Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead is purely coincidental. The characters are fictional and of my own creation. The place, time, and incidents are purely fictional. Copyright © March 2004.
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Inevitable Destiny 13
Inevitable Destiny 14 Ė Day in Court
By Ken Rogers
"Come on, Samantha. You need to see her."
"No I donít. My team has been keeping her up to date."
"Yes you do. Sheís your client. We are not leaving here until you see her."
Samantha rolled her eyes, muttering something under her breath, but got out of the car.
Tanya was right by her side as they headed into the secluded home, the third that Angela had been moved to since they had found her. "Be nice."
"Ever the professional, Ms. Goranovich."
Uh oh, she is ever so pissed. Well too damned bad. Sheís been avoiding this for far too long. They both have. They need to wake up and grow up. Tanyaís frustrations with the two women were reaching their limits.
At the door to the room, Samantha turned and pointed. "Stay. Nice doggie."
Oooo, her mean streak is out. She grinned. "You just mind your manners, miss fancy assed lawyer."
Samantha gave her an acidic smile and knocked then entered the room at Angelaís invitation, pointedly closing the door in Tanyaís face even though Tanya had no intention of following her.
The room contained all the personality of any hospital room, except this one was in a home. Everything that makes a house a home had been stripped from the room, except the light beige carpet and the frilly curtains on the dormer window, replaced with a hospital bed and two straight backed chairs, plus several now silent machines. The medical bed was empty, made up neatly, waiting for its current occupant to need it again. The room was antiseptically tidy, even having a faint hospital smell. Angela sat in a wheelchair, in a plush rose colored robe, at the dormer window, gazing into the distance.
"Would you prefer I come back at a later time, Ms. Stephanos?" Her voice sounded coldly impersonal, even to her own ears, which was how she wanted it. She had already reconciled her strange ability to find Angela as simply something caused by her anxiety over this whole case. Her daily dealings with Angela had been delegated, but Tanya was not about to let her get away with that, and reluctantly she had to agree. She may not like the woman but she had taken the case and she would just have to see it through.
Angela seemed to come out of a trance, taking a deep breath and letting it out before she answered, her voice emotionless, resigned. "No. Please be seated."
Samantha, her stomach fluttering uncomfortably, seated herself in one of the straight-backed chairs, watching her.
"How are you doing?" She was well aware of how she was doing, but needed something to open with and "howís the weather" didnít seem to fit.
"Better. My wardens let me up a couple hours a day now."
"Theyíre not wardens, theyíre here to protect and help you."
She sighed and turned her chair slowly to face Samantha. Samantha was shocked to see how gaunt she still was and how bruised. The bruises were yellow and ugly, most of the swelling gone but they made her look pretty bad, and she wore no makeup to try and hide any of it. Her hair was still extremely short, but had been combed and evened a little as it grew out.
"I know, Iím sorry. I must be getting better; my being stuck here is beginning to get to me. I want to go home."
"I understand, but you have to realize that you arenít safe until your brother is caught."
She chuckled mirthlessly. "You think Iíll be safe even then? Lucaís too strong, too powerful. Iíll never be safe as long as heís alive."
"As your lawyer I have to advise youÖ."
"Iím not stupid, Samantha. Donít worry, I wonít embarrass you in public." Blue eyes seemed to rage at her for a moment, then the fire went out of them. "Iím sorry, that was unkind."
"Look, I understand your frustrationsÖ."
"More than you imagine, yes."
"Maybe this isnít a good time for this. Iím feeling tired. Perhaps another day would be best, Ms. Coulter."
"Perhaps youíre right, Ms. Stephanos." She stood, picking up her briefcase. "I have some papers for you to sign. Iíll leave them with the nurse before I send her in. Sign them when youíre feeling better."
"Thank you. Good day, Ms. Coulter." She turned back to the window, afraid Samantha would see her tears.
"Good day." Samantha irritatingly wiped at her eyes as she left the room.
* * *
Phyllis looked up to find a shadowy figure in her doorway. She smiled and turned the wheelchair they had put her in ó in preparation for her departure ó away from the window.
"Hey yourself. Come on in."
Tanya stepped into the room her hands diving into her jeans pockets when she was suddenly nervous. "So. You about ready to leave?"
"I though Sam was coming."
"Yeah, well sheís in a royal snit today so I locked her in her cage with the other animals."
"What? You didnít really lock her up, did you?"
Tanya laughed nervously and slid onto the chair next to Phyllis. "Nah, but I was tempted."
"Whyís she in a snit?"
"I made her go see Angela, which was a major mistake. They werenít together two minutes before Sam came storming out of there. Sheís been giving me hell ever since."
"Oh. Whatís their problem?"
"Damned if I know, but they canít seem to tolerate being in the same room."
"That doesnít make much sense. Not after the way you told me she acted when Angela was kidnapped. I thought they had some kind of super bond or something."
"Yeah, well whatever it was, they are treating each other like complete strangers now. Ms. Coulter this, and Ms. Stephanos that. You should have heard them."
Phyllis grinned at her. "You were eaves dropping."
"Well yeah, how else am I going to know whatís going on?" She grinned back.
"Thatís not very nice, Tan."
Tanya noted the abbreviation of her name with a little thrill. Phyllis seemed to be warming to her on this her second trip to talk to the redhead without Sam along. She shrugged, but her grin got wider.
"Gotta protect my clients."
"Theyíre both your clients, Tan."
"I meant from each other, Phil."
Phyllis lost her smile. "You donít really think they would hurt each other, do you?"
"Probably not. At least not physically, but theyíre sure pushing each otherís buttons over something. If Angela tries to be nice, Sammy says something to piss her off and they get formal, and the other way around. Theyíre really messing with each otherís heads."
"Well, you do know Angela really hurt Samantha just after their first meeting."
Phyllis sighed. "Iíve never seen anything like it, Tan. They just sparked. One minute they were complete strangers, then before I knew what was happening, Sammy conned the local law into letting Angela go, after she beat the crap out of half his family. Next thing I knew Sammy was on the back of Angelaís bike and they were gone."
"Jesus. Sam doesnít seem the type. What happened."
"Two days later Sammy calls. I hardly recognized her voice. When I went back to pick her up I was shocked at the change. Angela dumped her and it devastated her. I've never seen anyone fall that fast or that hard, or crash that hard when they were dumped. It took Samantha over a month to get herself together. When she did, she had changed dramatically. She went back to school and finished her degree and we started working for PLM&T. She never mentioned Angela. It was like she had never happened. I thought she had gotten over her until a night a few weeks before her graduation. We were sitting watching a movie one night. Just relaxing, having a little conversation and a couple beers while we watched. I started to get into the movie. It was a suspense thing; I donít even remember the name now. Anyway, the guy is searching this womanís apartment, looking for something when she returns and catches him. He turned around and she was holding a gun. He said, "Now hold on, Angela, andÖ my television exploded."
Phyllis smiled, but it was a melancholy smile. "Samantha threw a paperweight I had on the table through the screen. She screamed something awful and ran from the room. I tried to catch her but she just took off running and I lost her. She didnít come back for three days, even though sheíd left her purse there. When she did come back and I asked her about it, she said to forget it. When I told her that was unacceptable she turned to me and said. ĎPhyllis, I will not talk about it, not now, not ever. If you canít accept that then Iíll leave.í I never asked her again."
"Jesus. Why in hell did she take her on as a client?"
"Her boss sort of forced her into it. When she found out it was Angela, she refused, but he demanded and she gave in."
"That must have been tough," Tanya replied imagining some of the feelings Samantha must have had.
"Yeah. When she came back from Lesterís office, she handed me the folder on the case then went in the bathroom and threw up."
"Wow. I though there was some bad blood there, butÖ no wonder Sammy has been so upset lately."
Tanya slowly stood up, stretching a little. "What do you say we blow this joint. If youíre nice I might even treat you to some real food."
Phyllis groaned. "Oh, god. Iím all yours. That is, if you can stand pushing me around in this crappy chair. Iím not supposed to use my leg yet so Iím kind of chair bound."
Tanya waggled her eyebrows. "Iíll take you any way I can get you, red." She laughed as Phyllis blushed. "Come on, I know just the place."
* * *
"Mr. Stephanos! Mr. Stephanos!"
He looked up and along the crowded hallway to see someone waving at him, then smiled, hurrying towards the woman.
"Samantha, my dear, how are you?"
She gave him a quick hug. "Iím fine, Mr. Stephanos. Howís Mrs. Stephanos doing?"
"Much better, thank you. SheÖ I convinced her to stay home today. Sheís stillÖ she needs time. I didnít think the court roomÖ." His eyes dropped from hers. "She will be at dinner later though.
"I understand." She placed a hand on his arm. "Please come with me for a moment before you go in. I have something we need to discuss."
"Of course, my dear. Do we have time? Maybe it should wait?" He was obviously nervous and in a bit of a dither.
"No no, plenty of time. In here please." She held the door for him, then closed it as soon as he passed through, going to a nearby bench, retrieving her briefcase from Grace and delving into it, pulling out a thick manila folder. Grace gave her a fond smile, knowing how happy she was that sheíd been able to do this for the man. The smile turned to a frown as she noted Samanthaís trembling hands. Her boss was wound tight and it worried her.
Demetri turned back to the door in confusion as he heard it close, but Samantha had successfully closed the door behind him, leaving him alone in the gloomy room.
He turned into the dimly lighted room and thought his heart stopped. "Angela?" He was stunned, delighted, and shocked all at once. There had been no mention that he would get to see her alone or even that she would be present today.
"Yes, papa." There were tears in her eyes.
He stumbled forward going to his knees and looking up at her. "Oh, my child, what have they done to you?" Huge tears ran freely down his face. The wheelchair was trauma enough, even though he thought he had been prepared for it, but she seemed to be only a shell of the woman he knew. Her long flowing hair was gone and she seemed so thin, so frail.
"Iím okay, papa," she said, taking his large hands, tears flowing down her own face. He was shaking, sobbing. "Please, papa. I promise Iím okay."
He buried his head in her lap and sobbed for his beautiful child, for her suffering, and for the miracle of seeing her again.
* * *
"We have to go in now," Samantha said gently, knowing the time hadnít been nearly long enough.
Demetri was seated on the couch with Angela right in front of him, holding her hands. He looked over to her. "Youíre an angel, Samantha, for bringing my Angela back to me."
"Iím sorry it took so long, Mr. Stephanos, but I did promise." She gave him a pleasant smile.
"Yes you did, and I thank god for you."
"We have to go."
"Yes, of course." He stood, turning Angelaís wheelchair. "Can I, I mean, would it be okay if IÖ."
"Of course, Mr. Stephanos."
"Thank you," he said and gently pushed Angelaís chair towards the door.
* * *
The judge looked up from the mountain of paperwork on his desk, fixing his be-spectacled stare over the rim of the reading glasses. His steel gray eyes flicked to Angela, Samantha, and then behind her to Tanya, his eyebrow raising because he had never seen her so beautiful as she was today in her peach colored business suit, but he returned his stare to Samantha without comment.
"Yes, your honor?"
"Iíve been apprised of the reason for your uhm, skin condition. How long before you think you can grace our court with your true looks?"
"Iíve been assured that it will fade with time, your honor." She neglected to mention that Tanya stubbornly wanted her to stay darker and continually change her looks to foil possible attackers, or that she was inclined to agree, if for no other reason than to maybe make Tanyaís job a little easier.
"Good. Iím sure we will all be happier when we can verify for ourselves that you are who you say you are, without having to rely on having you fingerprinted each time. I trust that will be the end of these little charades."
"That would be my hope, yes, your honor."
"Um. Now, I see your client is well enough to attend today. Can I assume this will be an everyday occurrence and that we wonít be requiring any more continuances?" he asked sarcastically.
"Your honor, the doctors assure me that Ms. Stephanos may currently be allowed up to four hours a day, which they hope to increase to five in about two weeks."
"Yes, well weíll try to accommodate her schedule, Ms. Coulter, since mine seems to be of little relevance."
"Iím sorry your honor butÖ."
"Never mind, Ms. Coulter. If itís possible, Iíd like to do a little work today, providing that meets with your approval, of course," he remarked, the sarcasm dripping from his words.
"I have no objection, your honor." She managed not to smile though she had to bite her lip to prevent it.
He gave her a dirty look but ignored the comment.
"You and your team have been busy, Ms. Coulter."
"Thatís what my client pays me to do, your honor."
"Hum, yes, well I hope she isnít paying by the pound, or she will be a pauper before you are through with her." He rapped the stack of paper before him in emphasis. "Letís get started, and see if we can get through a couple of these today." He picked up the first one. "This oneís interesting, Ms. Coulter. The State of New York verses Ms. Angela Martina Stephanos in the matter of illegal incarceration."
"Objection, your honor, the stateÖ."
"Shut up, Charlie. Letís wait until I formally start the proceedings, shall we?"
"Sorry, your honor."
"If you liked that one Charlie, you should love the next one, but letís decide if this one has a leg to stand on first."
"Ms. Coulter, would you care to explain just why and how a woman, legally in custody as a murder suspect can charge the state with illegal incarceration? Then you can voice your objections, Charlie."
"With pleasure, your honor," she said as she stood.
"Pay attention, Charlie, this should be good."
Samantha began, smiling inwardly. Windy was a caustic old bastard, but he was in rare form today, he quite evidently liked some of her work, and although this was just a preliminary hearing on her motions, it should be a good day for the defense. She had been worried that he would lose his temper at all the continuances, but she liked what she had heard so far.
* * *
Judge Wendover looked at the clock and banged his gavel right in the middle of States Attorney Charles Pearsonís rather lengthy motion to dismiss.
"All right, Charlie. Iíve heard enough. Motion denied. The six defendants will be remanded into custody until such time as they can make bail. Bail is set at two hundred thousand each. Please remove the accused from my courtroom." He glanced up in time to see a reporter making a beeline for the door and banged his gavel. "Stop that man!"
The two guards caught the reporter by the arms and turned him around. Judge Wendover fixed him with a scathing look. "Whatís your name, son?"
"Ike Mathers, sirÖ your honor."
"Ike. That your given name, Mr. Mathers?"
"Isaac, your honor."
"This is a court of law, Mr. Isaac Mathers and it is in session. Are you aware of that?"
"Yes, your honor."
"Good. Now, in my court, we are polite, courteous, and at least try to give the appearance of being marginally civilized. We do not rush past six people treading on them like they were part of the carpet. I know you hurt that first gentlemanís toes, when you trod on them, and Iím sure if the young lady on the end wants to press charges for placing your hand in a very unseemly place that I would be only too happy to hear the case. Am I getting through to you, sir?"
"Yes, your honor," he said, rather more humbly than he had before.
"Good. Now, since you seem to be new to my courtroom, Iím only going to charge you ten days contempt for interrupting my proceedings. Bailiff, take the gentleman away and let him stew until I can see if those people he assaulted wish to press charges."
"Yes, your honor."
"Now, where was I? Oh, yes, take the accused away as well."
The six prison officials, now in civilian clothes, were handcuffed and led away.
When the courtroom was cleared of the accused the judge looked up, glaring at the state attorney.
"Charlie. If today was any example, Ms. Coulter is going to eat your lunch on every one of these little jewels and weíve got quite a few to go yet. Sheís six for six so far. If I were you, Iíd buckle down and practice a little law.
"Yes, your honor."
She stood. "Yes, your honor."
"Entertaining day, Ms. Coulter, I trust you will have more of the same for us tomorrow."
"I certainly hope so, your honor."
"Itís time for you to tuck your client in for the day. Glad to see that her custody will remain with Ms. Goranovichís firm. From what we covered today she certainly doesnít need or deserve to be in the stateís custody."
"Thank you, your honor."
"Very well, courtís adjourned until one oíclock again tomorrow, in deference to your client, of course. Bailiff, I wish to see those six people in my chambers."
* * *
The late afternoon had gone fairly well, the Stephanosí enjoying their visit from Juliana while Tanya and Samantha worked in another room to give them time alone. All the security forces in and around the home stayed discretely out of sight unless they had an active roll to play. After Angela went through being handcuffed and escorted to a waiting medical unit, for the rabid press, she was taken into hiding again, and after two hours of enforced rest, was brought to the home and the tension began to mount. The dinner was uncomfortable. Demetri Stephanos had insisted, even though Samantha assured him they really hadnít won anything yet. The only bright spots were Demetri and Juliana. Demetri sat at the head of the table with Juliana on his left and Angela on his right. Samantha sat next to Juliana and Tanya was next to Angela. Elaina Stephanos, still looking frail and unhealthy, was at the foot of the table.
Juliana gushed and was all over her saviour. Demetri beamed at both of his daughters. Elaina was quiet, watching everyone, especially Angela, concern marring her beautiful face. Angela played with her food, hardly eating at all, speaking only when spoken to and then only in short, polite answers. Tanya tried several times to get a conversation going, but gave up. Samantha kept her eyes on her plate or Juliana and her father, never looking at Angela. She too hardly touched her food.
The dinner seemed to drag on for an eternity, but finally it was over. Tanya called the medics to come get Angela, her guards staying out of sight so as not to unduly worry the family. Demetri and Elainaís good-byes to their eldest daughter were long and tearful, but finally she was wheeled into the ambulance, put into the bed, and driven away.
Julianaís tearful good-byes to her parents were heart rending but she went willingly with her savior, allowing her to get her settled in the limousine for her ride to her present secluded hideaway. She no longer resided with Angela, the risk being considered too great. Their parents watched the limousine out of sight, tears in their eyes, then turned to Samantha, again thanking her for taking care of their girls.
As soon as the car pulled away from the Stephanos residence, Samantha poured herself a martini, not even bothering to wave the vermouth over the glass, and lit a cigarette.
"Thought you gave those up, Sammy."
"I did, and will again, and probably again after that," she said a little sharply. She leaned back taking a healthy drag then a good swallow of her drink.
Tanya watched her. She was strung too tight, juggling too many balls, and on top of that, the offer for her head was still on the street. Tonight had been very bad for her. "Thatís not going to help."
"Donít start, Tan. Iíve had enough for today."
"It was a dinner, Sammy. A bad one, but its over. Forget it."
"I canít. I need to get away from her, Tan. This is driving me insane."
"Why? Sheís just a client, SamÖ."
"Sheís not just a client, damn it!"
"Then what is she?"
"I donít know!" she screamed.
"Sammy, you have toÖ."
"Stop it!" she screamed, throwing her glass at Tanya, who batted it aside, only to have fists flying at her. "Stop it! Stop it!"
She smashed Tanya in the face; bloodying her nose and splitting her lip before Tanya got hold of her and pushed her into the seat.
"Stop, Sammy, just stop, now!"
Samantha was fighting her for all she was worth while hysterically crying, but Tanya was much stronger.
Suddenly the world slammed them in the guts, and everything turned upside down and then went dark.
* * *
The ambulance was nearly to Angelaís temporary home, and she was peacefully asleep under a light sedative, when her eyes opened wide and she screamed. She began struggling to get out of the bed, but she was strapped in. The medics tried to stop her but she fought wildly, crying hysterically, screaming Samanthaís name. They didnít know what to do so they shot her full of sedatives, but even in her heavily drug induced sleep she would cry out for Samantha and thrash around. They were afraid to give her any more and her doctor was called in to tend her. She was taken from the ambulance, highly sedated and put to bed, and then put in restraints. Then they waited anxiously for her doctor, listening to her as she thrashed around feebly.
* * *
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