“Mrs. Benedict, I am sorry, but due to city employment regulations, we will have to suspend you from your position as administrative assistant until after the criminal charges against you are resolved.”, the president told her.
Although disappointed, Cillay wasn’t surprised. “I understand, Mrs. Fleming. I expect to be cleared of all the charges.”, Cillay told her.
“I hope so, Mrs. Benedict.”, Mrs. Fleming said.
Cillay went home, trying not to feel down. She was surprised to find Jim there and not at work.
“What are you doing home so early?”, Cillay asked him.
“I took a leave of absence. If something major comes up, then they can call me in. Otherwise, I want to have the time to do everything I can to clear you of those outrageous charges.”, Jim said.
“But Jim, we discussed this. You don’t have to do that!”, Cillay protested.
Jim hugged Cillay to him. “I want to Cillay. You aren’t going through this alone. So stop protesting!”, he told her firmly.
That afternoon, Jim and Cillay met with Cillay’s attorney and their private investigator.
“The prosecutor has subpoenaed copies of Cillay’s medical records. They are investigating Tony’s claims that Cillay was institutionalized.”, Ms. Drayton said.
“Won’t the medical records show the bruises that were all over her body when she first left Sunset Valley and the stabbing?”, Jim asked.
“Yes, but there is no proof that Tony caused the bruises or that he was Cillay’s attacker. It is just her word against his. There is also the fact that she never filed charges against him for the beatings. His previous trial and charges are not admissible.”, she told him.
“So in otherwords, Tony wins again!”, Cillay said dejectedly.
“I didn’t say that. However, it doesn’t look good. The two men who abducted Cillay have been located. When the ship was searched, a ransom note was found. They verify Tony’s version of the story.”, Ms. Drayton said.
Cillay looked at her in shock. “But it isn’t true! They called him the boss, and Tony ordered them around!”, Cillay protested.
“Tony must have some hold over them.”, Jim said.
The PI spoke for the first time.
“We are trying to find the connection between Mr. Sanders and the two men. They both have long criminal records, although neither has ever been charged with kidnapping.”, he told them.
“I am flying out tomorrow to meet with the prosecutor. I am going to try to get him to sit down with me and go over everything we have on the case. Maybe he will be open to a suggestion of making a deal with one of the men to testify against Tony.”, Ms. Drayton said.
“Well we really appreciate your hard work, Ms. Drayton.”, Jim told her.
“It makes it easier when you know your client is innocent.”, she told them, looking at Cillay.
“Thank you for saying that.”, Cillay said. They rose to leave.
Instead of going home, Jim called the babysitter and told her that they were going to be home later that evening.
“We need to unwind. I’m taking you out tonight.”, Jim told Cillay.
They went to a small nightclub. Cillay loved the atmosphere.
“We should do this more often.”, Cillay said.
Jim went to the bar and ordered them some drinks. Cillay always turned heads and tonight was no different. As soon as Jim left her side, a young man came and asked her to dance. Jim looked over and saw Cillay hesitating.
“Go ahead!”, he called to her.
Cillay went out on the dance floor and for the first time in weeks, she felt relaxed. She was having a great time. After awhile, Jim came to cut in.
“Excuse me, mind if I cut in?”, Jim asked politely.
“Yeah, I mind!”, the guy said and kept dancing.
Cillay stopped dancing. She could see the anger building in Jim’s face.
“Thanks for the dance.”, she told the young man. “But now I’m going to dance with my husband.”
She took Jim’s arm and led him across the dance floor. She laughed at the expression on Jim’s face.
“I can see the headlines now. ‘Mayor Benedict involved in bar brawl over unknown woman’!”, she teased him.
Jim had to smile. “Thanks! I guess I am a little on edge.”, he said.
“Let’s see what we can do about that.”, Cillay told him.
She started slowly moving her body in a sensuous dance. Jim’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Feel the music.”, Cillay said in sultry voice. She pressed her body against his, and he began to dance in rhythm with her.
After a few more minutes of dancing, Jim placed his lips against Cillay’s neck. He whispered, “If we don’t go home right now, there will be another new headline. “Mayor makes hot, steamy love to mysterious, beautiful blond woman in the middle of the dance floor!”
“Let’s go home!”, Cillay said smiling.
After they got home, they went straight to their bedroom. They quickly helped each other remove their clothing as they pressed their lips together in a hot, passionate kiss.
They moved onto the bed.Their desire for each other had never been as strong and fiery. Before long, they were in the bed, their bodies enmeshed together as they made love. They both felt complete ecstasy.
Afterwards, they relaxed on the bed talking.
“Jim, Tony can’t win this can he?”, she asked.
“Whatever happens in court, he’s never hurting you again, Cillay.”, Jim told her. If Tony won in court, Jim intended to pay him a visit that Tony wasn’t going to like. This time, no one was going to talk him out of it.
“I could end up in jail for a long time.”, Cillay said.
Jim pulled her closer. “I’ll never let that happen!”, he said. Cillay fell asleep in his arms.
After she fell asleep, Jim quietly got out of bed and went into the garage to retrieve something that he needed. He knew that Tony would not fight fair, and Jim intended to stop him once and for all. Without awaking Cillay, he put it in a special compartment of his suitcase.
They spent the day before they were to leave for the trial, together with the children, as a family. They went to the children’s favorite park. Cillay tried to keep her mind off of her trial and concentrate on her family.
“Momma, look!”, Richard cried as he went back and forth on the pretend spaceship. She went over to him as he laughed and pretended to fly.
She looked over at Janel. Jim was filming her as she chased butterflies. She tried to store up the images of her children and Jim in her mind and heart, just in case Tony won again. Jim walked over to her.
“Sweetheart, don’t look so sad! We’ll beat him. This time, you are not alone. You have people who love you and will never give up until you receive justice.”, Dale told her.
The day flew by, and Cillay tried to be cheerful for Jim and the children. She didn’t fool Jim. He knew she was worried. However, unlike Cillay, he still trusted the legal system.
They got up early to fly to Piccaroon Island for the start of the trial. They didn’t talk much but cuddled together on the plane. “Everything will be okay, Cillay.”, Jim said trying to reassure her.
When they reached the courthouse, Cillay’s attorney was waiting to talk with them before the trial started. She took them to a conference room.
“The DA would not agree to offer a deal to either of the men who abducted Cillay. He believes that he has a good case against her. However, if she pleads guilty to a lesser charge, he offered a shorter prison sentence.”, she told them.
Jim and Cillay looked at one another. “Don’t you believe that Cillay has a chance of winning?”, Jim asked.
“If the jury believes Cillay, then she will be found not guilty. However, Tony is a famous professional football player. If the members of the jury are celebrity worshipers, they may believe him instead. Especially since I cannot bring in his prior abuse of Cillay.”, she said.
“I won’t say that I am guilty, no matter what happens!”, Cillay told them.
“Alright, let’s go over your testimony again, Cillay.”, Ms. Drayton said.