Hopes and Dreams
The courthouse felt cooler than usual. It was the day our trials began. Last time were here, it was Brandon trying to move the dates up for his benefit. Now here we were, facing him in the final rounds of who gets whom.
Roger held my hand and walked in. Beside me, dad leaned over, greeting us as if we were going to be the deployed troops, sent away on a mission. Roger saw the office people who came in rally. With a hit tilt towards everyone of them Roger turned to dad. “We need all the support we can.”
His words got both dad and Xavier to cover up the grime look on their faces. I wasn’t sure if the reason was this day or the fact that over a span of one month, we all faces our demons which took a toll on all of us.
Striking a straight pose, dad placed a hand over Roger, whose only focus seemed to be at a distance as if contemplating how all this would turn out.
“We have rallied up everyone for your support, son. Brandon will go down,” Dad stated it so surely that it reinstated the lost confidence in all of us.
Not that I was scared, it was Brandon’s tactics that had me worried. Always having known to play dirty, he was bound to keep some cards close to his chest for today. With every passing moment, my breath paced up. The court was filled with almost everyone from both the companies and Brandon’s staff filled the rest of the spaces.
Eying me, Brandon stood up and walked over. It took everything in me to control the urge to punch him as he leaned forward. I knew Roger was eying me from the front, probably worried that Brandon would speak something bad to convey something that would hurt me. What Brandon didn’t know was the fact that whoever worse he could do was already done.
He dragged my name down the mud, slut shammed me for working double shifts to keep up with loans and bills. What he underestimated was the working class. His tactic played back bad when the support from every working class member streamed in for the way I conducted my interview and spoke my truth.
“You look and dress well for a woman who was a hooker,” with hooded looks, he spoke.
Although my skin clawed itself back at his words, I decided to stand my ground against his last attempt to sabotage my confidence. Over time, I came to realize my strength came from my family and theirs from me. If I crumbled, they did too. I scanned the monstrous man that stood in front and a smile emerged from the corners of my lips conveying there was no more taking me down.
“And you would know all about hookers. Isn’t it Brandon?”
His hands curled up to his chest and he tilted his head. “Is this the way to talk to your fiancé’s father?”
Like a thunderstorm, my answer rose up from the depths of my heart. “My fiancé’s father died the day he decided to kill his mother. This man who standing in front of me is a ghost of a dead man. A literal dead one for he has no soul.”
Brandon chuckled. His lips parted for words but the judge’s presence in the room had him move back to his seat at the petitioner’s place. Roger, who eyes me all this while delivered a tight smile. My eyes blinked at him, slow for assurance. Unlike last time, Roger wasn’t seated next to me but in front with the team of lawyer’s best knowing their work.
Money was spent like water to defend Roger, the same way Brandon did. It was the fight between two men, both of them fighting for their word, their worlds. Only one would emerge victorious. With the trial starting, the formal statements from both parties were made.
With evidences for why Brandon needed to take back his place, we placed his disorderly conduct and drug use as issues. His lawyers were good to counter it with his good behavior and clean record.
Xavier, who sat next to me kept chewing his cuticles with every word Brandon’s team put up. When they tried showing Roger’s bad past including a rape charge, it was Stella who caught us all by surprise. She walked in and stated her defense, telling it was all a lie made up to make Roger look bad. She even confessed to Brandon making her say it.
Unable to breath, I turned to Xavier. I knew all the witnesses that were present for the trial but Stella was not one of them. Xavier patted my hand and sighed, staring in front.
“How did she? I mean ..how,” I wasn’t able to understand who convinced her. How she managed to come and how she accepted all her faults along with Brandon’s. When Roger turned to Xavier and in a slow motion tipped his head, I knew the person who made it happen
“Why did you?” I didn’t know what else to ask and wasn’t in a position to ask him the obvious question of them all. Was he still in love with me to do all this? Does he not know I won’t be with him, ever?
Xavier intertwined his fingers into mine, staring ahead. “Sometimes, doing the right thing does not need a reason.”
And there it was, amidst all the fight and misunderstandings, Xavier somehow still managed to help me out. Help us out.
The matter ran for months on end. For every argument we placed, Brandon would counter with his. For every one of their questions, we would have an answer. It seemed like a sea saw match where one tipped up and the other came down, only to go round the other way next time.
When Brandon’s lawyer called up Roger to the stands at one point, we all were taken aback. This was a card we never assumed to be played. But there he was, talking a stand to testify against the father that was Brandon. Brandon lawyer, the expensive suit guy with a sharp look and an intimidating voice walked near Roger.
“So Mr. Roger Murphy, all these claims that you said about your father killing your mother, did you see them?”
The instance the question was asked, the room fell silent. The people in the room wanted to know the truth, only I knew the bitterness that might be running inside Roger even listening to the other party drudge out questions from his past.
Dad leaned over to my side from the back, whispering. “We never prepared for this. Was Roger?”
My head shook sidewise, knowing the low blow Brandon was taking at Roger. His own son. A part of me assumed Brandon lacked a functioning heart to be this ruthless to his own child.
The lawyer questioned again. “Tell me Mr. Roger. Did you see your father killing you mother or was it your hypothesis?”
Roger looked at our lawyer’s side before glancing a look over to me. My lips pressed together, giving him a tight smile. He needs to be calm. He needs to be patient. My thoughts mocked me. Expecting Roger to be calm in Brandon’s presence was like expecting river to flow upwards.
After a deep breath, Roger scanned the man in suit fully. If looks could kill, that lawyer would be a dead man by now. “No I didn’t see him kill my mother.”
Brandon’s lawyer had a smile so devious, it would put the smirks of hyenas to shame. Walking away from Roger, the lawyer took sheets of papers and placed them on the judge’s desk. “There are the evidences that show Brandon wasn’t in the vicinity when Mrs. Murphy was killed. And yet, Roger and his guardians grandfather, the late Mr. Murphy decided to blame my client.”
Brandon turned towards us, winking. It boiled my blood. I wouldn’t have minded going to a prison after murdering him but the thought of my family pulled me away from such dark thoughts.
Leaning forward, Roger narrowed his gaze at the person questioning him. “I didn’t have to see to know who killed my mother. I was the victim too, just like her. She was beaten daily, tortured everyday and I was the collateral too.” The judge banged the gavel, opposition side lawyer raised his voice asking Roger to stop but with reddened eyes and words spewing like lava, Roger continued. “I saw this man beat my mother like she was a pillow. I had seen him use on her objects which no one should ever use on anyone, human or animal. She was married for her money and killed for it too. And now, Brandon wants it all back because he thinks I am the incompetent son? I don’t think so.”
The judge banged the gavel the hardest. In the room filled with Roger’s painful admission and the lawyer’s objections, the judges gavel banging got muffled. Only when he had to issue a threat of contempt did Roger moved back. Panting, he plopped on his seat, holding his head between his hands. My heart went out to him. In years of knowing about his mother’s death and the killer, Roger still was helpless in doing something about it. I could see the seven year old Roger standing next to the grown up version of him, running a hand to pacify the tornado of emotions aroused inside of him.
My hand reached Xavier’s, knowing well that we gave Brandon what he wanted. We served it on a silver platter for him. He wanted to show Roger as the incompetent son who doesn’t know how to manage business and with the trigger question, he managed to get Roger to admit the same in front of the judge.
I moved out even before today’s trial was over. Outside the deserted hallway, I could hear my heartbeats ringing in my ears. What would happen if Roger lost? What would he do if he was asked to give the reins back to Brandon?
I had seen Roger work day and night, put his blood and sweat into getting this company to its current glory. It would break his heart to transfer. It would kill him. With the crown streaming out of the room, I saw Roger and Xavier talk before emerging out. Dad trotted in his steps, taking my hand and walking me away from the arena to a more secluded spot.
“Today was not good,” his crumpled face indicated.
“I know. All the progress we made today was all for nothing..” I had seen dad worried for a lot of things but this side of him, anxiety mixed with anger and sadness was the first time for me. Kissing my forehead, he gave me a nod. My mind screamed out, I held his hand. “Where are you going?”
His voice was soft. In the chatters outside the courtroom, almost inaudible. “Something I have to take care of.. I will meet you back at the office..”
With that he slid out of my hold. Roger moved closer, coiling his hand around my waist and pulling me towards him.
“Today was not good,” I wanted to be upfront.
There was no need to sugar coat the truth from him. He too must have known to have nodded at me. With a distance look, he moved a step back.
“I know I might lose the company but spoke the truth. He killed my mother and I wanted the world to know it. Atleast this way, she would find her peace with the truth out there.” Holding him, I knew what Roger might have meant.
Sometimes the truth was better than the winning. The truth about Brandon killing his mother would be spread across tabloids like water in rain. Brandon might win but he would not be able to get his reputation back.
Hope you all liked this chapter.
I wanted to show how low Brandon can stoop.
With Roger on the verge of loosing everything, what do you think will happen next?
Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you all.
Also, do check out THE KING KILLER if you still haven’t. Mafia romance is my forte and I hope I lived upto it with this book series too ;)