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Prologue

PROLOGUE 


MEREDITH


Four years ago


"And soif you would face the Court please and tell the jury exactly what happened on the night of the sixteenth of January two months ago."


Gareth Connellyone of Kate Miller's lawyer strode the floor in an expensive suiteready to intimidate my witness.I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on what my only witness my best friend Chicago Hayes who had just taken the stand was saying.I couldn't bring myself to look at my parents who were in the courtroom toowatching stoically as my life was dissected in front of the judgejuryjournalists and the rest of the world.I couldn't bring myself to look at Kate too who sat confidently in the dock with her legal team and her husband Sebastian Miller attached to her side.Sebastian Millerthe reason why we were all here.Kate looked bored and was probably waiting for all of this to be over so she could go on with her incredible lifeafter ruining my already miserable one.Wasn't it enough that I had a reputation of sleeping with married menthanks to Sebastian?Now this.And just so you knownone of this was my fault.


"Assault Miss Hayes is a very serious crime.My client here Mrs Miller was assaulted by the defendant your best friend Miss Meredith Burnett.The reason being she couldn't come to terms with the fact that Mr Miller had ended their relationship and married Mrs Miller."


"How can you confidently lie under oath like that?To begin with Mr Miller here pursued Miss Burnett while being married to Mrs Miller.I don't understand why you want to paint Miss Burnett as an immoral womanwhile it was Mr Miller who cheated both women.Meredith had no idea that he was married.She found out the day Mrs Miller came to assault her in our apartment.You need to get your facts right Mr Connelly.I am the eye witness.It was Mrs Miller who attacked Miss Burnett not the other way round."


"If that was the casewhy didn't you open the case of assault?"


Chicago kept quiet but it was clearly written all over her face that she wanted to punch him in the face.

"Thought as much.Only the wronged one seek justice.So how can you confidently accuse Mrs Miller of such a heinous crime?"


"In all the years that I have known my best friend Meredith I'm sure that she has never lied to me.She is a staunch believer in the truthand she instilled this moral in me as well.I was there and I saw it with my own two eyes when Mrs Miller was attacking Meredith.If I wasn't thereshe could have hurt her even more.She needs to be punished for her crime."


Gareth nodded and smiled looking at Chicago. "You're not the judge Miss Hayesknow your place.First of all you might be lying to protect your best friend.I find it very odd that everyone else who saw what happened is saying it was Miss Burnett who attacked Mrs Miller firstand all my client did was to try and protect herself.Do you know that defamation of character is a serious crime?And when all of this is overMrs Miller has every right to sue you because you have already labelled her an assailant in front of everyone in this courtand the media."


"Only if she is proven innocent.I also find it very odd that you chose to believe the words of the security and neighbors who have no evidence of what happened.And not only thatthey are secondary witnesses because they came after I had managed to stop Mrs Miller from attacking Miss Burnett." Chicago shot backrefusing to back down.The court broke into a commotion of flurry and noise as Chicago and Gareth argued back and forth.


"Silence in court!" The judge snapped.


"Thank you Miss Hayes.That will be all your Honor.Miss Hayes you can go take your seat." Chicago walked out the witness box and sat besides me.

"May I call the second witnesswith your permission of course your Honor."


"Permission granted."


Gareth called the second witness Cassie one of my classmates.I stared at Kate across the courtroom and she smirked at me.She knew I was cornered.There was not enough evidence to prove that indeed she attacked me because she made sure that the CCTV footage was erased.The only thing that could have proven my innocence.I was bursted.

Where should I even start with my life?I should probably start with the day I met Sebastian Miller that's when everything changed.

Sebastian was my lecturer at the University of California.I had behaved foolishly when I was at universitythere was no getting away from that factbut that was not my intention when I asked Sebastian to be my tutor.I respected Sebastian and wanted him to feel the same way about me.I was his student and I wanted it to stay that way.I knew better.I wanted to learn from him;absorb by osmosis the life I wished to have but things just took a different turn when he started showing some interest in me.I wasn't really lucky in the dating department.Reason being I was a big girl.In our generation men adore women with flat tummies and hour glass bodies.I was the exact opposite.According to what I saw in the mirrorI was curvy and thick.No one wanted a fat girl.I had stretch markscellulite and rounded flesh.Never in my life have I been a model thin.Always with the curves.I tried to diet and the food was disgusting.I couldn't bare to eat grass all day longthat was just not fair.I tried the special milkshakes and the gym but I was just a big girlthere was no getting away from that fact.Then Sebastian Miller entered my life and everything changed.The handsome lecturer with an amazing physiquewho received doting adoration of half the female student population a quarter of male too wanted me for me.At least that's what I thought.He liked me the way I waswith back rolls and rounded tummy.You can imagine the excitement I had when he told me he had some feelings for me.The butterflies and flatteryat some point we all have been there.But that's not why I asked him to be my tutor for the Entrepreneurship module that I was having a hard time with.It just happened.One moment we were focusing on schooland the next we were head over heels.Well I was head over heels not him.He was married and from the look of thingshe worshiped the ground Kate walked on.HonestlyI had no idea that he was married until his wife came and attacked me at the complex I lived in.I was too in love to even notice the red flags.


Gareth's voice broke through my thoughtsas he stood squarely before Cassie. "Miss Cassie Jackson please explain to the court Miss Meredith Burnett's character."


Cassie glanced at me uncomfortably and looked down. "She has a short temper and at times she is very violent.When I heard that she attacked Mrs MillerI wasn't surprised." She replied nervously. She was a far cry from the confident young woman I always knew she was.And that was because she was lying.Everything she said was a lie.I squirmed and lowered my eyes from the courtroom trying to fight back my tears.The feeling of self-loathing rushed through me.I should have stayed the hell away from Sebastian.But wasn't it rather too late to think about that?


"Why is she lying?" Leigh-Anne Goldmy other best friend asked through gritted teeth.


"Obviously Kate paid her to." Chicago was equally agitated.

I looked at my lawyer Davidhoping that he would object to some of the questions Kate's lawyer was asking but he was just sweating his way through several handkerchiefs.He was blowing apart my case.


"Silence in court." The judge snapped the gavel and the usher attempted to quieten the audience.The case continued.

A selection of witnesses were called.Most of them told a bland tale.They were obviously paid to do so.Most of them told lies that it made me sound like a girl without hopewithout a futureintent on hanging around married men;putting herself aboutbehaving like a loose whore.After a whileI started to believe it myself.

The judge announced that there was a lunch recess.As we approached the doorwayI threw up all over the floor.Six months of pregnancy added to a deep fear that I already had.


"Are you okay Meredith?" Merlin my big brother as well as my girls rushed for my rescue.


"I'm fine.I just need some water." Two cleaners came to wipe off my mess.


"Wait here

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I threw up all over the floor.Six months of pregnancy added to a deep fear that I already had.


"Are you okay Meredith?" Merlin my big brother as well as my girls rushed for my rescue.


"I'm fine.I just need some water." Two cleaners came to wipe off my mess.


"Wait hereI will go get you some." My brother hurried off to the nearby grocery store.

I looked over to my parents as they looked hopeless just as I was.I had disappointed them.


"Don't worry.Its gonna work out.We will win the case." Leigh-Anne reassured me.


Chicago sighed. "I'm going to be honest with you.I'm a law student and my opinion is that you're not going to win this.You're going to pay the fine.Look at it this way.You're black.Yes you're light-skinned black with curly hair.But you have a black mother and a father from an Egyptian descend.The point isyou're black..."


"Okaywe get your point Chicago.Can you get to the main point now?" Leigh-Anne interrupted.


"My point is a white woman opened a case against you.She paid off people to do a lot of dirty work in order to destroy the slim chance you had of winning.She even made sure the evidence disappeared.And to top it off she was the one who attacked you but to my surprise there are even reports that she had broken ribs.This is America my girlthe moment she mentioned that a black woman had an affair with her white husband and you attacked hereveryone believed her.Black women are known for being full of attitude sassy and violent.It doesn't matter if the Meredith we all know is calmshyintroverted and loving.No one is going to believe that.As if that is not enoughthe judge is whitethe jury is made up of white people.And did you hear your lawyer's opening statements?He went on detailing the events of that night in such a monotonous way that I even fancied it as a made up tale.The judge was even bored.David is blowing apart your case.On top of that Kate is richmoney talks darling and that's a fact.That is how you're going to lose.I'm sorry to say this my friend but you're going to pay the fine of USD5000plus $3000 for emotional distress and the additional of $2000 for the hospital bills that are even fake.In total you're going to pay Kate $10 000."


"For the first time we agree on the same thing Chicago." We all turned and Kate Miller was with her legal team.She was slick in her black suit that fitted her like a glove.She wore sky-high red bottom heels.I'm sure they were expensive.Honestlyshe looked like a million bucks.Her lips annoyed me thoughthey looked fake.


"What do you want Kate?" Chicago asked irately.


She placed her hand over her chest and laughed. "I just wanted to tell you that I want my $10 000 in cash.Its pretty clear what the verdict is going to be."


I swallowed. "For what is worth KateI actually didn't know that Sebastian was married."


"A man that hot and you thought he was single?What made you think that a fat cow like you could actually be a woman of his dreams?After thisyou're going to smell a married man from afar.And when that happensyou will run bitch.Let this be a lesson learnt." She turned to walk away but stopped and glared at my bump.

"Sebastian gave you money to abort that thing but you didn't.If you think you're going to use that thing to trap him then you're mistaken.When its bornhe is going to give up his rights as the father.Be ready to see his signature on the dotted lines."


Chicago chuckled and shook her head. "You know the funny thing about life Kateits like a wheel.One day we will see who will have the last laugh.You think you're winning right?But this is life.Always remember that..."


"Please bitchdon't give me your bullshit speech about life.Tell your fat friend to stay the hell away from other people's men.The clever thing she could have done was to at least use a condom."


"Bitch I will fuck up your white ass so bad if you continue acting like you own the world.You're lucky we are here.I was going to show you." Leigh-Anne clicked her tongue.


Kate flipped her hair and smirked before walking away.


"You shouldn't have said that Leigh-Anne.The reason why she didn't respond is because she was probably recording.They will use that in court."Merlin saidgiving me bottled water.


I bit my lower liptrying to fight back my tears. "It's going to be alright lil sis.Don't worry." Merlin squeezed my shouldersand my best friends looked at me sadly.


***


"Couldn't you be like your older sister Meghan?Right now she got a huge contract from a modelling agency.But look at you19 and pregnant with a married man's baby.You're such a huge embarrassment."My dad shouted the moment we arrived at home.


My mother shot backequally agitated. "You're not going to talk to my child like that Burnett.And you're definitely not going to compare my children like that.Go with that shit to your other family it's not needed here.You shouldn't have come."


He clicked his tongue. "You're such a disappointment Meredith.I wonder who you take after." He glared at my mother before walking out.


I wiped my tears but they continued flowing. "I'm so sorry mom.I disappointed you.I'm so sorry."


She sighed and sat on the bed. "Yes I'm disappointed in you because I expected better from you Meredith.All I have been teaching you since you were a little kid was the combined wisdom and learning experiences of thousands of years.It was what I have been taught by my parents partners pastorsteachersfriends and even enemies.They were lessons learned from loving and winning and loving and losing from the school of hard knocksand the old method of trial and error.I wanted you to be better than me Meredith because I have learnt that the ache of unfulfilled dreams is the worst pain for all.I wanted you to go to school and fulfill your dreams of working in a financial team of a huge company.I wanted you to get an education something I didn't have the privilege of having.Education is the greatest engine to personal development.It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctorthe son of a mineworker can become the leader of a minethe child of a farm worker can become the president of a great nation.I always told you this.I wanted you to be someone in lifenot like me.Divorced uneducated and broke.Regardless of how much I taught youI knew it was never enough.But that's okay because every daywith every new experience we are offered new opportunities for discovery and growth.I have played my part and did my bestso even when I say thisI know my conscience is clear.Since you wanted to be a grown up and do grown up stuffits time for you to take another grown up decision.I don't care if its going to be the right or wrong decision.Its not about making the right decision anyway.Its about being able to live with the decisions we make.You're going to pay Kate the $10 000 that the court asked you to pay.You're going to save enough money for rent and groceries.And you're going to take a student loan because I'm not going to continue paying for your tuition and you're not giving up on school.I'm fine with being a nanny.I'm lonely and old anyway and there is no way I will abandon my grandbaby.So when the baby is bornI will babysit him for you but I'm not going to pay for anything where the baby financial matters are concerned.You're going to pay for his fooddiaperseverything he needs.You're going to give him the good life that I gave you."


She stood up and continued. "If I was youI would start writing down my budget right now.This is the life you chose for yourself Meredith Burnett my daughter.At 19you're pregnant for a married man who wants nothing to do with the babybroke and with a bad reputation.Such is life right?Cheers my girl."

She walked out.

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Londa Cele 2022-01-14 07:12:32

This prologue straight screams novel...halala