Written by Princess Juliet
Punishment at last
Nearly three weeks had passed since the terrible incident at the abandoned school. Although hale and hearty, Atarah was still a bit shaken up by everything.
Laying on her hospital bed, she looked worn and fragile.
Her mind was in complete disarray; she couldn’t think of anything other than the premature death of her unborn baby, and, thus, she felt like a complete failure as a mum.
To her, losing a child was the most painful trauma any parent will ever experience. There is nothing that can compare. It was a fate worst than death itself and she deserves any punishment whatsoever for not protecting her little one, she and Jayden�s little one. �Oh, God!�
Tears of pain and hurt spilled down her cheeks. Feeling frustrated, she could only stare miserably up at the ceiling as she silently cursed her bad luck and her stupidity.
For goodness sake, why the heck had she agreed to go clubbing? Why had she let down her guard and trusted that sly b**ch, Nancy?� The images in her mind were of Mary kicking her so hard in the stomach and she felt herself cringe with fear at the memory.
For reasons she couldn�t explain, she began to hear the cries of a newborn infant and this sent a tingle of goosebumps across her arms and neck. Confused and frightened, she floundered to a sitting position and screamed so loud that the entire room vibrated.
In an instant, the door flew open and Jayden rushed into the room, panting for breath. He had heard her screams from Greg�s hospital room which was at the very end of the corridor and had run all the way there just to check on her.
When he saw that she was alright, he let out his breath in a long sigh of relief and moved closer to her.
�You�re having trouble sleeping again, right?� He drawled lazily. Atarah stopped screaming and stared at him with huge frightened eyes.
He sighed again, this time out of frustration and then whispered. �You don’t have to be scared, princess, I�m with you always.� His calm words somehow allayed her fears and she couldn’t be happier that he was there with her and that he still loves her so much despite their complicated fate.
But still, she maintained a poker face and feigned annoyance. �You were not beside me when I woke up,� Her frown deepened and she pursed her lips into a pout. �You also started your day without me.�
�That’s because I had to take care of some stuff around, hun!� Gently, he raised her chin until he could gaze into her eyes. She blinked at him rapidly. �Dad needed my help with cleaning Greg up and I couldn’t say no…..�He paused, as if remembering the circumstances and how they were affecting her life. �Your nurse�have you seen her?�
�What nurse?� She arched her eyebrow at him indifferently.
�The one we talked about yesterday.� He hinted. When she didn’t react, he added, picking his words carefully. �The one who is supposed to keep you company till you’re….erm….you know…..fully alright.�
�I only want my baby.� Atarah half yelled, suddenly becoming furious and Jayden swallowed nervously. �Oh, not again.� He was beginning to get rather tired of her tantrums and incessant nagging. Gosh!
Emotionally and physically, he was equally affected by the miscarriage. It was his child too, for crying out loud.
With a deep sigh, he ran a frustrated hand through his hair and said the first thing that came to his mind. �Relax, I�ll get you pregnant again.�
�Really?� Atarah wanted to squeal with delight, but then she thought about it.
�What if the process takes too long?� So instead, she frowned slightly and on an impulse, shook her head, much to Jayden�s surprise. �Let�s adopt a kid first.�
Unable to believe his ears, he gasped in shock
She nodded her head slowly. �A beautiful girl who looks like me.�And she meant it.
Stunned, Jayden was speechless for a long moment. Before he could think of a perfect response, one that wouldn�t hurt or upset her, the door creaked open and he spun around, Maria was standing in the doorway grinning from ear to ear.
�And here comes your nurse.� He drawled jokingly, pleased with the distraction.
�Mum?� Atarah was genuinely surprised. She couldn’t believe her eyes. �This can’t be real, it has to be a good dream or something.� It was only when she pinched herself she realised it wasn’t a dream.
Her mother was in her hospital room, looking so chubby and stunning in a deep-red coloured, sleeveless dress that was very simple, yet flattered every aspect of her hot figure. �But how did she get out of prison?� Impulsively and without thinking, she blurted out what was on her mind.
Maria’s smile widened. �You should thank your boyfriend and his family.� With graceful steps, she walked over to the bedside and leaned forward to peck her daughter on the cheek. �Firstly, they withdrew all the case against me and then set me free.�
Atarah slowly tore her eyes from her mother and stared at her boyfriend in disbelief. �It’s because of me, right?� Her throat constricted and the tears came without warning.
He nodded. �I just want you to be happy.�
�What then about Mrs Hobson?� She frantically searched his gaze. �Will she also be pardoned?� At the mere thought of it, a look of horror crossed her face, and his anger boiled.
�No way!� His jaw clenched and unclenched as he spoke and he closed his fingers into a fist. �The b**ch is on trial for kidnapping and attempted murder. She is gonna spend the rest of her miserable life in prison and I�m gonna make sure she never gets out.� Biting his lips, he glanced down at his wristwatch and his eyes grew wide in surprise at seeing the time�10:20 AM.
�Holy sh*t!� He cursed under his breath as he�d completely messed up his timing and was almost running late to the courthouse. Then to Atarah and her mother, he said. �I need to get going.�
His words didn�t sit well with Atarah at all and she made an angry face at him. �You are leaving me again?�
�Today is Mary�s final hearing, Princess,� He smirked down at her and only then did she remember that the witch�s fate was going to be decided that morning. Instantly, her countenance changed to a cheerful one and she waved him goodbye and hugged her mother tightly.
Jayden�s laugh was low and hearty as he walked out of her hospital room. But just as he was about to close the door, he heard her whispers
�Mum, Jayden and I are going to adopt a beautiful girl who looks exactly like me.� And he cringed inwardly.
�Adoption? What the hell is wrong with her?� Try as he might, he couldn�t understand what was going on in her head. Dammit, she is so unbelievable!�
His hand tucked in his pocket, he walked down the long hallway and outside to his car.
When he climbed into the driver’s seat, he jammed his foot on the engine and sped down the road.
The ride to the courthouse took nearly thirty minutes, a little longer than he had thought so he was about forty-five minutes late. �What a day!�
Briskly, he stepped out of the car, closed the door behind him and rushed into the building before the bloodsucking reporters that were camping outside could surround him.
He was in no mood to deal with them at all.
The courtroom was tinier than he had expected or perhaps, it seemed that way because it was full to the brim.
His chest heaving, he looked out into the sea of crowds and saw that his father was sitting comfortably in the front seat. Beside him were the Garcia�s, Nancy excluded and they all looked serious, almost pensive.
Holy jeez! Today�s trial was sure going to make the news headlines for weeks, if not months, for it was the most talked about in the whole of Seattle city.
�Wife of the Ceo of Hobsons corporation nationwide kidnaps a young woman( Name and picture withheld) and attempted to murder her along with her two sons.� How pathetic!
Wasting no time at all, Jayden found a seat close to the window and scanned the familiar face standing in the dock.
Dressed in an orange and black striped jailhouse uniform, shackles, and cheap sandals that barely covered her feet, Mary looked absolutely terrified as she tried to convince the judge of her innocence.
Due to her lack of trust in people, she�d insisted on representing herself in court but her decision seemed to be a futile one as the judge wasn�t even paying attention to her. He looked so bored and was yawning at intervals.
Finally! After a few minutes of weighing both parties’ evidence, he was set to give his final verdict.
He cleared his throat and the room fell silent in an instant, only the ticking of the clock could be heard
�It is hereby the judgement and sentence of the court that as to both counts of one and two that the defendant be sentenced to thirty years in prison without the possibility of parole.�
�No, please, no I�m innocent,� Mary burst into tears on hearing the bad news. She glanced sharply toward her husband, wanting desperately to tell him to help her out, but Trent looked away from her and bent his head low. He was tired of putting up with her nonsense and wanted her to pay heavily for her crime. As a matter of fact, he had also planned to file for divorce, for he preferred to remain single than to be married to a cold-hearted murderer.
The judge coughed and cleared his throat again before he continued. �And as for you, Connor Adams…..�His intent gaze was now fixed on Connor who was flanked by two police officers. �For being an accomplice to Mary Hobsons, you are hereby sentenced to five years in prison with hard labour.�
Connor accepted his punishment wholeheartedly. �It was at least better than his lover�s own,� or so he thought. When he looked at Mary, he saw she was looking pleadingly at her husband. He smiled lightly as the police officers led him out of the courtroom. A leopard never changes its spot. His only regrets were trusting her too much and never having a backup plan.
Jayden was more than pleased with the judge�s verdict. He made sure to meet Mary�s eyes and give her a mocking smile before rising to his feet and adjusting his clothes.
�Forgive me, Jayden,� Mary�s piercing scream echoed in his ear, but he knew she was faking her contrition.
Without a word, he started toward the exit, pushing his way through the crowd.
The sudden sound of a not-too-familiar voice made him stop walking. He slowly turned his head in that direction and saw Mrs Garcia, Nancy�s mother staring at him with round soft eyes.
He nodded his head in greeting. To his surprise, she broke into a fit of tears.
�Thank you, Jay, thank you so much for forgiving Nancy and not sending her to prison.� She attempted to hold his hands, but he took a step backwards and forced himself to smile.
�You should thank my dad for that, I�ve no idea what you are talking about.� He told her point blank and that was the truth. No matter how hard he tried to look at it, he still couldn’t understand the reason why his dad had decided not to push a case against Nancy. �Or could it be because they are family friends?� He recoiled at the thought, How pitiful! If it was solely his decision to make, he would have sent her straight to prison without looking back.
�I�ll make sure to send her to rehab, I�ll make sure she never repeats her mistakes and come anywhere near your girlfriend again………� Mrs Garcia was saying when he walked out on her and outside to his car.
He was already getting pissed with her rantings. For all he cares, Nancy can go to hell and rot in there. D**n!
He forced his anger and frustration away to keep his eyes from flaring amber, and then he climbed into his car, started the engine and drove back to the hospital.
It was exactly twelve bang, on the dot when he pulled into the crowded driveway.
Alighting from his car, he went straight to the reception where he was greeted with good news.
Greg had finally woken up from coma.
His mood lifted and a quiet contentment spread through him. Hastily, and without waiting to catch his breath, he rushed to Greg hospital�s room with all smiles.
But when he barged in through the door, the smile faded from his lips and his head felt ready to explode with anger.
Nancy was in the room with Greg and she was holding his hands and speaking softly to him. �The crazy wench!�
�What�re you doing here?� He demanded.
She flinched at the acidity in his voice. �I just wanted to��She stopped, unable to remember what it is she was trying to say. The coldness in his eyes was intimidating and she looked away from him, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to another. �Erm�I just wanted to��
�Relax, little brother.� Greg�s voice was weak but clear. �She is only here to ask for my forgiveness and bade me goodbye.� He came to her rescue, smiling sheepishly at his brother.
Jayden cocked an inquisitive eyebrow at him.
He let out a long sigh of weariness before explaining to his brother. �We are calling off the engagement and she is leaving the country for good.�
�Oh.� Jayden nodded his head slowly, finally understanding everything. �I think that is a good idea then.� Satisfied with their decision, he raced over and hugged his brother loosely, completely ignoring Nancy who was staring at him like a fool.
�I�m sorry, Jay,� She tried to apologise but he looked daggers at her, cutting her off abruptly. Unshed tears of embarrassment were starting to burn her eyes and she retrieved her bag from the table and silently walked out of the room.
�Good riddance to bad rubbish.� Jayden snorted in derision. As the door shut behind her, he turned his attention back to Greg and asked concernedly. �How�re you feeling now, bro?�
Greg merely shrugged his shoulders in response, a faraway look in his eyes.
A few seconds of awkward silence followed, and then he whispered. �I want to see mum one last time.�
Jayden nodded his head, shuffled his feet, but said nothing.
�Nancy was kind enough to let me listen to the recordings of her previous trial and it was heart-wrenching.� Greg looked incredibly sad, but before Jayden could think of words to console him, Atarah barged in through the door and threw herself at him with enough force to drive him back a step.
�Hey, princess.� He greeted her coolly.
She laughed shortly and had to cough a little. �As if I knew you would be here.� Then to Greg, she smiled warmly and said. �You had us a little worried there. How do you feel?�
Greg nodded and smiled.
At that exact time, Jayden�s phone beeped indicating a text message. He quickly fished the phone out of his pocket and when he saw the sender, he almost screamed out.
�I�m already at the Hobsons hotel.�
�Who is that?� Greg asked at seeing his unsmiling face.
�A Canadian doctor.� Jayden sighed deeply and rubbed the back of his neck, which he always does whenever he is nervous. �I have a contract proposal to sign with him and now I am late.�
�Then you should leave right now.� Greg doped out a solution to the problem and he nodded his head vigorously.
�Yeah, sure. I�ll be on my way now and when I return……�He smirked down at his brother, �I�ll drive you down to the prison house myself.�
�Like seriously? Greg�s face lightened and his eyes lit up as his mouth broke into a smile. �You�ll do that for me?� He was genuinely touched.
�I�ll do anything to make my big brother happy,� Jayden promised.
Atarah got jealous and asked. �What then about me?� She had expected him to say he would take her along with him, but he didn’t. Instead, he kissed her softly on the lips and whispered. �Go get ready, my dad’s driver will be here in the next thirty minutes to take you home.�
Without waiting for a response, he dashed out of the room, down the long passage and outside to his car
Opening the door, he slid into the driver’s seat and went by a shorter route to his family�s hotel.
He got there just before 2:00 pm and swerved his car into the parking lot. Hastily, he alighted and walked into the building with graceful steps.
Seeing him, the receptionist welcomed him and then led him to a table already occupied by three people. A young brown-skinned man who looked to be in his early twenties, a young light-skinned woman who seemed to be his wife and a little white girl of about two years. �What a strange and beautiful family!�
For a moment, Jayden was too surprised to say anything. He just stared at them blankly, wondering if the man was really the doctor he�d come to see. If yes, why then did he bring his family to a business meeting? He was at a loss as to what to think.
The young man cleared his throat just then and that distracted him from his thoughts.
With a soft chuckle, he quickly composed himself and sat down opposite him. �Good afternoon, Dr Troy.�
�Good morning, Dr Jayden.� They greeted each other cordially and then Jayden flashed him an apologetic smile. �I�m so sorry for keeping you waiting.�
�It�s alright.� The young man, Dr Troy brushed his apology aside and smiled down at the little girl in his arms. �Thankfully, my family were here to keep me company.�He kissed his daughter’s forehead and placed her in her mother�s arms before taking the contract form out of his backpack and handing it to Jayden.
With a light smile, Jayden took it from him and flipped through its pages. He couldn�t help but feel pleased with the mouth-watering interest as he signed the contract.
It was a two years affiliate deal between his hospital and the Mac-Adams hospital. A famous hospital known for its charity works and act, one of the largest in Canada.
He smiled inwardly to himself, but just as he was about to fold the papers, the little girl jumped onto the table and began to drag the documents with him.
�Stop it, Demi.� Her mother cautioned her to behave. To everyone’s surprise, she began to cry in a loud voice.
Jayden laughed. �I never knew babies can be this troublesome.�
�They can also be cute at times.� Dr Troy commented, staring at his daughter with eyes full of his love. At that moment, Jayden remembered the miscarriage, the dried blood that was on his hands and cowered.
Dr Troy must have noticed his sudden change of countenance because he patted his shoulders gently, as if to comfort him and then smiled lightly at him.
Jayden returned the smile. �Your family is beautiful,� He confessed. � And your wife and daughter are gorgeous.� He mumbled these words under his breath so they wouldn�t hear.
�Thanks.� Dr Troy muttered. When he glanced down at his wristwatch, he rose to his feet and said to Jayden.
�I need to leave now, or else I will miss my flight.�
Jayden nodded his head in response and after they left, he sat there in silence for a long time, with his own thought.
Meeting Dr Troy�s family made him realise that he wasn�t too young to start a family and that he wanted to start a family.