"Are you ready for this?" Brock calmly asked Reba as they stopped in front of what seemed like a mountain of steps.
They were in front of the Houston court house steps, contemplating whether or not they should make the journey inside. It had been very hard the past few months. Once she and Brock were both out of the hospital everything seemed to go back to normal. Reba went back to work quickly and Mrs. Hodge offered her a permanent position at the school. She was happy with that and so were the students. It also turned out John's past was just that, his past. He still admitted he wanted Reba but he would never do anything like that to her and it turned out Chris didn't like Brian for a reason, not only because he thought something wasn't right but because he liked Kyra. It turned out the video he was making was for her and they were now dating. Meanwhile Brock and Reba took care of each other and their children pitched in to help because with them both with a broken arm and Brock with two broken legs, they needed it. The family was happy and excited to get back to their normal lives but then soon it started.
Soon after Reba and Brock talked to the police and handed over every piece of evidence they had to keep Brian behind bars. The investigation started and they searched his home. They found video equipment, camera, computers everywhere, the phone he used to call Reba with, the special note cards he used to write the notes and even some items from Reba's home that seemed to have gone missing the past few months. They even found plenty of evidence that he killed his father who had disappeared only three months earlier; they found his body decomposing in the basement of their home. He was able to stand trial and that's when the real fun began.
The press was all over the story of the crazed student obsessed with his English teacher and it was soon a whole new nightmare. They soon found out who she was and where she lived, where she worked. New stories were posted everyday and the family's private life was plastered all over for everyone to see. Of course the neighborhood already knew about Brock and his affair and they knew Reba had forgiven him but there were still the oblivious ones that came up to her apologizing for Brock's behavior, giving her sympathy, asking how she could still have him in her life, it was like she went back six years.
And news reporters made it a point to follow her everywhere. They were there when she left the house, when she arrived at work, when she left work, when she went to the grocery store, they were everywhere. They wanted to know if she provoked Brian's obsession or if she had spoken to him since the attack. They asked so many questions but all she wanted to do was to get on with her life. She thought once the verdict was announced they would stop but they didn't.
Brian was found guilty despite his lawyer trying an insanity plea. When he was found guilty of first degree murder, attempted murder, attempted rape, assault with a deadly weapon, and sexual harassment the press seemed to be all over her even more. They wanted to know if she was happy with the verdict. They wanted to know what she expected the sentencing to be. They wanted to know how she planed to go through this and some even had the nerve to ask if she was having a secret affair with him. Stories had come out about that and she hated the fact that her family was put through this but today…today it would finally be over. Today Brian was getting his sentence and she wanted to be there to make sure he got exactly what he deserved.
Reba looked to Brock and smiled as she squeezed his hand. "Just don't go anywhere and I'll be fine." She and Brock were the only ones there. Reba thought it was best to keep the family at home. They were watching on the news channel.
"Never." He said giving her a wink. They sighed as they looked to the press who were being held back as much as possible by the police. Detective Mills was waiting at the top of the steps for them. He smiled and waved when he noticed them down at the end of the steps. Reba and Brock gave each other one last look before they started up the steps and as soon as they were noticed there were flashes all around and the questions started.
"Mrs. Hart what do you expect of today?"/ "Mrs. Hart how is your family handling this?"/ Mrs. Hart can we just get a few words with you?"
It wouldn't stop and Reba just wanted to hurry. She picked up her pace and Brock followed in suit. He wanted to get away from them just as much as she did. They reached the top in record time and Reba gave a hug to Detective Mills. He had become such a good friend to her since, well, saved her from Brian. He had been over to her house for dinner and she had even met his family. He had a lovely wife name Marta, two beautiful teenage twin daughters Ashley and Amanda, and one very sweet ten year old son Michael.
"Hello Ed." She said with strained smile.
He gave her a smile as well. "Are you ready for today?"
"Ready as I'll ever be. I am just happy it will soon be over within the hour." He nodded and all three of them made their way into the court house.
Reba felt her stomach doing flip flops as they went closer and closer to the room that would change her life. It was pretty obvious that Brian was going to be put away for a long time but it was still nerve racking to wait. It was still tiring to have all this drama around you day in and day out. She just wanted her life to get back to normal.
They made their way inside and sat to the left side of the court room. She didn't hear much as people filed in as she was too deep in her thoughts of what the day would bring but when they brought Brian in the court room her eyes darted toward him immediately. It wasn't like she hadn't seen him before but today…their eyes met. He looked at her and she saw how sorry he was in his eyes but it was too late…too late for anything. He chose this. He chose to destroy his father's life. He tried to destroy her life and now his life was going to be taken. She felt kind of sorry for him in a way. He was so young and had such a long life ahead of him and he was going to be spending it behind bars.
She was brought out of her thoughts when she was to stand when the judge entered. She sat and waited patiently. Reba wasn't really paying much attention to the legal jargon that was said but it was when Brian was given a microphone that she truly felt like she wanted to run from the court room when his cold voice filled the room.
"I am truly sorry for my actions. I killed my father. I can't take that back. I hurt many people I love and I can't take away their pain. Lastly I want to apologize to Re…Mrs. Hart for my disrespect and my actions towards her and her family. I am not asking for forgiveness. I do not expect it. I just wanted you to know that I am sorry."
When he was done Reba felt even worse, not because she felt sorry for him even more, but because his words had no real emotion in them whatsoever. He wasn't sorry. He was glad he did it. She knew it. Everyone knew it. The only thing he had been concerned about was what he wanted and now he felt that if saying he was sorry publicly it would give him a lighter sentence but boy was he wrong.
Reba felt her breath as she waited for the sentencing. She felt time was ticking by slowly as the judge cleared his throat and took a sip of water. He shifted in his seat a little and took a moment to look at the papers in front of him. Reba just wanted to shout out 'Get on with it already' but she knew she had to be patient.
The judge cleared his voice once more and positioned his mouth to the microphone in front of him. "It is the decision of this court and it gives me great pleasure to say…" he said eyeing Brian with a menacing eye. "That Brian Andrew Taylor is given the maximum sentencing of 30 years to life in prison with no possibility of parole." He judge banged his gavel and that was it.
Reba felt herself smile. She hadn't really truly let out a smile of pure happiness in a long time and the court room seemed to be in a buzz of happiness as well. She turned to Brock and they both just hugged each other. It was over. It was finally over.
She held him for as long as she could before they had to stand. They were ready to leave. They were waiting for the people in front of them to move and it was then Reba became aware of the person standing on the other side of the divider, in handcuffs, escorted by two officers.
He looked at her for a moment and Reba could tell he was quite said. "What do you want?" Brock asked coldly as he wrapped an arm around Reba's waist protectively.
Brian ignored Brock and kept looking into Reba's eyes. "I would never hurt you." He said quietly.
Reba scoffed at him, not quite ready to give him any sympathy. "You already did." She replied with coldness. She watched as his eyes widened a little bit and his eyes fill with tears as he was escorted away. She still didn't feel any sympathy for him. Pity…? Maybe…but she definitely was happy she was able to move on with her life and that was definitely something she wanted to do more than anything in the world.
Reba sighed as Brock held her close as they looked out over the cliff to the city. They had left the court house quickly. Detective Mills asked her if she wanted to make a statement to the press but she refused. She didn't want to prolong moving on any further. Reba and Brock knew that the press would be at their house so they decided to grab some lunch and head here before they headed home. She wanted to relax and Brock was happy to give her anything she wanted.
"Are you okay?" he asked as he took a sip of his milkshake.
Reba smiled and turned to him. "I am perfect." Brock looked at her suspiciously. "I am fine." She said smiling. "Really, it's not one of those things where I say I am fine and everything's perfect when it's not. Everything is really great." She said giving her signature smile.
And she was telling the truth. A few months ago she wasn't ready to talk about it. She didn't even want to hear Brian's name or talk about anything. She only talked to Detective Mills and went up on the witness stand because she had to. It wasn't until last night that she had really talked to Brock. She had really opened up and she was happy she did. It sort of prepared her for what had happened today. It helped her get through it and she was able to face Brian without feeling like he was going to jump over the divider and attack her once again. She faced him and she was ready to move on…finally.
She turned to Brock once again and gave him a sweet kiss on the cheek. He turned to her and smiled. "What was that for?" he questioned.
Reba shook her head and fed him a French fry. "Just for being here…for helping me through this, I owe you so much. I love you so very much. I don't know what I would do without you."
Brock smiled and swallowed the fry before he kissed her back. "I am just happy we are finally where we are supposed to be."
Reba nodded in agreement. "Yeah, these past five years have been rocky but now we finally have some stability. We are finally a normal and complete family again." She said with a chuckle. Brock gave her a weary look. Reba saw it and her smile faded. "What? What's wrong? Please don't give me any bad news…not today…it's been so perfect…"
"I know." He said stopping her. "It's just…complete family? Are we?"
She was confused. "Of course we are. We're together, the kids are happy, Barbara Jean's happy, everyone's happy. What is not complete?"
He smiled and took her hand. "Will you marry me?"