This chapter is dedicated to IamMariska - sorry for not updating earlier, but I hope this chapter was worth the wait :)
33 – Showtime
When the cell door opens, I peek from underneath the blanket at the morning guard with a frown. For ten days, everyone has left me rotting in my cell – no visitors, not even Noel, to let me know what's going on. The only one who has been stopping by frequently was Ryan who summoned me to an interrogation room where we stared at each other for hours without exchanging a word. Though the vicious glow in his eyes made my insides wail the entire time, I was able to keep it together.
"Get up, Cooper," the guard demands. There is nothing but boredom on his face. "You're going to court."
"Court?" My frown deepens. "What for?"
He shrugs. "Judge Oak's office called and said he wanted you over by nine. I just do what they tell me, so get up."
I swing my legs out of bed, covering my knees with the paper suit as much as possible. My efforts are unnecessary – contrary to that pig Roland who gave me a hard time when I stayed at the jail during my murder charge, this one has never even looked at me. All he ever does is smack his gum around.
He sets an orange jump suit next to me on the cod. "I'm right outside. Knock on the door when you're done."
I take my time changing, miffed that Noel didn't even stop by yesterday to go over my testimony again. In his defense, we had been set when the hearing was postponed due to Tivon's accident after days of revising. Noel probably figured I didn't need to prep further or he might have been busy with another case.
The weather outside is as miserable as my mood. Black clouds hang low over the city, a slight drizzle chilling me to the bone on the way to the van. My arms and legs are shackled and I can't even protect my hair from getting damp. I probably look like a total mess. Since I was on suicide watch, they took my rubber bands to hold my hair back, allowing the wind to angrily rip through it.
Slight nausea crawls up my throat as we drive along the bumpy roads. I try to calm my racing heartbeat by taking long, even breath, but a tingling sensation keeps spreading through my body. This is it. In a few hours, my son's fate will be decided by a man I hardly know and who will judge me based on what he will hear in court today. The concept of justice is odd. How can someone like Oaks even know whether he made the right decision? If I was him, I could probably not sleep at night, always wondering if I screwed up someone's life.
They take my shackles off before ushering me into the court room. Noel is already seated at the table and smiles when he sees me. To my surprise, Detective Tate is huddled with Marcus in a back row, whispering to him while he stares ahead with a thin smile. Ryan is there with Hannah, yet there is no sign of Charlotte.
"What's going on?" I ask Noel when I sink into the chair next to him.
"I don't know. The judge called me yesterday just before midnight and said we will proceed this morning. I objected since I really wasn't ready, but he told me he'll explain in chambers before the hearing. I'm just waiting to be called in."
I nibble my thumb. This is all very odd. Ryan's face is strained and he avoids looking at Hannah, but other than that, everyone appears calm and composed. Hannah is flipping through a magazine like she doesn't have a worry in the world while Marcus actually laughs at something Detective Tate told him. Their body language is open – they seem like the best of pals.
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