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Broken Love Story (Love 3) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:53:55

“I don’t know if I can do it,” she finally says, and I have to accept that. “It’s not because of Eric or what I felt for him; it’s because I don’t want to lose what took me so long to build.”

“I understand.” I smile at her, my heart broken that I even had to ask her. “It’s okay.” I grab her and hug her.

“I’m sorry,” she cries. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s going to be okay. She has Dad on her side,” I tell her. “He won’t stop fighting and neither will I.” I look at her. “I can’t apologize for loving her. I won’t.”

“The heart knows what the heart knows,” she finally says. We sit, and she asks us questions about the girls, and Mom fills her in, telling them about their camping trip in the backyard. She stays quiet the whole time, and I look at Jensen, wondering if it’s too much for her to take in.

We leave there with her standing on the porch with her arms around Jensen’s waist and his arms around her. “It was worth a shot,” I say quietly as we make the drive back home.

I get into bed, defeated as I try to think of another way to help when the phone rings, showing me Jensen’s name.

“She’s in,” he says quietly, “but if this breaks her…”

“She has you,” I tell him. “She’ll be fine.”

“She’d better be, or else those fucking people won’t know what hit them,” he says, hanging up, and I finally release the breath I’ve been holding.

I don’t think I heard right. I thought he said Hailey Williams. Surely, he’s mistaken. I look at him in confusion with my mouth open, and he just winks at me while the court door opens, and Hailey walks in. Pure class, I see a man following her, and Nanny right next to him.

They walk to Joanne and Blake and sit next to them, Nanny winking at me and looking over at the Schneiders.

Mr. Feldman jumps up. “Your honor, I object. This witness wasn’t on the list.”

“I have her on my list,” the judge says. “Maybe you didn’t get your copy, whatever the case. Please swear in the witness.”

I watch Hailey walk up the two steps to the witness stand. “Please raise your right hand,” the bailiff starts and proceeds to swear her in.

“Please state your name for the record,” Henry tells her.

“Hailey Williams,” she says softly while I look at her.

“Ms. Williams, do you know the defendant?” he asks her.

“No,” she says, “I do not.” She looks at me, and a tear rolls down my cheek. “But we had a mutual person in common.”

“Objection, your honor, irrelevant.” Mr. Feldman jumps up, and I finally look over at my in-laws. Sitting there glaring at her, they are like vultures waiting to devour their prey.

“I’ll be the judge of that,” she says. “Proceed.”

“Who did you have in common?” Henry asks, knowing full well.

“I was married to her husband,” Hailey says, and then she looks at my in-laws with her head held high. “Sorry, that isn’t true, the marriage was null and void.” She looks at the judge. “I was the secret wife.”

“Your honor, this has no relevance to the case,” Mr. Feldman says. “Eric Schneider isn’t the one on trial here.”

“Your honor, this is just to show the court that my client was the main person in the girls’ life,” he says, and I know it’s a loophole.

“Proceed,” she tells him. Mr. Feldman sits down, looking down at his papers.

“So how much time would you say Eric spent in your house, pretending to be married to you?” I thought it would hurt a lot more than it did, but it really doesn’t.

“He was there for maybe three weeks a month,” she says softly and then looks over at me. “Sometimes more.”

“When he was at your house, did he call his children?” Henry asks.

“Not that I’m aware of,” she answers honestly.

“Did you guys FaceTime them?”

“No”—she shakes her head—“not once.”

“Did he, at any time, tell you about his children?”

“No,” Hailey says, looking at me, as if she is communicating just with me. “At no time was I aware that Eric was married to someone else or had children.”

“When did you find out?” Henry asks, not giving her a chance.

“The day he died,” Hailey answers, but she doesn’t stop. “The police handed me a brown paper bag with all his things in it.”

“How did you find out?” Henry asks her. Hailey leans forward and takes a drink of water from the glass sitting in front of her.

“There were two phones in the bag,” she says, a tear leaking out that she wipes away with her thumb. “I thought it was a mistake, so we plugged it in to return it to the rightful owner.”

“And then what happened?”