Chapter 33

"Sparkle! Hold that pose... Beautiful Michael,  keep your hand right there on her stomach! Now smile at each other."
   As Michael and Sparkle broke out into laughter, the photographer yelled, "Perfect."
    "You're a natural at this baby; you look so beautiful." Michael gushed sweetly.
   "Thanks, sweetheart, but I'll be glad when this is over." Sparkle smiled through a tired yawn.
   After their interview and photo-shoot was over, Sparkle felt a sense of relief wash over her body. It had been a long day, and she wasn't feeling so well.
   While they were walking to the car, Sparkle hunched over and let out a scream.
   "Are you OK, Spark?" Michael exclaimed as he wrapped his arms around her.
   "Yes... I'm alright. The babies are playing 'Tag' again," she quipped.
   Once back at home, Michael helped her to bed and placed several pillows behind her back.
   "Are you sure you're up for attending the trial tomorrow? I can go it alone. I don't want you sitting there in pain," he expressed concernedly.
   "I'll be fine, Michael-- the babies are just moving around a bit more than usual." She smiled while caressing her stomach.
   Bending his head down to kiss her huge belly, Michael remarked. "I think you're completely crazy for wanting to have the babies without any pain medication. What if they have big heads," he teased.
    Sparkled grimaced. "Oh, God... Don't say that, Michael. I read that I might have to push harder in labor if I take an epidural. I want these babies to slide right out."
    Staring at her as if she had lost her mind, he said in jest, "I'll have the epidural on stand-by."

***

When Michael and Sparkle walked into the courtroom, they were flanked by the media, as Michael's entire security team held the reporters back along with the police.
   It had been a long eight months, but the day had finally arrived for Michael and Sparkle to confront both Byron and Danielle in court.
   After Michael and Sparkle took their seats, Byron was soon escorted to a table in the front of the court-room by two guards.
   "What in the hell happened to him?" Sparkle yelped when she saw Byron's face bruised and swollen.
   "Looks like he's been getting his ass whooped." Michael sniggered.
    Once the trial began, the prosecution grilled Byron relentlessly.
   There was no way he was getting away with what he had done to Michael and Sparkle.
  Xavier had built a strong case against him and was ready to put him away for a long time.
 [Prosecutor Xavier Smith] "So I've recently learned that you obtained Mr. Jackson's home phone number, is that correct?"
 [Byron] "Yes, that's correct."
 [Prosecutor Xavier Smith] "How did you obtain that number?"
 [Byron] "I had the number because Michael gave it to me sometime last year when he sought legal services from my law-firm."
 [Prosecutor Xavier Smith] "You do realize that contacting Sparkle was against the law correct. Surely you know this since you're a lawyer."
 [Byron] "Yes... I know, but I really needed to talk with Spar..."
 [Prosecutor Xavier Smith] "Objection! Defendant is guiding the question."
 [Judge] "Sustained."
Deciding not to take the stand, Michael and Sparkle watched the trial intently.
    They both felt that Xavier had enough evidence against Byron, and they merely wanted to be there to see justice served.
    Michael also didn't want any extra stress placed on Sparkle. Additionally-- he didn't want to take the stand because he felt as though he might jump over the witness stand and kill Byron.
   Now was not the time for him to go to jail when their precious babies were to be born any day now.
  During a break, Sparkle went into the restroom and winced out in pain.
   Not thinking anything of it, she inhaled and exhaled deeply.
    "Come on, you two! Stop fighting each other and let Mommy get through this trial," she sighed.
   After her pain subsided, she headed back into the courtroom.
   "Everything OK, Spark?"
   "Yeah, I'm fine, Michael. Just had to use the lady's room," she smiled.
    Even though Sparkle was experiencing pain, she didn't dare tell Michael. She knew that once she told him, he would have taken her home immediately.
   To their surprise, the court proceedings wrapped up pretty early, and the jury had reached a verdict in the case against Byron.
   When Byron was pronounced guilty, he looked at Michael, and boldly yelled. "But I had her first! She only wants you for your money!"
   Without hesitation, Michael jumped up from his seat, but Bill settled him down quickly.
    "Settle down Joker, don't let him get the best of you." Bill chided.
    Taking his seat, Michael rubbed his jaw vigorously as he rocked back and forth in his seat.
   "Come on, baby... Calm down. I know you're angry, but he's of no concern to us any longer." Sparkle exclaimed as she grabbed Michael by the arm.
    As Byron continued to cause a ruckus, everyone looked at him as if he had gone crazy.
    "Order in the court! If you don't calm down Mr. Harris, I'll add on an additional five years to your jail-time." The judge announced in a gruff tone.
    Feeling as though justice had been served, Michael and Sparkle clapped when Byron's sentencing was announced.
   Byron had received ten years in prison without parole and was disbarred from practicing law.
   When it was time for Danielle's case to be heard, Michael felt as though he was going to explode from anger. Q
    Since her fingerprints had been found on the letter that she sent to Sparkle, it was all the evidence that Xavier needed to win the case.
   After the jury found Danielle guilty, she began to cry profusely after being sentenced to five years in prison.
   Almost feeling sorry for her, Sparkle turned her head away as the guards ushered her out of the court-room, screaming.
    As a sense of relief washed over them, Sparkle and Michael embraced as tightly as they could. Sparkle's stomach was now the size of two kickballs, and she felt like she could pop any minute.
    "I'm so happy this is all over with Spark. I don't want to speak to anyone besides close family and friends after we get home." He expressed tiredly.
    "I agree, Michael... It's time for us to focus solely on our family." She replied sweetly as she placed a tender kiss on his lips.
   Upon leaving the courthouse, Michael and Sparkle were bombarded with an array of questions from the media.
     Choosing not to answer any of their questions, Michael waved in response as they made their way through the crowd.
     "Hold up for a sec!" Michael shouted firmly to his security team.
     Taking everyone by surprise, Michael turned around to deliver a short but important statement before hopping into his SUV.
   "Let today serve as an example... Do not mess with me, my wife, or my children! I will come after you and make you pay severely." He spoke loud, stern, and clear. "I'm tired of people and the media included-- thinking they can treat me any type of way and get away with it! I will not back down! I will fight you!"

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