He Didn't Think of Everything
By: Gabriella Balcom

When police arrested me for embezzlement, I had $5,217 in my savings account, $64 and change in my wallet and pockets. I told them I was innocent, but they didn't believe my claims, even though they never found the missing $300,000 and I had to ask for a court-appointed attorney.

I'm Parker Weston, by the way, and I know why they thought I was guilty. At the bank where I worked, my sign-in and password had been used to divert funds from several customer accounts. I was stunned when I first heard about it, but soon got an idea who was actually responsible. Months earlier, Lance, another assistant manager, had moved into a fancier, more expensive house, and soon after that, he bought a new car.

The authorities checked him out, of course, but found no evidence of wrongdoing and accused me of trying to shift the blame. I confronted him, but he played dumb, walking away without a backward glance even when I begged him to tell the truth. He was single and responsible for no one but himself. I was widowed with kids and no close relatives, and I didn't want my children taken by the state.

My lawyer tried his best when it went to court, but I ended up going to jail anyway, and my kids were placed in foster care.

They were the most important things in my life and the main reason I held on. The other was knowing I'd get Lance back someday, even if it was the very last thing I did.

While I was locked up, I lost weight because I could hardly eat, much less sleep and think straight. I constantly worried about my children, and that made the year and four months seem like forever.

I got out in August, and had to start over, barely managing to get a job flipping burgers, and living in a homeless shelter. It wasn't until the end of January that the state let me talk to my kids by phone.

The miserable bastard responsible for our suffering had done even better for himself in my absence, getting a nice promotion and living his life to the fullest. He must've felt uneasy or suspected my intentions, because gossip claimed he'd hired a body-guard and was careful never to be alone. But he didn't think of everything.

I finally got to visit my children on Valentine's Day. Holding them tightly to me, I cried as much as they did and didn't want to ever let them go. Of course, I had to, but at least I'd gotten to be with them. For me, the holiday was extra special.

Lance's day wasn't as good as mine. In fact, I heard from old friends that he fell apart when his new, live-in fiancee didn't show up at their place. They thought it was a coincidence. I knew better, and I guarantee he won't ever find her.



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