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My champagne-and-strawberries first date with Scott, by Amber Frey

In "Witness," the ex-girlfriend of convicted wife-killer Scott Peterson tells her role in the real-life murder mystery that gripped a nation. Read an excerpt.
/ Source: TODAY

The story of how Scott Peterson killed his wife, Laci, and their unborn child, Conner, came to dominate headlines, especially when a California jury convicted him of the crimes in November. Particular intriguing to the press and public was the role of Amber Frey, the blonde Peterson was dating when he committed the murders. Now she is telling her side of the story in exclusive “Today” and “Dateline” interviews and in her new book, “Witness.” Here is an excerpt.

Chapter 1
“Can I trust you with my heart?”

I first met Scott Peterson on November 20, 2002, at the Elephant Bar, in Fresno, California. It was a blind date — my best friend, Shawn Sibley, had set us up — and I got there before he did. I took a seat on a bench in the glass-walled foyer, within view of the walkway, and every time someone approached I looked up. I had butterflies in my stomach. I had a feeling my life was about to change. Scott Peterson sounded absolutely perfect.

Shawn had met him at a convention in Anaheim. She had been very impressed. Scott was intelligent, good-looking, and very funny, and he seemed eager to settle down. “Do you think there’s a special person that you’re meant to be with forever?” he had asked Shawn. From anyone else, the line may have seemed like a come-on, but Scott was different. Shawn had told him that she was in a committed relationship, and he never once made a single flirtatious comment, never once tried to cross the line. At the end of the business day, she and Scott joined a few people for drinks and dinner. At one point he joked about putting the words “Horny Bastard” on his business card, thinking it might help him meet women, but mostly he behaved like a perfect gentleman. By the end of the evening, Shawn had a plan. “There’s someone I want you to meet,” she said.

“Who?” Scott asked.

“My best friend.”

Shawn called me the next day to tell me about Scott and to ask if she could give him my number. I was full of questions. “What did you say about me?” I began.

“That you were beautiful and a good person,” Shawn said.

“What was he like? Is he nice? Is he cute?”

“Very cute. And he couldn’t be nicer.”

“And he’s serious?”

“Very. He said he was looking for someone special, and he asked if I knew anyone who was interested in a committed relationship.”

“And?”

“And I thought of you, of course.”

I didn’t hear from Scott for several weeks, and when we finally connected he couldn’t have been sweeter. He asked if I was free for dinner the following evening, and we made plans to rendezvous at the Elephant Bar.

“How will I recognize you?” I asked.

“Well, I’m not very tall,” he said. “And I have long, greasy hair and a big, loose belly.”

“That’s good,” I joked back. “I’m real tall and I weigh about a hundred and sixty pounds.”

“Really?” he asked, laughing.

“No, not really,” I said. “I’m thin and small-framed, five foot seven and a half, with blond hair.”

“Good,” he said. “Then it won’t be a problem if I walk up to every attractive blond in the place and ask if she’s Amber.”

Shortly after six on the appointed evening, Shawn came over to stay with my baby daughter, Ayiana. “Just remember that I have to be at work tomorrow morning,” Shawn said, only half-joking.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I know.”

I arrived at the Elephant Bar with time to spare. At exactly four minutes after seven, as I sat waiting for Scott, a man approached and made eye contact. I thought it might be Scott — he sort of fit the description — but I had a bad feeling about him. “Please God,” I thought, “don’t let it be him.” I looked away, and — much to my relief — he moved through the foyer and disappeared into the restaurant. A moment later, another man approached; in my heart I knew and hoped that this was Scott. He was a shade over six feet tall, in good shape, and he was wearing a well-cut suit. He stepped through the glass door and lit up when he saw me.

“Amber?”

“Scott?” I replied, getting to my feet.

He leaned close and gave me a small peck on the cheek. “Am I late? I’m sorry I’m late.”

“Not at all,” I said.

The plan had been to meet at seven, in front of the Elephant Bar, and to go to dinner from there, so we left and made our way to the parking lot.

“I was a little nervous about meeting you,” Scott said en route, but he didn’t look nervous to me. He was smiling, and he seemed somehow relieved. “Can I ask you a favor?” he said.

“What?”

“I’ve been in this suit all day. Would you mind very much if we went to my hotel so I could check in and shower and change?”

I didn’t mind. It seemed reasonable. I left my car in the parking lot and we got into his Ford truck and drove to the Radisson in downtown Fresno. When we got there, he began to unload his things. There was a big green lock-box in the cab of his truck, and his luggage was stashed inside. Scott looked at me sheepishly, as if embarrassed. “Look at all this stuff,” he said. “I practically live out of my truck.”

We went inside and took the elevator to a room on the top floor. Scott put his luggage down and reached into a brown duffel bag and pulled out a bottle of champagne. He smiled, and I found myself thinking he had a very nice smile. He popped the cork and proceeded to pour each of us a glass. Clearly this was a man who planned ahead.

Scott had a sip and turned on the radio and excused himself and went off to take a shower. I nursed my champagne, singing to myself to pass the time.

When Scott emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later, he was wearing black slacks and a clean white T-shirt. He went off to get a blue dress shirt and was still buttoning it up when he rejoined me. I was wearing a black skirt and a blue top. “We match,” I said.

“So we do,” he said.

Then he seemed to remember something. He reached into the duffel bag again and pulled out a box of strawberries, and he dropped one into each of our glasses. I watched the champagne bubble up around it and I had another sip and looked at him. He was smiling again. It was a warm, friendly smile… .

Excerpted from "Witness,” by Amber Frey. Copyright ©2005. Used by permission of . All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt can be used without the expressed written permission of the publisher.