What? Case dismissed? Just like that? Rob gestured to his idiot lawyer, who hadn’t done a single useful thing in course of the entire hearing. So far as Rob was concerned, it was good money down the drain.
When he did that thing last night to make sure Suzie wouldn’t have a lawyer, he’d assumed that meant she would be defenseless and he would have the advantage. Instead, he had to pay this idiot and still hadn’t accomplished anything.
“I object!” Rob shouted, jumping to his feet. It sounded cool, almost noble, when Ben said it. Rob looked around expectantly.
“Excuse me?” The judge, some old hag, stopped gathering up her papers to stare at him as if she considered him a slimy toad.
He was not a toad! He was a man, a full grown man, and deserved a lot more respect than he was getting from anyone. Especially from Suzie.
“This isn’t over,” he snarled at Suzie. Rather than quivering with fear as she ought, she took Drew’s hand. Ah-hah! Ben was right, Suzie was having an affair with Drew, not just renting a room to him like she claimed.
“Yes it is,” the judge said. “The case has been dismissed and will go into the record as such. Mr. Hammaker, do you have any idea how much trouble you are in? I don’t know about the conspiracy between you and his teacher, but simply your attitude in this court alone has proven you are a bad influence on your son. Should your wife chose to do so, she can have your visitation rights revoked.”
“Ben?” Suzie had the nerve to turn to Ben, as if giving him a say in the matter. How ludicrous! Ben was his son, and nothing would change that. He had to visit just like Rob had to put up with the visits.
“I could stop seeing him?” Ben asked with a painful amount of hope. The rotten kid. “Yes! Yes, please! Don’t make me go to his place anymore.”
“I want to have the visitations revoked,” Suzie said with more gall than she’d shown in all their years of marriage. “How do I do it?”
The judge sighed in exasperation. “This would be easier if you had a lawyer.”
“He said he’d be here. I tried to call his cell, but he isn’t answering.”
Wasn’t answering? That was good, right? Rob didn’t want the man to be able to answer. That was the whole point of… but he didn’t want to think about that right now. He had to do damage control. He turned to his own lawyer.
“You’re son really hates you, doesn’t he,” the lawyer said, as if that had anything to do with anything. The man pursed his lips and nodded slowly, his eyes narrowed to disrespectful slits. “I know how he feels. Mr. Hammacker, you’ve shown me a side of you I didn’t know. You made it sound like your wife was a witch, but that isn’t what I’m seeing. I think I’ve taken on the wrong side.”
“What are you saying? You’re my lawyer. You’re supposed to be on my side.”
“I’m saying I quit.” The man collected his belongings, and walked out. He took some of Rob’s calm with him. Useless as the man was, without him Rob felt naked.
First his girlfriend Candy left him, now his lawyer. No. First it was Suzie. Maybe Rob was the one to physically leave, but it was Suzie who grew distant while they were still married. She had changed, becoming less willing to do whatever he said, less fun, and more accountant like. It was Ben’s fault. Ben made Suzie take care of him, pay attention to him, and worry about him all the time. She loved Ben more than she ever had Rob. Was that right? Was it?
“By order of the court, The visitation rights of Mr. Hammacker are rescinded. Court is adjourned.”
“But, but,” Rob stuttered. “What about them?” He pointed at Suzie and Ben. “What’s going to happen to them?”
“Nothing. They are free to go.”
“NO! Not after everything I’ve done.”
“Everything you’ve done?” The judge paused with the papers clutched in her hand. She gave him that side-long, suspicious look he hated more than any other expression. Great. Just great. Now he’d have to fake he way out of another jamb.
“This law suit, I mean.” The judge still gave him that look. He went on the attack. “They never included me in the family. They wouldn’t do what I told them to when we were married and still wont now that we aren’t. They should be punished! And the best way to do that is to separate them.”
They were all looking at him as if he were nuts. Everyone in the courtroom. Even the bailiff. They were all out to get….
When had he lost his mind? Rob took a step back from himself. He looked from Ben, to Suzie, Drew, to the judge. They all had an expression of pity on their faces. He wanted to believe they were all wrong, but part of him knew better. For the first time in years, he saw himself the way others did, the way Suzie did. It wasn’t pretty.
“Never mind. You’re right. I was wrong.” The words tried to stick in his throat, but he forced them out as smoothly as he could. He didn’t expect them to forgive him. But maybe they could all just let it drop.
The judge nodded slowly, more like she’d just as soon ignore his outburst as because she had truly been appeased. She stood as the bailiff called, “All rise.” So everyone was on their feet when Suzie’s lawyer walked through the door.
He was in bad shape. An open cut on his forehead oozed blood down the side of his face. His clothes were torn and smeared. He glared at Rob as if he knew.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” the attorney said. “Someone cut the line on my brakes.”
If you enjoy Suzie’s House and would like to see more, please leave a comment. Suzie’s House is powered by its readers.