How did I get here?

“Elizabeth Marie Parker,” the judge says before adjusting his glasses and glancing at the piece of paper in his hands. “Do you understand by taking this plea you will not be able to challenge it, or your sentence, later in a court of law?”

I glance over at Maria: my best friend, my almost sister, and now my lawyer. Then, my husband Max and finally our daughter, Caitlin. Tears are streaming down her face and I know she doesn’t want me to accept it; she wants me to fight, to continue my plea of innocence.

But I can’t. Not at the price she’d pay.

“I do.”

“Very well then. Please tell the court the nature of your crime.”

I clear my throat and turn my back on my family and my friends. Everything I once was. No longer am I Liz Parker. I’m not the little girl who worked in her father’s cafe after school. Or the teenager who discovered that aliens really do live among us. Or the woman with an alien husband and hybrid daughter. I’m Elizabeth Marie Parker. And I’m guilty, at least in the eyes of this court. “I came home from the movie theater with my daughter. Upon arriving home, I found a woman-”

“Teresa Harding?”

“Yes, Tess Harding, in my bed...with my husband. I, uh.” My well-rehearsed speech is slowly wavering; it’s becoming fuzzy in my head as I relive that night. Rumpled sheets and entwined bodies. Flesh on flesh, skin on skin-“I retrieved the gun that my husband bought from the drawer in the den. And I-I shot her.” Still, even when they all knew I was taking the plea, there’s still a gasp from the crowd behind me in the courtroom. I don’t think they really believed that I could do a thing; that I was capable of physically harming another.

“Is the D.A. office satisfied with the defendant’s description of the crime?” A beat later, “Then in accordance with the plea arrangement with the district attorney of Roswell, New Mexico, this court finds you guilty of murder in the second degree. You are hereby sentenced to the New Mexico State facility where you will serve a term of no less than twenty-five years no greater than your natural life.”

How did I get here?