Meanwhile, Lance headed to Doc’s place and pulled him aside inside his residence, having just walked in after a light knock. “We want you to wake the boys around six in the morning so we can speak to them and fill them in on the story we’re going to be telling the authorities. We want to be the ones to report their arrival in town and call for emergency vehicles to bring them to the City hospital. We feel it will be better if we make the call rather than any authorities who might arrive in town to question me about the report of the fire. If for some reason the authorities show up tonight, which I doubt they will at this late hour, I’ll handle it. We’re also going to wait until morning to talk to Floyd as he’s most likely passed out drunk at this point.”
The Doc nodded his understanding. He like Hank was angry at having been taken at gunpoint, but he was much more mild-mannered than his brother so didn’t express his feelings to the Sheriff, but he did broach a topic that had been bothering him concerning Jarrel, making sure that he and the Sheriff were well out of earshot of the recovery room where Jarrel was still vigilantly watching over the boys, apparently refusing to even sleep himself while on task.
“Listen, Jarrel commented offhand to Luke in front of me and Buford about his own abusive upbringing and then commented that his brother was very much like his father. I outright asked him if his brother was abusive with him and he smiled and put a finger to his lips and said ‘loose lips sink ships’ and would say no more. So, I’m concerned for him that Montavier might be abusing him.”
Lance frowned. “I’ve never seen any signs of abuse. No bruises or anything like that whenever Montavier’s been in town…” Doc interjected, “Jarrel said his father used to use methods that left no visible marks–a rubber hose or phone book, or he made them stand in painful positions for long periods of time; that sort of thing. So, if Jonathan is the same temperament and was raised in that same environment, he’d use the same methods and there wouldn’t be any visible sign.”
Lance continued to frown. “Well, I don’t know what we can do about it then; if Jarrel won’t talk about it and there’s no visible evidence. Jonathan Montavier is a very wealthy and powerful man to be accusing him of abusing his brother without just cause or proof of it, Doc.” The Doc sighed. “I know, but I thought maybe you’d have some idea of what we could do. I don’t like thinking that Jarrel might be suffering and there’s nothing being done about it.” Lance shrugged. “He doesn’t seem to be unhappy, Doc. He’s always smiling…” Doc looked at the Sheriff with a look of disapproval. “He’s insane, Lance, and if he is being abused it may be contributing to his insanity. Just because he hides behind a smile doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need help, or that it’s okay that he’s being abused by his brother. If he is. But you’re right. I don’t know if there’s a solution at the moment. But I wanted you to be aware of what might be going on so that maybe we can keep a closer eye when his brother comes to visit.”
Lance shrugged again. “Well we can keep an eye, but I’m not sure what we can do if we do find out that Montavier is abusing his brother. As I said he’s a very powerful man, and if he’s not leaving any visible sign and with Jarrel being clinically insane, it’s not likely they’re going to take his word over his brother’s unless we witness the abuse firsthand. Anyway, get some rest and I’m sorry about earlier. My brother and I honestly don’t mean any of you any harm, but we both felt desperate and back into a corner with Hank threatening to go to the authorities with the truth.”
Doc nodded, though he was still angry and he knew his brother was absolutely furious from the look on his face, so much so that Doc decided it best to wait until morning to speak to him. Aberly hadn’t said a word himself other than to head straight back to his house, though Doc couldn’t imagine that he was any happier about the situation than the rest of them.
Lance inwardly sighed and headed home. He knew he and his brother had done much to alienate Hank, Doc, and Aberly, but he really didn’t think he had had any choice at the time. He only hoped that time would heal the rift that had been created between them, but the important thing was that they found a workable compromise that didn’t land him and his brother in jail.