Jako and Chris were enjoying their first days of freedom.
Jako quietly motioned Mike to move out of hearing range of the others. “You were right to tell off Dianne.”
“Thanks. She walked out of the door nearly in tears,” Mike said.
Mike had invited the Thomson family to his home. He’d welcomed them with warm embraces. He also hugged Charlie, to whom he’d got engaged several weeks before. Jako saw that Charlie returned the squeeze affectionately.
They were sitting on chairs under umbrellas to protect them from the midday summer sun in Mike’s back garden in Eshowe. The men were drinking icy beers, while the women had gin, tonics, slices of lemon and plenty of ice to keep their drinks cool. Four-year-old Kate-Emily was drinking orange squash from a mug shaped like Pinocchio.
Jako said: “Thank God that murder trial is over. I’m sorry that Roderick hung himself. I’m sure he was eventually to hang, but at least it ended it sooner.”
Mike pointed out that Roderick had to endure rape in jail. “That was horrible he had to go through that, even if he did murder Madelaine.”
Mike shouted rather loudly: “Let’s celebrate today. Roderick left a note that set in motion Jako and Chris’s freedom.
Chris smiled, relieved. “That Roderick got what he deserved.”
“I agree with you, Chris,” George Thomson interjected. “Cheers, to you guys, too. And to you, Kate-Emily, for withstanding the prison.”
Kate-Emily responded with a cheeky smile and said: “It was nothing, Uncle George.” The Thomson’s had fostered her, driving every day for an hour to follow the trial. The sour woman had been outmanoeuvred by George Thomson. He submitted foster papers for Kate-Emily and they’d been successful.
Dianne held Kate-Emily’s hand. Jako had befriended Dianne, and there were signs of love beginning to blossom.
Jail had been an endurance test for Jako and Chris. Jako said: “The trial proved that Roderick was guilty. It’s a bloody miracle you got that blood on the bracelet and that you could get the bracelet to Mike.”
He turned and hugged Mike, like he’d seen him for the first time. There was a sparkle in Jako’s eyes.
Mike warmly responded to the embrace, and pulled Chris to join them. Then, bending down to pick Kate-Emily up, he pulled and hugged her in an affectionate group hug.
Mike interjected: “Let’s remember the first Kate-Emily and your wife, Liz, who met with untimely tragedies.”
“Yes, cheers to that,” Jako remembered sadly.
Jako saw that Sue had given Mike a scathing look. Perhaps she thought of what might have been if he had chosen her to go the dance on New Year’s Eve. Mike did not even notice.
It struck Jako that there was some irony to illegal diamonds bringing justice. He asked Mike: “Do you remember that our grandpa gave us the uncut stones?”
Mike laughed: “Don’t forget: I’ve lost my memory?”
“Yes, sorry about that. Grandpa said that he had kept them in a tin in a cupboard for years before he passed them on to me.”
Mike looked as he had something on his mind. “Now we’ve lost the diamonds,” he said remorsefully.
“Fuck,” Jako agreed.
It occurred to him that he’d sworn in front of his daughter. “I’m sorry, Kate-Emily.”
She gave Jako a mock serious look, and he smiled.
Mike said: “Back to the diamonds.”
“I wonder where they are?” Jako turned to Chris and said with sadness: “The last time we saw them, they were with your great-aunt, and, sadly she’s no longer.”
“We all looked for them, but, I don’t know what happened to them.”