In the Middle
I have no affiliation with TP, DEK or any of the characters, except the ones that I made up :P
Jamie put her bag on her desk mid-morning and turned to face the others, who were looking at her warily.
"What?" she asked.
"Where've you been?" Jimmy asked.
"Eugene wouldn't tell us," he continued.
"Oh," Jamie answered. "Good." Ellenor rolled her eyes as Jamie spotted Lucy coming out of Eugene's office.
"Jamie," she smiled.
"Is Eugene in there?" Jamie asked. Lucy nodded. "Turn around." Lucy turned around, standing in place. Jamie laughed, pushing her back playfully. "And walk."
Eugene looked up from his desk as Lucy tripped into the office.
"She pushed me," Lucy teased as Eugene's eyes followed Jamie's entrance behind Lucy. Jamie shut the door, turning to Eugene.
"Hi, how's Kate?" he asked. Jamie cast a momentary glance to Lucy.
"He told me," Lucy admitted. "And before you get mad, I'm glad he did. Did you want to grab some lunch today?"
"Um, I have a deposition at eleven-thirty," Jamie smirked. "It will go right through lunch. But um, you busy tonight?"
"Actually," Lucy grinned. "I have a date."
"Oh, who?" Jamie asked, excited for Lucy.
"Oh...no one," Lucy answered. Jamie smirked. "But his name's Micky and he's so fine."
"Does he blow your mind?" Eugene asked dryly. Jamie laughed as Lucy silently mouthed 'ha-ha-ha', before shrugging.
"Listen," Jamie began, turning to Lucy. "I gave Kate your number. Is that okay?"
"Sure," Lucy nodded, becoming serious. "And you know where to find me too, okay?" Jamie nodded with a smile.
"How was she?" Eugene asked as Jamie walked around the desk and leant beside him. Eugene reached out and squeezed her thigh.
"Okay," Jamie sighed, lacing her fingers with his, holding his hand against her skirt. "I finally convinced her to go to the hospital."
"What about the police?" Jamie nodded.
"I think she's pretty set on that." Eugene nodded, his face remaining blank as his mind ticked along, always working.
"Was that all?" Lucy asked, intrigued by a rare public display of affection on Eugene and Jamie's part, but also a little uncomfortable. Jamie nodded as Lucy passed a smile to Eugene. "Now shall I time you, or should I just put the 'do not disturb' sign up?" she added, not waiting for an answer before shutting the door behind her.
"So this is the friend from school?"
"Yeah," Jamie smiled. "Kate's in IT here in the city, and her boyfriend, Mitchell, is a teacher at Boston Public High School. Science department." Eugene raised his eyebrows, impressed. "I knew them both growing up. They went to different colleges, didn't talk to each other for years, and then suddenly bump into each other at MacDonalds."
"Charming," Eugene smiled. "And you stayed in contact with..."
"Mitchell," Jamie sighed. "And since they started dating a year ago I've seen them both at the same times, though not that often."
"Would you like me to sit in on your deposition today?"
"No, I'll be fine," Jamie shook her head, leaning down and kissing Eugene quickly on the cheek, before leaving him to his work.
"Do you need any time off tomorrow?" Eugene asked as he and Jamie climbed into bed that night.
"Court," she answered, turning her back to him and resting back against his chest as Eugene wrapped an arm around her waist. Jamie reached for the bedside light and switched it off, before shutting her eyes, taking Eugene's hand and holding it to her stomach, urging Eugene to tighten his grip. He did.
Lucy looked up from her desk to see Jamie standing there expectantly.
"Did Micky live up to his reputation?" she continued. Lucy grinned.
"Oh yeah," she nodded as they both giggled. The front door opened and Lucy and Jamie turned. "Can I help you?" Lucy asked.
"Jamie?" the young man exclaimed. Jamie smiled.
"Mitch, hi-"She was cut off as Mitch walked up and hugged her. Jamie bit her bottom lip, loosely returning the hug. "What are you doing here?" she asked.
"No doubt you heard?" he asked. Jamie nodded silently. "I've hired a lawyer."
"From...here?" Jamie asked warily. Mitch nodded.
"Recommendations from all over, the word is he specialises in these kinds of cases." Oh great, Jamie thought. Jimmy sure doesn't specialise in rape cases!
"Eugene's free," Lucy declared after hanging up the phone. "Oh, duh, you had an appointment - of course he's free for it." Mitch smiled. "I'll take you to him."
"Thanks," Mitch answered, pulling back from Jamie, who breathed a sigh of relief, even though she hated herself for it. "Jamie, we need to talk." Jamie nodded. "Promise me."
"Sure Mitch," Jamie answered.
Mitch shook Eugene's hand before taking a seat.
"There's going to be a probable cause hearing tomorrow," Eugene began. "My guess is the prosecution will make their burden of evidence and we'll be going to trial."
"And uh, just for clarification, what's the evidence?"
"Your semen, bruising."
"Well...we're a couple. We had sex." Eugene nodded.
"The case is thin. Kate's statement says she didn't feel in control of her actions, and the toxicology won't come back until tonight. If they find drugs in her system, we have a problem. If they don't, I'm confident of an acquittal. It will all come down to how effective and believable you both are in the eyes of the jury." Mitch nodded. "The bruising also appears minimal, it really defies the standard. I think we have a good case Mister Stein."
"Good," Mitch replied, sighing in relief. "And it's Mitch."
"That's not saying this won't get ugly."
"Whatever you have to do," Mitch continued. "I did nothing to her, I swear it." Eugene nodded. "Can you help me Eugene?" Eugene nodded, sizing up the man in front of him. The evidence was weak, though it would go to trial, and so his case was strong. Eugene couldn't help but think what dividing this couple would do to their mutual friend in Jamie, but Eugene wasn't going to let a possibly innocent man face prison for a serious crime he did not commit. There was no way.
On his way out, Mitch stopped at Lucy's desk. She looked up at him suspiciously.
"When will Jamie be back?" he asked.
"Tonight," Lucy answered. "She's in court today." Mitch nodded.
"Tell her I'll call." Lucy nodded, watching him as he left. She knew this man was a teacher, and he seemed like a responsible, trustworthy, well-kept man. Looks can be deceiving, she reminded herself, going back to her work.
Jamie stretched her neck over to the side as she walked out of court, on her way back to the offices that afternoon.
"Jamie!" She turned as she heard her name. Kate strode up to her and they embraced tightly.
"What are you doing here?" Jamie asked softly as Kate pulled back.
"I wanted to see you. Your secretary said you were here." Jamie smiled.
"She's not my secretary," she laughed, taking Kate's hands in her own. "How you doing?"
"Um...I don't know, to be honest." Jamie nodded, understanding.
"Where are you staying?"
"At my sister's," Kate answered. "It's fine there. Jamie, how come the hearing is so soon?"
"They probably want to head straight into it while any evidence they collect is fresh. It also gives the defence less time to prepare... Didn't your attorney tell you this?"
"Yes," Kate nodded. "I just had to hear it from you," she added tearfully. Tears stung Jamie's eyes as she hugged her friend again.
"You'll be fine," Jamie assured her, rubbing her back supportively. "Just tell the truth. It is, the truth, right?" Kate pulled back, wide eyes staring at Jamie as she nodded.
"Of course. Why do you ask?"
"Kate," Jamie sighed. "Mitch has hired Eugene Young-"
"My attorney told me. She said to be prepared to be attacked on the stand." Jamie nodded reluctantly.
"He's my boss," Jamie answered. "He is one of the best defence lawyers in this circle." Kate sighed. "But Helen is good, don't worry. They're on a pretty even keel."
"Good," Kate managed a smile.
The following night, after Mitch's trial had been set for a week from that day, Jamie was in the shower when the doorbell rang. Eugene got up from the couch in the living room to answer it.
"Eugene?" Mitch exclaimed.
"Uh, hi. How do you know where I live?" Eugene asked.
"I...didn't, I don't think. Jamie told us her mail should be sent here, and so I assumed she...is she here, or do I have my wires crossed?"
"She's in the shower," Eugene answered, opening the door for him. "Come in."
"Oh, thankyou. I'm sorry to intrude-"Eugene shrugged, shutting the door behind him.
"You're Jamie's friend, aren't you?"
"I hope so," Mitch answered, taking a seat on the living room couch. Eugene excused himself and headed down the short hallway to the bedroom and ensuite, where Jamie was now dressing.
"Mitch is here to see you."
"What?" Jamie asked.
"Guess he wants to talk," Eugene continued. "I'll do some work in here for a while if you like." Jamie hesitated. "Or I can stay," Eugene added.
"No, no," Jamie shook her head. "I'm not scared of him," she told herself more than Eugene. "I'll be fine. I'll come find you once we're done." Eugene nodded.
"I'll be right in here," he replied, grabbing some files from the bedside table and spreading them out on the bed.
Jamie sighed as she shut the bedroom door and walked over to where Eugene was stretched out in bed, half-sitting against his pillow as he flicked through a magazine.
"He gone?" Eugene asked. Jamie nodded, slipping her sweatpants off and climbing into bed beside him.
"You okay?" he asked as Jamie lay down and shut her eyes.
"Ahuh," she yawned, turning her back to him and pulling the covers around her waist. Eugene smiled, resting his hand momentarily on her hip, before turning back to his magazine.
A week passed with little fanfare. The afternoon before Mitchell's trial began, Lucy took a seat in Eugene's office.
"I probably shouldn't be telling you this," she began. Eugene raised his eyebrows. "I've been talking to Jamie."
"Maybe you shouldn't-"
"About Kate," Lucy continued. "I think she's in denial."
"Jamie," Lucy answered. "I don't think Kate was raped."
"Is that your professional opinion after speaking with Kate?" Eugene asked.
"Yes but I won't testify."
"These women need to be able to trust me, Eugene. They can't have a little voice in the back of their head questioning whether or not I believe them. My judgements are my own. I don't think he did it."
"What gives you that impression?" Eugene asked curiously. Lucy explained. "Does Jamie realise this?"
"Well she's the one who told me, in a roundabout way. She's confused but she's trying to help Kate and I don't think she's hearing herself."
"What should I do?"
"Talk to her," Lucy suggested.
"Mister Young," the judge stated. Eugene stood and walked towards Kate, sitting in the witness stand.
"Kate, how long had you and Mitch been going out for?"
"And how did you first meet?"
"We met on the first day of junior high," Kate explained.
"You stayed in contact all this time?"
"No. We lost contact at college, and then we ran into each other about a year ago."
"And you decided to date."
"Over that year, how many times did you have sex with my client?"
"Um...maybe three to five times a week?"
"Well, isn't that a nice average."
"Objection," Helen called dryly.
"Withdrawn," Eugene added quickly. "Did you have sex with Mitch on the day you say he raped you?"
"Yes, that morning," Kate answered. "But that night I did not have sex!"
"You answered the question Miss Portal," Eugene interrupted. "In the year you were dating, did Mitchell ever hit you?"
"No," Kate sighed. "But that-"
"Did he ever threaten you?"
"Have you ever seen him hit or threaten someone else?" Kate hesitated. "Miss Portal?"
"Yes," she stated, her voice wavering. Eugene had not been expecting an affirmative answer. His mind raced with what to do next.
"You said earlier you were restrained."
"Mitch...held my hands down."
"And you struggled."
"For a while, but I gave up."
"You gave up?"
"I guess I thought it would be over faster if I just let him do his thing."
"Did you have bruising on your wrists as a result of Mitch holding your hands down and you struggling?"
"I guess I didn't struggle hard enough."
"Is that a no?" Eugene asked.
"No," Kate answered as Eugene took his seat.
"Redirect, your Honour," Helen began as she stood. Judge Hiller nodded. "Kate, you said you saw your boyfriend hit or threaten someone in the past."
"Yes," Kate nodded, biting her bottom lip.
"Can you tell us about that?"
"Sure uh, it was senior year, at a party. We were all drunk. A friend of ours was trying to get on Mitch's nerves about failing the SATs. We were all poking fun because he honestly thought he failed and we knew he hadn't. The next thing I know, he's smacked our friend to the ground."
"What's this friend's name?" Helen asked.
"Jamie Stringer," Kate answered.
"Jamie. Is that a man or a woman?"
"A woman. She's a friend of ours."
"Thankyou," Helen sat. Eugene stood almost as quickly.
"Mitch was drunk."
"Was he drunk when you say he raped you?"
"I don't know," Kate answered.
"Withdrawn. You said Miss Stringer was 'a friend of ours'. She is still your friend?"
"And since that night, has Mitch ever threatened her or been violent towards her?"
"No." Eugene returned to his seat and sat down without another word.
"Was that good or bad?" Mitch asked as they sat in the small room. Eugene thought for a few minutes.
"I think it went okay, but we can't take too many chances. I thought I told you to tell me everything?"
"It was high school!" Mitch exclaimed. "We were really drunk. I didn't remember. When Kate told me what I'd done I went straight over there to apologise, but truth is, I don't know if Jamie remembered either." Eugene nodded. "I uh...I'm sorry, you know. I wouldn't hurt her-"
"Yeah I know," Eugene answered, cutting him off.
"Where is Jamie?"
"In court on another matter. You'll be first up tomorrow morning."
Eugene quietly shut Ellenor's door as he took a seat opposite her desk.
"How'd it go?" she asked.
"I have a problem," Eugene stated.
"Jamie," he continued.
"What about her?"
"Whether or not I should call her."
"What?" Ellenor exclaimed. "Eugene, tread very carefully. I take it this would be a surprise witness."
"Yes," he answered.
"And you expect her to go home with you tomorrow night?" Ellenor asked. "What good will putting Jamie up there do? Won't it give Helen the opportunity to cross her on Mitch's assault? Lucy told me," she added at Eugene's inquiring glance. "I don't know where she gets it from."
"Jamie said something to me a week ago. She implied Kate was more eager to go to the police than to the doctor. Kate is one of three other people who know Jamie was raped, who she told. She asked lots of questions, she was a supportive friend." Ellenor nodded.
"And you think Kate has used this to convict Mitch." Eugene shrugged.
"It is Jamie's opinion Kate is probably lying, but she won't desert a friend lest she's wrong."
"Did she tell you this?"
"No, she told Lucy."
"Put Lucy up there then."
"Lucy refuses to."
"Subpoena her." The truth was, Eugene didn't want to subpoena Lucy. She was right; it wouldn't just hurt Lucy's career, but all counsellors. He didn't think he could do it.
"You think I shouldn't put Jamie up there?"
"How do you know she won't stick by Kate up there Eugene?"
"As much as she won't desert a friend, she will not commit perjury."
"I'm sure," Eugene nodded.
"Can you get your client off without this?"
"We lucked out on the jury," he explained. "They're sympathetic to the victim. For every doctor we put up, Helen puts one up. I still haven't decided whether to let Mitch testify."
"It'll look strange if he doesn't." Eugene drifted into silence, thinking.
"How was the trial?" Jamie asked as Eugene came home that night.
"All right," he answered.
"Which way will the jury go, do you think?"
"At halfway, I'm not sure." Jamie nodded. Lucy had told her the brief details she knew of the events, but if Eugene wasn't going to bring it up, neither was she.
Eugene glanced over his shoulder at Jamie sitting two rows behind him as he too sat down, once Judge Hiller had taken her seat at the bench.
"All right, let's hear from the defence," Zoe instructed. Eugene stood, staring straight at Judge Hiller.
"The defence calls Jamie Stringer."
"Your Honour-"Helen stood.
"Sidebar," Zoe ordered. Eugene and Helen approached. "What are you doing Mister Young? This witness is not listed."
"It was a last minute decision."
"You had all night to make this decision," Helen whispered.
"Yeah and I just made it last minute," Eugene defended. "You'll have your chance to cross-examine."
"You're on thin ice," Zoe ordered Eugene. "I'll allow it." Eugene and Helen returned to their places. "Miss Stringer," Zoe called, seeing Jamie sitting on the edge of her chair. "Please step up to the witness stand." Jamie's heeled clicked loudly on the silent courtroom. Eugene felt horrible. Helen was pissed. The jury looked suddenly interested. Once Jamie was sworn in, Zoe directed Eugene to begin.
"How long have you known Kate Porter?"
"Since we were eleven, less a few years of college."
"And how long have you known Mitchell Stein?"
"Since we were eleven."
"You kept in contact through college?"
"Yesterday, we heard he struck you once."
"Yes," Jamie answered, seething at Eugene as she crossed her legs and arms.
"Do you remember it?"
"I don't understand the question."
"Do you remember him, physically, hitting you? To the ground, Kate testified. Can you recall it with clarity?"
"No," Jamie answered, uncrossing her legs. She knew where Eugene was going with this. The asshole. He didn't even have the decency to run this by her!
"Can you tell me what happened the next morning?"
"How is this relevant?" Helen called from her seat.
"Goes towards my client's violent past which was introduced. I therefore have a right to explore it."
"I'll allow it," Zoe instructed. "Answer the question Miss Stringer."
"Mitchell came to visit me the morning after the party. I had a hangover. He told me he was sorry for hitting me."
"Were you bruised?"
"Yes I had a black eye."
"And you didn't know how you got it until Mitchell came and apologised, did you?"
"Did you only 'remember' how you got that black eye once Mitchell came to apologise?" Jamie remained silent, waiting for Helen to object. Eugene continued, instead. "Does it surprise you to learn that Mitchell didn't remember hitting you either? He had no idea he'd done anything, until Kate refreshed his memory."
"Your Honour," Helen called out. "He's testifying."
"Sustained. Mister Young."
"Permission to treat the witness as hostile, Your Honour."
"She's not answering my questions."
"Granted." Jamie shifted her jaw, remaining tight-lipped.
"Did you only remember how you got that black eye once Mitchell came to apologise?" Eugene repeated.
"Yes," Jamie answered simply.
"Have you ever recalled the incident completely?"
"Can you allow for the possibility Mitchell also did not remember hitting you when he woke up the next day?"
"Yes," Jamie continued reluctantly.
"Is it then possible Mitchell did not hit you, but Kate did, only to plant the idea in both your heads the next morning, writing it off as the two of you being too drunk to remember."
"Well why would she do that?" Jamie asked, tilting her head to the side.
"Why not? If she can stand up in open court and declare she was raped-"
"Sustained. Mister Young," Zoe warned.
"Kate Porter called you the morning after she says she was raped."
"She was raped."
"Answer the question Jamie," Eugene urged, his voice strong.
"Yes she called me."
"What did she say?"
"That Mitch had raped her. She asked if I could come over because she was hurt and didn't know what to do."
"Were those her exact words?"
"Kate said, 'You're my best friend. I need help, I'm hurt and I don't know what to do. Can you come over?'."
"Thankyou. What did you do once you got to her house?"
"I took her to the hospital to get checked out. Then I took her to the police station to file a report."
"Did Kate want to go to hospital?"
"No, and that's understandable."
"You had to persuade her to go?"
"Did you then have to persuade her to go to the police?" Jamie hesitated. "Miss Stringer?"
"No, I did not."
"In fact, did you suggest she wait before going to the police?"
"So, as Kate's best friend, someone she's known since you were children, was Kate more interested in going to the police than to the hospital?"
"She was angry at the time-"Jamie drifted off as she saw Eugene's eyes betray an internal conflict. She attempted to maintain eye contact, pleading silently with him not to bring up her own assault.
"You've known Mitch longer than Kate, is that right?"
"Yes," Jamie admitted. "We went to the same college, we kept in touch."
"Is it fair to say you're closer to Mitch than Kate?"
"I care for them equally," Jamie answered.
"Did you ever date Mitch?"
"No," Jamie answered.
"Ever have sex with him?"
"Did he rape you?" Jamie scowled.
"Objection-" Helen called.
"Withdrawn. You've had the opportunity to observe your two friends over the past year. Has Mitchell ever been violent towards Kate?"
"Has he ever raised his voice?"
"Only in fights."
"Stupid things. Like money or the shopping bill. Lots of couples fight about those." Jamie tried to convey in her answer the fact that this particular couple would be having a totally different sort of fight once this was done.
"You're defending him," Eugene stated.
"I'm not defending him on rape," Jamie replied.
"No, you're defending him on the shopping bill," Eugene added dryly.
"Objection." Helen sounded bored.
"Withdrawn. Jamie, did you ever suspect Mitch of rape, or any kind of sexual animosity or perversion?"
"Did he ever exhibit spontaneous rage or violence?"
"Not that I saw."
"Is it your opinion he raped Kate Porter?" Jamie and Eugene watched each other. "As their best friend, Miss Stringer, is it your opinion that Mitchell Stein raped Kate Porter?"
"Answer the question Miss Stringer," Zoe stated. Jamie looked between Kate and Mitchell.
"I don't know," Jamie admitted. The gallery rattled a little as Eugene took his seat, his face stoic. Jamie was going to kill him. Helen stood.
"Ever been raped Jamie?"
"Yes," Jamie answered.
"So you know what Kate's going through."
"Objection. She can't know for sure," Eugene commented.
"Has Kate Porter ever lied to you, to the best of your knowledge?"
"No," Jamie answered.
"Kate knows you were raped."
"And, being as close as you are, a part of you can't think him capable of such an act, right? Can you place him beside the man who raped you? Can you call this man a rapist without feeling as though you're betraying a friendship?"
"No," Jamie sighed.
"But," Helen continued. "In your opinion, as Kate's best friend, would she make something like this up?"
"No," Jamie repeated.
"You may step down now Miss Stringer," Zoe ordered. Jamie walked back to take her seat in the gallery, glaring at the back of Eugene's head. She was going to sit here until the day was done, and then they were going to have it out.
"The defence calls Mitchell Stein."
Jimmy, Ellenor and Lucy looked up as Jamie followed Eugene back to the office that night, slamming the door behind her.
"Stop," she stated softly. Eugene stopped, turning to face her. "What the hell did you think you were doing?"
"My office," Eugene replied calmly. Jamie glared, stalking ahead of him.
"What the hell did you think you were doing?" she exclaimed, much louder this time – the three outside were all within decent earshot. Ellenor glanced at Lucy.
"He called her," she explained quietly as the argument continued.
"I was doing what I had to do to help the client," Eugene answered.
"You didn't help the client. You heard Helen. I couldn't speak for or against either side. There was no point calling me up there!"
"There was," Eugene stated.
"Like you don't think he did it!" Eugene yelled.
"You can't tell me what I do or don't think Eugene!"
"You don't think he did it! You don't think he did it! Are you going to let him go to jail to protect yourself?"
"Me? I'm not protecting myself!"
"You are. And by the way, you haven't told me you think he did do it. Not all this time. You've said nothing!"
"Yes Eugene," Jamie replied sarcastically. "You're right. He didn't do it because it's so easy to fake vaginal bruising."
"Oh please. It was minimal. It is easy," Eugene answered. "That's what happened."
"You don't even know this woman!"
"You do!" Eugene exclaimed. "And you're just not prepared to believe your best friend who you confided in could betray you so badly. You don't give a shit about Mitchell-"
"That's not true!" Jamie yelled. "He's one of my best friends."
"Who you think raped his girlfriend?"
"They're both my friends. I refuse to take sides."
"You can't help taking sides Jamie," Eugene continued. "Everybody does it. Choose a side."
"No!" Jamie yelled. "How dare you surprise me like that? How dare you! You let Helen put me through that cross-"
"Helen went easy on you and you know it!" Eugene interrupted.
"Probably because she knew how angry I-"
"Why is everything always about you Jamie? This isn't about you. This is about the client, who did not rape that woman. I know what you feel is right. I know you think he didn't do it. Maybe you're trying to tell yourself that someone else did it, and Kate's just embarrassed about coming forward. Well even so, that does not give her the right to wrongly accuse and prosecute that man who, by the way, you slept with."
"So what, automatically I should trust him because I fucked him, 'by the way', one time?" Jamie exclaimed. "Obviously I shouldn't trust anyone I sleep with, any more. I can't believe you did that, you ass hole."
"It helped," Eugene insisted. "It helped Mitchell and it helped our case."
"Your case. It helped you to feel important," Jamie hissed. "It helped you to put me down. You know how I feel about this, you know what it took to get up there the last time and you know how afraid I was of you. I've convinced myself that I had nothing to be afraid of, that it was stupid of me to believe you would ever attack me like that-"
"I did not attack you. I could have entered your history but I didn't."
"Gee, thanks," Jamie replied snidely. "I trusted you Eugene. Why didn't you just tell me?"
"You wouldn't have turned up."
"Then subpoena me," Jamie continued. "Don't make me testify unprepared. You didn't even give me a chance to tell myself that-" Jamie paused, taking a deep breath. "You didn't even give me a chance to tell myself this wasn't Eugene Young my boyfriend talking, but Eugene Young the insensitive lawyer, and now I can't tell the difference. I wish I could hit you and feel as satisfied by it as I'd like, but I wouldn't even make a dint on your stone hard face."
Jamie turned on her heels and walked back out of the office, heading straight past her colleagues and out the door, slamming it behind her. Lucy pushed herself up from her desk and followed. Eugene sat silently down at his desk, letting his forehead rest in his hands.
Jamie was standing just past the door, her head in her hands. She looked up as Lucy approached, and the younger woman reached up to hug Jamie tightly as she cried.
Lucy hung up the phone and walked into Eugene's office, returning a minute later with Eugene in tow. He looked over at Jamie's desk, surprised to see her scribbling on a lecture pad. She glanced up at him.
"I have cases," she explained. He nodded, before walking silently out of the office. Lucy waited until he was gone before approaching Jamie.
"The jury's back," she stated.
"Already?" Jamie asked softly.
"Friday," Ellenor and Jimmy answered simultaneously. It was the first word they'd spoken since Lucy and Jamie returned to the offices. Work had never been so silent.
"I'll go with you, if you like?" Lucy offered. Jamie smiled.
"That's very kind, but I'm okay," she answered, packing up her things.
"Helen's offered aggravated assault," Eugene stated as Mitchell took his seat at the desk.
"It's not too late."
"I'm not pleading out," Mitch maintained. "If they're offering a deal they must think I'm getting off."
"Mister Stein, you may stand," Zoe urged. Eugene and Mitchell both stood. "Has the jury reached a verdict?"
"We have, your Honour."
"What say you?"
"In the matter of the State versus Mitchell Stein, on the charge of rape, we find the defendant, Mitchell Stein, guilty."
Mitchell sighed, leaning against the table in front of him as Eugene raised his eyes, frustrated. Helen turned to Kate and smiled, taking her hand affectionately. She spotted Jamie in the back row, and after the court was dismissed, Helen caught up to her in the hallway.
"Hey," she began.
"Hi," Jamie answered. "Good result."
"Yeah," Helen nodded. "Listen, I didn't know Eugene was going to-"
"I know. You didn't have much to work with. For what it's worth, thankyou for not dwelling on the irrelevant." Helen nodded.
"Is it irrelevant?" she asked.
"I honestly can't tell the difference any more," Jamie answered.
"Ellenor did the same thing to me five, six years ago. Called me to the bench," Helen continued. "You get over it, you move on. We lived together for a long time afterwards. We're friends so don't..." Jamie nodded. "Listen, there's something else I've been meaning to mention to you."
"Oh?" Jamie asked, as Helen led her further from the courtroom. Over her shoulder, Eugene walked alone towards the elevator. He saw them talking, but didn't interrupt, staring straight ahead as the elevator doors enclosed him.
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"Five years?" Jamie asked. Helen nodded. "Um, working I guess."
"Get some more experience," Helen told her. "And consider crossing over to my side of the courtroom, okay? If it's something you think you might like to work towards, don't let Eugene, or anybody else stop you. Got it?"
"Uh...sure. Why are you telling me this now?"
"Because I like you," Helen whispered conspiratorially. "I'm just asking you not to rule it out. We've been keeping an eye out for some potentials – believe it or not there's not that many people banging down our doors; I'm sure it has nothing to do with the salary, and some of the DAs are getting close to retirement age. Anyway, your name's come up. Keep up the good work." Helen smiled, before walking off, leaving Jamie stunned. Five years... She could do that.
Jamie returned to the office. Jimmy had left, but Ellenor and Lucy smiled at her. They'd obviously heard. The light in Eugene's office was filtering through the blinds.
"Lucy," Jamie began as she took a seat.
"How did Eugene know?" Lucy stared at Jamie silently. "About what I...what I thought, what Kate said to me."
"Is it important now that he was convicted?"
"Yes," Jamie answered. "It's important to me."
"I told him," Lucy admitted. "Not because Kate told me what she said, but because you told me what Kate said."
"I was uneasy. Being bluntly honest Jamie, speaking to Kate, she lacked a level of sincere fear, regret or self-doubt I see in almost every woman I speak to. I refused to testify. I'm sorry, it's my fault Eugene put you in that position." Jamie was quiet for a while.
"Did you ever believe me?" she asked softly.
"Of course," Lucy answered kindly. "Of course I did. Jamie, you came to me in tears. It was genuine, I would swear it a thousand times over that you were afraid, and embarrassed, and literally exhausted. I believed you. It's very rare I find myself taking a harder look, because it's not my job, but in this case I felt I had to. I'm sorry," she whispered. Jamie nodded, staring at her desk.
"What was it?" she asked suddenly. "That made you doubt her?"
"I second-guessed before I ever met her," Lucy answered. "In Eugene's office, when you told me you'd given Kate my number, you said 'I think she's pretty set on that' – going to the police. It wasn't that, that's what some women do, but it was the look in your eyes."
"Me?" Jamie asked, amazed. Lucy nodded.
"You almost rolled your eyes, but you were frowning, kind of confused-like. You obviously thought it was wrong, but that's not what your voice sounded like, your voice was determined. It didn't match up. Eugene picked it up too; I was watching him watch you." Jamie's eyes skirted to the side a couple of times as she thought back. "I'm sorry. Listen, I'm not busy tonight. If you want to crash at my place, or just talk for a while, come on over. You don't have to call." Jamie nodded as Lucy began packing up her things.
Jamie had left with Ellenor soon after Lucy, and returned quickly to Eugene's house, grabbing a small backpack of belongings and changing into jeans and a white sweatshirt.
As far as she knew, Eugene was still sitting in his office, where he had remained since returning from trial. It confused Jamie, but neither his actions nor her confusion over them surprised her.
She would stay at her apartment tonight. It had been little-used over the past year, and the lease was up for resigning in a month. She had been set on not renewing the tenancy, but suddenly found herself unsure. Jamie sighed as she walked back down Eugene's front steps, her bag slung over her shoulder.
Somewhere along the way, Jamie found herself sitting outside Lucy's small house. She usually shared with another counsellor, but as Jamie had heard several times over the past month, Jenna was on holidays on the West Coast and having a fabulous time.
Jamie hesitated, but got out of her car and walked up the steps, taking a deep breath and knocking three times on the front door. On the other side, Lucy stood on her tiptoes to look through the peephole, before unclasping the chain and opening the door.
"Hi," she smiled. "Thought that might be you." Jamie shrugged, blushing.
"I uh, I didn't plan on dropping by."
"Well now that you're here, come in. You wanna stay in Jen's room tonight?"
"Oh, it's okay."
"Where else were you gonna go?"
"My place?" Jamie suggested.
"Is probably covered in cobwebs by now. Grab your bag, I know you must have packed one if you were thinking of going back there." Jamie smiled.
"Yes!" Lucy exclaimed, grinning. "I even bought some icecream on the way home. With chocolate sauce, so go and get your bag out of that car." Jamie nodded, and Lucy waited at the front door as Jamie made the quick trip to her car and back.
As they sat with their bowls of icecream, Lucy twirled her spoon around the chocolate sauce, mixing it in.
"Did you leave before Eugene?" she asked. Jamie nodded. "He didn't say a word when he got back. Just went straight to his office."
"Probably working on the appeal," Jamie mumbled, eating a spoonful of the choc-vanilla mixture.
"Ellenor had to call Helen to find out how it went," Lucy continued. "She said you were really good on the stand. She thinks it actually ended up working in Helen's favour."
"I don't think I worked in anybody's favour," Jamie sighed. "I told the court I doubted them both equally."
"Which is kind of a lie, right?" Lucy asked. Jamie sighed.
"I just feel like...what if we're wrong? What if Mitch did rape her?"
"Then we're guilty only of being human, which means making mistakes in judgement sometimes. Speaking about being human, that was a pretty decent fight today."
"Not our first," Jamie answered, defeated.
"You got your punches in."
"Everybody heard it, didn't they?"
"Just Ellenor, Jimmy and me," Lucy answered with a small smile. "I've never seen Eugene depressed like that in a long time. Never when he wins. Once, he got a notice to appear before the bar, he locked himself in his office just like he did today. They did win the case but this was after and...it's a long story." Jamie shrugged. "My take is I think he feels bad. He's definitely depressed."
"I feel bad," Jamie sighed.
"Why?" Lucy asked.
"Because I...all he was doing was being himself. I know Eugene's pulled stunts like that in the past. I should have expected it. And I...no matter whose side I worked for or against with that jury, Kate and Mitch's testimony was so even, maybe Kate's was better, I don't know, but I...I had a hand in putting my best friend in jail, and I don't even know if he deserves to be there. And I feel bad for thinking that, for betraying another friend who I have no reason to distrust." Jamie fought back tears. "And I..."
"What?" Lucy asked gently, resting a hand on Jamie's arm.
"I put so much trust in Eugene, Lucy. We've been going out for a whole year. I have never, ever... I trust him, I do. When he put me on that stand, I was pissed but a part of me knew he wouldn't go after me as far as he was capable, and I don't think he did."
"Well that's good then, right?" Lucy urged.
"Well, yeah," Jamie wiped a few tears from her cheeks as she took a deep breath. "But I... If I know that, why do I still feel so betrayed?"
"It's my fault."
"No, it's not," Jamie insisted, before looking around and smiling. "Look at us, it's a Friday night and we're sitting around eating icecream!"
"I'm sure if you went home Eugene wouldn't mind," Lucy suggested. Jamie shook her head.
"No," she sighed. "I'll give it some time." Lucy nodded, gathering their empty plates.
Lucy woke up several hours later to the sound of the front door closing. Sticking her head into Jen's room, she found Jamie missing. A large note was lying on the duchess. Lucy flicked on the light so she could read it.
I might be back. I'll call so don't worry if I'm not.
I won't, Lucy thought with a smile.
"See ya Monday girl," she spoke aloud, hoping that somewhere, Jamie heard it.
Eugene was lying in bed when he heard a key in the front door, and recognised the sound of Jamie's shoes clicking on the floorboards. She was walking slowly, trying not to wake him up but at the same time, Eugene thought she might also be afraid he was still awake. He shut his eyes, just in case.
Jamie stopped beside the bed. Slowly, she stepped out of her shoes. Eugene heard the zip on her jeans release before she pushed them off, leaving her sweatshirt on as she lifted the covers and climbed underneath, sticking to her side of the bed.
Eugene rolled over, reaching out and climbing his hand up and over her waist and stomach under her shirt, gently pulling her to face him. Jamie didn't protest, staring at his face in the dark, his eyes closed. She wasn't sure if he was asleep, but she didn't care at this point. On some level, he wanted to hold onto her, and on some level, she wanted to be held.
"You came back," Eugene whispered suddenly. "I'm sorry."
"Me too. I love you," Jamie whispered back, unsure still if Eugene would even remember this exchange. He tugged her a little closer and Jamie obliged, getting comfortable and falling asleep securely in his embrace. There would be time enough to talk in the morning.