A/n: Well, here we go, my first Common Law fic!There are lots of twists and turns in this story, and truly fun to write. I hope you enjoy Cross-Examination.
Cross-Examination: Questioning by a party or the attorney of an adverse party or a witness.
Detective Travis Marks placed his arm protectively around his foster sister, Angel, as the court order was read. It was odd for him to be in a place like this as the supporter, not the cop. The other policemen that were dispersed around the courtroom hardly recognized Travis without his police partner.
They were 'the therapy guys'. The thought made Travis a little ill. Here he was, trying to make a respectful career out of his sorry life, and he was put with someone like Wes Mitchell.
Now, it wasn't as if Wes was the end of the world. He and Travis got along for the most part, joked around, and had each other's back. But, besides that, they were completely different. Utterly, irrevocably different. Wes had to stop thinking like the lawyer he once was if he wanted to get anywhere.
Speaking of which.
Alex MacFarland Mitchell, the prosecuting attorney, stood tall in front of Travis. Her smooth dress and delicate hair did not fool anyone —this girl was all business. She wasn't going to let a risk-taking husband get in her way, so she divorced Wes. Just like that. It was hard for Travis to watch his partner turn from the arrogant former lawyer to a man who was wallowing in self-pity and guilt. Travis almost felt sorry for the guy, until, of course, he opened his snarky mouth.
"We, the jury, find the defendant, Ramon Caballo, not guilty."
Outrage. That was the first word that came to mind for Travis. His sister began to tremble underneath his strong grasp, a single, bottled tear escaping. Alex hung her head. The parents of this poor, poor girl held each other tight.
Jessica Abel, not yet eleven years old and a victim of child rape, walked out of the room. Her parents followed immediately.
The courtroom had become deathly quiet now. A little colder, a little darker. Travis stared at Alex as she snapped her briefcase shut and shook hands with the defending lawyer before heading out of the room. The sound of her heels hitting the tile briskly could be heard down the hallway until the door closed with an intimidating thud.
"Give her time," Travis whispered into his little sister's hair. "Let her grieve."
Angel did not move. She listened to her brother, her shoulders shaking. She wiped her eyes, leaning against her foster brother until her foster mother walked into the room. Both siblings turned around at the sound of the door opening.
"Mama," Angel ran to her open arms, instantly breaking down. "Mama, he's guilty, I just know he's guilty!"
"There, there, sweetheart," Janet's strong, soothing voice comforted the crying girl. "We can't win all the time."
She caught Travis's eye as he rose from his seat. He gave her a soft smile, as if to reflect the mood of the botched hearing.
"Detective," she greeted with a warm smile. She was so proud of what Travis had accomplished in his adulthood so far, it made the other foster children aspire to be more. He always had a way with the children he came to call his brothers and sisters.
"Janet," Travis nodded back. "You look good."
"Oh, you're sweet." Janet brushed the comment aside. "I want to thank you for looking after dear Angel."
"Her best friend is going through an incredibly difficult time right now; of course I'd be there for her."
"That's just because you think Jesse's sister is hot." Angel sniffed, pulling away from Janet with a mischievous smile.
"Well, that too." Travis laughed, patting her on the back. "Listen, I gotta head out."
"Do you have to go to therapy with your boyfriend?" Angel teased.
"You bounce right back, don't you?" Travis rolled his eyes. "See you later, girl."
"Janet," he nodded at his former foster mother. She pulled him in and kissed his cheek.
"Thank you," she whispered before pulling away and pushing him out the door.
"Mr. Caballo here obviously has a problem with remembering things, your Honor. Not long ago, his wife, Wanda, suddenly disappeared, is that correct, Mr. Caballo?"
"That's irrelevant." The defense attorney shot up immediately, pointing the finger at Alex MacFarland Mitchell. The judge gave him a look.
"Where are you going with this, Mrs. Mitchell?" The judge asked. Alex bit back the kind reminder that she was now Ms. MacFarland and pressed on.
"Your Honor, Mr. Caballo does not remember the disappearance of his wife, so there is no indication that he would remember raping a young girl that very same night. Perhaps he was drunk, perhaps he was hit upside the head—your Honor, just because Mr. Caballo seems to have no recollection of the night he raped a child does not mean he is without fault."
"Ms. MacFarland," somebody was tapping Alex's shoulder, a little harshly. Alex was now outside of the courtroom, taking time to check her phone messages. She turned around to see Ramon Caballo smiling back at her. She instinctively took a step back. Even if the jury did not think that this pig was guilty of the most heinous crime imaginable—she knew better, and her client knew better.
"Your name is Ms. MacFarland, am I correct?" Ramon repeated.
"Yes, you would be correct," Alex picked up her briefcase and cleared her throat. "People usually call me Mrs. Mitchell, that's all."
"Oh, how dull that seems. To be constantly plagued by an undeserving ex."
"What did he do, then? This 'Mr. Mitchell'. Cheat? Steal? Kill? Trust me, I've seen it all." Ramon's tan hands waved around him casually as he spoke, emphasizing his slight accent. His dark, thick hair was slicked back for the special occasion of his innocence, but there was no denying the empowering height or wicked twinkle in his eyes.
"He…he embarked in a career that I did not approve of." Alex answered cautiously. "I don't see how any of this is your business, Mr. Caballo."
"Please, call me Ramon." He winked.
"Okay, then, Ramon. Why don't you tell me about your wife, huh? Did she finally run off after you raped my client?"
"As you heard in the court room, Ms. MacFarland, I am clearly not the one that raped that poor child. Clearly, she is not right in the head, if you know w-"
"Clearly the jurors didn't know who they were exonerating, Mr. Caballo. But really, I have to hand it to your lawyer—building a case against a child fully on loose evidence and racism really pulls away from the real crime."
"And that would be…?"
"That you got away with rape." Alex snapped. "And maybe you can live with that, Mr. Caballo, but my client will never, ever, forget what you did to her." She started to walk away from Ramon when he suddenly grabbed her by the arm. His grip was hard as steel, his fingers digging into her skin.
"Let go of me!" She hissed.
"Ms. MacFarland," he was close to her now, his breath hot against her neck. "I advise you not to make me angry."
"Why, will you turn into the Hulk?" Alex retorted, and then sighed. She really needed to get Wes's DVDs out of the house.
"Funny, Ms. MacFarland, you are hilarious." Ramon was still holding onto her. Her arm was beginning to throb, and she whimpered, struggling against his grasp. "I need to make sure that you're listening, Ms. MacFarland, so once you settle down we can begin."
Alex stopped. She listened.
"Good, Ms. MacFarland, very good. Now, about today—don't ever use my wife's name against me again, or I will make sure-"
"Let her go!" From the other side of the room, Wes Mitchell stood his ground, hands balled into fists.