Marcus opened the door for Gertrude. She looked very worried.

“Has something happened to Mum?” Gertrude asked quickly. “You didn’t say much on the phone, Marcus. Where is Mum?” Gertrude looked around as she spoke.

“It’s okay, sis,” Marcus said. “Mum is lying down for a bit. We’ll talk first and then go and get Mum.”

“Are you sure she’s not sick or anything?” Gertrude asked as she sat down at the table. Marcus sat down beside her. He looked at his sister for some time before he spoke.

“What is it, Marcus? You’re making me nervous.”

Marcus began to talk. He didn’t stop until he had told his sister everything. Gertrude listened carefully to every word he said. She never interrupted him once.

“Tell him he’s making it all up,” Mum said from behind them. “I don’t believe a word of it.” Neither Marcus nor Gertrude had realised that Mum was awake. She had heard everything Marcus said. She glowered at her son.

Gertrude slowly shook her head. She knew everything that Marcus said was true. She knew that her brother would never try to harm her. She knew it had taken a great deal of courage for him to speak out. She could see that he was hurting very much.

The man she had planned on marrying was a thief and a liar. Gertrude sat quietly for a long time. Then very slowly, and softly, she began to talk.

“Mum,” she said patting her mother’s hand. “I have to tell you that Marcus is not lying. I should have known that something was wrong. But when you’re in love, the way I am, you tend to overlook little discrepancies. Your heart refuses to acknowledge certain things, though your mind is telling you something different.”

Both Marcus and Mum looked at Gertrude but neither said a word. “I should have known something was wrong. Jonathan always has lots of money. I can never find out where he works. He says he works all over the country; he is a consultant for various investment banks. On the morning of the robbery here in town, he disappeared for a few hours. He wouldn’t tell me where he’d been. When I asked him about it he told me to mind my own business.”

Mum put her head in her hands and began to sob loudly. For a long time it was the only sound to be heard in the house.

Marcus got up and made some tea. He felt terrible for making his sister confess to those things. He felt his mother would never forgive him. Gertrude might never forgive him either. In trying to do the right thing he had brought such sadness and despair to his family.

“Just tell me one thing, child,” his mother said. “Did you know anything about the robberies?”

* * *

Tell us what you think: What will Gertrude tell her mother?