Something still wasn’t making sense.
Harrison thought back to the day he went into his wife’s office to clear her desk and collect her things. He had to wait for them to request this of him or else it might have been obvious. He made sure to take her laptop as if it was just another thing. But it was the most important thing. This was going to give him his answers.
He had picked up everything that was available to him from her desk and the nearby vicinity. It was just a cubicle. Just to be sure he didn’t miss anything he walked around the whole office and checked public areas where people would stand and chat, like the kitchen area or the water cooler, perhaps to see what she might have seen, been where she had been. He didn’t do that for very long; people were starting to look at him funny. He then figured he probably looked more suspicious than sad.
It was when he was standing next to the water cooler looking out a nearby window that he shed his first tear since her disappearance. He hadn’t really grieved over her being gone since the night she went missing. He stared longingly out the window and felt fewer people staring at him out of weirdness, but more out of sadness. Some of these people were her friends and probably missed her, too. But they wouldn’t say anything to him about it. After all it was his wife, not just a friend. They simply wouldn’t understand.
He returned back to her desk and gathered up the rest of her belongings and got himself out of there. As each minute passed, he grew more and more uncomfortable and unsure of himself. Had he made a mistake?
Harrison carried in the last box and placed it gingerly on the table and sat down in the rickety chair at the wobbly table. He spent hours poring through every single document on Leah’s laptop, through every item she had sitting around her desk. His doubts about his actions were quickly brushed aside when he found her long email chains with a man named Caleb, and this was not the first time he heard Caleb’s name from Leah.
It was out in the open for him, as if she thought he would never look into her laptop. All of the details were there. His printer was humming along in the background.
Most of the emails were about some new business project they were working on, trying to figure out ways to get things approved to get what they needed. He figured that was just code. Leah talked about these things at home in her last few months, which was fine. What wasn’t fine was when she started “working late” more often than anything else.
Harrison fought with himself on the matter at first. She would never do something like that. He wasn’t a bad enough person to have the woman he loved treat him that way. But then there was no hiding it. One of the last times she came home from working late she was flustered and looked like she had been crying. Harrison had no sympathy for her at this point. Dark thoughts had already crossed his mind a few times by then but this was the icing on the cake. Not only was she seeing someone else, she was seeing them in some sort of capacity that she had been crying about something. Perhaps the relationship had ended? But that thought quickly left his mind. She had been in the relationship long enough that it ended and she was heart broken about it. That was more than enough for him.
That’s when he began renting the apartment in the city. He needed a headquarters, a place to put his thoughts together.
It took him four months to organize himself and prepare for his actions. He paid less and less attention to what Leah was doing in the time leading up to her disappearance. She had become detached and quiet, which made it easier for Harrison to continue with his mission.
What took him so long in planning everything was how he was going to get Caleb. He was up in the air about including him as part of the scheme, but he thought the risk was too high if he left him. Leah could have told him anything. Caleb could have put the police right on his track if Leah was emotionally broken enough to complain about all the things he did wrong in the brief times they actually saw each other lately.
It needed to be spaced out enough that there couldn’t be a connection between the incidents. He knew he was going to be looked at for Leah’s disappearance. He couldn’t be too clean. He needed to look innocent obviously, but if he was too ready for the police, well, that could look bad. He didn’t want to be cocky about it. He wasn’t that crazy of a person who enjoyed the crime. He was just doing what was right.
There was one thing that bothered Harrison. After Leah’s disappearance, Caleb had made an effort to reach out to him. He had received a few emails, saying the typical things: sorry for your loss, hope you’re doing okay, blah blah blah.
Was he taunting him with these actions? Was this Caleb’s way of calling him out, accusing him of what a few others may have been thinking? Then, Caleb did know too much. He was too involved. He would have to go.