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Grudgingly, Lily almost had to admire Martin's bearing as

he walked to the stand. He looked serious but confident,


as if sure he had done nothing wrong. He was immaculate
in his college uniform of blazer, grey pants - and the
gold and purple tie which reminded Lily of how she had
been bound...His hair had been trimmed. A woman in the
jury sighed audibly, a reaction to his youth, and also to
his clean-cut good looks. Lily's father shouted an
obscenity and was warned by the court ushers. Martin
ignored him.

Lily glanced at the woman who had sighed, and then at the
rest of the jurors. She recognised none of them. Clearly
Pemberton had insisted on a jury made up of people who
were not local, to ensure the odds were not tipped in her
favour.

After the oath had been taken, Pemberton said: “Before we


commence, it is important to remind the jury of an
important fact. Martin,” - the use of his forename seemed
to make him seem somehow innocent - “you have been told
clearly that because of your tender years, you did not
have to give evidence.”

A nod. “I was, sir.” The voice was clear and steady.

“Why then have you decided to give evidence?”

“I wouldn't want anyone thinking I'm hiding behind the


law. I want to tell everyone what happened.”

“Thank you. We have already established that Miss Harris


was trespassing in your grounds on the day in question.
Is such trespass a frequent occurrence?”

“Yes. A lot of the townspeople come into our grounds.


They throw litter down, generally make a mess.”

“Is that all that happens?”

“No! You have to be careful of the local yobs. They hate


us. Before now they've attacked us in the grounds. As
well as when we go to town. We've even done charity stuff
for local kids, sponsored runs and that, but they blame
us for their coal pit closing. I wasn't even born when it
closed!” There were murmurs of sympathy from some of the
jurors.
Lily, and any local person, knew that Martin was only
telling half the story. The college students caused
plenty of trouble – picking fights with local youths, and
trying to seduce town girls (sometimes successfully, to
Lily's scorn.)

“Had you seen Miss Harris before the day in question?”

“Yes, she often cycles through our grounds. We told her


she was trespassing before.”

“How did she react?”

Martin smiled awkwardly. “I...I couldn't repeat what she


said.”

Butter wouldn't melt in your mouth, you little bastard!


Lily thought.

“So,” Pembroke continued, “you decided on an


understandable, if inadvisable, course of action.”

“Yes. I know it was stupid, but...we were going to take


her uniform and fly it from the school flagpole. Warn off
all the people who thought our grounds were a public park
or something. It was going to be like a university Rag
Week stunt. Just a prank.” A couple of the jurors
giggled.

“Before my next question, I remind you that you are on


oath. Did you plan beforehand on any sexual contact with
Miss Harris?”

“No. I'd hardly even kissed a girl until...that day.”

“Indeed. Describe in your own words what happened when


you put your plan into practise.”

“We got her uniform off her. She was going apeshit- I
mean mad. Saying she'd kill us. We had to tie her.”

Martin paused. His breathing was more heavy. Lily


realised that he was becoming aroused at the very
recollection of her ravishing.

“Then I looked at her. She was just wearing..those things


you showed the jury. We thought under her uniform she'd
be wearing a petticoat or something.” There were murmurs
from a couple of the male jurors.

“I just got...well, excited. I couldn't help it. I kissed


her. It was like a chain reaction. I was kissing her and
my hand was on her bum – I mean her bottom.” Laughter
form the jury. He pointed to Lily's underwear on the
exhibit table.

“Those stupid little things..they weren't clothes! We


got rid of them and then..”

He looked helplessly at the jury. “it just had to be! We


couldn't stop! We...did it!”

Lily's father stood up and ran towards the witness box,


fists clenched. He had to be dragged out by the court
ushers and police. The court was in uproar for a few
minutes, but finally Pemberton could ask his next
question.

“Martin, you may be embarrassed by this. But before


this...event, were you a virgin?”

“Yes, sir. I was.”

“I have no further questions.”

It was the turn of Lily's counsel. “You said: we couldn't


stop. We did it. But what you meant is you couldn't stop,
couldn't control yourself. This poor girl was bound and
held.” His voice rose. “She wanted no part of it. You
raped her!”

“Objection, m'lud.” Pemberton was unruffled. “Counsel is


bullying the witness.”

The judge frowned. “Prosecution will refrain from


shouting.”

“Apologies, m'lud.” The young lawyer spoke more quietly.


“You forced yourself on this girl who showed no sign
whatever of consenting to your advances, is that not
correct? In your lust, you had no thought for her
anguish!”

martin stared calmly at the jury. “It didn't feel like


that when we kissed. I had no thought for anything. I
couldn't think!”

Lily realised that the defence gambit, putting Martin on


the stand, was working. He had thrown himself on the
jury's mercy, and they were being won over.

But her lawyer wasn't finished. “And were you thinking


after your bestial lust was satisfied? Because you didn't
release her. You were abducting her when a teacher
happened by.”

Martin shrugged helplessly. ”No, I wasn't thinking then!


All I knew was...” He paused then said in a kind of
righteous anger: “Lily Harris is mine! She belongs in my
bed, and we were taking her there!”

The lawyer grinned as if he had tricked an admission the


youth. “No further questions.”

* * *

It was time for both lawyers to make their final


remarks to the jury. Lily's spoke first.

“Members of the jury, Martin Bromley stands condemned out


of his own mouth. Recall his words. Lily Harris is mine!
She belongs in my bed, and we were taking her there!

“Ponder those words, their chauvinist arrogance. To him,


a woman is a mere package, to be enjoyed regardless of
her wishes, then kept for his further pleasure. He
intended to have her delivered to his bed as if he were
ordering a pizza. And if she had arrived there, you may
imagine only too well what further horrors were in store
for her.

“So you must not be swayed by his lack of years. He is a


monster. Heaven knows how or if his victim can recover;
it is probable that she will never be as she was. For the
sake of justice, and the safety of all women, Bromley
must lose his liberty, and so must the gang who aided him
in this shocking crime.”

He sat down.

Pemberton stood, hands on the lapels of his suit. He


paused theatrically.
“My learned friend calls Martin Bromley a monster,” he
began. “In a way, he is right. Any man in this courtroom,
if he is a man, has been such a 'monster'. An adolescent
boy! A seething mixture of hormones, urges and emotions.
Ladies of the jury, I must ask you to be sympathetic.
Gentlemen, you know of the difficult, wonderful journey
that Martin is making; you have made it yourselves and
you can remember it.

“What of Lily Harris? Remember that if she had not been


breaking the law in the first place – trespassing – the
entire incident would never have happened. Later, Miss
Harris might have been able to talk her way out of the
predicament she found herself in, if only she had been
diplomatic and cool-tempered. But as we have seen during
this trial, she is neither. In fact she escalated the
situation, by her manner and by her near-nudity once her
uniform had been removed.” He gestured towards the bra
and knickers on the table. “She says that such skimpy
attire is necessary for coolness and comfort. Perhaps she
is right.

“What is certain is that she is a sexually experienced


young woman. Unlike my client, she was not a virgin
before this incident. The prosecution claims she 'will
never be as she was.' You have seen that she is exactly
as she was: assertive, argumentative. In modern parlance,
bolshy.”

Lily heard her mother shout something. Pemberton only


smiled again. “My learned friend speaks of – what was the
phrase – further horrors, in store for Miss Harris if the
abduction had succeeded. Horrors? Let us be realistic.
Martin Bromley intended to carry her off and make love to
her. And I use the phrase 'make love' deliberately,
because at no time was she harmed. Certainly, this
passionate youth, giddy with his first experience of sex,
would not have given her the opportunity to sign a
consent form!” A juror chuckled. “But will you condemn
him simply for being a young male? Consider those words
of his again. Lily Harris is mine! She belongs in my
bed!”

Hearing the phrase made Lily want to shout with fury.

“Arrogant? Or simply a cry from the heart? The cry of an


infatuated, hot-blooded boy! A boy who does not deserve
to have his life ruined and his liberty curtailed!”

He had finished. One or two jurors actually began to


applaud.

* * *

The jury had retired, but in only a few minutes were


back. Never in her life had Lily been so nervous.

“Have you reached a verdict?” The foreman was asked.

“We have.”

“Is it the verdict of you all?”

“It is.”

Lily glanced at her lawyer, hope on both their faces.

“Do you find Martin Piers Bromley guilty or not guilty of


rape?”

“Not guilty.”

In the uproar, it was almost impossible to hear that all


five boys had been found guilty on the charge of
attempted kidnapping. The judge spoke.

“Usually, it is a serious offence to try to abduct anyone.


But I have heard the facts of this case. As counsel for
the defence pointed out, no harm was done to the intended
'victim'. She seems to have an unfortunate attitude, and
a high opinion of her own status and dignity. So in view
of the circumstances, the age of the defendants, and
their exemplary backgrounds, punishment would be utterly
inappropriate. They are free to go, and they leave
without a stain on their character.”

As he left the court, surrounded by his friends and


family, Martin looked across at Lily. Neither looked away
until he was out of sight.