821. - Lucien
Hearing her voice is like electricity on my skin, in the way that makes you revolt and cuss in a way that makes your ancestors turn in their graves. I knew she was part of the study group, because of course Emma told me. She apparently had to be to pass one of her classes. Emma also told me that she was like a wallflower, never speaking up and just simply turning in assignments as needed.
I haven't talked to her since our friendship blew up and sent me into a spiral of depression. For some reason, I expect her to be looking at me. Of course she isn't; her gaze is fixated on Walker, who's looking rather stunned. The room has erupted into hushed, but excited whispers, and it takes him a while to get back to relative peace.
"If I'm not mistaken," He says as he's gathered his composure. "you have already given a statement."
"I have, and I would like to alter it."
She seems so sure of herself. She's standing at the witness bench, her dress a bright green that seems almost inappropriate.
"Miss Kent, I'd like to remind you that you were, and are now, under oath." A warning. Think very carefully of the things you're going to say.
"I am aware." Piper says. "And that is why I want to alter my previous statement."
There's a glance between Walker and Leopold Douglas, but there's really very little that either man can do. Even Leopold's power can't change the rules of court.
"Very well. Please proceed to the stand, miss Kent."
"Miss Kent. Earlier this week you were asked to recall the events between Miss Middleton and Mister Maximillian Douglas. You confirmed the story of your fellow students that Miss Middleton assaulted Mr Douglas, and that he was a continious target of Miss Middleton during classes. Do you still stand by this?"
Piper's eyes flicker around, possibly meeting Emma's, and she slowly shakes her head. "No, I no longer stand by the confirmation I gave to the story that was offered to me."
Walker's brow furrows. "You were under oath. Have you broken that oath?"
She doesn't look nervous, I have to give her that. But I see the way her nails curl into her palms and her hands press into the wooden bench. "No."
"Then... Please elaborate why you found it necessary to come to the stand."
She takes a deep breath. "It is true that Miss Middleton has... assaulted Maximillian. There is video proof of this, and no one can deny it happened. But that isn't the whole truth. Max isn't as an innocent victim as he makes it out to be."
Looking over to the benches that hold the Douglas family, I see Max wanting to protest and his father roughly pushing him back in his seat.
"Previous to the assault, Max had continuously taunted professor Middleton. Not only during the workgroup in question, but in other lessons as well. Max made a point of bringing up cases and details of her life that were clearly traumatic for her. I remember the CivPro class where one assignment was finding a case that connected to the material and be able to give a five minute pitch on it. Max chose the case professor Middleton ran against Callum Pritchard. A domestic abuse case that held no relation to the subject, and was picked solely to... hurt, for lack of a better word, professor Middleton. Every chance he got, Max would try to provoke her. I want to put emphasis on the fact that this wasn't a one time thing. Back-handed comments, assignments relating to... things or events she might have been involved in, Max took absolutely every single chance to get under her skin. And no one ever said anything, for the same reasons no one said anything now. On the day of the assault, Max dug up up every last detail he could have, and tried to spin them into 'questions'. Like 'could you, as a partner, sue your partner if she miscarried your child and you already invested in it', or 'how ethical is it to have your father-in-law to represent you in such a public case', regarding the aforementioned domestic abuse case. Nearly every word out of his mind was far, far out of line." Her voice raises with frustration, and to my surprise she suddenly looks straight at Leopold Douglas. "Has she assaulted your son? Yes. All the things I just stated are not an excuse for that. But Maximillian isn't an innocent victim. And if you ask me, it's a miracle she lasted nearly the entire year before lashing out. If it had been me, I would have given him a piece of my mind months ago. And it would have been at lot less kind than what Professor Middleton offered."
More noise and clamoring as people let Piper's word sink in. It's one thing to do what she did in a regular case, but she just actively went against one of the most powerful men in law. And for what?
"Ridiculous!" Maximillian Douglas suddenly shouts over the noise. "She's making things up to paint me in a bad light! She's merely jealous that she is no longer top of class, and has instead been bested by me!"
"Sit down!" Leopod commands loudly, and while it was directed at his son, everyone suddenly quiets down. After scolding his son a second time, he turns to Piper.
"Miss Kent, I would once again like to remind you that you are under oath. You make heavy accusations that are not backed up by any of the witnesses."
"Because they're scared!" She exclaims. "Max has the power to make life hell for them. A power he abuses regularly already. Imagine what he'd do if they actively went against him - and his family."
"And what made you come forward now?"
"I..." And then she does look at me. Her face tells me nothing. "Because all of us have been wronged before. All of us have had to face consequences in some kind of way, some bigger than others. I couldn't live with myself or the knowledge that I might have been able to prevent the absolute worst."
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