Chapter 21: Plans
“I have to admit – this is perfect,” Willow comments as she cuddles up with Tony on the couch. “Can we do this more often?” Tony laughs as he wraps his arms around her.
“We can come up here whenever there’s time in the schedule,” he tells her. “Actually, I can’t wait to bring you in the summer.” She then thinks about the possibilities that could happen during the summer with the amount of property and fun to be had.
“Oh really? Why’s that?” Tony smiles, thinking of past summers. He knew it’d be more fun with a friend to share it with.
“We can go sit in the trees and if we’re quiet enough, we’ll draw the attention of the deer. They’ll come walking around. It’s kind of nice.” Willow smiles, thinking how simple of a guy Tony can be truly be at times.
“Are you sure that you can that be quiet with me around?” He then tickles her as she jumps up off the couch, laughing. “That’s what I mean!”
“I’m being quiet. It’s you that’s laughing and causing all the noise. Crazy lady you are!” She then climbs back on the couch, climbing on him.
“I can make you be just as loud as I am being and so easily do so.” He ten warps his arms around her, holding her close to him.
“It’s fact – you only want one thing and one thing right now. Just reveal the details, Willow.” A smirk forms on her lips as she shakes her head. It was easy to play these games with Tony.
“Oh no hun, that’s what you want. This is what I want to do.” She then reaches under his arms, tickling him as he squirms underneath her, letting out big laughs of his own.
“Stop…stop…So unfair!” She then stops after awhile, getting up form her spot as she looks at him.
“All is fair in love and war. Love you, babes.” She then heads to the kitchen to get a drink from the fridge, returning with a pair of drinks for them both. She then sits down on the couch, looking over at him with a smile. “So, we can do anything that I want to do over the next couple of days, right?”
“That’s what I said.” He then looks over at her, intrigued and now slightly worried. There was something wrong about the tone of her voice. “What are you thinking?” A smile forms on her face as she knew the perfect thing for them to do together.
“There’s a movie that I want to go see. What if we go to the movies one night?” Immediately, the movie on the mind came to Tony as he simply shakes his head.
“You just want to go see Furious 7 so you can stare at either Paul or Vin, right?” She shakes her head, immediately. She wasn’t interested in seeing that movie. While it was definitely for car people and somewhat interesting, it didn’t catch her interest. She didn’t care for all the crazy stunts that they seemed to pull together with a half-ass story line. It was a series that grew dead on her by the third movie.
“That’s not the movie that I had on the brain, and you’d be stealing at Jordan Brewster anyway.” Tony shakes his head no, keeping his eyes locked on Willow. He wanted to know the movie now.
“She’s got nothing on you, babes. What’s the movie, then?” The smile remains on Willow’s face as she can’t wait to see the reaction from Tony.
“Cinderella.” Tony’s jaw drops immediately and he shakes his head no.
“No…no…no…” She had expected that reaction from Tony.
“You said we could do anything that I wanted, as long as we got to spend time together and away from the craziness. I’ve had my eyes on that movie since the previews came out. It’d be a treat if you took me.” He then lets out a sigh as he can’t believe that she was doing this to him.
“Out of all the movies, why Cinderella?” She smiles, thinking of the reasons.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Cinderella story. I enjoyed it even more when Hilary Duff did her variation on it. Now, though, I want to see what the new movie is like. Plus, the girls that I know, they say it’s really good.” Tony rolls his eyes. Was this really happening?
“Can’t you wait till it comes out on DVD?” She then gives him a fake frown, knowing that he’d accept immediately. He hated to see her sad.
“You said I could do anything. Now, you’re backing out on me? That’s mean, Tony!” Tony lets out a sigh, knowing that he had to live up to his promise.
“Fine. I’ll go see Cinderella with you. However, if I agree to see Cinderella, you have to agree to do something that I want to do this week without any objections.” She shakes her head, accepting. That was a fair deal.
Besides, what could Tony cook up for them to do together that would be that bad?
Chapter 22: Easter
“So, I heard you and my brother spent the couple of days hanging out in Indiana,” Natalie comments as she washes the dishes after dinner, always liking to help her mom. Willow had offered to join in helping, drying them off.
“We needed some time to get away from everything,” Willow replies as Natalie shakes her head, understanding. She had heard about the craziness over the past month or so.
“So I heard. I can’t….I can’t fathom that someone would do that, especially a mother.” Willow was used to that response now, nobody believing the actions of her mother were even humanly possible.
“I’ve heard that a lot, but welcome to my life. That’s just how it goes, I guess.” Natalie glances over, a bit of sympathy forming in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Willow. I can’t even imagine…”
“Don’t feel sorry or go on about it. It’s fine. I’m dealing with it and putting it behind me. I’ve got my health, a job and a great boyfriend.” Natalie smiles as she looks into the living room at her brother.
“Listen, I can tell you right now that you make him really happy. That smile that he’s got on his face is more truer now than ever. I know you say that he’s awesome for you, but you’re also awesome for him. I should be the sister scaring away all the girls, but I can’t do that to you.” Willow looks over with a smile of her own. It was nice to have someone to talk to about things. “So, what did you do this week? Well, besides…which I don’t want details.”
“We hung out together, and I made him take me to see Cinderella.” Natalie then looks over, surprised.
“Wait – he went and watched Cinderella with you?” Willow slowly shakes her head yes as Natalie shakes her head in disbelief. “Wow. I would never have imagined him doing that. What curse do you have over my brother – better yet, how did you make him agree?” Willow smiles as she leans back against the counter.
“He told me that we could do anything I wanted, so I tested those boundaries. He was a little hesitant at first, but he gave in. don’t tell him I told you but I think he liked it. He was smiling in the theatre.” Natalie chuckles as she pretends to make a mark on the wall.
“Blackmail noted.” Willow laughs.
“Although, there was payback. He made watch Smokey and Bandit, again, for the third time in the past two weeks. How can a man watch a movie that many times?” Natalie shakes her head, not sure herself.
“At least it’s a good movie.” Willow shakes her head in agreement.
“It still gets annoying watching it over and over that many times close together, and he knows that it annoys me so I think he did it on purpose.” Natalie smiles.
“That’s Tony. He’s always playing around with people. When he plays around with you, you know that things are good.” The girls then finish up the dishes and get set to rejoin the rest of the family, when Willow stops Natalie in her tracks.
“There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you. I’m going to start working on wedding plans throughout this year. Tony says he’s not picky about anything, except the date, his best man and location. Other than that, it doesn’t matter. I was wondering if you could help me.” Natalie shakes her head yes with a big smile.
“Of course! I’d love to help you plan the wedding!” Willow lets a smile form on her face.
“Thanks. That means a lot. I mean…” Willow then takes a deep breath. “…It’s hard without a lot of family of my own. I guess it’s going to feel a little weird.” Natalie wraps an arm around her.
“It’ll be different than normal weddings but who cares! All that matters is that on your wedding day, you’re surrounded by those who love you and support you.” Willow shakes her head, in agreement, though still feeling some slight sadness of her own.
“Do you think it’ll look odd if I walk down the aisle by myself?” Natalie had wondered what Willow’s dad and where he was and details there. She knew about how he was involved in the abuse to Willow as a child, but nothing else. It seemed odd that her mom had only offered these days.
“Absolutely not. I’ve had friends who have walked down the aisle for whatever reason that may be – whether a parent dying, or a reason like your own. Nothing was said to them, and no comments will be made about you. Listen, take a deep breath and wash these worries away. You don’t need to worry about this, Willow. Everything will be fine and you’ll have the most magical day of your life. Just let the worries wash away.” Willow shakes her head, wishing that she could simply do that. However, as she went to do that, reminders of the past were circling in her mind.
Chapter 23: Trial
“I don’t want to be here,” Willow whispers as she gets out of the car with Tony. “I don’t want to see her. I don’t want to be reminded…” Tony walks around and pulls her close, wrapping both arms around her.
“I don’t want to think about her or what she did to you…to us either,” Tony replies. “But, we have to go in there. We have to go through the legal process so that way she goes to jail for what she did.” Willow then glances up at Tony.
“Can’t they do that without us?” Tony keeps her held close as they slowly walk towards the doors.
“They could, but it’s better if we’re here according to the legal analysts.” He then stops and looks at her. “Willow, I know this is hard for you. I know you don’t want to face her or be reminded of what happened. But I’ll be right here beside you, holding your hand the whole way. I promise to never leave your side. It’s going to be okay.” She shakes her head yes, trying to wipe away the tears that are coming down her face.
“I just want to forget everything….I don’t want to be reminded….I don’t want the pain….” Tony shakes his head, understanding.
“This is the first step in erasing that pain, by locking her away in a jail cell forever where she belongs. Once she’s away, then she can’t hurt you anymore. That gives you safety and security, which makes everything easier. Then you can work through getting past what happened.” He then wipes away the last bit of tears for her. “Now, are you ready to go in there?” Willow shakes her head no.
“I’ll never be ready….” He then clutches onto her hand tightly.
“Will you be ready if I hold your hand the whole time?” She then glances up and shake her head no.
“I can’t…do this…” Tony pulls her close.
“Easy Willow, easy….” She then lets the tears fall once again as Tony keeps her held close, rubbing her back. “Hey now, I thought you were going to be strong and face this like a big girl. I thought you weren’t going to let your mom control your life or chase you away, just like you didn’t let her tell you what to do by joining me in California.” She then glances up from his chest to look into his eyes.
“It’s hard to be strong…”
“I know, but I also know that you can do it as you’re a strong, feisty person who can take on the world. Besides, I’ll be here by your side the whole time.” She then takes a deep breath before straightening herself up and looking towards the doors.
“Let’s get this over with, please.” Tony agrees, leading her through the doors and to the court room.
The pair take their seats behind the bench where instructed, as the judge comes out and takes his spot. Tony gets his first glimpse at her mother, watching her being ushered into the room. She wasn’t that big of a person, reminding him of your typical mothers out there. It was strange to think that this little lady could cause all the harm that they had been through over the past couple of months, and what Willow had gone through most of her life. He feels Willow shiver in his arms, wrapping them tighter around her and pulling her even close, if that was possible.
“I am going to through the list of charges that you are charged with, Ms. Tina Meredith Salone, and you are to answer guilty or not guilty to each one,” the judge states, catching everyone’s attention in the room. “How do you plead to second degree arson with relation to the Stewart residence?” Tony felt his blood boil as he thought about what she had done. If it was up to him, she should’ve been charged with first degree arson due to someone being in the house, namely his pig.
“Guilty,” she answers as the judge makes a note. The answer brings a sigh and slight surprise to the court room. if there was any charge that she could possibly prove to be innocent of, that’d be the one.
“Thank you. Your sentence could be a minimum eight months, to a maximum of 31 months. Due to the list of charges, any statements that are to be filed about why the actions took place will be saved to the end. On the charge of harassment towards Ms. Willow Salone, how do you plead?” Willow shivers at the thought of her mother following her through the past couple of months and taking photos. It was disgusting to think of the fact that her mother had taken photos of her alone with Tony.
“Not guilty.” Willow feels the blood drain from her, knowing that would mean that she’d have to speak in front of the court about what her mother had done over the past couple of months. It was hard enough to think about, let alone talk with Tony. How was she going to tell a court room full of people?
“On the charge of harassment towards Mr. Tony Stewart, how do you plead?” Tina glances back at Tony with a slight smile, knowing that she had enjoyed watching the man with her daughter.
“Guilty.” Tony glances at Willow in surprise, thinking that she would’ve said ‘not guilty’ due to her previous plead. However, whatever the case may be, it was nice to hear as that meant more time in jail.
“Thank you. Now, the district attorney has requested that charges be laid for harassment in North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia and California as the defendant supposedly harassed Mr. Stewart in each of those states. That motion has been denied as if you’re going to charge someone in a separate state, you need to do that in their respective court system. As a result, it will be a single charge of harassment against Mr. Stewart. Based on North Carolina law, that’s a Class A1 misdemeanor, resulting in community punishment and supervised probation. So once you’re done your sentence for arson, that will take affect and you will have so many community hours as determined by the court at a later date. Also, since you have been previously convicted of stalking a couple years ago, even though it’s not in North Carolina, you are subject to a Class F felony charge. Per state law, that results in 10 to 41 months in prison. So based on your plead of guilty for arson and guilty of stalking Mr. Stewart, so far you’re looking at 18 to 72 months in jail, followed by community service and probation.”
Willow felt some comfort in that detail. She may not be going to jail for as long as Willow hoped, but she’d only be let out under the supervision of the law. With that supervision, hopefully that’d keep her far away and prevent her from harming them ever again.
“On to the next charge,” the judge continues. “On the charge of trespassing with relation to the Stewart motorcoach whether in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia or California, how do you plead?” This was a charge that she could not escape easily, given the fact that the photos – or at least what Willow hadn’t thrown in the fireplace that afternoon – were entered in for court evidence.
“Guilty,” Tina answers as Tony sat back with a smile. certainly that plead would make things easier in regards to her comment earlier about not harassing Willow since Willow was in those very photos that she admitted to.
“Thank you. Now, if you go with the explanation earlier, I shouldn’t be allowed to pursue those charges due to the fact that we’re not in any of those states. However, each state received a police report stating that she was stalking on their grounds. With those police reports and charges from each respective state, you’re looking at a total of six trespassing charges. According to Florida law, that equals up to 60 days in jail, up to six months probation, and up to $500 in fines. According to Georgia law, that equals up to 12 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. According to Arizona law, that equals up to 18 months in jail and up to $150,000 in fines. According to Nevada law, that equals up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. According to Virginia law, that equals up to 12 months in jail and up to $50,000 in fines. According to California law, that equals up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Therefore, in total for all of your trespassing offences, that brings you to up to 56 months in jail, up to six months probation and up to $203,500 in fines. If you add to that to the previous, we’re looking at a possibility of 38 to 128 months in jail, along with up to five years of probation and up to $203,500 in fines.”
Willow quickly did the math in her head, realizing that 128 months equaled to approximately 10 years – just as the detective had predicted on the phone. She also realized that she could add 41 months if her mother was found guilty of harassing her, along with the previous charges to not be touched yet. However, it still didn’t seem fair in Willow’s mind. This whole trial process partially felt like a waste of time as in 10 to 15 years time, this lady could be back bugging them again.
“Moving on….” The judge states, catching Willow’s attention once again. “On the charge of trespassing on to the Stewart residence in North Carolina, how do you plead?”
“Not guilty,” Tina answers, causing a couple laughs in the court room. It seemed ridiculous considering that she had set the house on fire. How do you set the house on fire without touching the property?
“Lastly, did you take photos of Ms. Salone and Mr. Stewart that included sexual explicit content without their permission?”
“No, I did not.” Tony shook his head in disbelief, knowing some of the photos that were taken sat waiting for the trial.
“Thank you. That is all for the sentences. Ms. Salone, there is no chance of paroll since you have pled guilty to a series of charges already. As for the three charges that you pled not guilty to, trial will begin next week with testimony from both sides to determine whether you’re guilty or not. Once the trial is complete, the actual length of your sentence will be determined. However, given the fact that you have pled guilty to numerous charges, you should be looking at the maximum, being 128 months in jail, along with five ears probation and $200,000 in fines to pay. Court adjourned!”
Chapter 24: Texas
“There’s something on your mind….” Tony comments as he wraps an arm around Willow on their flight to Texas. She then lays her head on his chest and lets out a sigh.
“Just thinking,” Willow says as Tony rubs her back.
“What are you thinking about?” They both knew what she was thinking about with the question even being asked. It was obvious based on the past couple of weeks.
“10 years doesn’t seem fair, does it?” He shakes his head, understanding.
“It doesn’t seem fair, but welcome to our lovely justice system. Though, it could be longer…” Willow shivers at that brings up the other scary thought on the mind. Beyond being worried about her mother’s eventual prison release, she was worried about having to testify before the court.
“I don’t think I can go through with that, Tony.” He knew that she was scared, and worried. He could understand that based on the fact that her parents had been an image of abuse and violence in her life for as long as she could remember.
“You said that you couldn’t go into that court room and face her, and you did that. That’s a step in the right direction.” He then takes a deep breath, thinking over his words of advice. “You know that I always have your back and will be with you the whole way. I’ll be sitting in that court room as well, having your back for support. I will be there to help you, and hold you close afterwards to comfort you. You can do this, Willow. You don’t have to be scared anymore. I’ve got you.”
Tony then continues rubbing her back till she falls asleep against him, as Kevin takes a glance over towards the pair.
“So 10 years?” He questions and Tony slowly shakes his head yes.
“IT could become almost 20 years if you add the other charges, but that’s it,” he comments as Kevin shakes his head in disbelief.
“I hate our justice system. That’s totally unfair.” Tony shakes his head in agreement, once again.
“She will then spend five years on probation, having to answer to an officer once a month to make sure that she’s staying out of trouble.” Kevin lets out a chuckle, wondering if that’s even possible.
“Sorry, but I don’t believe that one.” He then turns his demeanor back to serious as he looks over at them. “Are you guys going to get a restraining order for when she gets out?” Tony shakes his head yes. He had already spoken to the lawyer about that, following the opening hearing without Willow’s knowledge.
“They say that shouldn’t be a problem to get considering that she’s been convicted of a shit load of charges already. She’ll have to stay 100 yards away from me, Willow and any properties that we own.” Kevin felt comfort in that, but everybody also knew that a restraining order was just a piece of paper at the end of the day. “I’m not worried about that right now. I can deal with that in 20 years. Right now, it’s dealing with the emotions at hand. It’s helping Willow through the pain, comforting her, helping her get through the trial and everything afterwards.”
“I understand. I can’t imagine to have gone through what she’s gone through.” Tony glances down at her, running his fingers through her long hair.
“She went through 16 years of hell with her parents, and who knows what happened then. Based on what she’s told me so far, it was filled with physical abuse. If you add that to the recent years, it’s unbelievable.” Kevin shook his head, understanding.
“Well, if you need someone to talk to about things, you know where to find me. I’m always available for you both.” Tony looks over at Kevin, accepting the offer.
“Thanks, and thank you for making her speak up about the original photos.” Kevin glances over.
“I was just doing what a friend does – that’s all.” He then grabs his phone, quickly checking his messages. “So I hear she’s working on planning the wedding…”
“She feels if she keeps herself busy with work and planning the wedding, it’ll help her get through everything. I told her that was fine. For me, the wedding doesn’t matter. As long as I’m with her, that’s all that matters.” Kevin then looks over surprised.
“So you’re telling me that you gave her for reign for the wedding?” Tony shakes his head yes as Kevin shakes his head in disbelief. “You never, ever do that with a girl. Do you know how crazy girls go in planning their dream weddings?” Tony lets out a little laugh, having heard the stories.
“I’ve heard, but I got nothing to worry about. Based on what she’s told me, it’s not going to get blown out of proportion. The only rules that she has is it will be in Indiana during the off-season, and I get to choose my best man.” Kevin then looks over with a eyebrow raised.
“Oh really?” Tony shakes his head yes, seeing the grin on Kevin’s face. They both knew what the other was thinking.
“Yep – oh, and a certain ring barrier. I’d love to have Keelan as part of the wedding.” Kevin was fine with that, but had his mind stuck on the best man comment.
“So…about the best man….” Tony chuckles, seeing where Kevin is going.
“You should meet him. I hear he’s a great guy.” Kevin then looks over with his eyebrows raised. “He’s a California boy and he drives racecars for a living.”
“Does his name start with a J?” Tony then looks at Kevin shocked as Kevin laughs. “That was the worth the look on your face! Tell me more about this best man.” Tony then thinks it over.
“He’s a great guy to talk to and great to lean on advice. He has a great kid that is beyond adorable. Oh, and his wife is just…wow, too hot. She has a nice ass to pinch. But he can also be a royal pain in the ass.” Kevin laughs as he keeps his eyes on Tony.
“So, is there something that you have to ask?” Tony lets out a sigh.
“I wasn’t expecting to ask this soon in the game, but will you be my best man?” Kevin smiles and shakes his head yes.
“That was never a question. The minute you suggested it was the second that I accepted. I’d love to be part of your wedding, and you can steal the little guy.”
Chapter 25: Return to Court
“So I hear you already asked Kevin to be your best man,” Willow comments as they arrive at the court house, causing Tony to give her a curious glance. “Delana told me. We were talking wedding plans. She offered to help along with Natalie.”
“It just sort of came out on the way to Texas,” he tells her as she shakes her head understanding. “Keelan is also in for the ring barrier.” She accepts as they both get out of the truck and head towards the court house.
“I’ve been thinking about who could be our flower girls – perhaps Nat’s daughter. I also was going to ask one of my hometown girls, Shelly, to be my maid of honor. So it’s just determining the groomsmen and bridemaids.” Tony wraps an arm around her, pulling Willow close. He knew that she wanted to discuss wedding to keep her mind off of what was to take place inside the court room that afternoon. He was fine with that, but knew that they would have to tackle the past eventually.
“I told you that Zippy has to be one of my groomsmen. Delana and Natalie make up two of the bridemaids.” Willow shakes her head in agreement, having already decided upon that already.
“That’s already in the notes, Tony. You just need to tell me one more groomsmen so I can even it out on both sides. Then it’s determining location, the exact date, dress, color combination and food.” He then gives her a small kiss on the cheek.
“Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. You have a lot of time, and I believe that you can plan things in style. I told you that it doesn’t have to be anything special, as long as I have you close to me.” Willow shakes her head in agreement. She was fine by that motto as well, as the specifics weren’t going to be too picky to decide in her mind. Hence why she had her girls as she was set to open up the decision process to them.
She was more stuck on the thought of having to walk down the aisle herself. Despite the conversation with Natalie, she felt nervous still about doing that. She didn’t know why it bugged her as much as it was – it was just walking down an aisle to the love of her life. However, for some reason it did.
The pair enter the court room, taking their seats where they were supposed to sit. With the pleads taken care of a week ago, this was the beginning of the witnesses to determine her mother’s guilt on the final three charges. If they could find her guilty, it would only add about five to 10 more years to the 10-15 sentence – but those were years that they were hoping to get. The longer she locked away, the safer Willow felt.
“First witness may be called to the stand,” the judge instructs to the district attorney. The attorney turns around to face Tony and Willow. Everybody knew who was set to called up on the stand. She didn’t want to testify, but she knew that she had to if her mother was to be locked away.
“Ms. Willow Salone,” the district attorney states. Willow then slowly stands up, taking a deep breath as she keeps her eyes locked forward. She didn’t want to catch a glance of her mother if she didn’t have to.
“You’re going to be fine,” Tony whispers as he gives her a hand a quick squeeze before she walks to the front of the room, taking the stand.
“Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” The officer of the court asks and Willow shakes her head yes, keeping her eyes locked forward on Tony. She felt if she could keep her eyes locked on him, she could stay strong.
“Yes I do,” she states.
“You may begin,” the judge instructs.
“Thank you,” the district attorney starts. “Ms. Salone, please tell the court when things began with your mother.” Willow takes a deep breath, remembering the meeting she had with the district attorney. He told her that they were going to through each step of what happened so the jury got the whole picture.
“I was at Disney World with Tony and I noticed her in the crowd – or thought it was, anyway. I let it go, thinking that it was nothing.” Tony glances down, knowing otherwise. He remembered how Willow was a little off in the days that followed. “I was leaving the Daytona media center, having finished my last story for the night. As I was walking towards the pits to meet up with Tony, a fellow reporter – Jeff Gluck – ran up beside me with an envelope. He told me that someone had left it by the media center for me. I thanked him for it and continued on my way.” She then stops, remembering that night in Daytona. She still couldn’t believe it, even that day.
“Then what happened?” Willow takes a deep breath, remembering her feelings as she opened the contents.
“As I continued walking, I ripped open the seal of the envelope, curious as to the contents. Some photos fell out from Tony and I at the track; at first I thought it was a gift from a photographer. Then I saw some photos of Tony and I in Disney World, then photos of Tony and I in the motorcoach. It spooked me immediately. I couldn’t believe it. I reached the bottom of the envelope and saw the note – knowing who it came from.” The district attorney picks up an envelope from the desk and holds it up, showing some of the contents.
“Exhibit A – the envelope and the photos, as well as the note.” He then sets the note down in front of Willow. “What does the note say?” Willow shivers as she looks over the familiar hand-writing.
“Just one more time before I go, I’ll let you know that you can escape me, Willow.” The attorney flips the paper over before showing it to the jury.
“The note isn’t signed or anything. How did you know who it was from?” Willow glances up, focusing her eyes back on Tony once again.
“I know my mother’s hand-writing.” The district attorney walks back to the desk once again, grabbing another piece of paper.
“Exhibit B. Handwriting analysis conducted by the police. It determined that the writing of the note matched that of Ms. Tina Salone.” The district attorney then walks back over to Willow. “Ms Tina Salone said yesterday that she was not guilty of taking sexual photos or harassing. What is your response?” Willow glances towards the jury, who is taking their own look through the evidence. She wished that she could burn those items, along with what went in the fire place before California.
“That looks like harassment and sexual photos to me, doesn’t it?” The district attorney shakes his head yes.
“She also says that she didn’t trespass on to the Stewart residence property….” Willow shakes her head.
“Then how’d she set the house on fire? She admitted that, right?” The attorney then sits down, pleased with everything that was said.
“I’m done.” Willow then keeps her eyes focused forward, hoping that meant that she was done for the day on the stand. She was surprised that the district attorney hadn’t asked more questions. He had talked about discussing Willow’s past with her parents and running away at a young age. Guess that wasn’t needed, thankfully.
“Your witness,” the judge says to Tina’s lawyer as Willow closes her eyes. She prayed for no questions.
“Thank you,” Tina’s lawyer says as he stands up. So much for Willow’s wish that there’d be no questions. “Beyond that unsigned letter, do you have any proof that my client took the photos?” Willow glances down and shakes her head no. She now wished that she hadn’t burned the other letter.
“So, there’s a possible chance that someone else took the photos, right?” Willow then glances up and shrugs her shoulders.
“I suppose, but wasn’t it proven that she wrote the note that accompanied them?” The lawyer shrugs her shoulders.
“Handwritten analysis says that she wrote the note. But, couldn’t someone simply copy the writing?” Willow knew that was possible and let out a sigh.
“I suppose, okay?” She just hoped that the evidence and other counts of what her mother had done would disprove this theory that the lawyer was trying to come up with.
“You’re also saying that the photos prove her harassment. Since I’ve disproved that – in my perspective – what do you have to say?” Willow then glances back at the lawyer, her anger starting to boil through.
“Didn’t your client prove guilty to trespassing across the bloody freaking country? I supposed if you chase someone from one end of the fucking country to another, its harassment, isn’t it? If it isn’t, then I’d like to know what is.” Tony looks on surprised at the sudden show of frustration from Willow, but can’t help but also smile. If anything proved anything, she hit the buzzer now.
“Not exactly as you can trespass on to property without disturbing…but hey, I’ll take back that comment. Oh, and you can set a house on fire without stepping on the property. Ever heard of throwing matches and bombs?” A sly grin crosses Willow’s face. She had confidence and anger mixed in one, and this guy seemed like the perfect dish to serve it to.
“It seems you know how to become an arsine artist by that detail. What are you doing defending clients like my mother who plead guilty to a whole list of charges – except three minors one? Oh wait – I’ll take that back. I will say that you should read the report from the fire chief. It said that the house was soaked in gasoline before being lit so that way the whole place would burn. If you’re going to do that, don’t you have to walk on the property? But hey, what do I know? You just better be thankful that Porkchop is still alive.” The lawyer then looks at her intrigued, but also growing some anger of his own.
“Who’s Porkchop?” Willow smiles.
“Tony’s pet pig.” The lawyer glances back at his client, before turning his eyes to Willow.
“It’s too bad that we didn’t make a pork roast, huh?” Willow’s jaw dropped in shock, along with pretty much everybody else in the court room. “I’m done.” The lawyer then takes a seat as the judge sits there in surprise.
“Based on the comments made by Ms. Tina Salone’s lawyer, that whole testimony in defense of the charges is to be thrown out,” the judge instructs as he focuses his eyes on the lawyer. “To make such comments as yours, especially concerning a family pet, you should be thrown out for contempt. Keep that behavior up and this will be a short court proceedings for everybody. I think that also finishes court for today as well as some people should think over their behavior. Ms. Willow Salone, you are free to leave the stand. Court adjourned!” Willow gets down off of the stand, looking towards her mother’s lawyer with eyes of anger as she walks over to Tony.
“Can you believe that he said that about Porkchop?” She questions in shock as Tony wraps his arms around her.
“I’m surprised that didn’t come out of your mother’s mouth, but it seems those two belong together,” he comments. “I’m proud of you. you did a great job up there handling everything that was dished at you. I love you.” He then gives her a kiss on the lips before leading her out of the court room. “By the way, you looked pretty sexy up there giving him shit.” She then laughs.
In a way, saying those small details and releasing some of the anger – even if just towards the lawyer – was like therapy. It felt nice to get it out in the open. Perhaps that’s what she needed to do moving forward, versus trying to keep her mind busy with wedding planning and work.