Lucas looked at Wolfgang and saw the defeat in his brother’s eyes. There appeared to be no hope left.
“I cannot believe I have a son. I was such a fool to have told Victoria not to come when I realized I was going away to prison. I just wanted her to have a better life rather than waiting for a man rotting in prison,” He clenched his jaw and drew his hands into fists.
“Now here she is stuck with a man who still cannot be there for her child. Our child.” Wolfgang’s face softened as thought of his son. He saw so much of himself in that little face.
But the boy was so much smarter than he was and according to Victoria, Rickard had a talent with art like she did. She had left a picture of Rickard. Wolfgang had it in his cell next to his cot.
“Wolfgang, you have got to appeal, you’ve got to fight this. Victoria and Rickard need you. I know why you did what you did, but man, you’ve got to rethink this and get out of here!”
Wolfgang looked down at his hands with a sadness pressing in on him. “Don’t you think I want to get out of here Lucas? I want to be a father to my son and be there for Victoria, maybe even marry her! But I won’t rat and even if I did, I don’t even know where to begin. Do you have anything in mind?” he looked at Lucas with a determination growing in his eyes.
“Maybe if I have a conversation with Gregor. He obviously didn’t see you there that night and if Bradley had known who really did this they would have gone after them instead of you. I think your theory that he just picked you to get back at your relationship with Victoria is true. Maybe we if we can get Gregor to recant his testimony and tell the truth,” Lucas trailed off and a far away look entered his eyes.
“…I wonder if anyone could witness that Gregor wasn’t even there that night.” Lucas focused on his brother again. “Maybe we can even suggest that the Gills bought the DA or the judge. The trial was really fast … you never had a chance.”
The brothers continued talking softly as the day slipped into evening.
Lucas knocked on the Manlon’s door.
A scrawny teen girl answered. “Yeah? Whuddya want?” she asked as she pulled the door open. “Oh Lucas! I didn’t realize it was you!” The girl ran her fingers through her hair.
“Hey Claudia,” Lucas knew the girl from school. “Is Gregor here?”
“Nah, he’s workin at the hospital. Doesn’t get home until after five.”
“No problem Lucas, if you want you could come in and wait. My Mom made snacks.”
“Uhh, no thanks Claudia, I have to get going. Thanks again, see you at school!”
The girl’s face fell a bit as Lucas turned and walked down the path toward his bicycle.
Lucas arrived at the hospital. He knew from talking to Claudia occasionally at school that Gregor worked as a transport technician moving patients around between labs and tests and other hospital stuff. He saw Gregor in his scrubs uniform pushing a wheelchair.
“Hey there Manlon.” Lucas said.
“Yeah?” Gregor looked a bit confused.
“I’m Wolfgang Munch’s brother. My name is Lucas.”
“Oh. Hey.” Gregor’s face looked as if he had begun putting the pieces together. “What can I do for you?”
“You can recant your testimony about my brother. You know you weren’t there that night that Bradley was beaten.”
“Listen kid, that was a long time ago. I am not reopening that can of worms.”
“I say you are. My brother has been rotting in that prison based almost completely on your testimony and you know it’s false. What did the Gills do? Pay you off? I know you were friends with Bradley, but what did you have against my brother?”
“Listen kid, I’m working. Get outta here before I call security.” Gregor pushed by Lucas forcefully.
Victoria held onto Wolfgang’s hand as she peered into his eyes. She saw something there she hadn’t ever expected to see. Hope.
“Wolfgang, you have news. I just know it. What is it?” she asked barely allowing herself to feel a bit of his hope.
“I almost don’t want to say in case I’m getting my hopes up for nothing, but I absolutely have to tell you!” He smiled a warm smile at her. He loved seeing the same hope in her eyes that he felt. “I think there is at least a chance I will be released soon.” Wolfgang couldn’t stop himself from grinning.
“Really? Oh god, you wouldn’t make this up right?” Victoria squeezed his hands in hers.
“No, absolutely not making this up. But apparently Gregor Manlon has had a change of heart. He admitted that Bradley put him up to accusing me.”
“What? That absolute prick!” She wasn’t sure who she was talking about, Bradley or Gregor, but at the moment she was pissed at both of the men.
Victoria quickly lowered her voice when she looked around and realized she was drawing the attention of the other inmates and families. “What made Bradley do that?” she whispered angrily.
“It’s what we suspected originally. He was jealous that we’d gotten together and since he couldn’t remember anything about that night due to the brain trauma, he decided that the last thing he could remember was seeing you and I together at the Bluffs that night and I was just as good of a fall guy as anyone!”
“But why did Gregor do it? Was he really just that much of a friend to Bradley? I don’t even remember them hanging out that much in school!” Victoria tried remembering back in high school. Sure, Bradley and Gregor had been friends, but never seemed especially close.
“Well, according to Gregor, he was hanging out with Bradley that night at the pub. They had a few drinks and then Gregor went home. Bradley was still very much there and in one piece when Gregor left.”
“So why is Gregor suddenly coming forward?”
“Well, Lucas visited him this week and picked at a scab that was apparently festering. Gregor never really wanted to go along with this, but Bradley said he was certain it was me and Gregor would just be the icing on the cake at the trial.
The Gills actually made a pretty hefty deposit into Gregor’s bank account. He was able to use that money to finish his training for the hospital.”
“So he never wanted to accuse you huh?” Victoria was saddened. “But he did anyway. So what happened when Lucas visited him?”
“That’s the best part, apparently Gregor’s sister has a crush on Lucas or something. When Manlon wouldn’t talk to Lucas while he was at the hospital, Gregor’s sister Claudia mentioned when he got home about Lucas having stopped over.
Gregor was suddenly afraid from the way Claudia was acting that she may spill to Lucas that he’d been home with their family that night. She had been young and with it being years ago, she may not even think that she needed to keep it a secret anymore.” Wolfgang almost felt like laughing. “Claudia hadn’t even thought of that really. Apparently Gregor’s conscience was weighing on him that much.”
“That’s amazing news!” Victoria smiled. Her heart was so full looking at Wolfgang. She wanted nothing more than to see him released. From the way he was looking at her, she was certain there wouldn’t be anymore forced partings.