Four Lives: Part Twenty-Three

This is the twenty-third part of a fiction serial, in 795 words.

Inspector Banerjee contacted Marian a couple of weeks later. She wanted her to meet with a police appointed solicitor who was to instruct a prosecution barrister, but only once they had a trial date. To make life convenient, the meeting would be held in a London office, so she wouldn’t have to travel to Hertfordshire. She warned Marian that a trial date could take months to be arranged, but would be in the Crown Court at St Alban’s. Accommodation would be arranged if she wanted it, as the trial was expected to last at least a week, if not longer.

“You will have to pay for it yourself, I’m afraid, but it has to be better than travelling up from London every day. But if you prefer to do that, it is your choice. Of course, he might plead guilty, in which case you will not have to appear at all. But given his history, I think you should expect a not guilty plea, and a defence of consensual sex”.

Marian realised that life had to return to normal, in as much as it could. It was unacceptable not to go into work for months, and Ros had already started to carry on as if not much had happened. That included very little contact with her sister, who started to feel rather resentful that she had done all this to try to get justice for Ros, who had quickly slipped back into her normal routine of life before Lee attacked her.

That resentment came with doubts. Had it really been that bad for Ros? She had hit her face in the car because she removed her seat belt. Then the cuts on her head because she jumped out of the car in a dangerous location. Was her anger really directed at the police? After all, it was the original policewoman who had written off any chance of Lee being charged that night.

But when she was thinking straight, she was resolute. Men like Lee could not continue to treat women like that, and she felt a responsibility to protect her younger sister, even if she hadn’t seemed to be very grateful since. Then there was Amanda. Her life ruined by contact with Lee, a man she foolishly believed she was in love with. Lyndsey had tried her best for years to get justice for victims, only to be foiled by the fear of the victims themselves, or the inadequacies of the investigating police officers.

She would make a difference. She would be the one to put Lee behind bars, and hopefully send out a message to other victims. Be strong. Make them pay.

The next Monday, she went back to work. Her boss called her in and asked if she needed anything, before thanking her for coming back. She warned him that once there was a trial date she might need to be absent again, for up to three weeks. He waved that away.

“Whatever we can do to help. That man needs to be in prison. How about we arrange a car to take you to and from St Albans? I am sure the company can spare one of the chauffeurs”. That solved the issue of staying in a hotel, or using trains. Marian accepted gracefully, and assured him she would work hard up to the trial, and even harder after it was all over.

For the next month, she lived in a strange kind of limbo. Other than her boss, nobody at work mentioned anything about the rape. But she saw the faces, and heard the soft tones in their voices. They all knew, and she was certain of that. Ros rarely phoned her, Amanda was completely silent, and there was no point contacting Lyndsey until she had a definite date. As for her friends outside of work, none of them were aware what had happened. When they got in touch, invited her over, or out for drinks, she pleaded being too busy at work, and too tired.

She didn’t want anyone knowing until it was actually happening. She could make her apologies later, tell them that the police had forbidden her to speak to anyone about the case.

Evenings in the flat settled into a routine. Drinking a little too much wine, eating easy ready-meals instead of cooking, and watching mindless crap on TV, to stop her thinking about standing in a witness box. Seven weeks after that night in her hire car, her phone rang one evening on her way home from work. It was Inspector Banerjee.

“Eight weeks from today, Monday the fourth. We were lucky, getting an early trial date. I will arrange the meeting with the solictor for next week.”

Hanging up, she swallowed hard. Now it was real.

27 thoughts on “Four Lives: Part Twenty-Three

  1. (1) It will be “trial and error” if Lee gets off the hook in spite of Marian’s testimony.
    (2) Marian on the stand: “I assure you, it was neither sensual nor consensual!”
    (3) Ros opened a shoe store for astronauts in a suburb of Moscow. She named the store Roscosmos.
    (4) Marian decided that she would be the one to put Lee behind bars. “I’m going to do it just like they do it in America across the pond. I’m going to frog march him to his cell.”
    (5) Marian is a hard worker. Just ask Lee.
    (6) Behind Marian’s back at work:
    Employee #1: “She looks pretty calm for someone who was raped!”
    Employee #2: “Do you think he sowed his rape seed?”
    Employee #3: “Maybe. She wasn’t brave enough to fight him off.”
    Employee #4: “What a yellow-belly!”
    (7) I don’t watch mindless crap on TV. I watch intellectual crap.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Too bad Marian is going through this ordeal alone! You’d think her sister would have been a bit more supportive. Here’s hoping the trial goes as planned. She was lucky to get such an early date.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s no wonder so many cases never get prosecuted. Waiting for a trial would be excruciating and I imagine if you’ve been attacked sexually the best thing would be to move on and try to not think about it. Marian needs to keep going over all the details so she can sell her case. I fear for her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have used some ‘poetic licence’ with the early trial date. Some victims here can wait well over a year for a trial to happen. A few months is rare.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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