Forgiving the Unforgivable
by Kate Grosmaire
“I’m a victim’s advocate from the sheriff’s office,” Gwen said.
When she said “victim’s advocate,” I signed in relief. At least Ann hadn’t gotten into trouble. They weren’t there to accuse her of wrongdoing.
But her next sentence evaporated any temporary comfort.
“Ann has been shot.”
The sentence hung in the air. My mind raced to fill the space around it.
Ann didn’t frequent dangerous areas of town. In fact, her life was pretty idyllic. She worked in a baby boutique that sold gifts for newborns. Earlier that week, I’d asked her about a gift for a pregnant friend who was having a baby shower at church.
“Mom, you have to get the Sophie the Giraffe teether,” she said. “It is the most adorable thing ever!”
I looked at the giraffe and bit my lip. It was cute, but part of me wondered if I should just play it safe and get something Diana had put on her wish list.
“No, Mom,” she said. “You have to get this one. I recommend it to all my customers.” Her enthusiasm caused me to relent. I loved how much she loved the boutique. She’d frequently text me photos of the latest sleepers and laboring gowns. And Ann was right; the giraffe ended up being a hit at the shower.
Was the store robbed? Who would rob a baby boutique? It’s hardly a great target. Plus, it’s Sunday, so the store isn’t even open. Where else could she have gotten hurt? By this time, it dawned on me that Ann was not at work. Wasn’t she with Conor today?
Conor lived in an apartment building filled with other college students from the area. Were they at his apartment with those roommates I knew nothing about? Did his roommates have guns? Was she visiting him when things got rowdy and a gun somehow went off?
To fill the vacuum left by Gwen’s words, my imagination quickly painted a picture of what had happened.
There’s been an accident, a terrible mistake. Ann’s been shot in her stomach, but it isn’t serious. She has a small wound. She’s going to survive.
“Is she okay?” I asked. “Is Conor with her?”
Conor was practically part of the family, and in fact, he wanted to make it official. Just a few months ago, he’d told Andy that he wanted to marry Ann. If Conor was with her, I knew he could soothe her until we could get to the hospital.
“Conor McBride?” the deputy sheriff asked.
“Conor was the one who shot her,” she said. Her tone was matter-of-fact. Professional. No judgment.
I looked at her blankly, trying to process what she had said.
Conor shot Ann.
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