First Chapter of The Diary

I knew Jason would be the love of my life the first time I met him. What I didn’t know was that he would turn out to be a monster.

We were in college back then and ended up in the same drama class our senior year. Okay, so I had seen this gorgeous boy a few times around campus before, but we had never interacted. Doing so made all the difference. We were asked to do a scene together in class, playing a couple fighting about money and then making up afterward. He took me by surprise by actually French-kissing me at the end, even though our acting teacher had shown us how to properly fake such a kiss. The second I felt his hot tongue swirl around mine, I was lost. Well, to be honest, maybe that happened the moment I looked into his beautiful blue eyes. I had never before looked into eyes containing that much depth, that much sincerity and benevolence. This boy was one of a kind. And he would be mine.

I have been lost to this man for the last nine years and we’ve been so happy together all of that time, oh so happy. That blissful happiness ended today, about thirty minutes ago. That was when I found out that I had been wrong about the state of our relationship. I now know that Jason has been unfaithful to me for the last few months.

If only that had been it. See, I might have been able to handle him straying. No, scratch that; I would have handled it. I’m not a quitter and our marriage, our love for each other, is worth too much to me to give up on that easily. After all, I haven’t been easy to deal with lately and most couples have had their share of such problems, so this one would turn out to be ours. Life isn’t perfect and all relationships go through ups and downs. But we would get through our down. I’d confront him about it and then he’d leave her, realize his mistake. I’m the one he really wants to be with, but I have pushed him away with my postpartum depression. I’d get him back, though, make him mine again. Except his seeing another woman isn’t our only problem. Like I said, there is more—and it ain’t pretty.

My innards twist with excruciating pain when I read the last three words again, still hoping that I have just imagined the large, glaring letters written across one page. But there they are again in Jason’s distinct handwriting:

I killed her.

There, right before my eyes, is his confession. It is written in his diary together with what he did with his mistress during the many evenings when I thought he was only working late. He has even written about how they first met, which was in the weeks before Matthew was born. I never once suspected that he might be unfaithful to me. How could he be? Up until what happened with our little boy, we were so incredibly happy together.

But the evidence is here and there is no mistaking his handwriting. I’m as familiar with it as I am with my own. He has written all these horrible words, and unless someone has made him write them, it is what has happened. Why else would they be there and in such detail?

I can’t imagine why anyone would ever make him do such a thing, though. Neither Jason nor I are the kind of people who have plenty of enemies, certainly not ones who hate us to the point of forcing him to make up such a story, incriminate himself in the diary he uses to write about his feelings and daily life. Then again, if it is true—I still carry some hope that it might not be—it also shows that I don’t know my husband as well as I thought I did.

I bury my face in my hands and close my eyes. My stomach hurt so much I open my mouth to groan, but no sound comes out from between my lips.

Why is this happening to me? Haven’t I suffered enough?

I hear the front door to our apartment open then. Only two people have keys to get into our place—Jason and our maid. But it is one o’clock on a Friday afternoon, which means that Jason should be at work. Our maid always comes on Tuesdays. Did she confuse the days this week?

“Lexi?” Jason’s voice coming from the hallway. Slamming the diary shut, I spring to my feet and put the worn, blue book in my purse that is sitting on a chair nearby. My heart feels like it has gotten stuck in my throat, making it hard to breathe, and my pulse is throbbing loudly behind my ears. Frantically, I look around, wanting to hide myself somewhere as I hear him walk toward the kitchen where I am. Oh, God, how can I talk to him now? What shall I do?

And there he is, my handsome husband, standing in the doorway between the hallway and the kitchen, wearing a sharp suit that fits him to a tee. His short, blond hair is slightly messy, as if he just rolled out of bed and only had access to his fingers to smooth it out. His clear blue eyes glitter as he breaks into a smile at the sight of me.

“There you are,” he says and comes into our large kitchen, toward me, still smiling.

Oh, God, this man just can’t be a murderer, I think as I watch him approach, struggling not to reveal the storm of emotions going on inside me right then. And I don’t care how difficult it must have been to be with me lately, he would still never be unfaithful to me. There must be some other explanation as to why all those terrible, terrible words are written in his diary. There has to be. It suddenly strikes me that he might have written them because he has finally begun working on that novel he keeps telling me he wants to write.

Yes, that must be it.

He has just chosen to use his own life as the basis for his story. I’m well aware that my husband dreams of becoming an author and quitting his job at the ad agency one day. It’s a lucrative job, but he is not very happy doing it. I feel myself relax a little. Of course it is something innocuous like that. No sane person would ever confess to adultery and an actual murder in a diary.

The bright smile on Jason’s lips dies and worry colors his features. I must look miserable because he comes up and envelops me in his arms, holding me close. He strokes my hair and whispers into my ear, “My poor, poor Lexi. It’s one of those days, huh?”

I don’t reply. I just let him hold me and inhale the familiar smell of him, a pleasant mixture of wood, the city, and Chanel Platinum Egoiste.

So if I believe so strongly in his innocence, why am I dreading telling him what I have just found? Why do I dig my fingers into his back, not wanting to face him, instead of asking him straight out why he has written all those words? I tell myself it’s because I don’t want him to think I spend my days at home snooping through his things. Which is what I did today and how I found his diary in one of the drawers in his dresser, hidden under several sweaters.

Finally, he loosens his grip around me and I have no choice but to glance up at him. He gives me a small but warm smile. There, in his gaze, is that deep care for me that I know so well.

“Feeling a little better?” he asks softly.

I make myself smile back at him and nod my head, but no words come out of my mouth.

He keeps smiling while contemplating me, a ray of sunshine hitting his face in that moment, causing his eyes to glow bright and almost painfully blue. “What were you doing, babe?”

The question slides off his tongue so easily, his voice light and carefree. Not the way I expect a man with a guilty conscience to ever speak. The thought gives me hope, reinforces my belief that there is a simple, perfectly reasonable explanation to what I have found. I am able to at least speak again.

“I was just going through some receipts, but I’m done now, just in time for your unexpected arrival. What are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

“I had a meeting uptown that got canceled, so I figured I should swing by the house on my way back to the office and say hi. See how you were doing.” He leans down and kisses me on the lips. “Are you sure you’re okay?” His voice is intimate. “You looked like you were in such pain.”

“Yes, I was, but I’m better now. Much better. I just got to thinking a little when I saw some receipt of… of the stuff we bought for…” I can’t make myself finish the sentence. Not that it is necessary. Jason knows much too well of what I’m talking about.

He runs a knuckle along my jaw and that little, warm smile that I hope he only uses for me widens.

“That’s good,” he says. “Tomorrow you’ll be even better. Right?”

“Yes,” I say, my voice sounding odd to my ears. “Tomorrow I’ll be even better.”

“Good girl.” His arms loosen further around me. “Well, like I said, I just wanted to pop in and say hi since I was in the neighborhood. Are you still up for dinner tonight?”

“Absolutely. I need to get out of the house. It’s been days since I was out last. I’m beginning to feel claustrophobic.” I grimace. “And even if I don’t feel like dinner later, I’ll make myself. It’s time for me to get out of this funk once and for all. Besides, I need to be sure I haven’t forgotten how to behave properly in normal social settings filled with strangers.”

Jason chuckles softly and places a strand of hair behind my ear. “I don’t think that’s ever possible. You were born with natural graces, babe.”

“Ha. Well, let’s hope you’re right or I’ll be out of a job next week.”

“You’re going to do great. Remember what Dr. Meyer says—one step at a time.”

I nod and smile.

He leans in and kisses me again with those soft lips. “See you in a few hours then. Fifth and 49th. Do you want me to text you the address in case you forget?”

I shake my head no. “I think I’ll be all right.”

He pinches my chin. “Okay. Bye. Love you.”

His tall shape disappears through the doorway, and then I hear his dress shoes click against the hardwood floor in our long hallway as he makes his way back to the front door. It opens and then shuts again, and he is gone.

I sink down on the chair I sat on earlier and wait a few minutes. When I’m sure he is truly gone, I find the diary in my purse. I open it to the page where I saw the words, convinced now that I have simply imagined them.

I must have.

There is no chance in hell that the sweet man who came to see me to make sure I was all right is an adulterer and a murderer. But there they are again, written as plainly as the last time I saw them across one sheet in the diary.

I killed her.

I clench my hand into a fist and bite my knuckles to stop myself from screaming out loud.

To read more of The Diary, click here.

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