Four Lives: Part Twenty-Five

This is the twenty-fifth part of a fiction serial, in 743 words.

Marian was up early to drive to Lyndsey’s house on the other side of London. A nagging headache reminded her she had drunk two bottles of wine the night before, so she took two paracetamol along with three cups of espresso.

Typical London traffic did not improve her mood, and it took her a ridiculously long time to traverse the twelve miles across the city.

Lyndsey was still wearing a dressing gown when she answered the door, but other than not bothering about her appearance, she was well-prepared for the business in hand.

“Come in, I have a pot of coffee going, and there are some croissants from yesterday. I will warm them up, they will be fine, I promise”.

What followed was three solid hours of interrogation. It was so intense, there were times when Marian actually forgot Lyndsey was on her side. At times, the questioning was so personal, so rude, she had to reach into her bag for tissues when she felt tears forming. Lyndsey was relentless. “If you think I’m bad, wait until you get into the witness box. You may not realise it now, but you will thank me once the defence barrister starts grilling you”.

There was a break for lunch, paninis served with bacon and brie that were very welcome.

After that, Lyndsey went through procedure in court. “Don’t expect to be called for a few days. I am presuming he is pleading not guilty, so that will involve a lot of legal arguments. The jury will be removed for that, and no witnesses -that’s you- will be called. Then there will be the police officers, the technicians talking about forensics, the evidence from the swabs, DNA and such, You could be there for days before being called. But your solicitor and barrister will be around to hold your hand between arguments”.

By four in the afternoon, Lyndsey concluded that she had no more to say. Marian declined her offer of more coffee, and promised to ring her if there were any questions during the trial. She was back in her car and on her way back to Hackney before five, feeling totally drained.

On the day of the trial, her boss came good. The chauffeur collected her early, and gave her his mobile number. “I will have to find somewhere to park, get lunch and that. So whenever you are ready to be picked up, just let me know”. On the way to St Albans he made no comment about the trial, keeping his occasional conversation to traffic issues, and what had been on TV the previous night.

Somewhat overwhelmed by the busy court building, Marian was relieved to see the solicitor in the lobby. He took her to a small room where she met the barrister again. What he said then made her question why she even needed to be there.

“I doubt much will happen today. We have jury selection, some small legal arguments, and he has pled not guilty, as expected. From what I can gather from mutual disclosure, he is going with a standard defence of consensual sex, followed by regret. The DNA is not contested, as he admits to having sex with you. As for the rest, he is claiming you asked him for rough sex, and he went along with that. Don’t worry, we have overwhelming evidence, including CCTV from the pub. Just stay strong, my dear”.

It went more or less as expected. Marian sat around in different parts of the courtroom until it was suggested she go for lunch, then shortly after the solicitor appeared to tell her to come back tomorrow. He was strangely upbeat.

“This could be a short trial after all. The other witnesses are called to appear tomorrow, so you could well be on in a couple of days”.

If that was supposed to make her feel better, it had the opposite effect.

Back at her flat that night, she microwaved a lasagna, and drunk a bottle of Prosecco in twenty-five minutes. Her mind was whirring with possibilites. What if the jury believed Lee? What would his legal team ask her? Would she stand up to the questions in a packed courtroom? It could now be reported by the press. How would they deal with that? Would it go national, or only be relevant to Hertfordshire?

Sleep was not easy to come by, and she was grateful for the oblivion provided by the wine.

29 thoughts on “Four Lives: Part Twenty-Five

  1. (1) If a young woman gets a nagging headache, what does an old mare get?
    (2) Auctioneer: “I have a royal pot of coffee going,…going…gone!”
    (3) Bad citation: “You may not realise it now, but you will thank me once the defence barrister starts grilling you. However, if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen!”
    (4) Bad citation: “Your solicitor and barrister will be around to hold your hand between arguments, the better to draw you in close for a sloppy kiss on the lips.”
    (5) If Marian was totally drained, there must have been room in her tummy for more coffee!
    (6) It’s logical for a chauffeur to have a mobile phone.
    (7) Marian relieved herself in the lobby. She must have drunk too much coffee after all.
    (8) “Your honor, I begged Lee for rough sex. But I never begged for rough and TUMBLE!”
    (9) Marian’s mind was whirring with possibilities.
    1. What if the jury believed Lee? (He attracts women, and intimidates men.)
    2. What would his legal team ask her? (“Can you really drink a bottle of Prosecco in just twenty-five minutes?”)
    3. Would she stand up to the questions in a packed courtroom? (If it’s so packed that there is standing room only, yes.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can be up to a year here, depending on the location of the trial, the number of witnesses, and the amount of evidence that has to be accumulated. I had to slightly ‘speed up’ the process for the purpose of this serial, though there is only one main prosecution witness, and no defence witnesses except the accused..
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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