Bron stared very
hard at her own reflection in the mirror of the public restroom.
On the way to the courthouse she had gone from not just victim
but to star witness for the prosecution. Now she was kicking
herself in the ass for not seeing the set-up from the beginning.
"How could you be so stupid?" she asked the image
of herself. Closing her eyes to gather her nerve she inhaled
deeply and let out a cleansing breath. The bathroom stunk
like any other over used public restroom.
She hadn't put
two and two together until after Webster had informed her
that Mc wouldn't be taking the stand. He couldn't, he had
heard her testimony when they had discussed it via phone conference
from her very own dining room.
Bron screamed at
Webster and Maddigan for a full half hour before they had
left the house. "You set me up!" They knew she would
only go through this entire ordeal if Mc was going to collaborate
her story to some degree as an indirect witness. Now Mc would
only be testifying if he were called to do so as an officer
of the law. The officer part had pitched her almost off her
feet. She wasn't prepared, she had questions for which there
was no time to answer. "When the hell did he cross over?"
She asked from the back seat of the truck as they made their
way to the courthouse. Her question had gone unanswered still.
Kevin was crowding her intentionally in the back seat. Every
time she muscled some space he would suck it up and get closer.
Exiting the ladies
room she paced the small ante room where she had been placed
with her husband. The Victim/Witness representative told her
she was allowed to have two family members with her as support.
Mc didn't count and was as of now sitting in the courtroom
in the audience gallery. She would be called soon and she
wasn't sure now if she had the ability to stick out the entire
Kevin sat in an
old wooden chair with a torn red leather cushion. Half the
brass tacks from the upholstery were missing and the chair
squeaked every time he moved. The dark wool suit she wore
contrasted with the light blue walls. Her blouse was only
a shade or two lighter than the walls. He watched her pace
back and forth as the heels of her pumps clicked on the marble
floor. Not really a click more of a bam as she smashed her
feet into the floor with every step she made. "Baby,
She turned and
glared at him. Her face was red, with anger or embarrassment,
he couldn't decide. Probably a little of both. He should have
seen it coming but he hadn't either. It's not like he was
well versed in criminal trials. Bron might have seen it had
she been paying attention. After talking to Webster and Mc,
he understood why she didn't. As much as Bron would like to
have called herself an expert at law since she had so many
dealings in her past, she had never actually been in a trial
situation. The most she had ever done was suffer through questioning
and pick Mc up at the local jailhouse. She didn't even know
she was going to be the center of attention. Frankly, he didn't
either, with everything going on, he assumed some of the attention
would be placed on Mc.
I'm supposed to calm down after these assholes pull this shit
on me? Kevin, I have to sit in that courtroom the entire time
with that man. This is wrong, they didn't tell me this and
you know it. Did you know about this? Did you know about Mc?"
fire ball with a queasy stomach and a bad case of nerves walked
to stand directly in front of him. She stood with her fisted
hands on her hips. "Did you?"
Kevin reached for her hands only to have her swing away from
him. He let out a slow breath and waited it out once again.
Another time or place he probably would have yelled at her
to plant her ass and chill out or make her do it. This was
neither the time nor the place. The way their luck was running,
he'd get arrested.
Her hands tracked
through her hair, and then she quickly looked in the mirror
to make sure she hadn't messed her hair up. "I don't
know if I can do this."
"Ya sort of
have to now darlin', we're here and they're going to call
Bron stopped and
turned on her heel. She looked at the mirror and spoke to
his reflection in the mirror. "I don't want to do this.
I could refuse to say anything. I could say that I don't remember.
What could they do?"
Kevin shook his
head and stood up. His approach was intended to be soothing,
instead Bron interpreted it another way and fled from his
embrace. He tried again and she relented. Wrapping his arms
around her waist to prevent her escape, he hugged her tightly.
"They could throw you in jail and I think that is the
last place that you need or want to be. Think of the headlines
baby. Backstreet Boy's Wife Jailed For Contempt."
Bron tore from
his grasp and stepped five feet away from him. "You can't
play that card. We talked about this last night! It's not
supposed to matter, you said so yourself."
any card I want to." Kevin knew it was wrong, but at
this point he would do anything to get the ball rolling just
so they could get the trial over with and go back to their
lives. It didn't help matters this morning when the Outlaws
showed up first thing to try and take Kaylin for the day.
His mother was the one who interceded for him and invited
them to spend the day at the house with them. He said nothing
as he watched the old familiar fire and brimstone rise to
engagement," Bron barked at him.
reaching now. Rules of engagement… Since when have we ever
had rules of engagement during an argument?" Kevin laughed
at her. "I've tried rules; ya still fight like a girl."
Bron crossed the
room like she had a rocket up her ass. Her hand whipped up
and Kevin backed his head away from her hand. A fist came
up and her index finger flared out and towards his face. "I'm
reaching! They're reaching! They're trying to get a man to
make a mistake and rat out the very people standing out in
the hall who are supposed to be protecting me from him. Tell
me, who the hell is reaching?" Bron huffed at him.
raised his arm up, his hand wrapped around her delicate wrist.
"You are going to do what is best for you and what is
best for us as a family. You're going to try and help put
this man away for good. Have you given any thought to what
that man might have done to our daughter had he actually gotten
his hands on her?"
Kevin watched her
close her eyes, her body shook and then swayed. His hands
wrapped around her to prevent her from falling flat on her
face. "You have to do this. Do this for yourself baby.
Face him and beat him down."
She sagged into
him. "I'm scared," she whispered.
too. We'll get through this together. It's gonna be alright
darlin', I promise." Kevin swayed her slightly in his
arms. He didn't even want to think about what she had just
said to him. He hoped she wasn't right and questioned if they
would be safe.
Bron backed away
from him. His hands began to busy themselves with straightening
her clothes. "It's gonna be fine."
in court, no phones. I hate not having my phone, they can't
call me. What if something goes wrong at the house?"
Bron questioned him not paying his hands much attention as
they tucked her blouse back in the waistband in the back of
is there, Jake is there." Bron nodded at him as she straightened
the skirt that he had just skewed in the wrong direction by
fussing with her blouse.
"Well I only
left him because he knows when Cooper is going to want to
Kevin watched her
check her watch. "Which will be soon. He knows and my
mother knows it too." Kevin was trying to think two steps
ahead of her.
be fussy Kevin, you know that." Bron fixed the cuff on
her suit jacket. "Don't forget Bounce, she can be a pain
if she wants to be."
be a pain when she doesn't want to be." Kevin chuckled.
"I love that kid but she loves to push the boundaries
of parental love."
bored." Bron straightened Kevin's new tie which matched
his charcoal gray suite.
ass…" Kevin chewed on his cheek before he spoke. "You
don't need to worry. I know it was hard for you to leave Jake
behind today. I understand why you did it. You wanted him
with the kids."
"All of us
know Stevie is up here Kevin. What if he gets in the house
somehow or storms in takes over the house while we're all
at court and they're all in there?"
Kevin's hands snapped
her head up so her eyes would meet his. "Stop with the
over active imagination, Bron. I mean it. Keep it together."
Kevin bit back
the bitter taste in his mouth. Now the conversation he had
with Mc, Suzie, and his mother last night after Bron had went
to bed didn't seem so far fetched. He had told them if he
gave Mc the signal then Suzie and his mother were to scoop
the kids up and head back to Lexington. Bron didn't have the
ability to cope with worrying if the kids were safe while
they were out of her sight and the trial at the same time.
Kevin was amazed none of them balked at his heavy-handed tactics,
not even his mother. He would see how the rest of the day
progressed before he made his decision. They wouldn't leave
today though. Bron would need to see her kids at the end of
this day to reassure her mind. Depending how rattled she became
as the trial commenced, he would send them back home in an
instant, like tomorrow at the rate she was going.
The door swung
open and an officer stepped inside. "They're ready for
you Mrs. Richardson."
Kevin watched her
face grow pale and she touched her stomach. The guard backed
up reading the warning signs. Kevin grabbed her hand and spun
her around. "Easy darlin'. We're going to get through
this. Today is not going to be the worst of it. It's opening
statements and only your testimony as far as I know."
Kevin turned to
the guard looking for confirmation of his statement.
The police office
shrugged his shoulders at him. "Depends, cross-examination
could take place today." The guard opened the door fully.
"We need to proceed."
Still holding her
hand, he walked through the door first. His grip wasn't extremely
harsh but tight enough for her to know, she wasn't going anywhere
but where she needed to go. There would be no running out
on this one. "Please help us Dad, please," Kevin
muttered after he turned his head away from his wife and glanced
out a window.
The courtroom doors
opened. Kevin stepped in first since all eyes were on the
doors. The entire courtroom was staring at him. He walked
to the oak banister that would separate him from his wife
still holding her hand. Wrong probably, but he had limits
on how much he would tolerate his wife's chain being jerked
about this entire situation. He hated it, but he knew it was
the way things were. He tugged her hand so she came around
to the other side of the banister. He walked with her down
the makeshift aisle still holding her hand until she reached
her seat. He waited until she sat and then he sat directly
behind her. For the first time he looked at the judge. The
judge was frowning directly at him. "Great, just friggin'
great," he bemoaned in his head.
Turning his head
to the defense table he saw the same man he faced in his hotel
suite last year. Lenny's eyes were dilated like a full moon
hanging in the sky. Then Lenny's fixation changed from him
to Bron. Kevin watched the man scrutinize his wife from the
tips of her toes to the top of her head. It wasn't just a
curious glance. The man was staring at Bron's body boldly
in an open court room.
Kevin debated how
to handle it. He wanted to jump over the banister and pound
the living shit out of the man. Then Lenny gave him a smirk
and he almost became unglued right in the courtroom when Lenny
mouthed the word, 'Nice,' to him. "Fucking bastard,"
he muttered under his breath.
A hand landed on
Kevin's arm and a male's voice entered his ear. Kevin looked
down at the hand. The forearm was encased in Armani and a
Rolex 4130 rested on the wrist. "Don't go there, he's
baiting you. He'll get his no matter how this ends."
Mc's words registered and Kevin pushed himself forward in
The call came for
the prosecuting attorney to begin his opening statement. Bron
listened to the statement, which leveled the charges of First-degree
Rape, First-degree Criminal Sex act, and Sexual Assault, battery,
and down a very long list of charges. She blinked when the
charge of attempted murder had come from Maddigan and pushed
herself further back in her seat.
Bron said nothing
about the hand which brushed her shoulder. She needed that
hand to hold her up right now, even if she was still sitting.
Her mind was buzzing; she didn't understand all the different
classes and charges. She refused to look towards the man she
hated the most on the planet She thanked a higher power for
Maddigan's head blocking her view of the table next to her.
Her mind swam with
information as the defense attorney made his opening statements.
She winced while waiting for the bombshell that never came.
Maddigan looked behind her at Kevin and then back to the judge.
Her nails were cutting small grooves in the palms of her hands
when she heard the words that she had feared most.
would like to call their first witness, Bronwyn Cooper Richardson."
Maddigan spoke to the judge and then stepped out of her way
as she approached the bench.
The air rushed
out of her lungs and she gulped for air. Swallowing the saliva
that had formed in her throat, she stood. She walked with
controlled steps to the stand and stood until she was instructed
as to what to do. She took the oath and then her seat. She
answered his questions and then he asked her to repeat exactly
what had happened the day of C.W.'s funeral.
She stalled but
only for a second. Bron wanted to do exactly what Maddigan
had asked her to do. To repeat her story as it happened with
as many facts as possible. The courtroom was silent as she
spoke except for an occasional cough from someone in the room.
Her voice was hoarse
and old wounds lay open in her psyche. She searched for the
green eyes in the courtroom that would give her a sense of
comfort, a sense of purpose to continue. When she found them,
they weren't the smiling eyes she was used too. There was
no hint of the crinkles that would form around them when he
was amused or happy. But there was one thing she saw, sympathy.
She didn't want sympathy from anyone.
Bron sat straight
up in the chair and looked toward Maddigan waiting for him
"Can you identify
the man who attacked you?"
Bron both spoke and nodded.
"If he is
present in this courtroom today, would you point him out for
us?" Maddigan didn't turn towards the defense table until
Bron had pointed at Lenny.
All Bron heard
was 'let the record show…'. She had turned to Kevin, who now
seemed to be smiling at her with his eyes.
Kevin watched her
glance towards her watch and then he glanced towards his.
He knew it was time for Cooper to eat and Bron did too. Kevin
watched her fidget in the seat. She seemed okay until she
had to point Lenny out. Kevin frowned when Bron asked to have
Maddigan repeat a question.
Mc was leaning
forward with his elbows resting on his knees, his hands tightly
Kevin felt something
uncomfortable and looked down at his foot. Leaning over, Mc
whispered in his ear. "This isn't going to work. She
Kevin said nothing
nor acknowledged what Mc had said. He was sitting in judgment
in his own way on his wife. He listened intently for what
seemed like half the day. Maddigan must have brought up every
single thing Bron had ever said to Webster. Then he launched
into Bron's history, her history with her husband, her husband's
death, her history with Mc, which made him shift in his seat
more than once. Frequently Kevin fixed his gaze on her to
let her know he was listening to her and paying attention.
"As I understand,
you were also a victim of another assault in Pittsburgh."
Kevin sat up so
fast the chair bounced and the entire room of people looked
at him. "Sorry," he mumbled. Kevin understood what
Maddigan was doing. He was putting Bron's history to the jury
before the defense attorney had the chance to attack with
it. But damn, he recalled what he had done to Bron that night,
it could be deemed the same thing by others. Kevin heard far
off church bells chime the noon hour. He hoped they would
break for lunch; Bron was once again fidgeting in her seat.
Mc bumped his elbow
and shook his head from side to side. Once again Bron had
to have questions repeated. Kevin watched the pattern form.
Bron was distracted by the clock. To her the clock signaled
she needed to do something for her children. Her children
weren't here so she would begin to get anxious. The judge
called a break for lunch. Kevin let out a sigh when the judge
and jury left the room. He stood up again and went to stand
between the two tables and wait for his wife.
They were escorted
to the anteroom once again. Bron sat at the table picking
at her food. Kevin understood her reasoning; she didn't want
to go out because of the press. Mc had brought food to them
and then excused himself saying he had something to do. "Traitor,"
Bron grumbled at his retreating back.
"I'm not hungry.
I told him I wanted a burger and greasy fries and he brings
this crap back."
knows, as well as I do, you would just end up barfing all
the grease up."
salad. The smell is making me sick." Bron shoved the
fruit plate towards Kevin. Bron watched her husband happily
pick at the contents. "I'm going to find a pay phone
and call home."
Without a word,
Kevin followed her out into the hall with the fruit plate
in hand. She fished around in her purse to make a call. "Seventy-five
cents for a call?" She gawked at Kevin. "Since when?
It used to be a dime."
almost inhaling a grape. "It's never been a dime."
bet wiseass," Bron glared at him.
"Okay, I believe
you." Kevin dropped two more quarters in her hand.
Bron rang the phone,
the answering machine kicked in. She turned to her husband.
"They aren't answering." Quickly, she held out her
hand after placing the receiver back on the hook.
Kevin handed her
more change. She tried again and again. Still the phone went
unanswered. A cell phone was handed to Kevin. He spoke and
then smiled. "Baby, come here. They're not answering
because they're on the other line."
Bron ripped the
telephone from him and began to speak. She paced back and
forth asking how everyone was and what they had for lunch.
If the grandmothers were getting along.
and thanked his lucky stars his wife didn't realize that her
children were already on a plane headed back to Lexington.
She had spoke to all of them and seemed relieved when she
hung up the phone. "Whose phone is this?" Bron flipped
it shut, "Oh it's Mc's."
the phone and turned it off. He would return it when they
returned to the courtroom. It sucked that Mc had jumped the
gun, but maybe it was for the best. He would deal with the
consequences of his actions when they were safely ensconced
in their home later this evening. "Time alone is what
we need..." Kevin mumbled as they once again headed into
the courtroom. Kevin put on his Kevin Backstreet persona for
This page © 2001 - 2007 Bronwyn
All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
Any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.
Used with Permission
No part of this text may be copied or reprinted
without the author's permission.
All Graphics © to Bronwyn