482 - Emma
No matter how hard we've tried to keep it a secret, word has come out about the trial, and there's press outside of the court house.
Neither of us want to be here, Lucien grasping my hand tightly as we walk in, ignoring the three or four journalists trying to catch our attention. We're meeting Jacques inside, which only makes this day more tense for Lucien.
I'm glad he was able to be here, because I don't know if I could have gotten myself out of bed this morning had he not been around.
We've had to work hard to even get here, because Callum's lawyer tried to get out of this even going to court by just having the article removed from the internet, as if that would've done anything. The site has already issued an article, rectifying the lies they've published for the world to read, trying to shift the blame to Callum entirely.
As the heavy, wooden doors fall shut behind us, it feels like we can breathe again. The halls are pretty much empty, and we know our way around. We've been here before, just not as clients, merely as lawyers.
Jacques is waiting for us at the end of the hall, and we shake hands as if we're nothing more than a client and her defending lawyer.
"Lucien," he nods at his son, straightening his tie. The tension in the air weighs heavy on all three of us, which is why Jacques soon clears his throat. "Now, before we go in, I must warn you. I've already seen the defendant and his lawyer, and he seems to be playing the victim card here."
Usually, before a case like this, we would get at least a little bit of a glimpse into the opposition's side of the story, and we'd try to work it out before going to battle. When they refused, it only made it harder for us to prepare.
"It seems he still claims you were the abusive party in your relationship, and that he hasn't told a single lie in his article," Jacques sighs, "but I have no doubt we're going to win this case. With the evidence we've gathered, we must be alright."
Seeing him again knocks all the air out of me, though I gather my emotions quickly and not to let it show too much.
Jacques is a total legend in the court room, and I'm thouroughly impressed by how easy it seems to be for him to play this role.
Callum just sits in his assigned spot, listening to the claims stated, often making eye contact with his lawyer, who then tries to defend him as well as he can. Our evidence, at first, is scarce. Some of it even gets denied by the judge, seen as hearsay, which is something we had expected beforehand.
Then, Jacques brings up a piece of evidence that once again knocks the air out of me. I wasn't made aware of this, probably for good reason, and it takes me a little while to recognise what I am looking at.
It's a shot of my old hallway, the date in the bottom reading somewhere in November, a year and a half ago.
At first, I can see my door opening. Lucien and Brie exit, chatting and smiling. We say goodbye, and Lucien is seen leaving with a tupperware container. I realise it must have been the night they came over for dinner, which is also the night Callum showed up at my appartment unannounced.
The tape gets scrolled a few minutes, until Callum is seen walking into the hallway and ringing my doorbell.
I take a deep breath, knowing full well what's about to come. I've told Lucien about it, but never in much detail, and I have tried my hardest to forget about all of this.
"You'd forget your head if it wasn't.....," I'm only slightly visible, standing in the doorway. "Callum?"
"What were they doing here?" Silence on the tape, and I can almost hear my heart beating out of my chest.
"Excuse me? Why... what are you doing here?"
"I came to talk, but apparently you're too busy having our fucking boss and his pet photographer over. What were you doing, shooting a fucking porn for his social media? Is that how low you've sunk?" From the way he speaks, I can feel his anger again, and from the way he's slurring his words, it's obvious he's been drinking. He visibly gets closer to me, his shoulders tense.
"So what if we were? So what if I was gangbanging the entire office, Callum? We're not together anymore! You have no right to be here, let alone ask me questions about what I spend my time doing, or with whom!" My voice audibly trembles on the video.
"You have a lot of courage, Emma, acting like this. You know I can break you, I can end your career, I can...," This is what we needed. Though it's horrible, hearing it again, this is exactly what we needed.
"Is that a threat, Callum? Really? Go ahead, ruin me. Because you know why? I'm no longer afraid of you! You don't get to boss me around anymore." The door slams shut, and on the screen, we see Callum starting to bang on the door.
"Open up, Emma! We're not fucking done! I'm not done with you!" More banging. "I swear to god, if you don't open that fucking door, I'm kicking it in and I'll take you with it. Don't tempt me, Emma, you know what I can do. You've seen what I do when I get angry, and you're not making it any easier on yourself." I don't remember any of this, because I must have blocked it all out. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to forget about it after today, because tears are already coming, no matter how professional I wanted to be. My hands are shaking as I lift them to my face to wipe away the tears. Lucien is here with me, too, but he's behind me in stead of next to me, so I can't look at him for comfort. In stead, I feel like I'm glued to my chair, my breathing shallow, as if I'm about to have a panic attack. "You whore, I swear, I'm.... I'm not playing around, Emma."
The tape gets fast forwarded a little more, and we are shown Callum, sitting on the floor in front of my door, his yelling now having turned to pleading. "Please open up, Emma. We just need to talk. I'm... you know how I get when I'm angry. If you would've just opened up, I wouldn't have felt the need to get angry... come on, just open the door. We could be so good together, you could be all I need. We could... we could get married, you and me. She was a mistake, Emma, you're the girl I should be with... please, open up."
No reply from the other side of the door, just silence. Minutes later, as shown on the little clock on the bottom of the screen, Callum gets up. He kicks the door one last time, mumbling a slur, and is then seen leaving the property.
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