I walked into the court holding Chris’s hand in my navy blue buttoned shirt and beige pants with my hair pulled back into a pony and I had minimal makeup on to cover my red, puffy and tired eyes. I was ready to speak.
“Please state your full name,” Samuel says and Jack nods.
“Jack Thomas Richardson,” he says and Samuel nods.
“Alright, so yesterday Jesse told us about how you came across Raven. Is it true?” he asks and what kind of question was that? Obviously he would say yes now.
“Yes,” he says and I roll my eyes.
“Did she ever mention to you that she wanted Jesse and you to take her away?” he asks and Jack nods.
“Several times. She begged us and we felt bad for her, so we took her and now she’s coming on to us,” he says and Samuel stepped down early and Mike got on stage.
“Did you ever talk to Raven in school Jack?” Mike asks.
“No,” he says.
“And why is that?” he asks.
“She told us so that no one would suspect anything,” he says and Mike smirks.
“Then why does everyone in school tell that you were the one who spoke to her and you did speak in the hallways?” he says and Jack gulps loudly. He was caught!
“Her friends have even told during the questioning that she didn’t want to go to prom with you because you were with Jesse but she did so that you wouldn’t feel bad. So would you consider Raven as a thoughtful person?” Mike asks calmly.
“Yes. Raven was very nice to everyone she met,” he says agreeing with Mike.
“Tell us more about what you thought about Raven,” Mike says leaning on his desk.
“Raven was always the one who waited for her friends while everyone left. She stopped the bullies from bullying people and people liked her because she never lied,” he says and Mike nods.
“Well, isn’t that two contrasting statements we have gotten from you Mr. Richardson?” Mike asks and Jack realised what he did. He told in open court that I never lied.
“No I didn’t mean that-,” he started off but Mike cuts him off and steps down. Mike was really good at this. It was Jared’s turn to take the stand.
“I am Jared Michael Harris,” Jared says as Samuel asks him to state his name.
“So, you tell that you had a relationship with Raven right?” he asks and Jared nods.
“Yes,” he replies.
“And according to her, she was raped by Jesse and Jack and was held as a hostage and you were their friend but she fell for you and had a relationship with you,” he asks.
“That is the truth,” Jared replies honestly.
“Then she is a whore isn’t she? I mean she says that she was being raped but she wanted to have sex with you. Why would she do that after someone violates her consent?” Samuel asked and I was disgusted at him.
“She isn’t a whore. She was a nice woman who trusted me with her body even after those two people violated it. That doesn’t make her a whore when she wanted to trust someone,” Jared says and I see the jury nodding.
“But she might have only had sex with you so that you wouldn’t open your mouth,” Samuel asks.
“Maybe she forced you into having sex with her. I mean given the story Jesse and Jack have told us, she was a whore begging for sexual intercourse and she forced you into it,” he says and I was shocked.
“That is ridiculous. The fact that you are defending those rapists is just plain stupidity. I wasn’t forced into anything. I fell in love with Raven and what we had was mutual. I loved her,” he says and that was the first time I heard him say that he loves me.
“If you loved her then why didn’t you help her? Was it because all of what you said was lies?” Samuel asks and Jared shakes his head.
“I did try helping her but I was scared to call the cops because I thought maybe I would be put into prison too because I knew about it all along and I admit I was being selfish but I was worried about Raven too,” Jared says admitting his mistake and Samuel sat down and Mike got up.
“So you admit that you were a part of the crime too?” he asks and Jared nods.
“Yes,” he says.
“And you do know that you admitting this, given if Raven is proved innocent, you will be arrested too?” Mike asks and Jared sighs.
“Yes I do know that. I thought only about myself back then and because of it, I ruined Raven’s life. Now that I have the chance to get Raven the justice she deserves, I am not backing down, no matter if I am arrested or not,” he says and I was grateful for him.
“But why are you saying it now? Why not when you were questioned?” Mike asks.
“I thought it would be easy for Raven to win this case but seeing that there are people who are lying and twisting the truth and making the innocent turn into criminals with their story, I believe me confessing to being a part of the crime helps her,” Jared says.
“And how exactly were you a part of the crime?” Mike asks folding his hands over his chest.
“I watched them beat her up. I watched her ties her up and strip her down mercilessly. I watched them take turns to rape her while I heard her cries and pleas from the outside and their laughs but I never helped her. I never helped her escape like I should have. I witnessed it all and I never did anything,” he says with tears in his eyes.
“So you are saying that what Raven says has actually happened. She was brutally raped and kidnapped while being beaten up by Jack and Jesse?” Mike asks and Jared wipes his tears.
“I am so sorry Raven that I never helped you. I am sorry that I let those bastards treat you like a piece of meat. I am sorry for letting them destroying your life. I am sorry for standing by silently even when you cried for help. I am ashamed of myself for letting them treat you like that when you made me the better me. You gave me the love I needed even at your worst times and that shows how amazing you are you. You were there for me when I should’ve been there for you. I am sorry Raven,” he says looking at me and both of us had tears in our eyes. I nod at him and give him a quick smile and I noticed the jury softening too.
“Yes, Jesse and Jack, my ex-best friends raped and kidnapped Raven for two years,” he says and he was let go. We had a quick break in between and we walked out of the court room and I hugged Jared.
“Thank you Jared,” I say and he smiles at me. I was grateful for everything he did for me. Just as I moved away from Jared I looked at Chris who was looking very angry.
“Chris?” I ask and Chris looks at Jared and punches his nose so hard that Jared’s nose started bleeding and he moved away. Lucky for him no one saw that.
“You bastard, you could’ve done anything to stop them when they destroyed Raven’s life and you did nothing but now you are asking her for her apology?” Chris asks as Jared holds a tissue to his nose to stop the bleeding.
“Look at her man. You destroyed her. You say that you loved her but look at what they have done to her. They brought sadness in her life and tears in her eyes when she was only meant to be treated like a queen,” Chris says pointing at me.
“Chris, it’s alright. I forgive him,” I say and he looks at me.
“Look at her. Even after what you did, she forgives you. That was how kind she is,” he says looking at Jared.
“Where were you when she was kicked out of the house 5 months pregnant? Sure you didn’t know that you were the father but as her past lover and you say you loved her, why couldn’t you track her down and help her? You had money, loads of it. You could’ve helped her. At least you could have confessed about your involvement when she lost her first case. Maybe she would’ve gotten the justice she deserves,” Chris says furiously as he held Jared’s collar. Chris looked scary when he was angry.
“You are a coward Jared. You say you love her but you don’t because if you did, you would go up to any extent to protect her and save her no matter how angry she got at you. You would’ve stayed by her side and helped her and not move away when she asked you to. You don’t love her Jared, you just don’t,” he says moving away.
“I appreciate you coming clean today even though you should’ve done it ages ago but I don’t forgive you for what you did even if Raven does because I am not as nice and kind as her,” Chris says walking away and I help Jared stop his nose from bleeding.
“He is right Raven,” Jared says and I look at him confused.
“I loved you, but not the way I should’ve and not the way he does. He treats you well Raven, I hope you find your lost life in him,” Jared says walking away and I was confused.
What did he mean by that? Did he say that Chris loved me? What? I was just so confused and I had a lot on my mind. I push Jared and Chris out of my mind because I had my turn to speak for the first time and I finally would be proved right.