Chapter 6-2 and 8 are very positive chapters, especially compared to the maelstrom/gauntlet that is 9, 10, 11-1, 11-2, and 12. These lighter chapters are easier to edit than the heavy ones. Revisiting some of the darker chapters tends to sour my mood as I remember writing it and being in such a negative place. But they’re important to the plot and overall pacing that I’m striving for, so it’s worth it.
Besides, to edit, is divine. This is one of the easiest ways to edit. Simply go over a single chapter a day at a time. I caught about four typos/mechanical errors, and improved the overall flow in about forty minutes of working with this chapter, which is really encouraging. About two chapters ago, I found a major issue with the timeline, and was able to fix it pretty easily which was great.
I hope everyone had a great Memorial day weekend! Mine was basically preparing chemistry-related class materials, which wasn’t as bad as it may sound. But I hope you guys got to do something fun with friends and family!
Enjoy! : D
Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/
December 4th, 2015-Hadley
“Would Hadley Sheffield please rise to testify?” recited Keller, as he turned to Hadley, smiling in his collected, grandfatherly, gate. Alright, stay calm. You can do this. Returning Keller’s smile, Hadley pushed back her seat and got up. Simon gently patted her lower back as she walked around him towards the stand. As she sat, Hadley noticed for the first time how many people had bothered showing up. There must be over forty people here! A bit of an audience for a shut-in like me. Deep breathes, Hadley. In the back, there was a channel 6 local news camera-man. The case was by no means high-profile, however, Simon’s academic fame had drawn some media interest, exacerbated by an outburst during lecture five months prior.
The Judge recited, “Do you, Hadley Sheffield, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; so help you God?”
“I do.” said Hadley, steeling herself.
Keller smiled reassuringly at Hadley, and asked “The pills you took that night, what were they, Hadley?”
Returning his smile, she responded “It was folic acid, during my pregnancy with Adam, I took a morning and nightly dose.” Clear and confidant, pretend it’s a school presentation.
Nodding, Keller continued, “CPS ended up performing their screening for drugs based on Gia’s report. While her intentions were noble, she didn’t understand the circumstance. SS shouldn’t have administered a drug test until it was clear what you had taken. Furthermore, the drug test did not find traces of oxycodone in your system. What can you tell me about what they did find.”
Cautiously, Hadley answered, “I can’t lie, Keller. I’ve struggled with addiction since I was seventeen, but I’ve been clean for quite a while now, despite having Adam taken from me. I took the heroin they found in my system long before I knew I was pregnant, I thought I’d gained a couple pounds, initially, as the doctor had recommended, I put on at least fifteen pounds and I was eating a lot at the time.”
Nodding, Keller asked, “The drug test also discovered light traces of a barbiturate. What can you tell me about that?”
This caught Hadley off guard, they hadn’t gone over this part. Why mention that? Biting her lip, Hadley responded, “Well, Simon prescribed me a very light dose to ease the severe withdrawal symptoms. He said it could be dangerous to go cold turkey without immune support as well as a barbiturate. He actually told me the withdrawal could potentially harm the baby more than continuing the drugs, and he said the risk was minor.”
Looking back to the Judge, Keller said “The defense rests.” Keller gave Hadley a quick, reassuring wink as he went to sit down.
Jacobs turned to Jeffrey, asking, “Would the plaintiff like to cross-examine?”
“Yes, your honor.” Jeffrey said, in his haggard southern drawl. I’d give anything to not have to talk to this troll.
Approaching Hadley, Jeffrey fixed his collar. Wearing an expression of disgust, he asked, “Mrs. Sheffield, you don’t honestly think Adam would be better off in your care, do you? A woman, who readily admits to injecting heroin for at least six years of her life?” How dare he judge her?
Hadley felt a sudden twang of rage, fists tightening and cheeks flushing, she shouted, “I never said that! I only used for a year. I said I struggled with addiction for six years, and I’ve been clean. Dumbass.”
“Language, Mrs. Sheffield.” Warned the Judge.
“For what, two months?” Jeffrey responded with mock sincerity.
Hadley’s jaw tightened and her grip tightened around her knees under the table. He’s making that obnoxious face again. Baiting me… Against her better judgment, Hadley spat, “Fuck you!”
The Judge slammed her gavel, announcing, “Order, Mrs. Sheffield, last warning on your language. Mr. Jeffrey, this is not a criminal trial, get to the point.”
Jeffrey smiled, nodding at the Judge before saying, “I think Mrs. Sheffield has proven my point. Plaintiff rests.” Sighing, Hadley got up and returned to her seat, guiltily avoiding her husband’s gaze. As she sat down, he rubbed her back lightly. As she looked to him, he smiled, before mouthing “It’s okay.”
Looking to Keller, the Judge asked “Mr. Ross, is your final witness present, and willing to testify?”
Keller glanced at Simon, who nodded, and replied, “Yes, Mr. Sheffield is ready.” Simon stood and approached the stand. He was wearing her favorite navy blue suit, the one with the matte finish that contrasted well with his striped blue and black tie, and clean white shirt. As he swore his oath, he made eye contact with Hadley. His face looked tired, worn down. She gave Simon a quick smile, before turning towards Keller as he started, “Simon, the Plaintiff’s noted in their opening statement that their appeared to be MDMA, also known as ecstasy, in your wife’s system. You’ve indicated that these readings may be inaccurate, can you elaborate for the court?”
Smiling, Simon responded, “Yes, what the lab results actually tell us is that Hadley tested positive for heroin, in addition to an unknown empathogen. The marker used to detect this is not drug specific. This means that several different drugs could cause this positive read. One is MDMA, another happens to be the barbiturate I put her on to ease withdrawal related symptoms. In my medical opinion, the suggestion that Hadley had used MDMA within the stated period is an invalid assessment because she is already on a drug that will trip the same blood marker. Any qualified medical practitioner or toxicologist will tell you the same.” Damn, he’s sexy when he’s smart.
Keller gave Simon an approving nod before announcing, “Defense rests.”
The Judge looked to Jeffrey and asked, “Will the Plaintiffs cross examine.”
Looking smug, Jeffry responded, “I don’t believe it to be necessary, your honor. Unless the court is willing to take an expert testimony from someone who clearly has a conflict of interest.” He knows Simon would make him look like a dipshit.
Curtly, the Judge said, “Are you insinuating that Mr. Sheffield, a widely respected medical doctor, would risk his considerable reputation by lying in a publicly televised courtroom proceeding? Now, unless you have evidence that Mr. Sheffield has committed perjury, a criminal offense, or anything relevant to your claims, I suggest you keep your speculation to yourself. This is not a criminal trial, we are here today to determine what is best for Adam Sheffield, nothing more.”
On the verge of laughter, Simon stood, and walked back to his seat. As he sat down to Hadley’s left, she whispered, “That was good, wish I had kept it together.”
Smiling, he muttered in response, “Well…it was an easy question. I didn’t have that dick looking down my shirt while shouting at me either, though I want to give him a piece of my mind after this is all over.”
“You’d stan–BANG!“ Hadley started before being interrupted by the Judges gavel.
“I believe, having heard from both parties, that I understand the case.” Oh shit, she’s already decided? “While Mrs. Sheffield may have shown poor judgment in the past, I’ve heard no evidence that supports the CPA’s allegations that Mrs. Sheffield knowingly used illicit drugs when pregnant with Adam Sheffield.” Wait, she’s siding with us? Suddenly, Simon gripped Hadley’s hand, she could feel his perspiring hand quiver, ever so slightly, as the judge continued, “Adam’s safety is of utmost importance to me, which is why I’ll be releasing him to his biological parents.” Yes! “On the condition that they willingly submit themselves for blood testing, once a week, for one year. If both Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield stay clean, and the fitness of their financial situation remains reasonable, Adam will be released to them on December fourth, two-thousand and sixteen.” Another year…but we’ve done it!
Thanks for reading!
Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/05/daily-blog-9517/