[previous chapter] [start from the beginning] “You did what you could, dear,” Ruth Lieberman poured her daughter more tea. “So stop brooding already. You can’t control what happens next.”

Rosie sighed. “I know, Mom. It’s not that. I mean, yeah, I worry about the job I did. I really did my best to present the best evidence I could, and I think what I have is pretty convincing. I don’t really think the jury will find holes in my case. It’s just…”

“What?”

“I don’t know. The way this accused is taking it, it’s disturbing me a bit.”

“Disturbing you? How?”

“He’s so calm, so resigned, so… graceful. I could tell when I started asking him questions at the beginning of my investigation, that he really hated me. I think he could see where this was going, and he knew he had been caught. So it would make sense to be mad at me, right?”

“Well, yes and no. I actually believe that if he wants to be mad at someone he should be mad at himself for having his own parents murdered. What a creep!”

“Yeah, I suppose.”

“What is it, you’re going soft for this man?”

Rosie bristled. She was a cop, she wasn’t supposed to go soft for anyone. But she had to admit her mother had the beginning of a point.

“Hmm. Going soft might be too strong, but I guess you could say I’ve come to see him in a different light since the trial began. Through everything he sat there quietly, answering questions politely, showing respect for the process, and as far as I can tell he seems at peace with his situation. That shows a great deal of emotional maturity, I think.”

“Pfft, I’ll bet you he falls apart when he finds out the jury sent him to jail for the rest of his life.”

“You think?”

“We’ll find out soon, I think.”

Rosie wanted her mother to be wrong. She wouldn’t tell her to her face, but she did.

****

Ruth Lieberman was right about one thing. They did find out soon. After six hours of deliberations the jury announced it had reached a verdict.

“What do you think it means?” Jean-François Toussignant asked his lawyer.

“I don’t know,” Paul Smith lied.

[next chapter]