January 21, 2011

Inherit My Heart Chapter Forty-five

They had no more time to talk as Jerilyn pulled into the parking garage at the courthouse complex. The girls got out of the car and reporters swirled around them, three bodies deep, yelling questions at Katrina.

“Ms. McSwayne, what penalty would you like to see handed down by Judge Boren?”

“Are you here for the sentencing because you feel sorry for your husband?”

“Will you ask the Judge to go lightly, or do you want the death penalty?”

Katrina ignored the reporters and walked resolutely into the building as she had done on each of her previous visits. Jerilyn looked thrilled and a little frightened to be caught up in the maelstrom of media people. She stayed close to Katrina’s side.

Once inside, Katrina proceeded down the now-familiar halls and into the courtroom. She found them seats directly behind the team of prosecuting attorneys, and they waited patiently for Jason and Charleston to be brought in and for the judge to arrive.

Katrina felt eyes on her and tried to dismiss it as another one of the reporters, but this felt more intense. She stretched, twisting slightly in her chair, and saw Gavin sitting on the far side of the room. She firmly squashed her heart back down into her chest cavity, then took a deep breath to calm herself.

So what if he was here? She was determined not to forgive him for the way he’d abandoned her. Just when she had thought she could rely on him, he had gone home to Massachusetts, leaving her to face the trauma of the trial and all the reliving of past events without his support and strength. Turning back to the front of the room, she studiously ignored the itchy feeling which told her he was still watching her.

Finally, Judge Boren smacked her gavel to open the final part of the brothers’ trial, and everyone listened as the defense lawyers explained what a hard childhood Jason and Charleston had had, and why they should be given the lightest possible sentence.

Halfway through the prosecutor’s explanation of what horrible crimes they’d committed, and why they deserve to die, Jerilynn dug her elbow into Katrina’s ribs.

“What?” Katrina muttered in the almost silent murmur she’d perfected in her months of being in various courtrooms.

“Look.” Jerilynn pointed, keeping her hand down low in her lap so no one else could see what she was doing. “Over there. It’s your lawyer, Mr. Nobody-in-Particular.”

“Yes, I know.” Katrina kept her face to the front and concentrated on what Judge Boren was saying.

When she finally announced that, after due consideration, she felt the world would be a better place without Jason and Charleston in it, Katrina was nearly overcome with her relief. She’d known the death penalty was a remote possibility; the best she’d allowed herself to hope for was life in prison.

Charleston leaped to his feet, screaming numerous foul names, and promising both Katrina and Judge Boren a whole host of painful and humiliating punishments he intended to heap upon them before he killed them. He was still screaming his threats as the guards hastily removed him from the courtroom.

Jason, Katrina noticed, sat silently, as if calmly accepting his fate…behavior much more frightening to her than Charleston’s outburst. Jason was probably laying plans very similar to Charleston’s shouted intents…but Jason, the more calculating of the two, had a far more likely chance of bringing his plans to fruition.

He calmly rose with the rest of the court and turned, seeking her face with his eyes.

Katrina shivered at the final look he shot her before guards moved in to take him away.