~The Binding~

Chapter 30

Bron sat in a room full of silence as she sipped her coffee. Everyone was waiting on her. The air around her was heavy. It took a great deal of effort on her part just to inhale. She nodded to Maddigan to continue.

Maddigan nodded, "They are going to say that you are no stranger to violence from a young age…

Mc interrupted as Bron's chair squeaked. "Because of me they will try to draw the conclusion that you like violence. You never filed charges against me." Mc knew where Maddigan was going with his information but he also knew Bron would take it better from him than she would a stranger sitting at her dining room table.

Bron focused by looking out the window that was behind Maddigan. She stared at the tall pine tree with the snow swirling around. "That would have done me a ton of good. Once you were released, you would have kicked my ass all over again and twice as bad."

"Probably," Mc mused loudly through the telephone line. She was probably right, at that point in his life that is exactly what he would have done.

Jake turned to Kevin to watch the man. Kevin seemed generally panicked by the remark that Bron and Mc had just exchanged.

"Then you stepped in to help me after my father died. You bought into the business and now we are partners. It doesn't look very good, now does it?" Looking down into her coffee cup, as if it would give her an answer, she spoke, "That's it. We're going to lose and they are going to think I am one sick bitch or an ass."

"Bron, stop," Kevin's tone was powerful but just above a whisper.

"You're neither," Mc had thought about it. "You need to treat this like business. You need to be cold and calculating. Distance yourself from it. Re-live it in the third person."

"I can't," Bron closed her eyes not wanting to see what she knew she would see in her mind. Fingers folded over her hand and the words began to pour out of her.

Jake left the room to take care of Cooper, he didn't need to hear about it again. He didn't need to hear the fine details from Bron herself. He couldn't detach his emotions of his best friend getting hurt. Maddigan took notes never breaking her concentration. He had a feeling if he did, her speaking would end.

Kevin battled inside to stay reserved but it was impossible, he was happy when he decided to settle for quiet instead. Moving her third cup coffee away from her, he pressed a bottle of raspberry water in her hand. She had been speaking non-stop for an hour. No questions asked by anyone just her story being told once again. Kevin was fully aware of Mc hearing the details on the other end of the telephone for the first time directly from Bron. He also could tell from what he was hearing on the other end of the telephone that Mc was in agony listening to Bron speaking. Her agitation was building as he moved around the kitchen. He had a solution for the problem; Kevin had to figure out how to pull it off. Without a second thought, he placed a pill in her other hand.

She quickly dropped the pill in her mouth. Letting a small breath, Kevin inhaled as Bron paused to swallow. After sipping more water, she continued.

Kevin cautiously looked at Webster; somehow, Kevin knew that Webster was on to him. Webster knew Bron had just swallowed something that she wasn't aware of what it was.

Bron caught the exchange and turned to Kevin with a questioning glare.

"Tylenol," Kevin answered as he set bottles of water on the table for everyone.

"Are you still there?" Bron looked at the telephone.

"Yes," Mc answered but he was struggling with his own emotions.

Bron leaned closer to the telephone in the center of the table. "Don't do anything stupid."

A long sigh followed by, "This is bullshit."

"Don't hang up on me. I know what you are thinking. Now you wish you had just handled this the old way. Repeating what happened to me wasn't easy. Especially with strangers present."

"I won't hang-up. Sometimes the old ways are the best."

"Mc!" Webster jumped on Mc since Maddigan wasn't included in their normal circle of friends.

Maddigan finally spoke. "I'm glad to say that you haven't swayed one iota from your original deposition to the grand jury. It's amazing usually something is screwed-up."

Kevin saw the anger in Bron begin to bubble; she definitely did not care for Maddigan.

"You could only screw something like that up if you weren't telling the truth." Bron leveled a look that would singe most peoples' skin. "I know what happened to me. I know every single detail down to what color washcloth was hanging in my shower."

Webster cleared his throat. "Bron, he's not questioning the validity of your statement."

"He'd better not be," Mc growled from the other end of the telephone.

"Let's finish this on another day," Kevin was going to stop this before it even began.

"We just started," was as close to Webster would get to telling Kevin no, as he would venture to do in Kevin's home.

"That's it. Screw this. They are going to turn the tables on me. Make me look like a floozy with an agenda towards men. They will probably say that I liked being beat on by Mc. I got off on it and went back for more. What about C.W.? Doesn't he count, the years that we spent together, don't they count?"

Maddigan leaned back in the chair and crossed his arms. "They aren't going to look at your more shining moments."

"My shining moment lasted 16 years until that son of bitch decided to remove my husband from this family." Bron was fired up; she had enough of this.

"We can counteract whatever they bring up with character witness. I have a sheet a mile long of people who are willing to testify what kind of person you are."

Bron closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair. "That asshole is going to get off on what he did me. So why am I doing this? None of this is going to help with C.W.'s case."

"We're hoping that someone will slip up and say something."

"Oh my God," Bron groaned loudly. "I don't know if this is worth it. You're hoping someone will slip up? In the mean time, I have to re-live one of the worst moments of my life and you're hanging on a damn dream that someone will slip up."

"Bron and I need to talk to you," Mc's voice came out of the speaker of the phone.

"Not now," Webster warned him. He pretty much knew what Mc was up to.

"Look!" Mc's voice rang again.

"No, you look, not now," Kevin's voice was calm and gentle.

Bron's head cocked to the side as she stared at a silent telephone. Oh, something was up between Kevin and Mc.

"Bron, we're hoping by everyone making statements about your rape case and C.W.'s murder, something will come out. Then we have their witnesses recanting. We're hoping that your witnesses will be more compelling and that they will lump all of the defense witnesses together and dismiss their testimony in its entirety. Your testimony has not wavered. They have told so many stories they will not be able to keep them straight. When they screw up we'll call them on it."

"What stories about my assault?" Bron leaned over the table.

For the second time today, Kevin had heard Bron own it but he still didn't believe it.

"SPARK! Be quiet a minute," Mc didn't want to hear a damn thing about stories. Hearing the real thing was hard enough. In his head, he was making plans to get back to New York in less than two days.

"I want to know," Bron answered back to him.

"Quiet!" Mc barked he didn't want her to hear any of this. It would make her feel worse and taint her testimony on top of it.

Bron frowned at Kevin as if to say, 'Are you going to let him talk to me that way?' Kevin smirked, the same old routine between the two. Bron taunted and now she wanted protection from Kevin.

Mc didn't hear anything, "Word back got to me, and you wouldn't like it."

"It did not and you are a liar. You didn't know anything until Pittsburgh."

"Exactly… Then I went looking for confirmation."

"Mr. McDonald if you compromised any of details of this case, you could…" Maddigan closed his folder.

"Shut up!" Mc was yelling and slamming drawers. "Where the hell are the aspirins?"

"Top left drawer," Bron controlled her voice not wanting to insight Mc anymore that he already was.

"Thank you. I'll be back in minute." They heard the noise of the office door open over the open telephone line.

"There is more to this than any of you are telling me. I have a gut feeling that Webster and Kevin know. Mc is involved in this way more than he is telling me. He doesn't want me upset so he is stopping me from asking questions. He also wants to tell me something that both Webster and my lovely husband don't want him to tell me."

Kevin looked at her dead-on and then slowly lowered his head as his eyes closed.

"Fine but I'll let it go. Just like Mc's so called penile implant bullshit that you jackasses fed me. The damn fool had his gallbladder and appendix out. There is nothing wrong with Mc's dick other than the fact it's probably the only part of him that has a fucking conscious."

When Kevin's head flew up in shock from the words Bron had spoke, she smiled at him, "Very funny asshole. He fed you that story along with Mary and you ate it up too."

Coughing, wheezing, and gasping care from the telephone. "Who the hell told you!"

Kevin started to grin. After a long discussion with Gabe one night, Kevin had found the truth out too. He confronted Mc and Mc told Kevin to mind his own business. He was using that story to convince Bron that he didn't sleep with her when he was with her because he couldn't. Mc then confessed that he had told Kevin the truth originally when they were in Pittsburgh. Yes he had lied all the previous times, including during their Passions Peak meeting. He had never slept with Bron because he just couldn't bring himself to remove the innocence from the one person who held power over him. He slept with women all the time, just not his fiancée. Gabe had told Bron and there was no doubt in Kevin's mind. Gabe hated Mc and he tried in so many ways to get everyone to think as he did.

"That freaking old quack of yours told you, didn't he?" Mc was seething in the phone. He would be paying a house call to the old doctor very soon. "I think I need to visit….

"You leave the quack alone! He is special to me, he brought my son into this world. He kept me sane while I was losing my mind with worry during my pregnancy." The phone smacked loudly from the other end, and then the dial tone followed.

"You've been holding that card for awhile," Kevin's grin almost superseded his wife's.

"Yes I have," Bron smiled. She refocused on Maddigan and dialed Mc back. Mc answered the telephone with a grunt. She placed him on intercom once again.

Maddigan continued as he leafed through a ream of paper, "Now your daughter. Why is there no mention of her in this testimony, nor do I have a statement."

Bron's head whipped to Webster.

Webster never looked up from his notes, "Why would there be? She was sleeping. She didn't hear or see anything that night. I deemed it irrelevant."

Maddigan made a check mark on his form, "That's fine."

Bron almost fell over from relief. Kevin inhaled and then slowly exhaled.

"The break down is simple. We will do our opening statement and then they will do theirs. Once they have finished, we will start the direct examination of the first witness. Evidence will be introduced at that time."

Bron squirmed in the chair. "I assume I will be first." She completely blew off the evidence

"Of course," Maddigan looked at her strangely. "That is the friendly part, what comes next is difficult, the cross-examination. This is where they will create doubt of any kind if they can."

Webster stared at his notes. "Then we get a redirect examination to clarify any confusing testimony to the jury after all the witnesses have testified on our behalf. Hopefully, the defense team will not have you unglued by then."

"Thanks for the vote of support Webster," Bron grumbled as she stood up and made her way to the coffeepot.

"Chill Spark," Mc mumbled not really listening to Webster. He was laying his own groundwork for finding Steve in his head. He knew how the court system worked and didn't need a play by play.

"Then it is there turn to call their witnesses. After the redirect examination, the defense gets to explain their side of the story. Lenny does not have to testify. There is no burden to prove that he is innocent. It is up to us to prove that he did the crime that we laid out in the original indictment."

Pushing her chair closer to Kevin's, she sat down. Picking her cup slowly she looked directly at Kevin, not Maddigan or Webster. "I will be petrified if he testifies; that I know."

"I'll be right there with you." Kevin's hand rested on Bron's leg, his fingers splayed over her thigh.

"So will I," Mc added his support. "Spark you know as well as I do that if he doesn't testify it makes him look guilty… Hell they might not even put up a defense against him. So you better prepare yourself for that." Mc knew Bron's psyche better than anyone else did in the room. "He's going to stare and stare at you and intimidate you, he will threaten you with that slimy smile of his. Just know that I will never let it happen again. We'll talk when I get up there."

Webster sat back in the chair; he had no doubt as to what Mc was referring. He didn't think Maddigan had figured it out yet. "The sole purpose of this is to convict Lenny on something and to get people to screw up. I'm sure you are going to hear a ton of objections in this case."

Maddigan studied the list of people on the staff for this trial. Three people were on the case just to take notes so that nothing was missed. "Finally closing arguments will take place and they get to ask the jury for a guilty or not guilty. The judge will charge the jury with the appropriate law what they must do to reach a verdict."

"Deliberation is a bitch," Mc laughed.

Kevin frowned at the remark; things were tense enough in the room, the air crackled with it.

Bron quirked a grin, "We could always go to Long Fellows for lunch, you can pay."

"Ouch! The only thing impressive about Long Fellows is the tab. We'll walk to Vito's," Mc chuckled.

"Foul," Bron laughed. "You're cheap!"

"To get back to what we were talking about. We will leave a stringer at the courthouse to notify us when the verdict is in. Depending on how that goes, we will have a return visit for the sentencing, which will be calendared on a later date. Are you going to be present for that? Victims are allowed to speak at the sentencing."

"I need to get through the trial and anything that comes at the trial. We'll see but I'm not making any promises."

"Bron, victim impact statements are important."

Bron bounced her hand up and down on Kevin's hand. "I need to get through the trial first. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a chicken and have enough rage to drive a football team but I have others to think about, mainly the kids and Kevin. I have to see how things play out first."

Kevin wondered in his mind why they were doing this now. He question the validity of the case, it was more or less a pony show trying to get more out of the people involved to set up another case. "You're using her trial to get evidence for C.W.'s trail." Okay he knew that but just now it seemed to sink.

"And anything else I can pin on him or anyone else," Webster remained quiet; he wasn't going to expand on the fact they were looking at dirty cops and Steve as well. Kevin knew this and he had to wonder why the man even brought it up.

"What about other things? I do not want Mc going to jail. If that is your plan, I walk right now."

"I'm not going to jail," Mc snickered. "Trust me, they couldn't get me in jail when they tried."

"You're treading lightly Mr. McDonald," Maddigan face grew very tense.

Kevin watched Bron's nerves ride forward and wash over her. Bron was by far an idiot and it would take long to draw the line between the dots. Mc was involved and testifying for her not trying to bail his own ass out of jail. Things have come up missing concerning Bron's attack and the witnesses; they had discussed this privately. Kevin could see her wheels spinning in her head, "This isn't about Mc, it's about you."

"No it isn't. Something more is up with this besides Mc's involvement. Nothing has ever stuck to him, so it had to be that someone was helping at the time." The full realization hit her like a brick, "You're looking at your own people Webster!" The words were barked at Webster, not spoken.

Webster cleared his throat to begin to speak. However, he wasn't given the opportunity to reply since Mc jumped in before he could begin.

"Yes Bron they are and they should have told you that up front. I have friends; many friends, you know that. The problem is many of these friends have turned on me and they need to know why."

Kevin wanted to scream at Mc to shut up. If he didn't, everything would be out in the open. Bron would find out that Mc had been not just an informer but also an agent for the government. Kevin still had problems with this. Everything was neat and tidy even though the government had enough to put Mc in jail until the day he died.

"Why do they need to know why your little buddies work for you and not them?"

"Shit," Kevin winced.

Mc sat back in his chair and rolled a pencil between his fingers. "Because Solarez needs to go down now and they can't put him down if someone keeps messing with the case. I could control him, they can't. All that legal stuff gets in the way."

"What happened to the turf war? Oh yes, you are all nice and clean now. You are very legit and on the up and up. Webster, what is the statue of limitations on assault?"

Kevin squeezed her leg to get her attention. Bron was on the receiving end of one of Kevin's infamous death glares. A silent command to stop what she was doing.

She closed her mouth for a moment. "So I'm a guinea pig," Bron scoffed at all of them.

"No… You're not. It will be taken care of," Mc reassured her unbeknownst to him the comfort level in the room dropped severely at Bron's house with Maddigan and Webster gaping at the telephone. After hitting the mute button on the telephone when Suzie entered the office, he paused. "Cut out of here now. Go home and get what you want to take up there. I'll swing by when I'm done here."

Suzie's confusion reflected on her face. "But I have work to do…

"Take what you can with you. Do it tomorrow. The phones can go to the service. I'll have Andrew in here tomorrow to answer the telephones when he finishes up with school for the day." Mc was still holding the button so that the parties on the other end couldn't hear him.

"Yeah but…" Suzie was flustered. She wasn't used to Mc's attitude at the moment. The way he was carrying himself made her queasy and a little off kilter.

"Don't argue, just do it. Don't forget the damn laptop either." Mc waved her out of the office. He grinned when she threw her hands up in the air and began talking to herself as she entered the reception area.

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