Okay, so I decided to do a twist with this chapter. Sorry if it's by no means what you expected Paul's little visit to turn into, but I felt like since it's chapter 16 already, we have to get back to the...*gulp*...you'll see!
So...before I waste another 15 days rambling on, here it is :)
"Marc O' Brady, eh?" the gruff, but surprisingly warm sounding voice said before he spun around in his chair and saw Paul standing there. "Have a seat, Paul." Paul sat across the desk in the judge's chambers from his old friend, Judge John Shanes. "I should have known you'd come fishing for his file when I heard Amy was engaged to the man."
"And..." Paul arched an eyebrow.
"There's a lot to tell. It was one loopy case that's for certain. Probably the weirdest one I've seen since the debate on grounds for divorce between a man and his robot wife," the man chuckled as he recalled it. Paul tried to cover up his impatience. "I wasn't actually on the case, but myself and a few others were called in to discuss the evidence when the jury was thrown into a frenzy following that psychotic bowler hat's attack."
"So there really was a bowler hat?" Paul couldn't deny he hadn't believed the ridiculous story about Doris.
"Oh yes, there was. I hadn't believed Mr. O' Brady's claims when they were released in the newspaper, but I sure do believe them now," he said as he opened a file and sifted through the facts surrounding the case. "That poor Robinson boy went through quite an ordeal. Would be dead too if it weren't for Mr. O' Brady's true colors showing too." He closed the file and handed it to Paul to look at.
"What do you mean true colors? If he had shown his true colors in the first place, this Robinson kid might have ended up dead too," Paul hissed as though he knew what he were talking about.
The man looked at his friend, a hint of sadness in his chocolate brown eyes. "Things have certainly changed since college haven't they?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you used to actually care for the common man. The man who makes mistakes," he accused Paul. John was silent for a moment. "But I suppose years of dealing with true hardened criminals takes away the sympathy we judges start out with. My opinion of this Mr. O' Brady is he has learned his lesson and isn't really a bad man. Yes, he screwed up and yes, he deserves to do time, but all in all, I'd rather fill my jail cells with the ones who really deserve to be there," John finished.
"And I say this Marc character does belong there. I don't care about sympathy when it is misused," Paul snapped. "If he were behind bars like he should be, he wouldn't have been able to pollute my daughter's thoughts like he has."
"How do you know she doesn't really love him, Paul?" John asked, never raising his voice for a moment. "Is it that he deserves to be there or you simply think he doesn't deserve your daughter?"
"Both," Paul said coldly. "Now are you going to help me or am I finally going to ruin your career like I could have done years ago."
The judge's eyes widened. He knew exactly what Paul meant and could tell by the look in his eyes he would do exactly what he threatened. "What exactly do you propose I do? Hire an assassant to kill the man?"
"At this moment I would kill the man myself and face my punishment the way he hasn't," Paul spoke with such hate, John didn't know who was the bad guy in this new situation. "Just make sure you do something or else I will go public in three days' time. Is that clear?" Paul tossed the file back on the desk and stormed out.
"How am I going to get out of this mess?" John sighed and reopened the file. As he skimmed the pages, he stopped on a name Cornelius Robinson. If anyone could be trusted enough to help him, it would be the famous inventor.
"PLEASE tell me you've found a cure," Franny said when Cornelius came rushing excitedly into the music room where she had been trying to prop up her feet and read for awhile. She set down the electronic book and looked at her husband hopefully.
"Um, well, not exactly," Cornelius answered which Franny responded to with a groan. "Face it, sweetie, but Wilbur is stuck that way for awhile."
"Just what I didn't want to hear," Franny said as she got up from her chair to stretch. "At least he's able to go back out into public now that he's been publicly declared on television as a non-threat to society."
"I still say we're going to be sued for that remark someday," Cornelius laughed as he grabbed Franny by her waist and pulled her closer. "Wilbur? A non-threat to society?"
"Oh shush, you," Franny said and placed her finger on her husband's lips playfully. "After all, he's a lot like his father."
"And I'm a threat to society?" Cornelius arched one eyebrow above the rim of his glasses.
"Psha!" Franny teased. "Because of you society can't go more than a week before you go and change their lives again with some outstanding breakthrough that will replace whatever it was they had to get used to last week. Face it, babe, society just can't keep up."
"Oh is that so," Cornelius laughed at his wife's logic. Even though it was a playful exaggeration, it was probably slightly true. "Well, then I guess we'll just have to go ahead and shut down Robinson Industries and then maybe we can join a traveling circus instead. We can live off of Wilbur's freak side show profits."
"Okay, either this is something you've been thinking about for awhile now, or you have a twisted imagination," Franny looked at her husband, her eyes dancing with merriment.
"I'm an inventor. Of course I have a twisted imagination," he answered her. "Right now I imagine you want to probably elbow me in the gut or ribs and then apologize with a kiss."
"Wow," Franny gasped overdramatically. "That IS twisted. And so not going to happen." She pulled away. "You interrupted me from my book without so much as a reason," she said, knowing she was still playing coy.
"Oh, right!" Cornelius had nearly forgotten. "I just recieved a call from Judge John Shanes."
"Who?" Franny turned and looked at her husband in confusion, her nose slightly krinkled.
"He helped in the decision of Marc's sentence. And apparantly now Amy's father has him over a barrel," Cornelius replied.
"Right. Amy called me earlier and mentioned that her father left the hospital in a fury last night and hasn't spoken to her since," Franny tried filling in some mental blanks out loud. "Why did he call you?"
"Well, Mr. Summers is threatening to go public about some stupid mistakes Judge Shanes made when they were both younger that could really hurt his trust with the people. Basically, the judge has been given three days to make sure something is done about Marc or else?"
"But what can Judge Shanes even do? Marc has already been sentenced," Franny asked in bewilderment, her dislike for Paul Summers growing stronger.
"Well, the pre-Doris evidence is still there. He could go back on the sentence and claim mistrial or could appeal the court's decision or anything really. He is a judge that holds quite a bit of tout," Cornelius tried to explain simply.
"This isn't right. So what does he expect you to do? Bail him out by pressing charges now with Wilbur?" Franny couldn't understand what her husband had to do with it.
"No, and I wouldn't had he asked me either. He needs a loophole and thinks he found one when going through the list of products in beta testing that have been released in our annual goverment required press release. Ironically, he came across the Blink."
"Yes, the Blink," Cornelius nodded. "I guess he doesn't really want to throw poor Marc in jail after all he's been through and after being given false hope. But at the same time, he is still looking out for himself."
"And where does the Blink come into play?" Franny asked impatiently, her hands now situated on her hips as she waited for an explanation.
"Judge Shanes thinks it could be a loophole. He's going to try to get a court order to require the usage of the Blink on Marc," Cornelius paused and Franny's eyes widened as far as she could manage. "I told him of the risks involved and he said it was all the better in quieting Paul Summers once and for all. If he forgets all of his memories of what happened, he's hoping Amy's father will be satisfied."
"And if he forgets Amy in the process..." Franny let her question trail as she bit her lip thinking about what it would do to Amy.
"Then Mr. Summers would be all the more satisfied. He could use Amy's sudden vunerability to bend her to his will."
"This isn't fair!" Franny couldn't hold back her fury. "Amy should be allowed to make her own decisions including who she marries."
"I know. I know," Cornelius sighed and wrapped his arms around his wife to comfort her. "We should probably keep Amy out of the loop until the court order is actually finalized. She has enough on her plate as it is."
"You're right," Franny said as she laid her head against Cornelius, confusion and anger for her friend's dilemma filling her thoughts. "Maybe it'll work out. Maybe it's meant to be this way since it was Amy's idea to use the Blink in the first place."
"Maybe, but that was under different circumstances," Cornelius added.
"But they weren't sure if they would go through with it. Maybe this is destiny saying they have to go through with it," Franny pondered out loud. "You of all people should know a little bit about that," she looked up and smiled a small smile as she referenced her husband's own run in with destiny.
"There are no accidents," Cornelius also smiled and finished the kiss from earlier, glad that he would never be forced to forget Franny the way Marc may be forced to forget Amy.