This is the twelfth part in a series, so if you have not already done so, you might want to read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X, and Part XI before continuing
Lilah had been expecting to receive even more hateful comments after her appearance on GMA, and she got them. What she had not been expecting was a cease and desist letter from her local police department.
“They’re suing us?”
“Not yet,” said Doug. “They’re threatening to sue us if we don’t stop defaming them.”
“Defaming them,” Lilah deadpanned. “Telling people what happened counts as defamation now.”
Doug shrugged. “Hey, I’m not the one threatening to sue, I’m just telling you what the letter says.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“What do you want me to do about it?”
“I mean, are you going to cancel the rest of my appearances? The rest of the articles in the series?”
Doug sighed and looked down at his desk. Lilah didn’t take that as a good sign, but after a moment Doug looked up and met her gaze. “You’re right. You haven’t done anything wrong, and if they sue us for telling your story, then they’ll be interfering with our first amendment rights. This is hardly the first time we’ve been threatened with legal action. We know how to handle it.”
“So you’re going to let me continue with everything as planned?”
“Yes, but I suggest you lawyer up. We have our own attorneys to help us deal with this, but they’ll probably add you as a defendant separate from the newspaper, so make sure you have your own representation.”
Lilah nodded. She was no stranger to this process and she already knew whom she was going to call. “Can I have a copy of the letter?”
Doug nodded. “I’ll have it forwarded to you. In the meantime, get back to work. You have a deadline to meet.”
Lilah was distracted when she got home, her mind buzzing with thoughts of the articles she had written and had yet to write, plus her TV appearances, not to mention the lawsuit. She operated on instinct as she approached her front door, which is why she didn’t think anything of the fact that the door was already unlocked. Had she been paying attention, she would have remembered that her husband had a meeting that afternoon and wouldn’t be home until late, but with her mind occupied, she just assumed he had gotten home early for some reason.
It wasn’t until she walked into the house and noticed the odd smell that she stopped. It smelled like gasoline and that realization instantly ripped her back to the present and her surroundings. She stood frozen for a second, every muscle tensed as she quickly ran through all the possibilities, trying to remember if she or her husband had left the stove on when they left that morning. After a moment she reacted on instinct and bolted out of the house. She made it all the way across the street before it exploded.
To be continued…