This scene was written after the initial round of advanced copies were delivered. It takes place sometime in the future, likely present day.
As I've said several times, the characters in Cavanaugh react to their environment based off of the decade the story is set in. I hope that this helps with readers need for closure.
Lily Anne laid the Tribune out on the dining room table, smoothing the creased centerfold. She held the newspaper corner and picked up the shiny silver shears. About to make the first cut, she hesitated and looked over at the lovely box of mementos and clippings that she’d kept for as long as her memory served.
She was a pack rat when it came to remembrances, but suddenly she wasn’t sure if this article belonged with her most cherished souvenirs. She stopped what she was doing and began taking out the hodge-podge of items one by one. She touched a corsage pressed between layers of waxed paper from the evening of her debutante ball, admiring it’s beauty and recalling how times had changed.
Bead and clay trinkets her son, Drew, and the quints had bestowed on her during their shared childhood lay amongst the snapshots of her and Rose hanging upside down from peach trees. She fingered the raised lettering on the cover of a printed program from the Sunday her grandchildren were dedicated to the Lord. A bright paperclip held her father’s obituary underneath her daughter’s wedding announcement.
Filled with so many memories, the box had grown heavy and Lil couldn’t help but consider how life came full circle. There was still room in the ornate container to hold memories of life’s blessings in the years to come.
But was this one of them?
Lily Anne meant to save the article because she’d been proud of her entire family. She’d sat on that hard bench, clutching Ross’s hand, when Rose got called to the stand as a character witness. For the first time, Rose recounted the full details of her ordeal. Her children filled the gallery understanding what Rose was compelled to say. Although, their mother had remained silent, fighting the battle on her own terms, so the magnitude of her words didn’t become real to them until the truth slipped past Roses’s lips.
Rose’s daughters especially had been basket cases. Daveigh had her own wounds and it was only after watching the testimony that she’d found the strength to tell Rose.
There had been no sense trying to hold back tears when Rose thanked Lil for stepping into her role. She absolved Lily Anne for never saying that she’d known all along. Daveigh’s secret was never hers to tell.
However, as the scales of justice weighed the evidence, Lily Anne felt no one’s pain more than Ross’s. His body tensed and shoulders hunched and, after her testimony, Ross couldn’t get his arms around Rose quick enough to begin the process of mending her all over again.
It took a lot of guts to do what Rose did. She opened herself up to criticism and plenty of folks brought up the way she acted as a girl. Lil respected the person Rose had become and was gratified that two of Rose’s reasons for speaking up were their shared granddaughters. Their babies’ babies joined then in an unbreakable bond. Those children deserved to understand that their grandmother had done right by them.
Lily Anne picked up her scissors once more. The blades made quick straight lines against the newspaper margins. She placed it over the box and let it float down like a feather. It landed atop a small framed portrait of Savannah and Joy.
Tears filled Lily Anne’s eyes as she spoke loving words to them. And then Lily Anne closed the box, knowing that they’d put this ghost to rest while the spirits of the women who’d founded their families still lifted them up in hard times.
EDWARD CHANGES PLEA, FOUND GUILTY OF ASSAULT
….While not charged with a crime against her, the most outspoken alleged victim of Edward’s was Rose Kingsbrier-Cavanaugh. Her testimony for the prosecution encouraged numerous other women to come forward. Finding strength in numbers they exposed a pattern of sexual and domestic abuse that spanned decades.
When questioned by the defendant’s lawyer as to why she never pressed charges, Mrs. Kingsbrier-Cavanaugh stated, “There were few avenues afforded to women at the time. No one wanted to talk about it. No one wanted to believe us so we lost faith in ourselves. I took the only road that would bring me justice and help me regain a sense of self-worth.”
She proceeded to take down Edward Investments brick by brick. “Whenever I found another crack in the business’s foundation, I used that leverage to my advantage.” She went on to recount how women began taking many prominent roles formerly held by their male counterpoints. Hearing murmurs of similar stories, they quietly banded together ensuring that Edward Investments failed to receive contracts. Trying to remain afloat, the firm was quick to latch onto whatever deals it could negotiate.
Kingsbrier-Cavanaugh was named Acting Chairman of Kingsbrier Holdings after her father, Eric Kingsbrier, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Edward Investments was then acquired by Kingsbrier Holdings for less than one-fifth of the value it held at the time of the alleged incident between them. Later that year, Kingsbrier Holdings made a sizable donation in Lathan Edward’s name to an East Texas agency whose mission it is to assist victims of sexual assault allowing the non-profit to broaden outreach services.
When asked in the courtroom if he knew about the donation Lathan Edward became enraged. The judge held Edward in contempt of court. After consulting with his lawyers, he changed his plea to guilty.
When asked if she felt vindicated Mrs. Kingsbrier-Cavanaugh replied, “No. This wasn’t about me. Everyone knows there was enough evidence in the current case against Mr. Edwards to prove his culpability. No matter what I may have done to stick it to him, not coming forward allowed Lathan Edward the leeway to assault other women. I fall asleep every night with that on my conscience.”
Copyright ©2018 Jody Kaye
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a creation of the Author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, establishments, event or locales is coincidental... That's right, I made it all up!
This excerpt is taken from an uncorrected proof of the book. Mistakes are possible... In other words, I'm human too.