Here are the next two pages of the prologue. As always, please review. =)
Cuddy sat at the plaintiffs table twirling a black hair-band between her fingers, the anxiety threatening to overtake her again. For the past two weeks she had been on the verge of snapping. She had not gotten more than two hours of sleep a night and those two hours were filled with terrifying repetitions of what had happened to her. When she was awake she had to battle the flashbacks and anxiety. She had cleaned her house several times and organized all of her things. She had delved into her work as usual, but nothing distracted her. Now she felt physically ill twenty-four seven. The nausea was at best intolerable, her entire body shook so badly that she could barely sign her paperwork. She felt awful all of the time, but she spent hours making sure she didn’t look how she felt. The last thing she needed was for people to know that she was a basket case. Not that she admitted that she was a basket case. She had every right to be nervous, especially now that Tritter was going to make her life a living hell and take out her friends. But if she didn’t testify there was a chance he would still make her life a living hell and take out her friends. If he was in jail life would be better for all of them … at least for a few years. Really there was no right thing she could do at this point. It was all out of her hands and words could not describe how much that upset her. Wilson and House testified about Cuddys’ abnormal behavior and that she wouldn’t lie about such things. Sarah was the next witness called to the stand. She testified about the psychological markers of sexual assault and how Cuddy displayed a lot of them. Then she testified about her psychological profile of Tritter and how it was likely that he committed the crime he was charged of. It was remarkable to Cuddy that she managed to do so without sarcasm or insults. This was probably due to the fact that she had only had one cup of coffee so far. That or she thought her testimony was a wasted effort. There was no way the testimony was a waste though, it was good, it was effective, it could not fail. It couldn’t!!! Her chest began to constrict and once again she began to lose her breath. Quickly she distracted herself by thinking of all the things she had to do after this. For most people this would not be relaxing, but for her it was, at least to a point. She had payroll to do, cases to assign, and two clinic hours…
“The prosecution calls Dr. Lisa Cuddy to the stand.”
…discharge summaries, dictations, paperwork…
“Huh,” Cuddy said startled.
“Take the stand,” the prosecuting attorney said.
This was the part she had been dreading the most. How could she testify what happened in front of all of these people, complete strangers, friends, and employees? It would be humiliating. Oh well, she had been humiliated before. There was no other option. So she sauntered up to the witness stand putting up a façade of confidence. She was sworn in by the bailiff and then it was time for questioning to begin. As she had rehearsed with her lawyer she told her story in disturbingly vivid detail avoiding eye contact with Tritter. The tone of her voice was detached and cold, it was her “no bullshit” tone. It was the tone she had used with House during the job interview. Even though she sounded cold and detached, House could read the subtle nuances of her behavior that gave away her emotions. Her delicate, spindly fingers played across the witness stand, her chest rose and fell expediently, and her gaze kept flitting to the door like she was poised to run. She had just got to the part where she agreed to talk to him alone in her office when Houses’ gaze drifted to Tritter. Anger flared inside him as he took in Tritters’ smug grin and completely relaxed posture. Even from the side House could tell that he was looking at Cuddy like she was a piece of property, nothing more than his personal harlot. Cuddy was not his property; she was way too good for that bastard.
“What happened next,” the prosecuting attorney’s question brought his attention back to Cuddys’ testimony.
He doubted that she would be able to remain so calm when recapping the event itself.
“He asked me out for a third time and I turned him down for the third time,” Cuddy replied wearily.
Every muscle in her lithe body tensed as if she really was going to make a run for it. An oppressive silence fell over the courtroom and time seemed to slow to a stand still. The door was only about a hundred feet away. Surely she could make it out before the bailiff caught up with her. For a few seconds she actually considered running away, but that was selfish. If she ran away she would be responsible for screwing everyone over. If she testified maybe he would only destroy her.
“He replied to my rejection with, quote “When did I ever give you the impression that I care what you want,” unquote. I found that statement to be a bit threatening. Then he ordered me to stand up, I asked him why, he ordered me, yet again, to stand up this time aiming a twenty-two caliber at me. At that point I figured it would be best to do as he said…”
Cuddy paused hoping that would be all she would need to say.
“And…,” the prosecuting attorney prompted
Her breath caught in her throat and the anxiety threatened to flare up again. Not here, she thought angrily. Through gritted teeth she drew in a deep breath and continued her story trying to pretend she was talking about someone else.
“…I stood up, he locked me in, I backed away, he pinned me to the wall and forced the gun down my throat, when I had reached the point of losing consciousness he removed the gun and put it to my temple and asked me if I wanted to die, I said no, he told me to sit on the couch, I asked him what he was going to do to me, he told me to sit down, I pleaded with him, he shot at me, but no one heard the shot because he had a silencer on the gun, I sat down on the couch as directed, he sat down beside me and put the gun to my head again and pinned me down…”
Hoping that she wouldn’t have to continue she let her voice trail off. It wasn’t like the judge couldn’t infer from her story what had happened. For her entire life she had remained behind her carefully constructed wall of perfection, keeping her pain inside its boundaries. If someone were to ask any of her relatives if her mothers insults had hurt her they would say it didn’t. Most insults did not hurt her and she took most humiliation in a stride, but this, this was too much.
“Please continue Dr. Cuddy,” the prosecuting attorney prompted.
“And this is where she drops the ball,” Sarah said quietly.
“She’ll finish,” Wilson hissed angrily, “She knows how important her testimony is.”
“Lisa Cuddy is one of those women who if you try to humiliate her either nothing happens or she makes you look like an asshole. If she can not manipulate the situation or just walk away she must deny its’ existence. This futile trial is screwing with her defenses. It is striking at her Achilles Heel. She’s too proud to let this go any further and to put her vulnerability on display.”