The bells rang for the last class of the day and I jumped out of my seat, pushed people out of the way, and ran to my red Mercedes. I gunned it and rushed over to the police department, I couldn’t wait to see him again, to hear to voice, to know if he was doing alright.
I walked into the jail and the men at the front desk looked me up and down. I didn’t look like the kind of women coming to see a convict. I had on a bright turquoise top, light distressed skinny jeans, my juicy couture purse, and 5 inch heels. I smiled at them and walked up to their desks. “Hi, my name is Kim and I’m here to visit Andrew Steel.” I said and waiting for them to get up. The heavy set man with a large mustache got up from his post, sighing loudly. “Follow me.” He said and started slowly waddling back through hallways. I was right on his heels, why didn’t this man walk faster? I want to see Andrew!
He told me to sit in a chair and through the glass I could see another chair on the other side. Andrew would sit there! My heart was beating so fast I could feel my face heat up. I saw the heavy set man come forward with a confused look on his face, “Mr. Steel said he doesn’t want any visitors…” My heart dropped through my stomach. My face went pale and I broke down into tears. With my chest heaving I held onto the dirty counter in front of me and the cop looked very worried.
“Why won’t he see me? Did you tell him it was Kim?” The man shook his head and awkwardly stared at his feet. My mouth went dry and I couldn’t see clearly. I wanted to scream and shout, I wanted to give the cop a message so vile that he wouldn’t bare use my actual words when relying the message, but I stopped myself. “Tell him I really want to talk to him, that I miss him… I need him.” I looked up at the cop with tear filled eyes and he just turned around and walked away.
I felt hot tears filling my eyes and my hands shook with anger. Why would he turn me away? Just because I wasn’t here the last 6 weeks doesn’t mean I did that by choice, it doesn’t mean I don’t love him still. I laid my head down on the counter; I didn’t care about the germs or all the hundreds of people who sat there before. I needed to see him, and I would wait until he came down to see me. I heard a knock on the glass and when I looked up I saw a very pissed off Andrew. His hair was cut shorter, his muscles a lot bigger, and his eyes had that evil stare in them that once scared me.
“You don’t want visitors? Are you fucking kidding me?” I whispered into the phone in my hand and tears waited in the corners of my eyes. Andrew’s eyes grew darker and narrowed; he slapped a paper on the glass. “Why would I want to talk to you? You want nothing to do with me. You hate me right?” His words were filled with such hatred that I actually backed away from the glass. What in the world was he talking about? I came closer to read… It was a letter from me… but it wasn’t FROM me. I motioned for him to put the papers down and he just kept glaring at me.
“I didn’t write that… I wrote you letters, but not those letters. My mother wouldn’t let me call, write, or visit… I’m only here because she thinks I’m shopping with my best friend.” I spoke the words so fast it was as if he didn’t hear them. “So you didn’t write me letters telling me that you hate me and never want to talk to me ever again?” He practically threw his words at me; the venom in his voice was so strong I couldn’t bare to look in his eyes anymore. His jawline was sharper than before, and his face tougher.
“Of course not, I still care about you so much. I still love you… Andrew how could you believe that I would do that to you, after everything we’ve been through.” I sat back in my chair and started to cry. Andrew’s eyes softened for the first time since I sat down and he rubbed his temple with his hand.
“My defense attorney called your house everyday asking for you to testify, but every time you refused…” My head turned to the side, much like a confused dog. “I never got those phone calls, of course I would testify for you. I was fucking there when everything happened why wouldn’t I testify?” I said into the phone and Andrew still looked at me with skepticism. He still didn’t believe me, yet.
“I spent 6 weeks in jail, and not once did I get a phone call, a ‘real’ letter, or a visit until now. Do you know how that fucked with my mind?” Andrew leaned forward as if he wished he could reach out and touch me through the glass. “I am soooo sorry Andrew, I have no control at my house right now. My mother has me on lockdown. She ripped up every letter, blocked every call, and wouldn’t let me go anywhere alone… Until today.” I pleaded with him. He put his arms on his side of the counter and put his head down.
“Kim, you don’t know how much I wanted to hear that… It is hell in here. The only people I see are lawyers who tell me that YOU won’t testify and I’m basically going to jail for murder.” His eyes showed so much pain, I wanted to break the glass and kiss away his worries. “Well I will be at the trial, and I will testify if they’ll let me…” I put my hand up to the glass and he pressed his there too. “I miss you so much, Andrew. I hate everyone except for you…” I laughed and he laughed too. It almost hurt to laugh after so many weeks of its absence.
“Maybe when this whole thing is over me and you can run away.” Andrew said and I wanted to cry, nothing sounded better than run away from this life with him. “And if they convict me, then… just move on Kim. I won’t last the whole sentence in this place.” I looked confused and waited for him to explain. “If I’m set free then that’s great and life goes on. If they convict me, then I have plans of my own.” My eyes widen, what was he hinting at? “What plans?” I asked cautiously. “I don’t want to live another 60 years if it’s in here. I’ll just end it; I’ll just kill myself.” I gasped and Andrew wouldn’t look at me anymore. “Andrew, Andrew…ANDREW.” I half shouted into the phone. “Don’t you dare think like that? I will testify for you, everything will be alright. “ I whispered into the phone and Andrew smiled a half smile just to make me feel better.
ONE WEEK LATER
I walked into the court room on the 6th day of the trial in my conservative dress suit, ready to testify for Andrew. When I walked into the courtroom there was virtually no one on the side for Andrew. My entire family, my dad’s friends, and business partners were all sitting on the prosecutor’s side. They glared at me as I sat behind Andrew. He didn’t even know I was right behind him. “Andrew, get ready.” His lawyer said to him and he just nodded.
The judge called me up to be the next witness and I had to breathe deeply just so I wouldn’t pass out. When I looked at Andrew his eyes were on me, a smile spread on his lips and I couldn’t help but return a half-smile. I hoped the jury saw our little exchange.
“Miss Worthington, would you say that Andrew acted in self-defense?” I looked over at the jury who would decide his fate. “Yes.” The lawyers had instructed me to give mostly yes and no answers. “Why was Mr. Worthington, your father, and Mr. Rutter forcing their way into your room?” I sighed and looked at the jury with tearful eyes. “They wanted to hurt Andrew.” I said and the lawyer paced back and forth. “Why did they want to hurt Mr. Steel?” The questions went on and on for over 30 minutes.
“Would you please explain in your best words Miss Worthington how Mr. Steel is an innocent man?” Instead of looking at the jury, and I stared right at Andrew. I smile spread across my face, I couldn’t hold it back. “Mr. Steel saved me…” I let out a chuckle because only Andrew knew what I meant. “Andrew and I grew into more than just friends over the week onboard. He is the sweetest, most patient person I know. I love him…” I stared right into his eyes and he stared right back at mine.
When I stepped down from the stand I walked past Andrew and blew him a kiss. The jury must have sensed our connection because when I turned around to look at them, several of the women tilted their head and grinned at us. Now we just had to wait, all the witnesses had been called. Every worker on board went up and testified for Andrew, and I did as well. The prosecutors only had his past record to convince the jury otherwise.
4 DAYS LATER
The jury had deliberated and made their final decision. I drove to the court room with my mother that day. “Kim, I want you to sit on the side with me today.” I stared back at her in disbelief. “No.” There was no discussing this, I was with Andrew. “Kim, you are tearing this family apart, and over what some boy, who is a criminal, a murderer?” I would have punched her but she was the one driving. “What family?” I hoped that stung as much as I intended but I couldn’t bare to look at her.
A woman from the jury stood with a piece of paper, their decision. Andrew sat in front of me, stiff as a board and empty of emotion. I guess he wanted to prepare himself for the worst. I sat on the edge of my seat, listening to every syllable from that women’s mouth.
“We the jury, in the case of the murder of Chuck Rutter find the defendant NOT GUILTY. We the jury, in the case of the murder of John Worthington find the defendant… NOT GUILTY.” I jumped out of my chair, threw myself across the division between me and Andrew and squeezed the shit out of him. I kissed his face, his neck, his hands, and his forehead. He grabbed the sides of my face and kissed me with such force and urgency. He was free. We were free.