Chapter Fourteen: The Verdict.
Not too much later Andy and Jay could be found in a vacant room, Andy anxiously awaiting the verdict from the judge. Mel had advised she was going for a quick walk and asked Jay to call her if they heard anything in the mean time. Andy had also rung his dad and was happy when he had heard that his Papa was settling in back at home as though he’d never left.
“He keeps asking me for more ice-cream!” Ben yelled out, as Micah had the phone on speaker while the pair talked to their son.
“Good to hear not much has changed,” Andy laughed.
After that Andy had hung-up. Micah was getting tired, probably from the excitement of coming home, and Andy also wanted to have a moment with Jay before Mel came back.
“So….” Jay started the moment Andy hung up.
“So….” Andy repeated, both seemingly at a loss for words.
“Mel said it will take about an hour to hear something…”
“I know,” Andy said cutting him off “the judge told me remember?”
Jay wasn’t happy with Andy snapping at him like that regardless of the situation and so snapped right back.
“Hey! What the fuck is up your ass?” he asked. “Seriously? I get that this trial is stressful, but you don’t have to talk to me like that! Jeez!”
“I know…” Andy said at last. “I’m sorry. It’s just… I don’t know. I guess I’m just worried. None of this worked out the way I wanted it too.” He finished.
“How did you want it to go?” Jay asked.
“Well…” Andy started. “For one thing I wanted Dad here for the verdict. For another I could’ve done without my attorney keeping her head in her hands for most of the trial.”
“But you got to at least give her props for up selling your legal fascination,” Jay replied. “I don’t know how she managed to shove that in.”
Andy smiled. He did appreciate Mel’s re-examination and she had seemed to point out the majority of flaws that Ted had stumbled into.
“Did you see the look on Ted’s face when she upstaged him on knowing state law?” Jay asked. “I thought the guy was going to slip off his chair!”
“No I was more distracted by Ms white-gloves and Mr. I’m too bored to even be at my own trial actually,” Andy replied.
“Yeah…” Andy started now standing up, needing to move. “What was with Linds thinking she was ’it and a bit’ out there? All dolled up like she was about to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral? Seriously! She’s an art critic, not Miranda Priestly!”
Jay laughed so hard he nearly fell over.
“Hey, um… how was it being in the same room as…him?” Andy asked tentatively.
“I should be asking you that,” Jay replied.
Andy just gave Jay a look that screamed I asked you first.
“It was fine. Honestly, I didn’t even look at him once the trial begun. My eyes were totally…fixated…on…you” Jay stretched out the end of the sentence and then leaned in to kiss his boyfriend.
“You were a great help, just being there in eye-sight,” Andy replied and pulled Jay in for another kiss.
Moments later the door burst open and Mel nearly fell inside.
“Guys!” she half screamed, panting.
Clearly she had run back to the room.
“Judge Granger is back with the verdict and ah, let’s leave the PDA for outside the courts shall we?”
As much as she was flustered and a little harsh on the boys, she smiled quickly to show them she was only trying to help and then quickly ushered them out of the room.
Oh no! Andy thought to himself. Something doesn’t feel right.
“It’s just your anxiety A, you’ll be fine,” Jay replied intuitively trying to calm his clearly agitated boyfriend on their way back to room 6.
“Of course he will,” Mel said. “We argued every point Ted lamely tried to make. The judge will have no choice but to rule in our favor.”
“DON’T Jinx it!” Andy whisper-screamed. “Jeez Mel!”
Again Mel simply smiled and as they had now reached room 6, she opened the door allowing Andy and Jay to walk past her and into the room.
Heading directly for the plaintiff’s table, Andy was very much on edge. Regardless of what happened the verdict would create hell for him. If it went his way he would get the order, but there would be issues with B, which could cause some issues between him and Jay and they had only just gotten together.
Way to go Andy! He thought to himself.
But if the verdict went against him, there would be even more issues. Aside from the fact that B would be free to come near him any time he wanted, Andy would also be forced away from working at the diner.
It was all just such a mess and he suddenly found himself regretting not just dropping the case.
“Whatever happens, I’m here A!” Jay whispered behind him.
Though he didn’t turn around to acknowledge his partner, he had heard his words and was internally grateful that at least, for now, Jay would be there.
As he sat at the table, he looked around and noticed B sitting at the defendant’s table again seemingly bored, but Ted was nowhere to be seen. As he looked back to the doors, he now realized Mel had vanished too and started worrying even more.
“Andy, where’s Mel?” Jay was asking behind him.
Andy shrugged, hoping she’d be back soon.
Moments later the sound of hurrying footsteps could be heard behind him and Andy turned to see that, like before, Mel was rushing towards him. He also couldn’t help but notice Linds snigger as Mel nearly tripped over in her attempt to rush back to his side.
“Sorry about the hold up,” she said puffing. “Ted offered a deal and waited till the last minute to tell me.”
Knowing all about ‘deals’ between Plaintiffs and Defendant’s Andy wasted no time in enquiring as to the offer.
“He’s offering 20 hours of community service if we drop this,” she replied.
“Community service?” Andy questioned. “That’s not even on the table, why would he offer that?”
“Guess he has a bond with the diner that none of us knew.” Mel replied off handedly. “Anyway we have one minute to decide, so sorry to rush you but what’ll it be?”
“No.” Andy replied simply.
“No?” Mel questioned a tad surprised.
“No.” Andy repeated. “None of this compromising crap ok? It’s either all or nothing. I am so done and just wanted to hear what the robe will say.”
Mel chuckled slightly at Andy’s attempt at court humor and rushed over to Ted to tell him ‘no deal’.
Moments after she returned the bailiff asked everyone to rise and announced the judge’s arrival.
“Please sit,” Judge Granger advised.
Andy sat, more worried than before, but felt a tad happier to see B look worried too.
Finally some emotion. Andy thought.
“It’s never easy to hear about sexual harassment, which is what I am deeming this case to be,” the judge started.
“This court takes a hard line against sexual assault and I want it noted that I am unimpressed by your actions Mr. Kinney. To go behind the counter and sexually assault someone who is making you coffee is extremely…outrageous!”
Andy couldn’t help but smile, it was nice to hear B be told that his actions were inexcusable by the one man that had the authority to do so. Mel however, did not look as happy.
“Mr. Thompson I’d also like to take a moment to apologize for Mr. Kinney’s actions. No one should ever be placed in the position you were and I can only hope that your future endeavors go much more smoothly than this.”
The judge, who was leaning over, then sat back and became quite business like and brisk from there.
“It is the duty of the court to listen to details such as these to determine if an intervention order is the best option or not. We have heard from Ms Marcus how Mr. Thompson was simply doing his job and, as she also pointed out, legally so. We also heard from Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Thompson himself that Mr. Kinney is a frequent visitor to the diner and that Mr. Thompson does not in fact live here and is planning to go home soon.”
Now Andy was starting to get why Mel didn’t look so good.
“Despite the fact that Mr. Thompson has no idea when he will be departing, he has suggested that it will be soon and though he will be returning at some point to visit his family, this court sees no reason to hand out an intervention order to Mr. Kinney when the plaintiff will be leaving soon anyway.”
“I understand,” the judge continued looking to Andy “that this means you will need to give up your job at the diner here Mr. Thompson and I am very sorry about that. I am sure you would have been a great help to your Aunt. However this court can see no reason why an intervention order should be given at this time.”
Andy shoulders slumped as his heart plummeted. It was over…B had won after all.
“Therefore on this issue of whether or not an intervention order will be placed into effect against Mr. Kinney I am finding in favor of the defendant. However…”
The judge stopped as a murmur let out in the gallery, including Linds reaching over to pat B on the back. The judge banged his gavel for silence and then continued.
“However, I am not taking Mr. Kinney’s actions lightly. Mr. Kinney, you will serve 30 hours of community service for your misconduct and will not be allowed to re-enter the liberty diner until it is completed, do I make myself clear?”
“Yes your honor,” B replied solemnly.
“Excellent, the community service aside, this court finds in favor of the defendant, case dismissed!”
The judge banged his gavel signaling the end of the case and left the room.
Mel begrudgingly walked over to Ted and as was customary shook his hand before returning to Andy.
“I’m so sorry Andy,” she said sitting next to the dejected man. “At least he got community service.”
Andy smiled, a fake smile, but a smile none the less.
“Thanks Mel. Honestly you were brilliant; I may call upon your services again someday.”
Mel smiled tightly.
“Would you like to walk out with me?” she asked.
“I’ll be fine,” Andy replied. “I just need a moment.”
So Mel packed up her stuff and cleared out of the room.
Andy starred off into space lost in thought over what this verdict had meant. No more liberty diner and indeed, no more being anywhere near B. Considering everything Andy had put him through, B was bound to retaliate and Andy needed to watch his step until he left.
He was so far deep in thought, that he hadn’t noticed everyone else leave. All that were remaining now were Jay and himself.
“Tough break,” Jay said. “At least Micah’s ok, that’s something right?”
“Yeah thank god,” Andy replied. “Because we’re getting out of here, tonight.”
As Andy and Jay were about to walk into Ben and Micah’s place that evening, he couldn’t help but wonder how the discussion would affect his parents. He dreaded telling his Dad that he would be off and worse his Papa that though he was home he’d be spending that time without him.
Andy looked at the door pondering whether it may even be easier to just fly home and call them once there Jay, as per usual pulled him out of his thoughts.
“You know, it’s not going to just magically open if you stare at it right? Maybe try saying something out loud in Latin…that might help.”
But despite his best efforts to crack a joke, Andy just felt so overwhelmed that he didn’t say anything. Not only did he need to tell his parent’s he was off home, but they were also not aware that he’d lost the case. It was all becoming just too much.
“Ok, what if I…” Jay started reaching his hand out about to knock on the door.
Andy stopped him pulling his hand away, and as though a narrator, talked to Jay continuing to look at the door.
“Once upon a time there lived two of the loveliest people you would ever know. These men were warm, kind and caring to each and every person they met. Then one day, they were shattered. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, their son rocked up and blew their world to smithereens when he announced for not the first time but the second time in a fortnight that he was leaving them.”
Andy chanced a look at Jay, figuring he would chime in with something, but when he received no response he continued.
“It was not the fact that their son was leaving them, oh no, they knew they would seem him again at some point. It was more the fact that he was once again bailing. Bailing because he was too scared to face reality and sadly once again it would be them that would lose out. ‘What sort of a child have we raised’ one asked the other that evening upon hearing the news.”
“A sweet man, who has gone through a lot and just needs to take some time away from all the drama to calm down, said the other,” Jay replied. “Come on Andy! They might be sad you’re leaving but they’ll understand and just… don’t forget the plan, they’ll love it.”
Andy sighed. Since Jay had finally managed to get him up from the chair in court room 6, Andy had done nothing but continue to lay into Jay just how important it was that they leave the state. And not tomorrow or even next week, but tonight.
Jay had agreed but made the unfortunate mistake of airing out loud just how Ben and Micah may take the news.
Ever since then Andy had been so worried about telling his parents that he had tried every which way under the sun to avoid them completely. But Jay was hearing nothing of it. He knew just how much respect Andy had for his parents and likewise that his parents had for him and so had pushed Andy to at least talk to them. And then, throughout the back and forth banter they had actually come up with a plan to satisfy everyone. Well almost everyone, they had stopped caring about B, Emmett and Linds by now.
“So the evil son knocked on the door, fearing the hearts he was about to break,” Andy continued before knocking on the door and then taking a giant step back and grabbing Jay’s hand for support.
The door flew open and Ben stood there with his husband.
Micah hadn’t looked this good since the last time Andy was here. He was up and about and save for a slight scar on his head, looked absolutely fine.
“Son!” he cried, almost actually succumbing to tears in seeing the boy.
Micah wrapped Andy up in a hug and then approached Jay.
“So Jay,” he started still with one arm around his son. “I hear we have a reason to celebrate!”
Andy and Jay both reflected a look of confusion. What was there to celebrate? Andy loosing the case? Andy leaving? Jay taking him back home? None of these sounded like reasons to crack out some bubbly at all.
“We do?” Jay questioned still very much confused.
“Of course!” Micah positively beamed. “You two, together…loooooove!”
He had dragged out the last word sounding quite soppy and despite their reservations Andy and Jay couldn’t help but smile and laugh.
“Y-I guess so,” Jay stammered.
“Yep, happiness is no longer just around the corner.” Andy replied.
Micah pulled Jay into a hug and eventually after a hug from Ben, wine was poured and the four of them sat down at the dining table together.
Everything seemed to be going quite well, that was, until Micah asked a paralyzing question.
“So what’s the plan with you two?” he smiled.