Their Protector: An MC Outlaw Halloween Romance, page 33
“And what have you concluded about my client, Mr. Bradford?”
“He does not have PTSD.”
“He does not ?”
I stress the final word, for greater emphasis, making sure that the jury hears.
“Correct. Although he did witness his brother suffer a catastrophic injury during war— and also some other gruesome atrocities— unfortunately such events are inherent in any war and not every service member who witnesses them has PTSD. Mr. Bradford does not exhibit any of the symptoms. And I want to clarify that even if Mr. Bradford did have PTSD, it does not mean he would be any more culpable for this alleged crime. A person with PTSD is not automatically guilty of everything or anything with which they’re charged. If Mr. Bradford had PTSD, I would be saying that Mr. Bradford’s PTSD did not contribute to the incident in question. But the fact is that he did not have PTSD.”
“Thank you, Dr. Roth. I have no further questions.”
I return to my seat, but not before taking an exuberant peek at the look on ADA Stemple’s face. He’s surprised and unprepared for his cross examination. He thought I was going to ask more questions. And he is going to walk right into the trap I laid for him.
“Dr. Roth, have you had the chance to review Mr. Bradford’s file as it pertains to the incident for which he is on trial, and the events for which he is charged with the assault and battery of Mr. Warner?”
“And you still say he does not have PTSD?”
“I do not.”
“Then how would you explain his violent reaction?”
“I would explain it as him reacting as any son seeing his mother get beaten to a pulp would react. It was only ‘violent’ in proportion to the violence already being exhibited by Mr. Warner. It was self-defense.”
I’m elated, as this was exactly what I was hoping ADA Stemple’s line of questioning would elicit from the expert. Without even knowing it the expert has said the same thing that Jensen’s mom did, therefore giving the jury the opportunity to hear twice that Jensen did what he did in defense of his mother.
“Objection, Your Honor,” says ADA Stemple. At this point it just comes out like whining. “He’s assuming facts not in evidence. The victim is not on trial here, and no one has definitively proven that he was— as Dr. Roth so grossly mischaracterizes it— ‘beating anyone to a pulp.’”
“Mr. Stemple,” says the judge, with a tone precisely in between humor and frustration. “You asked your question, and the witness answered it. What do you want from me?”
“In fact,” volunteered Dr. Roth ever so helpfully, “I did review the file and the charge, as you asked, and I would venture to say that if Mr. Bradford had not stepped in to defend his mother and protect her safety, she very well could have died. All that Mr. Bradford did was to stop the assault— he didn’t assault anyone or at least not unnecessarily, and should not be charged with this crime. I dare say it’s Mr. Warner who should be on trial today, rather than this decorated war veteran whose name you are attempting to smear.”
I’m surprised that the judge is indulging my expert to this extent but it’s obvious that he’s annoyed with ADA Stemple, who finally mutters a feeble, “Objection, your Honor.” I know that he fears the judge’s wrath but can’t let Dr. Roth keep poisoning the jury against him like this.
“Sustained,” says the judge, looking as if it pains him to do so. “Dr. Roth,” he instructs politely, “please limit your answers to the question asked.”
“Of course, Your Honor,” says Dr. Roth, with a jovial look that I just know the jury will love. He might as well have put his hand over his mouth and said, “Oops, my bad.” “As an expert in PTSD, I do not believe that Mr. Bradford has PTSD. I do not believe that any of his actions on the day in question are reflective of PTSD.”
“No further questions,” says ADA Stemple, with a grimace.
Jensen passes me a note that I can’t help but look down at right this second:
Thank you, hot stuff .
I smile at him, and then clear my head to drive home the point I want the jury to hear, now that ADA Stemple successfully walked into my trap.
“Re-direct, your Honor?” I ask.
“Go ahead,” he says, with a wave of his arm.
“Dr. Roth, in your experience as an expert witness in criminal charges against service members, how many of them claim a PTSD defense?”
“Oh, most of them,” the doctor answers. “At least, all of them have in the cases I’ve testified in.”
“And, in your experience, how does the prosecutor deal with a PTSD defense?”
“Objection, Your Honor!” ADA Stemple shouts. “This expert is not a lawyer or judge and has no way to know…”
“Overruled,” says the judge, and I resist the urge to smirk. “I’ll at least give Ms. Morrell some leeway on this. I believe I understand where she’s going with this, and it’s interesting.”
I had researched this judge’s background and saw that he was a West Point graduate and a veteran. I was banking on him being sympathetic to former service members and giving me this leeway.
“The prosecution always paints the defendant as a crazy mad man who unjustly flies off the handle due to having PTSD,” Dr. Roth answers.
“Much like what the prosecution tried to do in this case against Mr. Bradford?”
“Precisely,” says Dr. Roth. “And it’s a shame that our men and women who so valiantly defended our country come back to be met with this sort of stigma against them. Whether they do, or do not, have PTSD, they don’t deserve to be made out to be automatically guilty of any crime. They are still innocent until proven guilty, just as any non-service member is as well.”
“Objection,” says ADA Stemple.
“I do believe you’ve gotten your point across, Ms. Morrell,” says the judge. “Sustained.”
“No further questions, your Honor.”
“You are free to leave, Dr. Roth,” says the judge. “Thank you for your time.”
And now once the expert witness exits the courtroom, it’s time to deliver the cherry on top of my trial performance today: my closing statement.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution wants you to think that Jensen Bradford is violent and that he overreacted due to having PTSD. It’s unfair to portray him— as well as people who do have PTSD— in this light merely because they served our country. As has been shown here today, the prosecutor— as well as the entire District Attorney’s office— has a habit of claiming that because a person accused of a crime served in the military, they must have PTSD, and they are therefore guilty. They never bother to inquire whether the accused really do have PTSD, or whether someone who has PTSD was actually affected by it during the commission of the alleged crime. This is a travesty for our veterans and I am calling on you as jury members to stop the cycle of unfairness. I am asking for justice for my client Jensen Bradford, who is an upstanding citizen and an innocent man. And I am asking for justice for all veterans in his position, so that the DA’s office will stop unfairly prosecuting them.”
I return to my seat and meet Jensen’s triumphant smile. The judge delivers last-minute deliberation instructions to the jury and then calls a recess after excusing them.
“Now what?” Jensen asks me.
It’s obvious— and cute— that he’s nervous, but trying to hide his emotions.
“Now we wait for the jury to return with their verdict. And you can rest easy, knowing your case was in the competent hands of your attorney, and that the verdict will be not guilty. Let’s go to lunch.”
“How do you feel about having lunch with my mom and brothers?” he asks, looking more nervous about that than the pending verdict.
I laugh. “Fine, as long as you agree to have dinner with my parents with me this week.”
“It’s a deal. I just have to warn you— my family is really crazy.”
“Then we have more in common than I thought.”
We don’t even get out of the courthouse before Riley’s cell phone goes off.
“What is it?”
I’m on pins and needles. I trust Riley and I saw with my own eyes that she did a kick-ass job with my case. But anything can happen.
“The jury’s back already,” she says breathlessly.
“What does that mean?”
“I means we’re about to get really good news,” she says, embracing me in the lobby, obviously not caring who sees us. “It would definitely have taken longer than this to resolve any question of reasonable doubt one way or the other.”
I can’t help but look around. “I hope that hotshot douchebag ex-boyfriend of yours has a court appearance today, so he can see us now.”
She laughs. “He’s never in this court. It’s only for lawyers slumming it with low-stakes criminal cases, like me. But don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll hear through the grapevine.”
I can’t help but give her ass a little squeeze before we turn around to go back up the elevator.
“It would have taken a lot longer than that if the jury had any doubt as to your innocence,” Riley says proudly, as we walk back into the courtroom.
“Has the jury reached a verdict?” asks the judge, once he’s called the courtroom back to order.
“We have, Your Honor,” says the foreman, looking directly at me with a kind smile.
“In the matter of the State of New Mexico versus Jensen Bradford, for the charge of assault and battery, do you find the Defendant guilty or not guilty?”
“Not guilty,” says the foreman resolutely, and applause erupts from the gallery.
“That’s my boy,” my mom shouts, as if we’re at my high school wrestling tournament instead of my trial for a crime I was just acquitted of.
And yet, her pride and enthusiasm tugs at my heart. My mom and I haven’t ever been close, but it was amazing of her to show up to support me. And I have Riley to thank for that. I look over at her with love and tenderness as the judge bangs his gavel and says, “Quiet in the courtroom! Mr. Bradford, you are free to leave. Members of the jury, the State of New Mexico thanks you for your service. You are free to leave as well.”
Free to leave. Free to leave this mess behind me and figure out what I want to do with my future. Looking over once again at Riley, I know I want it to involve her.
An hour later, we’re at Cecilia’s Café: Mom, Ramsey, Harlow, Riley and me. If you had asked me just a month ago if I ever thought this would happen, I would have said no fuckin’ way. And yet here we are: a big happy family, although still dysfunctional of course, because we’re the Bradfords.
“So Ma, you done seeing that Bill Warner guy for good now?” asks Harlow.
“Well maybe every now and then, whenever I’m lonely or need a little company…” Mom starts, but Ramsey cuts her off as the rest of us groan our disapproval.
“Mom, you have to stop going around dating losers,” Ramsey chides.
I can’t believe that everything has turned out so well, both with my case and with my personal life. I squeeze Riley’s leg under the table, which is a variation of pinching myself to be sure I’m not dreaming. To my delight, she squeezes my hand, and then moves it a bit closer to her inner thigh, seductively.
“How about we get the check?” I ask everyone at the table. To Riley, I wink, signaling that this is my cue for us to get out of here and start the one-on-one celebration we deserve.
Ramsey reaches for his wallet but I shake my head. “I’ve got it,” I boast. “I didn’t have to pay a cent for my lawyer here, so she’s worth at least a lunch.” Everyone laughs. “No one can accuse me of buying witness testimony after the fact.” I nod at my mother. “And I really do appreciate your support,” I say to my brothers. “You’ve earned yourselves a free meal as well.”
“Hell, I should have ordered the filet mignon,” Harlow jokes.
“So now that you’ve been officially acquitted, do you think you’ll be coming back to the SEALs?” asks Ramsey, switching the conversation to serious mode, with a curious look on his face. “Joining us again on our missions?”
“Actually, I think this is a case of getting all that you wanted, and then realizing it’s not really what you wanted,” I say, and sneak a glance at Riley. She holds onto my fingers tight underneath the table.
“I like the contracting gig, and I like that I don’t have to be deployed.” I kiss Riley on the cheek. “I want to stay put with my former lawyer and new girlfriend for a while.”
“Oooooh, Jensen has a girlfriend ,” Harlow chides. “Never thought I’d see the day.”
“That’s enough syrupy sweet stuff,” my mom breaks in, looking annoyed.
I glance at her, afraid she’ll get upset out of jealousy and ruin the lunch like she has ruined so much before in my life, but she doesn’t say anything further.
Ramsey saves me by changing the subject slightly.
“I might take a look at joining you in the private sector,” he says.
I look at him, aghast. “That would be great!”
I want to explore the idea with him further, but the check arrives and I’m anxious to explore something else first.
Outside, I give Riley a gift I bought for her prior to today’s trial— a motorcycle helmet.
“It’s perfect,” she says, as she runs her hands along the pink edges.
“I don’t know about that, but it’s safe ,” I tell her. “I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you.”
I pull her close and kiss her.
“Thank you for always protecting me,” she says. “I guess, I’m officially a biker’s girlfriend. Can’t say I ever really thought that would be the case.”
“Don’t worry,” I joke back, rubbing my nose against hers. “I never thought I’d have a lawyer girlfriend.”
I give her a ride on my bike to my place. It’s a small, sparsely decorated apartment that prompts the expected jokes about it being my “bachelor pad.”
“Are you saying you want to leave?” I ask her, with a wink, as we’re standing in my living room looking at my framed poster of Walter White from Breaking Bad as a Dia de Los Muertos skull.
“Not at all,” she says, and kneels down in front of me, just like that, on the carpet on my living room floor.
“Whoa!” I say, surprised but impressed.
I knew she was a good catch, but an impromptu blowjob was beyond my wildest expectations.
“Shhhhh,” she says, as she takes my belt off and begins unzipping my fly.
“But you just got me out of a big jam,” I tell her. “I should be the one thanking… and spoiling you…”
“No,” she says, looking up into my eyes in a very genuine stare. “You got me out of a big jam I didn’t even know I was in. Thank you.”
She removes my pants and runs her hand up and down my shaft, while staring deeply into my eyes. My cock is so hard, I can barely stand it. When she takes me inside of her mouth, it feels like ecstasy. Fireworks go off in my mind.
She is good at what she does, and she does it until I’m on the edge of pleasure. Gasping for breath, I pull her head back so that she is looking straight at me.
“Stop,” I tell her. “I want to be inside you.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to…”
“There’s plenty of time for that another time,” I tell her. “Right now, I just want to take you.”
She looks around, as if expecting me to carry her to my bedroom the way I’d carried her up the stairs to hers.
“Right here,” I tell her, pulling off her blazer.
She moans, and I’m pleased that having my cock in her mouth turned her on so much. I unbutton her silk blouse and then lift her tank top over her head. Finally, I unclasp her bra.
“So many clothes,” I complain, but she’s keeping me ready with her hand. Not to mention the look of her ample breasts and already-erect nipples.
“They made me dress like this to get
“And I’m making you undress to get me off in a different way.”
“Very funny,” she says, as she pulls my own shirt over my head.
“You think this is funny now?” I ask her. “Just wait. Next time, I’m going to use that magic bullet on you. It’ll be a SEAL’s Magic Bullet after that. My SEAL’s Magic Bullet making you come, at the same time that my SEAL’s cock does.”
“Oh, my God,” she says, “That’s so hot.”
“I know,” I tell her. “But you’ll have to wait until it happens. It’ll be like the deleted scenes that come at the very end of a movie, after the credits.”
“Or like in a romance book,” she says, grinning back at me.
“Don’t tell me you believe in those fairy tales always come true romance books,” I tell her.
“Of course I do,” she replies. “They always have to have a happy ending. And of course, the smuttier the better. With the steamiest scenes at the very end.”
I shake my head at her secret naughtiness. Leave it to my over achieving lawyer girl Riley to like to read smutty romances, even though she was never able to get off before. She just needed the real thing. She just needed her SEAL.
I grab a condom from my wallet, while she shimmies out of her skirt. She’s sitting on her bottom on my living room floor, and I pull off her pantyhose slowly and seductively.
“Turn around,” I tell her, once we’re both naked except for her panties. “I love that you wore a thong today. You just knew that we’d be doing this. I want to see that amazing ass of yours.”
She gets on all fours in front of me, and it’s exactly how I’ve been wanting to see her. I trace my fingers along the curves of her ass, and then pull her panties to the side.
“You have the most gorgeous body I’ve ever seen,” I tell her, as I put on the condom and then insert my eager cock into her wet pussy.
I love how I can see her full pussy and ass on display for me. How she gives me her everything: from the moment she gave me her smile and her curiosity on the day we first met, to how she gave me her full effort during my trial, and then when she gave me her virginity.
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