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#Running Heart Monitors
ntaifitness · 7 months ago
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Polar and Timex Running Heart Monitors Review
Running heart monitors provide continuous feedback on a host of important factors when engaging in strenuous activity. 
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Every major brand has multi-function heart rate monitors that also give instantaneous updates, such as time spent in your heart zone. 
Oregon Scientific products include the HR-102, a model that measures heart rate from 30-240 beats-per-minute.
The Acumen TZ MAX 100 is an amazing device that has a PC interface so you can download exercise information as simple graphs to store and retrieve.
Polar produces its own running computer in the S625X, which gives accurate heart rate, running pace and distance information on the wrist receiver. 
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Timex running heart monitors include the Bodylink 59551 that uses the latest technology to unify the output of up to four devices worn on your body to transmit performance information. Real-time workout feedback is integrated by the Ironman Triathlon Bodylink performance monitor. 
When looking at running heart monitors, be sure to determine that they provide continuous, rather than instantaneous, information as you exercise.
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aro-culture-is · 5 months ago
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Disabled aro culture is being so glad you don’t have to go on dates. Imagine having to make yourself get up, go outside to inaccessible venues, stay out for hours, be emotionally available the whole time or even GO ON WALKS or HIKES on a low-spoon day for the sake of romance. Hard pass.
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#aro culture is #aro #aromantic #actually aro #actually aromantic #ask #mod kee #disabled aro culture #oh so fucking valid #i'm uncertain if i can claim the label disabled but i am chronically ill #i can't imagine dating a physically active person esp #i have atypical asthma that is highly resistant to emergency treatment via albuterol #and if my asthma has a chance to get even a LITTLE bad i may as well prepare for three ish weeks of hell #cause of the whole.... 'oh you have to have an episode for 10 days straight before we'll give you the one med that handles it' #thanks medical industry super cool. it's not like we've done this so much that we're well aware it won't go away otherwise #we know v well that my heart is getting FUCKED during that time too cause my resting heart rate through that period is 120+ and uhhh ouch #once was forced in high school to run the pacer test while wearing a heart rate monitor #shot up to almost 200bpm almost immediately when forced to run #and after 'cooling down' i ended up being allowed to just take it off #despite the rule of how you had to reach consistently ~120bpm on a down trend to do so #because every cough brought me straight back to 200. #and yes. that did lead to the whole 3 weeks of hell and being on hospital grade meds the whole time #if someone wants me to do a lot of physical exercise or go to a smoke filled area they can go fuck themselves #'oh you haven't had recent episodes so you're well controlled' no fuck off doctor that's cause i'm careful as shit about what i do #chatty kee
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goldensquirrel · a month ago
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Runners
I am once again coming to you with a question. Is your heart rate strap miles better than your apple watch? Looking into getting one if yes. Thank you in advance. Also non runners can answer as well.
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longlegsnamjoon420 · 8 months ago
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Looking at the syllabus for medsurge and laughing so hard..... I already know everything 😂
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thepixelelf · 9 months ago
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title: the morrow never comes
#soulmate au SURPRISE SURPRISE #ideas.tpe #okay so the soulmark is the LAST words your soulmate will ever say to you #except in this universe only you can see your own soulmark #and your mark says 'see you tomorrow' which... ouch #it's also super common so every time you hear it when youre younger youre like SHIT is someone gonna die?? #but over the years eventually you just get used to it #like you're never going to know who your soulmate is until the last moment but like... #it's probably not the 70 y/o prof from your 9am lecture who says that every mon/thurs #you kind of just have to get used to the fact that its a common phrase and you'll know when it happens for real because... you'll feel it #hopefully #anyways kpop boy is your best friend and has been for quite a few years #im thinking a dancer type because uhhhhh hes gonna get cardiac arrest one random day and be sent to the hospital #and you'll visit quite a lot bc duh best friend stuff and hes looking okay ish but apparently the attack has left a lasting heart condition #which may lead to an end to his dance career which sucks but at least hes alive right #(at least you can tell him how you feel) #but then one night when visiting hours end you go to his side and he says see you tomorrow and you unfazed say the words on HIS soulmark #and you SEE the recognition and fear in his eyes and FUCK does this mean? shit #and he goes to say more but his monitor starts beeping like mad and you run for a doctor and... well #yup
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obsob · 2 years ago
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must be, gryffindor!
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frnko-mars · a year ago
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*goes to cardiologist* *they schedule other tests and appointments* *wishes i’d never bothered*
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my-adventure-begins-here · a year ago
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06/26/20
Today was a really shitty day.
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it-is-the-hannah · a year ago
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I AM ALIVE
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kittengrantaire · 2 years ago
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i’m seeing my gp tomorrow for the first time since my surgery, and i have to come up with a clever plan to say “i fainted, the doctor at the hospital might think i’ve got a heart condition since it looked like a epileptic seizure (which i don’t have), and now i’m here and please don’t tell me you’d like to make me take a bunch of tests again, bc i know they will not spark up anything”
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fluttersheep · 2 years ago
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alright small wonder monday
im gonna ssaayy legendary pokemon battle themes. the pokemon games have fantastic music and i always look forward to the legendary music
this one is rly good bc of the tempo changes. like when it speeds up and slows down and speeds up again dsdkfjlk its so stressful i love it
and this one is great because you can hear the original theme fade in and out and that works well w the idea of their primal forms
this one just speaks for itself
and this one because its the most terrifying legendary battle theme and its so different than all the others and its really good at making u feel like ur fighting the literal creator i just love it so much
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mindsgame · 2 years ago
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tag dump!
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triathlonlab · 7 months ago
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watchesware · 8 months ago
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An Overview Of Popular Mens Fitness Watch Brands
An Overview Of Popular Mens Fitness Watch Brands
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When shopping for a new men’s fitness watch, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration. First, how accurate is it? What features does it have and what’s it not capable of? Here are some highlights that those who enjoy staying in shape should consider: The Fossil Hybrid HR has an always on heart rate monitor with a large round face that looks…
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cam-strong · 3 years ago
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Late night run and dang! am I glad I talked myself into getting it done- I was able to RUN in the green (my heart rate zone 3) for the WHOLE 30 MINUTES!!!!! Before, each time I would move from walking to running, my Heart Rate would go right into yellow, no matter how slow I jogged. I’d have to do constant stints of walking/jogging through the whole workout to stay in this zone before. I’m so happy!!! My little lungs and my little heart CAN do great things! ❤️💪🏻
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nabtime · 9 months ago
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otaku553 · 22 days ago
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Auntie shenhe agenda part 2
Imagine tho! Modern au where fucked up stuff still happens to shenhe and she lives as a hermit in the mountain and chongyun’s family sends him to her to train and get his yang energy problem under control because mountain climate is cooler and better for him,,
And both of them mutually understanding how much self control matters to each other and shenhe learning how to love again and caring for chongyun
Also hc in this au that chongyun’s clunky metal bracelet is a device made by cloud retainer to monitor his body temperature and heart rate
If they have visions and stuff then also shenhe helping chongyun cool down with cryo if he runs out of popsicles?
Anyways head empty just auntie shenhe
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saintobio · 4 months ago
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sincerely not. (18)
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↳ gojou satoru/reader
with an arranged marriage set in place, the sacred bond is doomed with a wife who wants to make the relationship work and a husband who’s ready to ruin it all. unbeknown to him, a tragic fate already lies within the pages of his romance book.
genre. heavy angst, unrequited love, arranged marriage, modern au, 18+
tags/warnings. profanity, mentions of abuse, mentions of homicide, mentions of trauma, mentions of crimes, detailed descriptions of law
notes. 14.5k i had to delete two scenes bc it was getting long. but i’ll add them in the next chapter. sorry it took me long! i had to actually learn about law and criminal case procedures so if you see any mistakes, pretend you didn’t :D lmao enjoy! there are two chapters left for this series T^T
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series masterlist -> episode nineteen
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“It’s quite pathetic, isn’t it?”
Contrary to the icy winter gloom outside the walls of their mansion, Eula’s mood was as bright as a hot summer afternoon. It was unbelievable to think that the woman managed to keep her high spirits despite the news of Satoru inheriting all of the family business, but the reason she wasn’t as enraged as she was a few days ago was because she still had one last trump card to use against her stepson.
And that might be the last resort to make him lose everything he had.
So with a cruel smile on her face, she sat on the corner of her vegetative husband’s bed and spoke to him with oozing mockery. “It’s really pathetic,” she repeated her words while grazing her thumb across the old man’s cheek, “Death would have been an easier escape for you. I mean, even being in a comatose state would’ve been much better, right? But I guess this is the most extreme way you could pay for your sins, my dear husband.”
She watched as the man widened his eyes with fire burning through his irises. Except, that was all that he could do. He couldn’t move his body and neither could he run his mouth. He was limited through eye movements while hearing the cruel words that left Eula’s mouth. How ironic was it that after abusing his power to inflict physical pain on others, he was now deprived to even flick a single finger?
“Aww, did you wanna say something?” she let out an evil chuckle, grabbing a pillow that was resting on his foot and placing it on her lap. “I can’t believe you betrayed me like that. For several years, you promised me that I’ll get the biggest shares in the company, you promised me that Yuuta will become your successor one day, but you dare break my trust by passing down all of your assets to Satoru? Is that one way to treat the wife that you claim to love?”
At the end of the day, no matter how much she tried to please him, the man still valued his own flesh and blood more than anything else. It was a selfish move befitting for a naturally selfish man. Wasn’t it ridiculous how he constantly harassed his own son and now he was acting like such a good father?
“I can easily kill you right now,” she continued her monologue, lifting a pillow and threatening to smother the man with it, “For the sake of revenge, I can just press this pillow down your face long enough until you can’t breathe. I’ve done it before, you know?”
Shinzo’s chest started rising and falling in heavy breaths to signal his rising temper. His heart rate monitor was then beeping rapidly and his scleras had become more visible now that his eyes were bulging out of its sockets, clearly horrified by the implication that his own wife was the reason for his mother’s sudden demise. “That’s right,” Eula confirmed it on her own accord, “Nana’s gone because of me. Do you realize how smart Satoru actually is? He wanted you to do a forensic autopsy because he suspected me, but I guess you’re one stupid son of a bitch to be easily swayed by my words.”
While the man was acting like a fish helplessly gasping for air, she was seated on his side laughing with a manic smile on her face. “How hilarious was it? You even blamed your own son for your mother’s death. You strangled him in front of his wife, slapped him with your ex-wife watching from a distance. You’re quite the spawn of Satan and I must say I enjoyed every minute of it.”
There was no doubt that the man would have beaten Eula into a bloody pulp had he not suffered complete paralysis. It was obvious how revolted he was just by the way his eyes were all red with burning rage.
How long has it been, anyway? Five days? A week? She hadn't heard from Satoru within those days, but she was informed that her stepson was doing his best to have a smooth transition from being the VP to the CEO. As for Yuuta, the young man had also been missing in action. He didn’t come home since the day of Shinzo's incident and he didn’t pursue flying to the US as planned. Being a mother, part of Eula was still worried for her son, but she considered that he was also a big boy who could take care of himself. All he had to do was to stay away from the drama while his mom took care of securing their money and fortune.
Nonetheless, it wouldn’t hurt to ask her son of his whereabouts. Who else could she talk to, anyway? Naoya has refused to return her calls and she didn’t trust the wives of the businessmen who simply wanted to leech off of her. Only Yuuta was left for her to confide in. As Eula dropped the pillow on top of the bed, she reached for her phone on the bedside table and searched through her contact list to find her son’s name.
But before she could dial his number, she jumped out of her seat when a couple of armed men in blue uniform barged in from the door.
No way… “What’s going on?!” Eula got up and yelled at the TMPD officers’ faces until she was dragged by one of them out of her will. “What are you—let me go! This is trespassing! I can sue every single one of you—!”
There were at least four police officers who entered the room and one of them showed her a paper before stating, “We have an arrest warrant, Mrs. Gojou. You have to come with us.”
Needless to say, Eula was livid. Every nerve, every bone, and every fibre of hers had electricity coursing through her body. Her heartbeat accelerated and her fingers began to shake. How did this happen? She remained in denial although her aggravation was getting the best of her. “You can’t do this! What the hell are you punks arresting me for?”
It wasn’t a police officer who spoke, it was her bastard stepson, Satoru, who casually walked inside the room just as Eula was resisting arrest when they tried to handcuff her. “You’re being charged with multiple felonies.”
She was at her boiling point when she saw him entering with a smug face as though he had always waited for the perfect opportunity to send her to jail. He must have been dreaming for this day to happen ever since she arrived at the mansion as his father’s wife, but the thing was, she would not be Eula Gojou if she didn’t put up a fight. “Felony? Those are false accusations! What proof do you have?!”
Satoru took a few steps closer to his father to look him in the eyes and saw how the old man was blinking rapidly. What was he trying to communicate to him? As if widening his eyes could help! Even his eldest and only son couldn’t seem to discern his eye movements either, so he just gave his father some reassurance. “I’ll make sure she’s gonna rot in jail, dad. They don’t give special treatment to criminals there.”
“You sick bastard!” screamed Eula as she tried to shove the cops. “You’re the one who should be in jail! You’re evading your crimes and pointing fingers on innocent people!”
“Me?” It was for the first time where she saw that cruel, sardonic smile on Satoru’s face. One that made chills run down her spine and sent her soul deep into the pits of Tartarus. No, impossible. She was supposed to be ten steps ahead of him! “We have all the necessary evidence to put you behind bars.” And with zero hesitation, he ordered the uniformed men to take her away. “Please make sure she’s aware that her charges are non-bailable.”
Eula was shaking with rage as the cops started dragging her out. “Those pieces of evidence are fabricated! You—”
“Fabricating evidence is your specialty.” Satoru leaned against the door before shooting his stepmom an emotionless stare. “See you in court.”
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It was petty to be angry over something trivial.
Sometimes, however, you did forget that your hormones were causing these unhealthy emotions that you were voluntarily releasing. You believed that you were still reasonable when you said that what made you aggravated for the past week was your husband’s absence as if he had forgotten that he also had a pregnant wife to take care of. You did understand why he became so busy since everything was being thrown to his face all at once—whether it be the incident with his father, taking the Chairman and CEO position, and the revelation of his stepmom as Nana’s murderer all along. You knew his lack of time for you had reasons, but it was the convincing voice inside your head that was refusing to understand his situation, thus painting Satoru as a neglectful husband and father.
Things were like this back home; he would come home from work late at night when you were already sleeping, he would leave early in the morning while you were also still deep in your slumber, his texts and calls were limited to just thrice a day at most, and lately he didn’t schedule any personal time to spend a day alone with you. Even if he still came home, for the whole week, you had only seen him twice. Twice. How could anyone blame you for being irrational?
The least he did was to send you a bouquet of roses that was obviously organized by Miwa to help placate your expected mood swings. Satoru wasn’t there when you suddenly burst out crying out of nowhere while watching a rom-com movie, he wasn’t there when you started yelling at Gen over the phone because you remembered a distant adolescent memory of her wrongfully accusing you of sneaking into her closet—only your maids were there by your side to comfort you when you were going through an uncontrollable whirlwind of emotions. It must have been difficult on their part to try and appease a hormonal pregnant woman, most especially because you also had a weak heart and you were very irritable without your husband’s affection.
Fortunately, you were a lot calmer than expected today.
Perhaps your baby knew that you were going to have your ultrasound so your heart was at peace for the time being. In a minute, you could already tell that you would be upset again because Satoru still hasn’t arrived to meet you at the hospital, but for now you were simply looking forward to hearing your baby’s heartbeat and ensuring that the growth was a hundred percent healthy. Not even your husband’s lack of presence could ultimately shift your mood as you waited outside of Shoko’s clinic in anticipation.
Or so you thought.
Upon checking your phone, there was no reply from Satoru after you texted him that you already left the house because he was taking too long to come home. He promised you that he was only going to spend half a day at work, so why hasn’t he still responded to you at two in the afternoon?
“Miss Y/N?” A female nurse called for your attention while you were sitting at one of the benches outside Ieiri’s clinic. “Dr. Ieiri might take a few more minutes with her patient because the results came in late. Would you like to read any specific magazines while you’re waiting?”
You dismissed her offer with a polite gesture. “That’s okay. I don’t mind waiting.”
What you did, on the other hand, was to scroll through Instagram while allowing more time to pass by. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen. Through your endless browsing, you happened to see more posts from Mai being uploaded after they had their trip to Italy for two weeks. To say you were envious was an understatement because all the places they visited were just suited for your taste—Rome, Milan, Venice, and Amalfi. You listed it on your bucket list to visit Verona when you were free for long-distance travel again because it was your lifelong dream to see the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in person. Hopefully, Satoru could plan his vacation leave in advance so you two could enjoy a romantic getaway again.
As you daydreamed about the countries that you wanted to travel to, you suddenly received a timely text message from the man who was responsible for making that Zen’in trip possible.
Toji: Are you at home?
The question was out of nowhere, but you still replied nonetheless.
You: Not really, I’m currently scheduled for an ultrasound appointment. What’s up?
Toji: Shoot. I was planning to drop by and personally hand the gifts over to you. The kids purchased a bunch of souvenirs in Italy.
Toji: Maybe I can just send them over to your address.
You found it quite adorable how the kids didn’t seem to forget about you during their overseas trip. It felt as though you were regarded as part of their family even though you hadn’t been close to them until this year. How could you not adore them? They had such a healthy familial relationship that you admired and hoped to have for your own family one day. If the heavens permit it, hopefully you and Satoru could have more children who would all be as close as how the Zen’ins were with each other.
As odd as it was, your mind suddenly flew to that one pretty girl that you saw on Mai’s post. Her face wasn’t very familiar to you, but she was a gorgeous woman with a slender figure who was sitting on Toji’s lap when they took a group photo in Amalfi.
With that photo in mind, you decided to tease Toji through text.
You: Aww, you can send it or drop by anytime this week. Though I’m sure your gorgeous girlfriend might need to keep an eye on you. Haha!
Toji: I can’t believe Mrs. Zen’in thinks I have a girlfriend
Were you wrong? You chuckled as you read his text and you managed to see the glances that the nurses nearby sent to you, probably wondering what you were smiling about and concluding by themselves that it must be because of your husband.
Well, it definitely wasn’t since the rightful husband didn’t even bother to send you a message two hours after you sent your last text. When your phone started ringing, it no longer surprised you that it wasn’t your CEO husband’s name on the caller ID, but of a different CEO from a neighboring company in fourth street.
“So, who was that chick on your lap?” was your introductory question as soon as you answered his call.
Toji was chuckling from the other end of the line. “You know, usually people ask me how the trip went, and not which girl was on my lap,” he teased before adding, “She’s a good friend of mine. Did you see it on Mai’s post or something?”
You nodded as if he could see. “Yeah, I didn’t know you guys were in Italy.”
“We just got back two days ago and—hey, you two,” there was a background noise that temporarily halted Toji from speaking and you could hear Naoya and Mai’s ceaseless bickering until there was complete silence. You realized that Toji must have moved somewhere quiet. “Sorry about them. I just wanted to hear your voice, that’s why I called.”
His last sentence garnered a smile to your face. “Really? I don’t think it’s fair to flirt with me like that, Mr. Zen’in. What would your girlfriend say?”
“She’s just an ex now. Are you jealous?” Was it strange that you could feel him grinning just by the tone of his voice? Surely, he made it a lot more obvious when he tried to tease you again. “Jealousy is a sign that you’re healthy—”
Before you could hear the rest of his sentence, your phone was snatched from your hand and the culprit was none other than the white-haired, six foot tall man you called your husband (who, by the way, showed up late to your appointment). “Toji,” he spoke through your phone while you tried your best to seize hold of it. “Did you miss my wife?”
Oh my God. “Satoru!” you scolded, reaching for your phone as the culprit sat next to you. Did you really think that he was going to give it back? He was far too focused on Toji to care. “Be nice.”
With a hand on your thigh, your husband leaned back on his seat and continued to speak to the man, “Tonight? I’m not sure. I’m gonna hog all of her time.”
It was strange enough that Satoru seemed way too relaxed while speaking to Toji, but he was also quite casual as if there was no animosity between them. What happened to being business rivals? Wasn’t he the same husband who got jealous over a pair of ridiculously expensive leather shoes that you purchased as a gift? It seemed like there was no scintilla of genuine jealousy in your husband’s countenance and you wondered if that was a good thing.
“Yeah, about that, it’s on-going but she’s already taken into custody. Thanks for helping with Ge—they both did.” Satoru squeezed your hand and placed it on his lips. Confusion lingered on your eyes as you pondered what they could possibly be talking about. Custody? It must be about his stepmom. “No, Yuuta directed me back to the pathologist who had the original autopsy result before it was fabricated. The medical examiner fled the country, but I did my best to get the information.” There was fleeting silence as you listened to your husband’s voice. “I also hired a private investigator for that part. We had a week to gather everything. She’s even taken some of my dad’s insurance money to purchase a property in California. Yeah… it’s crazy.”
You did not see this plot twist coming—that Satoru, someone who claimed to have been so competitive against Toji for God knows how long, was now talking to him like they were lifelong buddies. It even sounded like Toji was more aware of the things happening within the Gojou family than you were. Was something happening behind closed doors that you weren’t aware about? Why exactly did Toji have the privilege to hear about a case involving his business rival?
Now that you mentioned it, was his reason for calling just to simply check on you? It wasn’t far-fetched to think that Toji was worried that the recent events might be stressing you out because it was the last thing a pregnant woman with a fragile heart should be surrounded in. What he didn’t know was the fact that Satoru was already doing his best to keep you out of it, even to the point where he was unintentionally neglecting you.
You chose to keep your silence until your husband finally ended the call, later handing the phone back to you with a weary sigh. The beads of sweat on his forehead suggested that he must have run to the hospital just to make sure he wouldn’t miss your appointment. As much as you wanted to ask about his unexpected conversation with Toji, your guilt at seeing him so exhausted managed to crawl into your heart. “I feel bad,” you voiced out your thoughts and pulled a handkerchief to wipe his forehead. “Did you head straight here after your meeting?”
“I did. Sorry I was late, baby.” Seeing as he was still in full business attire, he probably didn’t have enough time to change into a casual outfit. The last time you had seen his face for this long was two days ago and you noticed how the dark circles under his eyes only got worse. His lips were pale, his skin was dry. Those were clear signs that he wasn’t in a great condition to pay attention to himself lately. Even at that, he made an effort to embrace you and plant a soft kiss on your temple. “I missed you so much.”
You sighed, regretfully. “I missed you, too. Are you taking care of yourself?”
His nod was followed by another kiss to your cheek. “Don’t worry about me,” he assured, touching your bump with his large hand. “Is my munchkin causing mommy trouble?”
“We’re fine,” you stifled a giggle. “We want daddy at home, though.”
“I know.” You allowed your husband to have his fingers intertwined with yours. “I promise we’ll spend the rest of the day together. Why don’t we visit the new mansion after this?”
Like a switch, a sudden idea came to your mind. “Oh, can we also invite Yuuta for dinner tonight? You two sound like you’re okay now.”
“We are.” Satoru momentarily shut his eyes to cover his guilt from showing. What changed their relationship all of a sudden? Yuuta had always been kind to his older brother and he even looked up to him even though Satoru constantly demeaned him because he used to see him as a threat to his inheritance, a hindrance to his growth, and a competition to his father’s attention. Did your husband finally see his brother’s true clean intentions, then? Or was he only being nice to him now because he was no longer competing for the CEO role? Satoru answered all of your questions with one sentence. “He’s gonna testify against his mom to help me put her to jail.”
Not even the word ‘shock’ was enough to describe the look on your face when he said that. Out of a million other theories that you had in your head, it didn’t cross your mind that Yuuta was going to be the key to his own mother’s incarceration. On one hand, how did it all come down to that?
You had no time to probe more because Ieiri finally came out of her clinic and guided her patient out the door, consequently greeting you and Satoru as soon as she saw you two waiting outside. Even your husband’s gaze was telling you to focus on the baby instead of thinking too much about his family’s complicated situation so you had to redirect your attention back to the angel inside your womb.
It may be a mother’s instinct to get overly excited during an ultrasound, but it was even better that Satoru was acting like an enthusiastic father who couldn’t wait to have little crumbs of his baby. In fact, Shoko found his excitement a little too over-the-top and she could already tell that Gojou would be one of those proud dads who always watched his kid’s games and competitions.
“This gel’s a little cold, but it’s meant to protect your skin.” Shoko had a soothing doctor’s voice as she urged you to straighten your legs while you sat on the recliner chair. Satoru was holding your hand while his best friend was on your other side preparing the transducer and the computer screen for your view. The gel, indeed, felt like ice on your flesh. It was a sticky substance that she easily glided in circles across your tummy’s bare skin so that the device can send and receive sound waves that were to be transmitted to the sonographer.
“That looks like lube,” Satoru joked and earned a pinch on his hand when you held him.
Ieiri could only playfully roll her eyes at your husband. “When is your mind never dirty? You remind me of Suguru.”
You grinned as she willingly mentioned her lover. “They’re really best friends.”
“He’s nastier than me,” Satoru defended himself as he kissed your hand which had become a new habit of his, “Plus, I’m married. I can be as intimate as I want with my wife.”
Not lately, though. You two haven’t done anything for the past week because of his hectic schedule. Be that as it may, you decided to play along. “I wonder when Suguru will get married, too.”
“Oh, please.” Shoko was visibly still in denial. “He can get married with any girl he wants. No one’s stopping him.”
“But—”
“BABE!” You nearly jumped out of surprise when Satoru shrieked of excitement as the computer screen finally showed the outline of the baby. Just like your husband, your heart stopped the moment you saw the product of yours and your husband’s love. The image of its head, its small fists, its tiny feet… “I’m gonna cry,” the father of your child mumbled as he stared at the screen in complete awe.
You let go of his hand only because yours flew to your mouth. “That’s… That’s my baby?” Tears brimmed in the corner of your eyes. “Oh my God, my angel. Mommy and daddy are here.”
Shoko couldn’t help but smile. “Your baby’s awake,” she informed, pointing at the screen to show the minuscule movements made by the fetus. Its tiny fingers were moving slowly, like how a kitten adorably stretches its paws by instinct. “Aww, look how—hey, Satoru, are you still alive?”
Your husband’s silence was actually because he was wiping the tears that escaped his eyes. He was mesmerized by the silhouette of his child as though he had fallen in love for the first time. “My heart’s racing. I can’t believe we can see our baby right now.”
“That’s your munchkin right there.” You wiped his cheek with your thumb and met his lips for a soft peck. Judging by his reaction alone, there was no doubt that the person you married was going to be the perfect father to your kid. You’ve never seen any other man have the same loving gaze that Satoru had for your baby and this whole experience brought gentle tickles to your heart.
But this didn’t end here. When Ieiri detected the position of your baby, she was able to find where the area of the heart was and the sudden sound of a steady beeping rhythm gave you the idea that it was a fetal heartbeat. “Your baby’s healthy. The heartbeat is normal.”
“My cute baby.” You had to suppress your tears from coming out as you felt your husband squeeze your hand. How much of an emotional parent could you be? No one could shame you for having tears fill up your eyes because they didn’t understand the heavy weight that was taken off your shoulders. Day and night, all you wished for was for your baby to be granted with a completely healthy heart without the same complications that you currently had and the almighty heavens seemed to have listened to your daily prayers. “Mommy’s glad that you’re healthy, my angel.”
Satoru, who just now recovered from his fatherly tears, looked at Shoko solemnly. “Can we get a copy of the sonogram? I wanna look at it every day.”
Ieiri removed the device on your tummy and chuckled. “You guys are so adorable as parents.”
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Thursday, 16th of December 2:45 PM - The Interrogation
“Mrs. Gojou, long time no see.”
Just as she thought that being handcuffed was already the most cruel experience she had to go through, Eula’s surprise became exceedingly high when she saw the man who was seated across the table after she was thrown into the interrogation room. The policemen ushered her into her side of the seat with her wrists only now being released from the tight restraining device that brought red marks on her ivory skin. There was a legal principle called the ‘presumption of innocence’ connoting that she was still innocent until proven guilty, but here she was, already being treated like a prisoner in her pre-trial detention.
Who, you may ask, was the man inside the interrogation room? It was none other than the brother-in-law of the stepson she despised the most.
“Isn’t this illegal?” she spoke under her breath, glaring at the man who gave her a calculating gaze behind his laptop. “You’re Satoru’s lawyer, huh? Couldn’t pick someone else?” She was aware that this man came from a family of esteemed lawyers that ran one of the biggest law firms in Japan. Facing him at a criminal proceeding was a loss of liberty in itself because there was no way in hell that this man would allow losing a case that was actually advantageous to Satoru’s party.
Surprisingly enough, he was quick to clarify his role to reject her assumptions, “I’m not a lawyer, I’m a prosecutor. It seems that you didn’t bother understanding the formal reading when you attended the arraignment.” The man offered a disappointed shake of the head before leaning against the backrest. “This is a criminal case so you are against the state. Satoru can’t act as the plaintiff since the reported crimes don’t directly involve him. Is that clear enough for you?”
“As if I care about all that!” Eula laughed inwardly as the conversation has nevertheless sparked her interest. “I wanna know what right you have to detain me like this? Non-bailable, my ass. This is against the law!”
“There are reasonable grounds on why bail can’t be granted for your pre-indictment detention,” replied the man as he educated her with facts, “Under Article 89 of Act no. 131 of 1948, request for bail can be denied if 1) the defendant is charged with an offence punishable by death, life, or a minimum term of one year’s imprisonment 2) there is probable cause to suspect that the defendant may conceal or destroy evidence 3) there is probable cause to suspect that the defendant may harm or threaten the body or property of the victim or any other person who is deemed to have essential knowledge for the trial of the case. Wouldn’t you agree that you fall under those three criterias?”
“Listen, Gen’s husband.” She narrowed her stare. “You and I both know that you’re out to destroy me so this is all biased. Whatever charges you bastards try to press on me, you’re obviously aiding Satoru to ensure that he gets a satisfactory result. How unethical is that?”
Unlike her scowl, he was merely suppressing a smile. “Miss Eula, I have a name. Please refer to me as Prosecutor Ian, Chief Prosecutor of the High Public Prosecutors Office.” His confident manner only irked the woman more. There was nothing more revolting than facing a pompous man who memorized every word in a legal textbook. “Second of all, it is my sense of duty to prosecute those who break the law. I’m following a strict protocol here, so why don’t we get straight to the point?”
Eula’s knuckles felt hot under the table. Although she wanted to go berserk and spit on his face in retaliation, she decided that it was best to be acquiescent. “As you wish”
“Eula Gojou,” the man spoke in a domineering voice, all austere in his suit and tie as his eyes scanned every inch of her face. “Do you understand that you are being investigated for multiple felonies that include bribery—”
“No.”
“Attempted murder on Shinzo Gojou—”
“No.”
“—and second degree murder on Naomi Suzue-Gojou?”
“No. Those are false.” She ensured that her breathing was steady with no trace of hesitance in her neutral tone of voice. It was good enough that she knew how to show ersatz indifference when such a crucial situation called for it.
With her uncooperative nature, the prosecutor let out a restrained sigh, taking her as quite a challenge before reading her Miranda rights, “Eula, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney—”
“I want the presence of my defense lawyer.” The sharpness of her gaze was lethal. “You’re framing an innocent person. This is false imprisonment! I’ll make sure you’ll be the first prosecutor that will be indicted. Do you look forward to that, Prosecutor Ian?”
“Eula,” the man offered a mask of smile—one that had an underlying threat behind it, “In case you’re not aware, not long ago, a rapist who is a nephew of a famous senator tried to claim innocence with substantial evidence, but he was still sentenced to life imprisonment because of me.”
That’s a threat, isn’t it? Eula scoffed and clenched her fists under the table. “If you’re going by that logic, you have no evidence to prove my crime!”
“How can this ‘innocent person’ explain the very act of bribing a medical examiner to alter an autopsy result?” the prosecutor began to question, “This is spoliation of evidence to eliminate yourself as a murder suspect if the original autopsy was released into public.”
She swallowed hard and feigned ignorance. “Alter an autopsy result? When did I do that?”
Prosecutor Ian tapped his fingers on the table, stopping once he reached his sixth tap. “Where were you on the second of October?”
“What kinda question is that? Do you think I’d remember?” She found it amusing how the man believed that it was possible to recall what she was doing on a specific day. “Regardless, I’m usually just out to join my husband at the golf club in the afternoon.”
And as if it was equally as humorous, the corner of the prosecutor’s lips upturned. “You’re saying that your husband had the time of his life to play golf on the day his mother’s autopsy result got released?”
Her breathing became still. “Yeah.”
“Let’s try to prove that alibi with facts.” The man pressed a button on his laptop and turned the screen towards Eula to show a CCTV footage of her entering the Tokyo Medical Center dated on the 2nd of October at 2:07 p.m.. Watching the evidential video had her fingers trembling, a great contrast to the triumphant look on the prosecutor’s face. “This doesn’t look like a golf club now, does it?”
“Th-That video…” she faltered with clenched jaws, “That’s manipulated.”
The prosecutor got up from his seat and walked around the table in slow, but measured footsteps. “Eula,” he spoke to her as he leaned closer and looked into her eyes intently. “This is just one of the many pieces of evidence that we have against you, so I suggest you be consistent with your alibi before spouting words that can worsen your charges.”
Here, in this interrogation room, the defendant was locked in a questioning gaze with her prosecutor. Was Eula intimidated? She damn was. But what good would it bring to let her guard down? With that in mind, she exercised her right to remain silent.
Monday, 20th of December 10:00 A.M. - The Trial
Gojou awaited this day with anticipation, so much that he could feel electricity on the tips of his fingers as he walked along the hallways. Entering the Court and passing the multitude of men and women in business attire did not overwhelm him, but he felt as though his soul left his body when he finally set foot inside the courtroom and the first person he bumped into was his sister-in-law.
“Gen,” he tried to greet her politely, clearing his throat when they faced each other at the public gallery, and later noticing that her husband was already on the prosecutor’s table. The reason why Satoru approached his sister-in-law two days before charges were made was because he knew that her husband was a high ranking prosecutor who was capable of convicting someone as cunning as Eula of her crimes. After learning that he couldn’t file a direct lawsuit against his stepmother, the prosecution stepped in on behalf of Nana and his father. The fact that Gen, despite having obvious resentment towards Satoru, allowed her husband to participate in the case was something to be deeply grateful about so it was the first thing that came to his mind. “Thank you for helping me out on this一”
“I’m not helping you.” Her countenance stayed cold and apathetic. “I let my husband take this case because one, you already convinced Ian through Toji knowing that they’re good friends and two, I don’t want your crazy stepmom anywhere near my sister. Don’t ever assume that I’ll do things for you.”
He could understand why Gen loathed him. The announcement of the divorce was questionable for her because it was impossible for someone as selfless and patient as you to request for a divorce and suddenly take it back after finding out that you were pregnant. Gen had reasonable suspicions against Satoru, and even if he never got the chance to clear things up with her, he still had the time to do so. All he needed for now was to put Eula behind bars so he could focus on improving his relationship with his wife’s family.
“You didn’t bring Y/N, did you?” she spoke again, watching how more people entered the courtroom.
Gojou shook his head in response. “She’s at home. She wanted to go, but I insisted for her to stay behind since she has a sensitive pregnancy.”
“Good.” Gen offered a nod, but refused to exchange eye-contact with him throughout their small conversation. “It’s probably stressful enough for her to stay married to you.”
Four Stages of the Trial
1. Opening Proceedings
It was ironic for Satoru to see Eula, who was known for her elaborate dresses and ostentatious jewelry, to be wearing an orange prison uniform as she sat on the defendant’s seat next to her defense attorney. Since he wasn’t a direct victim, he could only sit on the front row on the seats provided for the general public and next to him was his secretary and his personal lawyer that he could consult before testifying. Even with the seating arrangement, his stepmother did not fail on shooting a deadly gaze towards him, only to earn his mocking smile in return.
Gojou decided to mouth the words ‘go to hell’ to her before the jury prepared on their designated seats.
“In accordance with Article 37 of the Constitution,” the male Judge’s voice echoed through the high walls of the courtroom as the trial began, “we hold the presumption of innocence, which means that the defendant of this trial is presumed to be innocent until she is found guilty. Therefore, the defendant has no obligation to prove her innocence. The prosecutor must prove she’s guilty as charged, only to the extent that will arouse reasonable suspicion.”
Satoru took a deep breath and released it into a sigh. He wasn’t nervous, he was just thinking of how far ahead Eula’s schemes must be knowing that they would rule on her solely on the evidence. “She’s got something up her sleeve.”
His lawyer crossed his arms and gave him a word of assurance. “Chairman, there’s no need to be apprehensive. The prosecuting party has enough evidence and your brother-in-law knows what kind of person he’s facing.”
To ‘trust the law’ was what Satoru told himself while Prosecutor Ian soon began with his opening statement by reading the alleged facts as written on the charging instrument presented to the Judge.
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As soon as the defendant and the general public were made aware of the charges filed, the Judge proceeded to speak to Eula’s party, “Defense counsel of Eula Gojou, does she plead guilty to the charges?”
Arising from his seat was the defense attorney. “No, Your Honor. The defendant pleads not guilty,” he spoke with conviction while glancing at his client. “Furthermore to the charge filed on behalf of Shinzo Gojou, we claim self-defense in accordance with Clause 1, Article 6 of the Penal Code.”
2. Examination of Evidence
At this stage of the trial, the prosecutor was to present the evidence that would outline the facts to back up the charges that were filed against Eula and the first piece of evidence was a white iPhone 11 handed to the Judge on a resealable plastic seal. Prosecutor Ian then walked towards the middle and pressed the small remote to show the fingerprint report from the forensic team.
“The defendant claims that the death of Naomi Suzue-Gojou was by natural cause, myocardial infarction in this case, when she found the deceased on her bed at 9:58 p.m..” The prosecutor continued to move further to the TV screen while he looked at the accused with a face void of emotions. “Fingerprints of the defendant were found on this phone which is the last object that the victim held onto before she died.” As he pressed on his remote again, the screen showed Nana’s last call history dated on the 30th of September, 9:51 p.m. “Based on the call history, the victim had an outgoing phone call with her son, Shinzo Gojou, that lasted for seven minutes before it was dropped. Please bear in mind that no other fingerprints were detected from the phone except from the victim and the defendant’s.”
The Judge leaned his back against the chair. “What are you suggesting, Prosecutor Ian?”
Satoru’s brother-in-law looked confident in his black court dress and crimson stoles that were hanging off on either side of his robe. “The fact that the defendant’s fingerprints were found on the phone is an implication that she grabbed the object from the victim with malicious intent in order to prevent her from disclosing information to her husband.”
“Objection, Your Honor.” Eula’s defense attorney immediately stood up and said his counterargument. “Those fingerprints cannot prove that the defendant was present at the time of the phone call. She could have picked up the phone and placed it on the bedside table after discovering the deceased on the bed. Moreover, there are no available call recordings to confirm what the phone call was about. It is more plausible that the patient suffered cardiac arrest due to shock from hearing her grandson’s alleged divorce which happened shortly after contacting Shinzo Gojou about the said news.”
Prosecutor Ian made a haste move to reach for a paper on his table before submitting it to the Judge. “Please refer to the original autopsy report that was obtained by the victim’s grandson, Satoru Gojou, from the medical examiner who is now residing in the US.” More photos were shown on the screen which happened to highlight the exact results that resulted in Nana’s demise. “If you can see, the report states that asphyxia is the main cause of death. The case was initially not considered suspicious as the defendant insisted cardiac arrest as the reason for death, convincing her husband to request a clinical autopsy and declining any suggestions of a forensic autopsy. However, even the original clinical autopsy showed that there was an occlusion of the external airways with suspected intra-oral bruising, deviation of the upper lip, and bluish discoloration of the face. Injuries over the labial mucosa were also discovered along with the fibers from this一” the man reached for another resealable plastic bag that had a white cloth inside, “一the exact fibers from this pillowcase were identified in the victim’s airways.”
Gasps from the audience broke out until the Judge had to order silence. Satoru nearly thought that he could sigh of relief after the prosecutor presented those strong pieces of evidence, but he was taken aback when the defense attorney suddenly mentioned his name.
“Your Honor,” said the defense counsel, “please verify the credibility of this second autopsy. This was obtained by the defendant’s stepson, Satoru Gojou, who allegedly has a longstanding resentment against her, which makes it a weapon to frame the defendant.”
Witness no. 1 for the prosecution
Gojou barely had the chance to process the feeling of being seated on the witness stand. Despite having rehearsed what he was going to disclose in front of the jury, the defense counsel’s allegations of him trying to frame Eula had significantly affected his focus. That must clearly be the witch’s tactic too seeing how irritatingly smug she was when Satoru’s name was involved. But in his head, he promised himself that he was going to win this for Nana so justice would be served.
“Witness.” It was the prosecutor who first initiated him to provide his testimony. “You claim that the defendant has a particular interest in your father’s assets, specifically the business. Why do you think so?”
He drew in a deep breath before leaning forward on the microphone. “She married my dad because she’s after his money. Everyone knows it,” he could feel Eula’s gaze burning holes on his skull as he continued to speak, “She constantly convinced my dad to let my stepbrother inherit the business, so she’s doing everything to fuel my father’s rage towards me. I believe Nana discovered her plans and that’s what prompted the murder.”
Eula got up from her seat. “That’s not true一”
“Defendant,” the Judge reprimanded, “sit down and only speak when you are spoken to. Prosecutor, proceed.”
Prosecutor Ian had a fleeting moment with Gen as they shared eye-contact before he approached Satoru closer. “On the night when the supposed divorce was announced by your wife, Y/N Gojou, you said that neither you nor your father disclosed this information to your grandmother immediately. At the time of the incident, you were at your penthouse to make amends with your wife while your father was talking to your father-in-law about preventing the divorce. Can you name all of the people on the same table when your wife announced the divorce, which did not push through?”
Satoru looked at his brother-in-law while answering, “The people who heard it were my dad, my father-in-law, my stepbrother, and Eula.” Fuck, even calling her ‘stepmom’ could make him throw up.
“I see.” The prosecutor displayed a harmless smile towards the general public while pacing back and forth in front of the witness. “So that means that your grandmother could have only heard the news from your stepsibling or your stepmother. Do you believe that your stepbrother could have said it, then?”
He denied the question at once. “No. He’s not the type of person who would reveal the news to Nana.”
“Then, that leaves us with the defendant,” Prosecutor Ian turned to the defense counsel sitting next to Eula whose eyes have widened from internal panic, “Wouldn’t it contradict the defendant’s denial of being the assailant when she’s also the one who revealed the news? How was the defendant aware that the shock from the divorce was what led the victim to cardiac arrest if she was presumably dead by the time the defendant supposedly entered the bedroom?”
Out of anger, Eula tried to respond but was quickly stopped by her defense lawyer. “Your Honor, he’s leading the defendant!”
“Sustained.”
Damn. Satoru closed his eyes for a minute. Who knew court trials could be this intense? One wrong word could mess the whole thing up, so he had to be very cautious with his answers.
Nevertheless, the prosecutor continued to ask him more questions. “Witness, you were granted access to your father’s insurance as the primary policy holder due to his medical condition. During questioning, you testified that the defendant claimed the insurance money on behalf of your father and used it for other personal expenses, is that correct?”
“Yes,” Satoru answered.
His brother-in-law turned around to switch the presentation on the screen before facing the Judge. “Your Honor, the defendant’s bank statements were accessed with the Court’s authorization. We were able to locate a property in Los Angeles that was recently purchased by Eula Gojou. The property title was immediately transferred to Dr. Kaneshiro Kyou, who is the pathologist who conducted the victim’s autopsy.” Just as people thought that he was done proving his point, the prosecutor once again made a pivot on his heels to look at Satoru. “Witness, would you mind telling us how you were able to obtain a copy of the original autopsy report?”
Glancing at Eula was a terrible decision because he was losing his focus at how quick the emotions on her face were changing. Still, he managed to move forward and provide a testimonial statement with a straight face. “Before Nana was cremated, I asked my father if we could request for a forensic autopsy because I had suspicions that it wasn’t due to cardiac arrest. I found it odd that Eula was insistent to have Nana cremated as soon as possible, but I was deeply grieving at the time so I couldn’t keep demanding for the forensic autopsy.” The courtroom was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop and it made Satoru’s heart race for some reason. How were you and the baby back home? He wanted all of this to be done with. “Ever since the staircase incident with my dad, I… I became suspicious of Nana’s death, too. I met with Dr. Kyou’s colleagues, and later on found out that he had been living—no, hiding in California. I’m gonna admit that I used my status and demanded from the director of the hospital to locate if the original autopsy was still there. They were able to retrieve the deleted file of the first autopsy which was logged on the first of October, fourteen hours before the altered autopsy was released. If you wish to validate the first autopsy, you can check with the Tokyo Medical Center.”
“Your Honor, it’s important to note that the witness mentioned using his status to obtain the copy,” Eula’s defense attorney pointed out. “Shouldn’t we consider that he could have threatened these doctors so they can manipulate the records just to appease him?”
However, Prosecutor Ian disagreed by emphasizing the adversary’s non sequiturs. “Your Honor, if there was no foul play on the second autopsy, why would the pathologist who performed the postmortem examination be hiding in an estate in California that the defendant has recently purchased? He has fled the country knowing that he falsified medical documents incited by the defendant.”
Should Satoru not have mentioned that he used his status? His brother-in-law didn’t seem to be bothered by it so he placed his trust on him to increase the odds of convicting Eula. After all, he already had solid and conclusive evidence—all that was left for him to do was to ensure that the verdict would leave no room for reasonable doubt.
“Defense Counsel,” the Judge looked to his left side to see Eula’s lawyer rising up from his seat. “You may cross-examine the witness.”
This time around, Satoru didn’t pay another peek at Eula’s way. Who the fuck cares about her facial expressions? he cussed her in his head. She could have a seizure and he wouldn’t even care. He was simply here to watch her receive her comeuppance after everything she had done.
“Witness.” Based on Miwa’s research, this defense attorney was the best lawyer from Jaxe & Mace LLP, which was a law firm rivaling the Hayashi’s. Satoru was told by Ian himself not to feel intimidated by this man because he wasn’t as good as it might seem. “Your mother left because your father was physically abusive and you, yourself, experienced the abuse firsthand, correct?”
Why was the man asking him personal questions? He felt suffocated. “Yes.”
“Given that you grew up in an abusive household, would you say that it negatively affected the way you interacted with the people at your home, particularly towards the defendant and her son?”
Satoru furrowed his brows. “You can’t put it that way—”
“The answer only requires a yes or no.” The defense attorney looked at him like he could see through his soul.
I see, Satoru bitterly scoffed. Their dirty tactic is to turn it against me. “Yes.”
“The defendant claims that you verbally harassed her from the moment she started living in the mansion because you resent her for being married to your father,” spoke the man with an unwavering face. “You often argued about matters of inheritance and you despised the fact that the defendant’s son, Yuuta Okkotsu, was being eyed to inherit the business in your stead. Correct?”
These questions were unrelated to the case and were completely prejudicial. Shouldn’t Prosecutor Ian object? Gojou had to restrain his growing ire as he answered with gritted teeth. “Yes.”
“Your Honor, the witness here confirmed that he didn’t have a decent relationship with the defendant and verbally harassed her on multiple occasions, which means that the intention to secure a copy of the autopsy could be based on the fact that he wishes to eliminate the defendant and her son as inheritors of his father’s assets.”
Satoru clenched his fist. “That’s not it. Why would I when I’m already—”
“Witness.” The Judge sent a look of warning his way. “Refrain from speaking when you are not asked.”
The defense attorney cleared his throat and stepped closer to Satoru. “The reason why you developed hatred towards the defendant was because your father was physically and psychologically abusive to you. Did you ever think that he could have acted the same towards his wife while no one was looking?”
The audacity to make Eula a victim. Gojou’s temper was rising fast. “No, he had a better relationship with her than my mom with or without anyone looking.”
“Then, would you say that they had a very good relationship to the point where the defendant was uncharacteristically submissive to her husband?”
Should he just plead the Fifth? According to Ian, the Fifth was there for the defendant to use and not for the witness, so Satoru decided to answer after a minute had passed on the clock. “Yes.”
How many more of these questions did he have to answer? Even Gen herself was looking at Prosecutor Ian as if wondering why he hadn’t tried to object about the leading and clearly biased questions.
The defense attorney turned around to face the jury and prove his facts. “Being uncharacteristically submissive is more than just being a good wife. With an abusive husband, the defendant was likely to have been threatened around him which was why she believed that listening to him would get her on his good side.” He pressed the remote on the TV screen and showed evidential photos of Eula’s busted lower lip and purplish bruises on the cheek which shocked the audience. “The defendant admitted to having a heated exchange with her husband that afternoon on the seventh of December, citing the argument as a topic in relation to Satoru Gojou. Her spouse was already enraged upon returning home because his son was not returning his calls and that he was refused a chance to speak to his pregnant daughter-in-law about his grandchild. The defendant tried to pacify her furious husband by defending her stepson, but she was repeatedly assaulted during the course of their heated argument. Fearing her safety, the defendant pushed the man away and he unintentionally slipped to the bottom of the staircase. This is a case of self-defense and there was no intent to kill, which nullifies the claim of attempted homicide. I rest my case.”
Witness for the defendant
It took a while for Satoru to calm himself down after he returned to his seat in the gallery, watching as another witness from the adversary was present for questioning. Miwa was the one who constantly reassured Gojou that his wife was doing okay back at home while he was busy with the case, hoping that he could bring her good news tonight.
Could he? It would be up to the jury to spot all the bullshit that Eula’s party was saying. Even the witness she brought was her personal maid who had been loyal to her since day one.
“Witness, what kind of treatment did the defendant constantly receive both from her husband and her stepson?” asked the defense lawyer.
The woman was obviously fidgeting behind the witness stand. “I-I always hear Sir Shinzo uttering degrading comments towards Miss Eula whenever he’s displeased. Sometimes he gets violent like dragging her by the arm until it’d leave marks or pulling on her hair until she’s begging for him to let go. As for Sir Satoru, he’s very vocal about calling her names, making death threats, and carelessly accusing her of using her son to snatch the inheritance. There was never an instance where he was nice to her despite her trying to reach out to him.”
What a fucking liar. Was she leaving out the fact that it was Eula who always provoked him first? If Satoru won this case, he would make sure that this maid would never be able to step inside the mansion again. To think of it, this was the same maid who refused to serve you whenever he brought you to the mansion. Just you wait.
But going back to the trial, the defense lawyer then proceeded to ask another question. “Were you aware of the argument that took place between the defendant and her spouse before the staircase incident?”
“I couldn’t discern what their argument was on that day, but Sir Shinzo’s voice dominated entirely so I worriedly ran to check on Miss Eula and saw her sobbing while her husband fell on the bottom of the staircase with blood gushing out of his head. I don’t think she’d be crying like that if she intended to kill him.”
Witness no. 2 for the prosecution
“You are the appointed caregiver for Naomi Suzue-Gojou,” Prosecutor Ian spoke to the lady on the witness stand, “At the time of the incident, you testified that the defendant was yelling for help after the victim was found dead. Can you tell us what the scene was like when you sought the victim in her bedroom?”
Fretful and agitated, the caregiver refused eye-contact with Eula as she leaned forward on the microphone. “I was in the kitchen preparing Nana’s warm milk when it happened. I heard screams from upstairs and quickly ran to see what was happening. At first, I was too shocked and confused while Miss Eula was a bit hysterical telling all of the staff that Nana had a heart attack like she was convincing us…” she trailed off, remembering how traumatic the scene was for her, “I wanted to believe Miss Eula, but… the position of how Nana died was… it was spine-chilling, I…”
The prosecutor offered an encouraging nod as he expected that the witness was going to burst into tears. “Go ahead, witness. What did you see?”
Nana’s caregiver swallowed the weakness forming on her throat and spilled more details regarding the scene. “H-Her eyes were bloodshot and her mouth was open. It looked like she was strangled, like she couldn’t breathe. Back then, I wondered… How can someone who died from a heart attack look like she was pressed against the bed? I noticed the indentations on the mattress that were on either side of her hips, then the pillow on the floor, and the strangest thing of all was how Miss Eula looked nervous. She even ordered us to close Nana’s lids and force her jaw back in.”
“You liar—!”
“Defendant.”
Prosecutor Ian cocked his head to the side, eyeing Eula with an insouciant face before speaking to the witness. “Why are you only coming forward now?”
The caregiver could barely look up. “I-I was scared that Miss Eula might get back at me if I said anything,” she admitted, voice fading by the end of her sentence. “When we were at the hospital, I told Sir Satoru and Miss Y/N about it, but Sir Shinzo kept believing that Nana’s death was their fault and that they were finding an excuse to blame Miss Eula. I’ve been with Nana for six years and I don’t believe that something like a divorce would be enough to put her into cardiac arrest.”
After hearing all the necessary information, the prosecutor looked at the Judge. “Your Honor, it was an unwitnessed death so the caregiver had the right to feel suspicious. With any unwitnessed accidents leading to death, natural disease cannot be ruled out as a factor so a forensic autopsy should have been performed by a coroner.”
3. Questioning of Defendants
During this stage, the defendant would be questioned by the defense counsel, and subsequently the prosecutor. However, prior to the cross-examination, Satoru was disgusted by the amount of lies that Eula was telling in front of the jury. It was normal for her to put on a show and he couldn’t blame the defense lawyer for setting it up like she was the victim instead of the perpetrator. His questions merely circled around 1) the abuse and harassment that she was experiencing to justify that she was being framed 2) that she was merely defending herself from being further assaulted by her husband without malice aforethought 3) the implication that she had no involvement in Nana’s death despite the strong evidence shown 4) and funnily enough, she decided to plead the Fifth when asked about the property in Los Angeles.
If the people inside the courtroom were sane, no one would believe her bullshit.
But given the presumption of innocence, she was yet to be deemed guilty of the charges. Out of the many principles in law, ‘in dubio pro reo’ was what Satoru hated the most. It meant that the defendant may not be convicted when doubts about his or her guilt remain. Nonetheless, he still trusted that his brother-in-law would not be the Chief Prosecutor if he was incompetent enough to lose against Eula. After all, they still had a ‘smoking gun’ against her that would be the most conclusive and indisputable evidence to convict her of her crime.
For now, on the other hand, Prosecutor Ian still had time to question the defendant and the trial was in fact getting even more interesting.
“Defendant,” her attention was called by the prosecutor who stood meters apart from her, “During interrogation, I asked you about your whereabouts on the second of October and you responded saying that you were at a golf club. I’ll give you a chance to prove your alibi again.” A CCTV footage was shown on the screen where Eula was at the Tokyo Medical Center on the mentioned date. “This was the day when the autopsy result was released and you were there to meet with the medical examiner.”
Eula scowled. “I went there for another appointment.”
“So you weren’t at the golf club like you said?” the prosecutor highlighted the obvious disconnect with her alibi.
“I was there after going to the golf club! Your Honor, his questions are leading!”
Prosecutor Ian showed the golf club’s VIP members logbook on the 2nd of October and Eula’s name could not be found. “It doesn’t seem like you visited the golf club at all.”
“I take the Fifth!”
Satoru could hear murmurs from the audience as they began to doubt her credibility, especially with how inconsistent she was with her alibi. Even Miwa, who was next to him, was mumbling, “Why is she refusing to answer if she didn’t do anything wrong?”
It was Satoru’s lawyer who quietly answered Miwa’s question. “Silence or refusal to answer questions cannot be used against her in a criminal case.”
Since Eula exercised her right to refuse answers about that question, Prosecutor Ian glanced at Satoru to signal that the time had come. Things had to go as planned. It was futile to waste his breath asking the defendant with questions that could not be willingly answered so the last resort to finally strengthen their evidence against her would soon be used.
Turning to the Judge, the prosecutor announced, “No further questions.”
Satoru checked his phone, no messages. He glanced at Gen and saw that she was staring at Eula. It’s time, he silently whispered, watching as his stepmom was ushered back to her original seat until the doors to the courtroom flew open. It was insane how fast Satoru’s heartbeat had become when he found Yuuta dashing across the courtroom with eyes all set on the jury.
“Your Honor, my name’s Yuuta Okkotsu,” he introduced himself, earning shocked faces from the general public. “Please allow me to testify against my mom.”
There was a hubbub that erupted inside the room, but the most interesting reaction was from Eula herself who nearly fainted at the sight of her beloved son’s betrayal. Blood rushed out of her face, turning her pallid and motionless. It was evident from her expression that she absolutely couldn’t wrap her mind around this. ‘Did he just betray his own mother?!’ That must be what she was thinking.
“What?! WHAT IS THIS?!” First, she was hysterical. Then, she was in denial. “Yuuta, tell them I’m not guilty of whatever crime they’re arresting me for!”
“Order!” the Judge yelled. “Settle down!”
Little did everyone know, this was a plan that Satoru, Yuuta, and Prosecutor Ian had discussed prior to the trial. The intention behind Yuuta’s surprise attendance was to catch Eula off guard knowing that she trusted her son enough not to turn against her. Did she believe that manipulating a child would work on someone with a good conscience like Yuuta? In the end, her own son proved that blood may be thicker than water, but one cannot escape the law.
“Your Honor, he is a non-disclosed witness!” The defense counsel tried to appeal. “He wasn’t on the witness list during the pretrial conference!”
Prosecutor Ian fought back. “It’s subject to exclusionary rules. Unendorsed witnesses can be granted as long as the witness can disclose why they didn’t come sooner, whether their testimony is substantial, and if they can determine the facts raised during the trial. Please allow the witness to testify.”
Eula’s eyes were glossy from the build up of tears. Her chest undulated from heavy breaths, hands clenched into fists, jaws tightened as she eyed her son who tried his best not to be swayed by her. Instead, Yuuta looked at Satoru and offered a nod of determination which took him months to gather. It was admirable, really. Satoru would never discredit his stepbrother’s bravery to do what was right and he started to regret all the wrong impression that he used to hold against him. The respect he had for Yuuta skyrocketed because of this case, and by all means, Satoru believed that it was about time for him to mend their relationship as stepsiblings. Yuuta deserved none of his bad treatment and harsh words and he was dead set on making sure that his stepbrother would be duly acknowledged for giving justice to Nana.
For now, despite the defense counsel’s protests, the jury had decided. “Witness, please take your oath and provide your testimony.”
Undisclosed witness for the prosecution
Behind the witness stand, Yuuta was visibly trembling. His fingers were shaking as he solemnly raised a hand and his voice was quivering as he provided his oath, but in spite of his obvious anxiety, he forced himself to push through without ever paying his mother a single glance. “I, Yuuta Okkotsu, solemnly affirm that the evidence that I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Miwa held her hands together while mumbling how pitiful it was to be in Yuuta’s position. Of course, even Satoru felt terrible, but they had to do this in order to convict the rightful suspect.
For Nana. For Yuuta’s freedom. For your safety.
“Witness.” Prosecutor Ian stood before Yuuta as if they had never formally met before. “The defendant’s life—your mother—depends on this. Why didn’t you testify sooner?”
Yuuta forced his nervousness down his throat. “My mom told me to keep my mouth shut and that if she goes down, I’ll go down with her.” The poor boy was reciting the words his mother told her and it gained the sympathy of the audience as they listened. “She asked me not to speak a word, to pretend that I never saw anything, to act like I have no idea about what happened.”
Eula slammed her fist on the table and screamed, but the police were quick to restrain her.
“Are you saying that the defendant threatened you to keep your silence because you saw her crime?” the prosecutor egged on.
“Yes.”
“What kind of relationship do you have with the defendant?”
“We were okay. My mom and I were fine before this. I don’t have any grudges against her.”
The defense attorney jolted from his seat. “But Your Honor, the witness doesn’t have a good relationship with his stepbrother! The credibility of his statements are questionable. He could be coerced by Satoru Gojou to testify against his own mother—”
“I was the one who approached my brother to sue my mom,” Yuuta cut him off, “I don’t plan to commit perjury.”
The Judge gestured for him to continue, permitting him to testify deeming that his testimony would be highly substantial to the case. At that specific moment, Eula’s tears cascaded from her eyes and she decided to spitefully stare at Satoru throughout her son’s confession.
“My mom wants me to take over the business,” Yuuta admitted the truth and nothing but the truth. “She was blinded by the extravagant life that we have after she married dad—to the point where she would do anything to make sure that all assets would be hers. My older brother is the sole heir to the Gojou Group so she constantly tells me to surpass him, but…”
“Yuuta!” growled his mother, “Why are you trusting him? He’s using you! He wants to destroy you because you’re a threat to his inheritance—”
The younger man didn’t allow her to finish her sentence. “I made it clear since day one that I’m not after the inheritance. Please stop justifying your sins and using me as a reason for doing them.” And after taking a few breaths, he looked at the jury again. “M-My mom was celebratory when the merger didn’t push through because nee-chan asked for a divorce. She thinks that she ruined my brother’s chances of being the CEO so she was happy that night when we came home. That same night, she had a phone call with the man she was having an affair with—” Gasps from the audience temporarily silenced him “—yes, she had an affair. Nana heard the whole conversation and tried to call dad about it, but my mom snatched the phone from her grasp, grappled her on the bed, and… and… th-then forced a pillow on her face.”
Even Satoru could not listen to it. The young man clearly developed trauma from that painful experience and it was unimaginable to think of how awful it must feel to recall such a gruesome memory. To witness murder, especially the death of a grandmother who cherished him, would forever be enrgaved in his conscience.
“The same goes with dad,” Yuuta continued albeit with his shaky voice and lachrymose eyes. “He found out that she was having an affair, and in return, she deliberately pushed him down the stairs—”
“Enough!” screamed Eula, fists violently shaking as her rage reached its zenith. “Enough! Stop this! This… This is your fault!” By then, she was directing her vexation towards Satoru who froze from his seat. “This is your fault! You turned my son against me as revenge!”
Prosecutor Ian tried to object, “Your Honor, what the defendant is saying has no relevance to the—”
But nothing could stop Eula from crying who also became unhinged with each second that passed. She was laughing to herself like a madwoman, it was the laughter of a killer who didn’t repent for her sins. The reason for her miserable joy was because she didn’t let Satoru have the upperhand by telling him exactly what was happening beyond the high walls of the courtroom. “While you’re sitting here right now to see my downfall, proof of your shameless infidelity has been released for the whole world to feast on!” She let out a chuckle despite her deranged tears. “Go on, everyone. Check your phones and see how despicable this man is! He cheated on his pregnant wife, used her to acquire their company, and even took his mistress with him on their honeymoon trip! Stop acting like an angel, Satoru. We’re both demons here. Didn’t you say that you’re gonna leave Y/N as soon as you secure the merger?”
Filled by towering rage and shock and a paroxysm of negative emotions, Satoru saw red and charged at Eula from his seat. He wanted to throw a punch on her face, strangle her, and end her life but he was stopped by the policemen who prevented him from going any closer from the defendant.
Even in a sacred room where suspects were sentenced for their crimes, Satoru wanted to break the law just to inflict pain on the woman who destroyed his life.
“Chairman, please sit down.”
“Please calm down, Chairman.”
He was scared to know what kind of world awaited him outside of this courtroom, but what scared him even more was Gen who had wide eyes full of disbelief after hearing Eula’s words. She didn’t even spare Satoru a single glance when she stomped out of the room and disappeared in a frenzy of rage without hearing her brother-in-law’s appeal. No, it was over. Satoru lost to Eula.
4. Closing Statements
Unfortunately, Satoru could not stay in the courtroom to hear the closing statements, but Yuuta was there sitting on the far back to watch his mother be indicted by Prosecutor Ian who read off a piece of white paper that held Eula’s fate.
“Defendant Eula Gojou, in an attempt to hide her affair and interest with her husband’s assets, smothered the victim, Naomi Suzue-Gojou, without premeditation but with intent to kill,” the prosecutor’s voice filled the silent room as he spoke. “She also bribed the medical examiner with a million-dollar property in Los Angeles in exchange for altering the victim’s autopsy report to suppress evidence of her act. As retaliation to her husband who later discovered her affair, she tried to carry out the killing of Shinzo Gojou by pushing him down the stairs, which resulted in the victim’s nearly-fatal brain injury. The defendant was driven to cause harm towards anyone that prevented her from attaining her husband’s assets. Moreover, the defendant didn’t repent her crime and lied during the whole trial without feeling any guilt or remorse. Taking into account that she committed second-degree murder, attempted murder, bribery, and suppression of evidence—the prosecution requests that she receives thirty-five years in prison to separate her from society.”
The Verdict
“We, the Jury, find the defendant, Eula Gojou, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
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Satoru’s mind had gone haywire.
He was swarmed by reporters when he left the Court and his bodyguards came to shield him from the blinding white flashes from the cameras that were there to capture the very face of the man who cheated on his wife. They sent a fusillade of questions his way, none of which were answered by him until he was ushered to the backseat of the sedan where he smashed his phone and broke the gadget into pieces.
He was determined to go home as soon as possible to ensure your safety and to pacify the situation before it got out of hand. He didn’t exactly know what he feared the most at this point. Was it being scorned by the whole world with vitriol? Was it anticipating the bad publicity it would bring to his company? This wouldn’t have happened had he been a kind husband from the very beginning. This wouldn’t have happened had he cut ties with Sera before he married you. This wouldn’t have happened had he not agreed to the marriage knowing how he would treat you.
He could be a criminal, but the last crime he could ever commit was to hurt you.
It was a slap to his face how he assumed that he would be returning home to deliver good news, but was destroyed by the gravity of the retaliation that he received. Despite successfully putting Eula to jail, it felt like he was actually the one who was convicted of a crime. How could he forget? Eula, of all people, would not go down by herself. She was smart enough to turn the whole world against him so they could suffer equally.
‘You’re a scumbag!’
‘You’re a disgusting cheater!’
‘Go kill yourself, asshole!’
‘I hope your company goes bankrupt!”
‘This greedy bastard really used his wife!’
‘She deserves better!’
Satoru was being slandered all over social media as leaks of his previous relationship with Sera was released by an anonymous Twitter account who provided evidence of his infidelity. Paparazzi photos, videos, and even recordings were spreading like wildfire until his name was a trending topic in all of Japan.
Part of his mind believed that he deserved this, but another part of him wanted the world to understand things in his perspective.
But how could he wish for such a thing when their words were true? He was nothing but a cheating asshole who caused his wife’s misery and made her suffer with a heart disease that could endanger both her and their baby. What kind of husband would do such horrid things to his gentle wife? He was unforgivable, irredeemable, and beyond redemption. The public were right. He deserved to die.
He deserved to be hurt thrice as much as he hurt you. To suffer thrice as much as he made you.
When he entered the penthouse, his shameless crystal blue eyes desperately searched for yours and he prepared himself to receive your slap just so he could taste even the slightest bit of pain that he had given you. God knew that he would beg on his knees if he had to, as long as you wouldn’t leave. As long as you stay. As long as you wouldn’t break things off.
How selfish.
But instead of hitting his face, you were running up to embrace him in your arms.
“Satoru, what’s wrong?” Your gentle voice broke him even more as he hugged you tight and buried his face on your shoulder. “What the hell is going on? Gen called and ordered the maids to take my phone, turn off the Wi-Fi, and restrict access on the TVs. She didn’t explain why.”
Gen. She was one step ahead of him. How much of a failure was he to not realize that the impact of this situation would affect you and the baby? With a deep breath, he pulled away to look at you as tears brimmed on his eyes. “Y/N…”
“Hey, why are you crying?” Innocence casted your saintly face. Cold, feminine fingers then reached up to wipe the faint tears that escaped his eyes while he tried his best to suppress more tears from coming out. “Baby, I know you and Gen are trying to keep me away from stress, but at least tell me why I’m not allowed to check social media?”
“It’s…”
“Eula was acquitted, wasn’t she?” you juiced your husband for an answer. “Did she manage to escape her crimes?”
How pathetic was he that he couldn’t even admit it to you? Just one look at your face and it managed to squeeze his heart agonizingly. Because you were fragile, he couldn't bring it in himself to tell you the truth and it was a torture to his soul to face you at a time like this. He just couldn’t say it. He couldn’t let you know what actually happened.
What he could do, on the other hand, was kiss your lips and feel the softness of it. “I-I changed, right?” he asked, hitching a breath as he cupped your face. “Y/N, I love you so much that I’d rather die than live without you.”
“What are you saying?” Your soft smile felt like a punch to his gut. “Answer my question. Was Eula released or not?”
He kissed your forehead and held your hand to see the gold ring on your finger. “No, she’s… she’s sentenced with thirty-five years imprisonment.”
“Jeez, then why are you guys overreacting?” The chuckles you let out did not make him feel any better. In fact, Satoru felt absolutely terrible for having to deprive you of information that could ruin your marriage. He must really be selfish for wanting to keep you. “Come on. Let’s just eat dinner and celebrate. At least you have more time for me now.”
It was true that after a storm, there was a rainbow.
But even rainbows eventually fade, too.
Satoru was your storm, and you were the rainbow that brought color to his gloomy skies. Why did he think that your marriage would be perfect from hereafter when he was the one who ruined it from the very beginning?
His mind was running on a treadmill as countless thoughts went through his head. He was afraid that tonight would be the last time he could see your beautiful smile, or your twinkling eyes, or your loving gaze. He was scared that tonight would be the last time he could hold you tight, kiss your lips, and feel your growing bump.
A bastard like him deserved no happy ending.
“Is everything okay?” Throughout the night, that was your question.
After you had dinner, took a bath, prepared for bed, it looked like you were cognizant of the emotional battle that your husband was experiencing inside. He didn’t even have to explicitly say how he was feeling before you noticed the ingenuity with his supposedly comforting smiles.
The least he could do was spare you of more pain. “Go to sleep,” was his only words to you, tucking you into bed before planting a kiss on your forehead. “I love you.”
Your warm hand touched his cheek. “You really do?”
There was no hesitation when he nodded. “Today, tomorrow, in this lifetime, and in the next. Please don’t forget that.”
“Silly.” A pair of soft lips met his. “Good night.”
Nothing was good about this night. Even if he tried, Gojou could not get a wink of sleep nor could he continue hiding the truth from you. He was hanging off the edge of a cliff where one wrong move could send him falling into the deepest part of hell.
Perhaps the person who could send him there was the sister that once saw him like a true brother. A sister that he betrayed. The same sister that texted him later that night and accelerated his heartbeat by a hundred and fifty beats per minute.
Gen: Does Y/N know?
Gojou used his trembling fingers to type a response.
Satoru: Not yet
Gen: Meet me at the mansion. We need to talk.
Gen: Don’t bring my sister.
For him, this was the moment of truth. His own comeuppance for all the awful things that he had been doing to you throughout your marriage. It was difficult for him to leave your sleeping figure in bed just so he could meet with your sister, but he had to do this to explain himself. He had to try and let her know how much had changed and that he wasn’t the same man who married you with a hidden motive.
His own perturbation lingered as he drove his car that evening. The route he took upon driving to your mansion was the fastest he could do, but it wasn’t anything faster than the speed of his pulse when he stepped inside your family’s mansion to meet Gen at the garden where the luminous moon did not match the fire in her eyes.
“Gen…” Satoru didn’t know what to say.
But to assist him in speaking up, Gen was the one who delivered a hard, crisp slap on his cheek that deservingly left a bright red mark. “You don’t know how long I’ve been holding back on you.”
He recognized her unsteady voice—a tone that was a combination of hurt, anger, and spite. It gave him a sense of fright when he looked down and swallowed hard. “I-I’m sorry. I know it’s hard to believe, but I really genuinely love Y/N. I just…”
“You have the audacity to face my family after shamelessly cheating on her!” She pushed his chest, but he was willing to have more. “You treated her like a doormat and took her kindness for granted! You disgust me.”
Warm droplets escaped Satoru’s sunken eyes. “I’m sorry.”
That was all he could do. Apologize. He couldn’t say he didn’t do it because that was a lie. He also couldn’t say that he changed because that would be an insult to Gen who, from the start, made Satoru promise to never hurt her sister.
“Satoru, all we ever asked was for you to take care of her.” Pain laced her voice as she uttered each word. “You could have easily said that you didn’t want to marry her instead of putting her through so much fucking misery. How could you treat her like a game? How could you use her like a toy? You only married her because you wanted to acquire our company? Because you wanted to be CEO? You’re a fucking asshole! I can’t believe I even let Ian help prosecute that goddamn criminal for you. But you know what? You and your family are all the same.”
Air could not enter his lungs as he felt suffocated by the amount of pain that drowned his heart. “Gen, I-I love Y/N so much. I’ll explain everything to her…”
“What other bullshit explanation do you have? It’s already clear to me.” The woman scoffed at his face, finding his words ridiculous. “You married Y/N for the sake of acquiring our company and you plan to divorce her after you get what you need. Oh, and how could I forget the best part? Didn’t you promise your slutty mistress that you’ll marry her after divorcing my sister?”
Satoru denied her words with desperation. “That was before—”
“Is it true?”
Late in the zero hours, standing under the moonlight was a husband, a sister-in-law, and a broken wife who stared at the man she trusted with her life. Satoru was a deer caught in the headlights when he turned around to see you on the corner with a sorrowful face that pulverized his heart into ashes.
His biggest fear wasn’t his mother’s abandonment nor his father’s abuse.
No, his biggest fear was losing you.
“The real reason you married me,” your voice broke with each word you spoke, “Is it true?”
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