Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

"All rise." The officer announced as he proceeded to introduce the judge.

I felt just as nervous as I did the first time we went to court, only this time it was worse because it's time for the judge to really get all the information that he needs out of us to make the decision.

I felt a huge cloud of despair looming over me.

Not only am I worried about the case but Biggie and Keith are here as well to testify.

I made sure Gunner and Keith wouldn't do anything hostile at court towards each other and they agreed for my sake.

"You all may be seated." Judge Harrison announced.

Once we were all seated and the judge had all attention on him he got the case started.

"Last time we met it was brought to attention that Arianna Parker was abused by Trent and Coral Kerns. Arianna had gone through a great deal of emotional stress up until now with witnessing the murder of her parents and being in an orphanage. Also, due to her street fighting and racing habits she had a lot of physical injuries throughout the course of her stay with the Kerns. However; Miss Parker has a few witnesses present who can back up her allegations. Mr. Jackson, start your case." The judge spoke with authority.

"Right, my client, Arianna has been ill-treated by Mr. and Mrs. Kerns and we have evidence of the abuse along with three witnesses." Mr. Jackson motioned towards Keith Roberts, Jeremy Vikes, and Gunner Lawrence.

"Mr. Roberts, would you please come up to the stand?" The judge ordered and Keith obliged.

Once Keith was seated and promised to tell the truth, Mr. Jackson started asking questions.

"Mr. Roberts, have you ever seen Trent and or Coral strike or threaten Arianna?" He asked.

"I haven't seen them strike her, no, but I have heard them both threaten some pretty nasty things when I'd pick her up or through the phone. Also, one time when I picked her up from her place Trent grabbed her and shook real hard like. I stepped in and we left." He explained.

"Very well." He nodded, looking over at Mr. Hendy expectantly as if telling him it's his turn.

"Mr. Roberts, what is your relation with Miss Parker?" Mr. Hendy asked.

"We're friends." He stated.

"Just friends?" He surveyed him carefully.

"We are just friends." He nodded truthfully.

"Have you always been just friends?" He asked, as if knowing there was more to the story.

"Yes and no. We had a brief exchange of... passion." He shifted uncomfortably.

"So, could you just believe what she says because you like her?" He suggested.

"No. She never came out and told me she had been abused. I actually suspected it and asked her. Every time I did she denied it, up until Gunner came into her life and did something about it. Something I should've done." He spoke with remorse, making me stare down at the floor.

"Okay. That's all." He said in a frustrated tone.

"Mr. Roberts, thank you." The judge said, signaling him off the stand.

Once he was off the stand, Biggie was called up and he said almost the same thing as Keith did.

Next it was Gunner's turn.

"Mr. Lawrence, you have been a victim of the Kerns as well as Arianna, am I correct?" Mr. Jackson asked him.

"That is correct." He nodded.

"Please go into depth. What happened?" He asked.

"One day she called me and had me come pick her up at the park down the street from her old house and I had to rush her to the hospital because her clavicle was fractured. After that we went to my place and told my parents. That's when all of this happened and we went to collect her things the next day. It was supposed to be in and out. As we were packing her belongings, Trent had hit Ari several times and I stepped in and we fought. Then Coral came up behind me and hit me with a frying pan and was out cold. I woke up in the hospital." Gunner explained.

"Thank you Gunner." He nodded.

"I have no questions for him." Mr. Henry stated, looking uneasy.

"Very well. We have one more witness. Her doctor: Dr. Ken." The judge introduced him.

As soon as he reached the stand he started explaining, "I met Arianna when Gunner brought her in with a fractured clavicle. I decided to do more investigating and found that there were many bruises and marks all over her. Some from recreational fighting and from being banged up in the car from racing but mainly from abuse. I have x-rays of it all. You can tell apart the injuries. She did not do this to herself. It's hard evidence." He stated matter-of-factly.

"Thank you Dr. Ken." He nodded, allowing him to leave.

"Miss Parker, would you like to put your input?" The judge asked me and I nodded, walking up to the stand.

"I did cut myself and all of my fighting and racing did cause injuries but they did attack me on a regular basis. Coral didn't hit me much except from the occasional slap; however, she did do some emotional abuse pertaining to my parents and my lack of worth in life. Trent used me as his punching bag all of the time. They also hurt Gunner which is something I cannot let happen without consequence. It was a terrible thing but I grew to feel like I deserved it." I paused, taking a shaky breath. "My parent's murder had a huge impact on me but now I realize that I need to move past that. Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in that day. I realize now that I need to stop dwelling on it and move forward." My voice cracked and I realized that if I kept going it wasn't going to be pretty so I stopped.

"Thank you Miss. Parker." The judge gave me a small smile as I walked back to my seat.

"Coral and Trent Kemp, would you like to add anything?" The judge asked and they nodded walking up.

"I don't know why you have it in your head that we beat you or Gunner but we love you regardless." Coral lied straight through her teeth.

I didn't comment though because it was terribly obvious that she was lying and that nobody believed them.

"Thank you. The next court meeting will be in exactly a month. Thank you all for your cooperation." The judge commented professionally, "Court adjourned." He dismissed us.

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