Sasha nudges me. Not only am I to move my head—propped on ink-stained fingers—I’m to stand. Following her lead, I rise and squint at the judge, a dour-looking man cloaked in black. He moves with condemning authority. My hazy gaze registers pilgrim.
Burn the witch!
It reverberates across three hundred years and into this modern-day courtroom. A baritone voice announces Judge Nicholson. Gravity dominates and I begin a slow sink into the chair. Sasha grabs my arm. “No, no . . . no, Liv. Don’t sit.” I’ve never noticed the grating tone of Sasha’s voice—a woefully out-of-tune E string. Slapping my hands on the table, I thrust upward. Good thing the fingers are insured. I jerk my arm from Sasha’s grip. I need legal counsel, not corporeal support. I can stand on my own two feet. I’ve been doing so for forty-six years. The judge hammers his gavel like a blacksmith on steroids. Mercy would be a direct hit to the head.
“Could you please not do that?” I ask.
“Pardon?” His eyes match all his narrowness.
“The gavel—must you? I’m erect. What more do you want?”
“Miss Pease,” he says, addressing my best friend, who at the moment is dressed as my attorney. “The Starbucks your client frequents may not have opened yet, but even at this early hour she continues to test the law.” He glances at some papers. “Disturbing the peace, possession of a dangerous weapon, malicious destruction of property, and resisting arrest. It will pale compared to the charges she’s already facing, but if she likes, I have no issue holding her in contempt as well.”
“Absolutely not, Your Honor. Our apologies to the court. Mrs. Van Doren has had an incredibly upsetting night.”
“Pfft . . .” I breathe, stealing a backward glance at Rob, who is the lone spectator in the galley. “The only incredibly upsetting part is that I didn’t smash the taillights on his Porsche before the cops showed up.” READ MORE