The Only Witness
Author's note: Usually I write about love stories or off of a nightmare I have had, but I decided I wanted to... Show full author's note »
NineTwo days later I put on a suit that I would usually use for work, but this time it was for court. I met the three guys outside in the car to see them all in suits too. Peter drove us to the court house and when we got there I saw Chris waiting outside the front door in a suit too. When I went over to him he seemed happy, “Hey.”
“You made it!” He said with a warm smile, “But why did you all come?”
I smiled towards him, “I’ll explain later, but let’s get inside.” When we got inside I was shocked to see news people waiting and when they saw Ash and Rider they went ballistic. They called to them and while they were busy freaking out over the two hottest models in the industry were in the court house testifying if needed I went over to a lawyer that had been assigned to defend Austin, but I was shocked when my uncle’s lawyer grabbed my arm.
“Anna!” He said with a smile, “I’m so glad you came today! We really need your help defending Sam.”
“What do you mean?” Chris asked, “Anna is testifying against Mr. Smith.”
The lawyer laughed at Chris, “You are funny, boy! Like Anna would testify against her uncle!”
“But…” Chris started to argue but we all stopped.
“The court is now in session. Please take your seats.” The bailiff of the court room said and I immediately took a seat in the audience area. When the judge came in we all rose and then sat once she was seated. After telling the jury what the case was for she sighed.
“Alright, first we shall call up the only witness of the accident,” The judge said before I stood. I quickly walked in front of her, “Please state your full name for the court.”
I cleared my throat, “My name is Annabelle Marie Smith, your honor.”
She rustled through some papers, “Now, on your records, it says this was not your birth name and that you changed it when you were 18. Please state your full birth-given name to the court.”
I looked the judge directly in the eyes, “My birth-given name is Noel Lovette Morel, your honor.”
The news reporters in the back seemed to become frantic as the crowd and jury started talking. The judge gave me a very angry look, “Are you meaning to tell me you are the Lovette? Lovette, as in the number one model in the country that suddenly disappeared seven years ago?”
I cleared my throat again, “Yes, your honor. As you can see on my record I have been living in Pennsylvania for that exact amount of time.”
She sighed, “Alright, then you may take a seat,” The judge said and before I took a seat in the prosecutor’s chair I had to place my hand on the bible and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth before I could be seated. When I sat down the judge looked to me, “Now, Miss Morel, I have been told that you are the niece of Mr. Smith, but you are prosecuting against him since he supposedly killed your fiancée, is this true? I am having a hard time understanding.”
I looked to my hands, “Yes, I am the niece of Mr. Smith and was the fiancée of Austin.”
“Well since you were the only witness, please tell us what happened.”
I looked to the crowd, “Austin and I left his apartment at around 11 at night after having dinner there. Austin insisted on driving me home since it was so late and as we were on our way there we passed through a green light. Suddenly the car was hit on Austin’s side of the car by a large red pickup truck. I was thrown around a bit by the impact but when I looked to Austin to make sure he was okay I saw his head bent down so that his chin touched his collarbones and I realized his neck had been broken,” I wiped away tears as they started to fall, “Immediately I got out of the car in horror to call 911, but as I got out and looked over to the other car to see if that person was still alive I saw my uncle get out of the truck and then came over to my side. He told me to call an ambulance and then quickly walked away.”
“But why would your uncle crash into a car you were in and kill your fiancé?”
I looked away from the crowd, “Because I loved him.”
The lawyer that was representing Austin stood, “I do not understand, Miss Morel, why would he kill Austin just because you were in love with him?”
I clenched my fists, “It was not the first time he has killed someone I loved so I just assume it is because they love me. I stole his sister from him and he wants me to never be happy in repayment.”
“What do you mean you stole his sister? Wasn’t his sister your mother?”
I nodded, “Charae was my uncle’s little sister who became pregnant at the age of 17 with me. It was my dad’s and my own fault that his precious sister was taken from his family since his parents became angry that she had become pregnant at such a young age. Uncle started abusing me in repayment for me stealing his sister 6 months before my 10th birthday right before...” I was now crying uncontrollably, “Right before he murdered my mom and dad.”
“But your parents died in a car accident.”
I stared at him, “The steering wheel was positioned so that after 20 miles it would stop moving. My parents crashed after 21 miles.”
“How did you know exactly when it would stop working, Miss Morel?”
I looked away, “Because uncle told me exactly what he had done right after it had happened. He then told me that my parent’s deaths were because of me. I had killed them because I had told my dad about the abuse even though my uncle had threatened to kill dad if I told anyone about it. I thought he was bluffing and I was scared that I would be abused again, so I told my dad the day after my birthday about the beating and he died a day after. What my uncle didn’t think of was that my mom might be in the car when it was destined to crash and to his shock she was. He did not plan to kill my mom, he only wanted to kill my dad who had also stolen Uncle’s baby sister from him,” I looked to Peter, “But once my parents were gone my uncle held something equally as special to me in the balance. He threatened to kill my father’s best friend and the most important person in my life, Peter, who is my adoptive father. In order to protect Peter I was told by my uncle that I would have to follow anything he said, so I allowed him to abuse me, cut off all my hair, give me piercings, make me quit modeling, and move away from the man I cared for so much. But, after a few years of living with the abuse and pain of staying with my uncle I met this wonderful guy. He may have dressed a little oddly and been a little out of the ordinary, but he was kind, caring, and loved me. He reminded me so much of Peter that I ended up allowing him into my world and let him find out almost everything about me. He knew about the things I’ve done and yet he proposed to me and told me he wanted to take me away from all of the horrible things and let me live happily,” I clutched my suit’s skirt in my hands, “I fell in love with an idiot who was not bright enough to stay away from a dangerous person like me and…and then he died. Just like mom and dad, he was taken away from me in an instant, but this time, to make it worse, I had to see the entire thing. I sat there with almost no injury while Austin died,” I put my hands over my eyes, “Just like mom and dad, I killed Austin too! I told him too much and I killed him!”
“Miss Morel, you did not kill him. Your uncle did.”
I looked to the lawyer, “But I knew there was a chance he may get hurt because of me, but I still let him into my world! I might as well have killed him! I caused his death!” I brushed away the tears on my face, “But I was so unbelievable happy with Austin, I couldn’t bring myself to separate us! I was selfish and he paid for my actions with his life even though I wanted to protect him and keep him close to me.”
“It sounds to me as if you were stuck between a rock and a brick wall, Miss Morel. You had to either break Austin’s and your heart in order to protect him or you had to stay with him and be happy while trying to keep him protected.” The judge looked down on me, “You are not at fault here, Miss Morel,” She whispered, “I know you may not believe me when I say you are innocent in all three cases of murder, but you are,” She rustled through some papers, “Obviously because of the abuse you received, you have developed some type of mental issue that makes you think anything that goes wrong was caused by you when you only did what was humanly possible or what anyone else would have done in your situation.”
“But she has no proof of abuse, your honor! How do we not know she is just lying in order to defend her fiancé?” Uncle’s lawyer demanded, “I mean this girl was an actress for a lot of her life so how do we not know she is just acting out a fake story?”
The judge looked to me, “Do you have any sort of proof so that all suspicions of abuse can be silenced, Miss Morel?”
I looked to her, “Obviously my word means nothing but will other’s word help? I know a few people who may be able to testify.”
“Are they present?”
I nodded, “My adoptive father has been near me my entire life up until 7 years ago so he can tell you most of the things, granted that I lied to him about where I had gotten injured. Also,” I looked to the back of the room, “Dr. Alice is waiting outside as I asked her to. She was the person who helped me when I was abused and she has documentation.”
“Well since there is documentation, please have Dr. Alice come to the stand.” She said and then doors in the back opened. Dr. Alice walked in as I got off of the stand, but we both stopped when we met up.
Dr. Alice placed her gentle hand on my cheek, “You were very brave to finally speak out, Noel, let me handle the rest.”
I smiled slightly to her, “Thanks, Dr. Alice.” I whispered before walking back to my seat next to Peter as everyone watched me, but their attention was taken by the captivating presence Dr. Alice showed while in the prosecution chair.
“Dr. Alice, Miss Morel has said you attended to her when she was injured, is this true?”
Dr. Alice nodded, “When Noel came to the United States I was asked by her father’s best friend, Peter, to be Miss Morel’s personal doctor. When I first met Noel, Peter explained to me that the little 10 year old girl had to have a personal doctor because she was terrified of hospitals. The terror of hospitals was caused when she watched her father die in a hospital after the accident which caused her serious mental problems and the main thing that triggered her mental breakdowns was hospitals. So, I became her doctor and was surprised by how much she would get injured. She would go to sleep over at a friend’s house and the next day I would be called to come see her because she was heavily injured. I realized after some time that there was something odd about the injuries since they always seemed to be inflicted by another person. At first, I was suspicious that her grandparents or Peter were the one’s injuring her, but my suspicions were stopped when I saw how close Noel was to Peter and when her grandparents died, but the injuries still continued. Luckily, when Noel was moved to Kennewick right after her 12th birthday things seemed to settle down. They injuries happened less often until they slowly seemed to stop all together. Her modeling career took off, she started making friends, and her mental health was becoming better, but that all changed right before her 18th birthday. She disappeared from Peter and no one knew where she was except that she was most likely with her Uncle since Rider Williams over heard her talking to him right before she forced Rider out of her house and then disappeared. Now, when she returned and was covered with a bruise on her forehead, a cut on her neck, and a bruise that consumed her entire right side of her torso, I was not called because Noel did not think she needed a doctor. But after a fashion show dedicated to her parent’s she disappeared for 4 days so there was an amber alert put into effect. When she finally came back I was called by Rider with a request from Peter to see if I could come see Noel immediately because she was severely injured…”She pulled two VCR tape out of her pocket and then looked to me, “I brought these two surveillance camera videos as asked by Noel.”
“Miss Morel,” The judge whispered, “What are these videos of?”
I looked to the woman, “One of them I would like to play for the whole court is of the time Dr. Alice was describing. It is a documentation of what exactly she found and our conversation.”
“Proceed.” The Judge said and the bailiff came to put the tape Dr. Alice had in a VCR player that would show the incident on a blank wall to the right of the front of the court room.
“It’s good to see you, Dr. Alice.” I said but she did not take my hand. She stared at my bruised body in a horrified way.
“What in the world happened to you, Noel? You’re covered in bruises!” She gasped and I grabbed her wrist. I put her hand on my forehead and she jumped.
“When I checked my fever last night it was 104.”
“You’re burning up! You must have an infection!”
I looked away, “Maybe, I have no clue,” I grabbed onto my right arm, “You should check my arm first,” I whispered, “I’m pretty sure it’s broken in more than one place.”
“Why haven’t you gone to see a doctor?”
I looked to her, “You know I don’t trust most doctors.”
“So you waited for me to check on you?”
I nodded, “It’s childish, but that’s what I did.”
“Alright, lay down on the couch and I’ll look at you,” she said but then turned to the guys, “Could you two wait outside the room?” Dr. Alice was quiet as she checked my whole body and when she was done she turned to the doorway, “You two can come back in.” She whispered and I sat up on my couch. Peter came immediately to the doctor as Rider lingered behind him.
“What’s your prognosis, Dr. Alice?”
She sat on the couch next to me, “Noel has broken her arm and wrist of the same side, has significantly cracked her ribs on her left side, has bruised at least 90% of her body, and…” Dr. Alice took my left hand in hers and I looked to her, “You were raped, weren’t you, Noel?” I stared at her in horror, “But this wasn’t the first time someone has raped you, is it? There are bruises that were from the time before when you were raped. It was recently. I’d guess in the past month but I’m not entirely sure,” Her grip on my hand tightened, “Was the time before the first time you were raped or did it happen before that too?” I looked away from her, “Noel, you have to tell me. As your doctor and someone who cares, I have to know.”
I looked back to the doctor, “N…no. That was not the first time.”
“When was the first time, Noel?”
I looked to her hand that held onto mine, “I don’t remember the exact time, but it was not long before my parents died.”
“Was it the same person who raped you every time?” She asked and after a moment of silence I nodded, “Who raped you, Noel?”
I looked to my legs, “I can’t say.”
“Noel! You have to tell me!”
I pulled my hand from hers and started to cry, “No! No!” I hollered, “If I tell you he will get angry! Then he will take Peter away from me too!” I put my hands on either side of my head, “He took my parents! And if I tell anyone he will take Peter too! Then he’ll go after anyone else I care for! I can’t tell anyone! I can’t! I can’t!”
“Noel! You have to calm down!” She pleaded as she hugged me tightly, “Has this rapist threatened Peter’s life?”
I looked up to her, “If he had not I would never meet with him,” I whispered, “The first time he threatened to kill my parents but I told my dad in assurance he would not find out, but he was the one who killed them!” I cried onto her arm.
“But Guillaume and Charae died in a car accident! The man who checked the car afterwards said something went wrong in the steering wheel!” Peter argued and I shook.
“He did that to the car! The day of the funeral he told me he made it so the steering wheel would get stuck!” I cried, “If I had known he was serious about killing them if I told I would’ve never breathed a word but I was so scared I couldn’t keep it to myself!”
“Of course you were scared!” The doctor said as she pulled me closer, “Has he been continuously raping you since your parents died?”
I shook my head, “He left me alone since I came to live with Peter, but he started again a few weeks ago.”
“What caused him to start again?”
I choked back tears, “It was my fault once again, so I do not blame him for it. Each time I did something to anger him even though I knew the consequence of my actions.”
“Is he the only who cut your hair off before?”
I slowly nodded, “He cut it off with scissors once he knew I was away from Peter but it was all chopped oddly so I went to a barber and that was the best they could do.”
“Did he make you dye your hair and give you those piercings?”
I looked to my legs, “He told me the last time that if I did not stay away from…certain others…he would make it so I could not model and get near those people more.”
“Who did he tell you stay away from?”
I looked to the woman, “Rider, Ash, and all other male models around my age.”
“So he did all of these piercings so that you could not be a model anymore?” She asked and I started shaking.
“Modeling is all I have left that I love so he also took it away! He took away my parents, Peter, Rider, my friends, and my passion! He wants to make it so I have nothing left anymore.”
“Why? What does he have against you?”
I looked away from her, “I’m sorry.”
“You can’t tell us, can you?” She asked and I shook my head.
“Please, I just need everyone to stay out of this so that he does not get angrier.”
She sighed, “Alright, well let’s get a cast on your arm, hand, and ribs so that you can get around and they will heal.”
“Can I take my finals? They start tomorrow.”
“Are you up to it?”
I nodded, “Of course.”
When the tape stopped Uncle’s lawyer stood angrily, “This has nothing to do with this case, your honor! It does not even concern Mr. Smith at all!”
Dr. Alice smiled towards the man, “Yes, this tape does not have anything to do with this case,” She handed the other tape to the bailiff, “Until you pair it with this other tape, right Noel?”
I quickly stood and hurried to Austin’s lawyer to whisper something to him, “Your honor, Miss Morel would like to tell everyone in advance that there are disturbing images on this tape and if they cannot handle it, they should leave now.”
The judge looked to Dr. Alice, “Exactly what is on this tape, Dr. Alice?”
“I don’t know,” She replied and everyone seemed shocked, “Noel called me last night and requested that I retrieve two specific tapes she had hidden in her room before she left. She specifically asked me not to watch them, so I did not.”
The judge looked to me, “Miss Morel, please tell us what this tape is of.”
I watched the woman, “It is the truth, your honor,” I whispered, “It will prove everything I have told you happened before I left Peter’s home. Also, it will show you what my uncle is capable of and why he cannot be let out into society ever again.”
“Alright, Bailiff, put in the tape.” The judge said and he did so. We all waited as the tape was turned on. It showed me hurrying around the spare bedroom trying to clean it up. Suddenly a loud noise sounds and I turn to the door that cannot be seen in the tape.
“Uncle!” I gasp as I froze in terror. He walks into the room so that he can be seen on the tape.
“It’s worthless to try to hide the evidence, Noel; you let a man sleep here, didn’t you?”
“Uncle, it’s not what you think!”
He storms over to me and grabs my shirt, “You are going to become just like your mother! You’re going to become pregnant with another bastardly child! It was that Rider boy wasn’t it? You whore!” He threw me into the side of the bed and my forehead hit the wooden base of the bed as my neck was cut by the edge of the wood at the bottom of the bed’s frame.
I sat up as I cried, “I did not sleep with him uncle! I promise you! I would never do such a thing!”
“Lies!” He hollered as he picked me up again by my shirt, “Did my killing your parents’ not teach you not to defy me? Maybe I should kill Peter and Rider to get the message to you!”
“No! Uncle! You don’t understand!” I cried, “Please! All I have left is Rider and Peter! Please don’t hurt them!”
“Then I will teach you another lesson you will not soon forget!” He said in a holler before he tore off all of my clothes. Everyone watched in silence and horror as I was raped by my own uncle. I put my head between my legs as I cried and the room spun. I did not look back up until I heard my uncle re-do his belt. He kicked my right side of my torso repeatedly as I cried out, “You are getting an abortion! I will not allow you to also have a bastard child!” He yelled before turning around and looking away from me, “Get dressed quickly! We are leaving in five minutes.” He stormed out of the room as I curled into a ball and started crying. The tape went black but everyone still watched the wall it had been playing on in shock. I hugged myself as I continued to cry but looked up to Dr. Alice to see her crying.
“How!” She whaled, “How did you go on for most of your life being treated like that and not tell anyone, Noel?” She looked to me with horror.
I put my hands over my eyes, “I’m sorry!” I cried, “I’m so sorry!”
Dr. Alice turned to the judge, “There is no way to doubt that much proof, your honor. We saw her beat and raped as her uncle said he killed her parents and would kill the people close to her so it proves he most likely killed the man she was going to marry.”
Uncle’s lawyer stood, “But how do we know she was not lying and did have sex with that boy?”
Rider suddenly stood a few seats away and I looked to him in shock like everyone else, “Your honor! There is no possible way I could have had sex with Noel because I have never had sex before! I am still a virgin and am proud to be one!” He hissed and then turned to my Uncle’s lawyer, “I also know that Noel wanted to save herself for the one she loved so she had not had sex with anyone other than when she was forced to by her uncle!”
I looked to the judge as she brushed tears off of her face, “I believe the jury has enough evidence to now make their decision. At this time the jury will go to another room to make their choice.” The jury got up and left the room as the judge watched everyone else, “For everyone else, we will have a short recess and resume this once the jury is back.” She got up and went out the back door of the room where my uncle was then brought through as Dr. Alice ran over to me. She fell to her knees and embraced me as I sat there crying.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered to her in a hiccup, “Thank you for bringing those tapes and testifying.”
She took her head off of my shoulder and brushed tears off of my face as more ran down her own, “I would do anything in order to make it so that man can never hurt you again, Noel.”
I nodded towards her, “Yes, thank you.” I whispered before looking up as Chris came over to us.
“Can we talk in private?” He asked in a regret-affected voice.
“Yea,” I replied before standing, “Excuse us for a minute.” I walked out of the court room and down an empty hall before stopping.
“Was everything you said true, Noel?”
I looked to him, “Yes, every last bit of it,” I whispered, “I’ve caused you so much pain, Chris. I took away your best friend forever. If you hate me now, I understand, and even if you want to hit me, I’ll be okay with it.”
He stared at me, “Did Austin know he might be killed if he stayed near you?”
I nodded, “I told him everything,” I whispered, “He was the only one that knew all of my secrets because I loved him.”
“Is that why you won’t go visit his grave? Because you feel you caused his death?”
I nodded, “Yea.” I was shocked when Chris hugged me tightly to him but I quickly started crying.
“Austin chose to stay beside you, Noel, even if he would die. He could be a fool at points, but I would have done the same thing if I was in his place,” His body started to shake, “You have been suffering all of this time and I didn’t even know! I’m an idiot!”
I squeezed myself closer to him, “You’re not an idiot! I made it so you could never figure it out!”
He looked to me as I cried, “I almost killed Sam Smith after I saw those videos! I wanted to kill him so badly! But then I realized he does not deserve a quick death. He deserves to rot in a jail for the rest of his life for what he has done to you.”
Peter quickly walked over to us suddenly and I looked to him with surprise, “The jury has decided, Noel. You two should get back in there.” I nodded as I let go of Chris but stopped walking past Peter when he touched my shoulder, “You were really brave today, Noel. Regardless of what they decide, you have finally beaten your uncle. Your dad would be very proud.”
I watched him for a moment, “You remind me of dad more and more every day.” I whispered before kissing his cheek and then jogging back into the court room. I sat down beside Dr. Alice who held my hand in hers with assurance.