He nodded, watching her.
“You seem thinner. Are you getting enough to eat? I worry…”
“You needn’t,” he replied. “Things are as well as can be expected.”
Glancing around the sparsely furnished room, her eyes settled on the stern man positioned near the door. He appeared not to be listening, his eyes focused straight ahead. But she knew better.
With Ted in prison, every visit was like this.
She reached across the table to take his hand and the sentry tensed. Touching was against the rules. She withdrew her hand.
“I wish it didn’t have to be this way,” she began.
He leaned forward. “The story – how is it coming?”
She brightened. “Very well! Vanity Fair is interested. They’ll want to send a photographer. You’ll have to open up with them, Ted. It will help your cause.”
“What would you have me say, Shayna?”
“The truth! That they drove you to it! Those terrible women… you’re the victim, Ted. Not them! Once people know the truth, know you the way I do, they’ll see the injustice.”
He said nothing.
“I was thinking…maybe we should get married.”
He raised his brows. “Married? How would that help?”
“Love, don’t you see? It would create sympathy for you. People will question your involvement in the murders. They’ll tell themselves that no woman familiar with the case could have fallen in love with a man capable of such crimes.”
“You have a point,” he said. He picked up the pencil sitting next to the pad on the table, and scribbled something on a page already filled with tiny, cramped writing. “But what about the razor blades?”
She blinked in confusion. “Razor blades?”
He frowned. “Don’t you remember, Shayna?”
She glanced at the man stationed by the door. Something odd about his uniform… he wasn’t wearing one… he had a clipboard in his hands…
She looked at Ted. A smile broke the confusion.
“I’ve always wanted a church wedding, but I guess that won’t be possible…”
Ted stood up, the visit over.
“I’ll see you next week, love,” she said.
He never looked back, and the sentry ushered him through the door.
Dr. Martin peered at the woman through the one-way mirror in the next room.
“A year now, and she still calls you ‘Ted,’” said the male nurse, making a note on the clipboard.
“There’s been little progress.” Martin shook his head. The case frustrated him.
“You think she really doesn’t remember giving those blades to Ted Girardi?”
“She’s repressed the memory.”
Thinking of the photos he’d seen of the two slain prison guards, throats slit, Martin wished he could forget.
“I don’t get it, doc… a smart reporter at the top of her field and she falls for a murderer…”
Martin didn’t know what to say, and so he said nothing.
Shayna turned toward the mirror and smiled.
Word Count: 500
Author’s Note: This week’s tale is written in response to a challenge to write a 500-words or less story about a journalist writing a story about living on death row and who falls for one of the inmates she interviewed. You can check out these weekly flash fiction challenges hosted by ThainInVain here.