Blame It On The Pain Episode 80
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🧏 Blame It On The Pain EIGHTY:
Four months later, I'm sitting in a courtroom watching my lawyer, Michelle stand before the jury for her closing argument.
As far as juries go, this one is as versatile as it gets.
Out of the 12 jurors made up of my peers…six are female and six are male. They're all difference races, ages, occupations, and they all come from different backgrounds.
But only two of them have sisters.
Seven of them are only children. And the remaining three males have brothers.
Michelle told me not to let it get me down and to let her worry about that.
I turn around and look at my family. Tyrone and Ricardo's eyes find mine. They don't say a word, they just put their hands over their hearts and nod their heads. I look at Momma next. She mouths the words ‘I love you,' and I mouth them back to her.
Then I scan the courtroom for Alyssa…but I can't find her.
She's been here every step of the way, so it's disheartening that she wouldn't be here today of all days.
Then it hits me. She won't be able to watch them find me guilty. Her heart won't be able to take it.
Suddenly, I'm glad she didn't come. It would put way too much emotional stress on both her and the baby. I would never forgive myself if something happened to them because of me.
I feel guilty enough for putting her in the position that she's in.
But that's the only regret I feel, still to this day. And the jury knows it because I was honest with them and told Right after Michelle played the video of my confession in court.
That was the only thing that Alyssa and her fought about. Professionally, Michelle was upset because it was going to make finding potential juror's that hadn't seen or watched the video that much harder.
However, personally, she understood why Alyssa did it.
I turn back around in my seat. I don't know whether to face the jury myself or not.
Michelle's not going to like it, but I decide not to. Even though I know that she wants to get their sympathy and she wants them to witness my pain.
But I don't want to look at the jurors because I don't want them to think that I'm purposely trying to intimidate or influence them somehow. And mostly, I don't want them to lose focus on Michelle during her closing speech.
So no, I won't look at the jury. Instead, I close my eyes and feel Lilly's presence around me. I silently tell her that I love her and I tell her that no matter what happens, none of it was ever her fault…because I think she needs to hear it much more than I ever did.
That's when I hear Michelle start to speak.
“Thank you for your attention ladies and gentlemen of the jury. By now, you've formulated your own personal opinion regarding my client, Mr. Jackson Reid. I know there's nothing that I could say to sway you in either direction at this point.”
She pauses. “You also know that by now, my argument has never been about self-defense. Because let's be honest; Mr. Reid was never defending himself against his own abuser. So, I'm not going to stand here and claim self-defense for Mr. Reid. Instead, I'll claim Lilly's defense.
“I'll also educate you on some facts regarding the law. To adequately determine the justification of deadly force in defense of a person, in a court of law, one must establish the existence of two main facts, first and foremost. One—you need to determine whether or not my client's use of deadly force was necessary to defend himself or rather, Lilly. Two— you need to determine if Mr. Reid did something that a ‘reasonable person' would do in his position.
“And that's where you come in, ladies and gentlemen. You watched the video, you know the facts, you've heard from Jackson Reid yourself. So, knowing what my client knew and being in the same circumstance, would you yourself have had those same beliefs that he did?”
She clears her throat. “But forget all that. I didn't even need to tell you those things in the first place. That's not my real argument, here. Because the only thing I needed to do for this case was let the prosecutor's do their job and let you hear their arguments. The prosecution is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Reid was not justified in doing what he did. And just so we're clear— justified means having done something for a legitimate reason. It's an exception to committing the offense. If the prosecution has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was justified, then you the jury must find Mr. Reid not guilty.”
She takes a deep breath. “In closing, I just want to leave you with this. If Lilly was someone that you loved. And you found her beaten and mu rdered like Mr. Reid did. Would you feel justified doing what he did?”
The bailiffs take me away while the jury deliberates. I was told it would be anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
To say I was surprised to be called back as soon as I stepped foot outside the courthouse in my shackles would be an understatement.
After we rise for the judge, he calls the court in session and he collects a piece of paper from a member of the jury.
A piece of paper that will determine the rest of my life.
A piece of paper that will determine whether or not I get to spend the rest of my life with Alyssa, my future child, and the rest of my family.
The jury's faces give nothing away.
I wish I could see Alyssa's face one more time, I wish I could see my child growing in her belly. The thought causes bIood to rush in my ears and vertigo plagues me, I want to sit back down because I'm not sure I can stand anymore.
I don't know why Michelle's arms are wrapped around me and she's telling me goodbye, because I'm too distracted by the sound of Momma shouting at the top of her lungs.
Oh, boy. I really hope Momma doesn't try to put a hurtin' on those jurors. Or the judge for that matter, poor guys already frail and old. I turn around to tell her it will be okay, but both Ricardo and Tyrone's arms are around me next. Their hugging me so tight I almost fall over.
“It's okay, guys,” I tell them. “I'll be okay. Just promise me that you'll take care of Alyssa and the baby for me. Please.”
They pull away and exchange a glance with one another. “Why?” Ricardo says. “You'll be able to do that yourself.”
“What—” I start to say, but my breath leaves my lungs as Momma herself plows into me.
I close my eyes and hug her back. “I knew it would all work out in the end,” she says.
That's when it hits me.
I look at Tyrone for confirmation. I don't even have to get the words out because he looks at me and says, “Not guilty, brother.”
I'm not ashamed to admit, I'm barely holding back tears.
I'm going to be a father to my baby. I'm going to spend my life with Alyssa. I'm going to see my family.
I look at the jury again. And this time, they look at me. “Thank you,” I whisper. I get a few small smiles before they start to clear out.
The bailiffs unchain me, and Michelle informs me that I'll need to sign off on some paperwork before I'm free to leave.
This time, I'm the one hugging her because I know what's happening. “Thank you and congratulations on winning your first case.”
“You don't need to thank me, Jackson,” she says with a grin. “But thank you for being the most memorable client I'll ever have. Thank you for reminding me why I became a defense attorney in the first place.”
After I sign the paperwork we walk out to the car. It almost feels unreal. The air is fresher, the grass is greener, and I have a sense of peace.
A light breeze flows through the air and I feel Lilly's presence again. I look up to the sky and blow her a kss.
Then a bird shts on my head.
Tyrone and Jackson burst out laughing. “Yup, that was definitely Lilly. Totally a little sister move.”
I start laughing with them and it's the greatest feeling because I know that Lilly would find this highly amusing right now.
Momma hands me a napkin and I clean up before I get in the car.
We head back to the apartment complex and I can't get in the door fast enough.
Apparently, Tyrone and Shelby moved into Lou-Lou's old apartment so that Alyssa and the baby could have this one. Tyrone wanted his little niece or nephew to have his own room.
I'm surprised Alyssa didn't want to move to the suburbs to raise the baby but Ricardo said she wanted to be by her family.
I'm running around the apartment looking for her and my anxiety's through the roof when I can't find her. Then I notice that the door to the balcony is partially open.
I step outside into the warm July evening air.
I find Alyssa standing there with a mug and she gives me her gorgeous smile, complete with her adorable dimple. I don't hesitate to cup her face in my hands and kss her like it's my last breath.
When I pull away her eyes are still closed and she sighs. “God, I missed that.”
“I missed you.” I place a kss on her belly. “The both of you.”
She hands me the mug, I take it with one hand and she grabs my other hand. “Come on, you're just in time to watch the sunset.”
It's only then that I take a look at the two rocking chairs she has set up on the balcony.
Along with some bingo boards on the table.
“I didn't show up at court today because I knew you'd come home to me,” she whispers.
I take a sip of my hot chocolate before I press her hand to my lips and kss it. “I love you.”
She takes a sip of her own hot chocolate. “ And I love you.”
It's then that I realize.
Without pain, you wouldn't know happiness. If you let the pain take over, you miss out on the good things, the things that really matter…like love and family.
If you don't find a way to make it through the pain…you miss out on the best parts of your life.
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