Chapter 2.78 – The Trial – Part 1

NewspaperCole filed for divorce right after the horrible meeting at BASE when his world fell apart.  He obtained sole custody of the children. Avery didn’t even try to contest it. The divorce was final within a month. Telling them they may never see their mother again was the most difficult thing Cole ever had to do.  Months of therapy seemed to help, or maybe it was just time.

Avery’s arrest and upcoming trial made front page news, both local and national. They sensationalized the story as one of greed, sex and betrayal. The mysterious disappearance of Spencer Granville only added to the sensationalism.  It was speculated that he got wind of his impending arrest and fled the country, leaving his lover to take the fall.

Cole tried his best to protect the kids. He was forced to take them out of school to keep the kids from teasing them, or the photographers from snapping pictures. Cole was very glad Sarah was a retired school teacher and could easily home school them.


Six months after Avery’s arrest……

Seeing his ex-wife again was something Cole did not want to do, but he couldn’t not go to the trial. He had to do it for Ami. She refused to go, but Noah was like him, he had to be there. Their little boy, William (Will) Benjamin Redcliffe, was only 4 months old. Ami told him she preferred to take care of her future and not live in the past.

When Cole walked into the courtroom with his parents and Noah, it all seemed surreal. Cole hadn’t seen Avery at all since the morning before she was arrested and he wasn’t looking forward to seeing her now. She disgusted him. He had been in therapy for almost six months. He was better now, and off the anti-depressants, but it still hurt to think about the last nine years of his life wasted.

Not long after they were seated, Avery walked in, flanked by her attorneys. She looked so lost and beaten down.  Seeing her brought up all the feelings he thought he had dealt with.

When she looked up and they locked eyes, it sent chills down his spine. It was a look of pure hatred. Like everything that happened was his fault.  His stomach felt like it was filled with rocks.

Fortunately, only a minute later, the Bailiff stood up. “All stand for the honorable Judge Patterson…..You may be seated.”  The judge sat down and banged his gavel and the trial began.

When the attorney for the prosecution began to layout their case, Cole couldn’t take it. It was harder than he thought. He got up to leave the courtroom.

When he turned to walk out, he couldn’t look at anyone and watched his feet as he hurried out the door.

He went into the bathroom and splashed water on his face to stop himself from getting sick.

When he came out, he heard a familiar voice behind him. “Cole….are you okay?” she asked, her voice echoing in the empty space, stopping him in his tracks.

Could it be?  he wondered, as he turned to be sure.  “Dannie….?”

“I saw you leave the courtroom. I was worried about you. I’m so sorry Cole,” she said. Tears were in glistening in her eyes, and she seemed unsure if he would even want to talk to her.

“Dannie…” he said again, and this time opened his arms for a hug, “Thanks. It’s so good to see you. But, how and why are you even here?”  When they released, he motioned towards the seating area and they sat down together.

“I live in Willow Creek now, with my mom. God, the trial is all over the news and, well, I wanted to be here for you. Moral support.”

Cole snorted, “Or to watch the train wreck,” he said,  “But, why do you live with your mom?” He was suddenly curious, Avery forgotten for the moment.

She sighed and frowned before answering. “Ryker was cheating on me. So I divorced him. Funny how that worked out. He was always jealous of other guys, and then he was the one to cheat. Well – except for that one time…”

“I’m so sorry Dannie,” said Cole sincerely.  Now that he had experienced how bad it hurt to have someone you love cheat, he knew what a horrible lapse in judgment it had been for him to have gone into Dannie’s hotel room all those years ago.

“About Ryker? Or our one time?” she asked with a smirk.

“Both,” he said honestly.

“Don’t be sorry, about either Cole. I’ve had a time to get over it.  But this isn’t about me. . How are you holding up?”

Cole sighed. “Lots and lots of therapy and a few antidepressants. Actually I’m off the drugs, but I just couldn’t sit in there and listen. To think I loved her. And I think, at one point, she really did love me too. But what she did….”

“How’s your sister. I didn’t see her, but Noah’s in there.”

“She’s been distancing herself from it. It’s weird. She was the target and could have died. But she pretends like nothing happened. I guess it’s her way of dealing with it. Of course, she does have her hands full with the baby.”

Dannie finally smiled. “I’m happy for them. I never thought Noah would settle down.  But maybe, Ami doesn’t want you and your dad to feel bad. Avery was your wife, and she worked for Ben for years. Everyone trusted her.”

“Yes, maybe,” agreed Cole.

Ben’s parents and Noah came out of the courtroom, followed by a steady stream of people that were also inside the courtroom.  Suddenly the empty atrium was filled with the buzz of conversation.

“I’m glad you left,” said Ben, “Avery lost it and started yelling so they called a 10 minute recess to get her calm again. I don’t think this trial is going to last long.”

“She’s evil,” said Cole sadly, “But she wasn’t always. Why do people change?”

“Who knows what causes people to lose touch with reality,” said Sofia softly.

Ben turned to Dannie. “Hi Dannie. It’s nice to see you again. I wish it was under better circumstances,” he said and reached out and took her hand.

“Cole’s a good friend Mr. Murdock. I wanted to be here for him,” she replied.

Then she turned to Noah. “Congratulations on your baby and your marriage,” she said.

He smiled proudly and pulled her into a hug.  “Thanks Dannie, it’s good to see you. I have pictures.”

Dannie couldn’t help but laugh. “I would love to see them,” she said.

“Well, looks like they are starting again,” said Sofia, ” Maybe we can look later.  Cole, why don’t you two stay out here.”

“No Mom, I need to face this,” he said, then he looked at Dannie, “Would you sit with us?”

“Of course,” she said, “Let’s go.”

He took her hand, feeling better with just that little contact between them. They followed the crowd back to the courtroom.


Back in the courtroom, the prosecution began their case, calling up Mickey to comment on the pictures of Avery and Spencer they had sat up on an evidence board.

Some of them were the really bad ones Cole hadn’t seen. Tears began to form. Tears he thought he had already spent.

Dannie noticed and took his hand. He looked at her gratefully. It made it so much easier to know he had a friend sitting there with him.

The prosecution thankfully rested their case and the trial convened until the next day when the defense would present their side. Cole could finally breathe again. He felt like he had been holding his breath through the entire thing.

When they all filed out, Cole didn’t let go of Dannie’s hand. He was hanging onto it like a lifeline. Her touch made it easier to breathe.

When they finally made it outside, Cole didn’t want to go home to his parent’s house. He was too emotionally drained to pretend he was okay for his kids. “Dannie, do you want to grab dinner or do you need to get home to your daughter?”

Dannie smiled sweetly. “I can call Mom and let her know I won’t be home for dinner.”

“Thanks. Uh, can we take your car? I came with my folks,” said Cole.

“Sure,” said Dannie and fished her phone out of her purse.


“What happened to us?” asked Cole as they waited for their food. “We are both grown ass adults with kids, both of us living with our parents.”

“I made too many bad choices. I never should’ve let Ryker talk me into going back with him. I think I felt pressured by my Dad. Weird huh?  And then I compounded it by marrying him.”

“I guess, I should have waited to marry Avery too. We ran off to Vegas on a whim, because she got me a puppy.”

Dannie snorted. “I’m sorry. I know it’s not funny, but here we both are,” she said, “right back where we started.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you and Ryker were getting a divorce?” asked Cole.

“It was happening at the same time Ami was in the hospital and I didn’t want to bother you.”

“So, when was it final?” asked Cole.

“Four months ago. I moved here six months ago with Taylor,” she said.

“How’s she taking it?” he asked.

“Well, I have full custody.  Ryker gets her whenever he has time, which is almost never. She doesn’t ever want to go. How fun is it for a nine year-old to hang out with a bunch of football players.”

“I wish it had been that easy for the twins. Reagan thought her mother hung the moon. She always wanted to be like her. Ryan is a bit more laid back. He was never as close to her as Reagan tried to be. We started family counseling right after she was arrested. Thank goodness they have their grandparents.  My Mom adores them and they love her. Also, we have a Nanny that is homeschooling them until all of this ugly mess is over. At least that is one constant.”

“I’m so sorry. But at least you have a great support system. My Dad was not happy about my divorce. Tried to blame his sleeping around on me. His hero had fallen and he didn’t want to admit it. But mom let him have it, so he’s dealing.”

“Well, my poor father is carrying around so much guilt. I wish he would do counseling too. It really helped me and the kids. It doesn’t make it go away, but it does help relieve some of the guilt, so you can at least learn to cope.”

Dannie’s smile faltered, and she looked thoughtful for a moment before speaking. “I don’t know if you ever lose the guilt, not deep down.” Her eyes were glassy. She blinked quickly and sniffed away the tears that were swimming in her blue eyes.

“Hey….you okay?” asked Cole.

“Yes,” she said and smiled, “just, all of this is so emotional.”

“So, any plans to move out?” asked Cole.

“Yes. Just trying to decide where I want to live. I’m not going to stay here. I need to get away and start over,” she said, sounding sad about it.

Cole was disappointed to hear that. “Why not stay here? I just got my best friend back. I don’t want to lose you again.”

Dannie smiled. “It’s complicated Cole. I need to get away.”

“I’m not sure what’s so complicated, but I bet we could find something in Newcrest you could afford. I’m actually moving out of Newcrest. I am buying my grandfather’s house in Willow Creek. He’s going to live with my parents. It’s plenty big enough for the twins and for Sarah to live with us. I sold the house that Avery and I built. I couldn’t go back there.”

“Sarah?” she asked.

“The Nanny,” said Cole grinning.

Dannie’s eyes got big. “Oh, of course. I just…you hadn’t mentioned you were seeing anyone.”

“I’m not. I’ll probably be single the rest of my life,” said Cole.  “I have a bad track record when it comes to women.”

Dannie frowned. “Oh. I’m sorry. So, what do you think about Brindleton Bay? You lived there four years.”

Cole got serious and reached across the table taking Dannie’s hand in his. “Dannie, don’t move away. You’re my very best friend. We can be here for each other. Our kids are about the same age, I’m sure they would get along.”

Dannie pulled her hand away and picked up her wine.  “I’ll be leaving in about three months. Sadly, it won’t be before school starts.  But, I am getting my books published. I finally got a publisher interested in my sleazy romance novels. They want it to be a series, so I have to make a lot of edits, but that’s easy enough. Once they are ready, I will get an advance. Then I will be able to support me and Taylor without depending on money from Ryker.” When she mentioned her daughter’s name her face softened and she smiled.  “You would like Taylor. She’s a very sweet child.”

Cole’s heart warmed at the obvious love she had for her daughter and the corners of his mouth inched up.  “I’m sure she is. She has an awesome mother. Why don’t you bring her by the house this weekend. The twins would love to have someone to play with. And it would be a nice distraction from all the drama.”

Dannie’s face fell. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t want to introduce her to a bunch of new friends just to break her heart when we move again.”

“Well, I’m just gonna have to make it so great here, that you want to stay.”

“Cole, I really don’t think so, but I do appreciate the thought.”

Cole got serious again. “Are you going to go to the rest of the trial?” he asked hopefully.

“I will, if you want me there. That’s what friends are for, right?” she said smiling.

“Yes, please, if you don’t mind the salaciousness of the trial, I could really use a friend. It’s just so hard to know I loved that woman. Maybe I smothered her and she ran. I don’t know. And sorry if I almost broke your hand today, but I couldn’t hold Noah’s hand like that, Ami might get jealous. ”

“She was foolish and greedy. It wasn’t your fault.  And Cole, you can hold my hand and squeeze as hard as you need.” She stopped and held up her pinky finger grinning. “Just be careful of the pinky.”

Cole laughed a belly laugh. Probably the first since his Dad told him about Avery six months ago.  He loved Dannie dearly.  She was such a good friend. “If I get carried away, remind me, but I’ll try to be careful of that pinky finger.”

Go to Chapter 2.79>>>>>>

Go Back to Chapter 2.77

55 thoughts on “Chapter 2.78 – The Trial – Part 1

  1. Arghhhhh! At least things are getting better for both Cole and the rest of the family, I hope Spencer doesn’t appear out of nowhere to get revange, or, something like that…

    I 100% approve Dannie with Cole, she’s one of the few sane girls he has been with. I really thought they were going to be together, once the news about her divorce with Ryker was on the table, sad to know she will live in some other place..

    But, if she’s there as his friends, that’s good enought, we all need love, but not necessarily a romantic one.

    I hope we won’t see Avery again,I think she has finally snapped.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a mess. Having your personal life and the fail of your marriage discussed in public in all media. Poor Cole and the kids especially. Something tells me it will take its toll on your characters as much as it does on mine. 😬
    Courtroom scenes were done amazingly. Couldn’t have been easy. Everyone needs to be in the right spot… 🙂
    “Our kids are about the same age…” *cough* *cough* Maybe Cole should try and do the math, because Danni is trying suspiciously hard not to let him meet her daughter. I wonder what does she look like? Does she take after mommy or daddy? 🤔
    I’m glad Spencer got away. Or did he not? I’m not caught up with Lonestar’s story yet to know if he didn’t have an “accident”. I hope not. Some bad guys must get away. Crime rate statistics are clear about this!

    Liked by 4 people

    • It is a mess. And will no doubt take a toll on the kids. So much drama built in for the next gen to deal with.

      So happy you liked the courtroom scenes! Almost as bad as wrangling sims at a wedding! 24 sims….all in the right place at the right time!

      Well, when Dannie told him she was pregnant, he did do the math…and she was due 2 months later than she would have if her baby was his. Dannie was just trying to protect her daughter. That’s all! 😊 Taylor will appear before the next gen begins…so we will get to see who she looks likes! 😂😂😂

      Eventually, we will find out more about Spencer. And thank you for him…he was absolutely perfect. 😊. Bad guys do tend to be able to get away. A lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I don’t think the press had to embellish or sensationalize anything. This was all about greed, sex, and money! Something they crave! Lol!

    It’s heartwarming to see Cole smile. But that pic of Avery having sex with Spencer as big as life was awful for Cole to view! 😭 Avery is so messed up in the head. Girl needs to be shut away for a looooong time. 😊

    Now, about this daughter of Dannie’s…I’m almost positive she’s Cole’s. Won’t he be upset with Dannie for hiding her from him?? #moredramatocome

    And SHE’LL be the new heiress (because you can’t choose between the twins unless you’re going to do a double heir thingie…hmm…)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! It was horrible for him to have to see that awful picture. Avery has a screw or two loose. But it was nice to have him laugh for once in a very long time.

      So another one that thinks Dannie’s daughter is his….teehee… I am pretty sure he would be extremely angry if that was the case. 😡 Poor dude can’t win for losing. 💔

      Interesting idea about a double heir though. 😉. Mind reader? Or are you peaking at my notes?


  4. DANNIE!!!! 😍😍😍

    Seeing her again helps make up for a bit of the heartbreak at the start of this chapter 😭 Poor Cole… poor kids! Dannie, make him feel better now please 😭

    Add me to the list of people eager and curious to meet her daughter… hmm… 🤔

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love this Moose Count article that always pops up when you try that newspaper generator. 😛
    Aww, Dannie’s back! I almost thought we’d never see her again. But now, she HAD TO show up for a reason and she *had to* divorce Ryker for a reason. It’s clearly fate giving her and Cole a second chance. Don’t mess up this time, kids, make a wise choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ami’s friend was Aubrie. She and Ami were living together before Ami’s car was hit and she moved in and married Noah. She appeared at the hospital and was Ami’s maid of honor at her wedding.

      Dannie and Cole are two kindred souls. They think a lot alike and want similar things. ❤️ Whether they get together, remains to be seen as she is set on moving away.


  6. How convenient that Dannie shows up, divorced and had already enough time to heal to look after Cole c:

    Okay and Idk how they handle it in the states, but here intimate pictures like that of Avery and Spencer wouldn’t ever been showed open to public in court. I’m not even sure if a case like this would be open to public at all.

    I’m still waiting for Laney (on my lonely island…) At least she spiced Cole up a little, without wanting to hurt him.

    Oh, and your settings were gorgeous. I think I didn’t say that for a while now, but I love how you always place everyone and everything so careful in place c:

    Liked by 2 people

    • Too convenient huh? Lol… I actually thought about that after I pout the picture on the board. That they would probably pass them around to the jury only, so I took a poetic license there…. I’m not sure it would be closed though.

      Laney was spiced! I loved her. She never wanted to hurt him…in fact he sorta hurt her…but she found a sexy Frenchman!

      Thank you! I’m glad the settings and placements are good! I want them to not be distracting but add to the story. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well with Dannie’s return it made me think who I always shipped with Cole, in the beginning it was Nicky for the endgame, and then well, she ends up with my boy Nicky. Funny how things worked so then I got on the Dannie ship and briefly the Yasmine ship. It was sort of obvious since college years (a least to me) that Avery and Cole would marry, but I knew she would not be the endgame. Plus after working with you for so long on our collab, I knew how your mind worked. Now Dannie is the one to show up at the end. I can’t see Cole marrying again though. And I am very curious about this daughter. I can’t imagine Cole will be very happy at first, but knowing him, if this child of Dannie’s is his, I am sure he will embrace her. Looking forward to that bit of drama. Can’t wait to see Part Two of this trial.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha….if she is his, he will most certainly feel betrayed….I would think….and pre-Avery might have accepted it and moved on….but now? And you aren’t alone shipping him with Dannie…they are kindred souls…but….she did cheat on her husband…of course it was with him so he’s just as culpable! Still… And will he marry again? Good question.


  8. I know everyone is shipping Cole and Dannie but I don’t expect it to be that simple.

    Although, as someone else said Laney and Cole’s relationship doesn’t seem so bad in comparison to the Avery and Cole relationship… Heck, I’ll even take Yasemin and Cole over Cole and his ex wife!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, Dannie, you have returned a single lady. And unlike Avery, you actually love your kid. lol I’d say that’s right up Cole’s alley – eventually. 😀 I’ve always shipped them, you know.

    Still, it will probably take a long while for Cole to recover from what he’s been through. I’m so glad he started counseling right away for himself and the kids. It was very smart of him.

    I’m so happy for Ami and Noah. Their baby is adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dannie to the rescue! Hopefully he is in a better place….and maybe eventually they will at least be friends again. They seem to be best suited for each other, though Lord knowns, Cole tried with all of them! He’s such a hopeless romantic.

      At least he knew his kids needed counseling it even if he would have denied he didn’t…but he quickly realizeEd he did too.

      Ami and Noah! ❤️❤️❤️ That little boy is Almost a Noah clone. It’s obvious who his Daddy is! I can’t wait to be able to,show him…he’s adorable.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Chapter 2.79 – The Trial Part 2 | New Beginnings

  11. Aaw, it’s nice to have our romance writer back 🙂 Even if they don’t end up reliving that night in the hotel room, Cole has his best friend back and that’s important. He’s going to need all the friends he can get to make it through all this junk. I lol’ed a little that Avery just freaked and started screaming so much they had to take a break 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dannie!! ❤ ❤ Awww I missed her so much – I don't believe she will leave Cole right now, when everything seems right for them to be together! Cole can finally get his happy ending with her ❤ I hope she doesn't leave!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Chapter 2.77 – Family | New Beginnings

  14. Look who came crawling back into the story! My favorite girl! Yay, Dannie!!!!! And they both got a divorce! Yippie! I really hope they come back together!

    The whole quick hotel romp couldn’t just be a bump in Cole’s road. There was something special about that night they shared at the reunion. Gotta mean something, right?🤞🤞🤞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dannie’s baaaack! I had to laugh when you were hoping for them to get together. I knew you would be excited! Was there something special? Just a little bump in the road. Two lonely people is all.


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