Title: The Public Burning 2
Disclaimer: Touchstone and ABC own In Justice. I have no affiliation with the show. This is just for fun; no Profit is being made from this story.
The mood in the National Justice Project's office was somber. Frank Benner was executed at midnight. Despite their best efforts they couldn't save him in time.
Brianna walked in as Jon and Conti were talking. "Morning."
They both mumbled back. "Morning."
Brianna was concerned about Sonya. "Where's Sonya? Is she okay?"
"She's hanging in there." Conti answered. "I called her and told her to take the day off, but she said she'd be in later. She was at San Quentin pretty late."
Brianna nodded. "Did anyone sleep last night?" Everyone shook their heads no.
Jon looked at her. "You want to help me get rid of all the printouts from Father Ortiz' computer?"
Brianna looked at the stacks of paper everywhere. "Sure."
They walked out and Conti sat down at his desk. He shuffled papers around but he couldn't concentrate.
Jon and Brianna started putting the papers into boxes. "Conti said it will be slow around here for the next week or so."
"So we'll be bored huh?"
"That's worse, I'd really rather be busy right now." Jon told her.
"You don't think getting rid of all this paper will keep us busy?" Jon laughed. "I know what you mean. Something to keep our minds busy." Brianna added as she looked down.
Jon reached over and put his hand on her shoulder. "We really can't focus on this one. Think about the people that are now home because of what we did. It's only one case. We did our best it's over. Time to move on."
Brianna couldn't believe he could say that. "Jon a man is dead. An innocent man is dead."
"I know, but hat's the point he's dead. We can't do anything more for him. We need to move on. You can't let it eat at you."
"I need some air." Brianna said as she walked outside.
Damian was standing there. Jon turned and looked at him. "What did I say now?"
"You're right but it's just not what she wants to hear right now." Jon started to walk outside with Brianna.
"Hey. Want some company?" He asked as he walked out into the crisp air. Brianna shook her head. He noticed she was shivering. He took off his jacket and put it over her shoulder. "I'm sorry. I realize that didn't come out like I meant."
"I know what you meant." Brianna said with a smile. "Thanks for the jacket."
"Your welcome." Jon smiled. "Why don't we talk about something else?" Brianna smiled as that leaned against the wall and talked. She couldn't believe how easy he could be to talk to sometimes.
Sonya walked in about 11:30 and sat at her desk. Brianna was the first to talk to her. "How are you doing?"
"Was that your first execution?" Sonya nodded. "If you need anything, or if you just want to talk."
"Thank you." As Brianna started to walk away, she heard Sonya say. "Look at this. Frank drew it." He handed her the book.
"Wow. This is really something."
"He had the guard give it to me after." Sonya couldn't help getting choked up again. She looked up and saw Conti and Jon standing there. "I'm sorry."
Conti nodded. "You don't have to apologize. This was a tough one to lose. Sonya can I see you in my office for a minute?"
"Sure." Sonya got up and followed him into the office.
"Have a seat." Sonya sat down in the chair and Conti leaned against his desk. "If you need a few days off, it's okay. I know this was hard for you."
"I think I'd rather work and keep my mind busy."
"I can understand that too."
"Looks like that's what you've been doing." Sonya said as she pointed to his desk.
"Yeah, trying to anyway. I keep thinking about Frank." Conti looked at his watch. "I've got to go. I'm meeting Charlotte."
"Yeah." Conti really didn't want to get into his personal life with her right now. "We have lunch plans."
"Anything I can finish for you here?"
"That would be great." Conti told Sonya what he was working on and left. "Thanks again Sonya."
Brianna saw Conti leave: she walked in to talk to Sonya. "Have you told Conti how you feel?"
"I really thought about telling him, and I was going to today, but now I can't."
"He has a lunch date with Charlotte." Brianna just looked at her a little confused. "His ex-wife."
"Oh." Brianna wasn't sure what to say. "Need any help?"
Conti rushed into Father Thomas' office. "Hi. I'm sorry I'm late."
"That's okay. Charlotte was telling me you were working on the Frank Benner case." Conti nodded. "I'm sorry things didn't work out."
"Why don't we get started? Charlie why don't you tell me about the first time you were unfaithful to Charlotte? What happened? Why did you feel the need to go outside your marriage?"
Conti looked at Charlotte. How in the world was he going to answer that? No matter what problems they had he was never unfaithful to her.
It was a rough session and when it was over they walked out together. "Charlie, do you want to talk?"
"Isn't that one of the things you always complained about? I don't like to talk."
"I'll buy you lunch at Little Gino's."
Conti looked at her and smiled. "Your treat?" Charlotte couldn't help smiling she nodded. "Okay. Why don't we just walk, it's only a few blocks?"
Charlotte and Conti walked in silence to the restaurant. They got a quiet booth in the corner. Charlotte reached over and touched his hand. "Charlie you always made each case so personal, you're still doing that."
"He was innocent."
"You think he was. I heard all the evidence you guys came up with, it was circumstantial." Conti just looked at her.
"I know Eli Stillwell did it."
"Isn't he one of the church leaders?"
"Yes, and he's also a wife beater." Charlotte looked up at him. "I talked to the person running a woman's shelter. Father Ortiz got Mrs. Stillwell in there the same day he was killed." Conti's cell phone went off. "Excuse me." Charlotte nodded. "Conti. What? I'll be right there."
"That was Rita from the shelter. Mrs. Stillwell was just brought into the hospital."
"I'll drive." Conti took out his wallet. Charlotte put some money on the table. "Remember it was my treat."
They both walked in and found Mrs. Stillwell. Conti walked over. "Are you okay?"
"Do I look okay?"
"It's not your fault Mr. Conti. I told Eli I was leaving him. I should have done this a long time ago. Rita is going to help me."
"I'm glad. If there is anything I can do, Rita knows how to get in touch with me."
Conti walked out to where Charlotte was waiting for him. She had just hung up her cell phone. "I just talked to Richard. There's not enough evidence to do anything to Mr. Stillwell. He claims she fell down the stairs."
"He pushed her."
"I know that and you know that, but he says there is not enough evidence, and he won't put anyone on the investigation."
"Great. So he gets away with murder and now with almost killing his wife."
"Charlie you get me the proof and I'll prosecute the case."
"You said Richard wouldn't do it."
"I'll handle Richard you get me the proof." Charlotte took a deep breath. "I want him for the murder of Father Ortiz and of Frank Benner."
"I don't know, but I want to find a way." Conti shook his head. "Don't you want to clear Frank's name?"
"He's dead. We can't change that."
"I know but we can still get him exonerated."
"Didn't you just tell me that I have to stop taking my cases so personal?"
"Yes, but you know you're not going to do that."
"The team went through hell this past week. I can't ask them for more just to let them down again. It would be too much."
"You can't speak for the rest of your team. Charlie they may want to do this. I'll go with you to talk to them. It's a chance to fix some of this whole mess."