Romance Fiction posted March 7, 2021

Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted
Romance can spring from unlikely places

An Arresting Encounter

by Brad Bennett

Unexpected Romance Contest Winner 

"Next case, please." The trial official announced to the defendant standing in the city hall courtroom.

A distraught, disheveled-looking young woman came to the bench and stood before the judge.

"Young lady, you are accused of speeding, driving without a license, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer." The judge set down the file and took off his glasses. "How do you plead?"

"I am not guilty of anything." The teary woman exclaimed. "It's all a mistake."

"Is the arresting officer here?" The judge asked the bailiff.

"I'm here, your honor." A tall, late 30s police officer came forward.

"I see by your written report, um, officer Duncan, this woman, Judith Lanston, committed these serious charges, and you were forced to arrest her and impound her vehicle."

"Yes, your honor, A female police officer finally came and brought her to the county..."

"He treated me like a common criminal." The woman loudly interrupted. He forced me from my car. He took my child away from me!" (Disquieted sounds emanated from bystanders in the courtroom.)

"There's a child involved, Officer Duncan? Explain."

"Yes, sir, your honor. Her four-year-old boy was in a child seat in the back."

"Where is he?" The young woman cried out. "What have you done with my child?"

"Please do not interrupt, Mrs. Lanston." The judge turned back to the officer. "Where did you take the child.?"

"He was placed in the county child care facility, your honor."

"Well, that's a new development." The judge frowned. "Let's look at the first two offenses against you, Mrs. Lanston. The charges of speeding and no driver's license, with your child in the car. Are you guilty of that?"

The woman put her hand to her forehead, her voice breaking. "I was very upset. I had just learned I was to be evicted; I was hurrying home before they took all my things." (More sounds of sadness from the courtroom.)

"Why didn't you have your driver's license with you?"

"I was in a panic to pick up my child, and I had forgotten to put it in my purse."

"Okay, I can understand that, but why did you assault this police officer?"

"I didn't assault him. I just pushed him away, that's all, but he kept pulling on me."

"Officer," the judge turned to the man. "Did you roughly treat this person?"

"Sir, she had no license, I am required by law to ask her to get out of the car, but she resisted. I pleaded with her, but she refused to budge. Finally, I had no choice but to remove her from the vehicle."

"He grabbed me," Judy interrupted, yanked me by my arm, I fought back."

"Your honor, she scratched my arm with her sharp nails," The officer pulled back his sleeve, revealing a long red injury. I was trying to be as careful as possible, but she fought me."

The judge looked over at the woman. "Did you do that, Mrs. Lanston? Did you assault this policeman?"

Judy's voice was softer, her voice apologetic. "I'm sorry, officer, I didn't mean to do that. I was just trying to push you away."

"Why didn't you obey this officer, Mrs. Duncan?"

The woman took a tissue and wiped her eyes. "I just froze in fear. Yesterday was my last day on the job as a waitress because of COVID. I couldn't pay my rent, they were throwing me out. All I have now is my little boy." 

"Where is your ex-husband, Mrs. Lanston? Doesn't he pay you child support?"

"We were never married, when he found out I was pregnant, he took off. I haven't seen him since the child was born. I'm alone. Just me and my son." (More disquieted sounds of compassion in the courtroom.)

"Officer, I must ask you this now. Was this use of force necessary?"

The policeman's shoulders sagged; it was clear the women's testimony had shaken him. "I had a very rough day myself, your honor. I was cursed at and verbally abused by every speeder I pulled over. Then, Mrs. Lanston refused to get out of her car. It was getting dark, and I had no backup available. I couldn't leave her there. We were stopped on the side of a dangerous expressway with her little boy in the back seat." He turned to the defendant. "Mrs. Lanston, please forgive me, I didn't want to do that" (Sympathetic voices in the courtroom.)

"Mrs. Lanston, before I pass sentence do you have anything further to say to this court?"

"You're honor, I was extremely upset yesterday, staying in jail last night was very difficult for me. Please, I just want to see my son, I miss him so much." She began to cry. 

The judge looked to the Bailiff. "Of course. Let's bring the child here immediately."

"The child's nearby, your honor," Officer Duncan interrupted.

"Where?" the judge asked.

"I asked them to bring him here to the court care center, I felt responsible for him. I'm single, but I love children."

"He's here officer?" Judy excitedly spoke up, her face brightening. "Did you see him?"

"For sure, I told him his mom was close by, I brought him some ice cream from the kiosk." 

"Officer Duncan, we still have these offenses," the judge exclaimed. "Are you still standing by these charges?"

"No, your honor, I wish to dismiss them all; she's has been through enough already. Please let her go."

The young woman turned to the police officer and wrapped her arms around him. Loud cheering broke out in the courtroom, the policeman hugged her tight.

The judge brought down his gavel. "Case dismissed, you two may go."

As the newly acquainted couple walked from the courtroom, an unmistakable trace of a tear appeared on the tough judge's face. He quickly wiped it away.

"Next case, please." He announced.


Writing Prompt
The topic for this contest is: Unexpected Romance. For poetry or prose. The story brings two people together, two people who don't necessarily realize that they belong together but the audience is rooting for them.

Unexpected Romance
Contest Winner
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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