Charles Thompson, Esq. POV
Three Weeks Later
“Come on, John. Time to head to the courthouse.” Beta John Pearson grabbed his suit jacket and walked ahead of me to the door. He was a big guy, he moved like a warrior, and he was one. He could be really scary, but he was a really nice guy. I should know, he’d stayed with me for the last twenty days after making bail.
He’d surrendered his passport and posted a $50,000 bond, remanded to my custody. The judge was firm with him; he could have no contact with Jessie Donato or Todd Ruttman, the football player he’d put in the hospital for two weeks. The Order for Protection had been open-ended, it would exist until the judge changed it.
I had received the paperwork for Todd’s lawsuit against John a week ago. He’d asked for a lot but settled for a little. Apparently, he didn’t want all the women we uncovered at his college to testify as to his long record of sexual harassment and assault in a civil case. He settled for $50k to cover his medical bills and to go away.
Personally, I wanted to wait until things settle down then have someone beat the shit out of him again. I was pretty sure I could find a few volunteers, willing to work cheap or for free. Rapists were the lowest of the low, and I was going to make sure this man never victimized the women of that college again.
Jessie had gone even faster; at Abby’s advice, she had retained a lawyer and filed her own suit for injuries. John had immediately settled the case for $50,000 and medical expenses, leaving her with almost forty grand after attorney’s fees. He was more than happy, he was a wealthy man in his own right, and he saw it as providing for his mate.
We left my Stillwater condominium and hopped into my Mercedes. Law had been good for me, and I had a very successful career in criminal defense. The Highlands Pack was paying the fee for this case, hoping I could move things along and get their Beta back. It wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, not with the plea deal we had just agreed to.
“I wish I didn’t have to take the deal,” John said.
“We’ve been over this. Turn down this deal, and you’re looking at six to twelve months until it goes to trial. A trial which, despite my efforts, you’ll lose because you did it and you’re on video doing it. The whole time, you can’t contact your mate.” I looked over at him, he was staring out the window as we drove towards Highway 36. “You’d be facing a first-degree felony battery count for your assault on Todd, with a MINIMUM sentence of six years. You fractured his jaw, his skull, he almost died. Right now Jessie doesn’t want to press charges, saying it was accidental she was hurt. The County doesn’t need her permission, they could still file third degree assault on you and that could be another year in jail. And no, it doesn’t matter he was drunk and pinching her ass, you didn’t know her, and he wasn’t doing anything that warranted more than the beer she dumped on him.”
He growled a little at me, I ignored it. “The Assistant District Attorney’s offer is good, since you had no prior criminal history and Jessie spoke in your favor in the interview. Six months in jail, out in three on good behavior.”
“And then I get taken to the airport and deported as a convicted felon,” he said. “I may as well be in prison if I can’t be with her.”
“But at least you’d be back home, and you can work from there,” I said. “Look at the bright side, at least you have FOUND your mate. I’m thirty-eight and not even a whiff.”
“You will,” he said. “What people told me about finding their mate, it doesn’t measure up to what it was like. Her smell, it called to me, my wolf and I united on the need to make her mine. Nothing in my life has been like that.” He smiled a bit. “I lost myself just looking into her eyes. I would do anything for her, and I’ve barely spoken to her, only touched her once.”
“You need to keep that under control during the hearing. Not only are there humans around, but you can’t come off as a crazed stalker or the deal could be off. Be polite, direct, accept full responsibility for your actions and follow my instructions and you will be fine.”
“Sure, counselor.” He didn’t say much more as we made our way to the courthouse; we passed through security and took the elevator to the courtroom. We waited outside, and I left him on the seat when I saw ADA Dawkins approaching. An honest but overworked prosecutor, she was willing to deal for first-time offenders.
“Our deal still good,” she asked me as she set her briefcase down by the coffee machine.
“It is.” I bought two cups, handing one to her. “Any way I could get it knocked down to a misdemeanor, same jail time? The felony prevents reentry for him.”
She shook her head no. “The only reason I could sell this to my boss was that he would be deported when he got out.”
“I had to try,” I said as we walked back. I opened the door for her to go up front, while John and I sat in the gallery waiting for our case to be called.
I felt John still, then his hands gripped the arms of his chair so hard the plastic was being dented. “She’s here,” he said.
“Alpha command is still in place, you need to stay in control,” I told him. “Breathe through your mouth, it will help.”
I looked around, Jessie had taken a spot in the back near the deputy stationed there for security reasons. I didn’t like this at all, and frankly I was in a little trouble here. “Anyone close enough to hear me? It’s Charles, I need help!” No answer, I was too far from any Pack members to link. I’d have to do this on my own.
I prayed to Luna our case would be called soon.
I didn’t know why I was here, but for some reason I had to be. I entered the courtroom and took a seat near the back. He was five rows ahead of me in the seats.
I could see he was nervous, he was gripping the arms of his chair tight enough his knuckles were white. He took a couple deep breaths and calmed down just as his case was called. I didn’t know what to expect, actual justice was more like McDonald’s than a fancy restaurant. Pleas were entered, lives forever changed, all in a few minutes then it was on to the next person.
“The People versus John Pearson, step forward and be recognized by the Court.” John and his lawyer stood and walked through the swinging gate to the defense table.
He was bigger than I remembered, more handsome too. “He’s obsessed with you,” I thought to myself. “Don’t encourage him.”
“I understand there is a plea agreement,” Judge Larson said from her bench.
“Yes your honor,” his lawyer said.
“Mr. Pearson, you understand that by signing this plea agreement you are pleading guilty to Felony Assault, and accepting a six-month jail sentence followed by deportation from the United States of America?”
“Yes, your honor,” he said.
“Do you have anything to say before I pass sentence?”
“I deeply regret my loss of control and the unintentional injuries to Miss Donato. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”
She nodded at him. “Very well. The guilty plea is accepted, sentence is six months incarceration, after which he will be turned over to Immigration for deportation as a convicted felon. Baliff, take Mr. Pearson into custody.” The officer came over, handcuffing him before leading him out.
Just before he left, he looked back and his eyes met mine. He mouthed “I love you” and then was pulled out the door.
I got up and left the courtroom, heading for the elevator. “MISS DONATO,” a man said from behind me. I turned to see his lawyer, a handsome black man in his thirties, hurrying out of the courtroom after me.
“Thompson. Charles Thompson. May I have a quick word with you?”
“Certainly, the elevator isn’t here yet.”
“I wanted to pass along John’s deep regret for hurting you that night. It meant a lot for him to see you here in the courtroom today.” He seemed sincere, but there was something he wasn’t saying, I could feel it.
“I could have been here to make sure he was going to jail for a long time,” I said.
“I don’t think he’s the one you blame for what happened.” The elevator opened, and we went in. “He overreacted, but he only wanted to protect you.”
“Why? Why would a guy I’d just met, who had been in my section for less than five minutes, nearly beat a guy to death for pinching my ass?” He didn’t say anything. “It doesn’t make any sense, no one is that obsessed with someone they just met.”
He just smiled. “I don’t think that is true at all. Love at first sight? He believes that is what he had with you.”
The door opened on the parking level. “Here’s what I believe. A handsome, but big and dangerous guy takes one look a me, decides I’m his, and would probably knock me out, toss me over his shoulder and take me back to his house in Scotland and handcuff me to his bed until I accept him. He needs therapy, Mr. Thompson. Make sure he gets it, and keep him the hell away from me,” I said.
I walked out, leaving him behind as I walked to my beat-up Focus. At least it ran better now, since I had money to get it repaired. I paid for parking and headed towards my old house. Now that my shoulder was better, I was going through stuff and bringing what I wanted to keep home. I had already made a couple trips to Goodwill for the stuff I wasn’t.
I grabbed the mail out of the box, then opened the door to the house that Mom and I had shared for the past ten years. The smell of her perfume and her baking was long gone, now it was dust and cleaning products. I walked through, I had already gone through my room, her bedroom, and the kitchen. The furniture being donated was near the door, since Patrick and some of his buddies were stopping by later with trucks to help move the big stuff. I went into the office, where the two boxes I was going to keep were waiting for me. One contained the records and papers I would need to finish executing my mother’s estate, the other had everything I could find on my past- the letters, the adoption papers, all the photographs of my family, anything that I might want later. I made two trips, setting them in the back seat of my car, before arranging things for donation and trash.
I had been working for three hours when I heard the trucks pull up. The three guys made short work of the piles, taking one to the recycling center and another truckload to Goodwill. I liked the furnishings in my cabin, and there was nothing sentimental about the old furniture we had in the house. Both trucks took the remaining stuff to the dump.
I ordered pizza while they were gone, and the timing was perfect. They had done me a huge favor, and Patrick, Brian and Larry deserved at least to eat. We sat on the carpet in the now-empty room, eating pizza and drinking Coke. “I can’t thank you enough,” I told them as I packed up yet another empty pizza box to go to the garbage.
“It’s our pleasure,” Brian said. “Just remember how nice a guy I am when you have parties with all your hot friends from work.”
I laughed. “I don’t work at Hooter’s anymore, they let me go. Dumping beer on customers isn’t what they are looking for in a server.”
“What are you going to do?” Patrick looked worried, I hadn’t told anyone I had no job to go back to.
“I’m going to get a job to pay the bills, something a little higher class, and go back to school,” I said. “The settlement gave me enough to finish my degree if I manage things right. I want a real job, these legs aren’t going to last forever.”
Larry snorted into his Coke. “They’ll last long enough,” he said.
I smacked his arm. “I want to be more than a waitress, you know.” We talked for a while longer before they had to go, and they watched as I locked up the door. I drove back home, bringing the last of the stuff into my kitchen.
My phone rang, I picked it up without checking the caller ID. A man’s voice. “Natalya? I am Father Kempechny, and I received your letter.”