Jolan's Path - Chapter 72


The following story is fictional and is intended for an adult audience. It is not meant to suggest anything about the sexuality of Justin Timberlake or any other celebrities included in this story. This story is fiction, meaning not real. It's all for fun. If you are under age, it is illegal in your country, or you don't like stories about gay sex, please stop reading this now.




Chapter 72


Jolan walked downstairs, stretching as he walked into the kitchen.

His muscles felt sore and lethargic.

Justin stood at the stove, a pan of bacon frying before him.

Jolan smiled, looking at Lynn, Jennie, Cory, Bill and Lonnie sitting around the table.

They all smiled at him, showing concern as they looked at his injured face.

Jolan didn't mention it, walking up to his lover.

He put his arm around him, kissing his cheek.

"Morning, Jumpy. Something sure smells good. Sorry I slept in a bit."

Justin returned the kiss, pulling the pan off the stove, shutting it off.

"You needed the rest, Wolfy. Everyone just showed up about twenty minutes ago. I've got breakfast almost ready."

Jolan smiled at his lover, walking over to the table, leaning down slowly, kissing Lynn's and Jennie's  cheeks.

"Morning, Mom, Sis. Hi guys." he said, gently sitting down between Lynn and Jennie, everyone looking at him.

"I take it Justin told you about my wanderings last night?"

Everyone looked at each other, Lynn's hand going on top of his as Jennie poured him a cup off coffee.

"I only have to look at your face to see something's happened. Are you okay?" she said, Jolan looking into her eyes, seeing the love and concern there.

"I'm okay, Mom. Just a little roughed up."

"What happened, Jolan? Justin said you fought someone?" Cory said, Jolan looking into his concerned green eyes.

"I met Sid's guardian last night, in the wee hours of the morning. Our meeting started off less than cordial." Jolan said, stretching his arms again, sighing.

"His guardian hurt you? I thought you said he was good?" Bill said, Jolan looking at him.

"How's Sid, Bill?" Jolan asked, Justin coming to the table, setting filled plates down on it, smiling at Jolan.

"He's okay, Jolan. He slept right through the night. Thelma brought him breakfast over this morning, she and Carl staying for breakfast with him. He told me to come over and get changed for work. He's not moving today, staying inside. He's playing it quiet and silent. Is he going to be okay, Jolan?"

"He's going to be fine, Bill. Evil cannot touch him now, or find him. We've seen to that."

"We?" Lonnie said, setting his coffee cup down, staring at Jolan.

"Yes, Lonnie. Myself and Sid's guardian."

Everyone's eyes fell on Jolan, Justin quietly looking at him.

"The guardian is a confused soul himself. What I met last night was a conflicting individual with two sides of life. Evil and goodness. I fought the evil to bring forth the goodness. The evil inflicting him I then removed. What was left was goodness at its best. We parted on more agreeable terms." Jolan said, his eyes staring forward, Jennie's hand going in his.

"Your love won out as always, my brother."
Jolan smiled, Jennie kissing his cheek.

"I showed him the real me. I had to fight him as the wolf I am. He was so strong. My Badenwolf soul fought that evil. In the end he was overcome by my forgiveness."
"Your forgiveness for what?" Lynn said, Jolan looking up at her.

"For what he was forced to do. He was the one who had attacked Sidney."
Bill froze in shock, Jolan staring at him.

"He was overcome by magic, Bill. Forced into a life of servitude at the beck and call of his master. The evil that surrounds this town. I now know who that monster is. I just have to make the connection between that monster and the monster that tried to destroy me."
Justin stood behind Jolan, his hands going to his shoulders, squeezing softly.

"I need to ask you a question, Bill."
Bill nodded, waiting for Jolan to ask.

"Have there been any disappearances around this town, over the past few years?"
Bill folded his arms, thinking.

"Well, no more than the usual for a small town. A few teenagers have been reported missing, Stu chalking most of them up to no employment in this town. They left to find work, forgetting the past they left behind."
"Didn't they leave behind worried families?" Lonnie asked, looking at Bill.

"We have troubled teens just like any other community, Lonnie. Drugs and alcohol filter into every town. Families fight, people leave."
Lonnie nodded, Jolan quietly looking at Bill.

"How about children? And the older folks?"
"Well, I've been on the police force for seven years. In all that time, only eight townsfolk have gone missing, four of them the Dragos family. One of the other four was a child of seven. None of them were ever found."
Jolan nodded, looking at Justin.

"Something's itching at my conscience. I think after today's session I have to go home."
Justin looked at Jolan, sitting down at the table beside his mother.

"I have to go there, Jus. What lays there, I believe, will unlock everything. And then I'll face my past, and I'll mete out their justice."
Everyone looked at each other, Jolan looking around the table.

"They have to pay for what they've done. I will expose them and God will judge them."

Everyone looked at Justin, Jolan picking up the plate of bacon.

"Let's eat everyone, it's going to be a long day."

Justin looked at Jolan, his thoughts filled with worry.


Ally walked into the kitchen, Lonnie following her, having gone to the front door to let her in.

Their hands were locked, Jolan smiling at both when they walked into the kitchen.

"Good morning, everyone." she said, her eyes then focusing on Jolan.

"My God, Jolan! What happened?"
"I had a little nocturnal exercise last night. Nothing to worry about."
Ally looked at Justin, then Lonnie.

"Nothing to worry about, Ally." Justin said, Jolan smiling at him.

Ally's eyes squinted, Jolan smiling at her.

"I'll explain it all to you on the drive over to the courthouse. So what's on Sutcliffe's agenda today?"
"Well, it's his last day of testimony. I've been informed that Theresa Brannigan will be taking the stand today. Today's the day you finally meet her again, Jolan." she said, sitting down at the table, Lonnie pouring her a cup of coffee, their eyes meeting.

"Yes, my friend of endurance and pain." he softly said, Ally looking at him.

"Endurance and pain? What does that mean, Jolan?" she said, her eyes going to Justin again.

"The past is beginning to fill my mind, Alexandra. Today, I think I will remember all of it. Tonight, I think I'm going to need all of you. The pain will become almost unbearable. Forgive me if I lash out in sorrow." Jolan said, his head lowering.

Justin meant to go towards him, Jolan rising up out of his seat.

"Please, everyone. Finish breakfast. I just need a moment alone."

He walked quietly out of the room, everyone's eyes following his departure.

Everyone's eyes then turned to Justin, the young man staring at Jennie.

"What's going on, Justin?" Ally said, Justin's gaze going to her.

"He told me a story last night. A story of pain and torture, of hurt and forgotten hope. The story of Sid's guardian. Something miraculous and very moving is going to happen shortly. I can feel it. But before that, my Jolan is going to have to face the horror of his past. I'm so worried that it could destroy him. His mind is edged with fear at that realization. How do I protect him from himself?" Justin said, tears now in his eyes.

Jennie stood up, going to him, wrapping her arms around him, and kissing his cheek.

"You go on as  you've always done. Surrounding him with your love. That is the elixir of hope and happiness he needs. Let him drink from your ever-flowing love. That will get him through all of this."
Jennie's head turned, looking towards the doorway, then looking around at everyone.

"The wall is about to shatter, his soul about to capsize. He'll drown in the pain unless we all show him our love."
Lonnie stood, his hand going to Ally's shoulder.

"He has mine, and I'm sure he has Ally's." he said, Ally nodding.

"Mine too, and Sid's." Bill said, tears forming in his eyes.

"He's always had mine." Cory said, Lynn rubbing his shoulder.

"He'll have all of us, Jennie. And most of all Justin. We're all going to be with him when he faces his past."
Justin smiled, Jennie smiling beside him.

"That's almost all he needs." she said, her grey eyes sparkling with light flashes of glowing silver.

She quietly left the room, going to find her brother.

Everyone stared after her, her last words floating in their minds.


Lonnie pulled the SUV into the courthouse parking lot, the vehicle immediately surrounded by reporters.

Justin, Jennie and Jolan sat in the back seat; Lynn, Ally and Cory in the center seats; Lonnie and Bill in the front seats.

Bill jumped out, his police uniform on full display.

"Back up, everyone. I said now!" he said with authority, Lonnie now at his side.

The reporters backed up, staring at the two large men.

A few other deputies--including Steve Meadows, the deputy Jolan had met in the courthouse--formed a wall around them.

Bill's hand went to the panel door, pulling it open.

Everyone filed out, Lonnie in front of them, Bill at their rear, the other deputies surrounding the small group.

Jolan walked forward, his arm around Jennie, Justin on his other side, all three listening to the questions thrown at them by the surrounding reporters.


"Are you going to plea bargain, Mr. Dragos?"
"What will you do now for your son, Jolan?"
"Are you afraid of what the victim will reveal today?"

"What happened to your face, Jolan? Did one of your famous friends attack you?"
"Why are you still at his side, Justin? After such damaging testimony, how can you remain there?"


Justin stopped, staring at the man who'd spoken that last question.

"I'm at his side because I feel the goodness in this man. His love draws all of us to him. He'll always have my friendship."
The reporter looked surprised, others looking at the two men.

Justin stared at Tim Baxter, the reporter's mike in Justin's face.

"The boy's been shown to be his. How can you deny that he's guilty of these charges?" the reporter said.
Justin's eyes flared with anger, all the cameras zoning in on his face.

"My friend's a decent, giving, loving man. I refuse to believe any lies leveled at him. His innocence will be shown easily. I'll see to that."
Jolan's hand went to Justin's shoulder, Justin's anger dissolving immediately.

"How can I lose with all this love surrounding me? I think maybe that's what you should be reporting on. The love that surrounds all of us. Evil can't stand a chance against that." Jolan said, moving Justin forward, his arm still around a smiling Jennie.

The reporters stared at them, then took off after them again.

The group walked into the courthouse, ignoring the barrage of continuing questions.

Steve showed them to a waiting room, their other friends and family already waiting there.

Everyone looked at Jolan's face when they hugged him, Jolan sitting down, sighing softly.

"Very good affirmation out there, Jolan. They should be focusing on the love." Ally said, Jolan smiling softly at her.

"Your face, Jolan? What's happened?" Joey said, Lance at Jolan's side immediately, Jolan smiling at his worried face.

"I'll let Justin tell you. Let's just say I'm meeting new friends. And zeroing in on my enemies." he said, closing his eyes.

Jennie sat down on his other side, Lance looking at her.

Justin briefly filled them all in on Jolan's late night walk of confrontation.

Their eyes looked towards him as Justin explained all of it.

"So, this guardian holds the answer to what happened to Sid?" Joey said, looking at Jolan.

"Yes, Joey. He was directly involved. As was someone else. I know now who that is. I just have to wait for the right moment to take them on."
Justin looked worried, Jolan's eyes closing again.

"The path goes forward, everyone. I have to struggle the whole way. But I have all of your love in my heart."
Everyone nodded, the door of the room opening, Steve looking in.

"The courtroom is ready. It's about to begin again." Steve said, Ally nodding.

The deputy closed the door again, everyone standing up except Jolan.

Jolan opened his eyes again, Justin staring at him.

Jolan stood up, pulling him into his arms.

"A kiss of love to hold me strong all day?"
Justin smiled, kissing his lover deeply, Lonnie standing against the door to give them privacy.

Jolan broke the kiss, softly smiling.

"I have my strength now. I can now face her."

"My love will surround you in there, Jo."
Jolan smiled, letting his lover go, walking to the door, Lonnie patting his shoulder.

"Give 'em hell, kid." he said, Jolan looking back at Ally.

"I got great backup, Lon." Jolan said, Ally smiling.

The two walked out of the room, Justin and the others following.


The judge stared out into the courtroom, the bailiff quieting everyone down.

"Good morning, everyone. It will be a shorter session today. As the counselors have been made aware. I unfortunately have other commitments this afternoon. You have until one, counselors. We shall forego a lunch break. Call your next witness, Mr. Sutcliffe."

Ally had already informed Jolan that the session today would be only half a day.

She was certain Sutcliffe would parade his star witness right off the bat, for maximum effect.

"I call to the stand, Sheriff Stuart Walker."

Ally looked at Sutcliffe, the sheriff walking up to the witness stand, sworn in by the bailiff.

Sheriff Walker got comfortable in the seat, Henderson walking up to him.

"State your full name and occupation."
"Stuart Rodney Walker, sheriff of the town of Cutter's Bluff and Fulton and Sherman counties."

"How long have you been the sheriff in this town, Sheriff Walker?"
"Almost thirty years, sir."

"A long and distinguished career. As the sheriff, I assume you knew the defendant?"
"Yes, I've made it my career to know everyone in this town, townsfolk and strangers alike."
Henderson looked at the sheriff, his eyes staring back at him.

"Have you had any professional dealings--criminal or unsavory--with the defendant?"
"I have had one moment of investigative policing with the young man."

Henderson smiled.

"Oh? And what was that moment? When did it take place?" Henderson said, looking at Jolan, the jury looking towards him as well.
Jolan remained calm, staring quietly ahead, looking at Stu.

"It took place on February twenty-sixth, two thousand and five."
"Ah! Two days before the attack on Theresa Brannigan."
"Objection, your Honor! No such attack has been established yet. The prosecutor is incriminating my client without substantiating the evidence." Ally said, staring at Sutcliffe, the lawyer ignoring her.
"Objection sustained. Miss Carmichael is correct, counselor. No attack has been proven yet."

"I'm sorry, your Honor. I got ahead of myself."

The judge looked at Sutcliffe, the man smiling.

"When one gets ahead of oneself, one usually falls flat on one's face." the judge said, the lawyer's eyes widening.

"The jury will disregard the prosecutor's remarks. Continue, but with caution, Mr. Sutcliffe. You're trying the court's patience."
Henderson bowed a small bow, looking at the sheriff again.

"What happened that day you encountered Jolan Dragos?"
"Well, on that day another young man had been attacked in the town square, around nine that evening. Just after dark."

"Tragic. And who was that young man? What happened to him?"
"His name is Sidney Carson. He is the brother of one of my deputies."

"Where is the younger Mr. Carson now?" Henderson said, smiling at the sheriff.

"Sidney sustained traumatic damage from his attack. He's in a catatonic state. He's been in his brother's care since that night."
"What happened that night, and why did you seek out Jolan Dragos in regards to that attack?"
"I didn't seek him out. Bill Carson, Sidney's brother, found Sidney's body that night. And Jolan was beside him."
"Beside him? What do you mean by that?"
The sheriff looked over at Jolan, Jolan staring quietly at him.

"Bill Carson found Jolan on top of Sidney. Jolan had Sid's blood all over him. To Bill's eyes it looked like Jolan had attacked him."
"Objection, your Honor! The witness cannot speak for other eyewitnesses. Hearsay is inadmissible."
"Objection sustained, counselor. You must speak of what only you saw, not others, Sheriff."
"Sorry, your Honor. Bill informed me that he found Jolan on top of Sidney, covered in his blood."
"So you apprehended the young man?"
"We questioned him that night, his parents vouching that he'd been home with them until almost eight o'clock."
"Then what was he doing out there where Sidney was found, a short one hour later?"
"We never found that out. Three days later, the whole family vanished--Jolan, his sister and his parents."
"Vanished like thieves in the night." Henderson said, Ally immediately on her feet.

"Calm down counselor. I withdraw my remark. Just idle thinking on my part." Henderson said, smiling at her.

Ally stared at him, their eyes boring into each other's.

"Idle thoughts from idle minds." Ally said, pointblank at him.

Henderson's eyes glared at her, the judge banging his gavel.

"Both of you draw back the claws. This is a court of law." the judge said, Ally sitting down, Henderson looking at the judge.

His eyes returned to the sheriff.

"So, you never charged Jolan Dragos as the one who'd attacked Sidney Carson?"
"The only witness was Sidney.  And he's incapable of speaking. The case still remains open."
"Poor fellow. To be robbed of his ability to enjoy life at the hands of some sadistic monster. Seems to be a lot of that going around. The town's image as a quaint little hamlet is being destroyed by monstrous individuals. Your witness, counselor." Henderson said, walking back to his desk and sitting down.


Jolan leaned into Ally, the two conferring for a few moments.

Ally stood up, walking up to the sheriff.

"Sheriff Walker, you've known Jolan's family for a  while?"
"Yes, I knew Jolan's parents, Joel and Melina Dragos, very well. They both were on the PTA council at my daughter's school. My daughter Sherry and Jolan went to school together."

"What is your opinion of Jolan Dragos? From that time, I mean. I know you haven't seen him much since his return."
"Objection, your Honor! The witness' opinion is irrelevant here. We're dealing with only the facts."
"This is your witness, counselor. The coin flips both ways. I'll allow this line of questioning. The defendant's character at that time has an important bearing on this case." the judge said, folding his hands together, looking at the sheriff.

"Jolan--when I knew him four years ago--was a giving, caring, surprisingly gifted young man. I remember going to his musical recitals, my wife Sharon dragging me to them. Once I heard his music though, I saw the true him."
"What do you mean, Sheriff?" Ally said, smiling at him.

"Jolan Dragos could draw love out of a piano. The music he played was like love flowing on air. It touched your heart deeply."
"He was a gifted pianist?" she said, looking at the jury.

"Yes, a man of immense promise. His future was so open to him. And then he vanished. I searched a long time for him, as did his friend, Deputy Hamilton. We never found any sign of him or his family."

"Why did you continue the search, Sheriff Walker? He wasn't part of your family, only a citizen of your community."
The sheriff looked at the judge, his cheeks blushing softly.

"Answer the question, Sheriff Walker." the judge said, the sheriff looking at Ally.
"I needed to hear that music again. It had captured my soul."
Ally smiled, seeing smiles on a few of the jurors watchful faces.

"Do you believe Jolan Dragos hurt Sidney Carson?"
"Objection, your Honor! That's an outright opinion, and you damn well know it, Carmichael!"

The judge banged his gavel, staring at Sutcliffe, who'd stood up.

"Objection, sustained. Opinions on innocence are not admissible, counselor."
"Sorry, your honor. I'll rephrase the question."
The judge nodded, Sutcliffe sitting down again.

"Judging by the evidence, and the crime scene that night, do you believe that Jolan Dragos attacked that young man?"
"No I don't. There were other tracks and footprints found there. There appeared to have been an aggressive scuffle. Another blood type other than Carson's or Dragos' was found on Sidney's clothing. The evidence pointed to someone else being there that night. I never had the chance to tell Jolan that. Within days of that attack, he was gone." The sheriff said, Jolan smiling at him.

"So, a crime was committed, but my client was not the only suspect, he being unaware of that, because of his disappearance. Thank you, sheriff. Your police skills are highly experienced. Another question, Sheriff?"
The sheriff nodded, the jury looking at him and Ally.

"Have there been any disappearances of children or teens in the area, in the past five years?"
"Your honor, this is totally irrelevant to this case! The counselor is wasting the court's time!" Sutcliffe said, standing again, glaring at Ally.

The judge looked at Ally, tapping his fingers together.

"I'll allow the question. I'd like to see where this is going. Sit down, counselor."
Sutcliffe threw down his pen, sitting down and folding his arms.

"Well, since two thousand and four, seventeen teenagers, age fourteen to nineteen have disappeared, most chalked up to fleeing troubled family homes. A few outright just seemed to vanish. Eight other townsfolk including Jolan and his family  have gone missing, no clues shown to their whereabouts. One was a child of about seven."
"So, people have been disappearing from their homes. Isn't that cause for concern, Sheriff?"
"Well, like I said, some have been attributed to broken homes, neglected homes and just teenagers tired of small town life. New York's not that far away, it calls to a lot of them. But yes, the townsfolk just seemed to have vanished. It's a tragic fate on our society."
"Indeed it is." Ally said, the judge looking at her.

"Why are you asking these questions, counselor? Mr. Sutcliffe has a valid point about their relevance."
"Well, your Honor, I'm just trying to show the court and our illustrious jury that several other teenagers were missing in this community at the time of Theresa Brannigan's attack. Who's to say one of them was not responsible for this young lady's unfortunate troubles? Jolan Dragos was not the only young man walking the dark streets of this hamlet. Sidney Carson's attack is proof of that."

"Interesting course of action, Miss Carmichael. Very shrewd." Judge Wentworth said, Ally looking at the sheriff.

"One final question, Sheriff Walker. Do you know the name Samuel Conrad?"
The sheriff sat up in his seat, looking around the courtroom.

"I do know that name, and I know the man. I arrested him over four years ago for vagrancy, throwing him in jail. The next day we learned an all points bulletin was issued for him."
"An APB? For what? From where?"
"From a town in northern New York called Oberson Falls. The man was charged with leaving the scene of a crime and aggressive assault. Apparently, he'd gotten into a bar fight there, seriously injuring a patron."

Ally looked back at Jolan, then again at the sheriff.

"Did you extradite him back to that town?"
"No I didn't. That same day someone had posted bail for him. Later that same evening he disappeared."

"Do you remember the exact date of that disappearance?"
"Yes I do. February twenty-fifth. The day before Sidney Carson's attack."
Ally walked back to her table, Jolan smiling at her.

"I have no further questions for this witness. But your Honor, I believe the witness named just now to the sheriff should be taken immediately into custody. His testimony yesterday seems very dubious. He's also a fugitive at large."
"I agree, counselor. You have the court's backing to arrest Conrad, Sheriff Walker. I want that man in custody pending this trial's conclusion."
"I'll see it's done, your Honor." the sheriff said, the judge looking at Henderson.

"Did you know of the witness' criminal record, Mr. Sutcliffe?" the judge said, staring at the lawyer.

"This is all news to me, your Honor. I was under the impression the man was of stellar upbringing."
Ally rolled her eyes, Jolan softly chuckling.

"The witness is excused. Call your next witness, Mr. Sutcliffe."


"I call to the stand Dr. Isaac Wainwright."
A man walked out of the pews, heading to the witness stand, Ally and Jolan looking at him while he was sworn in.

He was in his late forties, balding, with a well-trimmed beard.

"State your name and occupation, sir."

"Doctor Isaac Wainwright. I am a gynecologist."
"You were Theresa Brannigan's doctor, Dr. Wainwright?"
"I was, four years ago."
"Ah, shortly after her alleged attack?"

"Yes, in late March of two thousand and five until July of the same year."

"At that time, when you were her physician, what was her condition?"

"The young woman was an emotional wreck. She tried hiding it, but her emotional state kept coming through."

"Why did she seek you out at that time, Doctor?" Henderson said, looking quietly towards the jury.

"She had severe trauma. She came to me in distress and severely injured."
"Injured in what regard, Doctor?"
The doctor pulled out a file from his briefcase, handing it to the lawyer.

"Those are my diagnostic tests and complete evaluation remarks from her case." the doctor said, Henderson nodding at him.

"I'd like these added to evidence as Exhibit C, your Honor." Henderson said, handing them up to the judge.

"Continue questioning the witness, Mr. Sutcliffe." the judge said, perusing the file.

"What was the condition you found the young woman in at the time of your first examination of her?"

"She was as I said, highly emotional. And her body showed all the signs of physical abuse. Especially her vaginal cavity. Her inner walls were savagely bruised, several penetration lacerations in evidence."
"What was your conclusion of this examination?"

"I had ascertained that she had been raped. She showed all the physical signs of severe vaginal penetration. Whomever had done it had been brutal."

"Tragic, Doctor. Did you discuss these findings with Miss Brannigan?"
"Yes, I did. A had a nurse present as well as another female medical colleague sit in with us."

"And what was her reaction to your discussion?"
"She became terrified. She wouldn't discuss the events surrounding the physical abuse, no matter how much we sympathetically talked to her."

"What made her terrified, Doctor?"
The doctor looked towards Jolan.

"She said that the monster would destroy her. That he would destroy what she now had."
"What she now had?"

"We had told her that morning that she was pregnant. Her physical abuse had led to her becoming pregnant."
"This was more than physical abuse, Doctor. You just stated that you ascertained that she had been raped."
"Yes, sir."

"And the young woman was terrified that the monster who'd done that to her would come after her and the child."
"Yes, that is what she said."

Henderson Sutcliffe smiled, looking at the jury.

"Let's hope we can stop that monster from ever hurting her again. Your witness, counselor." Henderson said, smiling and walking back to his table.

Ally stood up, walking up to the doctor.

"You stated that the woman herein mentioned showed all the physical signs of rape. What level of penetration do you believe she sustained?"
The doctor folded his hands, his field of expertise laid before him.

"From the contusions and lacerations of her inner vaginal canal and clitoral damage, I would estimate that she had been repeatedly assaulted."

"Repeatedly? You mean she was raped more than once?"

"Yes, those are my conclusions."
"Did you take semen swabs from her?"
"Yes, after my preliminary examination she consented to a full rape evaluation. We took semen samples from her vaginal cavity and blood tests."
"And what were your findings, Doctor?"
The doctor looked towards Jolan, then at Henderson.

"I found several specimens."
The jury murmured, Henderson glaring again at Ally.

"Several? Meaning more than one?"
"Yes. I found several different specimens."
"Were you able to identify any of them?"
"Miss Brannigan would not allow me to pursue the matter further. I only learned the identity of one person."
"And who was that person?"
"A man by the name of Samuel Conrad. Theresa identified him as her sexual partner at that time."

Ally's eyes raised, looking at the jury.

"So, you are stating that this young woman was penetrated by several different men, the last being her then-boyfriend, Samuel Conrad?"
"Yes, those were my findings."
Ally folded her arms, staring at the doctor.

"Did you report these findings to any legal establishment or governmental agency?"
"No, I did not."
"And why is that, Dr. Wainwright?"
"The victim refused to agree to the filing of an acknowledgement of rape."

Ally looked surprised, glancing at the jury.

"After all her emotional stress, and obvious physical abuse, she declined to acknowledge what had happened to her?"
"Yes, that is correct."
"Thank you, Doctor. You've been most helpful."
Ally returned to her seat, Jolan staring ahead.

"The witness is excused. Call your next witness, Mr. Sutcliffe."
Henderson stood up, looking towards Jolan and Ally.

"I have only one other witness to call, your Honor. The victim in all of this tragic affair. A woman lost in pain and sorrow. the damsel attacked by a fiendish monster."
"Just call the witness, counselor. You're not qualifying for an Oscar." the judge said.

Henderson stared at the judge, Judge Wentworth staring back.

"I call to the stand, Theresa Brannigan."


Jolan turned, looking into Justin's eyes.

Justin saw a surprising calmness in Jolan's grey eyes as the back door of the courtroom opened.

Into the courtroom walked a young woman, a female guard walking behind her down the aisle.

Jolan turned back towards the front of the courtroom, remaining still, his eyes now faced forward, no emotion showing on his face.

The young woman walked down the aisle, every person in the courtroom staring at her.

For all appearances she seemed rather beautiful, and youthful.

Cascading blond hair hung down to her shoulders, the woman wearing a two piece skirt and blazer set.

She walked with a determined gait, walking past the counselors' tables, not looking at Jolan, heading for the witness stand.

Jolan's eyes lowered, the young woman standing in the witness box as she was sworn in.

She sat down, the jury all staring at her.

Her eyes stared forward, then turned.

She took in the young man seated beside a young looking black woman.

Her gaze took in a figure from her past.

From a horrific night of pain and suffering.

The young man's head was lowered, the woman scanning the people seated behind him.

She stared into the famous face of Justin Timberlake.

His looks were breathtaking, a masculine, handsome young man.

She saw that his eyes were directed at the young man seated ahead of him.

Her eyes moved as Jolan's head raised.

Before her shone the face of her savior.

His grey eyes were focused on her, their depth of love threatening to overtake her emotions.

She lowered her own eyes, then looked at a man walking up to her.

The lawyer who'd talked to her so many times in the last week.
The man with the conceited ego.

"State your name, please, and occupation."
"My name is Theresa Brannigan. I am unemployed. I am a stay at home mother."

The lawyer smiled, the jury seeing a tenderness in Henderson Sutcliffe's eyes.

"A noble occupation nonetheless, Miss Brannigan."
"Thank you, sir." she said, looking at him.

"You seem calm and determined, Miss Brannigan. The day is finally at hand. The day you confront your past. Do not worry, you are safe from the monster before you that's echoing in your dreams."
"Your Honor!" Ally said, Judge Wentworth looking at Henderson.

"Must we continue doing this, counselor? Keep your opinions to yourself. Once more and I'll cite you."

Henderson's cheeks flushed, nodding silently.

His eyes returned to Theresa Brannigan.

"We'd like to hear your story, Theresa. I know it was a tragic time, it still reoccurring in your nightmarish dreams. Please tell us what happened that night over four years ago when you found yourself in this small town."

Theresa Brannigan looked around the room, her eyes focusing on a few people, her body slightly trembling.

"Relax and tell us in your own words." Henderson said, practically cooing over the young woman, the jury watching his caring manner.

"I remember that day so clearly. It was the first day of March. My grandmother always called that day Spring Door Day. She said if you looked out the door that day, you'd see spring blossoming. I guess I'd looked out the door."

The lawyer standing beside her nodded quietly.
"I had been here in Cutter's Bluff for only three days. A kind of sabbatical before I returned to a new job in Boston. I never went back to that job. That day's events destroyed my life."

"It had been an unseasonably warm day that day. I thought it would be nice to take a walk around town after supper. I had strolled down towards the center of town, stopping in the town's square, finding myself alone, the sun setting over this very building's roof. I sat on a bench before the statue in the town's square, watching the day's brightness end. I should have left then, before the real darkness settled around me. That was when I saw him."
"Saw who, Miss Brannigan?" Henderson said, looking towards the jury.

Theresa raised her hand, her trembling finger pointing towards Jolan.

"Him. That young man seated there. Jolan Dragos."
"Continue, Miss Brannigan. Please go ahead."
Theresa took a deep breath, looking downward.

"He walked up to me, smiling at me. His face showed such kindness, such beauty. I didn't feel threatened by him. He was just a young, smiling teenager."
Henderson nodded, looking towards Jolan.

"You found out it was a mask he wore."
"Objection, your Honor. The prosecutor is leading the witness to draw conclusions."
"Objection sustained. Please don't bait the witness with words, Sutcliffe."

The lawyer looked at Theresa again, waiting for her to continue.

"We sat there talking for a few minutes, the young man offering to walk me back to my hotel room, as the evening was now beginning to darken."
"You didn't make it back to that room, did you Miss Brannigan?"

Theresa raised her head, looking towards Jolan, staring at him.

Jolan stared back at her, seeing a look of weighing judgment in her blue eyes.

"No I didn't. About a block from the square, the young man attacked me. He hit me from behind, then lunged at me. I fell against a car that was parked along the sidewalk. The man pulled open the car door, throwing me into the back seat. Then he began hitting me hard. I passed out, blackness surrounding me." she said, lowering her eyes again.

Henderson looked at the young woman, the jury seeing the compassion on his face.

"What happened when you awoke after that blackout, Miss Brannigan? Where did you awaken?"
She raised her head again, staring at the lawyer.

"I awoke in a dark room. I believe it was some kind of barn. I could smell animal odors. Like cows and horses. I awoke with him on top of me. He was. . .he was raping me." she said, her eyes filling with tears.

Henderson handed her a tissue out of a box that the judge handed him.

"I tried to fight him, his strength was so much greater than mine. He was like an animal. Like a beast attacking me. He kept hitting me, continuing his business until he exploded inside of me. Then he started laughing, hitting me again."

"That was a beast attacking you, Miss Brannigan. A wanton beast of carnal lust."
Ally stood up, looking at Judge Wentworth.

"Your Honor! Must we listen to the counselor's blatant attack on my client's character?"
"I totally agree with you, Miss Carmichael. You have been warned, Mr. Sutcliffe. I am holding you in contempt. One more utterance of that nature on Mr. Dragos' character and I will remove you from these proceedings."
Henderson's face reddened a bit, looking up at Judge Wentworth.

"I'm sorry, your Honor. It's just that seeing the nature of this poor woman's ordeal, and the tenacity of that young man overcame me. I apologize to the court and to the defendant. Justice now shall award him the truth."
The judge stared at Henderson, then looked towards the jury.

"As hard as this now may seem to all of you, you must disregard the opportunistic views of the prosecutor. I do not uphold flagrant bias being applied to a defendant. You are here to judge that defendant solely on the evidence. Not on the coercing words of the prosecutor. Continue, Mr. Sutcliffe. I'd so like to watch your downfall."
Henderson's face changed, seeing the glaring eyes of the judge staring at him.

His eyes turned back to Theresa Brannigan.

"What happened after that torturous ordeal?"
"He beat me into unconsciousness again. I blacked out. I awoke sometime later, not sure of how long I'd been out. I awoke in darkness, feeling dampness surrounding me."
"Where were you, Miss Brannigan?"
Theresa looked over towards Jolan, the young man staring at her in silence.

In the silence he'd shown since she'd entered the courtroom.

She saw a lot of calmness and strength in those grey eyes.

Grey eyes that had once almost saved her.

She lowered her eyes away from him, trying to concentrate on what mattered the most.

Her angel of love.

"I awoke in a filthy dirty hole in the ground. I was covered in leaves and wet snow. The young man stood about me, beginning to bury me alive. I started sobbing, then I heard a voice. A voice I believe was there to save me."
"Samuel Conrad?"
Theresa looked at the lawyer, her soul now given to its end.

"Yes. Samuel Conrad. The man who saved me from Jolan Dragos' attack."

Henderson smiled at her, then looked at the jury.

"Your ordeal was tragic, Miss. Brannigan. Would you again please point out the man who attacked you and later raped you? We need total accuracy and identification of that said individual."

Theresa took a deep breath, her hand raising again, a look of finality crossing her face.

"That's him. That man seated at that table. Jolan Dragos."
All the jury followed her gaze, staring at Jolan.

"Let the record show that the witness has identified and pointed out Jolan Dragos as her assailant and rapist. Thank you for being so courageous, Miss Brannigan."

Henderson smiled softly at her, his eyes glancing again at the jury, seeing their sympathetic gaze towards the young woman.

"Your witness, Miss Carmichael."


Ally began to stand up, looking towards the young woman.

She never got a chance to say a word.

Jolan stood up beside her, his grey eyes staring at Theresa Brannigan.

"I forgive you, Theresa. I forgive you for what you feel is right in your heart. His love is worth the risk." Jolan said, Theresa's eyes meeting his grey orbs of love.

"Mr. Dragos! Sit down! You have no cause to speak to the witness." the judge said, banging his gavel.

Ally was on her feet, her hand going to Jolan's shoulder, trying to push him back down into his seat, having no effect on him.

"They'll be brought to justice, Tess. Your pain shall end. I shall see it done. As I had that night. Remember my eyes, remember what you saw there. It's been with you since. It's now flowing within him!" Jolan said, Ally pushing him back into his seat.

Theresa sat in the chair, staring in awed wonder at the young man staring back at her.

In his now glowing eyes she saw that look she'd seen that night.

That look of total love.

The love that had surrounded her through the pain.

And the love that had forgiven her for what she had been forced to do.

She began to cry, then sob, her hands covering her face.

The judge looked towards her, pointing towards the female guard who'd walked in with her.
"Take the witness out of here, Florence." the judge said, the woman helping Theresa stand, guiding her quickly out of the courtroom through a side door opposite the judge's bench.

The judge banged his gavel again, looking towards Jolan.

Jolan sat in silence again, his head in his hands, everyone behind him looking with concern at him.

Justin was front and center, his blue eyes staring at his lover, so wanting to go to him.

"Mr. Dragos, I will not have such outbursts in my courtroom. You had no justification in badgering the witness like that. You saw the fragility of her state of mind. You just reduced her to an emotional mess. I should cite you for contempt for such an uncharacteristic outburst."
Jolan stood again, looking at the judge.

"I am sorry, your Honor. But I just had to let her know that I forgave her."
The judge stared at him.

"Forgave her for what?"

"For what she had to endure. For what we both had to endure. And for what she in the end had to do."
"This is not the time to embark on a plea of insanity, Mr. Dragos. Frightening witnesses or unsettling this court will not warrant you that plea. I see no insanity in your character. I will not tolerate such an act again. Be forewarned."
"I am not insane, your Honor. I am one of the most sane individual in this town. And I, with reluctance, give you my own warning."
The judge looked surprised, staring at the young man.

"Tomorrow will be a day of judgment, your Honor. And I will be the one to deliver justice."
Everyone in the courtroom murmured, the noise increasing.
The judge banged his gavel again, Jolan looking at Ally.

"Your Honor, I wish to make a judicial request."
The judge folded his hands, staring at the determined young man staring back at him.

"Alright, Mr. Dragos. What is your request?"
"I wish to wave my right to council, your Honor. I shall defend myself."
Everyone in the room looked totally shocked, including the judge.

But the greatest look of shock was on Alexandra Carmichael's face.

The judge gained control of himself again, banging the gavel again.

"Mr. Dragos that is unbelievable. Do you know what that will do to your defense?"
"It will do what it must. For I must gain command of my destiny. I shall defend myself."
The judge looked at Ally, the young woman standing beside Jolan now.

"Miss Carmichael, I believe you need to have a few words with your client. As it's almost twelve-thirty, I shall recess this court until tomorrow morning. In the time between now and then I suggest you find out what's going on in your client's volatile mind. As the saying goes, a man who defends himself has a fool for a client. I thought for certain that I saw no fool in him. Don't make me deviate from my assumptions, young man. Court is adjourned until nine tomorrow morning."
The judge banged his gavel and rose, everyone standing.

The reporters in the back rows filed quickly out of the court, their task ahead of them.

To bring to the world the surprising events of the day.

Everyone else began to file out of the courtroom, Jolan's family and friends remaining still, staring at him.

Ally's eyes met Jolan's, the two staring at each other.

Henderson Sutcliffe stood at his table, his assistants picking up all their papers.

"Seems you do have a fool for a client, Miss Carmichael. A shame for me not to see your smiling face here tomorrow." he said, a smile crossing his face.

Jolan turned, staring at the man.

"You keep trying to show me as a monster, Mr. Sutcliffe. Tomorrow, you'll see how truly horrific a real monster can be."
Henderson backed up, seeing a look of deep resolve in Jolan's grey eyes.

And a look of deep truth shining even more brightly in those intense silvery eyes.

The lawyer moved, walking quickly out of the courtroom, his assistants following.

Jolan turned, staring at Ally.

He saw a look of hurt and animosity in her green eyes.

"I'm sorry, Ally. I had to stop you from talking to Theresa. And I had to make her see what she was unaware of."

Ally picked up her files, throwing them into her briefcase, turning to go.

"Five minutes, Ally. I only ask of you five minutes for me to explain." Jolan said, taking her hand in his.

She stopped, looking at him.

"Alright, Jolan. You have five minutes. And then I'm gone."

Jolan nodded, Justin walking up to him.

"Jolan, what's going on here?"
Jolan looked at him, then scanned the group surrounding them.

"I know now what's going on. And I know what I have to do."

Justin stared into his eyes, seeing the love still so strong there.

"She needs to hear the story, Jus. And she needs to understand all of it."

Justin nodded, Jolan looking at Ally.
"Let's go somewhere quiet, Alexandra. I need to tell you the truth."

Ally nodded, she and Jolan walking quietly out of the room.

The courtroom was almost empty, the last few spectators leaving.

Justin's eyes moved, catching just a glimpse of a man standing silently by the door, then disappearing out of the room.

Justin looked at his face, a dawning reality echoing in his mind.
His thoughts connected the dots immediately.

"Of course! Oh, God. Of course!" he said, Lance looking at him.

"What's wrong, Jus?" he said, Justin staring at him, Lance seeing a dawning clarity in his blue orbs.

"His words. They were all his words!"

Lance looked confused, Justin's eyes going to Cory.

"I need to talk to you, Cory. I need to know everything."
Cory looked confused, Justin pulling him out of the room.



End of Chapter 72


Okay, how's that for drama?
What's going on with Jolan?
Why is he letting Ally go and defending himself?
Who did Justin just see, and what alarm bells are going off in his head?


Theresa has entered the drama, her story told in her own words.

But are those words true and genuine?
What did Jolan mean when he spoke to her about forgiveness?


Questions, questions and more questions.

I like to keep you thinking.


Up next: Jolan goes home.

And into a nightmare.



Hugs, Angel