Pardon me if the legal angle isn't quite right, I'm doing the best I can. :)
The next day was Josh's bail hearing, and the entire population of the Beltway, it seemed, was in the courtroom for it. "Shit," J.B. muttered under her breath.
Raymond put a soothing hand on J.B.'s arm. "J.B., calm down. Don't let them get to you."
Even Josh was being comforting, though he obviously didn't believe his own words. "Just chill, J.B. You'll do oh, shit!"
"What?" J.B. lowered her voice.
Josh buried his face in his hands. "It's Mary Marsh. Right on the front row. What the hell is she doing here?"
J.B. looked baffled. "She asked to come testify."
It was Josh's turn to look at J.B. as though she'd gone postal. "What?!" he demanded in an escalating whisper. "She *asked* you if she could come testify? That woman hates me!"
"That's the point, Josh." J.B. was about to explain more, but just then the judge walked in.
The Honorable Martin Griffith sat down on the bench quickly, ignoring the bailiff's instructions for the rest of the room to sit. "This bail hearing will come to order in the case of People v. Joshua Lyman," he grunted. "Prosecution?"
"Yes, your Honor." The prosecutor, Simon Johnson, stood and spoke. "We feel that this case speaks for itself. The defendant works in the White House. He has connections that make it a very real possibility that he would flee the country. Such a man cannot be allowed bail."
"Hm." Griffith seemed to be able to do nothing but grunt. "Defense?"
J.B. stood, ever so slightly trembling. "Your Honor," she began, "the defence calls one character witness."
"Yes, go ahead."
"Defense calls Mary Marsh to the stand."
Josh buried his head in his arms again.
Mary Marsh emerged from the crowd and walked to the stand. Every step radiated with hauteur. She was sworn in and sat down, waiting expectantly for J.B.'s questions.
She began tentatively. "State your name and occupation for the record, please."
"Mary Elizabeth Marsh, and I am a political lobbyist on behalf of the National Episcopalian Church."
J.B. smiled. "Mrs. Marsh, what dealings, in the course of your career, have you had with the defendant?"
Mary smiled, but hers, unlike J.B.'s, had a spectre of acidity. "Several acrimonious ones, I assure you. We disagree on everything political, and many things personal."
"Then why are you here?" The question came rapt and quick on the heels of the apparently innocuous previous queries.
Still, Mary answered without pause. "I am here to testify that as much as I disagree with Mr. Lyman on many things, not least of all his faith "
"Mrs. Marsh," J.B. warned.
" he is not a man to have murdered two people in cold blood," Mary finished, with a triumphant look for Josh, whose mouth had literally dropped open. "He is a law-abiding man."
"I see." J.B. had to sum up. "So you put aside your personal dislike for the defendant to testify as to his integrity."
"You may step down. Thank you, Mrs. Marsh."
Josh was weak with relief and sudden fear. J.B. wasn't as crazy as she looked. Right off, she started the trial with a masterstroke.
But what the hell was Mary Marsh doing helping him out?
J.B. finished. "No further response, Your Honor."
"Thank you, Ms. Felton." Griffith paused for a moment, then said, "I think that if a person who hates him speaks of his trustworthiness we can risk it. Though the court will be *very* vigilant about any wrongdoing." The judge glared at Josh from the bench and slammed his gavel down. "Bail is set at two hundred thousand dollars."
J.B. relaxed. That was do-able. Josh wouldn't have to rusticate in the county jail. "Thank you, Your Honor."
"Dismissed." Griffith quickly left the room, and the spectators followed suit.
Josh was still in shock. "Mary Marsh got me bail."
"That's what I was going to tell you," J.B. said, stuffing papers in her briefcase. "She called me and said something to the effect of, 'Look, I hate your client. But he wouldn't kill anybody, and it'll look really good coming from someone who thinks your client is the AntiChrist."
"It was great, J.B." Raymond smiled. "You did well."
"Yeah." Josh was distracted, mulling over the spectacle of Mary Marsh sticking her neck out to help *anyone,* let alone someone she couldn't stand. It was decidedly curious.
But what the hell, he decided. He could raise enough on that $200,000 to get him out of jail. "J.B., let's talk to the bail bondsman. I need to get home."
"You need to see your Miss Moss," Raymond corrected, a gentle reproof.
Josh recalled with a start he hadn't communicated with the White House since all this. "My God, J.B. my job, my friends, what "
J.B. raised a hand to cut him off. "It's okay. Raymond went to the White House the other night and told them all about it."
"Thanks, Raymond." Josh said, eyes bright.
"No problem." Raymond smiled. "But Miss Moss was worried sick about you."
"I'll go see her as soon as this is settled." Josh spoke with a firm resolve.
"Then you have to help me," J.B. ordered, with a grin on her face. "As long as you're out, I can use an extra aide who knows something of law."
Josh's drawn face parted into a big, laughing smile. " 'Something of law?' " he mocked. "Jane Barbara Felton, I'll have you know I went to Harvard and Yale."
"Yeah, and look where you wound up." J.B. was trying to keep Josh's spirits up a bit. She knew the breakdown would come later, and at least he'd be in familiar surroundings while it happened.