Four Lives: Part Twenty-Six

This is the twenty-sixth part of a fiction serial, in 752 words.

By Thursday afternoon, Marian was on edge. Nerves mixed with boredom, four days spent sitting around in court and wondering what was happening. Both the solicitor and the barrister were occupied in the courtroom, and one or other of them would appear during the lunch break to reassure her. But they could not really explain what was happening, other than to placate her with phrases like, “It’s going well”.

All week she had avoided drinking any alcohol. Not good to have to give evidence with a hangover, no matter how much she felt she needed a drink to relax her in the evenings.And she had heard nothing from Ros or Amanda. Nor from Lyndsey, but that was to be expected as she was keeping a low profile.

Friday started off much the same, then just before lunch, the solicitor appeared. “Be ready for the call after lunch. The preliminaries are over it seems, and you will be called this afternoon”.

Marian headed straight for the toilets, and stood by the sinks with butterflies filling her stomach. She could not face eating anything, sure it would make her feel sick. She settled for a strong coffee, and stood outside the court in the fresh air for a while to gather her thoughts.

When the clerk of the court shouted her name over an hour later, it made her jump.

Inside, the courtroom was more modern than she had expected. It felt nothing like the old films she had watched as a child, and was strangely quiet as she went into the witness box to take the oath in front of a curved microphone. Lee was sitting in the dock dressed in a suit and tie, flanked by two prison officers or court officers, she wasn’t sure which.

And he was staring straight at her, with a wide grin on his face. She looked across at the jury, quickly counting seven women and five men. They seemed distracted, making notes on paper pads, or looking across at the judge in her robes as she invited Mister Pettifer to begin questioning. So it was a female judge, and more women than men in the jury. That seemed positive to Marian, and she stood up straight, ready for the first question.

The question did not come. No sooner had the barrister stood up, when the other barrister, the one defending Lee, also stood up. Pettifer sat down as the younger man asked the judge for time to discuss some legal mumbo-jumbo. Both barristers walked over to the judge’s chair and spoke very quietly. She eventually nodded her head, and delcared an adjournment until Monday morning.

Outside in the lobby area, the solicitor came and took Marian to one side. He was smiling. “I cannot say for sure, but it appears we might have a change of plea. Come back on Monday, and we will know for sure”. Feeling dazed and confused by it all, she went outside and phoned the chauffeur.

With no court for two days, Marian allowed herself a bottle of wine to accompany a delivered pizza. There was no way she could concentrate enough to cook a meal. The wine made her bold, and she telephoned Ros, spoiling for an argument. When she got her sister’s answerphone, she left a scathing message.

“Please don’t worry about me. Don’t bother to contact me to see how I am. After all, I am only doing all this for you, because of what happened. To be honest, I don’t know why I bothered, I really don’t”.

Just after eleven that night, the ringing of her phone woke her up from a hazy sleep on the sofa. It was Ros, who seemed to be in an equally shitty mood. She also sounded drunk.

“I didn’t ask you to do anything. I just came to see you because I was upset and injured, but you took over, took over like you always did. The wonderful older sister, the clever one, the one in charge. You made the plans, you contacted the others, I was happy to leave it as it was, but you had to make the big sacrifice. What were you trying to prove? I already knew that you thought you were better than me, thought I was an embarrassment. Now I wish I hadn’t bothered, because you are exactly the same as you have always been, the big I Am”.

Not wanting to listen to more of the same, and too tired to argue, Marian hung up.

34 thoughts on “Four Lives: Part Twenty-Six

  1. oh, no! not a good time for infighting and old wounds to flare up on the team! maybe, he’ll plea out at a lesser charge, and that could be bad for the victims and for marian, if he gets probation and reduced sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1a) Marian was keeping a low profile because it was all a game for her. “Marian be limbo. Marian be quick,. Marian go under the limbo stick…”
    (1b) Limbo tip: Like Marian, you should avoid the hang over stick.
    (2) Overheard:
    Solicitor, speaking to Marian: “The preliminaries are over it seems, and you will be called this afternoon by the court clerk.”
    Marian, speaking to the court clerk: “Call me on the line. Call me, call me any, anytime! Call me. I’ll arrive. When you are ready, we can share the wine. Call me!”
    Court clerk, speaking to Marian: “Okay, but don’t ask me to cover you with kisses, or roll you in designer sheets!”
    (3) Did you hear about the female lepidopterist? She committed suicide by swallowing her butterfly collection.
    (4) The five men in the jury seemed distracted. They hadn’t expected the judge, whose name was Georgette, to wear a sheer robe.
    (5) Overheard:
    Defense attorney: “Judge, I want to discuss some legal mambo-jambo.”
    Judge: “Okay, let’s discuss while we dance. Can someone in the court please put on some Cuban music?”
    (6) Feeling dazed and confused, Marian went outside and phoned Mr. Linklater, the chauffeur. “Can you take me to Texas? I want to meet Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know!”
    (7) It may be nun of my business, but I think Marian and Ros need to get their act together. #SisterAct

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The last thing Marian needs is strife with her sister! I thought Ros was all for the plan, initially. A change of plea seems unlikely, given Lee’s personality, but maybe he cut a deal? It would be awful if he got a light sentence because of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They spent years not getting on, and Ros hadn’t contacted her for a long time before the night she was attacked. You will find out about a change of plea tomorrow, and later on discover more. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear. Families! When my mum died I took over sorting things for my dad thinking to save him the pain but afterwards I wondered if he wouldn’t have preferred to do it all. He was a non-communicator as was Mum. If people don’t tell you their feelings and wishes, you can only do your best. I would never have attempted what Marian let herself in for. I m curious about the change of plea…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I finally got caught up and now we have familial baggage! Marian needs to lay off the sauce, Ros needs to own her share of it, Denise needs to get dragged back from Ireland, Lee needs to get off and caught out on his own in a dark, dead end alley with all the women he’s abused while two cops guard the alley and look the other way. Whew!

    Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.