Forgiving Justice

"...So it came a bit of a shock to me when I saw what was happening between Bella and Theo. No one would have guessed that anything like that could happen to us: the happy go lucky Balmers and Kensits living in the big house on the corner. But that’s the funny thing about life.
You never know what’s coming next."

Fifteen year old Natalie Balmer/Kensit has never really felt like she belongs. Throughout her childhood she was continually bounced from one home to another- whilst keeping a terrible secret that her older sister Bella was being brutally abused.
Now, living in care, seperated from her family and in a steady relationship with boyfriend Jasper, Natalie is shocked to find her past being dragged out in front of her.

Theo is back. And his story's in court.

Natalie, as the only witness to Bella and Theo's injustice, is now compelled to make a life changing decision- Keep her families together?

Or serve Bella justice and send her sister to prison?

Coming soon!




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32. A Rusted Anchor In The Inky Sea.

"Natalie hasn't been heard yet."

It was barely a whisper. More of a mumble. But it was so loud to me that she might as well have announced it on a megaphone.

"Be patient, Isabella," I heard Mr. Bowles reassure her kindly, "They'll call her in a minute."

Breathing deeply, I pondered the meaning of her urgency for me to be heard. There was only one possible reason, and it made my heart sink like a rusted anchor in the inky sea. Bella hoped for me, no expected  me to give evidence against Theo. It wasn't that I blamed her for expecting me to do it, because I know that if I was in the position she was in now, I would expect her to do the same thing.

"Natalie Balmer, please take your place in the witness stand."

I felt a million eyes on me as I made my way up to the box. I tried running my script through my head so I knew what I was going to say, but I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't think anymore. Thoughts irrelevant to the trial kept on running through my head like bees in a bursting, swelling hive.

I took the oath with my eyes held rigidly to my boots. I didn't realise that it was over until I noticed the huge gold bound Bible wasn't stuck under my nose any longer. I half hoped that I would be questioned by Mr. Bowles first, but Theo's lawyer, Ms. Pompey, stood up and eyed me coldly. "Ms. Balmer," she began.

"Natalie," I corrected her.

She ignored me and continued her speech almost as if I had never spoken in the first place. "So, Natalie," she continued, "we have already established the fact that Isabella Balmer, on the night of the 18th October, pushed Theodore Kensit down the stairs of your home..."

Mr. Bowles wasn't having any of it. He pushed his chair away from the desk with a scrape and an outraged shout. "Excuse me Ms. Pompey, but we have absolutely no records of my client giving evidence of anything of the sort!"

Ms. Pompey signalled to the court legal adviser. He coughed quickly, and spoke in a raspy voice: too sullen and dreary to have belonged to Bella, "'So that night I fought back'."

Mr. Bowles threw a pleading glance towards the Judge, "That doesn't prove anything! That could mean that the two had an argument for all that crappy evidence is worth!"

Bang! Bang! went the gavel. "Watch your language, Mr. Bowles."

The legal adviser coughed once more. I wondered how many cigarettes he had in a day, how many he had had that morning. "I'm not finished. Isabella went on to say 'Oh God, God knows I shouldn't have done it. That was the night I had to make a stand."

Bella's lawyer sank back down into his seat, defeated. It hurt me to see how hard he was trying for Bella, even though he probably realised that they had no chance in winning the case anyway.

Mr. Bowles was Atticus in a modern day Maycomb County, and Bella was the mockingbird. You don't pick on a young woman with a terrible past and enough mental problems to be the Joker.

Ms. Pompey shook her head slightly as if shaking off Mr. Bowles and his client. She turned back to me, whitened teeth gleaming and glittering at me blindingly. "As I was saying, we have already established the fact that Ms. Balmer, on the night of the 18th October, pushed Mr. Kensit down the stairs of your family home. Tell me, had you ever noticed Isabella act violently towards her younger step-brother before?"

"No. Never." I opened my eyes, having realised for the first time that I had closed them. From up here, all I could see was eyes, and not the faces that they belonged to. It was reassuring, and scary.

"It was what Bella said before. She snapped." My voice rose embarrassingly. "She had never fought back, not once! She always just took whatever Theo threw at her..."

"Natalie?"

I stopped, breathless. The room was so silent my ears were filled with white noise. Ms. Pompey looked at me, her eyes glacial. "Natalie, I wasn't asking for your step-brother's involvement in the events on the 18th October. It was just a question whether or not Isabella had ever been violent towards Mr. Kensit before the incident on the 18th."

I took a deep breath, trying to keep the anger building up in my chest within. My words came out through gritted teeth. "I apologise. I didn't understand the question. I'm sorry."

"No need. You and Theo are siblings, I understand?"

"Well, his Dad is my Father. Which kind of makes him my half brother."

"Yes, yes." She waved an impatient hand in the air. "So, were you ever close, when you were children?"

"Objection! Irrelevant question." Mr. Bowles eager voice cut through Ms. Pompey's voice like a kitchen knife. She tightened her lips. "I am trying to establish the relationship Theodore Kensit shared with his family."

The Judge grimaced slightly. "Sustained."

"Well, Natalie?"

I glared at Ms. Pompey with whole, complete, absolute hatred. She was coaxing me like a lost puppy. I felt used. "No."

She had the indignation to smile at me. "Could you expand on that, if you please?"

"Theo was never close to anyone. In the least me. I was almost invisible to him."

"Invisible?"

I closed my eyes to Ms. Pompey's ice-cold gaze. "Theo was always looking... at her. All through the day he would be looking at Bella, watching her every move. It was almost as if there was no one else in the room."

Silence.

Ms. Pompey leaned closer towards me, eyes wide. I saw Theo's face lowered, almost resting on his heaving chest, glowering at nothing in particular.

"Would you say that Theodore was infatuated with Isabella?" She made 'infatuated' sound like a dirty word.

I shook my head. "No, infatuated isn't the right way of explaining it. I'd say..." My eyes drifted through the crowd. Suddenly, it came to me. "I'd say... he was obsessed."

Commotion.

"Enough!" Theo barked, leaping out of his chair and grabbing at the empty air in front of me with his gnarled claws, "Shut up! Natalie, I'll kill you."

"You'll do nothing of the sort!" I heard Jasper yell hoarsely, and before I could search for the source of the yell I saw him on top of Theo, holding both his arms behind his back in a vice tight grip.

"Jasper!" I cried as Theo tore out one arm and made a swipe at Jasper's head with his fist. The Judge's gavel was pounding a steady beat but it appeared that nobody cared. When the security guards finally managed to bundle a seething Theo back into his seat, Ms. Pompey was looking at me as if she was about to ask another question. I ignored her and instead stared at Jasper, as a first aid officer attended to Jasper's bruised and bleeding forehead.

The room was horribly eerie as her discordant voice cut through the air. "Natalie," she addressed me clearly. "This trial is in occurrence because of the charge that she caused grievous bodily harm to Theodore Kensit. So I'm asking you now, in full view of the jury: did you or did you not witness Isabella Balmer push Theodore Kensit down the stairs of your home on the 18th October 2010?"

I looked at Bella. I looked at Theo. For the first time, I realised that I had absolutely no idea of what to do. The truth was staring me in the face, pure and radiant, clear as the now-clear sky that lay just outside the window.

I swallowed. "Yes. I did."

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