Well That Was Unexpected
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
By David Spowart
Edited by J Matlock
The following day, true to the doctor's word, Cal felt rather stupid. He felt like he had given up. He knew drinking when extremely upset and emotional was not a good idea, as when having depressing thoughts stupid and foolish things could happen. He wept about it for hours, and through sheer exhaustion he drifted back to sleep.
An hour or so later…
Josh walked into the psych ward and sat next to Cal's bed. He was still sleeping. He didn't want to wake him. He sat for a while, looking down on his lover, hoping things would work out. He loved this man with every inch of his being, and he whispered softly to his lover while lightly stroking his jet-black hair:
"Cal, I love you so much, I should have told you sooner. And for that, I am sorry… I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me… I need you in my life… Shit!……….. Cal, you are my life. I can even understand your frame of mind… Fuck!…………. Cal, if you left me I honestly don't know how I would get past that," I concluded, still looking down on my lover, with a tear rolling down my cheek, thinking how close I came to losing him.
"Hey…sleepy head…how you feeling?" I asked in a soft voice, looking at a tired Cal struggling to open his eyes.
"Stupid. Idiotic. Just…I feel like a coward. I let you all down. But most of all, I know I am not as strong as I thought," Cal replied. "Bullshit!" I proclaimed. "Look, Cal, you did something stupid when feeling low, and drunk. Who the fuck hasn't?" I added. "Answer me this. Do you feel guilty for not succeeding?" I asked, looking intently at my lover for what I hoped would be the right answer.
"No! I don't want to fucking die!" He shouted at me, getting mad as hell for even trying it in the first place. "I told you I feel fucking stupid!" he added at the same level.
"Please have some consideration!" a nurse scolded us when she approached. "Sorry, ma'am," replied Cal. And she walked back to her station.
"Feeling better?" I asked. "Yeah, yeah I am," he replied. "Am I forgiven?" I asked, hoping we could get past this, so we could get on with getting on.
"Todd and Dale. I just can't get my head around it. I mean, how did it even happen?" Cal asked, with bewilderment written all-over his face. "I mean, yeah, they are hot, I can see that, but they are straight, aren't they?" Cal asked.
"Yes, Cal, they are straight. I don't know. Todd asked if we could do it one time, a one-off. Dale had no idea about this, and just sort of went along with it. But the day after, he had time for it to sink in, and that's why he freaked out afterwards. And I almost lost him as a friend. And I said to myself that if I could have gone back and said `no,' I would have," I told him. "So, Cal, can we keep our sex lives to just us, that is if there is still an us?" I asked.
"Josh, you saw how much you mean to me. I love you. I got myself into such a state I contemplated ending it, because you were not in it. So, yes, there is an us, and I hope there will always be an us," Cal replied. "I do need to talk to someone though, I don't like how I responded to the whole situation" Cal added.
A couple of hours later, after the appropriate doctors and therapists were satisfied that Cal just went through a sudden error in judgement, and agreed to follow things up with a therapist he was being allowed to leave, but into Josh's care.
"I will give the guys a call so they can come get us," I informed him. "We can wait in the hospital coffee shop," I added. And as I looked at Cal he looked drained. I know he has had a shock to the system, and I would help him through it.
"Did you want to do this Josh? You know, when what they put you through, did you want to kill yourself?" Cal asked, but not looking at me. "No I never had thoughts of killing myself, but yes I wanted to die, they were hurting me so much yeah babe I wanted it to end. But when I was saved…no, I didn't want to die, because I had you," I replied. "I knew that when I was rescued you would be there for me, and you were. And, Cal, I am here for you," I added, kissing his forehead.
"I don't believe how selfish I've been… Shit!……… Josh, you have the trial next week and your dad's health, and I add to the shit you are going through. Fuck…damn, Josh," he said, holding my hand, and receiving some disapproving looks from the patrons of the coffee shop, but seemingly not caring.
"Cal, we will get through this, just as I will get through next week," I added, and as soon as I said that my cell rang.
"Hey, Josh, I am outside when you are ready," said Dale.
"Yeah, thanks Dale, be straight out," I replied and flipped my cell closed.
"Okay, babe, you ready?" I asked Cal. He nodded and we headed out to the parking lot to find Dale and head back to the Hamptons for the night. We found Dale almost straight away, and he embraced Cal, as did Todd.
"Dude, you okay now?" Todd asked an embarrassed Cal. "Yeah, I just sort of flipped out," Cal responded. "Look, Cal, we will explain it all when we get a chance, but let's get you away from here first, okay?" Dale added.
"It's okay, guys. Josh explained. I am okay with it. Shocked, yeah…I mean, don't get me wrong. You are both smokin'…but wasn't it a risk to your relationship? I mean, Josh told me how you flipped out at him the day after. I mean, what if you hadn't reconnected? It took Josh getting his ass kicked to…snap you out of your mood?" Cal replied, looking first at Todd, then at Dale.
"Cal, all I will say…it was awesome…but worth losing a friend like Josh?…no," replied Dale, squeezing my shoulder. "As we said at the time, Cal, it was a one-time experience and it will not be repeated," added Todd.
"Are you hungry?" added Dale.
"Starving," replied Cal.
"Okay, let's hit a store and get some food. I am starving as well, so let's get going," replied Todd.
The guys procured some provisions and set about making, serving, and devouring what had been prepared. They spent the night at Cal's Hampton home.
But they returned back to campus soon the following day. Josh had a lot to think about, as did Dale, for in just a few days they would be heading to court in New York and having to face the people who had made Josh's life hell, and for the sight that was forced in front of Dale the morning he discovered a very battered Connor Brian.
A few days later at 9:25am
"Morning, babe," said Cal, as I woke up, rubbing my eyes. "Hey, babe, yourself," I replied, pulling Cal into a morning kiss. "Wow, your breath doesn't get any better," Cal responded. "Yeah, but you love me anyway," I replied, not letting go of my hold, and kissing him with passion. "Seriously though, Josh, suck a mint," he replied and escaped my grasp.
"Okay, I will shower and brush my teeth," I said in a kid-like voice.
"You worried about tomorrow?" Cal asked, referring to the testimony I would be giving the following day. "Yeah, just worried about facing them is all," I added. "I know it's only Derrick and Rick," I continued, as Terry had already pleaded in return for his testimony against his cousin and his former cellmate. Duke would not be facing charges on this case, as he was not in the state when it occurred, but will face his fate when he answers charges against the assault on me, as would all involved.
"I will be with you. If you are struggling, look for me, okay?" replied Cal.
"I'm not going to stay. I cannot listen to everything they had done. I just want to give my evidence, let Sarah do her job, and crucify them," I said, pulling Cal into a hug. Fuck, did I need that.
Josh received a phone call from Sarah Watson, informing him that the first day of the trial had gone pretty much as expected. The jury had been selected and sworn in, and pre-trial summations had been given by the prosecution as well as the defence. The defence's motion for bail had been denied, and time had been called. She expected Dale to be called early in the day, and for him to be called shortly after lunch. She thanked him for his help and said she would see him tomorrow before start of the day's proceedings.
The following day…
"You want to hit the coffee shop first, Josh?" asked Cal. "You have to eat something," Cal added. "Babe, I don't think I could stomach anything. I feel sick just thinking about it," I added. "Coffee and toast won't hurt you. You have got to eat," Cal insisted.
"Hey, guys," said Dale, walking through the door. "You knocked?" replied Cal, "Yeah, didn't want to walk in on your freaky sex lives. I would be scarred for life," announced Dale. "I doubt that very much, and besides you had a taste, remember?" added Cal, looking at both of us. "For fuck's sake, guys, lighten up. I am joking, trying to lighten the mood," he responded. "Okay, just…not a good time for jokes," I replied.
"Yeah, sorry, Okay. Coffee and toast. Get your ass ready…NOW!" Cal yelled. "Okay, Okay," I replied, hauling myself out of bed, grabbing my Levi's and a fresh shirt. "I will put on a dress shirt when we get back."
"Morning, homos!" yelled Todd, bounding through the door, and tossing himself down on his bed. "Thanks for swapping last night, Todd. I appreciate it," Cal responded. "Fuck, I haven't thrown myself on the wet patch! Please tell me I haven't," pleaded Todd. "Well…erm…sorry," I replied. "Oh, you fuckwad," he responded, and we burst into fits of laughter, Trust Todd to somehow lighten the mood.
"Fucking evil," Todd responded. "Coffee…you coming?" Cal said, looking at Todd and Dale. "Yeah, wouldn't hurt. I don't have to be at the courtroom until nine-thirty," Dale responded. "Are you still bailing when you are done?" asked Dale. "Yeah, I can't listen to that shit," I responded. "Yeah, me neither," Dale replied. "But I will stay and keep Mrs. Brian company, you know," Dale added.
Josh's phone rang
"Hey, bro, you gonna let me in?" asked Lucas.
"Lucas, what do you mean let you in?"
"I am downstairs. I don't know the code for the door, dude."
"Fuck, you come to support me? Shit, Luc, you didn't have to do that!" he said over his cell.
"Josh, its fucking freezing. We can debate semantics later on, so are you gonna let me freeze to death?" Lucas asked.
A few seconds later, Lucas grabbed his big brother in a tight hug and kissed his cheek.
"Hey, bro, how you coping?" he asked me, looking into my eyes, with his forehead pressed against mine. "Better, now you are here," I responded and meant it. Lucas was growing up to be the man I thought he was going to be. Any parent or brother like me would be proud of such a person. He removed himself from me, and proceeded to pull Cal into a similar hug. "Cal, don't you ever scare the shit out of me like that again, or I will fuck you up, got me?" he yelled at him but in a tight embrace. "Sorry Luc, I was fucked up, and I promise, no repeats," Cal responded, kissing his forehead.
"Okay, end this fucking hallmark moment. I need sustenance," insisted Todd.
All the guys headed for the coffee shop just off campus. They ordered what they desired: Todd ordered the fucking menu, Josh had coffee and a muffin, as did Cal and Dale, Lucas matched Todd in his appetite. A few minutes later Nick and Dave walked in, looking like they had been for a run.
"Hey guys, you look like you have run a marathon," Cal stated. "This shithead decided to race. `Fuck, dude, it's early,' I said. But nooooooo, he wanted to fucking race," Dave bemoaned, looking at Nick, who was sniggering.
"So, you all set?" Nick asked, looking at me. "Ready as I will ever be," I replied. "Josh, just tell all, and send the evil bastards to the chamber," Nick added. "Don't concern yourself over the likes of those bigoted shits. They deserve everything they have coming. Thank fuck Todd got on my case, coz I was heading down that road," Nick again berated himself. "Nick, its okay. Trust me, you have good in you, and I can't see you ever heading down that road. You are not your dad," I replied. "Thanks, man," Nick responded, and gave me a hug. "Good luck for today, okay?" he added.
The guys finished up their breakfast and headed back to get changed. Dale, like Josh, didn't own a suit, so both dressed in clean, pressed shirts, borrowed a couple of ties, and wore polished shoes. They all headed towards New York to court. Cal drove Josh and Lucas; and Dale took Todd. They travelled for about thirty minutes, parked in a parking structure, and then walked up the courtroom steps, where they were met by a familiar face.
"Hey, Josh, guys," Detective Valdez said, looking dressed, ready to give evidence.
"Vera, how are you?" I asked, looking at the now heavily pregnant officer in front of me. "Oh, coping, you know," she added. "Congratulations. I didn't know you were carrying," I added. "Well you had other things on your mind to notice," she replied.
"Shall we go in?" she asked, and we all headed into the waiting area, where I spotted Sarah Watson, and she approached me.
"Hey, Josh, good morning. I hope you are well?" she asked, looking first at me, then Cal. "Mr. Kenner, hope you are being supportive?" she asked. "Always, Councillor, and please call me Cal," responded a confident Cal. "Good to hear," she replied with a smile, and she walked over and said a few words to Dale. They exchanged a few nods, and then Dale spotted Connor's mother walk in, as did I. We both approached her.
"Hello, Mrs. Brian. I am sorry for your loss," Dale said, holding her hand. "Thank you, Dale. I appreciate that. And, Mr. Miller, I am sorry you had to go through all that," she added. "Thank you ma'am. Please call me Josh. "Okay. Thank you, Josh. It still shocks me how much you look like Connor. You could be brothers," she responded with a smile, but no doubt forced.
We sat outside the courtroom as Mrs. Brian told us of tales of Connor as a child. And both Dale and I realized that the world had been denied such a kind-hearted, wonderful human being. The world and society has been robbed, and the scum such as the Reynolds's live. Yeah, sometimes the world just sucks, Josh thought to himself.
A court usher came over and spoke to Mrs. Brian, and she left to take her place in the family gallery, to listen to the court proceedings. "Can I go in, Josh?" Lucas asked. "I need to hear what they did. I need to understand why they did it," he added. "Are you sure you want to Luc? It isn't going to be sugar-coated," I added, looking at him intently. "Yeah, Josh, I am sure. So do you mind?" he asked again. "No, go on. But if it gets to be too much, walk out. Okay?" I replied with concern.
And he left to join other members of the Brian family, and walked in with Connor's mother. Todd, Cal, Dale, and I sat and waited. We talked about what we were going to do over Christmas. Cal and I are going to Florida to spend time with his grandparents. And then there is our wedding in spring. And then we make the move to our new off-campus home in the Hamptons. That last part still shocks the hell out of me.
"CALLING Dale Jackson…CALLING Dale Jackson."
An usher yelled in the hall, and Dale stood up and walked towards us. We hugged him and wished him luck. And he walked into the courtroom and the door closed.
In the courtroom…
Dale was sworn in, giving his oath to tell the truth, etc. and he recounted the day's events back in May, of how he discovered Connor Brian's lifeless body. He spoke of how much blood he saw, and the fact he thought he was already dead, and how he called 911, and shouted for anyone to help. He went on to explain that the emergency services were there within ten minutes and that the paramedic found a pulse. He also went on to explain that he went with Connor to the emergency room, and how panic set in when Connor's heart had stopped twice while en route.
The prosecution ended their questions. The defense asked only one: "Had he seen anyone in the area when he discovered Mr. Brian?" which Dale responded, "No." The judge thanked him for his time and gave him permission to step down; Dale thanked the judge and walked towards the exit, looking at both defendants dressed in clean, pressed suits, looking rather smug.
The judge, after that testimony, called a ten-minute recess, and the courtroom cleared, leaving just the defendants sitting with their defense team.
In the waiting area…
"How was it?" I asked, as Dale walked back in with a solemn look on his face. "They are sitting there with smug looks on their faces. I just wanted to kick their asses," Dale replied, sitting back down with a sigh, and loosening his tie.
Back in the courtroom…
Vera Valdez was answering questions from the prosecution on the evidence retrieved from Derrick Reynolds' home, and how it indicated detailed planning, which was objected to, but overruled by the judge, as her years of service made her expert testimony valid. She continued, and, via a video prompt, she explained maps showing a route for the would-be attackers to escape and to avoid being identified. She also produced a pair of steel-capped black shoes that had DNA evidence of Connor on them; his blood, to be clear, she explained. A second objection was raised. They protested that the blood could have been transferred while he was on duty that day, but his roster indicated he was off duty the day before and the day after, so again, the objection was overruled by the judge, bringing a smile to Sarah Watson's face.
Detective Valdez also provided the court with a medallion that was found in the possession of Rick Turner, the second defendant. The medallion had been identified as belonging to Connor Brian, although the defendant indicated that he found it. However, the medallion had Connor's blood within the chain, indicating it had been ripped from his body. Rick Turner of course, denied this allegation. The amount of evidence was damning to say the least, but the two trump cards had yet to be played by Sarah Watson.
"Your Honour, the state calls Terry Reynolds," Sarah Watson informed the court, and Terry was brought into the court from a side holding room. He was also in a pressed, clean suit, and like his cousin and co-defendant, in cuffs.
He looked tired and older than his nineteen years. He looked defeated. He knew at best he was going to serve a very long time in prison. Just one week from his twentieth birthday, he was in court testifying against family for the murder of a fellow student. For this crime Terry was now remorseful, but it was simply too late. Terry was sworn in, and the prosecution began. They asked him to state his name, age, and his place of birth. He followed all of their instructions, and, after all the formalities were completed, the questioning began.
"Mr. Reynolds, I ask you, did you on the 15th of May 2011 aid in the beating of student Connor Brian?" asked Sarah Watson, as she stared at the jury awaiting Terry's response.
"Yes, ma'am," was his reply, but not an arrogant response. "Mr. Reynolds, are your accomplices of the' attack in this courtroom?" she asked, again looking at the jury. "Yes, ma'am," he replied, with no response as of yet from the defence. "Point them out for the court, please, Mr. Reynolds," she asked. Terry pointed directly at Derrick and Rick, and Derrick's eyes never left Terry for a second.
Over the next hour she asked about who had planned the attack and why, as well as who was involved in the initial planning. She got everything she wanted from him and more, and then she informed the defence that he was now their witness.
"Mr. Knowles, any questions for this witness?" the judge asked. "Yes, your honour," he replied.
"Mr. Reynolds, is it not in fact, true that my client had stopped you from attacking another student?" Knowles asked. "Yes. But…" He was cut off. "And is it not also true that my client did nothing more than come to stop you in killing the said same student?"
"Objection, your honour. We are here for the murder of Connor Brian. Not another attack," Sarah informed the judge.
"Trying to show a pattern of behaviour, and how my client has done nothing more than to stop a promising young family member from ruining his life," Knowles replied.
"Overruled, but tread carefully Mr. Knowles," responded the judge.
"Answer the question, Mr. Reynolds," directed the judge.
"No, sir, he did not!" Terry yelled.
"No further questions, your honour. But, we reserve the right for recall, your honour," Knowles informed the judge.
"So noted," the judge responded. "Okay, we will break for lunch and reconvene in one hour," the judge informed the court.
"All rise," the bailiff yelled.
One hour later…
"Terry gave as well as he got," Lucas said. as they came back from lunch. "That Knowles is a slippery son of a bitch," Lucas added.
"You okay, bro?" Lucas asked me, as Cal squeezed my shoulder.
Back inside the courtroom…
Dale had gone back into court, sat beside Connor's mother and waited for proceedings to begin. Lucas was not far behind him, and Cal and Todd had joined them as well, sitting only two seats back from Derrick Reynolds. A Plexiglas barrier stood between them, preventing Cal from doing anything he knew he would later regret.
The prosecution was going to plan. Sarah was happy that the defence had broached the subject of the attack on Josh Miller, so now she could use that attack to her advantage. She was looking forward to that.
"Call your next witness, Mrs. Watson," the judge instructed.
"Yes your honour. Thank you. The state calls Joshua Miller," she announced.
To be continued…
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