The series follows Jade, a former waitress and seasoned Loan Some employee who thinks she’s done it all – until the lawyer of a wealthy recluse charged with murder hires her to act as the man’s sympathetic fiancée throughout the trial. As Jade gets into the role, she becomes more and more wrapped up in the case and with the eccentric defendant, whom she’s not at all sure is innocent. Previously… On the witness stand, Sibyl Downing claims that Melanie lied during her testimony. Readers voted that she goes on to say that Melanie was obsessed with Sebastian and wanted revenge.
“She lied to you,” Sibyl repeated. She sighed melodramatically, and briefly closed her eyes. “Melanie and Sebastian’s marriage started out wonderfully, and Melanie and I were very close. When their marriage ended, however…”
She glanced over at Sebastian, who was looking at his sister in a calculating, almost puzzled way. Next to Jade, Melanie was wide-eyed. The entire courtroom was riveted on Sibyl. She had that effect: commanding, mesmerizing, a bit unsettling.
Sibyl continued. “It was clear that Melanie did not want to get divorced. My brother tried to let her down kindly – and, might I add, very generously – but Melanie couldn’t see reason. She refused to accept that her marriage was over, and became – I hate to say it – obsessed. She would try to contact him constantly, beg him to take her back, and when he stopped responding she began harassing me. Calling me at all hours, coming over to try to see me, talk me into talking to Sebastian…” Sibyl waved her hand in the air as if to say, et cetera. All that crazy stuff and more.
A gasp of outrage escaped from Melanie. Jade looked delicately out of the corner of her eye and saw that Melanie’s face was very red, and she was staring at Sibyl with a look of utter betrayal on her face. No one but Jade seemed to notice this though; the whole room was still listening intently to Sibyl’s story.
“Finally, I think she realized that it just wasn’t going to happen. Now, Melanie is a bit…unbalanced, and naturally this realization wasn’t pleasant for anyone involved. Angry outbursts, showing up at Sebastian’s office and our home, declaring that she would get revenge. It was all so dramatic, but we didn’t think she would actually do anything.”
She paused, and the courtroom was deathly quiet. Finally flicking her radiant blue eyes over at the subject of her story, Sibyl almost smiled as she went on.
“When Melanie called me a few months ago, I answered the phone only to tell her that if she didn’t stop harassing us, I would call the police. She sounded calmer, more rational than she had in a long time. She informed me, very matter-of-factly, that if I didn’t follow her directions, she would kill my brother. Said she had it all figured out, that we wouldn’t be able to stop her.” Now Sibyl looked at the jury, her face full of sorrow and helplessness. “I believed her. She told me to watch my brother closely and to tell her if he had any contact with his old colleague, Josiah Carver. She wouldn’t tell me why. She had a place that we would meet, an old diner by the side of the highway.”
Sibyl sighed. “I knew I should go to the police, but I was so afraid for my brother. It seemed like a relatively harmless thing to do, so I went along with it.” She looked intently at the jury. “Believe me, I had no idea she was going to kill him and frame Sebastian for murder!”
At this, the prosecutor, who had worn a barely concealed expression of shock throughout the entire monologue, now seemed to come out of his reverie. He cleared his throat and spoke quickly.
“Thank you, Ms. Downing. Your honor, may I have a moment alone with my witness? It seems she has been keeping a few things from me.”
William was smiling broadly. Sebastian still looked skeptical, but Melanie looked as though she would explode with anger, indignation, and panic. The judge raised her eyebrows.
“You’ve had weeks to prepare your witness, counselor. I think we will continue with her testimony.”
Sibyl looked at the prosecutor with a sweetly apologetic expression. “I’m sorry,” she said earnestly. “I just couldn’t lie. Melanie Davis set my brother up and she needs to be held accountable.” She threw a look of sympathy and love at her brother, and it flickered through Jade’s mind that she wished she could throw looks like that. She’d be at the top of her profession.
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