The custody hearing continues
I sat there as I felt my jaw drop and my heart began racing knowing this was the one thing Jo wanted to avoid, putting Lys on the stand. With everything that has happened in her past making her seem like good mother material was going to be a hard sell.
“Objection,” Joanna said as she stood.
“Conference at the bench”, stated the judge.
I watched as they started talking I looked over at the Howells were seemed ecstatic like they just won the fucking lottery. Or whatever makes rich people happy.
I looked up and Joanna and she was coming back but she didn’t look happy.
“Due to the recent events in the change of the relationship I will allow this witness to take the stand.”
I watched as Alyssa slowly approached the witness stand.
“Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God.”
“Your honor,” said their lawyer. “I would like the records to reflect that Ms. Johnson is a hostile witness.
I whispered to Joanna, “she never raises her voice, how can she be hostile?”
“No it means that she’s on our side, and what she says can potentially help our case.”
“Ms. Johnson can you please state your full name and address for the court?”
“My name is Alyssa Marie Johnson and I live at 37 Mountview Avenue in Belleville, New Jersey.”
“And what is your present occupation?”
“So Mr. Bryar is your sole support?”
“No I was left an inheritance from my family.”
“And how much was that?”
“The estate is worth over fifteen million dollars and I have a trust fund with over five hundred thousand.”
“So you have over fifteen million dollars at your disposal?”
“Why is that Ms. Johnson?”
“There were conditions for me inheriting the money.”
“I had to be clean for a minimum of five years.”
“And how long have you been clean, Ms. Johnson?”
“Almost four years.”
“Congratulations, I’m sure your parents would have been proud.”
“I’m sure they would have been.”
“I’m sure you were really sad when you found out they passed away?”
“Objection,” Joanna said “this line of questioning is going nowhere.”
“Your honor, if you just hear me out you will see exactly where this is going.”
“Overruled, I’ll allow the line of question,” said the judge then she turned to their lawyer, “Get to the point Mr. Thomas.”
“Yes your honor.”
She then turned to Alyssa and said, “Answer the question Ms. Johnson.”
I could see that Joanna wasn’t happy about it.
“I was devastated when I found out.”
“They never got a chance to see me turn my life around.”
“Why is that Ms. Johnson?”
“I didn’t know they were dead until two years later.”
“Why is that?”
Alyssa bowed her head, “I was living on the streets.”
I watched as tears streamed down her eyes, I wanted nothing more than to take her in my arms and comfort her. She’s come so far and now this.
“I was a junkie,” she whispered.
“I’m addicted to heroin.”
“Don’t you mean were?”
“If you know anything about addiction, it never goes away.”
“So you could at anytime shoot up again?”
“I won’t I’ve worked too hard for this.”
“But you could? Answer the question yes or no.”
“Anything is possible,” Lyssa said quietly.
“Yes or No?” asked the asshole.
She closed her eyes I knew what she was going to say was killing her. “Yes.”
“Thank you, Miss Johnson, no further questions.”
The judge turned to Jo, “Do you have any questions Ms. Brahms?”
“Yes I do,”
She walked around the front of the table, “Permission to approach the witness?” asked Joanna.
“Permission granted,” said the judge.
“Miss Johnson at what age did you start using?”
“Heroin or drugs in general?”
“I started drinking when I was thirteen. Sneaking things out of my parents cabinet and stuff.”
“Any reason why?”
“I guess the first time it was on a dare, but it made me feel good about myself, grown up I guess.” I watched as Lys squirmed I knew she was uncomfortable.
“You were thirteen why did you need to feel grown up?”
“My parents treated me like a small child and controlled every aspect of my life.”
“I had to go to the schools they chose for me, wear the clothes they chose for me, be friends with who they chose for me. Even in school they picked out specific classes I should be taking. Outside of school they controlled all my extra-curricular activities. None of which I enjoyed. I had a chauffeur pick me and drop me off everywhere I went. I hated it. I became rebellious and made sure I got thrown out of every school they put me in until I was allowed to go into public school.”
“How did you do that?” asked Jo.
“School fights, harassing other students, did a strip tease for the football team. I sent the boys into shock. Then I started to get harassing notes about how much they wanted to have sex with me. I was a tease, I admit it but I wasn’t a whore. After that no private school would accept me. My first day of school I met Matt Pelessier, we became quick friends. He introduced me to Ray, Mikey, Patrick and Gerard.”
I could see that the mention of his name still made her eyes sparkle and there certainly was a glow about her that was never there when I was with her. He had his chance he fucked up, now I’m going to do anything to keep her as mine.
“The five of us became really close, but at the time I was closest to Matt. He even took me to his Junior prom, but that changed everything. I came with him and left with Gerard. Gerard and I were soul mates in the truest sense.”
She looked so dreamy when she said that, I hope Joanna snaps her back to reality where Gerard is an asshole.
“Where does Bob fit into all of this?” Jo asked.
“I met Bob when he started his freshman year. I happened to be in the office at the same time as he was. The principal asked if I could show him around. It got me out of class so I did. I left him at math class and then saw him again at lunch. I invited him to sit with us and he and Patrick seemed to hit it off. At the end of lunch Bob turned to me and asked me out. Gee thought he made it pretty obvious that we were together and he flew into a rage of jealousy. Patrick led Bob out and soon they became quick friends. At this time we were drinking and smoking pot, Patrick wasn’t into that scene and started hanging out with Bob. Gerard and Patrick got into a huge fight and less than a month later Patrick was dead. It killed Gerard and so being the good girlfriend and struggling with my own demons we started getting into more heavy shit. We did cocaine, however that got too expensive, than we were introduced to crack and heroin. I was immediately addicted to the drug, and would do anything for it.”
Did this include sleeping with an innocent fifteen year old boy?” asked Jo.
Lyss bowed her head shamefully, “Yes.” Why was she so ashamed at what was and still is the best night of my life. Have I had better sex? Yeah. But none of them compared to the way I felt about Lyss. I hope soon I’ll be able to feel that way again.
Joanna turned to the judge, “We heard her testimony regarding what happened with Mr. Bryar, and it is a matter of record in pre-trial hearings. I ask that we forgo this part of Miss Johnson’s testimony.”
“What happened after you got pregnant?”
“I moved away to my aunts and went into detox.”
“So you were clean and sober for your pregnancy?” Joanna asked.
“Yes, I didn’t want to harm my child.”
“Did you know at this point you were giving your baby away?”
“Yes,” replied Lyss with a tear rolling down her face.
“But you still wanted it healthy for its new parents?”
“Yes, if I couldn’t bring her up, I wanted her to have every chance at a normal life. I didn’t want her to be born addicted to heroin.”
“Do you love your daughter?”
Lyss looked up trying to blink away her tears but it didn’t work. Her eyes were filled with water and the water spilled over rolling down both cheeks. “I fell in love with her the first time I felt her inside of me.”
“Why did you give her up for adoption?”
“I didn’t have a choice.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“Because my parents told me if I had that baby they would hunt us down and kill us. That I had brought enough sully to their good name and having a bastard grandchild wasn’t an option.”
“So you gave her up to protect her?”
“How did you feel when she was born?”
“I fell even more in love with her.”
“Did you get to hold her?”
“Yes, long enough to tell her that I love her.”
“How have these past few months been with your daughter?” asked Jo.
“It’s been amazing I never thought that I could love her anymore than the day she was born. But I was wrong every day we spend with her is a gift.”
Lyss smiled at me and I smiled back.
“No further questions your honor,” said Jo.
“Any rebuttal Mr. Thomason?”
“No your honor,” said their lawyer.
“You may step down Miss Johnson.”
“I will hear testimony from Melanie Andrews the social services case worker,” said the judge.
“Miss Andrews you observed Emily in both households can you tell the court your findings?”
“Emily was very reserved in her adoptive parents house and she was always cautious in her answers and looking at her parents to make sure her answers were correct.”
“And at the Bryar’s?”
“A totally different child, she was comfortable in her own skin there. She was happy and smiling. She looked straight at me while talking. In my professional opinion she was more confident and comfortable in the Bryar home. It seemed better suited for her.”
“Thank you Miss Andrews,” said the judge.
“I will hear from Mary King the court appointed child advocate.”
I watched as the woman that followed us for the five or six visits took the stand.
“Mrs. King do you think that Mr. Bryar would be a suitable parent?”
“At the first meeting I had my doubts but the last time I saw them together there was no doubt in my mind that Emily belongs with her real father. I agree with Miss Andrews that the Bryar household is more suitable.”
“Thank you Mrs. King.”
I turned around looked at Lyss, winked and smiled at her. Soon this will all be over. Just the child psychologist and we’re done. Soon we’ll have Emily with us. I can’t wait. I’ve grown so attached to her I can’t imagine my life without her or Lyss.
“I will hear testimony from Daniel Hartman a court appointed child psychologist.”
The guy took the stand I think he’ll probably say the same stuff the other two did. He was sworn in and the judge started asking questions.
“Mr. Hartman did you conduct an examination of Emily Howell?”
“Yes I did.”
“Will you share your findings with the court?”
“Emily is an introvert that can’t seem to find her place in life. She is naïve and doesn’t understand the difference between right and wrong.”
“Please explain,” said the judge.
“She confuses abuse for love.”
“What kind of abuse?” asked the judge.
I love this guy for bringing up that she’s being abused now there is no doubt she’ll end up with us.
“Emily Howell is being sexually abused.”
“Did she tell you by who?”
“Can you tell us who is abusing her?”
“Her abuser is Bob Bryar.”
“Fucking liar!!” came out of my mouth. I wanted to vomit. What’s this guy fucking talking about.
“Ms. Brahms, control your client.” The judge turned to the ass on the stand. “Miss Howell told you that Mr. Bryar is abusing her.”
“She told me that he shows her how much he loves her by touching her in very special places. Then she pointed between her legs and her chest.”
“Thank you Mr. Hartman, you may step down.” He left the stand and the judge turned to us.
“Until further investigation into this matter I will withhold my judgment. Mr. Bryar these are serious allegations. I’m releasing you into your own recognizance however I suggest you not leave the city.”
Bob turned to Joanna in disbelief, “What the fuck is going on? I’m being accused of sexually abusing my daughter. Why would she lie like that?”
Bob looked across the table and couldn’t help but look at the smug look on the face of Lawrence Howell. Bob became more angry at the sight of the man he calmly walked over to the other table and grabbed Lawrence by his lapels. “What the fuck are you doing to my daughter?”
“She’s our daughter and from the good doctor’s testimony it looks like you’re doing it.”
Bob pulled back his arm and his fist met Lawrence’s face anyone close enough could hear the crack. Bob felt the cold steel wrapping around his left wrist as his head hit the table. “You’re under arrest,” shouted the baliff.
Bob turned and looked at Ray, “Take Alyssa home.”
Alyssa was in shock at the scene that was happening she couldn’t believe that her baby was not only being abused physically but sexually. Not only that they were allowing her to stay with her abusers. It was killing her that her daughter was going through that. Watching Bob be arrested was like a bad nightmare she just wanted to wake-up. She suddenly felt two arms around her as tears started to flow freely.
“Come on Lyss, let’s go home.”
“This isn’t happening Ray, please tell me this isn’t happening.”
“Let’s go sweetie.”
“What’s going to happen with Bob?”
“I’ll get you home and settled and then I’ll come back to find out what’s going to happen. Okay?”
She nodded her head, “You know he didn’t do anything.”
On the way home Alyssa was dazed everything was so hazy. ‘How could this all go so badly and what was going to happen to her Emily?’ she thought. Ray parked the car, walked over to her side of the door and helped her in the house. She laid on the couch and ray covered her with a blanket. “I’m going to the police station and find out what’s going on with Bob. Do you want anything?”
Alyssa shook her head no.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
As soon as they door shut she started crying hysterically she needed someone more than ever. Her hands were shaking so hard as she dialed the number.
Frank looked up and noticed a woman who had been hanging around the last three shows. “Gee your girl’s back.”
Gerard looked up and rolled his eyes. “How many times can I tell this woman to go away?”
The woman came over and smiled at Gerard, and kissed the top of his head. Gerard’s phone started ringing as the woman started kissing his neck. He answered his phone aggravated “Hello.”
The woman started biting his ear, he turned to her “I told you to keep the fuck away from me!!” He turned his attention to the phone “Lyss?” there was only a dial tone.
Alyssa stared at the phone she should have known better than to call. It was killing her as she dropped to her knees holding her sides crying her eyes out. Suddenly she got up grabbing her purse and ran for the door, leaving her phone behind. She was heading towards his house she only hoped he was still able to help her. She was praying he could take all her pain away.