"Want the good news or the bad news?" Miley asked walking in with a clipboard her bright eyes turning to look at the three of us,
"The good" I responded instantly.
"Definitely the bad,"
I glared at Joe as we both turned to Kevin to mediate the situation, "The good I suppose-"
"You've almost completed all of your community service!" Miley stated giving us a huge smile as Joe fist pumped the air a rose in his hand,
"Thank God! I want my mornings back! I hate working here, you treat us like slaves-"
"I'd be careful Joseph," Miley scowled giving a smirk, "Or I might re-correct your hours of service to be truthful in which case you still have another thirty hours to go! Plus you can kiss all of your mornings goodbye soon, you're about to become a dad."
Joe scoffed, "Demi will do all the morning stuff, I'm the dad not the mom-"
"Whoa!" Miley announced wide eyed, "If you think that, you will have a serious reality check soon Joe,"
"Because you know how your constantly complaining about Demi's mood?" Joe nodded as Miley wiped down the bench top, "Soon that will be the least of your problems! You'll be Demi's slave not mine, and trust me she's only going to get worse through the pregnancy- mood swings, cravings and then the baby...you're in for no sleep at all Joe."
Joe just laughed, "You're not serious right?"
Miley turned and just looked at him, "I'm deadly serious Joe."
I saw my brother's face fall, fear welling in his eyes as I couldn't help but laugh, "She's right Joe, I've already been through it with Selena."
"But we couldn't tell when she was having a mood swing," Kevin murmured quietly, "Because she was always a bitch."
My mouth dropped as Miley instantly laughed holding her hand up in appreciation as Kevin slapped it,
"Burn! Wait do you talk about me like that behind my back?"
"No! Of course not, your-"
"I will be from now on." Joe snapped turning his nose up at Miley.
She just laughed and shook her head as I leaned over in front of her, "So what's the bad news?"
Miley face instantly tensed up as she finished wiping down the counter, throwing the cloth into the basin "Well I know I promised I'd be at your dad's court case today for the verdict but..." She gave me an apologetic look shrugging her shoulders, "Something important has kind of come up and I can't exactly go. I'm sorry Nick, I did want to be there for you."
I frowned confused, "But last week you said you'd come."
"I know, this was pretty short notice."
"What's more important than seeing dad go to jail?" Joe asked jokingly as I glared at him.
"It's just..." Miley trailed off her eyes looking anywhere but at me, "This thing, I need to do it on my own and I just-"
I pressed my index finger against her lips as she looked at me worried,
"It's fine okay? You don't need to be there with me, but more importantly do you need me to be wherever you're going?"
I looked at my fiance who had looked anxious for the past couple of days, something was up I just didn't know what it was exactly. She looked at me for a moment her eyes flicking back and forth trying to make her mind up as Miles finally shook her head,
"No," She murmured giving me a small smile as I cupped her face with one hand, "You need to be with your family Nick,"
"You are my family too, your my-"
"Fiance," She whispered her eyes brightening, "I know it's just I need to do this for me, not us."
"Miley you're making me worried."
"Don't be worried," She responded leaning up on her tip toes kissing my lips, "I'm okay, I'm fine."
"I know that, just tell me where you're going?"
She looked at me sadly and moved her fingers up through my hair, "I can't Nick, I'll tell you when I'm ready okay?"
I stared at her completely unsure but sighed nodding, I didn't want to push her into telling me.
"If you need me," I stated kissing her lips again, "I'm only a phone call away."
"I know that."
She stepped back leaning down collecting a bucket, "So I think you guys are good to go, I need to open up Brandi should be here-" The front door bell rang as Miley shrugged, "Now, thanks for coming in."
"No problems Miles, I actually enjoy doing this..." Kevin announced trailing off a little uncertain he should have proclaimed that.
"Well that's good, you can fill in for when my sister's absently disappear like they have been lately."
"They're still doing that?" I asked as Miley nodded confused.
"I have no idea what they're doing," She murmured looking towards the door making sure Brandi wasn't close by, "They keep coming and going without any notice what so ever or explanation, although they've been working so hard and not complaining for a change. It's strange, I don't think they've ever been this committed to work or me for that fact. They're actually being genuinely nice to me,"
"Maybe they're sucking up?" I suggested as Miley shrugged,
"Maybe? I don't know..."
"I'm sure it'll be fine, they're most likely planning the wedding..."
"What wedding?" I asked confused staring at Kevin.
Joe snorted pulling off his apron, "What wedding he asks? Your wedding Nick."
My eyes widened as Miley looked at me, "What wedding?" She hissed at me.
I held my hands up staring at her, "No wedding Miley, no-"
"But you're wearing your engagement ring and Luce said you guys were planning your wedding."
"Luce." I growled rolling my eyes, "Is like her mother and is making up lies-"
"That are true, you are wearing the ring again."
All eyes turned to Miley who looked uneasy, "Yeah but-"
"But nothing, when is the wedding?" Joe asked.
Just as he finished Brandi walked in tying her apron up gazing towards Joe bewildered,
"Hey guys, what wedding?"
"Miley and Nick's wedding, they're planning it again-"
Brandi's face instantly lit up, "You're planning the wedding?"
"No!" Miley spat dropping the bucket splashing the water onto the floor, "No, no we're not-"
"She's wearing her engagement ring again did you notice?" Joe asked Brandi excited as she nodded grinning,
"We did!" Brandi turned to her sister confused, "But you said you were just taking it slow and now your planning the wedding already?"
Brandi, Joe and Kevin all turned to us expecting a date as I looked to Miley who huffed, her lips pursed together ready to throw a tantrum.
"No wedding!" She spat.
"No wedding?" Brandi questioned.
"No! Just because I'm wearing the ring doesn't mean it's happening anytime soon."
They all turned to me as I shrugged innocently, "No wedding."
Instantly they looked disappointed as Miley huffed staring at them, "Look there are too many other important things to worry about right now, like your dad's court case which you probably should think about leaving for!" Miley stated trying to be polite but making it very blunt that she didn't want to have this conversation, "And may I add that it's none of your businness when Nick and me are getting married okay! No more questions until we tell you it's happening-"
"So it is happening?" Joe asked grinning,
Miley blinked staring at him clenching her fists, "It's time for you to leave guys."
I kissed the side of her forehead, "Just think about France and getting away from all this..." I whispered in her ear.
Miley's shoulders instantly relaxed and she turned kissing my lips, "I can't wait for France,"
"Me either, I'll see you tonight?" She nodded as I looked at her, "If you need me just-"
"I'll call, good luck today."
"Thanks Mi, love you."
"Love you too."
I pecked her lips and turned away to find them all still watching as Miley pointed at the door,
"Leave!" She snapped.
"Okay fine we're going bye,"
I looked at Miley one last time feeling nervous, was she that against us getting married soon? Or was it just the situation we were currently in? I shook away my doubts and headed to the door with my brother's knowing there were a lot of other things I had to be worried about at the moment, like my dad's court case.
"We find the accused not guilty."
The words lingered in my ears even though they were uttered at least five minutes ago.
How could this have happened?
It was simple really, when you commit a crime you are meant to be punished. You are meant to suffer the consequences for your actions, pay the price for the injustice you have caused and all those other stupid metaphors. You were meant to be punished, that's the way the criminal justice system worked. He was meant to punished for what he did to me! Yet he wasn't, because the jury saw him as innocent even though I knew he was guilty. They didn't accept the evidence, they didn't think my testimony was enough to convict so he was given the non guilty verdict for attempted rape, for drugging me, for everything.
Liam got off his charges and I got no justice.
It felt a slap in the face, because I thought it was an open and closed case. I knew what he did, hell there was video evidence yet that couldn't be used in the court. Someone had broken the chain of evidence meaning that the tape that showed him drugging my drink, attempting to rape me was discarded from the court. Without it there was nothing to prove his guilt except my testimony against his and that of my doctors. Liam had a good lawyer, a smart lawyer, who decided to bring up my past and the fact I'd once been a drug addict. The next thing I knew the jury turned and I was the one who appeared to be on trial,
"It's okay, you've been granted the restraining order," My lawyer explained to my shocked state. "That's a good thing he can't come near you ever again."
But we both knew that wasn't enough, I wanted punishment, I wanted him to pay and he didn't. I almost died and he received nothing for what I went through?
"We can file a civil case against him-"
I shook my head, "I don't want too." I whispered. "It was so hard the first time, I can't face him again."
"Okay hun," My lawyer responded apologetic, "But we have twenty four hours so just think about it-"
"I don't need too." I spat at him. "No more cases."
"Are you sure?"
I looked up to my left to find Liam standing there, his cuffs gone, Mandy and all my friends smiling cheerfully. I felt sick seeing them happy at my expense, how could they wake up everyday and live with the guilt that they almost killed me? Was there no such thing as karma?
"You ready to leave?" My lawyer asked.
I shook my head staring absently through the court room, "I just wanna sit here for a while."
"Do you want me to call your family, your fiance?"
"No." I responded sniffling, "I just need a minute, you can go thank you."
"Remember Paul Jonas' case is on down the hall so if you don't want to see-"
"I know it is, I'll leave before it's over."
"Okay, I'll call you tomorrow to make sure you haven't changed your mind about the civil case."
I nodded as my lawyer sighed and left me to dwell on what could have been. I turned thankful that Liam and his crew were gone too leaving me alone in the courtroom to wallow in self pity. When I'd received the call last week to attend his case today I instantly rejected it. After some consideration I decided I wanted to see justice, to make him suffer and somehow give me a little bit of closure. That's why I'd gone in alone, no one knew and that's the way I'd wanted it. This wasn't about Nick, my sister's or anyone else it was about me getting the revenge I deserved.
Yet the Criminal Justice System had failed me...
I pulled myself together finally and turned walking towards the courtroom doors feeling sick. I opened one and peaked out my eyes searching the large ornately decorated hallway making sure it was clear before I left. I sighed in relief stepping out to find no one I knew, running both my hands across my face letting out a sigh. My life would get better I just had to stay positive, I had to stay positive! I felt my breathing hitch a little as I closed my eyes trying to hold in the sob that wanted so badly to escape as I blinked trying so hard not to let any tears fall.
I thought I could do this on my own without my family, without anyone yet now all I wanted was Nick to be hugging me, for my sisters to be here with me to say it was going be okay because all I felt right now was my world falling down around me.
"You know the good thing about the restraining orders Miley..." I heard a voice yell, "It only applies to me, not all of us. I'd watch your back."
My head snapped up looking at Liam who stood a hundred feet away at the other end of the hallway, the small smirk on his face easily recognizable still. I felt everything in me just shake as my feet started moving back out of intense fear, and I could hear their laughter in the distance as I turned the corner chocking on my pain now, wanting to escape, to get away from this place forever. My eyes blurred and in my panic I turned the corner not seeing the person in front of me,
I slammed into the body falling to the ground, my bag toppling in the process sending all my documents across the floor.
"What the hell!" I heard someone yell furiously, "You clumsy-
My eyes widened as everything in me shut down. "Miley? What are you doing here?"
I sucked in my emotions, letting my eyes focus as I propelled myself to regain control of the situation. I looked up to see Joe staring completely confused rubbing his chest, while Demi was now leaning down beside me, reaching out for the papers I'd dropped across the floor.
"Hey," I managed out, "I'm sorry I decided I'd come and support you guys-"
I felt the panic rise as I realized what it was Demi held in her fingers as I snatched the sheets out of her hands pushing them into my bag crumpling them. I moved to grab the last one only for fingers to pull it from the floor. I looked up to see Joe his eyes looking at the paper reading it intently as I got to my feet.
"Give it back!" I yelled lunging at him, "Joe give it-"
My fingers clasped the edge only for Joe to look at it wide eyed, just as I regained my possession of the paper. I instantly pushed it into my bag knowing the damage was done,
"Mile what the hell is going on? Nick said you weren't coming, and now you're here and-"
"Why didn't you tell us?" Joe hissed at me quietly,
Demi spun confused by her husbands interruption, as she leaned forward grabbing the sheet from my grip as I stood overwhelmed. I didn't bother attempting to obtain the piece of paper again as I felt Joe's eyes staring at me completely confused, while he shook his head.
"Please tell me you told Nick that Liam's case was-"
"Holy fuck Miley!" Demi hissed her eyes staring at me furious;y, "Why the hell didn't you tell us? You told Nick yes?"
"Told me what?"
And I thought this day couldn't get any worse? I was so wrong. I turned as Nick's gorgeous frame filled my eyes and he spotted me a confused grin spreading across his face, "Miley?" He asked his pace quickening as he closed the distance between us in a few bounds, "I thought you said-"
"I wanted to support you." I lied through my teeth as he pulled me into his arms.
I sent the married couple a glare over his shoulder as Demi just blinked,
"You didn't tell him!" She yelled at me.
"Tell me what?" Nick asked as he stared at me letting go, "Are you okay? Is about whatever you had to do on your own..."
Nick looked at me confused and I wanted to nod but I just was frozen unable to say anything. He moved his hand to my cheek apologetic looking into my eyes, "You can tell me, what's going on with you? Where did you go today?"
"Miley? What are you doing here?" Another new voice announced,
I looked up seeing Danielle and Kevin now descending on the party I'd been trying so hard to keep a secret.
"Liam's case was today." Demi hissed shoving the paper at Nick. "And she didn't tell us, any of us!"
Nick's expression of confusion instantly turned into something that scared me, disappointment. I stepped back and felt myself losing control of my emotions, I couldn't deal with this, with their eyes and judgements. Before I could even think the rush of adrenaline to escape and hide the tears that were about to fall took control. I turned and paced quickly spotting a very handy female restroom which I quickly darted into closing the door, trying to seal myself from all their concern and worries. Instantly the sob slipped out as I covered my mouth refusing to let another break me. I was okay, I was fine, I was absolutely fine.
I knew they'd follow so I quickly darted into the cubicle locking the door, I need to relax, I needed to...I needed justice and closure.
The next sob and the first tear fell in sync, just as the restroom door opened. I slammed my hand across my mouth watching from the gap under the cubicle as two pairs of gorgeous expensive italian heels walked in,
"Okay so you didn't want us to know, why the hell not?" Demi snapped.
"Demi, Nick said to take it easy on her-"
"For god sake Miley, why the hell didn't you tell us about this? What was going through your head when you thought that you could face this alone-"
"Demi stop it" Danielle hissed,
Demi slammed on the cubicle door as I stepped back more tears beginning to fall, "Miley you come out right now or you will not be this babies god mother, you hear me?"
"Demi!" Danielle hissed
I closed my eyes feeling the regret pulsing through me. I should have told them the truth, I'd just been so concentrated on doing this alone that with failure I learnt that maybe I should of requested the help when I knew I needed it. Like right now, I needed help right now. I leaned forward opening the door as Demi's finger instantly was in my face,
"What makes you- why are you crying?" She yelled.
"I'm fine, okay?"
I pushed past her moody pregnant self walking to the sink staring at my reflection disappointed in myself as Demi laughed,
"You're crying that isn't-"
"Just shut up." I hissed at her, "It wasn't your problem to deal with, it wasn't Nick's, it was mine."
"So what was the verdict? How long is he going to prison?" Demi hissed.
I turned on the tape staring at the water spilling out, "Miley how long did Liam get?" Danielle repeated.
"He didn't get anything," I whispered simply.
I cupped my hands and let the water fall into them, quickly splashing it across my face hiding the tears,
"What do you mean he-"
I spun feeling my chest tighten, "He was found not guilty!" I felt myself yell at them, "He got nothing!"
I turned away from them shaking my head as I put my trembling hands into the water, "He got absolutely nothing for drugging me, he got nothing for attempting to rape me, he got nothing for the fact he almost killed me." I whispered closing my eyes as the tears filled them, "He got nothing, and I have a life sentence of absolute horror that I had to deal with for the rest of my life."
Hands gently grasped my hips as I opened my eyes to see the restroom now empty, only Nick behind me. I felt myself shutter as more tears spilled, without a word he pulled his arms around me and I spun pressing my head against his suit sobbing. Nick just stood there and let me cry as I felt the anger, the hatred and spite towards Liam, but also the embarrassment that I'd been stupid enough not to tell anyone about the case. He finally started talking to me slowly, giving me reassuring words that only he could make sound truthful.
"You should have told me, I could have helped Miley, I could-"
"I know, I was stupid." I murmured as he sighed.
"I guess you weren't the only injustice today," He whispered finally in my ear, rocking me gently.
"Your dad?" I chocked as he kissed the side of my forehead.
"Innocent, even though he was guilty."
I bit my lip and said nothing as Nick let go of me giving a weak smile, "We live in a fucked up world apparently, money buys innocence."
Nick touched my cheek, "But it doesn't buy happiness, and I promise you're going to get through this okay? We're going to get through this."
"I promise Miley."
A/N: I'm still alive! hahaha I know some of you guys were getting anxious and this chapter wasn't exactly fantastic but I have an excuse...I have exams which gave been basically killed me but as of this time tomorrow on summer vacation! Plus there is a new story on the horizon :)