Wednesday 10 August 2011
Every relationship has its secrets – some more than others.
Kathryn Hayes-Thomas’ home
‘Sorry?’ asked Hannah. ‘You’re his other wife. What are you – are you saying he was married before me?’
Kathryn sat on the sofa where Curtis had told Hannah to sit. She reclined against the back, a look of understanding on her face. She indicated that she wanted Hannah to sit as well. The news was going to be hard, whichever way she heard it, so Kathryn thought Hannah might as well be comfortable. Giving in, Hannah sat next to the woman.
‘No, Hannah, I’m saying that he was married to you at the same time that he was married to me.’
Hannah turned pale from shock. Her husband was a bigamist. She fought for air, trying to breathe as normally as she could. Made harder by the fact that she had broken ribs, Hannah struggled to regain any sort of composure. Kathryn watched, knowing that any attempt to comfort or reassure Hannah at this point would be fobbed off, and probably quite angrily so.
‘Curtis,’ Kathryn spoke quietly to him, ‘would you call my doctor please? Tell him I need him here as soon as he can, and explain that we have a guest who is quite injured. Thank you.’
With a minute nod of his head, Curtis left the two women alone. He understood that this was his employer’s way of allowing her guest some time to wrap her head around what she’d just been told.
‘How long,’ Hannah still struggled for breath, ‘how long have you known?’
Kathryn was straight to the point, ‘I found out when you were arrested.’
‘And you didn’t say anything? You didn’t tell the cops that you were his wife?’ Hannah’s shock turned to anger.
‘Do you know how humiliating it is for a society wife to have her husband outed on national television? I was a laughing stock amongst our friends, once they got over the initial shock. Besides,’ she resigned, ‘what good would it have done you? You’d still have ended up in prison.’
Hannah leapt up from the sofa as best as she could. She couldn’t bear to sit next to this woman any longer.
‘What would you have had me done, Hannah?’
‘You were humiliated? You were humiliated? I’m on death row. I’m going to be executed for a crime I didn’t commit, and you’re worried about being humiliated? She tried to throw her hands in the air to demonstrate her disgust and frustration, but her broken ribs prevented the action from displaying anything other than pain.
Kathryn watched Hannah go through the motions of being angered. She understood, on some level, how the woman felt. It had been the same for her when she found out that Bernie had died and his wife, Hannah Thomas, had been charged.
‘Hannah, I want to help you – ’
‘You want to help me? Really? Is that a joke? Because, you know, I could have used your help when I was at trial. I wouldn’t be in this mess then. When they find me, and they will find me, I’m sure they’re going to shoot me on sight because I’m a fugitive from the law.’
The other Mrs. Thomas rose from her seat and approached Hannah as she spoke. ‘I’m sorry. That’s all I can offer you in the way of what I let go in the past. But I can help you now.’
Hannah scoffed at Kathryn’s words. Undeterred, Kathryn continued, ‘I have people working for me. They’ve been looking into your case for a while. I know your appeals are exhausted, but please, trust me. I have the best people working this. And once we find Bernie, you’ll be exonerated. The court will have to overturn your conviction.’
Again, shock spread across Hannah’s face, and she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. ‘Bernie’s alive?’
. . . To be continued . . .