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I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…
Chapter 70—She-Thing Speaks
I always scan the morning news online before I start my day. Today, I’m more than anxious to see what has been said about the trial. Most posts say basically the same thing:
Grey’s camp released a statement yesterday just as Mr. Grey was testifying that he was one of the boys that was molested by Elena Lincoln years ago. While the evidence piles up more and more against the Seattle socialite, Grey shares an intimate moment with his wife in the halls of the Superior Court following his testimony and before joining his friend and bodyguard, Jason Taylor, in the courtroom. Oblivious to the nearby cameras, Mr. and Mrs. Grey comfort each other tenderly before Mr. Grey reluctantly releases her and leaves her in the capable hands of her personal bodyguard, Charles Davenport. This hidden camera catches the longing look in her eye as she watches her husband disappear back into the courtroom while she anxiously awaits his return or her opportunity to join him. Sorry, folks, for those of you who may have doubted, this kind of affection can’t be faked. This is the real thing. These two are smitten and besotted with one another, even during this trying time—no pun intended.
There’s no mention yet of any speculation of Underwood’s comment about Christian partaking in the lifestyle, even though it was hinted at in the courtroom according to my husband. He’s right, though. That bitch won’t hesitate to throw him under the bus given the opportunity.
I want to try to talk to Daddy again today, but not first thing in the morning. I’ll try to call him during lunch to see if the shock of the situation has worn off at all and he’s more receptive to reason. I can understand why this would be a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s only because he’s not getting the correct picture of what we do. Our practice is sensuality, not torment. I need him to see that—see his daughter as a sensual creature, which all women are… not a sexual deviant, which I definitely am not.
When we arrive at the courthouse, I discover that some of the police officers as well as the staff at GEH testified yesterday. Today, we will be hearing from more officers from the scene, miscellaneous witnesses, hospital staff, forensics, and finally, the psychiatrist for the prosecution. She-Thing is dressed in black today, a conservative suit like the one she wore yesterday, still sporting the handcuffs as is protocol, her hair still in the same short, curly style. No use in keeping the brassy blonde when you can’t get touch-ups, right?
She stole more glances at us today, looking longingly over her shoulder at Christian and scowling when I turned my glare to her. I made sure to turn my glare to her every time I caught her stealing a glance at my husband.
I showed little interest in the dry testimony of the officers and staff. It was the same old story over and over, just from different points of view—coming into the office to find Elena unconscious and badly choked and beaten; where they found the gun; taking Jason’s statement once he was conscious. Then the hospital staff describing her nervous breakdown or whatever you want to call it. We took a break for lunch and I called my father, but it rang through to voice mail. So, I left him a message to please call me back so that we could talk.
I was very interested in the psychiatrist’s evaluation—the one for the prosecution, that is—to see what he feels about the defense’s claim of acute pathological narcissistic personality disorder.
Pathological narcissistic bullshit is more like it.
It appears that the psychiatrist for the prosecution agrees with me. This condition is nothing more than some psycho-babble-mumbo-jumbo set of words strung together to further make our profession look like a cauldron full of quacks. According to the good doctor, Mrs. Lincoln shows absolutely no signs whatsoever of any diminished capacity or of the lack of knowledge or belief that her actions would have very severe repercussions. In fact, she was so in tuned to her actions that she would go to great lengths to convince the court and anyone listening that she had no idea that the laws of the land, morality, or even science applied to her if it meant that she could get away with what she did. She’s not incompetent, incapacitated, or deluded, narcissistic, or selfish to the degree of diminished capacity. She’s just a scorned lover and a very good actress, but the trained eye can see right through her.
The prosecution rests with the good doctor’s testimony and court is adjourned until Wednesday morning. I try to reach my father again after dinner, but still no luck. Is he avoiding me?
Wednesday morning is the day we’ve all been waiting for… or dreading, depending on your point of view. This is the day the defense presents its case and Elena Lincoln will take the stand. Her attorney thought it best for her to testify last, so hospital staff in her defense testify about how broken she was when she was brought in after the melee with that “brutal woman,” and how fragile she was during her breakdown. Prison staff talk about suicide watches and often finding her with unexplained bruises that they felt were self-inflicted. The prosecution rips them apart, pointing out that if those bruises were indeed self-inflicted, doesn’t it stand to reason that Mrs. Lincoln was so wracked with guilt over her actions that she felt she deserved some sort of punishment for her actions after all? No one provides a suitable answer.
Finally, the defense’s expert witness is called to explain the particulars of acute pathological narcissistic personality disorder. He’s so busy talking in circles that even I didn’t understand what he was trying to say. I couldn’t believe the court approved this man to be an expert witness for the defense, but hey, at least they didn’t just pull a rabbit out of a hat and try to put him on the stand like David did. Once again, the prosecution rips him apart. Skinner makes this joker explain every single sentence he tries to put past the jury. He makes the doctor break each term further and further down into laymen’s terms until the average man can understand what he was trying to say. When the doctor tries to explain something away with, “Well, to try to explain the intricacies of the human brain to that level of detail would take more time than we have, counselor, since you have no medical degree,” Skinner retorts with, “But doctor, a woman’s life is at stake here. Twelve people with no medical degree need to understand what you’re trying to tell them so that they can decide her fate. They have all the time in the world. You don’t?”
I really like this guy.
Needless to say, that pathological acute kiss-my-ass mumbo-bullshit was exactly what the prosecution said it was when Mr. You-Don’t-Have-A-Medical-Degree broke it down.
When lunchtime came around again and Daddy’s phone went straight to voice mail, I left him a message and decided to call Mandy.
“Hi, Mandy. It’s Ana. How are you?” She’s quiet at first, but then she speaks.
“I’m fine, Ana, how are you?” I pause.
“He’s told you,” I conclude.
“Yes, he has,” she says noncommittal.
“And your conclusions?” I ask. She sighs.
“I’m not one to judge, Ana,” she says. “What people do in their private time has nothing to do with me.”
“It’s not what he thinks…” I begin.
“I can’t get in the middle of it,” she cuts me off. I’m taken aback.
“Okay, what do you think?” I ask.
“Like you, I know there are different aspects of the lifestyle. I have friends who are involved.” I know!
“Then why can’t you help me help him understand that?” I plead.
“Because he’s my husband, Ana. You have to understand where that puts me in this.” As much as I don’t want to admit it, she’s right. I want Daddy to understand and I want her help, but I can’t pull her into this.
“I do. You’re right. I’m sorry. Is anything wrong with his phone?” I ask.
“Not that I know of,” she says. I nod.
“Then he is avoiding me,” I say out loud. “Okay, thanks Mandy.” I say my goodbyes and end the call. I put on a brave face and go back to the courtroom to hear Elena’s bullshit testimony.
“State your name for the record.”
“Elena Gabriele Lincoln.”
“And Mrs. Lincoln, where do you reside?”
“Currently with the Washington Department of Corrections.”
“How about before that?” her attorney asks.
“I had a home in Kirkland.”
“And what happened to your Kirkland home, Mrs. Lincoln?”
“It was seized as evidence in a criminal investigation. I think it’s in the hands of a trustee now.”
“Mrs. Lincoln, can you tell the court what criminal investigation resulted in the seizure of your home?”
“Objection, Your Honor. Relevance?” Mr. Skinner protests.
“Your Honor, we are serving to establish Mrs. Lincoln’s state of mind at the time of the alleged crime. This information is pertinent to that establishment,” the defense retorts.
“I’ll allow it, but tread carefully, Mr. Underwood,” the judge warns.
“Thank you, Your Honor. Mrs. Lincoln, again, what criminal investigation resulted in the seizure of your home?”
“I… was charged with child pornography, statutory rape, and molestation charges.” Members of the jury gasp. I can’t believe they found twelve people in the state of Washington who don’t know who this woman is. I know Christian mentioned it in his testimony, but I think it had more impact coming from her own lips.
“How did you fare on those charges?” Underwood asks. She-Thing sighs.
“Twenty-five years,” she answers.
“Tell us how this came about, Mrs. Lincoln. How did you find yourself in this predicament?” That’s easy. She beat and fucked young boys. Do we really need to hear this part again? She drops her head.
“The way that I was brought up, there was nothing wrong with what I did.” What the fuck? Did she really just say that!? “If a person consents to it, then it’s okay. Age had nothing to do with it and even if it did, the rules don’t apply to me.”
What? What the hell is this? I look over at Christian and his face is impassive, completely stoic. How could he sit there and listen to this crap without wanting to leap over the half-wall and kill this bitch?
“I’m sure that the court would like to know why you think the rules don’t apply to you, Mrs. Lincoln,” her attorney says.
“Because they don’t,” she said with a shrug. “I’m superior. I’m not plain or ordinary like everybody else. The rules apply to them, not to me. I’m extraordinary. I’m special. It’s different for me.”
“So, by your reasoning, even though the law says that it’s not okay for anyone to have sex with underage boys, it was okay for you to do it because you are different.” She just laughs.
“That even sounds ridiculous to me,” she admits, “but yes, I am different. The rules that constrain society—America, even—they don’t constrain me because they don’t apply to me. My level of excellence is so far beyond the conception of ordinary people. This is why I didn’t have many friends because they couldn’t comprehend me. They couldn’t reach my level. It was impossible for them to grasp my superiority, so I had to leave them behind.”
“But little boys could grasp your superiority?”
“Yes, because they were untainted,” she replies like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “I didn’t have to explain away who I was with them. They accepted my superiority and allowed to me to mold them and shape them. They were fine with what I was doing. It’s everyone else that didn’t like it because they didn’t understand. They couldn’t interpret my greatness so they slapped a societal label on me and said that I was hurting young boys. Why don’t you ask the young boys? They would tell you different.” She looks right at Christian who is still looking at her impassively.
“Mrs. Lincoln, you had to know that there was something wrong with what you were doing. I mean, you did it at night and behind closed doors. You hid the evidence in priceless books…”
“I’m sorry, Counselor, do you have sex on your front lawn?” she says in all seriousness. Does she honestly think there was nothing wrong with what she did or is this all part of her defense? That’s when it hits me. Months ago, Christian asked me if she could use narcissism as a defense and it looks like that’s exactly what she’s trying to do. That’s why he’s sitting there impassively, because he knew this was coming. Holy shitballs! I squeeze his hand gently and he squeezes back to let me know that he is still there, but he never takes his eyes off She-Thing.
“Mrs. Lincoln, let’s fast forward a bit to a little over a year ago. You had one friend, didn’t you?” She smiles at the thought of it, psycho fucking bitch.
“Yes, I did,” she says wistfully.
“And who was that friend?”
“Christian Grey,” she says, almost purring. “I’m not allowed to say his name out loud at the prison. They punish me for that.”
“Objection. Your Honor?” Mr. Skinner leaps from his seat.
“Sustained. Counselor, direct your client not to make accusations on the stand unless she can back them up and she is ready to press charges. If she wants a full-on investigation, then by all means, proceed.” Underwood looks at She-Thing, who briefly blanches white as a ghost before returning to her superior self.
“Tell the court about your friendship with Christian Grey.” She folds her hands and sighs.
“We were partners in my salon chain, Esclava, but we were much more than that. We were kindred spirits. He understood me. He let me be myself when I was around him and we shared many things.”
“Were you lovers, Mrs. Lincoln?”
“Yes,” she confessed. “We were lovers for many years. He was insatiable and I couldn’t get enough of him.” She drops her head again. “He had other companions, part-time playthings…” Oh God, is she going to out him on the stand like Christian said? She certainly has nothing else to lose. “… But I was the one he always came back to… eventually. As time went by, our interludes became fewer and fewer until… he… didn’t seem to want me as much anymore. Then she showed up and suddenly, he didn’t want me at all!” she hisses.
She-Thing throws a murderous look in my direction and I can actually hear Christian growling. My glance goes quickly to his stoic face as does the eyes of several people in the courtroom, but he never breaks his glare with She-Thing. She must not have heard him because she’s still glaring at me.
“She, Mrs. Lincoln?” her attorney presses.
“That woman, and I use that term lightly. Anastasia Steele!” Her tone is venomous.
“You mean Anastasia Grey…”
“No, I mean Anastasia Steele. I will not now, nor will I ever call her by that name!” People in the courtroom are just shaking their heads. Her hatred is thick and suffocating, so tangible that it’s hanging in the air like old cobwebs. I never break glance with her. Go ahead, Grandma, make a move. I’ll beat your ass again!
“When she came along, she turned him against me. She filled his head with lies about our relationship. She convinced him that I was out to get him, that I was no good for him. I made him everything that he is and she took it all away from me in no time flat. I had spent years building him into the man thatz he became and she tore him down—into a shell of his former self—in a matter of weeks! It was devastating to watch!”
“Surely you’re wrong, Mrs. Lincoln. I mean, he seems perfectly happy now,” her attorney continues.
“It’s all an act,” she says, waving him off. “Would you be so ready to tell the world that you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life after you’ve flaunted your decision on live television? The whole kidnapping scandal and that farce of an engagement… Every time you look around, she’s got a camera in her face.”
“But it couldn’t have been a farce. They’re married,” he says. She scoffs and throws her hand again.
“All a part of the act,” she says callously. “Make no mistake, Christian loves me. I don’t know what this game is that he’s playing with her, but ultimately, it’s always me.” She crosses her legs and smiles confidently.
“If you love him so much, why did you try to kill him?” her attorney asks, his tone changing to maudlin as he awaits her answer. She swallows hard before responding.
“I wasn’t trying to kill him,” she says, her voice shaking. “I was trying to free him. He was trapped. I’m telling you, he was nothing like the man who I knew for so many years. He changed. He was making bad business decisions, he was cutting off the only friends that he knew, he was acting completely out of character, and I couldn’t get through to him. I tried. Lord knows, I tried. Every time I tried, she was right there to head me off. I couldn’t get to him. He wouldn’t see me or speak to me. It was like he was hypnotized! He was cold and unfeeling towards me—after years and years as friends and lovers, suddenly he gets a new piece of ass and I’m nobody!” she barks.
“You sound like a spurned lover. Isn’t that what it really boils down to, Mrs. Lincoln?”
“Oh, of course not!” she scolds. “Don’t you understand? She was destroying him. She still is! Ever since he met her, he’s been shaving off lucrative business.” He’s not shaving off lucrative businesses. He’s downsizing and dropping dead weight—and how would she even know that? Does this bitch have another spy in his company? “I mean, look at me. We were making money hand over fist with those salons! Then he decides to let the banks take them away.”
“He still has the salons, though, Mrs. Lincoln.”
“Yes, but without me! I was the draw, the advertisement. Everyone wanted to look like me—my tight skin, flawless body, and golden tresses. I’ve been in this hellhole for so long that you wouldn’t know it, but I was a real looker! Then she came along and ruined it all!” She throws another threatening glance at me and I just shake my head.
“Let’s talk about her for a moment, Mrs. Lincoln…” Underwood begins.
“Objection, relevance,” comes from the prosecution.
“Once again, Your Honor, it goes to her state of mind.”
“Overruled, but you may want to get to the point, Counselor,” the judge warns and Underwood nods.
“Mrs. Lincoln, how did you and Mrs. Grey meet?”
“I met Ms. Steele when I came to visit Christian one day. She was at his apartment walking around wearing barely nothing in front of his guest and staff. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure who she was sleeping with.” She folds her arms and smirks at me.
“What happened that day?”
“I was minding my own business waiting for Christian and she snatched the stool I was sitting on right out from under me!” she exclaims. I gasp loud enough for several members of the jury to turn around and see me scowling at her, gape-mouthed and horrified that she twisted the events that way. “When I attempted to defend myself, she hit me with a piece of fruit and pushed me down face first into the marble floor.” I scoff loudly, further appalled at her lack of details. I mean, in essence, that is what happened, but she completely left out that Christian ask her to leave, that she threw that same piece of fruit at me first, and that she was charging at me when she met the marble floor. Christian squeezes my hand.
“Breathe,” he says softly in my ear, a queue for me to keep my cool. I look over at him, angry that I can’t climb over this wall and choke that bitch right there on the witness stand. I sit back in my seat like a petulant child and take a few deep breaths. I’m literally pouting and she smirks slightly at me. While she’s still looking in our direction, Christian weaves his fingers into mine and pulls my hand to his lips in a gentle kiss that calms me immediately. That smirk slides quickly off her already fallen face.
“What happened next, Mrs. Lincoln?” She draws her eyes back to her attorney and sighs.
“I left before Ms. Steele could brutalize me any further. She was desperate for me not to speak to Christian. That’s how I know that she was brainwashing him and turning him against me.”
“And that’s why you don’t care for Mrs. Grey—not because she’s with Christian?”
“I don’t care for Ms. Steele because she turned one of my dearest friends against me, then she used violence to keep me from speaking to him! She’s no competition for me! I’ve been in jail and unable to take care of myself properly, but before this, I was a bombshell, and I can be again. I know how to please a man better than she does and I’m ten times the woman that she could ever be on my worst day. Ms. Steele just kept me from seeing Christian.”
“Your Honor,” the prosecution interjects, “since we are on the record, can you please direct Mrs. Lincoln to refer to Mrs. Grey by her legal name?”
“Unfortunately, Counselor, she can call her whatever she wants as long as we have established that she is referring to Mrs. Grey,” the judge responds. Now why did he say that? A look of pure glee comes over She-Thing’s face and I know that I need to steel myself and prepare for a barrage of name-calling for the duration of her testimony. “Continue.”
“So, you’re saying that no matter how many times you tried to talk to Christian, Mrs. Grey kept you from seeing him?” her attorney continues.
“Yes. That mousy little gold-digger headed me off at every turn.” And it begins. “I couldn’t get within ten feet of him without ending up with some kind of physical or emotional injury.”
“Well, the tramp chipped my tooth on the marble floor. Then she attacked me at a charity meeting and I had bruises from that. The whore said something to Christian the next day at his parents’ house and he humiliated and shunned me in front of his entire family. Of course, the cow convinced him to take my salons away. I came to see him one night at his apartment where I have always been welcome before the skank came along, and I get accosted by her sissy best friend! I finally decide that I’m not going to allow anything to stop me from seeing him, so I go straight up to his apartment and sit right at his breakfast bar only to have that hooker put a knife to my throat! The next thing I know, there’s a restraining order against me all because he had that little slut whispering in his ear!” Oh, this is classy.
“Your Honor!” Mr. Skinner has risen from his seat with his hands held out to the side of him in a gesture that just screams, “Seriously?” The judge puts his pen down and turns to the witness stand.
“Mrs. Lincoln, if you so choose, you do not have to refer to her as Mrs. Grey, but let me inform you that your ad lib and theatrics are not only unbecoming and unladylike, but they are also very distracting—and they’re not helping your case any either. I think I, the jury, and the entire courtroom all clearly understand that you have a very high level of disdain for Mrs. Grey, but if you continue to do that, I will hold you in contempt of court for attempting to influence or intimidate a witness since she is in the courtroom. Have I made myself clear?”
She-Thing looks at the judge and then at her attorney. Some unspoken communication passes between them before she deliberately looks anywhere but at the judge and says, “Yes, you have.” Now, the judge is even beginning to get irritated with her.
“Counselor, let me warn you that I really don’t care that Mrs. Lincoln seems to think that the rules don’t apply to her. The rules of this courtroom do! So, if you need a moment to instruct your client on how to behave on the stand, we can take a brief recess.” I can see She-Thing’s lawyer blanch from where I’m sitting as he clearly didn’t expect this reaction.
“Um, no, Your Honor. I think Mrs. Lincoln understands that she should no longer call Mrs. Grey unbecoming names,” he says chastised. She-Thing shows absolutely no remorse at all. I’m glad they stopped her—she was running out of things to call me. “So, Mrs. Lincoln, we have established that your feelings towards Mrs. Grey were brought on one, by how she treated you and two, because she drove a wedge between you Christian. So, why try to kill Christian?” She sighs again.
“For heaven’s sake, I wasn’t trying to kill him! How many times do I have to tell you that? I was trying to free him. Christian couldn’t escape from her grasp, from her influence. I don’t know what she was doing to him, but whatever it was, it was destroying him! He was making bad decisions; he cut off the only two friends that he had…” She’s talking about Flynn. Somebody else is giving her information. Flynn didn’t speak to her, so he wouldn’t have told her that. I look over at Christian who still has the impassive-killer look on his face right now. “He was doing things completely out of character, including stripping down his companies. I’m certain that she wants his money and his mind and she wants to break him and his spirit in the process, and he couldn’t see it. I had to free him. I couldn’t stand to see this happening to him. I love him.” Her voice is beseeching now and if I didn’t know her personally, I would think I was a crazy, manipulative bitch, too. Even certain members of the jury are looking at me sideways now. The attorney goes over to the evidence table and picks up my gun, which is encased in a plastic bag.
“This gun, this was your choice of freedom for Christian?” he asks her and she nods.
“It would be quick,” she says, her voice cracking. “He wouldn’t suffer. I couldn’t stand it if he suffered. He was already suffering because of… her.” She drops her head.
“Let the record show that I am referring to state’s evidence exhibit 4,” her attorney says. “The prosecution has already argued that this is Mrs. Grey’s gun,” he says, turning his attention back to She-Thing.
“So I’m told,” she answers.
“How did you get it?”
“A mutual acquaintance acquired it for me,” she answers.
“How so? Mrs. Grey indicated in this police report,” he picks up another item from the evidence table, “that her gun was stolen from a locked-drawer in her apartment approximately three weeks prior to the date that you showed up at Grey House.” She shrugs.
“I know that, but I believed that the day would come when Christian knew that he would need me, which is why he told me about the gun.” There are gasps in the courtroom again, including from me. Christian still hasn’t moved or changed his expression.
“He told you about the gun?” her attorney presses. She nods.
“He certainly did,” she continues. “Everybody knew that she carried them. She even pulled a gun on the guy that killed himself this weekend. She’s toxic to everything she touches and not only did she get her claws into my Christian, but she also waves these weapons around like Calamity Jane, threatening anyone who dare cross her path. I believe that whole thing with the kidnapping last year was just a ploy to get Christian’s attention. The dead guy responsible for the kidnapping told a close friend of mine that she pulled a gun on the poor man in her parking garage.”
“Sustained,” the judge says. So, Harris told the mole that I had guns and it got back to She-Thing. Why did she say that Christian told her?
“Who is this mutual friend that procured the gun for you?”
“I refuse to tell you,” she says. “I’m already on trial for trying to save the man that I love. There’s no use in anyone else going down.” Hmmm, conscience…
“But that information could make it easier on you, Mrs. Lincoln…”
“No, I can’t, because I didn’t do anything wrong. Someone gave me the gun, the gun that my Christian led me to because he knew that I would have to save him at some point.”
“And how did he lead you to her gun?”
“He told me that she dismantles them in his apartment. The fact that one would be in the nightstand next to her bed is a given.” My stomach falls. He—or someone—told that woman that I dismantle my guns at his apartment. It couldn’t have been Christian. There’s no way that he would tell her something that she could potentially use against me. He must sense my feelings because he squeezes my hand tighter, but never changes his expression. I look over at him and he is still steadfastly focused on the front of the courtroom.
“So you honestly think that Christian led you to the gun so that you could later come back and kill… sorry, free him?” the attorney asks. I realize that he’s trying to take all the wind out of the prosecution’s cross-examination by asking all the questions they would ask, only he’s allowing her to answer in a way that supports this quack’s claim that she’s manically narcissistic and thought that her actions had no consequences.
“Why else would he tell me about her guns?” she asks. “He hates guns.”
“Mrs. Lincoln, Christian is a rich and powerful man. You don’t think that he could free himself anytime he wanted? You think that death was the only way out for him even if he decided that he wanted ‘out?’” I’m curious why he refers to him as Christian but refers to me as Mrs. Grey.
“Christian is not a vindictive man. He’s a shrewd and ruthless businessman, but not in his personal life.” I sit and listen to the many ways that I have ruined Christian and that this mutual acquaintance had access to my apartment and let someone else get my gun so that it couldn’t be traced back to either of them. We know that the acquaintance is Myrick, but now we know that there was a third accomplice.
She-Thing still maintains that even though she covered her tracks all the way until the crucial moment where she shot Jason, she still didn’t do anything wrong because the rules don’t apply to her. She simply didn’t want to dirty her hands with the details or to give anyone—namely me—any advance warning of what was coming. She had no idea that I would be at the office that day and the whole plan was for me to discover that she and Christian had gone hand-in-hand into the afterlife with two bullets from my gun.
It all sounds so logical if it wasn’t completely ridiculous.
“How did you feel after you discovered you had shot Jason Taylor?” her attorney asks.
“I didn’t shoot Jason Taylor. He jumped in front of the bullet! That’s not my fault. That’s like saying if someone jumps onto the freeway in front of my car that I ran them over.” Members of the jury laugh. I don’t know if they’re laughing at the ridiculousness of that analogy or because she really is funny.
“Okay, let’s rephrase. How did you feel after you discovered that Jason Taylor had jumped in front of your bullet?”
“I didn’t feel anything! That crazy bi…” She pauses and rolls her eyes. “Ms. Steele beat the hell out of me the moment the gun went off. I woke up in the hospital in cuffs!” She’s absolutely appalled that I had the nerve to kick her ass for trying to kill my man! “She should be the one on trial for assault, but no, they just let Little Ms. Perfect walk away Scot free…”
“Careful, Mrs. Lincoln,” the judge warns.
“I didn’t call her a bitch, Your Honor,” she says, almost innocently. The judge rolls his eyes and looks back down at his papers.
“What happened in the hospital, Mrs. Lincoln?” And now the tears start. I was wondering when they were coming.
“Christian came to see me. I awoke and he was standing next to my bed. I was so happy to see him, but then he opened his mouth and horrible things came out. He talked about wanting to kill me and doing everything that he could to make sure that I never got out of prison. He couldn’t see at all what I was trying to do for him… for us.” She breaks down at this moment. “I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got word that they had broken up and that she had left. I wanted to have a party because I knew that he was free of her and that I could come back and help him put his life back together… and then she was back. I turn my head for one minute and she’s back, like a bad rash! He was never going to be free of her and I just couldn’t stand it anymore, but he hated me. He hated me for trying to set him free. I wish I had killed myself now.” She’s weeping on the stand.
“No further questions at this time, Your Honor,” the defense says and proudly takes his seat. That sounded more like the cross-examination. Let’s see what the prosecution has in store. Mr. Skinner stands and walks over to She-Thing. He stands about three feet away from the witness stand and joins his hand behind his back. I can’t see the expression on his face as he observes She-Thing, but he stands there for a full minute while she weeps. She finally looks up at him while delicately dabbing her eyes.
“Are you enjoying the show?” she says, finally, her voice still weepy.
“Me? No,” he responds flatly, calling her out on her performance. He knows exactly what she’s doing and so do I. If he comes at her right now while she’s a blubbering mess on the witness stand, he will surely appear to be attacking her, and that’s all the jury will see. None of us can afford that. “I’m just giving you a few moments to… compose yourself. I know how difficult this can be.”
“Do you now?” she says, the venom coming through her tears. “How many times have you been accused of murder?”
“Well, none, but I’ve convicted several,” he says without malice. “So yes, I’m very well aware of how difficult this can be.”
“You must very proud of yourself,” she snaps.
“Well, yes and no,” Skinner responds, engaging her in the obvious fight that she’s trying to start. “I’m not happy at all when someone takes—or attempts to take—someone else’s life. However, I am extremely proud when I can serve my community by getting a murderer off the streets.” He says it with finality, but still no malice. “Alas, we’re not here to talk about me. Your Honor, maybe we should take a recess to allow Mrs. Lincoln a few moments alone.” The judge looks up at the prosecutor, then down at She-Thing.
“Do you need a few moments, Mrs. Lincoln?” Judge Burgess asks. She looks at him and back at Mr. Skinner.
“No,” she nearly growls, her earlier performance giving way to her obvious ire. “I certainly don’t want to delay the proceedings.” Her sarcasm is evident.
“Oh, no, by all means, take as long as you need. Justice can’t be rushed. We’ll wait for you. Please, get it all out.” He folds his arms, a clear indication to her that he knows what she’s doing and that he’ll play this game with her as long as she wants. She glares at him, then looks over at the jury. I look at the jury and most of them are sitting back in their seats, examining the spectacle with disinterest. She finally dries her face and sits up in her chair, glaring at the prosecutor. “Are you ready to proceed? Are you sure that you don’t need another moment or two?”
“No, I’m fine,” she says through gritted teeth.
“Good, then in that case, we’ll continue. I’d like to focus a little more on your childhood. You said earlier that you were taught that there was nothing wrong with child molestation…”
“Objection, Your Honor.” He was waiting for that opportunity and even though I’m no lawyer, I know exactly what the judge is about to say.
“You opened that door, Counselor. Overruled.” Bingo! The defense sits down, clearly defeated. How could you expect to use that information in her defense and it not be used against her by the prosecution? “Continue.”
“Mrs. Lincoln, you said earlier that you were taught that there was nothing wrong with child molestation. Who taught you this?”
She-Thing’s face freezes. What’s happening? I can usually tell where things are going. Right now, I don’t know what the horror is all about.
“I… um…” Hmm, something that she wasn’t coached on.
“This shouldn’t be a difficult question, Mrs. Lincoln. Who taught you that it was okay to molest children?”
“Well… I mean… it’s not like we sat around and had family meetings about it or anything like that!” she answers indignantly.
“Oh, so you’re saying that it was someone in your family?” She’s quiet again. “Mother? Father? Distant cousin?”
Psycho German aunt with no morals?
I know, right?
“I can’t say… exactly…”
“But you said that you were brought up this way, which means that you had to be told this continuously over the course of several years. Now you’re saying that you can’t say who taught you?”
“I mean to say that I won’t say who taught me,” she says indignantly. He chuckles in disbelief.
“Mrs. Lincoln, you’re asking us to believe fantastic stories about your life and how you find yourself on this witness stand today accused of assault, conspiracy, and attempted murder. Yet, you choose to withhold detrimental details of these stories. That doesn’t fare well for you, and I’m not just saying that because I’m the prosecution.”
“Be that as it may, I will not drag anyone else down in this mess with me, especially not people who may be close to me.” Oooo, we’re playing the martyr now.
“Except Mrs. Grey,” he points out.
“She’s nobody. She’s not even collateral damage,” She-Thing hisses. I shake my head again. This has gone on for nearly two hours and Christian still hasn’t moved except to kiss my hand and comfort me that one time. He’s starting to worry me.
“That’s very noble of you, Mrs. Lincoln,” he says and she smiles.
“Thank you,” she says, crossing her legs.
“I only wish you had shown that same nobility when you were considering taking someone’s life. It would have saved us all a lot of time and energy,” he says flatly. A hush falls over the courtroom as Mr. Skinner walks back to the table and picks up his legal pad. “So, let’s get to the issue about rules in general. You believe that you are not confined by the rules, that they were made to apply to everyone else except you?”
“Well, there might be a handful of other special people out there, but none of them are like me.”
“But you are one of those special people who don’t have to follow the rules?” She nods.
“Yes, of course.”
“So, if Mrs. Grey believes that she’s one of those special people, then she could just go over to that table, pick up her gun, and blow your brains out right here in this courtroom and that would be okay, right?” She scoffs loudly.
“Of course not!” she almost yells. “There’s nothing special or remarkable about that little weasel…!”
“Mrs. Lincoln,” the judge warns.
“I’m sorry… there’s nothing special about her! She’s a nobody! I don’t care what her address is, what name she’s using, or how big her ring is, she’s still a nobody. You can drape as many diamonds on a weed as you want, but it will never become a rosebush!” Whoa! Mrs. Lincoln becomes philosophical. The prosecution chuckles again at her answer. I’m not sure what that tactic is, but it pisses her off a bit.
“Okay, so if one of those other special people came in here and decided to free you from these charges and the twenty-five years that you are currently facing in jail, that would be okay?” She pauses, clearly not sure how to answer this question.
“Well…” she’s on the ropes. “Of course, I wouldn’t like it, but there’s certainly no one out there as special as I am. So, they wouldn’t be able to do that to me.”
“Oh! This is intriguing. So, now you’re saying that there are levels of ‘special’—that there are certain people who are special, but not special enough to break all the rules,” he presses.
“I… don’t know what you’re saying,” she says, shaking her head.
“Well, you said that the rules don’t apply to you because you’re special, remarkable, and important. Yet, there’s no one out there that is special, remarkable, or important enough to murder you. So please, correct me if I’m wrong, but that dictates that your level of importance is higher than anyone else’s, doesn’t it?” She nods feverishly.
“Well, isn’t that obvious?” she squeaks.
“And Mrs. Grey is not important at all?”
“No, Ms. Steele has absolutely no importance whatsoever,” she says with a flip of her hand.
“How do you know that?” the prosecution asks. “Who determines who these special and important people are?” and she’s frozen again. “Mrs. Lincoln?”
“You just know,” she says.
“Oh, really? How do you know? Who told you that?”
“No one had to tell me that I’m special! I’ve known that all along!” I can see her defense attorney wildly trying to inconspicuously shake his head—if you can do both of those things at the same time… wildly and inconspicuously. He looks like he’s having a conniption. Ah… Mrs. Lincoln is straying from the script.
“Okay, so you’re telling us that no one influenced your belief that you don’t have to follow the rules per se. You came to the conclusion that you were special and unique and that you didn’t need to follow the rules all on your own?” She looks over at her attorney who is still shaking his head, but not as wildly. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Lincoln, do you need your attorney to answer that for you?”
Now, all of the attention is on Underwood, who is still wildly shaking his head. If there was ever a moment of truth, this is it. Each of the scenarios presented have a yes or no answer, but the answers have to be opposite. Which one do you answer?
“No,” she says softly, “no one had to tell me that I was special. Either you are or you aren’t.” She says that last part with conviction and I can almost see her attorney sagging in his chair. That was the wrong answer.
“Okay, so, we’ve established that no event or influence caused you to believe that you didn’t have to follow the rules. You just woke up one day and decided ‘laws don’t mean anything to me. I can just do whatever I want.’ Thank you for clarifying that for us, Mrs. Lincoln.” He looks back down at his legal pad.
“Wait! That’s… not what I meant.” She knows that she’s done something wrong. Mr. Skinner raises his head to her.
“Oh? I’m sorry. What did you mean?” He waits for her to answer the question. She sighs and never comes up with an answer. “Nothing? Nothing you want to add or refute?” She glares at him.
“No,” she says sharply. “This is ridiculous. I shouldn’t even be here. She should be on the stand for what she did to him, not me.”
“Well, unfortunately for you, Mrs. Lincoln, loving someone is not a crime punishable by law, whereas attempted murder is. Back to the matter at hand, you mentioned earlier that you believed that Mr. Grey told you about Mrs. Grey’s guns so that you could later free him, correct?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Did he tell you where the guns were?”
“Did he tell you what kind of guns they were?”
“Not that I can remember right now.”
“You said that he hates guns.” She nods.
“He’s always hated guns. He doesn’t even like the fact that his security sometimes has to carry guns.”
“Did you know that Mr. Grey is now a registered gun owner?” Mr. Skinner reveals. She-Thing gasps.
“What!? Do you see? That’s what I mean! The Christian that I knew would never carry a gun. He detests guns!”
“The Christian that you knew is a registered gun owner because of you. He bought the gun after you tried to kill him!” the prosecution points out.
“Objection!” Underwood protests.
“Sustained,” the judge replies.
“Strike the first statement; hold the second. Mr. Grey did apply for a license to carry a concealed weapon and acquire a firearm after you tried to free him!” Skinner rephrases.
“Oh, that’s hogwash. She put him up to that and I know it, so you can save that tactic.”
“I don’t need tactics, Mrs. Lincoln. You’re the one on trial here. The evidence against you is irrefutable and now you want the court to believe that you didn’t think killing a man had any consequences. If there’s anyone here that needs to save a tactic, it’s you!” he hisses.
“Objection, Your Honor!” the defense attorney nearly shouts.
“Withdrawn!” the prosecutor says, eying She-Thing with intense disdain.
We listen as Mr. Skinner breaks down every single excuse, crackpot lie, defense and distraction tactic that She-Thing comes up with. He uses her own words against her so many times that she can’t even manage to separate her lies. Each time she tries to pull that crying tactic, he just stops and goes over the testimony, makes additional notes, or confers with counsel at the prosecution table. He knows that at some point, her crying will lead to a theatrical production. She never gets to that point because he refuses to question her while she was crying to allow her to escalate to that degree. Each time she goes into preparation, he waits and then asks if she’s better or needs a recess before he continues his questioning.
When he gets to the shooting and presents the video of the incident again, Christian zones out completely. I’m certain that he’s in another time and place while the video is playing. I concentrate solely on him so as not to have a repeat of yesterday’s fainting spell. They play the entire thing all over again—from the moment that Christian hit the button to begin the recording to after I passed out and Christian told the detectives that there was a video of the entire incident.
She-Thing is pale now and getting paler by the second. Even after already seeing the video, many of the members of the jury look at me in what I can only label as stunned amazement. I know that I looked like a machine while I was kicking her ass, and it does lend credibility to her story that I was quite violent, especially since I choked the shit out of her on camera in an effort to send her miserable ass to hell—but then, I’m not the one on trial here. Even if I had killed her, I surely would have gotten off if she had shot Christian.
“You seemed pretty irrational and upset in that video, Mrs. Lincoln,” Mr. Skinner says.
“Of course, I was upset,” she says. “I was trying to get Christian to see what a big mistake he had made letting her control his life the way that he was, but he wouldn’t listen. He was only concerned with if I would hurt his precious little Butterfly.” God, I hate when she uses that term. She makes it sound dirty and defiled.
“Tell the court what you were thinking while you were brandishing that gun in Mr. Grey’s office that day.”
“I’ve already told you what I was thinking…”
“No, you told us what you were going to do. You didn’t tell us what you were thinking,” the prosecution says. She falls quiet again.
“’Oh God, I should just shoot you right now.’
“’You don’t want me to shoot your precious Butterfly.‘
“’Wouldn’t that be something, to die with a bullet from your own gun.’
“’You can’t give me whatever I want, Christian, because I want you and you want her.’
“’If I can’t have you, she sure as hell can’t have you. You don’t want me now, but you will in the afterlife, when you remember how good it used to be between us, when she’s not there anymore to interfere.’”
The prosecutor reads statement after statement that She-Thing made before she pulled the trigger. All the color leaves her face and I mean all of it. She looks like she’s dead. Her attorney looks like he has truly thrown in the towel. He just sits back in his chair with his hands folded in front of him.
“Forgive me, Mrs. Lincoln, but that doesn’t sound like a woman who doesn’t care about the rules. That sounds like a scorned woman who wants to get back at the two people that she feels hurt her the most. So again, I ask you, what were you thinking while you were brandishing that gun in Mr. Grey’s office that day?” Seeing no other opportunity to use her crying theatrics, she pulls them out now. She bursts into tears and leans forward in her seat.
“Why are you attacking me?” she cries.
“I’m sure that Mr. Grey and Mr. Taylor have the same question for you! Don’t you think they deserve an answer besides ‘you were trying to free him?’” the prosecution asks incredulously. “Exactly what were you trying to free him from—a loving and fulfilling relationship? A successful business? What!?”
“A conniving, manipulative woman!” She-Thing screams.
“Oh, I’d say he had already freed himself from that,” the prosecutor says flatly.
“Objection!” Underwood says, rising to his feet.
“To what?” The prosecutor turns to him with his hands out in a shrug.
“I have to also ask, to what, Counselor?” the judge asks.
“He’s… he’s… badgering the witness!” That’s the best that you can come up with?
“Overruled,” the judge says impassively. “Continue.” The prosecutor turns back to She-Thing.
“Mrs. Lincoln,” he begins, his voice sobering. “This will be your last chance to speak your piece, so I suggest that you make it good. The jury has seen the video of the shooting twice now. They have heard the of a psychiatrist who seems to confirm that you suffer from some mental disease where you feel that you are immune to the laws of this land and can therefore take another person’s life with no consequences. Mrs. Lincoln, let me be the first to look in your eye and tell you that I don’t think you’re insane for one second. I don’t even think you’re mentally impaired. I do, however, think that psychiatrist needs his head examined. I also think the entire concept that you are building your defense upon is crazy, and I would bet a year’s salary that I’m not the only person in this room who thinks so. The prosecution has brought forth witnesses that testified about your actions and behavior leading up to the shooting, and I will tell you that while your actions sound harassing and obsessive, I haven’t heard anything that would slightly convince me that you were suffering from the slightest level of insanity. While you have the opportunity to say so, I will ask you again to tell the court what you were thinking when you were brandishing that gun in Mr. Grey’s office?”
She-Thing turns wide, tear-filled eyes to Christian and never looks away.
“I was thinking that I had lost him forever,” she said softly. “I was thinking that he would never touch me again, never hold me again… that I would never see that look in his eyes where he desired me so. He looked at her with a hunger, an affection that I never saw. It cut right through me… I… I…” She’s choking on her words. These are the first real tears I think she’s shed all day. “She had him under some spell, I tell you!” She’s shaking and weeping. This is the Elena that I know—delusional Elena. “You don’t understand. He never would have turned me away, never. We were too close! I knew everything about him—everything! And then one day, nothing! He just kicked me out of his life! He didn’t want our friendship; he didn’t want our business. He wanted nothing to do with me. If she didn’t like it, he got rid of it—successful businesses that were making money for him, his friends, his way of life, he even changed shrinks!” How the fuck does she know that?
“He was brainwashed, I tell you. I know he was. He still is. Look at him!” She gestures to Christian who has stared stoically at her for upwards of four hours now. “He looks like a fucking robot! There’s no passion in his eyes. No life. He’s sat there like that for hours. Does that look like a happy man to you?” she rants. She’s now pulling in those shuddering breaths that indicate that she is really crying. The prosecution hands her a box of tissues. She takes a few, blows her nose and tries to clean her face from the real cry.
“Mrs. Lincoln?” The prosecution says softly. She raises her head. “The reason Mr. Grey has been looking passionless and dead for the last several hours is because he’s been staring at you.” Mr. Skinner pauses for a moment to let that soak in a bit. She-Thing looks back over to Christian and he moves the only other time since he kissed my hand…
He nods once.
She drops down to the edge of the witness stand, her face buried in her arms, and she is bawling her eyes out.
“No more questions, Your Honor,” the prosecution says before taking his seat.
“Redirect?” the judge asks.
“No, Your Honor,” her attorney says solemnly.
“Very well. You may step down, Mrs. Lincoln.” She’s wailing so hard that I don’t even think she heard him. “Bailiff?” The bailiff goes over and takes She-Thing’s arm. She must be well aware of that hold because she responds immediately and rises shakily from the chair, still weeping bitterly. She stumbles from the stand and wobbles back over to the defense table, walking like a drunk and sobbing uncontrollably. “I think we’ll take that recess now, fifteen minutes,” the judge says before banging his gavel. “Court is adjourned.”
Christian doesn’t wait another second. He’s out the door before I can even get out of my seat. She-Thing is face-down at the defense table, her shoulders shaking with violent tears. I almost feel sorry for her…
I push myself out of the seat and go to look for Christian. I leave the courtroom and look up and down the hall. I see Jason standing at the far end of the hallway and I make my way towards him.
“Where is he?” I ask. Jason points across the hall to the Men’s Room. I stand there looking at the door, feeling a lot like She-Thing must feel right now—lost and dejected.
“I’m… going to go relieve myself, too,” I say, and walk over to the Ladies’ Room. I stay in there longer than I need to, I know. This whole thing is such a horrible fucking mess. The only comfort that I have from that situation is that She-Thing has said nothing about the lifestyle, which means unless there’s speculation from what Christian said yesterday, I’ve told my father about our practices for nothing and now, he’s avoiding me.
I rub my slightly throbbing scar and for the first time in months, feel the emptiness of not being able to rub my bump and pull strength from my babies. I know that I must be strong, but this is enough to drive anyone to drink. I take a few deep breaths, but every time I think to leave the restroom, my feet just won’t let me go in that direction. I take a few more deep breaths and just about get myself calmed when I hear a familiar voice from off in the distance somewhere.
“Don’t make me come in there after you. You know that I will.”
I sigh heavily and push my feet towards the door. He’s standing on the other side when I step out.
“I think you have a fetish with public women’s restrooms,” I say in a low voice. He puts his arms around me.
“Don’t remind me,” he says, kissing me behind my ear. “Are you alright?” I nod.
“Are you?” I ask. He touches his forehead on mine.
“I want. To kill her,” he says slowly and soberly. “I’ve had to sit in the same room with her for several hours of several days and not. Kill. Her.” I gently stroke his cheeks.
“It’s almost over, baby,” I soothe. “I would imagine that we only have closing arguments unless they have another quack that they want to put on the stand.” He chuckles.
“We need a loooooooong vacation,” he says. “Two days was not enough.” I have to agree with him.
“We have the house in Italy,” I jest.
“Yes, we do,” he says, raising his eyes to me. “I want to plan a trip. At least a month. If we don’t get away from this, we’re going to have strokes.” I look at him.
“You’re serious,” I say. He nods. “Christian, we can’t just… a month… what about my babies?”
“Our babies and we’ll take them with us,” he says.
“They’re only seven weeks old!” I exclaim. “I don’t want my infants globe-trotting at that age!”
“I’ll have you know, Mrs. Grey, that infants can ‘globetrot’ as young as two weeks with doctor’s approval.” I should have known that the walking baby encyclopedia would know that. “But I’ll give you that. We are applying for our children’s passports and I am planning the trip for the summer. It’ll give me something to look forward to so that I don’t lose my mind.”
I look at him and think about everything that’s happened in our lives and the effect this trial must be having on him. I can at least afford him this.
“Okay,” I say, without protest. “Just let me know exactly when we plan to go so that I can make preparations.”
“Fair enough,” he says, kissing me on the forehead.
Closing arguments are somewhat long, or maybe they just seem long because it’s a repeat of everything we had just heard. It’s a relief when they’re over and the jury deliberations will start tomorrow. I need another hot shower… or a hot bath… anything to help me soak away the remnants of this day.
A/N: Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/becoming-dr-grey/
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Love and handcuffs