When I see your smile
Tears roll down my face I can't replace
And now that I'm strong I have figured out
How this world turns cold and it breaks through my soul
And I know I'll find deep inside me I can be the one
I will never let you fall (let you fall)
I'll stand up with you forever
I'll be there for you through it all (through it all)
Even if saving you sends me to heaven
~The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
My palms were sweating and the little moon shaped indents from my jagged, bitten nails were starting to hurt. But, completely out of my control, I couldn't get my fingers to relax. The tension in my shoulders caused a quiver to run down my back. I hurt all over, wracked with nerves that seemed to be multiplying like cancer through my body.
That sudden quiver was what finally got Edward's attention; he was busy focusing on what the prosecutor was telling us. He slid his hands into mine, separating my fingers in an almost painful way, since they had been so tight for so long.
"You got this, it's going to be okay," he whispered into my hair, kissing my temple.
There were so many people milling around the courthouse halls, so many of them unaware of the face-off that was about to happen. It had been months since I'd seen James' face, months since he had his hands around my neck, and here I was, sitting on a hard wooden bench waiting to retell the story of what happened.
"Miss Swan, all you need to do is answer the questions honestly. You have nothing to hide and the defense knows this. They'll try to trip you up, but just stay strong. I'll see you in there," Mr. Nahuel said with a faint accent. He sounded kind of like Matt Damon did in that soccer movie and I think he'd said something about being from South America originally. Whatever the accent was, it was soothing.
After giving me a look of confidence and a pat on the shoulder, he started to walk towards the double doors that I'd have to make my way through soon.
And then it began...
We were lead into the court room, sitting behind the prosecutor's desk, standing when the judge entered. James was hauled in, covered in a dark blue jump suit, shackles holding his hands and feet together. He sneered at me, knowing that I would be the nail in his coffin. The judge stated the date and case for the lady typing off to the side of the room, then started the process.
Rose had taken the stand days earlier, retelling her brutal beating, her fear of dying, and the fact that she was now physically healed but would forever be mentally scared. The defense couldn't find a character witness because at the end of the day, James didn't have a single characteristic that was redeemable. There were other women that testified, each one sinking his ship even more.
With a deep breath and a small kiss from Edward, I took the stand, pointed James out as my attacker looking him dead in the eyes. I wasn't going to fear a man who lived his life the way he did. I retold the things he said to me. The gloating about rape and cruelty against the girls that worked for him. How I woke in the hospital barely able to speak because of the severity of how bruised and swollen my neck was. After it was all said and done, I took Edward's hand and walked out, putting James behind me. The defense decided against asking me any questions, since Rose's testimony could have ended the entire trial.
"What now?" Edward asked as we got into the car.
"I wanna go see baby Drew."
He turned out of the parking lot and head towards Alice and Jasper's. Alice ended up going over her due date by over a week and had Andrew Michael Whitlock a week before Edward's birthday. We spent his birthday having a low key dinner, holding the baby until he was so spoiled he would scream if we put him down.
Edward and I decided that August would be the last month I took birth control, just in time for our September wedding. We wanted a family, even more now after watching Alice and Jasper with Drew. So I had ten months left. I couldn't wait.
October was busy at The Shop, but full of laughs, since Alice and Jasper trick-or-treated with four month old Drew in red and white footie pajamas. Jasper pulled the Goblin King off almost as well as Bowie.
November comprised of a ton of family time with Thanksgiving and the Marine Corps birthday. We visited the Crowley's and Tyler, which is always bitter sweet. Mrs. Crowley was so excited to hear about our plans for kids and she picked my brain about every wedding detail I had, which wasn't much since it was being planned mostly by Rose and Esme.
December was the best month of the year aside from June and Drew's birth, because James was sentenced with multiple charges that totaled a minimum of twelve years in prison. Rose and I held hands during the sentencing and cried together when it was all over. I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present. And when I kissed Edward at midnight on New Year Eve, I smiled against his mouth.
"We're getting married this year, hopefully starting a family...I couldn't ask for more than I have now," I whispered, pulling him closer and tuning out the sounds of the celebrating crowd that filled our bar.
"We should head home soon. Practice makes perfect, you know, and I want to make sure we perfect our technique for September," he replied with a grin, "because what better way to consummate out marriage than having a honeymoon baby."
Hand in hand we walked out of our bar, got into our car, and head to our home...so ready to truly start our lives together.
Holy crap...I have finished my last fanfiction. I CANNOT tell you how much I loved writing everything I have written and how much I have loved getting to know the great people I have been lucky enough to know. I don't think that I can think of everyone, but everyone knows who they are and why I love them. It's bitter sweet, but I'm so excited to close the chapter on this part of my life. This was my outlet during nursing school and I'm finally winding down and taking boards in August for my RN...maybe now I'll have time to research and write something I can truly call mine.
Mary, I love you and you know it...Kate...my dear Kate, thanks for taking so many of my words and making them something even better...I adore you!
THANK YOU FOR READING...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!