[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 125
Chapter 20 (2 of 8): Trial – Phase Two
“I was scared, of course.” She put both hands across her chest and up against her chin. She sat back artfully on her chair. “I tried to placate her, to calm her down.”
Mazarine was scribbling madly on Natalie’s pad: LIES LIES ALL LIES!!! NEVER HAPPENED, NONE OF IT!! Natalie nods her head and jots down an answer: OK. NOT TO WORRY!
“And this kind of thing took place more than once?”
“Oh, yes,” Yukiko said, eyes huge.
“And was there any reason for her jealousy?”
“No. None whatsoever. It was all in her head. Maybe a projection of her own insecurities, somehow.”
“Objection, Your Honor.” Natalie was standing, addressing the court. “This witness has not been qualified as a psychiatric expert nor, I believe, is she a mind reader.”
“Sustained,” the judge intones. “The jury,” she continues, turning towards the jury box, “will ignore the last comment made by the witness.” And keep looking for the elephant in the courtroom.
Kerzy barely conceals his delight.
“So, Ms. Darling,” he smiles at Yukiko, “you were not being … unfaithful in this relationship.”
“No. Not at all.”
“Did she ever make good on any of her threats?”
Yukiko gave the appearance of deep embarrassment. “Not really.”
“Well, she did slap me a couple of times and warned me not to do it again. That is, go out with anybody but her.”
“I see.” He paced back and forth in the well, deep in putative thought. “Did you reciprocate?”
“Of course not.” She was shocked. “I abhor violence.”
“Yes, of course. Now, Ms. Darling, you said the defendant’s violent outbursts of jealousy were one of the things that made her impossible.”
Natalie elected not to object to the compound characterization.
“Well, she would become highly critical of me. Everything I did was wrong. She went out of her way to criticize me – my clothes, my make-up, the books I read, the food I ate. Everything. It was emotionally exhausting. After a while I couldn’t take it any more.” Yukiko expertly sheds a few tears that she subtly dabs at with her handkerchief.”
“Would you like to take a moment?” Kerzy asks solicitously.
“No,” Yukiko answers in a low, demure voice. “I think I will be fine now.”
Mazarine can’t help but feel the waves of sympathy washing Yukiko’s way from the jury box.
“Very well. Let me now ask you about the murdered woman, Trinh Cao. Did you know her?”
“How did that come about?”
“She was a friend of the defendant … of Ms. Cape. She introduced us once.”
“Do you remember when that was?”
“Yes. It was Friday evening on the ninth of January. This year.”
“And where did this meeting take place?”
“In a hotel room in the Momiji. Where Ms. Cape and I usually met.”
“What was the purpose of this meeting?”
“I thought she just wanted me to meet another Asian woman she knew. But it turned out she wanted to do a threesome.”
A collective gasp is heard.
“People …” the judge admonishes.
“Yes. You know,” she said, aversion written on her countenance, “she wanted the three of us to … to make love together.”
“And did you?”
“Absolutely not. I was shocked. I may have … have had a non-traditional lover, but I wasn’t into that kind of thing. And neither was the woman. Trinh. She was horrified too. I was very upset.”
Mazarine again exercises the pad for Natalie’s benefit: NOT TRUE NOT TRUE. IT WAS THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Natalie inclines her head as a sign that she understands.
“And then what happened?”
“It was all very difficult. We tried to talk, but it didn’t go anywhere. Pretty soon Ms. Cape and her friend left the room.”
“Do you recall what time that was?”
“Not exactly, but probably about an hour after they arrived. I’d estimate no later than seven-thirty.”
Kerzy turned to the jury and announced grandly, “No more questions, Your Honor.”
The judge looks up and says, “I think we have time for cross here before we adjourn for lunch. Ms. Siu?”
Natalie and Danny had been holding a fast power conference behind Mazarine’s back and then came to a conclusion.
“Yes, Your Honor.”
Natalie marches up close to the witness box and stands there a minute longer than necessary before addressing a smiling, almost sneering Yukiko.
“Ms. Darling, you indicated in your earlier testimony that neither one of you dated other women, is that right?”
“But you also implied that the defendant was seeing Trinh Cao?”
For the first time Yukiko looks not quite so confident. Mazarine, who knows her intimately, recognizes that Yukiko, now under attack, has gone into a power defense mode: the slight narrowing of the eyes, the thinning of the lips, the forward inclination of the body, the jaw muscles pulsing beneath that flawless skin. As always, Yukiko is quick on her feet.
“That was different. She,” and here she points dramatically at the defendant, “was seeing someone else. Not me.” She laughs light-heartedly. “Perhaps I did not make a sufficient distinction on an inconsequential point.”
Natalie was milking the moment for the jury’s benefit, and after a short pause during which she stares intently at Yukiko, she says disbelievingly, “Perhaps.” She paces in the well. “Do you have any other recantations of your previous testimony?”
“Your Honor,” Buzulethi shoots up, “objection to the use of the word ‘recantations’. Prejudicial.”
“Sustained.” Lombard-Golde wags a finger at Natalie. “Please rephrase that, Ms. Siu.” And then admonishes the jury to forget about the huge pachyderm stomping around in the well.
“Thank you, Your Honor,” Natalie says contritely.
“Ms. Darling, are you sure you don’t want to revise any of the answers you have given this morning?”
It was not what Yukiko was expecting, although now forewarned, and her mask of superior ennui dropped momentarily. Before she can respond, Kerzy is on his feet.
“Your Honor, this whole line of questioning is outrageous!” His indignation was not manufactured.
“That may be, sir, but the question is nonetheless permissible,” the judge answers. “The witness will answer.”
“Certainly not,” Yukiko sneers, sitting farther forward and giving Natalie a dirty look that the jury sees. Then, as if getting hold of herself, she sits back and assumes a sweet smile.
“The defense has no further questions for this witness at this time. But we reserve the right to recall her at a later point.”
“Very well. The witness is excused with instructions to remain available for further questioning by the defense.” Her gavel is on its downward arc as she announces, “We are adjourned until two o’clock this afternoon.”
TO BE CONTINUED