The Happiest Day of Her Life Ch. 04bytangentjoker©
All of the characters in this work of fiction are above the age of 18.
This chapter does not include any sex. Chapter 5 will have tons.
If this is your first exposure to this series, I suggest you read chapter 1 first, then THIS chapter up until Marie takes the witness stand, then chapters 2 and 3 and then read this chapter all the way through.
Please feel free to give constructive criticism.
It was the first day of the trial. Holly Sullivan was sitting next to her friend, Marie Melar. On the other side of Marie was Marie's sister, Jenn Stevens and on the other side of Jenn was Jenn's girlfriend, Chloe Drasher. They were sitting in the front row of the gallery directly behind the attoneys for the prosecution, Ebonee Evans and Isolde Reyes. Holly was holding Marie's hand and gave it a little squeeze. Marie gave a visible shiver and turned to Holly with a confused look on her face.
"When did we get back here?" Marie asked. "Weren't we just sitting at the lawyer's table?"
Holly was just about to answer that when the court broke for lunch. Marie invited Ebonee to join her sister and friends and Isolde came as well. As they were walking from the Central Islip Courthouse to a nearby restaurant, Holly grabbed Jenn casually by the arm and asked if they could talk privately about Marie.
Jenn turned to Marie and said, "Hey, Ree, Holly and I are going to go a couple of blocks that way and talk about you behind your back."
"Ok," said Marie. "Did you want me to order lunch for you?"
"Yeah," Jenn said. I'll have a big salad and a raspberry iced tea, thanks."
"Got it," said Marie. "Holls, do you want anything?"
"I'll have the same, thank you," said Holly and then under her breath she said, "You girls and your complete honesty. Sheesh."
When they were far enough away from Marie, Jenn asked Holly what the problem was and Holly informed Jenn that Marie had thought she and Holly had been at the lawyer's table. Jenn said she expected something like that.
"Remember that dinner," Jenn asked, "when you explained the difference between a criminal trial and a civil trial?"
"Yes, of course," replied Holly.
"You explained that since this would be a criminal trial, Marie would not be the plaintiff but instead would be the witness for the prosecution. You said you would not be able to represent her but you would take some time off and sit with Marie for moral support."
"I remember," said Holly.
"Well," said Jenn, "that's not how Marie remembers it. She remembers you saying you'd be second chair and would sit with her at the lawyer's table."
"That's absurd. Isolde is the second chair," Holly said.
"I don't think Marie has acknowledged Isolde's existence yet to be perfectly honest," Jenn said.
Holly asked, "Jenn, what's going on with your sister?"
"She's having schizophrenic episodes," replied Jenn.
"She thinks she's somebody else?"
"No, not at all," Jenn stated calmly. "That isn't what schizophrenia is. I think you're talking about Split Personality Disorder."
"Aren't they the same thing?" asked Holly.
"Nope," said Jenn. "It's like how in Geometry class you learn that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. All split personalities are schizophrenics but not all schizophrenics are split personalities. In Marie's case, her schizophrenia manifests itself in her temporary inability to differentiate between reality and her fucking fantasies."
Holly liked Jenn. She was an intelligent and insightful woman who said "fuck" a lot. Jenn was a student at New School University in Greenwich Village going for her Master's degree in Psychology. "So," Holly asked, "Marie's not a credible witness?"
"Are you fucking kidding me?" retorted Jenn. "My sister is the most honest witness you'll ever meet in your lifetime, counselor. She's just getting lost in some fantasies about you."
"Excuse me?" asked Holly.
"Listen," said Jenn. "Ree's first real sexual experience was the complete violation of her body at knifepoint. The same knife that killed her husband minutes earlier, mind you. If that had happened to anyone else on the planet, she'd be curled up in a tight ball sobbing 24/7 and ready to beat the shit out of anyone who dared to lay a finger on her even if it was in a loving gesture. So, why didn't Marie end up like that? No one would have blamed her if she did. So, why didn't she? Her mind's defense mechanisms wouldn't let her. Ree, you have to understand, used several parts of her life -- as we all do -- to create her self-identity and those fucking rapists stripped her of her identity as easily as they stripped her of my grandmother's wedding gown. She identified herself through the virginity she saved as a gift for Trent, her true love. They stole that. She identified herself through her relationship with Trent. They killed him. She identified herself as a strong woman who defies opposition. In order to survive her violation, she had to chant to herself not to resist or to make noise. Identity after identity was taken from her that night. The identity that survived was the one that ultimately kept her alive when, logically, she should have died. It was her identity as an RN. Even though, after her rape, her instincts were telling her body to shun all human contact, her mind wouldn't let her because it would harm her career as a nurse, her only surviving identity. Ree has a very tactile job. She can't explode into tears if a patient puts a hand on her shoulder while she's changing their dressing. It would jeopardize her nursing career and thusly her identity as a nurse. So she made some behavioral changes to better support her identity.
"The positive attitude, the complete honesty, the weekly rituals and the sexual experimentation are all coping mechanisms. They are all based on what she sees, in her trauma affected mind, as the qualities of a good nurse. They are all very specific. What was the biggest thing the rapists took from Ree aside from the physical things? It was her sense of control. She lost control over her life, hence the rituals. She is structuring her week in an effort to structure her life. She lost her happiness and her ability to control that, thus the positive attitude. The rapists sought to control her with lies. They said they owned her. Her mind recognized that as a lie and demanded the control of truth. She lost control of her body. Her sexual experimentation is an attempt to regain control of that. She decides who she sleeps with and who she doesn't. She decides if she needs to say, 'Stop.' The only reason she can do this is because of her remaining identity. She is an Emergency Department nurse. The major part of her life is witnessing fucking horrifying events and compartmentalizing them in order to cope. She has to remain calm while cleaning and dressing a gushing wound. She boxes up the terrors around her as another coping mechanism. She's been doing this for years. Ree detaches herself from the trauma. That's what she did with the rape and the murder. Eventually, when her mind is ready to deal with her losses, she will properly mourn Trent with tears and truly acknowledge her rape. She's almost ready to accept her reality. She'll get there and she'll lose her interest in sex, for the time being. She might get her interest in sex back, she might not. She's already having less sex than she did a month after her rape. She has, in essence, given herself a schizophrenia switch that she can turn on and off based on her mind's needs. Until she is ready to accept, rather than merely cope, the most important thing is to keep her safe and make her feel loved.
"You have done that so instinctively and totally that Ree is having fantasies about you. They're not sexual fantasies, which is interesting, but protection fantasies. She sees you as her protector; a job her mind needed to fill after Trent's murder. When her fantasy of you protecting her makes her feel safer than her reality, she rejects reality and remembers the fantasy. As far as I've been able to tell, it's only your interactions with her that are affected by the fantasies. She is absolutely grounded in reality in regards to the motherfucking rapists. She'll be a perfect witness. The only way for her to make certain that justice is done is to be clear as a fucking bell about everything she saw and heard and felt that night. She accepts you as keeping her safe. That's why she didn't bury a stapler in your head when you kissed and undressed her. What the fuck was going on in your head when you did that, by the way?"
"I don't know," admitted Holly. "I felt so bad for the widow of my dear friend, the first friend I made at the firm and the only thing I could think was that she was so... so... fuckable."
Jenn laughed and said, "Well, yes, Ree is eminently fuckable. Still, Holly, what the fuck? After talking to Ree, I'd guess that it was your assurances that the marriage was valid and the firm would keep the insurance company from dicking her over that cemented you in her mind as a protection figure. Therefore, in her frailty -- as much as that term could ever apply to her -- she saw your sexual advances as a way of protecting her. It's not like you were a total fucking stranger. She says she met you at social functions the firm held that Trent brought her to when they were engaged. She knew you were close friends with Trent. In your advances, you were patient and gentle and it resonated with her. Me too, I'd have to admit. I got so horny watching you too slapping crotches. She was able to have sex with us together without imploding. That was a huge red flag of a symptom."
Holly asked "A symptom of what?"
Jenn said simply, "It was a symptom of her behavioral disorders. Ree's behavior then and since wasn't just atypical. Outside of porn, that shit never fucking happens. Ever. Now, it would be patently stupid to say, 'Rape victims never do this,' because each person faces trauma as well as their individual mind will allow them and Ree already displayed a high tolerance for dealing with trauma. That being said, rape victims never do this. Rape victims do not, typically, exhibit sexual interest in the first five years after the event, let alone the first five weeks. Part of this, obviously, was her realization that rape is not an act of sex but an act of violence. She wasn't fucked or made love to; she was assaulted. She had the capacity to separate sex from rape as other women have the capacity to separate sex from love. She was somehow able to experiment sexually without collapsing in on herself. This never fucking happens but, somehow, sexual experimentation became a coping mechanism for her. It is interesting to note that her coping mechanism butted heads with defense mechanism. Her defense mechanism, as odd as it would seem, is to be a sub. Her mind tells her she needs to experiment in order to gain control over her body but she's a submissive. Man, if I were a total fucking cunt, I'd be able to write a paper on her and then I could go to any school in the country for my doctorate. Chloe recognized it, too, but she's not going to use Ree as her ticket, either. Chloe has been so good to Ree by not having sex with her. I've stopped having direct sexual contact with Ree. Now, you can probably tell that I could give a shit about mores and folkways or even laws that say I can't sleep with my sister if that's what will help her in forming her new self."
"'Her new self'?" asked Holly with a puzzled expression.
"Generally speaking," said Jenn, "most rape victims reach a moment of truth when they realize they cannot go back to being the person they were before the event. They just fucking can't go back to that, partly because that self was vulnerable. That vulnerability is why it was so impossible Ree had sex with us. Rape victims cannot trust physical contact with others because they cannot trust themselves. Yet, somehow, her fucked up mind placed the two of us in the position of people who could be trusted. Not that I would ever want you to try, but you could find a thousand other virgin ED nurses from similar backgrounds as Ree and there would never be another who would choose this path to recovery from witnessing her true love's murder right before her own rape and near-murder. She is unique. The new self she is building, the stronger version of Ree, will be unique. You know what's actually hysterical?"
Holly asked, "What's that?"
Jenn replied, "Before the event, she hated to be called 'Ree.' She usually told me to stop calling her that. She doesn't anymore and now, because she doesn't correct me, a whole bunch of her friends call her 'Ree.' I think it's part of her new self-image. Ree is stronger than Marie was. Of course, that part is all theory and conjecture on my part. Anyway, long story short, Marie will be fine on the witness stand. The only fantasies she has revolve around you."
Holly asked, "You don't think that will affect her testimony or her cross-examination?"
"Will they be asking any questions about her relationship with you?"
"No," Holly admitted.
"Then, no," said Jenn. "She'll be just fine."
"How much of this does Ree know?" asked Holly.
"All of it," Jenn admitted proudly. "I'm completely honest with my sister."
"Geez, you two."
Jenn and Holly went to the restaurant to meet the others. There were empty seats on either side of Marie, both with big salads and raspberry iced teas served in front of them. Jenn took the seat between Marie and Chloe and Holly took the other vacant seat. The others had started but no one was finished with their lunch yet. Jenn dug right in to her salad.
"So," Marie asked Jenn, "what were you two saying about me?"
"Oh, you know," Jenn said between bites, "we talked about your schizophrenic episodes and your coping mechanisms and whether or not that would affect your testimony."
Marie asked, "What was the verdict?"
Holly answered, "Make sure you speak clearly in to the microphone on the witness stand." Marie grinned at that and continued eating her lunch.
Bobby hadn't bathed in a few days and didn't smell very good but he didn't give a flying fuck. He was here. That was all that mattered. On the night Bobby's friends were arrested, Bobby got a text from Tony saying to run and not to go home. Bobby ran to the Walt Whitman shops and went to a department store to watch the news on the televisions there. He saw the news report about his friends being arrested for rape and murder. Bobby followed the story in discarded Newsdays he found and learned when the rape trial was. He went to a pawn shop in Huntington Station and got a Glock. He began hanging out in Hecksher State Park and watched the Central Islip Courthouse carefully. He knew his best chance of getting in was on a Sunday night, when security was at its lowest.
He walked over to the courthouse after midnight the Sunday night/Monday morning before the trial. He walked around the building until he saw a ground floor window that had books stacked against it. He saw the latch that locked the window through the glass and placed his gray hoodie over it. He struck the glass through the hoodie with the butt of his Glock. The glass broke, but did not make a lot of noise. The hole he made in the glass was big enough to fit his finger in to open the latch. He opened the window, listening for an alarm and braced himself to run. After waiting a few minutes, he decided no one was coming. He pushed the books off the cabinet they were stacked on and climbed in through the window on to the cabinet. He closed the window and went to the closest desk to pick up a tape dispenser. He covered the small hole in the window with tape, blocking the breeze the hole created. Bobby then put the books back on the cabinet in as good of an order as he could remember. He returned the tape to the desk he got it from and waited, listening for movement in the hall. Eventually, Bobby left the office he was in and went to the nearest stairwell. He knew, from a job he once had, that stairwells were a great place to hide. You could hear people coming and you could move away from sounds at the same pace they were moving towards you. Bobby half-slept in the stairwell, always waking whenever he thought he'd heard a noise. He waited until after the courthouse opened to make his move.
Bobby found his way to the courtroom where his friends were being tried. Bobby had no idea about the overwhelming evidence against them. He knew in his heart that if he could get that bitch to shut up, his friends would go free. He knew this was a suicide mission. He accepted that. It didn't matter. He was here now and he was going to put things right.
Bobby sat in the back row of the gallery. He thought he saw the bitch he and his friends fucked but then saw there were two of her. She was twins? One "twin" was holding hands with a cute redhead and one was talking to a hot blonde in a pixie cut hairdo. Bobby scrunched himself down in the bench so they wouldn't see him. At last, his friends were led into the courtroom. This would be over soon, thought Bobby. He was here now and he was going to put things right.
Bobby missed his opportunity when the judge dismissed them for lunch. He still wasn't sure which twin was the bitch he needed to kill and he didn't know how many shots he'd be able to get off. He hung back and waited. He'd let her take the stand, so he'd know which girl was the right one and then he would kill her when she came back to sit down in the gallery.
Ebonee called Marie to the witness stand. She was ready. She knew she could get through this. She told the story of that night, her wedding night, pausing only when Ebonee interrupted her to ask questions. She finished her testimony and was asked to identify her attackers. This was the part she was nervous about. She had to look her attackers in the eye and tell the world these were the men who raped her. She looked up at Tony's familiar smiling face and noticed someone behind him. As she pointed out Tony to the court, she recognized Bobby in the back row of the gallery glaring at her. Marie identified the four on trial and was just about to point out Bobby when Ebonee interrupted her to enter into the record she had identified the accused. Marie tried to be polite when she said that she wasn't finished pointing out her attackers to the court. Ebonee looked completely lost and Marie pointed out Bobby. She'd done it. That was six out of six. She'd finally found them all. She didn't have time to be relieved, though.
Bobby stood up and shouted at Marie, calling her a bitch and fired a gun at her. How the hell did he get here? How did he get into the courthouse with a gun? Was this another schizophrenic episode? The first shot narrowly missed Marie. She heard it hit the wall behind her but she never flinched. She didn't move. She had no idea if this was real. Bobby got off a second shot before being tackled hard by the bailiffs in the back. She was hit in the shoulder. She knew from the pain this was real. She didn't panic, though, as others in the courtroom did. This was a shoulder hit. She had seen enough of these at work to know she would live. Her left arm would be in a sling for a while -- she would have to go on limited duty at work -- but she would live through this. Marie was just about to stand up so she could assure her friends and family here that she was ok when a third shot went off. Marie froze in her tracks. The bailiffs in the back stood up one at a time.
When the bailiffs tried to wrestle the gun away from Bobby, he refused to be arrested and he shot himself. The court was sealed and the judge banged the gavel until everyone stopped and paid attention. A recess was called and court would reconvene in the morning.
"Do not let them get a fucking mistrial," said Holly to Ebonee while the doctor was checking on Marie's shoulder. The doctor was an Emergency Department doctor from Marie's job whom she trusted who had been in the gallery today. Jenn and Chloe were in the room with Marie and the doctor while Ebonee, Isolde and Holly were out in the hallway. "You know that's what they're going to ask for. Don't let them have this. Finish your examination of the witness, hand her over for cross and keep the trial going."