(I’m not a lawyer. I tried to do as much research as I could to make it believable. If any of my readers are lawyers, I apologize if anything is inaccurate)
21 Months Later
I woke up in bed alone. It was a strange feeling because I was used to always waking up with his arms around me. I put on my robe and walked to his office. He was hunched over his desk, his glasses perched on his nose as he peered at his computer screen.
“It’s 4am, why are you up?” I asked as I walked over to him.
He pushed away from his desk and opened his arms, tugging me down so i was seated on his lap. “Did you really think I was going to let you testify alone? I’m going with you to court.”
I smiled at him. “Thank you, but you really don’t have to do that. I know you have a lot to do at work with the promotion and all.”
“My wife is more important than work.” I was surprised my extremely wide smile didn’t split my face in half.
We’d been married for two months and we were still in the blissful honeymoon stage. I don’t think I would ever get tired of hearing him call me his wife.
“Thank you.” I said sincerely. I didn’t want to go to the courthouse alone but I didn’t want to ask him to take the day off because I knew how much work he had to do. I was glad that he knew what I needed and took the time off to be with me. “Have I ever told you that you’re the best husband ever?”
He kissed my cheek and said, “Once or twice, but you should probably tell me again.”
I giggled.”You’re the best husband. Thank you, I really appreciate you coming with me.”
He smiled at me and dipped his head to kiss the sensitive spot on my neck, making me moan.
“If you get your work done quickly, we might still have time for some hank panky.” I said as I wiggled my eyebrows.
He threw his head back and laughed, “Hanky panky? What century were you born in?”
I winked at him and got off his lap. He swatted my ass as I walked away.
I went back to bed and I slept better knowing that when I walk into the courthouse later that day, Sawyer would be right by my side.
A couple of months after Noelle was arrested, Sawyer accepted a position at another firm. A week after he left, he called me asking me out on a date. I said yes immediately. Since we weren’t working together anymore, I wanted to explore our relationship and see how things went. Things ended up working perfectly.
—- —– —-
I clung to Sawyer’s hand as we walk into the courthouse. They were a lot of reporters there. Noelle’s case had gotten a lot of national coverage. The story spread like wildfire. Within days of her arrest, her face was plastered on news channels and all over social media. The media couldn’t get enough of it. It had died down over the past year but as the trial finally began, the story regained momentum. Was she guilty? Was she innocent? Was it premeditated? Was it self-defense? Deep down, I knew that Noelle was innocent. She didn’t have it in her to plan a murder. She had to be acting in selfdefense.
The court room was packed but I spotted Noelle’s mum, dad and brother seating near the front. My dad was seated besides Noelle’s mum and from the way her shoulders were shaking it was obvious she was crying.
I couldn’t help it. A surge of anger went through me as I sat beside my dad. He looked tired and disheveled. He was obviously emotionally drained because the woman he loved was miserable over the fact that her daughter could be found guilty for voluntary manslaughter. This was all Noelle’s fault. My dad was a good man and he had been lonely for years after my mum died. If anyone deserved happiness it was him. A part of me wished that he would dump Noelle’s mother and find someone else. Someone with no emotional baggage. My dad deserved a simple, uncomplicated life. Why did he have to fall in love with Noelle’s mother?
I clenched my fists in my lap and Sawyer leaned in to kiss my temple. “It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling baby.” He whispered to me. I sighed and leaned into him. I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky. Sawyer knew me better than anyone else in the world. Sometimes it felt like he could read my mind. I had confided in him my feelings about my dad’s relationship with Noelle’s mum and the anger I felt towards Noelle. I was mad at Noelle because I felt like she took my justice away from me. Death was too quick for Cole. I wanted him to suffer. I wanted to take him to court and get him thrown in prison for rape. Cole was a pretty boy and prison would have been hell for him. Without a doubt, he would have become someones little bitch boy in prison. He would have gotten a taste of what it felt like to be held down and penetrated against your will.
A door opened and in walked Noelle, shackled. It was the first time I had seen her in almost two years. She looked so different. Like a shadow of her former self. She had been denied bail because of the violence of the crime she was accused of and because she had an extremely rich fiance, she was determined to be a flight risk. Even though her fiancée, (well ex-fiancee now), had moved back to Nigeria and married some other Nigerian woman, she still hadn’t been granted bail.
The judge walked in and banged his gavel, the courtroom became silent and the trial commenced. It was the fifth day of the trial and I was here to act as a witness. Sawyer gave my hand one last squeeze and I walked up to the stand. I could feel all eyes on me. I glanced over at Noelle but she still had that absent look on her face. It was as though she had checked out of the world. My anger towards Noelle faded away in that moment as our eyes met. She didn’t deserve what was happening to her. Her life was being played out on the world stage. No matter what happened after the trial, her life would never be the same. The only thing she was guilty of was being an idiot and her punishment far outweighed the crime. As I swore the oath to tell the truth, I hoped that my testimony would help sway the jurors.
The defense attorney had walked me through the questions he was going to ask me and the questions that the prosecutor would probably ask. It went more or less according to what he told me. The defense attorney wanted to establish that Cole had a history of hurting women, to strengthen the argument that Noelle had acted on self defense. It was hard talking about the rape to a large group of strangers but I managed to get through it. After I was done, Ian was called to the stand and asked about the blackmail. The defense attorney wanted to paint Cole as the evil, conniving bastard he was. After Ian, the forensic crime scene investigator was questioned and on and on it went. Witness after witness, all carefully selected by the defense attorney to paint Cole as an evil conniving bastard who preyed on women and cast Noelle as the innocent party and the true victim of the case. A victim who had fought for her life and won.
I looked over at the jury, which was made up of 7 men and 5 women. A few of them had very good poker faces while the others had extremely expressive faces. I stopped paying attention to the witnesses and focused all my attention on the jurors as I tried to figure out what each of them was thinking.
After a few hours, it was time for a lunch break. Sawyer and I went to a small cafe which was about five minutes away from court. I ordered a sandwich that I didn’t eat, so Sawyer ate mine and his. He answered work emails as I used my straw to play with the ice in my drink.
“If you were a juror would you find her guilty?” I asked abruptly after a few minutes.
Sawyer took his time to think about it before he answered. “I think I might find her guilty if I were a juror. There are some things that don’t add up. Why did she have a military grade knife in her bag. Why did she go there alone at night, when she knew he had raped you? Why didn’t she call 911 after everything happened? Why did she go to her apartment, wash her clothes and then drive to Mansfield. She was surrounded by close family and friends. Why didn’t she confide in anybody? Killing a person is a huge fucking deal. You heard the bridesmaids, they said that they didn’t suspect a thing. She acted normal. So, it’s either she was still in shock and she was acting on autopilot, or she killed him intentionally. If I were a juror, I would probably think the latter.”
“Do you think my testimony helped?” I asked, biting my lip.
Sawyer reached across the table and intertwined his fingers with mine. “I’m really proud of you for going up there and telling your story. I hate that he did that to you. If he weren’t already dead, I’ll probably kill him myself.” He sighed and I knew he was trying to contain his anger, “Your story probably helped to convince them that Cole was capable of violence and would have probably raped Noelle had she not stabbed him but everything that happened after she stabbed him makes it seem like it was premeditated.”
“Do you think she did it intentionally. Do you think she went there to kill him?”
Sawyer scoffed, “I know she didn’t do it. Noelle doesn’t have it in her. She’s a silly girl who acted on impulse. I knew how much she wanted answers from Cole. Most likely Cole called her promising her answers to all her questions and she couldn’t resist. You know what curiosity did to the cat.”
He gulped down the last of his drink and said. “We should start heading back. Court will be back in session soon.”