"This court finds the defendant, Joe Biden, not guilty."
It took me five seconds to fully realize what had just happened. The judge was already descending from his bench and everyone was shuffling to get out of the courtroom. Joe, in his usual self, was happily fielding the small group of court reporters who had gathered in front of him to ask questions. As his dutiful lawyer, I should have been beside him while he answered questions from the press. But my mind was blank. I was numb. I was still in a state of disbelief. No. There was no way the judge ruled in my favor and defeated the great Hillary Rodham in court.
But the jubilant face of my friend Joe and Hillary's stony expression as she picked up her files on the prosecution bench woke me up from my trance. This was real. Everything was real. The judge did find Joe innocent and I, a rookie defense attorney, defeated Hillary Rodham, the so-called Demon Prosecutor of the Southern District of New York.
No, Hillary Rodham wasn't really a demon, but she was a woman to be feared. In her entire career as a prosecutor, she had never lost a case. She had sent mob bosses, serial killers, bank fraudsters and corrupt politicians to jail. She hates crime with tremendous passion. If you committed a crime and Hillary Rodham was assigned to prosecute you, you might as well work on a plea deal because she would definitely find you guilty. It would be best not to cross her, or else she would make your life miserable.
However, there were whispers, whispers of innocent people being sent to jail because of her extreme prosecutorial tactics. She knew how to play the jury. But when those who were convicted because of her appealed their cases, their verdicts weren't overturned because she did her due diligence in presenting the evidence against them.
In other words, she knew how to manipulate people into her thinking.
When I decided to defend Joe against Hillary, I knew it was an uphill battle. It didn’t help that Joe was upset that Hillary was assigned on his case. But I couldn’t leave Joe on his own. He was broke, and he didn’t have anything to pay for his defense. And more importantly, the defense attorneys we approached didn’t want to defend him as soon as they saw Hillary was prosecuting. In other words, Joe was bust. With no one else wanting to defend Joe, I decided to be his attorney.
And now, Joe was rightfully declared innocent, and Hillary was wearing a scowl that I had never seen on her before.
I knew leaving Joe in the middle of an interview was a dereliction of my duty, but I still ran towards Hillary, calling her name multiple times. She kept walking as if she didn’t hear anything, but I knew better. She was ignoring me because I dealt a blow on her perfect record. It was only when I overtook her that she stopped and decided to pay attention to me.
“Rodham,” I said. Saying her last name tasted weird on my mouth.
“Clinton,” she gave a curt nod. “Congratulations,” she added. I could tell that the last word left a bitter taste in her mouth.
“Thanks.” I really didn’t feel like I deserved the congratulations from her, but what else could I say? Even in her upset state, she still knew how to throw me off. “Listen,” I said, “I want to congratulate you on an impeccable job. You gave me a hard time.”
Hillary squinted her eyes. I bet she was thinking whether I was low-key taunting her.
“Thank you.” Her response was polite, but we both knew she could say nothing else. It was a forgone conclusion that we both think that I was flaunting my victory in front of her.
“I never thought I’d face you so soon,” I told her. It was the truth.
Her brows furrowed so much that they looked like they joined at the middle.
“I came here because you inspired me to be a defense attorney,” I told her, and her scowl deepened. She looked disgusted at herself.
“That is unfortunate,” she replied with her eyes on the floor. “I am sorry that I made you a defense attorney.”
“You used to dream of becoming a defense attorney, remember?” I tried to jog in on her memories, but I knew she hadn’t forgotten.
“A foolish time in my life,” she hastily replied.
I shook my head. She could not have been more wrong. “You were at your best when you believed the best in people.”
My last sentence seemed to have provoked her, because without warning, she pushed me away and left the courtroom, jostling. I knew better than to run after her. It would only provoke her more.
This was the first time I had spoken to Hillary in years, ever since she changed schools in fourth grade without even saying goodbye. I became a defense attorney because of her. Because even though she never told me, I knew she needed me. She needed her best friend to comfort her on the loss she never got to grieve, on the hatred she never learned to let go, on heartache that she never got to heal.
But I am here now. I finally graduated from law school and got my license to be a defense attorney. From the moment she left, I promised myself that I would follow her and save her from the depths of darkness that had trapped her. I knew that in order to save her, I would have to face her in court. Today was just the beginning of my mission. The battle was won, but the war was far from over.
One day, I will redeem her. One day, I will save her. Just as she saved me.