Saturday morning, Madison and Elijah pulled into the front of the Mesa County Jail. Hal had picked up Drake from the hospital and had booked him. Drake had asked that Madison not be there for the booking. At least no reporters were camped out at the jail like they were at the Sheriff’s office. She knew it wouldn’t be long until they found out about Drake and what he had done. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to stay out of the line of sight for much longer. She’d been suspended pending an investigation for misconduct. She had been planning to resign quietly, but the mayor had other ideas. He hadn’t even accepted the statement she had prepared to go along with her resignation. The one good thing about all of this was that Hal was the interim Sheriff. He wasn’t overseeing the investigation of her case. The Mayor had brought in the CBI for that, but he was in charge of Drake’s case and was still leading the investigation into the serial killings. The couple that Drake had killed were the last murders. It seemed that Elijah was right. His father had left town. The State Patrol and her…the Fruita deputies…were patrolling the back roads, but had not spotted the Jeep or the killer. There was a national APB out for the Jeep, but no one had spotted it yet.
“Are you ready?” Madison asked Elijah.
Elijah gave her his customary nod. He hadn’t spoken since that night, but she had made an appointment for him to see the child psychologist Jack Hammond had recommended next week. She had planned on leaving him at home when she went to see Drake. She didn’t want him to spend any more time at the Sheriff’s office, but he had freaked out when she called Rosie to get a recommendation for a babysitter. Together they walked into the front door of the jail. She’d been here many times dropping off someone she had arrested, but she’d never had to visit someone here before.
After going through the security check, she and Elijah were finally directed to the visiting room. The visiting room was full of battered tables and folding chairs. Madison and Elijah chose a table as far away from the other prisoners and their visitors. Finally, Drake was led into the room. She wanted to rush over and hug him, but touching was not allowed in the jail. When he sat down, she held his hand. The bright orange jumpsuit highlighted the purplish bruise on his face. He looked a little better physically, but the sparkle he used to have in his blue eyes was gone. She didn’t ask him how he was. She could tell that he wasn’t doing well. They sat in silence for a little while, but their time was running out.
“Drake, I’m going to call a lawyer for you on Monday. I can’t get a hold of anyone over the weekend.”
“I don’t need a lawyer, Madison.”
“You do need one. What happened wasn’t your fault. You need a lawyer to work out the best plea deal.”
“I’m not taking a plea deal. I’m going to take full responsibility for what happened.”
“Drake, you might spend years in prison.”
“Then, that’s what I’ll do. What about you? You didn’t try to make a deal with the mayor did you? You were going to take full responsibility for your choices.”
“That’s different, Drake. I broke a lot of regulations.”
“I broke the law, Madison.”
“But you were coerced, Drake. Any prosecutor is going to see that. They’ll cut you a deal.”
“No, Madison. I’m going to face this just like you’re facing your consequences. There’s one other thing.”
“Whatever you need, Drake. You know that.”
“I don’t want you and Elijah to come here again.”
“I tried to find a sitter for Elijah, but…”
“No, Madison. I don’t want to see you here again, either. I want you to move on with your life. Do what you have to do to get passed this, and then I want you to leave here. Take Elijah with you.”
“Drake, no, I…”
Drake stood up. “If you come back, I won’t see you. I’m going to face this alone. You need to rebuild your career, and you can’t do that with a convict for a husband.”
Drake turned his back on her and knocked on the door to the visitor’s room. He didn’t even look back when he left the room. Madison sat, stunned by what Drake had said. Elijah put his fist over her hand.
“It’s all right, Elijah. He doesn’t mean it. We’ll let him think for a day or two and come back next week.”
Drake didn’t relent, though. She went back over the next week several times, but he wouldn’t see her. He also refused to see the lawyer she sent over. He couldn’t keep her from attending his preliminary hearing. Since he was pleading guilty, he had waived his right to a trial. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to twelve years in prison with the opportunity for parole. If he followed the rules and didn’t get into trouble in prison, he could be out in as little as five years. Drake never once looked back at her during his sentencing, nor did he look at her when he was led away in shackles.