“Good afternoon ma.” I greeted, with all the politeness I could muster.
To my surprise, she opened her arms and stretched them out to me. Her embrace was comforting.
“I’m so glad you’re here with him.” She whispered, and I thought I heard sniffling. “I’m afraid. I don’t want my son in prison.”
It was the first time I was seeing my mother-in-law vulnerable that way; she’d always been the rigid strict and firm woman. The pillar behind her son. And here she was crying on my shoulder.
“Everything will be fine, ma.” I said, with a reassurance I wasn’t feeling.
“The…dead woman…did he have an affair with her?”
From the way she spoke like someone being choked; I could tell how difficult it as for her to ask that question.
There was no need lying to her. “Yes. But it was over before she died.”
She nodded. “I’m sorry I misjudged you. You’re the best thing that could happen to my son.”
It was ironic how she was only discovering that now, after eight years of being married to Mo. I sighed.
“I have to go now ma. I need to consult with my co-counsel.” I said as I noticed Del beckoning to me.
As I turned to leave , I suddenly felt faint. I stood, gathering my wits around me. Ever since Mo’s arrest I’d been working on adrenaline and very little sleep; something that was ill-advised for a pregnant woman.
It was then I realised that my mother-in-law was unaware of my pregnant state.
“Are you okay?” She asked me.
I took the hand she offered, grateful for the contact. “We were supposed to tell you.”
“Tell me what?” She was supporting me now.
“You’re gonna be a grandmother…again.”
For a moment she was silent; unsure of what to feel, probably. And then she wrapped me in her arms. Our second hug in thirty minutes. Definitely a record breaker.
I let myself bask in her warmth, it was a feeling I was willing to hold on to for as long as possible. My mother-in-law never let her guard down; all the while I’d been married to her son, she’d not for once given me a voluntary hug.
“I’m so happy for you.” She said, when she released me. “But you need to be resting now. You’e not supposed to be here right now. Don’t stress yourself…we do want a healthy baby, you know.”
Although she was on a roll now, barking orders and giving unwanted advice…I didn’t mind because she’d never shown this much concern for my first pregnancy. She’d been too busy detesting me.
“Mummy, I’ll be fine.” I said. I was feeling better already. “I’m just hungry.”
“When last did you eat?”
“Er…I had a cup of coffee this morning.”
“Coffee?! You know what? No more lawyering for you today until you’ve put something in your stomach.”
I glanced in the direction I’d seen Del standing; she was there no longer. I couldn’t deny I was hungry.
“Let’s go. I’m not letting you break down.”
I let her lead me out. It felt good to let someone think for me even if just for a minute.
The trial didn’t get any easier, in fact as the days went by; it got tougher. The prosecution implied Mo and Ruby had an affair and she’d been threatening to spill the beans when he decided to shut her up.
Although, I think if they were to really think about what they were saying; the next line of suspicion would fall on me.
A.D.A Jeremy was questioning the dispatch officer who took Mo’s 911 call that night.
“You received a call that night, Officer?”
“Can you remember the time?”
“I think it was between ten and eleven pm thereabouts.”
“And what did the caller say?”
“It was a man. And he reported the crime.”
“What crime particularly?”
“The death of the victim, Eleanor Bright.”
“No. that was all.”
“Did you eventually find out the identity of the caller?”
A this question, I wrung my hands together nervously. Here was trouble…
“Yes. During the course of the investigation, we traced the call.”
“And who was the owner?”
“Mrs Kemi Pepple.”
I heaved a sigh. Mo glanced at me. The testimony of the police officer had further dug our grave.
“No further questions, Your honour.” The prosecution lawyer grinned. “Your witness.”
“No questions for this witness.” Del said.
“I think Jeremy did enough damage, probing the witness more would have been disastrous for us, he’ll only say something that could put another nail in Mo’s coffin.” She explained later to me.
The trial wasn’t going as I expected. It seemed that the prosecution was gaining ground, even though their case hadn’t seemed good enough at first.
I realised that if I didn’t do something now, my husband might end up losing his freedom.
So I made up my mind. I would be visiting the crime scene soon, to look for anything that could get Mo out of this mess…