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Skye cleared her throat and stood. She felt Dylan's hand on her lower back and Wade's touch her hand as she passed them giving her encouragement. It had been the judge's idea to provoke Calvin into a confession, so when the prisoner had asked leeway to speak directly to Skye, the judge had pretended to ponder the suggestion before granting permission.

Skye had agreed to the plan and knew what to expect. She also knew that first battle was one that Calvin thought he had fought and won, and he was bound to crow about it.

Once Skye got seated on the witness chair, Calvin started. "Ms. Jackson."

Skye raised an eyebrow at him. "You can call me Dr. Jackson."

"Oh, doctor is it?" For some reason, Calvin thought that was funny and cackled. "Let's just settle on Skye then, shall we?"

"How about we shan't." Skye stared directly at his face. "It's Dr. Jackson, and if your puny brain can't remember that, then Doctor is just fine."

Calvin's face reddened slightly and Skye heard Pete and Tony mumble in anger behind Calvin. So far, so good. The more she angered them, the more likely they would lose control.

"Now," Calvin said high-handedly, "Skye. Isn't your, shall we say hostility, why you're being treated differently from the other witnesses?"

"I don't know," Skye said, letting scorn drip from her voice, "Calvin. Is it?" Once again, she heard the rattle of chains as Pete and Tony shifted in their seats.

Calvin looked over his shoulder at his jail mates, and his voice became firmer. "Let's try this again. I'm asking you why you're being treated differently than the other witnesses?"

"I don't know." Skye scoffed. "Maybe because you're incompetent, unqualified and just useless in general?"

The satisfaction of seeing Calvin's face turn beet red filled Skye's entire body, while the laughter that filled the room was a bonus. For the first time since Skye had known him, Calvin seemed uncomfortable, his confidence floundering. He was quickly becoming a laughingstock to the court and a disappointment to his friends.

Calvin rushed to Judge Munson and complained about Skye's lack of cooperation. The judge hammered his gavel until the room was under control, then he glared at Skye. Even though she was prepared for what he was going to say, the judge was intimidating, and it wasn't hard for her to look as if she regretted her behavior.

"Dr. Jackson," the judge said pretending to scold her. "This is my court of law, and you will behave in it. You stick to testifying. Whatever questions the defendant asks of you, you must answer, and that is it. Do you understand?"

Sticking to the plan, Skye lowered her head contritely. "Yes, sir."

Calvin, hearing the court go silent in preparation of his questions, strutted over to her. "Skye, on the day that we met, that day on the road, did you not hold a knife to my back and tell me you were going to kill me?"

Skye's mouth dropped open. Whatever she had imagined, it hadn't been this. Where is he going with this?

"Well, I-," she stammered as she tried to remember what she'd said.

"Do I need to ask the question again?"

"No. Yes, I did hold a knife to you, but I don't know what I said." Skye's gaze lifted to the audience when she heard a few gasps. "I don't remember what I said because I was afraid. You were trying to assault me."

"Me?" Calvin reared back as if in shock. "Did I even touch you?"

Skye narrowed her eyes. "You were giving the orders."

"I was? What exact orders did I give?"

Skye searched her memories, all the emotions were there but exact words were hard to remember. "I don't remember."

"Oh, well, you don't remember. Maybe the boy does. Why don't we ask him?"

Skye lifted her chin. "If you think that I'm going to let you bring my boy on this stand so you can tear him apart, you can think again!"

Calvin walked up to her chair and leaned over her, slamming his fist down on the desk. Skye jumped with the sound. "I am in control of this courtroom now! With the judge's permission, of course." His hot breath fanned over her and Skye bowed as if knowing she had no choice but to submit to his orders. "The judge said to answer my questions, didn't he?"

"Yes, he did."

"If you don't want your boy up here then that is what you will do, won't you?"

Skye nodded. "Yes, I will."

Calvin's face mirrored his pleasure at the power he believed he had and he leaned in closer. Skye held herself still, staring at his feet when all she wanted to do was run.

"Good girl," Calvin sneered. Dylan's growl of displeasure could be heard through the courtroom, and Calvin smiled.

"Now, Skye dear," he said shooting a look at Dylan, "the second time we met, in the woods beside the store. Did you not say that you would kill me?"

Once again her memory was fuzzy, she had said and done a lot of things that day that she still couldn't remember. "I don't know," she said resignedly. "Maybe, if you threatened Jesse."

"So up to that day, I'd met you twice, and on both occasions, you threatened me with death. Is that true?"

Skye's answer came slowly. "Possibly."

"That is my recollection." Calvin gestured back to Tony and Pete. "It is my friend's recollection. Do you deny it?"

Could he possibly be trying to turn this around? But the plan was to go along with him. Skye looked at the floor and shook her head.

"I can't hear you, dear."

"I don't remember."

"So you can't deny it?"

Skye sighed but didn't answer.

"Skye?" Calvin stood so close she could smell his sweat, and she began to feel sick. "I'm sorry, honey, but I need an answer."

"No, I can't deny it."

The gleam in his eyes set her on edge, but she waited for his next words.

Calvin reached out as if to stroke her hair before he thought better of it and quickly pulled his hands back to clasp them behind himself.

"Your honor. The simple truth is, I was in fear of my life, we all were. This girl and her vicious boy threatened us." There were a few giggles in the audience, so Calvin turned to them. "Before you laugh, let me inform you that this woman knocked out that huge man," he pointed out Pete, "all by herself. He was out cold. I thought he was dead!"

Calvin pointed out Tony. "Her boy cut Tony so bad that he couldn't walk. He will limp until the end of his days. And this was all within minutes of meeting her."

Calvin turned toward the judge with innocent eyes. "It was a deserted road, sir. When we saw her and the boy on their own, we just wanted to make sure they were all right."

The thicker he laid it on, the sicker Skye felt. She heard Jesse groan.

"Is it any wonder, your honor, that on our second encounter I anticipated trouble? Of course, we defended ourselves!"

The court was silent. Outside, a few birds called to each other. There was a scrape against the floor as someone shifted their feet. Skye looked up and scanned the room. People were confused; this was supposed to be an open and shut case, had seemed to be before Skye got on the stand. Now they seemed uncertain.

Skye's insides turned to jelly. This is not supposed to be happening!

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