[previous chapter] [start from the beginning] Nathalie almost never called Marc at work because she never knew if her call would be disrupting something important. When you live with a cop, you get used to stuff like that. Marc had told her a million times that he put his phone on silent mode when he was in a tricky situation so it didn’t matter if she phoned, but still, she preferred texting him. That way she didn’t feel like she was intruding. She respected his work a great deal, and Marc often got envious comments from his pals about that.

But this was different. She was at the corner store that morning, where the television was always on CBC News and she’d seen Jason’s story…

“This case has the potential to be very sensational, Michael,” the fresh-face reporter told his anchor, “but the accused wants it to be something else.” How the little twerp talked his way into presenting his own story on TV himself nobody will ever know. Cut to a close-up of Jeff wearing an open-collared shirt, looking slightly off-camera, “I realize this trial is not going to leave many people indifferent. I’ve already received plenty of death threats, but also many letters of support from people who say they never knew what proper love felt like. I welcome all letters, by the way, especially those from people who, like me, feel cheated by the way they were raised. Because you see, beyond the immediate interest that I have in not going to jail for the rest of my life, the real purpose of this trial, and the reason I’m going public with my story ahead of it, is that I wish to send a warning to parents out there who might, perhaps unwittingly, raise their children the way I was raised. I want my case to be a wake-up call. I know everybody’s too busy to be a proper parent, and in a way that’s one thing I’m trying to warn against and, if possible, stop. Before it’s too late…”

“Jason, you spent several hours with the accused, Jeff Toussignant. You got a long, exclusive interview with him that will air on CBC later this evening, to be followed by a panel discussion by experts in parenting. Because there are things Mr. Toussignant told you that will perhaps shock some viewers, we want to make sure we don’t just throw this out there without proper analysis by experts who have years of experience in this field.”

“That’s right, Michael,” Jason said. “I should also mention that I have tried to get Mr. Toussignant’s lawyer, Paul Smith, to comment on this interview. I’ve even offered him to sit in on it, but so far Mr. Smith says he is reserving his comments for the courtroom. I would also like to add that our purpose in airing Mr. Toussignant’s interview is to give our viewers a chance to understand what the issues that will be debated in this trial are, and maybe to add their own comments on these questions. We are being very careful not to talk about the details of the accusations against Mr. Toussignant, at least not until the trial is underway and those parts of his testimony have been presented in court. What we want to do is discuss the issues he raises more generally, because if Mr. Toussignant is acquitted in this case you can bet these issues will come back in the public debate.”

You could tell Jason had listened very carefully to the briefing he’d got from the lawyers.

“Thank you Jason, we will be sure to watch the whole interview followed by panel discussion tonight at 8 pm right here on CBC News. That was CBC News reporter Jason Martel, reporting from Laval.”

Nathalie was in tears. “Marc! I’m sorry to bug you at work, but this is too awful!”

“Oh, honey… what is it?”

“This news reporter… why is the media talking about this like it’s a great story? I don’t want to hear it!”

“I’m sorry, babe. Want me to come home, or are you still at the store?”

“I’m at the store, and I’m a mess. I should have turned the TV off…”

“Well, you know, Nathalie, you can’t avoid this thing forever. You were bound to find out about it sooner or later.” He looked at his watch, and did a few quick mental calculations. “Look, I can get out of here for an hour or two. I’ll come to the store and just stay with you for a little while. Is that OK?”

“Yes, I’d like that, thanks.”

[next chapter]