Of course the next two days went by quickly, even school couldn't get to us and get our minds off of the trial on Wednesday. Arianna has been on edge even more lately from looking over her shoulder here or there or when there's a sudden loud noise that makes her jump, when I look at her concerned she tells me she's fine and not to worry about it.
On the morning of the trial no one knew what to do, I think Kelly was the only one who could actually speak. Both of my parents had to work, no exception, so it would be just me, Arianna, and Kelly, but since I was the most stable person out of the three of us I'd be doing most of the driving. I woke up at nine and went to wake up Kelly, but when I shook her she jumped but calmed when she saw my face.
"Oh Ruby! What time is it?"
"Okay I'm up I'll go make some coffee and breakfast while you girls get dressed." I nodded and she slowly made her way out of the room and down the stairs, Well I guess I'll go wake up Anna. Walking back to her room I sat on the edge of the bed and shook her but instead of her waking up she moaned pushing blonde curls from her eyes.
"You have to get up."
"I don't wanna."
I groaned, "Why not?"
"I just don't, I wanna lay in bed all day."
"Well we have to be at the courthouse in two hours, you need to get up." I whispered, she turned to face me and her big hazel eyes looked back at me sadly making me feel even worse for asking her to get up.
"Knock knock" Kelly stepped in, "phone sweetie."
Arianna hesitated at first but took the phone, "Hello?"
It took a single second for her whole face to lighten up and she sat up happily, I looked at Kelly and she had a small smile, "It's Caleb."
My heart leapt and I looked at Arianna, she was listening intently and looked up at me. She took the phone from her ear and pressed the speaker button.
".....missed you guys so much." His voice was deeper but it was still Caleb's.
"We miss you too." Arianna whispered, this was the first real smile I'd seen on her face in weeks, I was happy to see her smile and glad to finally hear Caleb's voice again.
"Am I on speaker?"
She giggled, "Yeah mom and Ruby are next to me."
There was a pause but he spoke again, "Hi Ruby."
I could almost hear his smile, "You taking care of my little sister?"
"Just like I promised."
"Good I wish I could b there with you guys today but I know I wouldn't make it there in time." The sincerity in his voice made my heart melt but Arianna frowned a little.
"When are you coming home?"
Pause. He sighed, "I don't know Arianna, I hope soon."
She smiled and nodded at me as if she wanted to scream happily, I smiled just for the fact I heard his voice once again, "Glad to hear Caleb."
"I'm so glad to hear you guy's voices I miss both of you so much. He said and made me happy but angry, Then why did you leave.
"Promise you'll come home soon."
"I promise, you get going mom said you have to be at the courthouse by eleven."
"Okay I love you Caleb." She whispered.
"I love you too, and Ruby don't think I don't love you too."
My cheeks reddened as I smiled, "I love you too Caleb."
The call ended but her smile stayed on her face, with a sigh she walked over to her closet and took out her outfit for the trial. Since what happened she's hidden away all of her skirts and dresses and I didn't stop her, so her outfit consisted of black pants and a blue blouse. I didn't think I'd be called up so I wore my black cargo pants, converse, and a long sleeve black shirt, once we were changed I looked up at the time. It was 10:17.
"Anna we gotta get down stairs." She nodded and we made our way down the flight of stairs into the kitchen to see Kelly in a suit besides the jacket anxiously drinking a coffee. Next to her were two plates of pancakes, I was hungry and couldn't wait to eat but I had to make sure Arianna at least ate something. Kelly turned and forced a smile before taking another big gulp of coffee.
"Mom you're gonna give yourself a panic attack if you keep drinking so much coffee." Arianna stated her frown fading.
Kelly grinned, "I'll slow down on the coffee if you eat two out of those three pancakes."
We grinned and me and Arianna both scarfed down four pancakes, talking to Caleb really gave Arianna back the courage she needed and I was happy. She was actually smiling, eating, and acting like her old self, of all the times for Caleb to call he picked the perfect time.
"Girls we have twenty minutes to get to the court let's go." Kelly said and tossed me the keys, we all piled into Arianna's Jeep and I began the journey to the trial that would decide our fate.
The people that filled the court were mainly people that knew Luke his peers like fellow students, people of the community, and people that knew his father. Most of the kids that went to our school glared at us angrily or disappointed, but we ignored them as we sat next to Kelly's lawyer.
John Waters was Kelly's brother in law who had married her older sister Molly and to our luck he always won his cases, and luckily he was our lawyer. The seats were leathery and squeaked every time I moved just a tiny bit, Arianna looked confident and like she wanted to run and hide at the same time. I bit my lip nervously when a door opened, in walked a boy in a grey suit, grey tie, and a white button up. His hair was messy as if they wouldn't let him brush it, the dark circles that surrounded his eyes bore holes into everyone he walked by, but this was nothing compared to the devilish smirk on his face. The smirk scared me and made Arianna go tense and grip my leg, his eyes had finally landed on us and something in the air changed. It felt like I couldn't move and the sharp intakes Arianna was starting to take told me she felt it too, the suffocating sensation laced my air way as his eyes bore into us. The monster, Luke Davids.
The cops that were on his sides sat him next to his lawyer/dad and left, his eyes never left us which scared me to my core. The judge walked in and we all stood, Judge Reynolds was in his late thirties and yet he looked like he ad been in his position more than fifty years. "You may be seated." His deep voice commanded.
We sat back down and John stood up, "You're honor it's all there for you to see the evidence and statements from both the victim and offender."
Luke's dad stood up, "You're honor my client is not an offender until proven an offender."
"I'm well aware defense, now Mr. Davids is being accused of sexual assault and rape is he not?"
He ruffled more papers, "And a Arianna Taylor is the victim yes?"
John stood, "Yes your honor she is, now if you don't mind I'd like to call my first witness to the stand."
John looked down at her, "Arianna Taylor."
She looked at me and I squeezed her hand, "It's okay just look at me and you'll be fine."
She nodded and slowly went to the stand a cop came up to her side with a bible, she laid her hand on it, "Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?"
John walked over to Arianna and out on a small smile, "Now Arianna would you mind telling the juror what happened on the night of October 15th?"
"No I-I can do that." She took a deep breath and began the story from when she left for her date towards the end her tears started falling but her eyes never left mine. When she finished no one in the court said anything but John just cleared his throat.
"No farther question your honor." He walked back to his seat as Mr. Davids stood up.
"Ms. Taylor you've known Mr. Davids for how long?"
"Almost five years."
"And has he ever been mean or aggressive?"
Mr. Davids scratched his chin, "Okay well that's interesting, like most of the witnesses described my client as nice, caring, and a golden boy would you disagree?"
"Well no I uh I wouldn't." She whispered he eyes pleading me to help her.
"I see now what would such a nice boy like that with a scholarship and a good future ahead of him do such a horrific thing like a rape?" He asked smugly, Arianna said nothing as she left my gaze, "You don't know do you Ms. Taylor which concerns me that he didn't do what you're accusing him of."
John turned red and jumped up, "Why does any rapist or child molester rape any innocent girl!?"
"Mr. Waters let us focus on the trial at hand please." The judge said making John grow redder but reluctantly sat down, Mr. Davids looked back at Arianna and she looked back at him.
"I didn't lie."
"I never said you did." His grin made me angry and want to scream but if I did I'd be taken from the room when Arianna needed me most, "Now Ms. Taylor if what you're accusing Luke Davids of is true where is the evidence? As stated your honor there was no trace of semen and the police couldn't locate the woods the victim said it happened. So what proof do we have that these events that night even happened? No farther question your honor."
He smiled smugly and sat back down in his seat before looking over at John and practically mocking him. John stood and looked at Arianna, "No farther questions your honor you may step down Arianna."
She couldn't have come down from hat stand fast enough before I knew it she was in my arms gripping my sides tightly, it killed me to think someone could just treat her like she had made up the whole thing for no reason.
"I'd like to call Ms. Lindsey Winters to the stand." Mr. Davids stated and soon the smug looking blonde sat before us, "Ms. Winters how do you know Mr. Davids?"
"We've been in school together since Junior High."
"And are you close?"
"We began dating not too long ago but yes we were always friends." Her eyes were narrowed at Arianna and me as if rubbing her lies in our faces.
"And how long have you been dating?"
"Since the ending of September, the day after Arianna rejected him again."
"Luke had a thing for Arianna and he would always do these extravagant events to get her to go out with him, but she always rejected him so I don't know why he kept trying."
Mr. Davids analyzed this before saying, "I see and what was his last big ask out?"
"He asked her out using a pep rally and like always she rejected him in front of everyone but not before she kicked him in the family jewels that is, I guess he realized it was stupid to keep going after her so he asked me for help to get over her. He did and we started dating."
"So what happened on the night of October 15th?"
She sighed, "Well Luke called me and asked me to come to the coffee shop on 5th and Coat Ave so I said yes. We were there for twenty minutes when Luke got up and rushed outside, I got curios so I looked out the window to see him and Arianna arguing. She was screaming but he looked like he was trying to calm her down but she just kept screaming. I guess he said okay because the next thing I knew he led her to his car and both climbed in. I wont lie I got mad and left but he called me around nine and came over, he didn't do what she's accusing him of. She was always a liar."
"Thank you Ms. Winters, no farther questions your honor."Mr. Davids sat down and John stood once more.
"Ms. Winters you say Mr. Davids and you began dating the day after Arianna rejected her for what the ninth time?" Don't you find that suspicious?"
"No I don't he realized that he had to get over her."
"Maybe he didn't want to get over her and just used you to make people think he was over her."
She looked at him shocked, "No he said...."
"You say he asked you out randomly on October 15th, coincidentally Arianna Taylor had a date that night with a Mr. Fredrick Ottar on the same night. And Luke just happened to have you go to a coffee shop right down the street from the movie theater Arianna was on her way to...." Mr. Davids stood up.
"He's badgering the witness your honor."
"Sustained. Mr. Waters continue."
"Thank you your honor, now Ms. Winters you say that Mr. Davids called you around 9 o' clock that night, a little more than an hour before Arianna was taken to the hospital. Now did Mr. Davids came to your house that night or did he leave to hide out at a friend's house in New Haven where the police arrested him the next morning?"
Her face paled and she gulped, I smirked at her caught in her lie. She looked around before saying, "He came to my house but his friend called and he said he needed to go."
"And that was the last time you saw him that night?"
"No farther questions."
Mr. Davids stood looking almost irritated, "No farther questions."
The judge looked over at John, "Any other witnesses?"
"As it's stated Mr. Davids' statement was recorded and will have the juror listen to it privately, so there are no more witnesses your honor." John said and the judge nodded again.
"Okay well we'll have a short recess for the juror to make a verdict, this trial will continue in one hour." The minute he banged the gavel Arianna was out the door, before I could even turn she was gone. My eyes found Luke's eyes which were half slits as if challenging me, a growl erupted in my throat making his smirk widen. I left his gaze and rushed after Arianna, once out the door all I saw was an empty hall with a few people. Kelly came up behind me as my eyes landed on the bathroom.
"Where'd she go?"
"I have an idea." I rushed to the bathroom and once it opened a wave of nausea hit me, the smell of vomit soured as it reached my nose. Holding my breath I searched the stalls until I found her, of course the door was locked so I was forced to crawl under. She was sitting next to the toilet her head leaning against the wall and puke in the bowl, I flushed with my foot and came to her side, "Anna feel better?"
"No that was awful. He didn't believe me he thought that I lied." She cried, Kelly came up behind me but I motioned her back, "Why didn't he believe me?"
"Because Luke is his son and he'll do anything to keep his son out of jail." I wiped away her tears and smiled, "Ruby I just feel as if this day isn't going to end well."
"We're gonna make it through just fine together, how about we go for a drive and come back to see how long that douchebag is going to be put away for?" I asked and she nodded with a slight smile, we left the bathroom with Kelly right in tow.
Everyone in the room was tense, we all watched the judge anxiously for him and the juror to read their verdict. Arianna's nails were digging into my thigh and I swear Kelly was about to rip her purse in half. I glanced at Luke and he still had on the same smirk, his eyes sparkling with mischief it disgusted me. I held Arianna tight to my side as if holding both down, the door opened and the juror all walked in. They took their seats and looked at the judge, he looked down at them and asked, "Has the juror reached a verdict?"
A girl with blonde hair and a grey suit cleared her throat, "Yes we have your honor" the judge motioned us to stand and I gripped Arianna's hand tighter, "we the juror find the defendant....not guilty of sexual assault and rape."
The world around us seemed to slow as Luke clapped his dad's hand in a hand shake, people in the audience cheered, and the judge slammed his gavel. Arianna stumbled backwards almost falling if I hadn't been holding her up, Kelly looked over at us almost hysterical, John apologized at least a thousand times but I focused on the almost defeated look on Arianna's face.
"Order!! Order in my courtroom!!" It quieted down and he looked at Luke, "Luke Davids you are free to go but you will not return to Crookbay High for the next two weeks and you are on probation. if I hear anything like this happen again I will personally lock you away."
"Yes your honor." He smiled.
"Ms. Taylor if you'd like to have a restraining order on Mr. Davids." John confirmed we wanted one and the judge nodded, "Court dismissed."
Everyone cheered but we just stood there still in shock, the court emptied and we all slowly made our way out the room. A crowd had developed outside the door and now people were shoving and thrashing around to get to Arianna, I pushed he behind me before a girl swung and smacked me in the face. The stinging sensation was awful but I wasn't going to let Arianna down, three police men came and escorted us out the building and to our car.
"People like him that much to mob us!" Kelly screamed in shock, but I tuned her out my eyes were on the frail little blonde laying in my arms. Any hope or spirit she had earlier was gone, all I saw now was empty depression already settling into he mind and being. My whole body was numb and I couldn't even know what was going through her mind, "Anna?"
"No I don't wanna talk about it." She whispered and I dropped it, Kelly drove us home in silence only glancing back at us every few minutes. When we came back to our street I could see my parents outside of Arianna's house, I took a deep breath and when we pulled up to the house I helped her up and together we climbed out the car.
My mother came over first, "Oh how are you girls I know it was hard, I wish we could have been there. So how long did they give him?"
I frowned and watched Arianna walk into the house, "They didn't give him anytime."
"What!?" My dad almost screamed.
"They found him not guilty."
They all looked at me speechless when a loud crash came from upstairs, I rushed into the house leaving them all behind. My legs took me up two steps at a time as I ran to Arianna's room, I opened the door slowly trying to caught my breath but when it opened the breath was once again knocked out of me.
Arianna sat in the corner of her room surrounded by all of her things, clothes, papers, posters, and everything that once had a place was on the floor in a wreak as if there was just a hurricane. Hurricane Arianna.
Glass sprinkled the floor and blood dripped down her arm, the sight of the crimson liquid I quickly rounded my way through her room. Stepping over the glass and around her clothes I reached for a towel and sat down next to her. Her tears streaked her face over her bright red cheeks, I couldn't see her eyes but I didn't try. Slowly I lifted her arm and she let me wrap the towel around it, once I finished her hazel eyes found mine and there I saw it.
The look of absolute downfall.
My tears started to fall as I pulled her into my arms, she held me tight and I let her cry in my arms. That night when she fell asleep I spent hours putting all of her things back into place and trying not to break down with her. I needed to be strong for her and yet I just wanted to lay right beside her in her bed and cry just as much as she did.