Blame It On The Pain Episode 79
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🧏 Blame It On The Pain SEVENTY NINE:
I walk into the room and I immediately want to turn right back around. This can't be my new lawyer.
She's too young. Younger than me. Maybe even younger than Alyssa, who knows.
The one thing I do know is…there's no way she's the best lawyer on the East Coast.
“I'm sorry. I think there's been a mistake,” I say before turning around.
“There's no mistake, Jackson. My name is Michelle. I know you were probably expecting my father.”
Needless to say, she's got my attention. “I didn't mean to be rude. I'm just—”
She holds out her hand. “Worried? Scared? Nervous?”
I shake her hand. “All of the above.”
She sits down. “My dad is the big wig in the family. The one Ricardo spoke to and hired, actually.”
I take a seat, although, I'm not sure why, but for some reason I feel compelled to. “No offense, Michelle. But if your dad is the lawyer. Then why are you here?”
She smiles and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “Well, I'm a lawyer too, actually.”
“Oh, so I guess you're just taking care of some of the paperwork for him?”
She pulls out a briefcase. “No. I actually asked my father if it would be okay to take on this case myself.”
I shift in my seat, trying to think of a polite way to decline and tell her that I need her father. “Look, you seem really nice and—”
“I went to school with Lilly.”
I feel the gravitational tug on my heart from hearing her name. Well, that would explain why she looks so young.
She folds her hands on the table. “We had a few classes together at Harvard. I'd like to think we were friends. Your sister was an amazing person.”
“I saw the subtle change in her, Jackson. She went from being happy-go-lucky and so full of life and happiness to being miserable.”
I put my head in my hands. “I should have noticed the signs. I should have—”
“She would have denied it,” she says. “I tried talking to her a few times and it was like talking to a brick wall. The only thing that confronting her did was make her distance herself more.” She holds my gaze. “Abuse victims leave their abusers on average seven times before they leave for good. It wasn't her fault, but she would have stayed until she found the strength within herself to leave.”
I look down. “But if I knew…I could have saved her life.”
“No,” she says. “And you know why? Because Lilly already knew she could go to you, Jackson. She knew how much you loved her. She knew that if she called you and said that she needed you that you would have been right there. She knew that.”
I look up. “Why didn't she?”
That's the question that will always haunt me. Why didn't she? I would have done anything for her, anything.
“Because she blamed herself for the pain,” she whispers. “Because he made her. That's what abusers do. They tear you down piece by piece and bit by bit. Until there's nothing left anymore.”
She wipes her eyes. “But make no mistake about it. None of this was her fault. It was all him.”
“I know.” I sit up and look at her. “You know a lot about this.”
She nods. “I do.”
There's a moment of silence between us before she takes out a manila folder. “It's why I asked my dad if I could take on this case.” She bites the cap of her pen nervously. “But you'd really be taking a huge risk with me.”
“What do you mean?”
“This would be my very first case by myself.”
Oh, that's what she means.
I sit back and cross my arms. “Okay, Let's say I hire you. What's the argument?”
“I don't have one.”
“Look, I didn't go to law school. And I'm not nearly as smart as Lilly was…but I do know that defense attorneys should present an argument. You know, like self-defense, insanity, or an accidental ki lling.”
She crosses her arms, stares me down and I immediately feel it. “He wasn't attacking you, he attacked Lilly. You're not insane. And you don't regret it, so I'm not sure that going with an accidental ki lling defense would be the best way to go. So, the way I see it…that only leaves me with one choice.”
“Telling the truth.”
I stand up and shake her hand. “You're hired.”
She jumps to her feet. “What? Really? You mean it?”
“Yup. That's the only way I want to win this case. And I can't help but think that if it was Lilly herself defending me, she would want the same.”
TO Be Continued