Christopher and how they would laugh at their contents at breakfast. Sarah wasn’t laughing now. At the moment, she looked like the basket case in the story, and Gina had gained considerable ground after rescuing the girls. She could even dare to think of Gina as a better match for Christopher.

Was that how messed up she was?

Christopher would certainly think so after this latest episode. She could imagine the headlines on the tabloids tomorrow after her arrest and wouldn’t be surprised if he took the girls away from New York and left her to rot for her crimes. He had warned her about this, and she had so timidly kept her mouth shut because she was afraid.

Scared, Christopher would condemn her again as he did eight years ago. He was never interested in her reasons, only her actions. That was Christopher, the straight-arrow that never bent for anyone. His demand for honesty and accountability always kept her on her toes and made her weary.

Because her whole life was a lie, and the only true things were the people she left behind in the penthouse. People she feared she would never see again because Christopher would die before exposing the girls to her world again.

She tried to do things right this time and failed. Should she have told Christopher about her encounter with her exes? Lord knows she tried, but Christopher wanted nothing to do with her. He had this air of distrust and condemnation around him anytime she was near, and she always shrunk back into her shell for fear of judgment.

In the end, he was going to blame her. Daisy asked her to have courage and tell him, but even she knew how hard it was to tell Christopher the truth. Still, she should have tried for Penny. Tears trickled down her face as Sarah thought of how her little one tried to prevent her arrest. Penny knew nothing of her past, but she reckoned some of it would be exposed to her after today. What would her baby think of her then?

Still, when everyone gave up on her, Penny never did. She wiped her tears with a resolve. She wasn’t able to give Penny the happy ending she longed for, but she would go down trying.

She had a phone call. She was going to make it count.

‘Can I have my phone call, please?’ Sarah called out to the sergeant at the desk.

‘We don’t have a connection to the afterlife, Wilcox,’ the sergeant mocked. ‘Don’t waste your time. You’re never getting out of here.’

For a split second, she wanted to give up, but she pressed on. ‘I want my phone call.’

The sergeant hissed at her persistence. ‘Fine. Two minutes. No more.’

It was a start.

She lifted her chin, limped to the desk, and dialed the number she had come to know by heart.

‘Hello,’ said the voice at the other end.

‘Aaron, this is Sarah. I’m in jail, and I need your help.’

‘Sarah? Thank God. I was worried about you! Did you find your daughter?’

‘Yes,’ she said as tears welled up in her eyes.

‘Please come. I need to see you.’

He hesitated before hanging up.

She cradled the receiver in her hands before handing it over to the desk clerk, who looked at her with utter disdain.

 ‘Soon, the streets will be clear of scum like you!’ he spat.

She turned around and returned to the holding cell without responding. It was a calculated move, she thought. Aaron could see her after visiting hours, and they were well past the stipulated visiting time. He could also reach Christopher if Christopher didn’t want to talk to her.

Assuming Aaron showed up.

He did. He was at the station in thirty minutes and front of the holding cell in five.

‘Sarah,’ he said softly.

‘I’m sorry I ran away,’ she said. ‘I hope I didn’t get you into any trouble.’

‘Oh no,’ replied Aaron, shaking his head rapidly. ‘The nurse filled me in, and I delayed my report. You should have called me before turning yourself in.’

‘But I didn’t turn myself in,’ Sarah cried. ‘I was arrested.’

Aaron looked at her in confusion. ‘The order didn’t come from me.’

Sarah looked stunned for a moment. If he didn’t give the order, who did?

‘To be honest, I don’t care how I got here, but I know I don’t want to stay. I want to go back to my family. Please, Aaron, you can testify on my behalf. Be my character witness. I need a decent lawyer. Please.’

‘Does Dr. Wallace know?’ asked Aaron.

The obvious question, thought Sarah. Aaron wouldn’t understand.

‘I want to keep him out of this. He doesn’t need this kind of publicity,’ Sarah pointed out.

Aaron nodded quickly. ‘I will make some calls after I find out what is going on,’ he said, and Sarah sighed with renewed hope.

He lingered for a while, but he didn’t make any calls. Instead, he lit a cigarette to warm his insides and thought of what to do because he couldn’t tell Sarah the truth.

There was no report because he had destroyed whatever evidence he had of their meetings to keep his job. His actions meant Sarah was in the clear unless her exes went on with their threats and pressed charges. When he made his inquiries, he found out that Gareth’s law firm filed the case against Sarah, and Aaron was bothered. This didn’t make sense. Gareth had spent his professional life mediating his way out of trouble, and he doubted whatever compensation he was hoping to get from Sarah was worth exposing himself.

 Besides, the man was in the hospital, so unless he left a standing order, someone else might have done this without his consent.

 But who?

 Aaron grew anxious. If there was proof concerning the mediation somewhere, he would lose his job or worse. Aaron had to know if Gareth’s condition had improved. With any luck, he could convince Gareth to withdraw the charges and hope that this ugly business blew over. It was a little bit after seven, and visiting hours were over. Aaron had no choice but to leave it till morning.

 Sarah waited for Aaron to return and grew more anxious when she realized he wasn’t coming back. Her heart grew heavy when a thought formed in her head, telling her that she was alone, and she closed her eyes in anguish. Christopher didn’t come after her either. She felt hopeless.

Not long after, a chubby officer strode to her cell and announced, ‘Sarah McKenzie, you are wanted in interrogation,’ before opening the cell. At this hour? Sarah thought, puzzled. Even though she knew she belonged in prison, something about this didn’t feel right, and it made the hairs on the back of her neck stand.

Cautiously, she limped slowly behind the officer as he led her to interrogation room number 2. Her heart pounded wildly in her chest as she tried to make sense of the situation. If Aaron didn’t call for her arrest, who did? Maybe it was one of the other cases Timothy said he buried?

When the officer opened the door to the interrogation room, she was shocked.

She didn’t expect to see the love of her life leaning against the wall of the room with both hands crossed, looking worried and anxious. Her heart would have leaped for joy if her eyes didn’t rest on Christopher’s companion. It had been a while, but if he was who she thought he was, this wasn’t a rescue. It was payback.

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