Charles slowly pulled the piece of metal from Tom’s stomach. The sight of the bloody fingerprints where his hand had gripped the steel was more than he could handle.
Tom watched as Charles retched in the bushes. He pulled himself along the sidewalk and wrapped his arm around the crumpled man. “Think of me while you rot in prison,” he whispered.
Charles jerked away and turned his back on the man who had been his best friend for over twenty years. He couldn’t believe what Tom had done. Even though he knew his sin was unforgivable, he still couldn’t believe Tom would go that far to get even.
He had tried to pull the metal away from Tom, but it had done no use. Tom was smarter. He had used Charles’s on strength against him, thrusting the cold steel deeply into his own stomach.
The gurgling sound of Tom’s last breaths brought Charles around. He moved to his friend’s side and held his hand. “I’m sorry, Tom. So sorry.”
Although there was no rational way he could know what Tom meant, Charles believed the slight squeeze of his hand meant he was sorry, too. Not that the mutual apologizes were going to do either one of them any good.
It had been bad enough when Tom had caught Charles and Claire in bed together. The pain and humiliation on her face had almost broken Charles’s heart. He didn’t know if she would be able to handle the shame that would be heaped upon her shoulders when everyone found out the reason for Tom’s death. And he wouldn’t be there to help her through it.
As the flashing blue lights of the first police car reached him, Charles thought the person who was going to be hurt the most was the woman both men had loved, and he wondered if maybe that hadn’t been Tom’s intent. His friend had always had a vindictive streak.