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William's POV

I pick up the papers from beside my desk to prepare for the trial. Her trial. I had avoided reading the papers for fear of what they would show me. How would they paint her? My best shot was getting an extended trial and then finding a way to get her out.

"William? Are you ready?" Madison's impatient, bossy voice cuts through my thoughts.

"Y-yeah," I hurriedly stuff the papers in my pockets, creasing them heavily.

Everyone is already seated. Jason's expression is complacent, his face completely devoid of emotion. Audrey and Noah are huddled together, whispering intensely. It sounds like bitter arguing, perhaps a lovers' quarrel. Lucas looks completely shocked, like he can't believe this was happening to a tiati, of all people. Lucas wasn't new but he wasn't old either. He was a good tiati and more than often his morals clouded his judgement in court. The new stand-in, Willow, is looking excitedly around, her face aglow with wonder. She was some kind of mini-Madison and I hated her. It was as if Jason and Madison had a kid. I have to stop myself from punching her. And Aurelia... I force myself to look at her.

She isn't moving, not talking, not reacting at all. Her eyes are glassy, and I can tell that she wants to cry, which is dangerous and shocking, because I know she can hide her emotions way better than this. Aurelia was the type who usually stayed in the back, never calling much attention to herself. It was only recently she had started to speak out. I admired her and as did Bianca.


Why didn't she tell me?

We were leagues apart in class previously, that much I knew. She came from a poorer house and I came from a well-to-do one. I didn't know it was that bad until I found myself all alone last night with Bianca in captivity.

"Attention!" Madison calls. "William?"

I push myself forward, shaking.

Don't show emotion.

"Bianca Ro - Co - Coleus M - Moore please come in," I stammer, holding back tears.

Do not cry.

I nearly lose it as Bianca is shoved forward. There was obviously some struggle; her face has a red welt on it, and she is noticeably limping.

I feel a rush of fury. I would find whoever hurt her, even if it was her own family. I would avenge her somehow, someway.

"Do you a-admit?" I question, trying to look into her eyes. She furiously avoids my face, looking at the ground instead.

I can hear a quiet gasp-sob from Aurelia. Bianca twists around to look at her.

I can't lip read that well, but I could nearly swear that Aurelia mouths, you said you were okay.

You told Aurelia but not me?

Was I not enough?

Bianca looks back, her eyes flashing. She can't bear seeing anyone in pain.

Madison steps in impatiently. "You forgot to state what she is accused of."

"Of screaming angrily at her family, ready to hurt them," Jason reads off his paper.

"D-do y-you - " I break off.

I can't do this.

Bianca finally looks at me, and I nearly collapse as I see the emotion in her beautiful, glistening, forest-green eyes.

We were capable of so much more emotion. They robbed it from us.

"Do you admit?" Lucas asks softly, for my benefit. He glances quickly at me, before looking down. We were all close with Bianca.

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