All heads turned to the sound of the raspy voice to see Amanda being pushed up the aisle in a wheelchair by her mother. The courtroom erupted in a flurry of chatter, the ADA consulting with the ICU doctor, while Lee leapt out of his chair and meeting his wife halfway, "Amanda," he said excitedly as he reached her, kneeling in front of her and kissing her soundly amid the sounds of the chatter and the judge banging his gavel calling for order.
"Order in the court," the judge shouted. "Mr. Stetson, please return to your seat."
Lee nodded, kissed his wife once more and strolled back to his seat as Dotty wheeled her daughter toward the front of the room. Amanda glanced at Lee, smiled at him and said, "Your honor, there's been a big misunderstanding here. A misunderstanding that I can clear up if you'll allow me to."
ADA Gardner rose and said, "Your honor, I've just spoken with her doctor who says that Mrs King is in no condition to offer any kind of coherent testimony, so I ask that you not allow this until she's had enough time to recover from the vicious attack on her." She then cast a glare at Lee. "You already heard testimony from him as well about Mr. Stetson's violent display toward him at the hospital for treating his wife."
Joe also rose from his seat and countered with, "Your honor, Amanda King is the victim in this case and she should be given the opportunity to explain to the court exactly what happened to her and my client being accused of the "vicious attack" on her," he glared at the ADA, "had a right to have testimony presented in his defense. Not only that, but Mrs. King has been removed from this doctor's care due to his questionable treatment of her, which was the reason behind Mr. Stetson's behavior at the hospital."
The judge nodded toward the bailiff and said, "Would you please help Mrs. King to the witness stand?"
The bailiff obeyed, taking over from Dotty, wheeling Amanda toward the witness stand and helping her from her wheelchair, steadying her when she faltered upon standing while Dotty slid into a seat directly behind Lee, patting him on the shoulder lightly as she did so. He turned for just a moment to smile at her, giving her a nod of gratitude before turning his attention back to Amanda, a glimmer of worry crossing his features at seeing how she was struggling to get to the witness stand, wishing he could be up there to help her.
At seeing Amanda's stumbling, ADA Gardner, "You Honor, I have to protest this again. Look at her. She can barely stand. How can she possibly be a credible witness?"
The judge turned to Amanda just as she took her seat on the witness stand and asked, "Do you feel well enough for this?"
"I'm fine. It's just that my head still hurts so I'm on some painkillers that make me a little dizzy to stand, but I'm perfectly coherent," Amanda answered.
"Proceed," the judge said.
The bailiff went through the process of swearing her in asking her to state her full name for the record, to which she replied, "Amanda Jean King," at which the ADA again leapt to her feet.
"You see, Your Honor? She doesn't even know her name. The defense has presented evidence that Mr. Stetson couldn't possibly have raped her because he's her husband, yet-"
"I know my name perfectly well," Amanda retorted, cutting her off. "My name is King because Lee and I were keeping our marriage quiet. We wouldn't very well have been able to do that if I'd legally changed my name to Stetson, now would we?"
Lee smiled and thought, there's that logical mind that I love.
The judge nodded to Joe who approached Amanda, "Now, Mrs. King, can you tell us what happened the night that you were attacked?"
"Yes," Amanda answered. "Lee and I had been working at an embassy reception, it was kind of late and we'd had a few drinks..." she went on to explain about their frenzied lovemaking in his apartment, the argument they'd had and the three men who'd jumped her.
"So, you're saying that you were not coerced or in any way forced to have sex with Mr. Stetson?" Joe asked.
"No, I certainly was not," Amanda answered firmly. "If anything, I coerced him."
"And was any one of those three men who attacked you outside the building your husband?"
"No, two of them I recognized because Lee and I were responsible for arresting them a year ago and the third one was a man I'd never seen before," Amanda answered then giving a detailed description of Ian McKay.
Joe then turned to the judge and said, "In light of this new testimony from the victim's own mouth and her description of her attackers' perfectly matching that of her husband's, I'd like to request that the charges against my client be dropped."
"So ordered," the judge said with a bang of his gavel while Lee leapt to his feet with a loud whoop, Dotty cheering and hugging him from behind. Lee quickly approached the witness stand to help his wife back into her wheelchair, planting another kiss to her lips once she was settled again.
"God, Amanda, I was so worried," he said as he knelt in front of her and softly caressed her face. "You shouldn't be out of the hospital."
Amanda leaned her head against his and said, "I know, but Mother told me everything. That's why I had to be here. I had to set the record straight."
"I'm glad you did, but you need to recover," Lee argued.
"And I will. I'm going to be fine," she assured him. As he wheeled her toward the exit, they were met by Dotty and Joe. "Joe, thank you for taking care of him for me."
"My pleasure," Joe said with a smile. "You just make sure to let him take care of you now."
"I will," Amanda said glancing up at her husband behind her with a smile.
Just as they reached the door, Detective Bledsoe stepped in front of them, glaring at Amanda and said, "How could you? How could you let him get away with it?"
"Listen; there was nothing for him to get away with because he didn't do anything wrong. Everything that he did to me was exactly what I wanted him to do and the rest of it, he wasn't even involved with. Now if you don't mind, my head's starting to hurt again so I really should get some rest."
"So, you're perfectly okay with your husband, a man who's supposed to love you, just treating you like you're a piece of meat," Bledsoe said incredulously.
"I feel very sorry for you, Detective," Amanda said sympathetically. "I don't know what's happened to you, but it's obvious to me that you've never had a good experience with love or a fulfilling sex life. You don't know me, or my husband, so don't judge my marriage based on your own experiences."
"Do you mind moving out of the way?"Lee said. "My wife needs to rest so she can recover from her injuries."
When she still stood blocking their path, Joe stepped up and said, "The charges against my client have been dropped as you just heard and if you persist in harassing him or his wife, I'll be forced to file charges against you."
"Fine!' she said and stepped out of the way, narrowing her eyes at all of them.
Lee entered Amanda's hospital room, a large vase of roses in his hand, "Hi," he said with a smile at seeing her sitting up with a magazine. Upon returning to the hospital, she'd been re-admitted to the neurology ward where they could closely monitor her head injury, but it was decided after multiple tests that it was no longer necessary to keep her in the ICU.
"Hi," Amanda said with a bright smile. "Those are very pretty. Thank you."
"Not as pretty as you," Lee said as he set down the vase, and then sat on the edge of her bed.
"Oh, yeah, I'm sure I look great with the bruises on my arms and the bandage on my head," she said dryly.
Lee shook his head and said, "You look beautiful." Just the fact that she was awake and alert and was going to make a full recovery was beautiful to him.
"So, what have you been up to while I was being a human pincushion in here?"
"Just wrapping things up," Lee said. "Billy reinstated me, Detective Tuggy reported that they were finally able to sort out all the prints on your car and one set of them belonged to Ian McKay. You should have seen Francine confronting him with it. He's singing like a canary now that he can no longer deny that he attacked you and he's turned the tables on Williamson. They're both going to be in prison for a long time."
"Good," Amanda said with a smile. She chewed on her lower lip thoughtfully for a moment.
"I know that look," Lee said. "Something on your mind?"
"Well, I was just thinking about Detective Bledsoe, you know, wondering what happened to her to make her the way she is. Seeing the look on her face in the courtroom today just made me feel, I don't know, a little sad for her."
"Well, that's being taken care of too," Lee said and explained to her Duffy's discovery of Bledsoe's past.
"How awful for her," Amanda said sadly. "No wonder she didn't believe you when you told her that you didn't force yourself on me."
"Don't tell me you feel bad for her," Lee said.
"I do. That must have been a horrifying experience for her and to make it worse when she reached out for help, no one was there for her. I can't imagine what that was like for her. I hope she's able to get some professional help for it so she can finally get over it."
Lee shook his head in amazement. It never stopped surprising him how much she cared for people and how forgiving she could be. "She will," Lee said. "In fact, she's been ordered to get help now that her superiors know what's what. She's been put on mandatory medical leave until she's completed required counseling sessions to deal with her trauma. In the meantime, her internal affairs department is taking a good hard look at all the cases she's closed to make sure there's not some innocent guy out there in prison because of her behavior."
"Well, that's good that she'll be getting the help she needs. I hope it works out for her."
"Yeah, me too," Lee said, "But I don't want to dwell on this anymore. Now, that our secret is out, we need to figure out how to deal with the boys."
"I know. Mother was here a little while ago and gave me an earful about keeping our secrets, but then she suggested that we just have a real wedding ceremony on our anniversary rather than telling the boys the truth."
"Yeah, she said the same thing to me," Lee said. "I don't know that I like the idea of us living apart for another four months though. That's what started this whole mess in the first place."
"Yeah, I know, but what's four months compared to the almost-four years that it took us to get married? Besides, I think it would go a long way to Mother forgiving us for lying to her if we let her plan a wedding for us."
Lee chuckled and said, "You might be right there and I can't argue with both of you."
"So, you'll do it?" Amanda said hopefully.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll do it," Lee said. "Anything to make you happy."
"Good," She said as she gestured for him to come closer. They shared a long, lingering kiss and she smiled at him as she pulled back. "You really would do anything to make me happy, wouldn't you?"
Lee smiled back and said, "Guilty as charged."