Josh cleared his throat and peered up into the face of the opposing lawyer, Mr. Tyler Pointer. Pointer was famous in legal circles for his prowess in the courtroom, not that Josh really had much of a case to take apart anyway.
Nervously, he glanced to his left, where Judge David Barker sat, looking slightly bored. Not for the first time, Josh silently cursed the American judicial system for its inability to help him in his time of need. His lawyer, a stern young woman named Alexa Jones had produced some fairly disconcerting evidence suggesting that Judge Barker had some distinctive homophobic tendencies, but the state had determined the evidence wasn't conclusive enough to assign a different judge to the case.
"Mr. Dian," Pointer said suddenly, spitting out each syllable as if he was enunciating a particularly distasteful word. "Tell me, how long have you been married to my client, Jill Gessler-Dian?"
"It will have been five years next month," Josh answered easily.
"And when did you begin your affair with Kenneth Moberg?" Pointer pressed.
Josh swallowed the lump in his throat, wondering why he was nervous. He knew the answers to these questions, he just didn't like them very much. "I realized I was . . . attracted to him about nine months ago or so, and we started seeing each other. We didn't actually begin a physical relationship until about a month ago."
"And how long had you been married at the time you began dating?" Pointer asked.
Josh thought for a moment, mentally adding up the years, then said, "A little bit over four years."
"So, let's see if I got this right," Pointer mused. "After four years of marriage, you met Mr. Moberg, decided you were gay, and began your affair?"
"I didn't just shrug my shoulders and decide I was gay," Josh retorted immediately. He'd already had to defend his newfound lifestyle against his soon-to-be-ex-wife, his family, and many of his closest friends. Although he knew he should keep his composure in the courtroom, the topic was a touchy one for him. "There really wasn't any choosing involved. Trust me, if I'd had a choice, I would have stayed straight and stayed with my life. I just realized I was gay after I met Kenny and realized that I wanted to be with him."
"So, it took you four years of marriage to 'realize' you were gay, not to mention all the time you spent dating before then?" Pointer managed to put just enough sarcasm behind his words to make a point without overstepping his bounds. Josh looked to his lawyer, who shrugged her shoulders.
"I've been deluding myself for a long time," he finally answered softly.
"I see," Pointer sneered. "Well, let's move on, then. How did your wife discover your affair with Mr. Moberg? Did you come clean and tell her about it?"
Of course, Pointer knew the answer. Josh felt his cheeks begin to burn as he prepared himself to answer. "No, I didn't," he said firmly. "She found us . . . together."
"So, not only did you have an affair with another man, of all people, but you deceived your wife about it as well?" Pointer asked.
This was enough, apparently. "Objection!" Jones practically shouted, leaping from her chair.
Barker looked a bit bored as he responded, "Sustained."
Josh looked back to Pointer. He knew there would be little redemption after this examination, but at least Jones had beaten him with an objection on at least one question. Unfortunately, Pointer wasn't finished yet.
"Mr. Dian, if nothing else, you must confess that the lifestyle you lead is not traditional, correct?" he asked.
"I guess you could say that," Josh replied hesitantly.
"In fact, it could be detrimental for your daughter to grow up in an environment where she'll never have a mother, wouldn't you say?" Pointer pressed.
"Jill and I would share time for Katie's custody," Josh responded, tripping over his words somewhat in an effort to sound more sophisticated.
Pointer clearly wasn't impressed. "This whole secretive affair hasn't done much to show that you have the responsibility to take care of a little girl, has it?" he asked.
"My affair had nothing to do with Katie," Josh responded somewhat angrily.
Pointer cut him off with one final question. "After all this, how can you honestly think you deserve custody?"
The question was, of course, intended to be rhetorical, but Josh wanted to ruin any drama Pointer might have created by at least attempting an answer. "I'm her father, and I know what's best for her," he said clearly and loudly.
Pointer smiled slightly, then said, "No further questions, Your Honor."
Judge Barker looked to Jones and asked if she'd like to question Josh again. She shook her head no, and with a slightly hopeless feeling in his gut, Josh obeyed Barker's directions to take a seat.