ADOPTED – Episode 42
© Happy William
The doctor Xav came further inside to read Prudence vital signs, checking her pulse and the beeping heart rate machine.
He changed and replaced the IV drip.
But when he turned back to us, he wasn’t smiling.
“Is something wrong?” Emilio asked with a frown.
“Ah….no. She’s stable as at now.”
“What do you mean as at now?”
The doctor turned to Prudence, who had slipped back into unconsciousness.
“I sedated her. She’s stable. But her heart is not. It’s very weak. The bullet did great damage and unless she has a heart transplant, she’ll have barely six months to live.”
I stared at Emilio as the colour drained from his face.
I’m sure I was as pale too.
“Doctor you gotta do something!” I said.
“A transplant is the only option.”
Emilio swiped a hand down his face.
“A heart transplant?” he repeated.
“Yes. Dangerous deal if you ask my opinion. If you’ll excuse me I’ll have to round up the wards. Come to my office if you need anything.”
With a nod, he walked out.
I threw my arms around Emilio as my tears soaked his shirt.
“Don’t cry amora. It’ll all work out. We’ll get a donor.”
Two Days Later
Prudence had finally woken up without slipping back into unconsciousness.
We all happened to be there, apart from Augusto who was lighting the fire under the judges for the court case and Felipe in whose hands Emilio left the running of the Mafia.
“When will I go home? I’m sick of the hospital smell!” she commented.
“Soon aunt Prudence,” Cosima replied as she fluffed the pillow under Prudence back.
None of us told her about the heart failure thingy.
We were Hoping for a way, praying for a miracle.
A month later, Prudence was discharged after the doctor had advised her not to stress herself out and get plenty of rest.
When she arrived home, it seemed that most of the faded colours had returned; the house became brighter.
In fact, ever since the Devilish Duo left, I’ve enjoyed the mansion and estates greatly.
We all sat around the dinning for lunch now; Prudence, Cosima, Rosa, Sophia, and I.
Seraphina, Sophia’s little sister, and Samuels, the baby brother were having a field day with Festus.
“So uh, the court proceedings is tomorrow,” Prudence asked.
Cosima nodded, wiping her lips with a napkin. “Sì aunt. That’s day one. We want nothing more than to see them put permanently behind bars where they can’t hurt anybody.”
“Prudence are you strong enough to testify?” Rosa asked gently, placing a hand over Prudence’s.
“Sì, I will be. I know I’m guilty of some crimes too. If it means I’ll go to jail, so be it.”.
” No don’t say that, ” I said with a shake of my head. “You weren’t at fault. You were in a tight spot. Portia blackmailed you. And Felix the lawyer too. The court will understand that you were under pressure.”
“Portia’s dangerous. Which is why Augusto and Emilio, they’re working their butts off to make sure that she’s not allowed to roam before the court day,” Cosima added.
I picked up a piece of lobster with my fork and put it in my mouth, chewing lightly as I savoured the taste.
“Your dish’s tasty,” Sophia commented.
“Oh, thanks. Emilio taught me to make it. It’s a combo of Alaskan lobster dipped in shrimp stew and a serving of veggie salad.”
“Oooohhhh,” they chorused.
“What?” I asked laughing lightly.
“Do you guys just cook in the kitchen or more?” Cosima asked waggling her eyebrows at me.
“What—no….we—I just —no!”
They burst out laughing while I shook my head hiding my smile.
“It’s so obvious you guys are in love, geez! Sometimes you just stare at each other like there’s no body in the room ‘part from you two. I just wonder why you keep dragging things out,” Sophia said.
“Oh, and look who’s talking. Isn’t everyone in love…. apart from old Prudence here?” Rosa asked purposely tapping Prudence’s shoulder to which she said “Hey, I’m not old. Yet.”
“I wouldn’t exactly say love between Augie and I. We just enjoy each other’s company,” Cosima chirped in and licked her spoon.
“Well Felipe and I are going through a hard phase now. His parents think I’m not good enough.”
“Oh tish tosh baby,” Rosa said, “Money’s clouded their sense of judgment. They’ll realized soon.”
“Yeah,” we agreed making her smile.
“So,” Cosima announced, “Who’s excited about the VV ball?”
We all squealed in delight while Prudence and Rosa shook their heads.
For a month now I’ve been in this stinking hellhole with stinking b****es who made it their calling to pick on me and mock me ever since knowing that I’m Portia Salvatore.
“What was your crime huh?”
“I’m sure you killed your husband!”
“Leonetti was my everyday crush you b****.”
“Isn’t it shameful that her son had her arrested?”
I growled .
The tortures had gotten so intense that at Augustus request they put me in a separate cell.
I know I’m guilty, and my chances of escaping from here were slim.
But if I couldn’t be happy, neither could Emilio.
I’ve known Peter and Mary Sheridan for a long time.
We were all captives by Leonetti but luckily for me I didn’t get to spend an hour imprisoned because he took me to be his wife.
Although there was nothing I could do to get them out, I secretly gave them food and water and spoke to them.
Until Emilio took over.
He decided to use them as puppets in his story, with the promise of riches, and most importantly, freedom.
I never knew about that until Anne told me she was Anne Sheridan. I put two and two together and found out that she was adopted and didn’t know.
Too bad I didn’t get a chance to use my secret weapon against him earlier to get his inheritance. I’ll use it now to tear them apart.
Thinking of Sergio. My poor baby. I wonder how he’s doing.
TRIBUNALE DE SUPREMA, ROME, ITALY[Supreme Court, Rome, Italy]
The court was filled with a lot of people to the extent that most of them stood outside because this case was treated like a royal one. The Salvatore’s we the wealthiest family in Italy; everyone wanted a chance to be part of any of.their programs.
News already carried the sentencing of Portia and Sergio as top headlines and front-page stories. Reporters with news vans and cameras were already crammed in each corner of the room.
Emilio and his family were seated in the front row of the cong . They wore sad faces and thoughtful expressions wishing it wouldn’t come to this.
Lawyers also took their positions on a desk facing the judge, checking notes and conversing among themselves with their white wigs and black robes looking special.
“I feel so nervous,” Prudence whispered to herself.
Hearing that, Anne took her hand in hers and said with a small smile, “It’s gonna be okay.”
Felix Cannavaro and his family; and Louis the driver and his family were also seated a row behind the Salvatore’s.
One could easily notice the short, healing pinkie finger of his youngest daughter, courtesy of Portia.
“I just want everything to be over,” Anne said to Emilio.
Emilio linked her fingers with his. “It will be.”
The chief judge walked in, and the registrar ordered, “Court rise.” And when he sat, the registrar asked that they seat.
The judge said, “Present the cases for today.”
“We have an intrafamily case between Portia Salvatore and her son, Emilio Salvatore.
No. 2: Sergio Salvatore vs Emilio Salvatore.
No. 3: Dante Castillo vs Emilio Salvatore.
That the accused are responsible for the death of the guru in the Winemaking business world, Leonetti Salvatore.
That the accused are responsible for the murder attempt on Emilio Salvatore.
That the accused are responsible for the murder attempt on Prudence D’Azur.
That the accused are responsible for sabotaging the Salvatore’s VEW.”
She checked the letter she’d written twice now. Perfecto. Even if she went to jail now, Portia knew she’ll have the satisfaction of hearing the rift b/w Emilio and Anne.
She eyed the police watching her.
Now she needed the perfect distraction to slip the letter to her agent outside.
” Excuse me officer. Is it possible I see my sister outside?”
“I swear it won’t take long. I just wanna.,…” she began to cry, “I know I’ve done bad things but please…. it’ll be too painful to see her watching me with confused and hateful expression. I have to talk to her please.”
The officer sighed. “Two minutes top.”
“Gracias,” she said…..
The judge asked the registrar to call forth the accused and the first witness.
Policeman brought in Sergio who looked totally harassed and unkempt, and who kept muttering senseless words to himself.
The witness, Cosima, entered the other dock.
The prosecution lawyer whom Emilio hired came forth and began questioning Sergio, but each time he would laugh out loud and shake his head, repeatedly muttering “This is hell…. I’m in hell…..I’m going to hell….”
“Your honour, this man here has nothing to say so I suggest that he be taken and put in a facility —”
“Objection your honor. My client has no reason to be put in a facility. Instead he should be returned to his family for proper nursing and care. He’s shocked and traumatized about the whole thing—”
Anne shook her head. “That’s so illiterate, coming from a learned man.”
“Money talks,” Cosima injected.
“Objection overruled,” the judge said hitting his gravel and the defense lawyer returned to his seat. “Sergio Salvatore is sentenced to indefinite years in the asylum where he’ll be under watch and observation while receiving treatment. Call in the second case.”
Dante was brought I. to stand in the dock.
The witness was a young woman — his sister.
“I’m Esmeralda Castillo, sister of the accused,” she said lowly.
“Esmeralda,” the registrar said. “Are you a christian or a moslem?”
“Then place your right palm on this Bible and repeat after me. I , say your name.”
“I, Esmeralda Castillo,”
“Do on my honor as a Christian profess to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God.”
She repeated it and the prosecutor, she’s a female and very competent.
She asked Esmeralda some questions about Dante’s upbringing and recent trend in behaviour, to which she replied that Dante had always been a difficult child, but everything changed when he met and fell in with Portia Guisema. He became devastated then changed totally when Leonetti took her to be his wife. He hadn’t seen her in a long time.
“Did Dante ever tell you what he was up to…. or, what was always his reaction when Portia was mentioned?”
“He — he always frowned, went about crashing things and ranting about how he’ll kill Leonetti with his bare hands and take over his properties.”
“I didn’t kill Leonetti I swear!!” Dante growled from his place.
“I’m done, your honor,” prosecutor said and took her seat.
The defense resumed his stand, and did his questioning after which Portia was called in.
She walked in with her head held high,ignoring all the sniggers.
She got into the dock, swore her oath, and stood for questioning.
Louis stood in the witness box.
Prosecutor Jen came forward.
“Mrs Salvatore. Where were you on the night of the Vino Vicinta Ball two years ago?”
Portia rolled her eyes and scoffed silently. “How’d you expect me to remember something from two years ago? What am I, a ROM?”
Prosecutor Jen bowed her head, hiding a laugh.
The judge looked on with focus.
“Just answer. I’m sure that night is evergreen in your memory. Because you know what you did.”
“Objection, my lord! She’s accusing my client,” the defense lawyer, Diego Bonn said.
“That’s because we have proof,” prosecutor Jen said.
“Objection observed. Let the proceedings continue,” the judge said with a soft knock of his gravel.
Bonn nodded and sat back.
“Prudence d’Azur. You shot her.”
“In self defence. The woman tried to kill me — she carried an ammunition on her body.”
“That’s a lie!” Prudence shouted from the congregation, causing the court to go into uproar. “She shot me. She shot me two times! I had no weapon! She’s lying!”
“Order in the court,” the registrar shouted.
Anne and Emilio pulled Prudence gently down while the judge slammed the gravel on the stand repeatedly.
Emilio met Portia’s gaze.
He smirked back.
He knew that as far as they had the recordings, Portia had no chance of escaping.
Portia on the other hand couldn’t wait to see the look on their faces when they pronounced her non guilty.
She laughed inside her
To be continued