It's Not That Simple ((Chapter Twelve))
I looked up at the young, solemn man standing before me. He had glasses, and he was squinting against the glare of the sun. The same thought kept repeating.
He's young. He has glasses. He's squinting. What color are his eyes?
"Yes," I whispered at last. "I'm Ellie." Nothing more, nothing less. I realized right then and there that I hated the name Eleanor, and never wanted to be called such again. That's what Phillip had called me. The thought that he'd said my name sickened me to the point of nausea.
So I bent over and threw up. Right on the officer's shoes.
The rest was a blur from there. I knew he picked me up and carried me (quite effortlessly, I might add) to an ambulance, where several people bent over me all at once. I wasn't able to distinguish the different faces. They all looked the same to me. Or maybe it was that they all had the same expression. Calm. Wiped clear of emotion.
"You're dehydrated," the doctor muttered when they put me in a bland, white room. It could have been hours later, what did I know? My mind was reeling. "Jude, get this girl an IV immediately. And medicine of some kind. She looks like she's in shock."
I didn't hear my nurse's reply, only her shoes clicking against the tile floor as she hurried from the room. I closed my eyes and drifted into a restful sleep.
When I opened them, it was dark outside. There was a tray of food on a fold-out table by my bed. I reached for it, but my arm dropped at the last second. It was too far away, I would have to use too much of my precious energy to grasp it.
Then another hand was there, this one much darker than mine, and Marion in all her glory was helping me to eat.
"You know, I killed him," I said bluntly as she dipped the spoon back in the soup. I wanted to get this part over it. I waited for her to yell at me.
She forced a smile. "No, Ellie, you didn't." She forced another mouthful of soup into my mouth. I couldn't talk for several seconds, I was concentrating so hard on swallowing.
"I don't want any more!" I exclaimed before she could cut off my abilty to speak again. Marion hesitated ever so slightly before setting the bowl back down.
"Okay," she sighed. "Then what do you want?"
I turned my head away from her. "Aren't you angry? Better yet, aren't you sad? He's dead, Marion. I killed him."
The funloving girl I knew burst into tears, right then and there. She buried her face in her arms and just sobbed. They were heartbroken, painful tears. I reached out to touch her, but thought better of it, and instead folded my hands across my stomach.
"There," she said thickly, looking up a few minutes later. "Does that satisfy you? Of course I'm sad and angry, how could you even ask that? But not at you, Ellie. Phillip's the one who killed him. You just...made it easier, I guess."
I blinked rapidly. Well, that had made me feel tons better. Not.
"Please don't say anything sarcastic," she begged, clasping her hands together. Suddenly, a bell rang, and she stood. "That's the end of visiting hours. I've got to go. Officer Johnson, the man who found you in the house? He'll be staying with me tonight to make sure I'm safe." She leaned over and hugged me. "I love you, Ellie. You're still my best friend."
I didn't ask questions. Just watched as she walked away.
I was released from the hospital three days later, given some medicine to take twice a day, and sent home. Except I didn't have anywhere to go. So Marion let me stay with her.
"The hearing is tomorrow," she said suddenly one afternoon, looking up at me. "You have to go and testify. Who's going to be your lawyer."
"I wasn't aware I needed one," I said robotically, staring at the ceiling. I'd seen Marion cry, a lot, over the past few days. I myself hadn't shed a tear. My emotions were turned off completely. It was like...my brain was protecting me. I tried not to think of Brandon. Or Phillip, really. All this court stuff wasn't going to help.
"Will he be there?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied, and we left it at that.
The courtroom was absolutely silent as I walked in the next afternoon. The jury stared at me. Some whispered, as if they'd already made their decisions regarding me and Phillip. I stared straight ahead, took my seat in front of the judge's podium next to my appointed laywer, and shut my mouth.
Phillip walked in less than five minutes later. He was limping, with crutches. He wasn't gloating, he wasn't smiling. He looked as serious as I'd ever seen him. Our eyes met, and I shuddered, unable to look away. Then, very slowly, a smirk stretched across his face.
"I HATE YOU!" I exploded, getting to my feet. I charged at him, ignoring the uproar in the crowd. I managed to smack him a few times before the police came over and dragged me back to my seat by the tops of my arms. I thrashed.
"Listen, missy," one of them snarled in my ear. "Either shut up, or you go right to jail? Understand. You got off easy, having shot the kid and all. So I suggest you be quiet right here and now, unless you want that lunatic over there to be a free man."
Excuse me? I wanted to say. Did that man kill your aunt, put your best friend in jail, and then basically murder your one true love in a matter of a few months. No? Well then, YOU shut up and stop making judgements. But I didn't.
"We hereby call the court to order," the judge said, pounding a mallet down on the podium. He was a heavyset, somber looking man who had bright eyes. I hoped to heaven he'd be fair and see the injustice in all of this.
I waited for the verdict.
Three very long hours later, the judge pounded his mallet down. He stared straight at Phillip. "I declare the defendant, not guilty! You sir, are sentenced to ten years in prison. Court dismissed."
I gasped, turning to my lawyer. "B-but...he killed my best friend!"
"Actually," the man whispered back. "He didn't. That was you. And since you didn't mean to, and Phillip made Brandon take the bullet, he'll be punished."
"But my Nana?" I asked. "What about her?"
"We have no proof he murdered her," the man admitted. "I'm sorry. We're lucky he even got a sentence, much less ten years. We're very lucky." He shook my hand. "It was a pleasure working with you. I'm sorry for your loss."
I couldn't fathom how everyone could be so blunt and unfeeling. It hurt.
Marion rushed over to me, pulling me close. "Ellie! Oh, Ellie. It's over."
It was over. A lot of things were over.
And for the first time since his death, I let myself cry. I sobbed and sobbed. People stared but didn't comment, shuffling past us out into the hall.
Through the tears, I saw them toting Phillip away. The last time I'd see him.
I hoped it was for good.
Thank you so much for bearing with me throughout all of this! I last updated in September (erm...) and so I feel very horrible. This is, technically, the last "chapter." But there will be an epilogue, and that will be the actual end. :D
So...I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you think Phillip's sentenance was fair? Do you think he actually killed Nana? How do you feel about the loss of Brandon?
:D Sorry for throwing all this craziness on you guys! Haha!
Well...thanks for reading!!!