Marie couldn’t douche long enough, hard enough. That emergency worker had been disgusting. She deserved an Oscar for acting that shouldn’t even have been necessary. Instead of handcuffing Karen to her hospital bed for stabbing the prick, they should have awarded her the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Finally Marie stopped douching, leaned back in her tub, rested her head against the wall, and closed her eyes.
Karen… Free… Fabuloso!
But it had cost Marie everything…even her own face, altered beyond recognition by witness protection’s plastic surgeon after she neutralized the mob connections to Karen’s boyfriend Frank.
Marie let her eyes flutter open in the steamy room, then squeezed them shut again, imagining she could still feel the pain from the plastic surgeon’s stitches. Her favorite playlist, from the phone she’d plugged into a speaker by the door, would end soon. Good thing she’d set the volume low…
And, speaking of low, all Karen would ever remember was Marie’s resorting to the same tactic as she did with the emergency worker to get all the information she needed from Frank. Karen would never know it had been the only way Marie could protect Karen.
Marie thought she heard something in the hall, then laughed at herself…naked in a bathtub. What was this? Psycho?
Had it been the only way, sleeping with Frank? That sudden thought hurt worse than Alan Bates stabbing Janet Leigh with the knife. All the others, even those in the mob, she’d slept with, and finally that emergency worker…
What was this, the 19th century, not the 21st? Wasn’t there some other way she could have done it all, accomplished it all, other than sleeping with…at least…Frank?
Her gut knotted. Her eyes flickered open again. The douche she’d left on its side drizzled its last remaining liquid over the tub like a garden sprinkler someone had knocked over.
Douching wouldn’t help with this. Her gut re-knotted as the next stab of emotional pain came: Had she hidden all her own flaws…including liking to credit herself with everything, an odd self-absorption, and false pride…beneath the supposedly pure altruism of helping her friend?
The shower curtain was yanked aside. Some guy she thought she recognized…some cop from the hospital, though he wasn’t in uniform now…clamped a hand over her mouth. Some other guy with him turned the volume up on her least favorite playlist. She couldn’t catch all they were whispering, but she knew it had to do with making it look like an accident.
Shit. False pride indeed. She’d thought she could escape the mob.