The Summer Nanny 


Four Months Later

Tess looked across the courtroom, thinking Emily had no right to look as dignified as she did. She looked calm, despite being on trial for Chris’s murder. She sat in a wheelchair next to her defense attorney, her hands folded in her lap. Her auburn hair was pulled back into a sophisticated bun at the nape of her neck. 

The fall from her third-story balcony had left her unable to walk. Tess feared her disability would be a cause for sympathy from the jury. Emily had added to her unconscionable actions by pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Tess could only hope the jury would be smart enough to see through her defense. 

It was only the first week of the trial, and Tess was ready for it to be over. Although she desperately wanted justice for her younger brother, it was agonizing having to relive the night he died by sitting through the trial. 

Nathan and Chloe sat to her right and Adams to her left. Since Adams was the lead investigator in Chris’s murder, he was obligated to be present at the trial. But Tess had to take her own vacation in order to be there. 

Tess forced herself to look away from Emily, wishing Blake could’ve been there with her. He’d wanted to, but he wasn’t able to get the time off work. She’d attended a few trials in the ten months she’d been a homicide detective but being present at Chris’s trial was more painful than she had even imagined. She now had a deeper understanding of what the family members of victims went through. She felt her eyes brim with tears. The prosecuting attorney stood from his chair, and she worked to blink them away. 

“The State would like to call its first witness, Bridgett Hammond, to the stand.”

Tess turned her head to the end of her row. Her eyes followed Chris’s girlfriend, who had been sitting next to Paul, as she walked to the witness stand. Tess assessed the jury’s impression of her for the duration of Bridgett’s testimony. Tess felt herself relax when Bridgett stepped out of the witness box. Bridgett returned to her seat and Tess squeezed her older brother’s hand. For the first time that week, she was confident the truth would prevail.