Chapter 25 | The Trial Begins
“Addie, get up. It’s time.” I hear my mom say as I slowly lift my head from my pillows. I feel so weak, yet I somehow manage to get up and give her a nod. Today is the day I’ve been dreading for weeks. The trial starts today. I’m honestly scared as to what will happen, but I know that I have exactly what I need to get the job done.
I slowly get out of bed and head to take a shower. After I leave my bathroom, I see a black knee-length skirt with a matching black blazer. I lift the blazer and see a deep red blouse underneath. I pray that it fits, and it actually does. Once I have everything on, I realize I don’t have any shoes that will go with it, so I pull on my black converse and shrug. I push on my dark purple glasses and manage to put my hair some up and some down. I run some light blush over my cheeks and look at the ugly scar left behind after my stiches came out last week. It still isn’t completely healed, but our lawyer says that it will come in handy when the jury sees it.
Our lawyer says that getting the jury to feel bad for me, will work in our favor. He says it’s our best weapon, so he told me to overplay the scared, little defeated girl.
I take in a deep breath and slowly let it out as I grab my phone and head downstairs.
“Addie! Can you make me my lunch?” Jacob smiles, forgetting that he’s mad at me as I knew he would.
I smirk and nod, going to pull everything out to make his lunch. I assemble the peanut butter and jelly sandwich just the way he likes it, and peel the crusts off before putting it into a sandwich baggie. I then go into the cupboard and grab one of the small containers of pringle chips and put it inside his lunch box. Mom never gives him pringles, so I do every time I make his lunch.
Just to balance everything out, I put some apple slices and a side of more peanut butter into his lunch box, just so I know he’s eating his fruits. Finally, I grab a small pouch of grape juice and put it into his lunch box before zipping it shut and handing it to him.
He smiles wide and immediately flies into my arms for a hug.
“Have a good day buddy!” I hug back.
“Love you Addie!” He sings as he follows dad out of the front door. Dad will be meeting mom and I at the courthouse once he drops Jacob off at school.
My mom suddenly appears into the kitchen and looks around for Jacob. “Did he already leave? I never made his lunch.”
“Already got it covered.” I say, pouring myself a small mug of coffee. I add some sugar and creamer before stirring it up and then walking over to the kitchen table. I sit down and begin taking small sips of the scalding hot liquid.
My mom does the same, and comes over to sit in front of me.
“Ready for today?” She asks, though she already knows the answer.
I give her a pointed look and she sighs. “Okay, I knew that was going to be your answer.”
“I just want to get this over with. I can’t believe this has turned into my life. I go to one stinking party, the ONLY party I’ve ever gone to, and this happens.” I sigh.
“It’s unfortunate, yes. Nevertheless, as much as I hate to say this, everything happens for a reason. Maybe something good will come from all of this.” My mom tries to make me feel better.
“Nothing good can ever come from Jared Winston.” I scowl just saying his name.
After another fifteen minutes, both my mom and I are ready and out of the door.
I didn’t eat anything, only had the coffee. I can feel myself becoming jittery, but I tell myself it’s only nerves from the trial.
As we approach the courthouse, I see dad standing near the entrance in his nice suit and tie. Mom and I get out of the car and head over to him. He greets us both with a comforting smile as I let out another shaky breath.
As we go inside, I take note of how clean the place feels. I can still smell the disinfectant as if it were just put over the tile floors five minutes ago. I smell freshly brewed coffee a few feet away and see numerous important looking people walking around in nice suits and high heels. Immediately, I feel intimidated. I look down at my converse and sheepishly smile to myself.
“You’ll be fine kiddo. Just get up there and tell the truth.” My dad smiles while putting his arm around my shoulders.
“Yeah, cause it’s that easy.” I mumble, though he doesn’t seem to notice.
I hear the front doors to the courthouse open again and when I turn around my blood runs cold. Jared Winston stands at the entrance with a permanent smirk on his face as he straightens out his expensive looking tie. His team of lawyers are surrounding him as well as his parents who look almost bored with being here. I look over at my one lawyer and curse my family for not being rich.
Okay so I know it isn’t our fault and I don’t care about money, but the thought of Jared somehow buying his way out of everything scares me. I need to make sure what I have will bury him. I pull my cellphone from my pocket and make sure it’s fully charged. It is, so I smile and put it back into my pocket.
I can do this. I need to do this.
“Ready Addilyn?” My lawyer, Garret, asks while pulling me out of my thoughts.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.” I find the courage to smile as we all walk into the courtroom. We take our seats on our side and Jared eventually strolls in with his team as they take their seats on their side. More people walk in along with some press as they all take theirs seats around the courtroom.
Suddenly, a thick wooden door opens on the other side of the courtroom and about ten people come walking in as they take their seats at the jury stand. There are six females and four males. I smile, as there are more females, making the whole “get them to feel sorry for you” thing seem easier to accomplish.
I notice Jared has a scowl on his face as he glances at the jury, but suddenly wipes the scowl off his face once he meets my gaze again. He smiles wide and actually waves at me.
I glare, but feel a strong hand on my shoulder.
“Ignore him sweetie.” My dad says. “Just don’t even look at him.”
“Easier said than done when I want to rip his smirk off his stupid face.” I mumble only loud enough for my dad to hear. He lightly chuckles before taking his seat next to my mom behind me.
I am sitting next to my lawyer and I slowly take a sip of the water that the courthouse so kindly placed here for me.
The doors to the courtroom open again, and I smile wide as I turn around and see Shane stroll through the entrance. He is wearing a black suit and grey tie with matching black dress shoes. He honestly looks delicious. He winks at me, and then takes a seat behind my parents. They both turn around to greet him and my dad shakes his hand.
I turn over toward Jared and see him sending daggers at my boyfriend. I smirk.
Suddenly, everyone goes quiet as the bailiff walks in.
“All rise for Judge William Shepherd.”
Everyone stands up as Judge Shepherd walks inside the courtroom and takes his seat at the gavel.
“Please be seated.” He instructs, and everyone does so.
“We are here today for the case of a one Addilyn Bishop against defendant Jared Winston.” He announces to the room.
“Let the defendant call their first witness to the stand.” Judge Shepherd announces as Jared’s team of lawyers speak quietly amongst themselves.
One of Jared’s lawyers finally stands up and makes his announcement. “We’d like to call Shane Teller, to the stand your honor.”
My eyes widen as Shane suddenly stands up and makes his way to the chair beside Judge Shepherd.
“Why did they call him first?” I whisper to my lawyer, who actually shrugs.
The bailiff walks over to Shane with a bible in his hands. “Please state your full name for the record.”
“Shane Lee Teller.”
“Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” The bailiff asks.
“I swear.” Shane speaks so confidently, it’s almost scary.
Shane takes a seat and the bailiff walks back over to his post.
“Defendant, please begin.” Judge Shepherd instructs.
I take this time to analyze Judge Shepherd. He looks to be about sixty or so with wrinkles around his eyes and lips, and fairly big dark circles under his tired eyes. You can tell he’s been doing this for years, as he never misses a single word or beat. I’m not sure if he is a Judge that is easily persuaded, but I hope that my innocent smile and quiet demeanor shows him that I am not one to stir up trouble for no good reason.
There is no way he can’t see through Jared’s rehearsed behavior and snooty attitude.
“Mr. Teller, please describe to the jury what happened on the night of Jared’s house party.” Jared’s Lawyer asks while standing in front of Shane.
“Well, the party was in full swing when Addilyn showed up.” He begins.
“Excuse me, weren’t you schedule to appear with Ms. Bishop the night of the party?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Yes, but the morning of we had a small disagreement, so we ended up arriving separately.” Shane explains.
“I see. What did you and Ms. Bishop have a disagreement about?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Objection, your honor. Relevance?” My lawyer stands up to say.
“Overruled, defendant please continue.” Judge Shepherd says as my lawyer slowly sits down.
“Thank you, your honor. Mr. Teller, please explain to the jury what you and Ms. Bishop were in a disagreement about the morning of Mr. Winston’s house party.”
Shane looks at me, and I already know that what he is about to say, could possibly give away to the fact that I haven’t been eating like I should.
“Well, Addilyn was acting a little irritable. My mom, little sister and I gave her a ride to school that morning, and my little sister noticed that Addilyn looked a little pale in the face. When I asked her what was wrong, she lashed out at me a bit, and so I just told her to go to the party without me.” He explains, no missing a single beat.
“I see. Could you explain to the jury why Addilyn was so irritable?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“I honestly don’t know. She didn’t tell me, and after everything that happened at the party, we never brought it up again.” Shane says while letting out a breath.
“So, we are at the night of Jared’s house party. Did you arrive before Ms. Bishop?”
“Yes. I arrived about twenty minutes before Addilyn did. I found a few friends and decided to hang around them.” Shane answers truthfully.
“When Ms. Bishop arrived, who was she with?”
“She was with Angie.” Shane replies.
“Please give the jury her full name.” Jared’s lawyer says.
“Angelica Sage.” Shane answers.
“Thank you Mr. Teller. Now, when Addilyn arrived to this party with Angelica, did you approach her at all?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“No. I stayed with my group of people and Addilyn stayed with Angie. Jax soon approached Addilyn and Angie and then Angie went off to dance with Jax.” Shane explains.
“Please state Jax’s full name for the record.”
“Jaxon Reed.” Shane answers.
“Now, who is Jaxon Reed to Addilyn?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“He is her friend, and Angie’s boyfriend.”
“Why didn’t Jaxon arrive to the party with Angelica and Addilyn?”
“I’m not sure. I think Jax and Addie got into an argument during lunch that day.” He shrugs.
“Was this Addilyn being irritable again?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Objection, your honor! Ms. Bishop’s disagreement with a friend at school has no relevance to Mr. Winston’s house party.” My lawyer stands up to say.
“Your honor, this goes to credibility of the plaintiff.” Jared’s lawyer says.
“Overruled, witness please answer the defendant’s question for the jury.” Judge Shepherd says.
I sink a little further into my leather chair. This judge seems to overrule us a lot.
Shane gives me an apologetic look. “I would assume so.” He answers.
“Thank you Mr. Teller. So, Addilyn showed signs of irritability all day, but at the party she and Jaxon seem to make up, yes?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Yes.” Shane answers.
“Please explain what happens next.”
“Well, I was in the kitchen getting a drink, and I saw Addilyn start to approach me.” Shane explains.
“Was this drink, alcoholic?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Objection your honor!” My lawyer says.
“Overruled. Witness please answer the defendant’s question.” Judge Shepherd announces.
“Yes, it was a beer. Probably four percent alcohol.” Shane admits.
“So it’s pretty safe to say that everyone at this party was under the influence of alcohol by this point, yes?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“I mean, I would assume so. Addilyn hadn’t had a drink as of yet though.” Shane states.
“What happens next?”
“Well, Addilyn decides to approach me, and we both say hi. Addilyn went to say something else, but got cut off when a friend of mine appeared beside me and asked me to dance.” Shane explains, though I remember the “friend” very well and she did not look like just a friend during that party.
I cringe at the memory of having to watch that redhead dance against my boyfriend.
“Was this friend female?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Yes.” Shane answers and I feel my body tense. Maybe it’s just the nerves.
Jared’s lawyer nods. “Please continue.”
“Well, I accept and go to dance with my friend. I suspect Addilyn became a little jealous, so she went over to a guy and asked him to dance.” Shane explains.
“Please state this guy’s full name for the record.”
Shane’s eyes turn to slits as he answers. “Jared Winston.”
“So Ms. Bishop approached the defendant and asked him to dance?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Yes, after she took a few shots from the kitchen.” Shane admits.
“So she had alcohol in her system by this point?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Yes.” Shane looks down into his lap.
“I see. What happens next?”
Shane begins to explain the confrontation with Rebecca and everything leading up to the point of me being upstairs behind a locked door with Jared. I see some of the jury’s faces frown at the mention of me being locked inside of a bedroom with Jared, and I notice Jared’s face turning red with anger.
“So, you went upstairs to try and find Addilyn, and did you?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Well, I had to look in a few rooms, and when I found one locked door, I pressed my ear to it and that’s when I heard a loud bang noise. I didn’t want anything to happen to Addilyn, so I tried to jiggle the door open but when it wouldn’t I kicked it open.”
“What did you see when you got the door open?”
“I saw Jared hitting Addilyn in the face.” He grits out through his teeth. The jury look to Jared and see how his face is fuming.
“So you actually saw the defendant’s hand come into contact with Addilyn’s face?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Can’t you see the scar under her cheek? She had to get stiches because of him.” Shane says in a low voice. Clearly mad just thinking about it.
“Could Jared hitting Addilyn have been an act of self-defense? You said you heard a loud noise before you kicked the door open, perhaps Ms. Bishop hit Jared first?” Jared’s lawyer says.
“Please.” He scoffs. “Look how big Jared is compared to Addilyn. Even if she did try to get him away from her, he could have easily stopped it. There’s no way Addilyn hit him first.”
“But you didn’t actually see if Addilyn had in fact hit Jared first before you kicked the door open?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Well, n-no.” Shane mumbles a bit.
“And what happened after you saw Jared hit Addilyn?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“I lunged for Jared. As soon as I did, Addilyn ran out of the room and into the hallway. Jared was able to push me away and he ran out after Addilyn. Just as I got to the bedroom door, I saw Jared was going to hit Addilyn for a second time, but I quickly ran in front of him and hit him first, making him fall to the floor.” Shane explains, confidently. “I hit him a few more times before Addilyn pulled me off of him.”
“So you saw Jared about to hit Ms. Bishop for a second time? Did you see if Addilyn went to attack Mr. Winston first before that?” Jared’s lawyer asks.
“Well no, but Addilyn ran out of the room in terror, why would she go to allegedly attack Jared again?” Shane counters.
“Good question. Maybe she wanted to finish the job from before you kicked the door down?” Jared’s lawyer says confidently.
“No!” Shane shouts.
“Maybe this entire thing was staged so you and Addilyn could attack Mr. Winston and then frame him as the initial attacker?” Jared’s lawyer says.
“That’s ridiculous! I hardly even knew Jared and neither did Addilyn.” Shane defends.
“So you say. We don’t know that though.” Jared’s lawyer smirks.
“Objection, your honor! Speculation!” My lawyer shouts.
“Sustained. Jury please disregard the defendant’s last accusation.” Judge Shepherd announces.
Finally. This is getting so twisted around. Though I expected nothing less from Jared.
“Jared Winston tried to take advantage of a girl at a party. When he didn’t get what he wanted, he used the only mechanism he knew which was violence. He tried to rape Addilyn and when that didn’t happen he hit her, twice!” Shane shouts to the jury. A few gasps are heard from the jury.
“Jury, please disregard the witness’s last statement.” Judge Shepherd says, causing Shane to scowl and Jared to smirk.
“No further questions your honor.” Jared’s lawyer suddenly says with a smirk as he goes to sit back down beside Jared.
I let out a low breath, not expecting Shane to explode like he did. I’m glad he said what he did even though the jury was instructed to disregard it. Hopefully it’s what they needed to hear to be on my side though.
“Plaintiff, would you wish to continue with this witness?” Judge Shepherd asks.
My lawyer looks at me, and I nod. We need to get the truth out and fast.
“Yes, your honor.”