CHAPTER 68: WE CALL TO THE STAND…BRIAN, RAYMOND AND ADAM
BRITIN – EARLY MONDAY MORNING
Our eyes, as well as our bodies, are locked together. I rock forward and his eyes flutter and then close as I kiss him. Our tongues are duelling lazily. I’m in no hurry to finish.
“Good?” He whispers and tilts his hips up.
“Mmm.” I mumble into his ear after sucking on his lobe.
“Now, please now.” He pleads as his cock twitches between us.
I hold his hips still and slowly withdraw and then slide back in even slower.
“Brian!” He whimpers. “Now!”
“Patience.” I growl and swat his hand away. “Let me.” I order and smirk at the look of frustration on his face.
I silence him with a kiss and slam into him twice and he almost pulls my hair out. “Justin!” I shout as I come hard.
“Oh Jesus Christ!” He yells. “Christ! Fuck!” He shudders underneath me and slowly the aftershocks subside.
Slowly I prop myself up on my elbows and look into the dazed face of my husband. “Don’t think I’ve seen you make that much.” I chuckle.
“I think…” He giggles. “I may be empty.”
“You’d better not be; it’s the only cream I eat!”
The weekend was the first time we hosted the family. And it will be the last, in the nicest possible way. We ended up having to go to Britin because Zee’s brothers also came. So while we managed to do pre-dinner drinks, dinner itself was impossible. Zee was annoyed as Zeus was big-brothering her too much, especially over the salmon. She had to threaten to lock the Aquacave to get him to back off.
We’re waiting for Judge Paal to come in and everyone on our side is surprisingly relaxed. He’s looking smug but also pissed off because within five minutes of his arrival, Brian and Justin went out giggling. They are cutting it close; it has to be said.
The idiot’s face on Friday, when he was smirking over being able to question Brian, was bad enough. But when he gets Justin on the stand, it will be all out war.
Malcolm keeps looking rather worriedly at the door but then he sighs in relief. I turn to see a sheepish looking Brian and Justin dashing down the aisle.
I smirk at Brian as they sit down, this time they haven’t bothered to change and they look well and truly fucked.
Nicely done Messrs Taylor-Kinney, nicely done.
“All rise for Judge Paal.” Malcolm states.
“You may sit.” She looks around the room and her face softens when she looks at Jenny and nods. Jenny does the okay sign.
“Defense to open.”
“I call to the stand Brian Aiden Taylor-Kinney.” I smirk to myself because I know Brian. He’s fiercely private and will stop me.
As he walks passed me, the first thing that hits me is the smell. He smells of sex! Fucking bastard! He takes the seat and is sworn in.
“Before we start your honour, can I say something?” Brian asks.
“Yes Mr Taylor-Kinney, go ahead.” She looks across at HB, who shrugs his shoulders.
“I want it put on record that the way you treated Jenny on the stand was unnecessary and repugnant. Try that with me Mr Novotny and what I did at the anniversary party will look like a gentle tap.”
“Are you threatening me?” I’m incredulous and look at the jury, but they are unmoved.
“No, merely giving you options.” He answers coolly. “And I think you should apologise to Jenny.”
“Uncle Brian…” Hunter calls out. “He won’t mean it.”
Uncle Brian? Oh please!
“That may be but he should still damn well say it. And so should you, your honour.”
“Mr Taylor-Kinney…” Judge Paal turns to face him and I smirk. It’s about time someone from their side got a smackdown!
“Thank you for your comments and reminding me of my duty of care.” She then turns to look at their side and I just stare incredulously at her. “Jenny, would you stand please?”
As she does so, she tugs Ben up with her and I roll my eyes.
“During the last trial day, I was more concerned with clearing the court and I should’ve handled your distress better. For that, I unreservedly and sincerely apologise. I hope you and your fathers accept it.”
“Yes your honour, thank you.” She smiles at her.
“Thank you, your honour.” Ben nods at her.
“Thank you Jenny, Mr Bruckner-Smart, you both may sit.” She then turns back to Brian. “Good enough Mr Taylor-Kinney?”
“Yes, your honour. Now him.”
“Mr Novotny. Either written or verbal, and to my satisfaction, you will provide an apology to Jenny by the end of the day.
“But…” I protest.
“Mr Novotny. If you were proper counsel, you would’ve been formally warned for what you did to Jenny, who essentially is a minor. Now proceed with your questioning of the witness.” She orders firmly.
I’m still incredulous but turn back to him. “Mr Taylor-Kinney, how long have you known me?”
“We met when we were 14 and were friends up until a couple of years back because of your betrayal.”
“Couple of years back? What are…?”
“Remember when you ordered $5,000 worth of food without our permission, amongst other things.”
“That’s not relevant!”
“It is Michael, because it shows that you would steal and get away with it, if you could. And it was only because Alice is so thorough that it was caught.”
“But I paid it back.” I point out, looking at the jury.
“But only after we passed on your details to the vendors so they dealt with you directly.”
“That’s in the past and…”
“So is the theft from our loft. And then there was the hotel bill.” Brian is looking me dead in the eye. “You and Lindsay would’ve got away with that too, wouldn’t you? If Zaden didn’t insist on itemised billing...”
“I’m not on trial here…” I stammer.
“Uh yes, you are Michael.” He scoffs and I blush, then glower at the jury member that rolls their eyes.
“Let’s get back on track Mr Taylor-Kinney.” I sneer the last few words and watch for a reaction. There is none.
“This is where you ask the next question Mr Novotny.” Judge Paal prompts me.
“I’m formulating my question carefully, your honour. I wouldn’t want to confuse the witness.”
“When you got drunk and drugged up, who took you home?” I ask with a smirk.
“Objection! Relevance.” HB stands up.
“Your honour, I am seeking to show my character as…”
“Mr Novotny.” Judge Paal pinches her forehead and takes a breath. “You’re aware, as counsel, that this part of the trial...which you are also the defendant...is as per the timetable, evidentiary. Your character was displayed last week. No, no, don’t speak…”
I scowl at the smirk on Brian’s face.
“Do you have any questions for Mr Taylor-Kinney that relates to the burglary?”
“Not at present, no your honour.”
“Do you think you will have some at some point today? Or should we let prosecution cross and then adjourn for the rest of the day?”
“No your honour.”
“No I won’t have any questions later either, your honour.” I feel like I’m on fire.
“Sit down Mr Novotny. Prosecution to cross.”
Well that couldn't have gone better if we tried! I stand up and make my way to the stand.
“Mr Taylor-Kinney, do you remember the circumstances that led up to the burglary of 6 Tremont Street several years ago?”
“Yes. Justin and his friend Daphne were told to set the alarm and I went to the gym. When I came back with my personal trainer, I discovered the theft.”
“Your personal trainer?” I’m thrown by that.
“Yeah, I was very sexually active both with and without Justin at the time and bought him back to continue our work out. Just in case the defense counsel wishes to bring that up. But now the only person I work out with is Justin.”
“Relevance?” Novotny snaps.
“Do you have Tourette’s Mr Novotny?” Judge Paal sighs. “Or are you actually objecting?”
“Objecting obviously, your honour.” He almost keeps the snark out of his tone but judging by her expression, not enough.
“Approach Mr Novotny...” She orders and when he’s in front of her, he glares at me. “Counsel, listen very carefully. You will moderate your tone. You have no more luck to push. Sit down!”
As he reaches his seat, Judge Paal clears her throat. “Overruled.”
I decide that looking at Brian is not going to help. So I turn to face Novotny, who is just staring at his papers, a frown marring his face with his shoulders slumped. He finally sits back, looking dejected.
Ah you’ve just read it, haven’t you? What an idiot!
“So after you discovered the burglary and reported it to the police, what happened?”
“Afterwards, I called Michael.” Brian shakes his head. “I threw Justin out as I thought he was to blame for not setting the alarm and locking the door. He went to visit his sister. It was her birthday but I only found out about that later. Not my finest hour.” He looks at Justin and winks.
“What happened after you threw him out?”
“He booked a ticket and ran away to New York with my credit card.”
I see Novotny start to smile.
“How did Mr Taylor-Kinney come to return to Pittsburgh?”
“I went and got him with Mr Novotny, Ted Schmidt and Emmett Honeycutt. I didn’t want to go but I was forced into it by Mrs Horvath and Daphne.”
“I have a question, your honour.” He stands up.
“Something to do with legal procedure?”
“No, your honour, I want to ask Bri...I mean Mr Taylor-Kinney, a question.”
“Then you will get a chance to ask when you cross examine.” Judge Paal glares at him.
“But it’s relevant to what they are talking about now, your honour. And I would rather ask while it’s fresh in my mind.” He argues.
“Can you write Mr Novotny?”
“Yes, your honour.”
“Then write it down so you can read it out when it is your turn to cross.” She orders. He sits down and stares mutinously at her. “Mr Novotny, the moderation of your behaviour extends to the way you look at me as well.”
He looks down and by the time he looks up again, his face is less mutinous.
“But you just said that I couldn’t, your honour.” He whines.
“She’s not talking to you dumbass!” Someone shouts out. “You are either very stupid or time wasting!”
“Silence in court!” Judge Paal bangs her gavel and looks in the direction of the voice. “Although you do raise a valid point. Mr Novotny, no more time wasting antics or I will hold you in contempt.”
“May I continue your honour?” I ask.
Her mouth twitches just a bit. “You may counsel.”
“I found him in the hotel and took him back to Pittsburgh and he moved in with Mrs Horvath.”
“How did Mr Novotny take this?”
“He wasn’t pleased. It didn’t help that we made out all the way home…”
“Justin and I made up in the hotel and then I persuaded Mr Novotny to drive home because I was tired.”
The look on Novotny’s face is indescribable.
“And Justin also stayed in his childhood room, although I’m not sure if he carried out the threat of unscheduled checks.”
“With regards to the money Justin stole from your credit card, was that paid back?”
“Yes. I made him work at the Liberty Diner until he paid me back.”
“No further questions, right to recall. Your witness.”
“How can you prove that I did the burglary?”
“So someone else broke into my home and stole everything; then put it in a storage warehouse in Scranton using a cartoon character that- let’s face it- only you would know; used your bank account to pay the rental charges and did the spreadsheet on a computer that only you and Lindsay had access to?”
He leans back and looks at me coldly but with one eyebrow raised.
“How do you know I wasn’t going to give the stuff back? Which, for the record, I maintain I was going to do.”
“Because, like Jenny said, you took the jacket.” He pauses and locks eyes with me. “Which you can keep. I only wore it to placate you as I didn’t like it, but Justin did so he was wearing it.” He smirks. “However, to answer your question, if you’re thinking of returning stuff you stole from someone, you don’t take more of their stuff.”
I can’t think of anything to say to that.
“Any further questions, Mr Novotny? Do you wish to recall the witness?”
“No and no your honour.”
“Are you sure, Mr Novotny? You interrupted counsel earlier. Did you ask that question that was so important?”
“Oh yes, no I didn’t. Thank you your honour.” I smirk at Brian. “Mr Taylor-Kinney, you mentioned that Justin stole your credit card. How do you know…?”
“No. Stop. Enough. You have wasted enough of the court’s time on this matter. I hold you Michael Charles Novotny in contempt. The witness is excused, unless prosecution wishes to cross further?”
“Yes we do your honour.”
“Continue. And you, Mr Novotny, sit down unless you want to read what happens next.”
I say nothing and sit down.
“Mr Taylor-Kinney, you’ve alluded to instances when Mr Novotny was, let’s say deceptive, were there any more instances you can recall?”
“Yes, although it doesn’t pertain to me directly. It pertains to Ben Bruckner-Smart and Jenny’s college fund. We- my husband and I- had lent Mr Novotny some money to do up his store and he was to pay it back. It was agreed that we would also get Ted Schmidt, our personal accountant, to invest it…”
“Invest it for what purpose?”
“To pay into Jenny’s college fund. We had already gifted Hunter some money so that didn’t have to be paid back. It was agreed between him and Ben that they would both pay the loan amount so that Jenny’s fund would build quicker. But the moment Ben started to pay, Mr Novotny stopped.”
“Did he tell Mr Bruckner-Smart that he had stopped the payments?”
“No. Ben only found out when he wanted to check how the fund was doing and noticed the deficit.”
“I draw the court’s…”
“Objection relevance! There is no documentary evidence of this!”
There’s an actual groan from a member of the jury and Charles hangs his head, sighing. He takes a deep breath before striding to the table and quickly flicking through the papers.
“Here. This the one!” He takes another breath. “Um, your honour, could we please adjourn so that Mr Novotny can open his paperwork and get them in some semblance of order? It will speed things if he can see what he’s supposed to be looking at.”
Judge Paal quirks an eyebrow and then nods. “Court is adjourned for an hour. Counsel to my chambers.”
“All rise.” Malcolm tries not to laugh and I don’t think I have seen Michael go so red.
JUDGE PAAL’S CHAMBERS
He hasn’t opened half the things he should’ve. Between the two of us, Valda, Judge Paal’s assistant, and I get his papers sorted so he just needs to turn the pages and read the contents. All the while, he’s just been sitting there, glaring at the table. It took us all of 15 minutes.
“Done your honour.” Valda smiles. “Should I keep the papers from the last two weeks for posterity?” Then she frowns. “Excuse me but where are the papers for tomorrow? You would’ve been sent them.”
He shrugs and I start to grind my teeth. “No matter, I’ll just do another copy for you. In fact, I shall do copies for the rest of the week just to be on the safe side…”
There’s that twitch of the lip again. I can’t look at her.
“Yes Valda.” She stands and gathers her papers. “Well we’ve got 45 minutes to kill. I suggest you take that time, Mr Novotny, to either read through the paperwork or work on your apology, until we reconvene. Valda please call Tan...Guard Williams in please to escort Mr Novotny back to the holding cell.”
That was fucking infuriating! Not only did he get away with threatening me, giving me options my ass, but she seemed so fucking proud of him too!
I suppose, I should read this crap. Makes no difference because once I get Boy Wonder on the stand that will be my time for revenge... again. I may be going to jail for a while but I’m sure once my appeal starts, they will let me out on my own whatever it’s called. But it will be great to watch him fall apart, as he always does, when they talk about the prom.
I start to read but the words start to merge into each other and I can feel my eyes start to close…
“Novotny wake up!” Guard Williams bellows. I jolt awake and wipe my mouth. “Nice…not. Come on, we’re ready to go back now.”
I have a sneaking suspicion, he is going to try and call Brian back. We have no problem with that but right now, it would help if he was actually here. I look across at Justin and he shrugs then looks anxiously at the door.
“All rise for Judge…” Malcolm pauses as whoever is behind him gets his attention and he nods. “Apologies from Judge Paal but there will be another 10 minute delay. Jury is to return to their room but rest of the court is to remain.”
Novotny is looking across at us, though we all know he’s looking at Justin.
After another 8 minutes, the doors open and first the jury come in and then Brian and Jenny come through. The smile on Jenny’s face is angelic and she’s clutching an envelope.
“All rise for Judge Paal.” Malcolm orders.
“You may sit.” Judge Paal nods. “Prosecution to continue cross?”
“No your honour, but have the right to recall. We call to the stand Raymond Williams.”
Raymond Williams is sworn in. And immediately, Novotny’s face goes pale.
“Mr Williams, do you recognise the defendant?”
“Yes. He’s Michael Novotny. He hired a van from us. Well it was hired by a friend of his and then he took over the payments... occasionally.”
“So he didn’t always pay on time?”
“No, but he caught up by the time he returned the van. We didn’t need to go to lawyers.”
“I understand you bought a Mies van der Rohe table several years ago and you’ve had it ever since, is that correct?”
“Yes, but I didn’t know it was stolen at the time of purchase. Mr Novotny said it was part of a house clearance sale.” He pauses and scoffs. “The irony.”
“Indeed.” I concur. “Has he ever missed a payment on his storage unit?”
The court murmurs and Brian and Justin look stunned. Judge Paal just needs to glare for silence.
“Objection! The contents of the storage unit do not…”
“Overruled! Continue counsel.”
“Can you tell the court, what is in the storage unit and when the last payment was?”
“Furniture, bedding, towels and kitchen stuff.”
“And the last payment?”
“Thank you. No further questions, right to recall. Your witness.” I keep the smirk off my face as I head back to my seat.
“Mr Novotny, your witness.”
“Have no questions as you’ve not prepared. Again. I see. Witness is excused for now.”
“Thank you, your honour.”
As Raymond Williams returns to his court seat, Judge Paal frowns. “Prosecution, do you wish to call anybody else?”
“Yes, we do but before we do your honour. We need to remove anybody that is under the age of 21.”
Judge Paal nods and waits for Jenny and, much to his annoyance, Hunter are escorted from the court.
“We call to the stand Adam White.”
I look across at our side; I had kept this on a need-to-know basis. I wait for Adam to get settled and take a breath.
“Mr White, you were there when the garage was opened, were you not?”
“Yes I was.”
“And when The Taylor-Kinneys identified the stolen items, correct?”
“Were all of the items accounted for?”
“Most of them. There was a box with a key that nobody claimed and I got curious as to what it opened.”
“And did you find out what that was?”
“When we found out about the storage unit with Williams Hire Company, we also discovered a lock box and it opened that.”
“And what was in that box?” I turn to face Novotny, who knows what’s coming. His mouth is moving but no sound is coming out.
“Videos of a personal and adult nature.”
“No-no-no!” Novotny begins to whine.
“Silence!” Judge Paal barks out.
“Did you watch these videos?” I ask Adam.
“Only one; I got the general gist of what was on the others.”
“I bring the court’s attention to exhibit 3F and, oh actually, sorry your honour. We do need to clear the court for this. Nobody who doesn’t need to see this, should.”
“Who needs to remain counsel?” Judge Paal asks.
“The people in the video, the jury and counsel.”
“Agreed. Could you please tell the court who should leave?”
“Everyone apart from counsel on both sides, the witness, Brian and Justin and the jury.”
She nods and once the court is cleared, I press play. The video shows Novotny in all his glory in a blonde wig strutting around pretending to be Justin, while some other guy who is supposed to be Brian fuck him. At one point, he is attempting to show how limber he is and ends up falling off the bed and we get a rather unpleasant view of his butthole…sadly he missed some things, scat and the need to wax!
We watch for 20 minutes and I’m pretty sure that Novotny wants to die now.
“Is there much more of this?” Judge Paal grimaces as yet again Novotny shakes his thang on screen, not that there’s much to shake.
“Another 5 minutes, your honour.” I shudder.
When it is finally finished and it fades to black and I turn it off, everyone is relieved.
“Witness is excused. I call to the stand Brian Taylor-Kinney.”
Brian talks quietly to Justin who, throughout all of this, was not staring at the screen but at Novotny like he wants to kill him. When he gets the nod from Justin, he takes the stand.
“Mr Taylor-Kinney, taking out the activities during that video, was there anything in the video that seemed familiar?”
“The bedroom was set up exactly how our loft used to be.”
“It’s your loft and what do you mean used to be?!” Novotny looks astonished.
This is what gets your attention?!
“Thank you. Your witness.”
“Mr Novotny, do you wish to question the witness?”
“No but I have the right to recall, your honour.”
“Mr Novotny, we need to have all testimony with regards to this piece of evidence now. So ask your questions.”
“Oh it’s not about that. It’s about some things from earlier.”
“Earlier? When I held you in contempt of court? You want to go back to that time to see if I won’t do it again?”
“No your honour.”
“Prosecution, do you wish to call this witness again?”
“Yes your honour.”
“Witness is excused. Court is dismissed. And under the circumstances, we will reconvene at midday tomorrow.”
“All rise!” Malcolm cries, shuddering.
Once the room is clear and it’s just us. Brian looks at me. “Fuck me, I knew you said it would be bad but Christ!”
“It’s bad enough that he’s a shit but to see his shit…really?!”
We start to pack our things away and head to meet the rest of the family.
“Why were you almost late by the way?” Meriam asks Brian and smiles as Justin smacks him in the chest and chides him.
“Yes where were you Mr Taylor-Kinney?” he asks in his best attorney voice.
“Getting a letter of apology from…”
“No don’t be fucking ridiculous, though she’s going to make him say it tomorrow instead. No the letter of apology was from Supreme Justice Rausch.”
“Wow. That was nice.” Ephie smiles. “No wonder Jenny looked so pleased.”
“No, I think it is working in his office over the summer as a junior intern that put that smile on her face.” He beams proudly.
“What?!” Justin stops walking. “And how the hell did you manage that?!”
The grin gets wider. “I didn’t. Jenny wanted to see Judge Paal to thank her for the apology and Supreme Justice Rausch was there and he hand wrote the note. And you know our Jenny, she charms anyone and the next thing she’s signed up for it. I kind of took a unilateral…”
“Shut up.” Justin stands on tiptoes to kiss him. “It’s Mel and Ben you have to smooth that over with.”
As we head to meet the family, my one thought is…I pity the fool that runs into our darling Pitbull in court or anywhere for that matter!