They were a family. Together they attended the hearing which was comparatively short. Paul mentioned they were hoping to get a specific judge who took a hard line on bullying, cyber-bullying and stalking. Not to mention shooting at cops. They did.
Sitting quietly side by side, they listened to his conclusions.
“Your actions were depraved, base, cruel. You refused at any time to take into account the family and friends of Eilea Martin. You stalked her, threatened her, took her life away from her and her family.”
“On top of these actions, you premeditatedly obtained a weapon and fired on her and her family, other members of the public and law enforcement officers summoned to protect Eilea Martin and her family. Not once, but on three separate occasions. You cut the lines on Christina Martin’s parachute causing bodily harm that could have been far more severe.”
“At no time did you show remorse or stop your unwanted attention. While some may feel inclined to suggest you are mentally unstable, I am not.”
“It is my ruling that you shall receive three 10 year sentences for the attempted murders (outlined below). I also rule 20 years directly relating to the stalking of Miss Martin. These sentences are consecutive sentences.”
“Further, you are to have absolutely no contact with Eilea Martin and or her family or anyone connected with her. Therefore, you will not be permitted phone or internet access of any kind. The only exception I am allowing is notification of a family emergency. Your letters and any phone calls you are making will be vetted.”
“I would hand down a far stronger sentence if it were in my power. Consider yourself lucky and warned. I am placing a note on this file. Should there be any and I repeat for your benefit, any attempt to disregard my orders, you will be dealt with accordingly.”
When the judge slammed the gavel down, it was final! Eilea and her family felt it strongly, clearly.
As the judge rose, he turned to look at Eilea and she lifted her head and looked him directly in the eyes. Words were not spoken but he nodded toward her and each family member before leaving the courtroom.
“Doesn’t get much better than that verdict!” Paul stated triumphantly.
Many of his fellow officers who’d assisted in protecting Eilea’s family were also present in a show of solidarity. As they walked passed her, she shook their hand or hugged them, whichever seemed most appropriate.
Everyone present was invited to Pauls for a massive bbq of epic proportions. Eilea and Paul had bought dozens of ribs and cooked them in preparation for the bbq. They had boxes of corn, potato salad and everything else a bbq should have.
By the end of the evening, they were all replete and relaxed. Suddenly from now where a massive cake arrived. Paul Eilea and the kids stood and walked toward it. The top said, “Welcome to the family!” and surrounding the words, a picture of Paul, Eilea, Christina and Andrew. Around that were pictures of various co-workers.
Eilea couldn’t help it, tears filled her eyes and trickled down her cheeks. She was too overcome with emotion to speak, but it seemed it wasn’t necessary for the joyous tears said it all.
Raising whatever glass they held, someone yelled, “Cheers!” followed by a loud and rowdy “hip hip hooray, hip hip hooray!”
Eilea and Paul crawled into bed just as the sun was coming up, tired, happy and elated. “Well, Eilea Martin, that was a pretty great day, don’t you think?”
“Other than my children’s births, I can’t think of any I’ve enjoyed with quite such heart-felt pleasure. Their acceptance means everything.”
“There’s one more day coming I hope will top this one.”
“Oh, and what would that be?” she asked speculatively.
“The day you walk down the aisle and say I do.” Pulling a box he’d hidden under the pillow into view, he opened it and said, “Not traditional I know, but fitting.”
“Eilea Martin, will you do me the great honour of marrying me?”
Eilea accepted the ring, slid it on her finger, stared in delight then placing both arms around his neck said, “Seeing you survived the most rigourous of clan plans, I’d say the answer is a resounding yes!” She kissed his lips, his eyes, his forhead and didn’t stop until he placed his hands on both side of her face.
“That’s the best yes I could have received. Shall we tell the kids tonight?”
“No, I think we should make that a separate celebration that is all about us our family.”
“Great idea. Now come here, I have another great idea.” Paul winked. He didn’t have to say anything more. They slid uner the sheets and sealed their promise to each other in the only way possible.