By Julien Gregg
Edited By Rob Hawes

Author's Note: This story does not endorse a way of life. It merely describes one. The reader is left to form his or her own conclusion and make their own choices. The characters in this story do not practice safe sex. I can't urge my readers enough to always be safe. Life is precious. Why chance it?

Chapter Fourteen:

Breakfast sat in Ian's stomach like a rock as they drove to the meeting with the State's Attorney the next morning. He wanted this whole thing to be over. He couldn't believe how much he wished that he was sitting on the sofa watching movies with Andy and holding his hand. That would have been paradise compared to where he was now. He just wished that they didn't need his testimony to put Thomas Harvey Schultz away.

"Relax, Ian," said Evan as he looked at his nephew. "It really is going to be all right."

"If you say so," Ian said so softly that Evan nearly didn't hear him. "I just want this to be over."

"I know, buddy," said Evan, squeezing Ian's knee.

The four story red brick building that served as the county's court house had never looked more ominous to Ian in the ten years he'd lived in Gainesville. At that point in time it seemed that the building was just waiting to swallow him whole and never let him go. He was so nervous that when Evan put his hand on his shoulder while they were standing in front of the building he flinched.

He didn't think he could do this. How was he supposed to face the man who had tortured him for ten years? How could he look at that man and not become the shell of himself that he was when he was forced to live with him? His knees were already shaking as they walked inside. What would happen to him when he was face to face with Thomas Harvey Schultz? He kept telling himself in his mind that he was strong and nothing could touch him now but it didn't sound true to his heart. In his heart he was a scared five-year-old all over again.

The State's Attorney's name was Nathaniel Brandt. He was a tall man and dressed in his black three-piece suit he looked like a giant to Ian. His dark hair was curly and unruly, falling over the lenses of his glasses from time to time and making him look less than competent. His thick mustache nearly covered his upper lip and Ian couldn't take his eyes off of it.

"Now, Matthew, what I want to do is go over some of the questions that I'm going to ask you in court," said Mr. Brandt when they were seated in his office. "Just give me straight, simple answers. Don't elaborate at all unless I ask you to, ok?"

"Yes, sir," he said, trying to steel his voice and failing miserable.

But for the next hour they went over the questions and some of the questions that Mr. Brandt thought that Wesley Denson, Mr. Schultz's attorney, would ask in cross examination. He gave the simple answers that Mr. Brandt had asked for and hoped that it would be as simple as he'd made it out to be in his office.

Because of the fact that he was a minor Ian and his family had to sit outside the courtroom to wait until he was called to the stand to testify. His parents were allowed to go in with him, but Evan had to remain outside of the courtroom completely because of the closed status of the courtroom. Ian didn't like that. He wanted Evan in the room with him but there was nothing he could do about it.

When he was finally called to testify he didn't know if he could actually do it. He got up from the wooden bench he'd been sitting on next to Evan and walked into the courtroom with his parents, but he still didn't think he could do it. His parents sat behind the prosecution table and he had to keep going. He made it to the stand on shaking knees and held his right hand up and swore to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Then he was sitting there and waiting for it all to come out.

Mr. Brandt asked him if he knew the defendant and he told him that he did. Then he was asked how he knew the defendant. He told him that he was the man that had kidnapped him when he was five years old. Then slowly and painfully the questions got more difficult. Mr. Brandt walked him through the abuse step-by-step, asking questions almost exactly the way he had in his office. Ian tried not to look at Thomas Harvey Schultz. He just kept his gaze firmly on Mr. Brandt while he answered questions about sexual degradation and sodomy.

By the time Mr. Brandt was finished with his questions Ian's mother was sobbing and his father's bottom lip was trembling, but he was glaring at Thomas Harvey Schultz with murder in his eyes. Ian couldn't look at either of them. He knew that if he continued to look into his mother's tear-filled eyes he'd break.

"Now, Matthew, you've told the court that my client is the man who kidnapped you when you were five years old," said Mr. Denson on cross examination. "Do you actually remember the day you were kidnapped?"

"No, sir," he replied, glancing at Mr. Brandt. The man just nodded at him to continue.

"You say you were not a willing participant in the sexual activities you engaged in with my client?" he asked.

"No, I wasn't," replied Ian.

"Matthew, do you know a boy named Dennis Bausch?" asked Mr. Denson.

"Yes," he replied, swallowing.

"He used to be a friend of yours, is that correct?"

"Yes, sir," he said.

"Could you tell us why you and Dennis Bausch are no longer friends?" asked Mr. Denson.

"He just stopped being my friend one day," replied Ian. "He never said why."

"Isn't it true that Dennis Bausch stopped being your friend because you enticed him to the trailer you lived in with my client so that he could engage in sexual activities with my client?" asked Mr. Denson.

"Objection!" cried Mr. Brandt. "The witness is not on trial, your honor."

"Sustained," replied Judge Walter Rapp. "Mr. Denson move on."

"Yes, your honor," said Mr. Denson, walking back to the defense table. He picked up a legal pad and turned to face Ian again. "Do you know a boy named Darren Faulkner?"

"Yes," replied Ian.

"Isn't it true that you enticed Darren Faulkner to the trailer you lived in with my client so he could engage in sexual activity with my client?" Mr. Denson asked.

"Objection!" cried Mr. Brandt.

"Sustained," said the judge. "One more, Mr. Denson, and I'll hold you in contempt. You were told to move on. If you have no further questions other than this line of questioning I suggest you let the witness be excused."

"I have other questions, your honor," said Mr. Denson.

"Proceed, Mr. Denson," said the judge. "But heed my warning. I won't issue another."

"Yes, your honor," he said, turning to look at Ian again. "Matthew, were you handcuffed or in any way restrained in the trailer you lived in with my client?"

"Sometimes," replied Ian.

"Sometimes," said Mr. Denson. "But most of the time you were free to come and go as you pleased, correct?"

"I had to ask permission," replied Ian.

"But you never tried to get away from my client, isn't that correct?"

"I was told that he was my father," replied Ian.

"That's not what I asked you, Matthew," said Mr. Denson. "Once again, did you ever try to get away from my client?"

"No," replied Ian.

"Yet you claim that you were held against your will," said Mr. Denson. "Tell me, if you were being held against your will, why then were you allowed to go to school?"

"Objection, your honor," said Mr. Brandt. "We've already established that Matthew was led to believe that the defendant was his father. That clearly answers Mr. Denson's question."

"Sustained," said the judge.

"I have nothing further, your honor," Mr. Denson said, glaring at Ian.

"The witness is excused," said the judge.

"Your honor, the state calls Nicholas Shear to the stand," said Mr. Brandt as Ian walked out of the courtroom with his parents.

As they walked out the door he came face to face with Nick Shear for the second time since he'd been back in Gainesville. The boys looked each other in the eye and Ian saw the same fear in Nick's eyes as he had felt before going into the courtroom. Now he just wanted to vomit, but he sat beside his uncle and tried to keep a tight hold on his emotions.

They sat in silence as his mother continued to sob. His father's arm was around her shoulders. Ian lost his hold on his emotions and started to silently cry as he sat there thinking about all that had been said in the courtroom. He wished that his parents hadn't heard it all. He knew that they would never look at him the same again now that they knew all of it. He'd told them only a tiny bit of what had happed the first time. This time they got the entire story. All of it was laid out in the open and there was no taking it back now.

Nick Shear came out of the courtroom with his parents and they had their arms around him. He was sobbing as they led him away and Ian couldn't look at them. He wished that he could go back in time and never have talked to Nick or any of the other boys that he'd been friendly with. Look what it had cost them. He couldn't believe that he'd let that monster near his friends.

An hour later Mr. Brandt came out to tell them that court was in recess until the next morning. He told them that the State had presented its case and that the defense would be calling witnesses in the morning. Ian could only pray that he wasn't called again. He didn't want to say anymore.

He got up and followed his parents to the elevator in silence as tears fell from his eyes. Evan's hand was on his shoulder the whole time and he loved his uncle for being there but there was nothing anyone could do to ease the pain in his heart. He had to feel it and that was all there was to it.

They stopped at a diner and his father went inside to get take out orders for everyone. Once at the hotel they ate in his parents' room and said nothing to each other. Ian wondered how long it would be before one of them started talking. He wasn't going to be the first one to speak. He didn't trust his voice.

When they were finished his mother walked around the room collecting the empty containers. When she got to Ian she dropped the plastic bag she'd been putting them in and grabbed him, lifting him out of the chair and crushing him in an embrace as she began to wail in agony.

"My baby boy," she cried, hugging him tighter. "Oh my God you poor baby."

He held her and cried his silent tears as he thanked God that she still loved him after hearing the whole truth about his life with Thomas Harvey Schultz. As soon as she let go of him he was in his father's arms. The man said nothing. He just held him and cried. Ian couldn't take much more. He was sure that this would destroy them all if it kept up. It had to stop. No more court. No more testimony. He couldn't do it anymore.

It was nearly ten o'clock when he and Evan finally got to their own room. Ian took his shower and crawled into bed without saying anything to Evan. His uncle looked at him with worried eyes but left him to take his own shower. Then before Ian knew what was happening Evan crawled into bed with him and took him in his arms. He just held him and Ian began to cry again. Evan never let go and the next thing Ian knew it was morning and time to get out of bed.

He went to the bathroom and washed his face before getting dressed. All too quickly they were back at the court house and sitting on that wooden bench outside of the courtroom. Mr. Brandt assured them that they wouldn't be called to testify anymore but his parents wanted to be there anyway.

It was over in just two hours. The defense had called six witnesses and Mr. Brandt had tore them apart on cross examination. Then it was in the hands of the jury and they were taken to a little room where they sat with Mr. Brandt and his paralegals. Lunch was delivered and Ian surprised himself by eating everything that was placed in front of him. He still hadn't said a word since the day before and they were all worried about him.

Shocking everyone, the bailiff came to tell them the jury had returned with a verdict just an hour after they'd been sent to deliberate. This time Ian and his family were allowed in the courtroom. Evan sat beside him and his mother gripped his hand as the jury filed into the room and took their seats. Ian sat stone still and listened as the judge asked them if they had reached a verdict and was told yes. Then the verdict was read and Thomas Harvey Schultz was found guilty on every count. Sixteen counts of criminal sexual assault of a child and two counts of kidnapping.

In the interest of swift justice the judge told them that they would meet the following day in the very same courtroom for sentencing. He adjourned for the day and they left the courtroom in silence. They made it back to the hotel after stopping, once again for supper from the same diner. This time his parents had a lot to say. His father expressed his wish that the judge sentence Thomas Harvey Schultz to death for what he'd done to his son. His mother wanted him to at least be locked up for the rest of his life for his crimes. Evan said that if there was any real justice in the world the man would be castrated.

Ian simply sat there and listened to everything they said with no emotion. He said nothing and thankfully no one said anything to him. They continued to look at him with those worried eyes though. He didn't know how much longer he could stand the look in their eyes. This had to end. He just didn't know how much more of any of it he could take. They kept talking about how angry they were at the defense attorney for trying to badger him on the stand. He had been scared while on the stand but that part was over. He wished they wouldn't talk about it.

That night he took his shower and fell to his knees as he cried, letting the hot water fall over him. He felt so dirty all of a sudden and sick inside. He reached up and turned off the cold water and turned up the hot. The water was so hot that he could hardly stand it yet he cried on and didn't move. After the water started to turn cold Evan came into the bathroom. He could hear his uncle saying his name but he just couldn't stop crying. Then Evan turned the water off and grabbed a towel to wrap him in.

"Come on, buddy," he said as he lifted Ian out of the tub and wrapped the towel around him. "It's going to be all right."

He felt his uncle's arms around him and just rested his head on his shoulder, soaking his shirt as he continued to cry those silent tears. When would it end? When would he ever feel free and clean again? He'd been so happy in Bryarwood not thinking about any of this. Now it was brought home to him all over again and he could think of nothing else. His mind filled with the images of the men that had put their hands all over him and molested him as he begged them to leave him alone. He could hear Thomas Harvey Schultz telling him that he deserved it. He told him that he liked it and that was why they kept doing it to him over and over. Ian just kept crying.

Evan slid into bed with him once again and held him as he cried. He kept whispering reassuring words to him over and over and Ian tried so hard to listen to his uncle's loving words instead of the memories of hateful words in his head. He tried and tried but it was just too much for him. Finally he cried himself to sleep.

The next morning he got out of bed as if nothing had happened and dressed. He stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom for a few extra seconds to look into his own eyes. Finding nothing to worry about he finished styling his hair and went next door to sit with his parents until it was time to go back to the court house. Evan watched him but said nothing. When the door closed behind him he was sure that something was very wrong with Ian.

Breakfast was waiting for him when he got next door. He thanked his mother when she put a paper plate in front of him. His father smiled at him as he ate, but other than his words of thanks he said nothing. He was just finishing his scrambled eggs when Evan came into the room. He got up from the little table and put his arms around his uncle.

"Thank you for last night, Uncle Evan," he said. "I was in a bad place and you helped me come back."

"I love you, Ian," Evan said as he held his nephew tighter.

"I love you, too," Ian replied. "I'm sorry for making you worry."

"That's what uncle's are for, kid," said Evan as they ended their embrace.

There was just time for Evan to eat his breakfast before they had to leave for the court house. Ian found himself hoping that the judge would allow him to address the monster that had been convicted. He had no idea what he would say to the man but he wanted the chance none the less. He thought about that all the way to the court house.

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