[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
For §§ 1-110 (Chapters 1-18), see here.
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 123
Chapter 19 (13 of 13): Trial – Phase One
She finishes a long shower and wraps herself in a thickly napped bathrobe. With a single candle lit on the small table by the sofa, she sinks onto a soft settee. A large brandy snifter holding two jiggers of Grand Marnier in her hand, she sits in the dark and gazes out over the city’s kaleidoscope of lights that spread out beneath her. She has always enjoyed solitude, and she does now. But at the same time she wishes that she had a close friend – the kind of friend she had once thought Yukiko was – with whom to talk, to share her feelings, to get some response from. She is not seeing any men these days, and in some strange way she misses that. Most of her clients are educated, accomplished people, and not all of them wanted only to have sex with her. She realizes, now that she hasn’t been active for half a year, how much she misses intelligent conversation. Her greatest pleasure from the dinner she has just had with Natalie and Danny derives from the talk that was not related to the legal matters and the trial. She is deeply impressed with Natalie as a lawyer, but it is clear that she knows more than just law, too. She has a life outside her job, and so, it seems, does Danny. If she just met the two of them and did not know they were lawyers, she imagines they might be quite interesting in their own right. And what limited experience she has had with lawyers leads her to conclude that most of them are no more interested in anything – televised sports aside — outside their very narrow bailiwick than a butcher or a candlestick maker is.
She passes the snifter slowly under her nose and inhales, holds it up to the dim light and observes the sloshing of the amber fluid. She takes a sip and rolls it back and forth over her tongue, savoring the distinctive flavor. She swallows the silky liquid and, opening her mouth, breathes in sharply to maximize the effect of the powerful aroma. She loves Grand Marnier.
Why doesn’t she have friends?
She has her mother, with whom she talks quite openly. Her mother is her friend, yes, but she is also her mother. She has never been close to her older sister, Valerie, even when they were children. And Valerie went full bore into medicine, which left little time for them together as adults. A telephone call now and then across the continent keeps them in touch, and she is glad Valerie has been supportive since her arrest. But no, she is not a close friend. She is not sure how much Valerie knows about her means of earning money, but is sure that she does not or would not approve. Some of the girls at Aspasia’s are good pals, but real friends? No, the fact, Mazarine is compelled to conclude, is that she has, in Horatian terms, no true animae dimidium meae. Not one other half of my soul.
She has never given this much thought before. She has remained steadfast in her unexamined conviction that all she requires is solitude. She has no need for people. Not for another soul. That has worked fine for her when everything was fine. But now they are not fine and she wishes that she had someone who could help her, at a personal level, to endure and sustain the burden she now carries. If she can ever get beyond the present nightmare, perhaps she should make something of an effort to find a real friend or two. And at the very moment that she thinks it she realizes that one doesn’t secure a true friend the way one does a handsome coat or an exciting car. Where is my silent Pylades, she wonder wryly and crinkles her nose.
There was a time last fall when she was into it with Yukiko in a big way that she had played around in her head with the idea that Yukiko might become, in addition to her passionate lover, her dearest and closest friend. By December that idea was on the trash heap with many others she had had, and events since January had certainly disabused her of any such final hope remaining. Indeed, she is deeply troubled by the implications of Natalie’s comments about Yukiko to the effect that she will attempt to destroy her on the stand tomorrow. It is true, as Natalie has pointed out, that only Yukiko and she know what went on in their relationship. Of course it had never occurred to her to tape their cozy and intimate moments together, but, in retrospect, she sees that perhaps she should have started doing so by November, when things started to fall apart. Largely, she feels, thinking about those months, because that was when Yukiko’s dark side began to dominate her personality. It had not been a pleasant time, until Mazarine simply put a firm end to the relationship and extricated herself from further involvement. Until that dreadful Friday in January when she had foolishly agreed to join Trinh in visiting Yukiko in room 1965 at the Momiji. If she had not left the room together with Trinh later that evening, she might well wonder what part Yukiko may have had in this murder with which she had been charged.
If the hairs, which seemed to be central the prosecution’s case, were in fact hers – though thank heaven Natalie had managed thoroughly to confuse that issue for the jurors – would it mean that Yukiko – who else? – had somehow been picking her hair off the pillows after their love-making and saving them? For what? For a frame? At some future date?
Mazarine shook here head and drained the last of her drink. No, that seemed to bizarre even for Yukiko. But who, then?
With this obdurate question spinning round and round in her head she drifts off into dreamless sleep.
TO BE CONTINUED