I stared at the woman in front of me unable to utter a word, I was totally dumbfounded by her presence, how did she know where I leave!.
"Are you going to let me in or continue gawking at me?" the woman said in a snobbish tone.
"Eh sorry" I apologized flushing, "please come in," I said moving away. She walked past me with a huff, leaving a trail of expensive perfume in her wake.
I looked out on the street to see a slick car parked around the corner, it must be hers I thought before closing the door.
I walked in to see the woman glancing around our home, her gaze judgemental as she took in our medium living room.
I tried seeing our house in her eyes, the living room was not much and has only a long couch which looks so worn out from use, another short couch beside the long one, wearing the same worn outlook, a table at the center of the living room, our TV and the other appliances taking up small space at the corner, the floor had a red rug that had seen better days, the walls had a faded yellow paint with our family photos lining most of the walls but all the same, the room exuded a homing feeling, filled with scents of all our memories in them, and I must say they were happy ones.
But looking at the woman standing in the room her presence looking bigger than the room itself with her nose turned up, I knew that the house didn't meet her standards, but who cares what she thinks, am proud of my house.
"Please sit down" mum addressed her politely after the silence grew awkward.
"Am not here to seat down" she said haughtily looking at mum briefly before turning a fiery eye in my direction, it was filled with disgust and something likening to jealousy. "So you think you can sleep with my husband and turn around and accuse him of rape she said tasting tone, "I wonder what he even saw in you," she snared, assessing me from head to toe and from the unimpressed look in her eyes I came up short.
I opened my mouth to say something snarky, furious from her calloused untrue words but mum beat me to it.
"Mrs. Smith I won't have you come to my house and throw accusations at my daughter and I won't tolerate you insulting her in her own home mum spoke through clenched teeth glaring at the haughty woman, now if you don't have anything reasonable to say I need you to leave my house mum ordered pointing in the direction of the door.
I was tempted to give a round of applause to my mum, I have never seen her this livid. I looked at the stranger who invaded the house uninvited to see her looking so unaffected by mums anger as she glared back at my mum in a challenge.
That is it, I have it with this woman and her superior attitude, "My mum asked you to leave our house or are you deaf" I spoke furiously my voice coming out loud and harder than I intended, but at the moment I didn't give a damn, I was at the point of throwing the woman out forcefully if she didn't leave but what came out of her mouth next had me looking at her in disbelief.
Unbelievable I thought in restrained anger, unable to believe the nerve of this woman.
"Let me get this straight, you are offering me a hundred thousand dollars to retract my accusations on your husband who raped me, that you just termed sleeping with him a few moments ago!" I exclaimed in a high note my voice sounding as ridiculous as her offer.
"I can't believe women such as you exist" I hurled in disgust, "please leave our house before I make you I threatened, my voice thick from the emotions choking up my throat as I glared daggers at the woman.
"Oh, I will leave but you are going to regret not taking my offer by the time Elizabeth is done with you. Giving us one more haughty look the woman walked regally towards the door, which I held open for her, not waiting for her to exist I banged it hard almost catching her clothes.
The nerve of that woman coming to my home to insult me I fumed matching back to the room where I flung myself on the couch boiling in rage. Mum tried to calm me down but her words and her offer kept ringing in my ears.
One week later.
I sat in the courtroom fidgeting, my hands cold and clammy, I tried rubbing them together to infuse some warmth but that didn't help, my trial starts today and I feel so sick to my stomach from my nervousness that I am scared I will throw up all over the place. My feet started tapping like mad as I bit my nails in response to how nervous I was.
"You have to calm down mum" whispered softly placing her hand on my legs that refused to stay still.
"Your mum is right Evelyn, you have to calm down, this is just the preliminary hearing, " Mr. Ross added his two bits that did nothing to my feelings.
Who cares if it was preliminary or the ending we were still in court, a place I have never been in before trying to decide if the man that raped just a few weeks ago is actually guilty of the crime, so pardon me if am feeling a little nervous, or much nervous my subconscious added.
"Easy for you to say, you are not the one who is going to be under the judge and scrutiny of these people," I mumbled under my voice.
I looked around the courtroom, there were few people around, looking behind me to see my boss and Olivia at the back had my eyes welling up with tears and surprise. Olivia, I expected but not my boss, I didn't know she cared enough to be here, but all the same, I was grateful for their support.
Olivia smiled in my direction, her eyes conveying her support, which I returned with a close-mouthed smile, my boss only nodded in my direction but all the same, it made feel a little better than they were here to support me.
I also saw a few of my aunts and uncle from the mum's side, my dad's half brother, uncle T was also among the crowd. He nodded in my direction when our eyes met. He is the only one from my dad's side that relates to us. My grandfather, a caucasian was already married before meeting dad's mum, a beautiful African American woman with whom he had a brief affair, and dad was the product of their brief affair.
Dad's family was not in acceptance of him and his mum, and when his mum died it was him alone. His father only supported him but had refused to acknowledge him, what a prick anyway the summary of the whole thing is that among dads side of the family he only got along with Uncle Terrance who is somewhat a black sheep of the family seeing that he is gay, and the family disowned him, but dad accepted him which made them a little closer.
I nodded my head also at the others when our eyes met.
The sound of the door opening drew everyone's attention to it as Daryl and his entourage made their way in.
He looked more intimidating and powerful than before, and the woman walking beside him looks like someone not to trifle with. Her steps were sure and confident like a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. His wife walked beside him looking as regal as she looked the night she came to my house.
His lawyer was someone I would have admired if not that she was representing a bastard like Daryl.
My heart started beating so hard in my chest that I was scared it was going to pound out of it, there presence made the whole thing more real.
As they took their seat, I couldn't help taking a side glance at Daryl. He looked so calm and collected, not even an inch of nervous expression, it was as if he was sure he is going to win.
The judge entered and everyone stood up in respect and waited till he sat down before taking their seat.
The judge was an old small white man, whose black robe almost swallowed him, and his reading glasses were perched low on his nose as he peered at the crowd from above it instead of through it.
The jury walked in one by one, there were eight of them all within the range of middle thirties and fifties.
The plaintiff stood up and read the case opening the floor for the lawyers to say their opening speech.
I took a slow breath to calm my nerves as my lawyer did his opening speech, he was eloquent and confident but when Elizabeth took the stand her presence drew everyone's attention as they focused on her, she commanded the room with her words, her carriage and when she was done I threw my head down scared at what we were up against.
I looked up to see Daryl looking in my direction, a smirk in that handsome ugly face. it was as if he could read my mind and see the doubt clouding it, I swallowed hard and quickly looked away.
When the session was dismissed I stood up on a shaky leg making my way towards the door, I really needed to use the bathroom as I felt a bit nauseous.
I walked briskly into the bathroom going to the sink, I poured water on my face taking a deep breath to calm down. I looked up to see Madeline standing beside me from the mirror. Her eyes were gloating when they met mine.
"You should have to take my offer," she said in a smug voice applying a colorless lip gloss before smacking her lips and turning to face me, "Elizabeth is just starting by the time she is done with you, you will wish that you never met Daryl Smith." She finished with a glare of hate in my direction.
"I already feel that way and the trial is just starting, who knows how it will end" I spoke in a brave facade that I wasn't feeling.
"Is your funeral, " she said and breezed out of the bathroom.
I looked at myself one more time before leaving the bathroom.
"Where have you been?! mum asked as I met up with her in the hallway.
"In the bathroom, " I mumbled, not looking at her.
"Are you all alright?" she asked looking at me worriedly.
"Am fine" I answered my tone subdued, what I needed was to go home and rest and forget about the whole day.
"Can we go home now?" I asked her keeping my gaze down.
"yes we can" mum answered, still giving me a worried look which I ignored and matched towards the exist. I didn't see my lawyer anywhere, I guess he spoke to mum about what next while I was in the bathroom, but at the moment I didn't feel like knowing I just wanted to curl up on my bed and wake up when everything was over.
Outside we managed to elude the reporters hanging around the courthouse, when we reached home I just went up to my room and locked myself inside.
It's been three days since the trial started, both parties have examined and cross-examined their witnesses, my mum has gone up, the doctor that examined me after my visit to the police station has given his own testimony, the jury was also shown the footage of me in the restaurant with Daryl and also the image of me going into his apartment building with him, is just remaining I and Daryl we are yet to be called to the stand.
The defending counsel you said you have a witness the judge said looking in her direction.
Yes your honor she said stepping forward, I call the witness stand Mr. Oliver Bernard.
Hearing that name I froze, what the hell is he doing here!