You sit in the now empty courtroom, head hung in failure.. The judge's verdict rings in your ears, like a sickening chant.. The words - "I find in favour of the defendant" - echo over and over again as your stomach roils in nauseating waves..
Zachary Ryan had been acquitted..
"How.. How can this be, Kirby?" You're half dazed, but you turn to your lawyer, Kirby Carter.. She is flushed red with rage, her nude painted lips turn down at the edges and her shoulder length caramel curls have come loose from their neat bun...
"Shit, Yevie, I'm so sorry .. I don't know what to tell you.. He's even more slippery than we predicted.." It's not her fault, you know she worked tirelessly on your case since the day you showed up at her office, a sobbing mess begging for her help because no other law frim would take you on..
You lean forward, resting your head on the cool wood of the desk in front of you.. Exhaustion and anxiety eating away at you.. "It's not your fault, KC.. I told you he would find a way to buy his way out of it.. There's no such thing as penance when you come from old money.."
You let out a sigh.. This is what absolute defeat feels like..
Just over a year ago you woke up and realised your life was all wrong.. divorcing your narcissistic, abusive ex-husband - Zachary Ryan - was supposed to be a fresh start..
Instead, since then your life has been on a spiralling downhill trajectory.. Two months after you left, Zach had come over to your new apartment to talk..
You should have known better.. Heck, you did know better.. But he had begged and begged.. Saying he had changed, learned the error of his ways.. You'd heard it all before.. You knew it was all fake.. But you were not brought up to cause a fuss, and your father was already disappointed enough with your divorce, you didn't need any additional drama..
No sooner had you opened the door and gotten through a tense greeting before he morphed back into his venomous, hateful self..
You think back to that night...
"Say what you came here to say Zach, you said you wanted to talk?" Standing in the living room with your arms crossed you try not to let the fear that bubbles up inside you show..
"That's how you're going to act!? After the fucking embarrassment you've put me through!?" Zach snarls, baring his fleshy gums...
Crossing your arms across your chest you fix him with an impatient stare, just wanting him to leave already, "You embarrass yourself.. Why are you really here?"
"You know why Yevette. You belong to me. The divorce might be final but you won't get rid of me that easily.." He prowls towards you, a lusty anger burning in his gaze..
You scoff, you've heard this little speech so many times you could practically recite it word for word.. "You'll haunt me forever, I'll never be happy, yeah yeah I know.." You scoot around him heading for the door, hoping to get him to leave as soon as possible..
"Who the fuck do you think you are, you stuck up slut!? You think your too fucking good for me, is that it?!" He reaches out, clamping his vice-like grip around your wrist and pulling you back hard, his hand goes to your throat, squeezing viciously, strangling the breath from your lungs..
"Nghh.. N-no.." You choke out the word, as your eyes water from lack of oxygen, the searing pain around your neck blazes intensely and you claw at his hands trying to pry them off.. He releases his hands, dropping you to the floor.. Your hands go up to rub your throat as you suck in huge gulps of air between sobs..
"That's what I fucking thought bitch!" He spits out the words..
You know you should keep your mouth shut.. But you can't, you had kept your mouth shut your whole life and look at where that had got you..
No, you weren't afraid anymore, you were angry.. "You're a god damned coward Zachary.. I hope you enjoy this last taste of power.. Because I'm never going to let you control me again!" You shout defiantly up at him..
The full force of his rage had unleashed after that, his fists swinging until your eyes swell shut, kicking and stomping you on the ground to the point of half consciousness.. Your battered body lay on the bloodstained rug,unable to move, or even cry for help.. The last thing you hear before everything blacks out is Zach's voice on the phone, first a whispered call to his father..
Then to a 911 operator.. "Help.. Somebody broke into my ex wife's apartment and.. They attacked her.."
"... Yevie... Yevie?" You're shaken from your memory by Kirby's concerned voice..
"Hm?" Your eyes come back into focus and you turn your attention to the courthouse doors, where she is motioning for you to look.. Standing there is a tall gorgeous man, with a familiar face.. "Patrick?.."
His usual happy-go-lucky dimpled smile has been replaced by creases of worry.. "Hiya there, princess..