Chapter 55: The Verdict Is In

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Alyssa stepped away from the witness stand and bolted out of the courtroom. She fought hard to keep it together and give her testimony as Jacob Richards sat a couple of feet away from her. Her tear riddled mother sat in the courtroom next to her father, whom sneered Jacob's way every time Alyssa paused to gather her emotions. Right beside her parents, were her girls minus Safiya, whom had to step out to tend to a crying Ameera. Cairo, Trevor, Sam, and Daniel were in the row behind them and Alyssa noted one person was missing. Quinn was a no show.

Alyssa settled on the shiny wooden bench in the hollowed hallway. The hushed whisper of two professional dressed individuals did it's best to rid the silence but Alyssa could still hear the thudding of her heartbeat—racing like a hummingbird's wings. Her almond eyes burned from the immense pressure of tears brimming in the wells.

"What's the matter?" Safiya's soft, heavy voice cooed as she hoisted Ameera on her hip.

Alyssa noticed the Safiya was giving her the same gentle, concerned face she gave Ameera whenever had a nasally continuous cry.

Alyssa gave a meager headshake, "Just overwhelmed."

"Are you sure?" Safiya countered dropping down next to her on the bench. "It's okay to be upset and a little scared."

"I'm not scared." Alyssa snapped, gifting Safiya with a heated glare.

Safiya's mascaraed eyelashes froze as she stared at her and held back the five-letter word that sat on her tongue. "If that's what you say?"

The courtroom doors swung open and seconds later they say the culprit. Harmony rushed out the courtroom with Lela hot on her trail.

"Are you alright?" Harmony knelt in front of Alyssa giving her the compassion a teacher would give their first grader that tripped over a rug.

"Move." Alyssa barked, fanning Harmony away like a gnat. She hopped off the bench and gripped the back of her neck. "I don't need ya'll hovering me like a porcelain plate."

"You're not a porcelain plate but you missed it." Lela tossed the cardigan Alyssa left behind on the bench next to Safiya.

Alyssa pivoted to give Lela a puzzled look, "Missed what?"

"Jacob broke." Harmony offered.


Time froze as Mr. Simpson informed Alyssa that Jacob took a plea deal and confessed. He also told her that he added a special item to seal the plea, something he had to do to keep his deal—he had to apologize. An hour and fifteen minutes later, she sat across from him. The maple table wasn't wide enough. It didn't apply enough space between him and her. His eyes upon her flustered cheeks stoked a fire that blazed in the pit of her stomach. Jacob was handcuffed to the table and a uniformed officer stood behind him. She wondered if it was for her safety or his.

Alyssa avoided his face, leering out the thick paned window behind him. She pressed her back hard against the chair with her cardigan buttoned all the way to the top covering up her chaste white dress—Harmony's dress.

"I should start." Jacob croaked, the chains jingled as he fiddled with his hands; hands that she used to love on her flesh but now they bought bile up her throat. "Of course I should start." He muttered to himself.

With his head hung low he peeked over at her.

"Talk." Alyssa demanded folding her arms. "I want to spend as less time with you as possible but..." She shifted her eyes to him, narrowed and overrun with disdain. "Listening to what I want isn't what you do."

"I made a mistake." He inched his hands closer to her but the chains around his handcuff gave him no slack. "You gotta know I made a mistake." He begged as tears rained from his pink hazed eyes.

"Are you crying?" Alyssa laughed mirthlessly to herself. "Mother fucker! You're crying!" She slammed her hand on the table. "What the hell did I do to you?"

"Nothing. Nothing." He quickly disclosed.

"Did you think you'd come in and fuck me and then go back to you're happy, comfortable little life?" She seethed balling her fist, draining the blood from her small hand. "Because that's what you did. You fucked me! You disrupted the course of my entire life. I have nightmares...the day-mares finally stopped. I'm afraid to go out at myself." She pounded her fist on the table ignoring the pain it shot up her arm. "I second guess my actions and I can't even—" She stopped as anger surged up her spine.

"I'm sorry." Jacob pressed his palms together as he shifted in his chair. His suit and tie gave his the appearance of a gentleman and she wasn't fooled. "I'm really, really sorry." He dropped his head—a tear splashed on the table. "I just wanted you back. I wanted you so bad...that I lost control."

Disgust marred Alyssa's face. "Bastard." She turned her face to the side calling back the tear that hung in the corner of her eye. There was no way she was going to let him see her breakdown and cry. "I don't need for you to apologize. I need you to turn back time. Go back to last year and be a man." She pushed back her chair and stood. "Then when I rejected you would've swallowed that bitter pill and took your ass home instead of being a spoiled, privileged bitch."

Jacob's jaw fell as horror flashed before his eyes, "Can you ever forgive me?"

"Let me see, when the devil rises from hell..." Alyssa stopped in front of the door. "I'll think about it." She whipped the door open. "But until then...rot." She slammed the door behind her.

Do you think this confrontation will rid some of Alyssa's anger and continue healing?

Why do you think Quinn wasn't at the trial?

Why do you think Quinn wasn't at the trial?

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