[previous chapter] [start from the beginning] They were done with Rose Lieberman after this, and she was thanked and dismissed. Given that the prosecution didn’t have other smallish witnesses who were still currently alive – basically it was down to Nathalie and Jeff – the judge adjourned for the weekend.

“You know,” Nathalie told Marc over wine that night, “I almost wish they’d called me to testify today instead of Monday. Now I’ll have a crappy weekend.” She was on the verge of crying again.

Marc could do nothing except hold her and try to make her smile. “Oh, come now,” he said, ruffling her hair, “you’d have had a terrible weekend anyway…”

She shrugged. “Yeah, maybe that’s true. Do you think Jeff is safe in prison?”

Marc was not the kind of guy to make empty promises, so he refrained from trying to sound too reassuring. “Well, whatever it was that happened to the other guys, I’m sure the prison authorities are keenly aware that this is one prisoner they have to keep safe and sound at all costs. They may have moved him somewhere else altogether. It’s possible they rented an entire motel somewhere and are guarding him there. Your brother is not at risk of escaping, and even if he somehow did manage to slip past his guards, he’s no danger to society so I’m sure that makes it easy for the guys in charge to move him somewhere else.”

“But then, if that’s the case, why not tell us?”

“Because, dearest, given what we think happened to the other guys, they probably feel that they can’t trust anybody. If Abdul got himself killed by someone who got past the special guards he had, it’s safe to assume the prison system is infiltrated by the gangs. My guess is they’re playing this one real close to their chest right now, only telling a very small number of people what the details of your brother’s incarceration are. That’s good news for his safety.”

“How do you do that?”

“What?”

“You always manage to see the bright side of everything. I wish I could do that.”

He smiled and hugged her closer. “It will all be fine, you’ll see. And I’ll be right by your side.”

[next chapter]