ADOPTED – Episode 43
© Happy William
When the furor had died down, both the prosecutor Jen and Bonn questioned Cosima.
She told them everything from when Portia had asked her to marry Emilio and she’d faked the will, down to all the plans they’d made, to the point when Sergio kill— or tried to kill her.
Felix Cannavaro, Louis and Prudence also testified, each of them answering questions too.
Emilio was also called to the dock to answer some questions.
The chief judge hit his gravel on the stand.
“On hearing and witnessing the proceedings, by the power vested in me as the chief judge of this supreme court, I hereby give my verdict in accordance to the written constitution:
Portia Salvatore is pronounced not guilty of most of the accusations alleged to her.
She’s not guilty of the murder attempt on Prudence D’Azur….”
“What the hell…!?” Emilio said in consternation as he looked at Augusto and Felipe for explanation and they were as confused as he was.
“No…this can’t be happening…” Anne murmured.
Prosecutor Jen stood up. “Objection my lord but —”
“Objection overruled,” the judge cut in, and she sat slowly after sending a defeated look to Emilio.
The defense lawyer Bonn smirked at her.
“Competent lawyer huh?” he mocked.
Everyone were unbelieving of the verdict, that no one noticed the triumphant grin on Portia’s face.
The chief judge continued;
“She’s not guilty of sabotaging the Salvatore’s VEWs, as that is Dante Castillo’s endeavor.
She’ll be given probation for the murder of Leonetti Salvatore; a three months imprisonment with option of bail—”
“Excuse me, your honour!” Emilio spoke getting up. “But this verdict is biased. And I’ve reasons to believe that.”
“And what could such trasons be that warrants you to interrupt this —”
“He’s right your honour,” Dante said from his dock. Portia gaped an stared at Dante, who frowned at her. He couldn’t believe that she was implicating him so that she’ll be free. “Portia’s as guilty as I am. Hear Emilio Salvatore out.”
Portia glared at him, but he ignored her. She was the woman he’d loved youthfully, but greed had changed her—them completely. She had to pay.
Emilio nodded to Jen, who stood up.
“Your honour, before we proceed, I beseech you to listen to these recordings. They’re audio evidences of the gravity of Portia Salvatore’s crimes.”
The registrar came and played the recordings.
The whole court was hushed as everyone listened to how heartless Portia was.
At the end, Anne stood up.
“That’s enough proof. But I wanna say something.”
Emilio looked at her, but she smiled assuringly. “If there wasn’t concrete evidence of Portia Salvatore’s involvement in crimes, then she’d’ve been allowed to go free. Isn’t that alone proof of how corrupt she is, as well as the judicial system?”
“What do you mean?” the judge asked.
“What I mean is that someone here has been bribed by Portia. Probably the one who compiled the notes. I might not understand a thing about how all this law jig works, but I understand enough about betrayal to know that she’s vying for a way escape all this by heaping the blame on Dante and Prudence and Cosima and everyone else. Check again, Sir.”
She didn’t know why she said or did that, but Anne knew all along when a system was biased, having had to live through similar cases as a kid.
When she sat back, the court murmured in approval.
“No….no…the verdict’s already been read, I’m free…free I say!” Portia raved.
They ignored her.
“I’ll look into everything personally now and with the federal govt. Meanwhile, this meet is adjourned till further notice.”
He slammed his gravel and went out, dismissing them.
Emilio hugged Anne and kissed her forehead. “When all this is over, I’m gonna buy you a huge MP3.”
Anne laughed and pushed his head slightly away while receiving smiles from the rest of the party.
After that, the court meeting was adjourned for sentencing to be pronounced at the next sitting.
A day later, the sentence was pronounced;
Dante and Portia were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour and without the option of bail.
Sergio was admitted into the Asylum on the outskirts of Rome, and when he regained his memory, a court sitting will be called on his behalf.
Though everyone doubted that he would be convicted.
Prudence was sentenced to three months, but she was bailed that same day by Emilio.
<u>And now, dear ally, I’m put in prison with no hope of freedom. All my plans shattered. The bribe I gave the judge was wasted. I’m finished. A laughing stock. So my chapter’s ended. But yours is just beginning. Enclosed is the exact list of everything you need to know and do to finish the Salvatore’s totally.
Don’t fail me.
I sealed the letter.
It’s been a whole week of endless hard work for me.
I’m supposed to regret everything I’ve done.
But I don’t.
This has only fueled my anger and hatred for Anne.
Everything had been going smoothly. Until she came, Emilio wasn’t interested in whatever I did. Her presence made him want to keep her safe, made him suspicious of every little thing, bcos he loved her.
Well, let’s see where that love would take them to when the truth comes out.
I slipped the letter to the mailwoman along with some cash as payment for services.
Yes, I had people everywhere that I could turn to anytime I needed assistance.
I’m still Portia Salvatore after all.
I get what I want.
“Hey Portia, time for lunch,” an inmate announced jolting me outta my thoughts. ” Mashed potato and the tasteless gravy.”
Let’s just count food out of getting everything I want.
Gosh, the kind of peace that flowed everywhere… I couldn’t describe it.
The morning was still young.
I’d slept in and awoke late.
Not to worry.
I got into the bathroom for a brush and a shower and dressed in a fuchsia sundress and brown flat sandals.
I packed my hair in a ponytail and went downstairs to find Prudence setting the table for breakfast.
“Good morning,” I greeted happily as I assisted her. “You shouldn’t be doing this. I should’ve woken up early.”
“Argh, you’re all treating me like a baby in this house. I’m as capable of preparing breakfast as I was before the drama.”
She knew about her heart condition, but she liked to brag that she was strong and wasn’t going to die until she saw little Emilios and Annes and Cosimas and Sophias running around the house.
“Where’s Emilio?” I asked.
“Went to work early. You guys don’t sleep together?”
I blushed. “No, we’re taking things slowly.”
“Too slow for my liking,” she muttered.
We sat down to breakfast, and afterwards did the dishes.
I waved goodbye to Prudence and went to Sophia’s place.
From there, we both went to Cosima’s apartment. She’d just woken up and we had to spend an hour waiting for her to bath and dress.
Then we all went shopping for the VV ball which was tomorrow.
Beverly Hills Fashion Couture
“This one Anne! Take it, it’s figure hugging,” Cosima said holding out an orange knee length dress to me, and I shook my head for the fifth time now.
“Ugh Anne! Are Americans so local, because even Sophia here has a good taste for fashion, although she was wise to go with my choice.”
“Hey….” Sophia said with a pretend frown.
Laughing, I replied, ” I’m not used to stuff like these.”
I fingered the material.
So smooth and soft and expensive.
“Then you should start. You can’t have a rich boyfriend and look so plain,” Cosima rolled her eyes.
“How many times do I tell you that Emilio and I aren’t —”
“Tish tosh Anne if you’re going to start with the preaching,” Sophia said.
We moved to the jewelry section, them picking beautiful pieces and trying them on.
I looked on, not used to stuff like these.
After that was the shoes, and handbags and other accessories of quite high prices.
To prevent them from teasing me I got a dress and shoes.
It was like four hours later when we returned home.
By then, Cosima had booked an appointment with her hairstylist, makeup artist and beautifier.
Wow, this rich life was really fun and I found myself looking forward to the ball tomorrow night.
When I got home, I entered my room and kicked off my shoes while pulling my sundress over my head.
With my underwear I headed to the bathroom for a short shower when my eyes caught a parcel on my bed.
I picked it up and read the card;
<h><u>Told you I was gonna find something to suit your brown eyes that sparkle when they look at me and your pale skin that reacts to my every touch. Don’t go blushing though.
Hope you like it.
Already, as you guessed right, I was blushing.
I opened the box to reveal the most beautiful sky blue dress I’ve ever seen. It was long to my toes. Decorated with stones at the neckline and the hem. I held the dress to myself and spun around the room, unable to contain how happy I was.
I laid the dress carefully on the bed, and peered into the box.
A box of complete Mandie’s jeweleries made diamonds…. REAL DIAMONDS! Gosh, I’m gonna faint.
And the shoes….silver sandal heels.
Arch, I might fall in this.
I put it on and practiced a walk around my room.
One step, next, next… good, I’m getting it.
I did a happy twirl, but ended up tripping and falling facedown towards the dress… no!
I pushed myself and ended up pulling a pillow down and landing facedown on the floor with my face in the pillow.
“Anne, sth wrong?” Prudence asked, knocking on my door.
“No, no. I’m fine!”
Ouch, so embarrassing.
To be continued