"Yes, he did."
"And that was following a girl's scream?"
"That is correct, sir."
Pearson hesitated, half expecting Redmayne to leap up and protest at such an obvious leading question, but he remained unmoved. Emboldened, Pearson continued, "And Mr. Craig returned to the bar a few moments later?"
"He did," replied Davenport.
"And he advised you and your other two companions to go home," said Pearson, continuing to lead the witness-but still Alex Redmayne didn't move a muscle.
"That's right," said Davenport.
"Did Mr. Craig explain why he felt you should leave the premises?"
"Yes. He told us that there were two men fighting in the alley, and that one of them had a knife."
"What was your reaction when Mr. Craig told you this?"
Davenport hesitated, not quite sure how he should reply to this question, as it wasn't part of his prepared text.
"Perhaps you felt you should go and see if the young lady was in any danger?" prompted Pearson helpfully from the wings.
"Yes, yes," responded Davenport, who was beginning to feel that he wasn't coming over quite so well without an autocue to assist him.
"But despite that, you followed Mr. Craig's advice," said Pearson, "and left the premises?"
"Yes, yes, that's right," said Davenport. "I followed Spencer's advice, but then he is"-he paused for effect-"learned in the law. I believe that is the correct expression."
Word-perfect, thought Alex, aware that Davenport was now safely back on his crib sheet.
"You never went into the alley yourself?"
"No, sir, not after Spencer had advised that we should not under any circumstances approach the man with the knife."
Alex remained in his place.
"Quite so," said Pearson as he turned the next page of his file and stared at a blank sheet of paper. He had come to the end of his questions far sooner than he'd anticipated. He couldn't understand why his opponent hadn't attempted to interrupt him while he so blatantly led this witness. He reluctantly snapped the file closed. "Please remain in the witness box, Mr. Davenport," he said, "as I'm sure my learned friend will wish to cross-examine you."
Alex Redmayne didn't even glance in Lawrence Davenport's direction as the actor ran a hand through his long fair hair and continued to smile at the jury.
"Do you wish to cross-examine this witness, Mr. Redmayne?" the judge asked, sounding as if he was looking forward to the encounter.
"No thank you, m'lord," replied Redmayne, barely shifting in his place.
Few of those present in the court were able to hide their disappointment.
Alex remained unmoved, recalling his father's advice never to cross-examine a witness the jury likes, especially when they want to believe everything they have to say. Get them out of the witness box as quickly as possible, in the hope that by the time the jury came to consider the verdict, the memory of their performance-and indeed it had been a performance-might have faded.
"You may leave the witness box, Mr. Davenport," said Mr. Justice Sackville somewhat reluctantly.
Davenport stepped down. He took his time, trying to make the best of his short exit across the courtroom and out into the wings. Once he was in the crowded corridor, he headed straight for the staircase that led to the ground floor, at a pace that wouldn't allow any startled fan time to work out that it really was Dr. Beresford and ask for an autograph.
Davenport was happy to be out of that building. He had not enjoyed the experience, and was grateful that it was over far more quickly than he had anticipated; more like an audition than a performance. He hadn't relaxed for a moment, and wondered if it had been obvious that he hadn't slept the previous night. As Davenport jogged down the steps and on to the road, he checked his watch; he was going to be early for his twelve o'clock appointment with Spencer Craig. He turned right and began to walk in the direction of Inner Temple, confident that Spencer would be pleased to learn that Redmayne hadn't bothered to cross-examine him. He had feared that the young barrister might have pressed him on the subject of his sexual preferences, which, had he told the truth, would have been the only headline in tomorrow's tabloids-unless of course he'd told the whole truth.
TOBY MORTIMER DID not acknowledge Lawrence Davenport as he strode past him. Spencer Craig had warned them that they should not be seen in public together until the trial was over. He had phoned all three of them the moment he got home that night to tell them that DS Fuller would be in touch the following day to clear up a few points. What had begun as a birthday celebration for Gerald had ended as a nightmare for all four of them.
Mortimer bowed his head as Davenport passed by. He had been dreading his spell in the witness box for weeks, despite Spencer's constant reassurance that even if Redmayne found out about his drug problem, he would never refer to it.
The Musketeers had remained loyal, but none of them pretended that their relationship could ever be the same again. And what had taken place that night had only made Mortimer's craving even stronger. Before the birthday celebration, he was known among dealers as a weekend junkie, but as the trial drew nearer, he had come to need two fixes a day-every day.
"Don't even think about shooting up before you go into the witness box," Spencer had warned him. But how could Spencer begin to understand what he was going through when he had never experienced the craving: a few hours of sheer bliss until the high began to wear off, followed by the sweating, then the shakes, and finally the ritual of preparation so he could once again depart from this world-inserting the needle into an unused vein, the plunge as the liquid found its way into the bloodstream, quickly making contact with the brain, then finally, blessed release-until the cycle began again. Mortimer was already sweating. How long before the shakes would begin? As long as he was called next, a surge of adrenaline should get him through.
The courtroom door opened and the usher reappeared. Mortimer jumped up in anticipation. He dug his nails into the palms of his hands, determined not to let the side down.
"Reginald Jackson!" bellowed the usher, ignoring the tall, thin man who had risen the moment he appeared.
The manager of the Dunlop Arms followed the usher back into the courtroom. Another man Mortimer hadn't spoken to for the past six months.
"Leave him to me," Spencer had said, but then, even at Cambridge, Spencer had always taken care of Mortimer's little problems.
Mortimer sank back onto the bench and gripped the edge of the seat as he felt the shakes coming on. He wasn't sure how much longer he could last-the fear of Spencer Craig was being rapidly overtaken by the need to feed his addiction. By the time the barman reemerged from the courtroom, Mortimer's shirt, pants and socks were soaked in sweat despite its being a cold March morning. Pull yourself together, he could hear Spencer saying, even though he was a mile away sitting in his chambers, probably chatting to Lawrence about how well the trial had gone so far. They would be waiting for him to join them. The last piece in the jigsaw.
Mortimer rose and began pacing up and down the corridor as he waited for the usher to reappear. He checked his watch, praying that there would be time for another witness to be called before lunch. He smiled hopefully at the usher as he stepped back into the corridor.