12th July 2010
Both Rupert and I quickly learned that the waiting didn't get any easier. After the first hearing Rupert came and joined me in my vigil outside the courtroom, holding my hand for support. Father would never let us inside and neither of us dared speak to Isabelle. I felt sorry for Rupert, I could tell how desperately he had wanted things to go well with our mother, but it was clear that nothing was going to be simple.
Days turned into weeks and before I knew it the first month of the court case had passed us by. I didn't pretend to understand what was going on behind the doors I waited outside, but whatever it was, it was clearly going to take a lot longer than I had thought. No one could decide who was in the right and who was in the wrong. The process was painful and far too long.
But it was nothing like the agony of waiting for the verdict on the final day of the trial.
6th March 2010
Nauseous. That's how I would describe the way I was feeling as I waited outside the courtroom for the final verdict.
"Can you stop pacing up and down like that," Rupert complained from the cold plastic seat he was sitting on. "You're making me feel ill."
"I can't help it," I protested. "If I stay still for more than five seconds I feel like I'm about to throw up." My stomach had tied itself into more knots than I thought possible. I hadn't been able to eat for days, except when Rupert and Lewis forced something down my throat.
"Well could you do something a little less...annoying."
To shut Rupert up I took the seat next to him, trying my hardest to sit as still as possible.
"I've found you," Lewis said as he turned the corner and walked briskly towards us. "I was beginning to get worried."
"What are you doing here?" I said, standing up again and throwing my arms around Lewis, relaxing as he held me.
"I thought I should come to make sure you two are OK. I thought you might need someone to hold your hand for you while you wait."
I felt so grateful towards Lewis for all he had done for me over the past months. I had no idea how I was going to repay him for the kindness he had shown us but I knew I would find a way. I just hoped that he would stick around after all of this was over. I had grown quite attached to him.
"You didn't have to do that," Rupert said.
"I wanted to. I felt that I should be with you, seeing as it's my fault that you're all here to start with."
"It's not your fault," I insisted, squeezing his hand. "How were you supposed to know we would end up here? For you it was just a job, nothing more."
"You mean so much more to me than just a job Evelyn," he replied. "So much more."
"Why are they taking so long?" Rupert complained, totally ignoring the moment that was happening between me and Lewis. "They've been in there for hours. How long can it realistically take?"
"Who knows," Lewis shrugged. "Nothing has been clear cut in this case. It's a question of what the jury thinks is right and wrong so it's not going to be an easy decision to make."
The three of us sat down in the uncomfortable chairs, my hands clasping those of both Rupert and Lewis. Seconds felt like hours as I waited, expecting the doors to open at any second and for my father to walk out with a small smile on his face. He would hug me tightly and everything would be alright. I convinced myself that is what would happen.
12th July 2010
But it wasn't going to work out like that.
On 6th March 2010, my father was convicted of the kidnap and abduction of myself and my brother. I couldn't see the difference between kidnap and abduction but clearly the jury knew the difference and the convicted him on both counts. The lawyers told me it was because my father refused to let me or Rupert testify in his defence. He said it implied that we didn't care about what happened to our father so he must be guilty.
We appealed of course but to no avail. My father received an eighteen month prison sentence for the crime, enduring without complaint. I have visited him every week since he's been locked away. I'm not going to abandon him. Not ever.