Author's Note: Hello readers! New story! The idea for this story hit me out of nowhere and once I started writing, I couldn't stop. It's another one of my romances, and I think it's really going to make a splash. For my readers who have read my other romance stories, prepare yourself. This one will be jam packed with the twists, turns, and heavy emotions that I love writing. This one might seriously be my favorite story that I've written so far. However, this story will be on a strict updating schedule. New chapters will only come out Friday evenings (preferably from 6-8). That being said, I will not be updating every week. As much as I would like to write myself into a coma, I have lots of finals and exams to start studying for. Anyways, here's "Changing Oaths", enjoy!
Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
I always saw that as the first fault in our justice system. An entire testimony- what the defense is going to call evidence is based off of the "truth"? According to who? The sixteen year old boy on the stand right now has an entirely different definition of the truth than I do.
We can't use polygraph machines in the court of law because apparently their "Unreliable". I don't know how someone's word, someone's promise of the "truth" is any more reliable. But then, I guess that's why I'm in this situation in the first place.
Here's the real truth. Someone's life, their right, their innocence was destroyed. A sixteen year old boy takes the stand, promises to tell the truth, lies, and no one can prove it.
It becomes a case of she said he said. Whose testimony is more powerful? Before I have a chance to defend who has the right to my body, NFL wide receiver Larry "The King" Jones is on the stand. Why? He wasn't a witness. He wasn't at the scene of the crime. But he's the father of Daniel Jones, his guardian, his mentor. He gave his son permission to throw that party, and no, his son has never shown any agressive signs before, he is a straight A student and...
"My son did not touch that girl! This is just a publicity stunt to squeeze money out of my family. My son is innocent!"
Suddenly the jury, the twelve alleged unconvinced people, are doubting me. Me!
Some justice system. That's all it takes. People act like you're under some truth serum on the stand. If only. The amount of lies that went on in that trial made me sick. I went to the police, to the DA, to find closure, redemption, and all I got was a title.
All I got was more pain. More torture. More enemies.
This is the sad irony of our justice system. When someone guilty is put on trial, it's to find the truth. But you must be bat shit crazy if you think that someone guilty is going to tell the truth when they're put on the stand.
The best part of all of it: the evidence. His DNA, was there. My torn hymen, was there. The signs of struggle, the bruises, the scratches- all there. What happened on October fifth at that party in NFL star Larry Jones's mansion was blatantly fucking obvious. And the defense's closing statement-
"Ashton Keppling was a naive fifteen year old. She went to a party at Daniel Jones's home. She danced with the defendant, she followed him up to his room, she consented to sex. Then the next morning she decided she didn't enjoy the sex. Maybe she was a little sore. And she realized she could raise some suspicion, and probably gain some money. The only witnesses have testified that Ashton was laughing when she followed Daniel upstairs, and that she seemed perfectly understanding and willing to have sex with Daniel Jones. The evidence does show that the two had sex, but only those two can say what happened in that room. What the evidence shows us is that the sex was simply rough. And we cannot make speculations about anything other than that. Look what I've just summarized for you. There is simply no logic behind this accusation. You cannot look at the sixteen year old boy before you and convict him of a crime he did not commit. I'm sure after deliberation, you will have no choice but to proclaim him as not guilty. I'll finish in the words of Blackstone, 'Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.' Thank you."
I don't know why I was even surprised with the verdict. I don't know why I was shocked when it came back not even an hour later reading,
It hit the news. It hit my school. It hit everywhere. I couldn't escape it. Here I was, the one violated. The one who screamed- No, Stop, and Please, until he choked me. The one who spent an hour getting poked and probed with a rape kit. Who was too poor to afford a real lawyer. I shouldn't of been surprised. That defense attorney was right about one thing.
I was a naive fifteen year old girl. My family had no money, and his family had millions. I actually believed my public attorney could stand a chance against the Harvard graduate with a pile of wins behind him. I actually believed people would swear an oath to tell the truth and do it. I believed my life would go on, and I would heal, and he would go to jail.
What really happened? I spiraled into depression. I had to be homeschooled because the whispers, the stares, the giggles, and the cat calls were too much. It was all too damn much. Things only got worse. I locked myself up. I started hurting myself to see if I could still feel. Turns out, I couldn't.
When you become a topic of conversation at dinner. When you can't be seen without being shamed. When you can't escape the pain of doing what you thought was right. When the truth screwed up your life more than you ever thought it would, and you have to live with this moral in society about honesty, and about standing up for what's right. When your name is blackballed throughout the whole city, county, state; why should you keep trying?
I kept telling myself not to give up. But I was alone. The only people in my corner were my parents and my older brother. Well, my parents were getting bashed by society too. And my brother...well he hit the papers when he showed up at Larry Jones's house, drunk, and threatened to kill Daniel.
I felt alone. I felt empty. So I hurt myself, over and over, to make sure I could still feel. But the more blood I watched drip from my arms, the more I became numb to the pain. I was making things worse, and I knew it, but I just stopped caring. My life became a sad never ending cycle of regret.
If only I'd kept quiet.
I couldn't bare that thought. That the truth didn't set me free at all, it chained me up. For two years- I was in a dark pit. Falling down a hole that I thought was never ending. When I turned eighteen things started to look up, but for the wrong reasons. I was so angry. The wound still hadn't healed after two years and I was still hurting. So I did the ultimate cover up. If people didn't want to believe me, than I'd just become someone else.
I changed my attitude. I got the hell out of dodge. Like all the way across the country out of dodge. I buried everything I ever felt during those years of highschool deep deep down, where no one could ever uncover them. But some things never change. The memories I hold of those years, they're my triggers. And I still hear those words- Not Guilty and see Daniel Jones in my nightmares. Those never disappear. And what he did to me, I can never take that back.
The sworn testimony that you have to speak before you take the stand is a piece of shit. The day Daniel Jones got off the hook for raping me, I made my own oath.
I solemnly swear to hide how Daniel Jones broke me, and shattered my hope in ever finding love, so help me God.
"I think something draws us all to law. The idea that someone can be avenged, and obtain justice through a pure, sane sense. That's one of the things that drew me to it. Of course I had that little push along the way called 'the son of a bitch got away with it'. That whole 'now the heroine has to question her ideals and decide if she will take the righteous path of justice, or the cruel path of revenge' thing. I don't know why I was surprised. He was a millionaire's son. His dad was one of the biggest stars in the NFL. And you know how that goes, a big football player batts his pretty little eyes at twelve 'unconvinced' jurors, and the whole thing goes away. He makes a few calls, signs a couple autographs, maybe a few footballs, and bam, soon enough I'm hearing the words "Not Guilty" as I'm staring at the son of a bitch who raped me. I hope you're not having a problem with this, it's just that when I sat down you told me to answer all the questions honestly so… yeah, this is why I chose a career in law."
The attorney in front of me stares at me with questioning eyes. "Well it's good to know you have a... background in the field. However, I didn't ask for your background, and you still haven't answered my question. Why have you chosen a career in law?"
I stare at the woman who sits before me. Typical lawyer. I give a perfectly fine response, and she twists my words. I smile lightly at her.
"I have chosen a career in law, because, I don't like it when the bad guys get away," I reply, sarcastically. She returns my fake smile and stands up from her chair. She pulls my resume off her desk and flips through it, her eyes glancing up at me every now and then as then she reads through it.
"I think I might just like you. We could use some wit around the office."
I laugh lightly. "I haven't chosen a career in law so I can bring wit to the office," I reply.
She looks at me, a small smile playing over her lips. I stand up and hold out my hand for her to shake. "I've chosen a career in law so I can go to court."
She shakes my hand and breathes out a small laugh.
"Congratulations Ashton, you start next week."