The boy I haven't seen in years walked into the court looking like a man, his head held high as he walked down to the witness stand, dressed in a fancy suit I belt that someone picked out for him. For the period of time, I knew him, Oliver will not be caught dead in a suit, I wondered what made him appear in one, in fact, I wonder what the hell he is doing here now.
Apart from the fancy suit, he looked no different from the guy I dated in high school, actually, he was already in college when we met, he was four years older than me. It was still the same corky walk, the bad boy looks, just that he has gotten more handsome, I will give him that. His looks have been one of the things that attracted me to him and it seems he has gotten more handsome over the years since we last saw.
Is really been years since I last saw him, in fact after the debacle we called a date four years ago, that I ran away from him, I haven't set eyes on him, because I broke up with him after that day.
The question of what he was doing here ran around in my mind because I couldn't figure out why the opposing side will want him as a witness.
"Please state your name to the court, " Elizabeth said out loud as soon as he took his seat at the stand.
"Who are you to Miss Evelyn Wright?" Elizabeth asked him, her voice as confident as ever.
Her question had me pondering at its relevance here. It has been years since I had any contact with him and I couldn't think of anything he can say that will be of help to them. I looked on, curious to know where she was taking this to. The shock of seeing Oliver has worn off I just gazed at him flatly watching him answer his questions confidently. Nobody can accuse Oliver of being timid, he always had this bold character about him which can sometimes be annoying because he never knows when to stop.
I dated her four years ago, I heard him answer the question.
"How will you characterize Miss Wright when you guys were dating?" Elisabeth asked another question that threw me off as I tried to determine where she was going with this.
Bernard looked confused at her not clear on what she was asking.
Bernard has never been known for his intelligence so Elizabeth might need simple words if she wants answers I joked in my mind chuckling.
"Did you have sex with her?" She asked bluntly.
I couldn't help the gasp of disbelief that left my mouth when he answered yes. I looked at him like he had two heads, then started shaking mine furiously, growling beneath my voice, the nerve of the bastard I thought furiously.
"What is it Miss Wright?" my lawyer asked noticing my reaction.
"He is lying I whispered softly to him. My glare grew worse when I heard the imbecile tell the court that I lost it to him at the back of his car, in a smug tone.
That is not true! I screamed in my mind, nearly screaming it out loud in the court.
I remember that night vividly, I remember running out on him when he wanted to take things further and I didn't. I had to call my mum to come to pick me up that night after I gave a big distance between me and the asshole.
"So I want the honorable court to evaluate the character of a girl who can easily give it up in the back seat if she is being truthful about being assaulted." Was Elizabeth rejoinder to Oliver's words further fueling my ire when I realized what she was playing at. She is trying to discredit my character in the eyes of the jury. Fuck! Fuck! I muttered lowly to the extent they are willing to go just to win. I usually see this in a movie, never knew I will be witnessing it real never mind in my own case.
I looked to the juries to see them weighing what she said in their minds, and I couldn't help the tears that flooded my eyes, what could they have promised him to have made him lie against me I wondered.
"You said my client lost her virginity to you that night at the back seat of your car? My lawyer began his cross-examination, looking at the young man with something akin to disgust in his eyes.
He nodded his head still looking smug.
"Can you tell the honorable court how the night ended, " I mean if you can remember my client losing her virginity to you four years ago am sure you can enlighten the court on how it all ended, " he finished with a little bit of sarcasm, which flew over the big head, whose response was a grin in my lawyer's direction before he gave an offhand answer.
"As far as I can remember, it ended well, I mean we had a really good time, if you know what I mean,n," he said with a smirk and twinkle in his eyes.
My fist tightened in rage at the lying bastard, he almost raped me that night if not for the incapacitating kick to his lower region that rendered him immobile allowing me to escape.
"So if the night ended that well why did the mum come and pick her up?" My lawyer asked, the smirking teen making him pause as he tried to formulate an answer.
"That's because when she gave it up so easily I didn't want her anymore so I kicked her out of the vehicle, he answered in a rehearsed tone as if repeating what he was told, but still in a smug tone with a corky grin that I want so badly to smack off his face. I wonder what will be the court reaction if I just did that. Probably escort me out of this place with security which will be worth it just to vent this anger that's choking me up.
"So you are admitting to the court to being an asshole." My lawyer growled, unable to hide his irritation at the smug teen. He was not the only one, cause I could hear mum grinding her teeth in anger as she continued to watch the front. If looks could kill Oliver will be dead on the floor from the daggers, mum was glaring into him.
"Objection!, " Elizabeth said standing up, "the prosecuting counsel should desist from calling my witness names."
Oh come off it, the bastard deserves the worse name, for all these lies he is concocting I mumbled lowly, with a scowl in her direction.
The judge looked at my lawyer in a warning, but from the defiant look on his face I don't think he felt sorry for his words, but this was the court of law and his opinion of the witness does not matter.
"No further questions your honor, but I would like to call Madeline Smith to the witness stand," my lawyer said with a little smirk of his own, causing the opposing side to glance at each other in question looking at the said woman as if to divulge the reason she is being called to the stand.
See, you bastards are not the only one with something up your sleeves, I added in my mind watching Oliver vacate the witness stand, throwing a look at Elizabeth as if to say I have done my part. My eyes followed him till the door shut behind him. I have it in my mind to confront him, I don't think I can let his lies here go, damn the consequences.
"Do you know where Miss Wright lives?" Mr. Ross asked, watching the woman like a hawk watching its prey.
She squirmed a little in her seat before starting into my lawyer's eyes boldly, but I could still see little twitches of nerves in her, as her eyes kept blinking.
She nodded her head in answer to the question.
"Mrs. Smith, you need to use your words, " my lawyer demanded in a serious tone.
" Yes," she muttered softly in a shaky voice, before clearing her throat and answering more clearly.
My lawyer nodded his head at her answer before asking another question.
" Did you pay her a visit a few days ago?"
The question came more like a statement than an answer, all the same, Mrs. Smith nodded her head, but when he gave her a look she used her words.
"During the course of the visit did you offer the family a check of a hundred thousand dollars for my client to retract her accusations?"
His question aroused murmur within the courtroom as people whispered among themselves, but I wasn't focused on that, instead, I was watching the woman squirm in her seat as she threw scared glances in Elizabeth's direction.
I looked to see Elizabeth looking rattled, this is the first time during the course of this trial that I have seen her confident facade shaken as she looked surprised and in disbelief at Mrs. Smith.
"Mrs. Smith, you have to answer the question my lawyer reminded the woman when her silence grew longer.
The woman who looked like a deer caught in the headlight as she kept glancing in their lawyer's direction looking for answers that will save her but when none was coming she muttered yes in a soft voice but was still heard within the court.
"If you believe that it was a con sexual interaction between Miss Wright and your husband why to offer her a bribe, could it be you believe that Miss Wright's claims could be true and wanted to buy her silence?" My lawyer asked trying to put the final nail in the coffin.
By now the woman was looking wide-eyed, and Elizabeth had her forehead on her hands, and I couldn't help the smile that brightened my face at this new development. After Mrs. Smith visits my mum and I debated whether we should tell Mr. Ross about it but thank God we did, because it seems to have helped in our case.
"No further questions your honor," Carl said when the woman couldn't answer, but her silence was an answer.
"Any questions from the defending council?" The judge enquired looking in their direction.
After a few seconds of conversing with her group, "We would like a recess, " Elizabeth requested standing up.
"Recess, the court will reconvey in twenty minutes, " the judge said knocking the table with his gavel.
We came back after twenty minutes, and I saw Madeline looking down probably having been chastised for her implicating action. Walking into the court this time around I had a little confidence in my step, things were looking up I thought taking my seat for the rest.
"I would like to call on Miss Evelyn Wright to the witness stand," my lawyer said when everyone had settled down.
My heart to skip as it started pounding fast, I heard this ominous sound gam in my mind, as I stood up on shaky legs. Well is my turn to face the music seeing that is my lawyer playing the music hopefully it won't be bad.
I sat in the witness stand and tried taking a practiced breath to calm my nerves but my hands were still trembling, I had to clutch them together to stop their shaky, as my feet joined in the dance. I don't think my deep breath is helping at all. I focused on the stern face of my lawyer trying to use it as a beacon to calm myself down. It walked a little when he gave me an assuring look.
"Please state your name to the court," he began in a soothing voice further helping my fried nerves.
"Evelyn Wright" I stated in a slightly trembling voice, but it wasn't bad as I still sounded clear. That is good.
"Can you tell this honorable court how you met Mr. Smith" he requested, his voice still soothing, which I did. Then he asked the question, which I knew was expected but I had hoped not to go through it.
when I was done narrating in detail all that happened in the past few weeks, I had tears tracking down my cheeks, and voice trembling badly at towards the end. I took a side glance in Daryl's direction, his face was blank and he looked unperturbed by all that I have said. I wiped off the tears from my eyes with the back of my hand and tried to get myself together again.
No further questions my lawyer stated, taking his seat and Elizabeth stood and approached me, with a glint in her eyes and her expression flat.
I couldn't read anything and the purposeful way she approached made me think she has something up her sleeves and she is not pulling any stops.
I guess am in for it now I thought in my mind trying not to feel intimidated by the powerful woman standing before me.
"Miss Wright, what was your impression the first time you met Mr. Smith?" She asked casually, looking relaxed.
I tilted my head to the side giving the question some thought before answering.
"I thought he was handsome, " I muttered in a level tone, with a little bit of attitude which implied that I didn't think so now.
"Is that all?" she asked hiking her brow up. "Wouldn't you say you were attracted to him too?" She asked with a small smirk and a twinkle in her eyes as if sharing a secret.
"Objection!, " the statement is suggestive my lawyer yelled out on his feet, to which Elizabeth rolled her eyes " is a question" she stated, but only I caught the dimwit she put at the end.
"I will rephrase, were you attracted to Mr. Smith when you met him?"
"Yes, I was, " I answered softly, unable to help the tone of regret obvious in my voice.
"Can you describe the dress you wore on the night of your date?" She asked in the same relaxed tone that contradict the hard glint in her eyes.
The question threw me for the loop a bit, as I pondered why she is interested in what I wore, I tried to see if I can infer something from her expression, but the damn woman was so hard to read, so I answered the question, my voice sounding low and unsure.
"What was in your mind when you put on the dress?" she asked in a voice that seemed as if she reeling me towards something that will prove my doom.
"I wanted to impress Mr. Smith." My voice growing lower as I grew confused at where she was heading with her questions with a little bit of fear feeling me
How? She questioned as if I haven't said the word she is looking for.
"To find me attractive, " I mumbled looking down and by the slight curl of her lips, I guess am going in the direction she wants.
"So you are saying your dress was meant to be provocative, " she said looking like a cat that is ready to pounce on its prey.
I looked down not saying anything, that night I had actually dressed to make Mr. Smith look at me as a woman worthy of his attention.
"Miss Wright do you know the hidden meaning of the phrase 'come in for coffee' after a date." She asked.
What does that have to do with anything I mumbled with slight irritation, getting fed up with all the questions itching to get down already, but before I could give her an answer my lawyer interrupted.
"Objection!, no relevance here he yelled on his feet.
The judge looked at her as if asking where she was going with this.
"I have a reason for asking your honor" she answered in response to his look.
"Objection denied, Miss Wright answer the question," the judge said.
I nodded my head.
"What does it mean?" She asked out louder than before.
I looked into her eyes to see the gleam in her eyes like she was just waiting to go for the kill.
"It can be used as a euphemism for sex, " I said sounding defeated.
"So if you knew this and accepted to go with Mr. Smith to his house for coffee doesn't it means you are invariably accepting his sexual invitation," she said nailing the nail to the coffin.
I looked down unable to mutter anything because in a way she was right, if I hadn't accepted his invitation I wouldn't have been in this mess, but that still didn't negate the fact that he sexually assaulted me, I should have the right to say no I thought furiously.
"No further questions your honor," she said with a little bit of gloat or I just imagined it before walking back to her seat.
I went back to my own seat, face down, reeling from just leaving the hot seat, still feeling the stings of the flame as I took my seat beside my mum, whose look of assurance did nothing to lift my spirit
Both lawyers stood up and gave there closing speeches. Both had a powerful closing argument but it was left for the jury to decide the verdict.
The jury has reached a verdict the judge said when the jury walked back in and a sealed later was handed to him.
My heart started beating fast as I clutched mum's hand tightly in a bruising grip, as the room filled with tension. I held my breath when the judge unsealed the paper, I saw mum offer a little prayer.
The judge took his sweet time reading the verdict, not minding that I was few minutes from passing out due to lack of air.
The jury hereby finds the defendant not guilty.