We all walked into the court room and I sat next to Mike. It had been about 2 hours and we were told that the jury had come upon a decision. I was nervous. My whole body was shaking. The whole room went quite as the judge entered.
“Madam Forewoman, have you reached a verdict?” the judge asks and a woman stands up.
“We have, Your Honor,” she says and I was holding on to my breath.
“What say you?” the judge asks and I could hear my heart beating in my ears.
“We the jury, in the case of Raven Rex versus Jesse Martin and Jack Richardson, find the defendant guilty,” she says and I let out my breath as tears roll down my cheek. This was what I waited for all my life.
“And due to it the jury has decided that, Jesse Martin and Jack Richardson will be spending 8 years in jail with no bail and since Jared Harris knew about it and was a part in Raven Rex’s abduction and rape, he will be facing 8 months jail time with his bail being starting at $100, 000 but he must spend a minimum of 2 months in prison,” the judge says.
“The court has issued an order for the defendant’s family each to give Raven Rex $100,000 and Jared Harris’s family giving her $75,000 and a written apology for every harm you have caused her,” the judge says and ending my case. I look at Mike and he gives me a peck on my forehead after I allow him too.
I turn around and see Jesse and Jack being handcuffed and were looking at their feet. Jared was handcuffed too and was brought closer to me.
“I am sorry Raven for everything I did. I did love you and I am happy for you. I am sorry for letting them treat you like that when I should’ve helped you. Keep Chris, he is a keeper,” he says and I nod.
“Thank you Jared,” I say and he nods being taken away by the police. I could see tears in Jesse’s eyes as well as in Jack’s as they looked at me. They walked up to me and I looked up at them. I was still angry at everything they did to me.
I slap their face and push them away and they had regret in their eyes as they were dragged away and I let out a sigh in relief. This was what I wanted to see all this time.
“Raven?” someone says and I turn around to see Jesse’s and Jack’s parents standing in front of me. They looked like rich people dressed for court and they seemed harmless.
“I am Jack’s mom and this is his dad. On behalf of my son, I would like to apologize to you darling,” Jack’s mom, a pretty lady in her mid 50s with blonde hair and green eyes like Jack says coming up to me.
“I am even ashamed to call him as my son because of what he did. We had no clue that he did this to you and we are very sorry for it Raven,” his dad says and I look into his green eyes.
“Yes Raven. I am Jesse’s dad and this is his mom. We are ashamed of our son but he is our son and we can’t do anything about it. We are sorry from his side,” a man in his late 50s with dirty blonde hair and grey eyes just like Jesse.
“We are sorry Raven, for everything but as a woman, let me tell you that we are very proud of you. We admire how you fought for your innocence and we are happy for you but we are so sorry,” his mom says and I nod.
“It’s alright, all of you because you weren’t the one who did anything to me. You just didn’t check on your sons and let them do what they wanted with your money but now that I have my justice, I am fine with everything and thank you,” I say looking at everyone and they nod.
“Chris! We won!” I say running into his arms and he picked me up. It was the first time I was hugging a man. The first time since the incident and I trusted Chris. He smelled amazing and I felt safe in his arms.
“Raven, I-,” he says putting me to the ground and I look into his eyes. They looked so clear and honest. I hugged him once more and inhaled his strong cologne that I loved so much. I loved they way he smelled and I felt safe.
“I like you Chris,” I say and he nods as I hug him once more and he kisses my forehead. I’m glad he knew that I wasn’t comfortable yet to kiss him and I liked him even more for it.
“Me too,” he says and I smile as he hugs me.
I turn around and see everyone looking at us. They started clapping for us and we smile. He held my hand and didn’t let it go. We walked out of the court and saw media standing there with their cameras out.
Mike answered all of the questions as I stood next to him.
“All I want to say to every girl out there is that no one who thinks you are lying, believe in yourself. Sometimes it will get thought, your family might abandon you but you will be proved innocent because you are right. And I hope you have someone next to you, someone who will help you through your difficult times and will never let you go when things get tough. It might be your brother, sister, best friend, anyone and for me, it’s him,” I say showing Chris and he kisses my head as we walk into his car.
“Mike, thank you so much for everything you did,” I say and he smiles.
“Raven, come on. I am happy for you and besides, my son is happy with you. That’s enough for me,” he says and I smile as Chris thanks his dad. We were back at my parent’s house and Hailey runs up to me and I pick her up.
“Baby, we won,” I say even though he has no clue what happened and she kissed my cheek and hugged me.
“Hailey,” Chris says and Hailey starts screaming and Chris took her into his arms and they seemed so close. She was happy with him and that brought a smile to my face.
“Mommy, look Dadda,” she says looking at Chris and I sigh.
“No baby, that is not dadda,” I say but Chris holds my hand and I look at him.
“Can I be her dadda?” he asks and I had tears in my eyes. I nod and he smiled kissing Hailey as she hugged him. This day was the best day of my life. We go in and everyone has a small get together and they kept congratulating me.
I was happy. I truly was.
“Raven, will you go out on a date with me?” Chris asks in the living room and I nod.
“Go get dressed,” he says and I walk up to my room and open my closet. I look at my sweatshirts, in the rack where I usually keep but my eyes fell on a box that was at the back of my closet. I take it out, lay it on my floor and sit down to open it.
As I open it, I see all of my dresses kept in it, neatly packed. Those were the dresses I wore 4 years ago and never touched it ever since because I wasn’t comfortable wearing them. I smiled as I see all of it.
I open a dress and see that it was the one I loved in high school but I never wore it. I wanted to try it on and I was surprised that it still fits me. It was a plain black a-line short dress with a round neck with tiered layer, belted, rib-knit and long bishop sleeve with a high waist.
I smiled at the image in the mirror and as I was about to take it off, I suddenly didn’t want to. I wanted to wear it and I decided to wear it tonight. I wore some heeled boots to go with it, curled my hair, put on some minimal makeup and some jewellery. I looked at the mirror and fell in love with myself again, for the first time.
When I brought this dress, 4 years ago, this was how I wanted to style it and now I did style it like the way I wanted to. This was the first time I actually cared about my appearance and actually put in some effort to look good.
I sprayed my perfume and grabbed my bag, wallet and my phone and I walk down the stairs. I was nervous about showing my body for the first time because I was afraid. I took small steps as I walked down and everyone turned to look at me and the whole house goes quite.
My family and friends, Chris’s family and friends just stared at me as I walk down and that made me more nervous than I was before.
“Raven, you look different,” Chris says walking up to me and I look up at him.
“Yeah, I wanted to put in some effort tonight after everything you’ve done for me,” I say and he smiles.
“Mommy, you look beautiful,” Hailey says in her baby voice and I smile as I sit down to her level and she looks at me.
“Thank you baby,” I say and she looks at my hair. She plays with my curls for a while and hugs me.
“I love you mommy,” she says and everyone in the room goes ‘awe’ because Hailey was the cutest.
“I love you too baby,” I say kissing her head and she lets me go. I stand up and Chris and I decided to leave. Hailey waves as we sit in his car and he drives us to the restaurant he made a reservation at.
We ordered our food and we sat down waiting.
“You know Raven, you look beautiful,” Chris says and I smile looking at him.
“Thank you,” I say.
“This is just perfect. I am proud of you,” he says and I hold his hand and look at him as our food arrives.
“I brought this dress about 4 years ago and this is how I wanted to wear it. I wanted to style it like this while I went on a date with the perfect guy in the world and dreams do come true,” I say and he smiles.
“You know Raven, the way I feel about you, I have never felt this way about anyone else,” he says after we finish our food and I nod.
“Same,” I say and we smile. I liked spending time with Chris because he knew me. We went back in his car and he parked outside my house. I turn to look at him and he looks at me. His blue eyes looked so warm and inviting.
I leaned forward, take a deep breath, forgetting all my fears and give him a kiss, just like I always hoped I would and this time I wasn’t scared. Nothing but good thoughts came into my mind when I kissed him.
“Thank you Chris,” I say as we parted and he kissed me again. This time too I was happy. I wasn’t afraid anymore.
“Come on, Hailey will want to say good night to her,” I say and he nods opening my door and we walk into my parent’s house. Everyone had gone home and now Hailey was playing with Sophia. As soon as we opened the door, she ran to us and hugged our legs.
“Mommy! Dadda!” she says and I pick her up in my arms and she hugs us.
“Hailey, baby, I want to say good night to you,” Chris says and Hailey suddenly looked at Chris and holds his hand tight.
“No Dadda. Please stay with me today,” she says and Chris laughs.
“But Hailey, I don’t live here honey,” he says and she shakes her head.
“Please dadda,” she says with tears in her eyes and she looked at me.
“Mommy please. Make dadda stay,” she says and my heart melted as she says that and I look at Chris and he nods.
“Come on honey, I’ll stay with you,” he says and she laughs happily. My parents were fine with him staying over and I was happy too. Hailey went to sleep soon after Chris read her a bed time story as I folded her laundry and we close her room door.
“Good night Ray,” he says but I hold his hand.
“Stay with me,” I say and he smiles. He enters my room and gets changed into the new clothes my dad gave him and we get into bed.
“You know Raven, thank you,” he says and I turn to look at him.
“Why?” I ask as I turn off the lights.
“Because without you, I wouldn’t be who I am right now. I wouldn’t understand the value of trust, love and family if it wasn’t for you. You even made me a dad to Hailey, the best kind of kid I have ever met,” he says and I smile.
“Even though I am not Hailey’s biological father Ray, I will be the best dad for her and will be the best partner for you too,” he says and I hold his hand.
“Thank you,” I say and he kisses my head.
“You brought up Hailey really well,” he says and I nod. He slips his arm around me after I allowed him to and we peacefully slept without having to worry about anything and I wasn’t scared anymore.