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Exiled by Ryan and Niki Traynor Chapter 10

Hey there you guys!! Hope you enjoy the next chapter!!! I'll be posting another one in a few days!
Read all of the chapters here.

Chapter 10

Cheyenne finished giving Lilith a bath and put her down to sleep for the night. She walked into the living room and sat next to Noel who was sucked into Sports Center. She opened her mouth to speak, but had a feeling Noel didn’t want to be interrupted, so she went to the bathroom and filled the bathtub with water. She turned toward the radio that sat on the shelf above the toilet, pressed the power button, and listened to the album Foiled by Blue October. The bath water ran as she poured in crystals smelling of fresh lilacs. Climbing into the tub was soothing and drowsiness followed as her body adjusted to the warmth. A stream of hot water poured from the spout slowly as the music wafted through the room, reverberating off the walls. Cheyenne felt her eyelids grow heavy and her mind drifted off into a deep sleep.
An hour and a half later, Noel finished watching television and walked upstairs wondering where his wife was. He went into the master bedroom and felt his socks get wet. Water poured out beneath the locked door, covering the hardwood floor in the bedroom. Alarmed, he ran across the puddle and knocked on the door yelling, “Cheyenne open the door!” There was no response, so Noel raised his fist high above his head and pounded hard enough to wake the baby. He waited another sixty seconds and ran to the closet and grabbed a metal hanger. The hook was unbent into a poker and shoved through the hole in the door handle, popping the lock open. He rushed in with a concerned look on his face and woke his wife up. Somehow the water surpassed the overflow drain without her realizing. When he turned off the water and pulled her out of the tub, she felt ice cold. The water heater had run out long ago, leaving Cheyenne on the verge of hypothermia.
Noel covered her in a towel, carried her to the bed, and wrapped her in the blanket. Unable to open her eyes, Cheyenne shivered uncontrollably. The room was filled with water, ruining the floor and soaking the rug that sat beneath the bed. He contemplated calling an ambulance until his wife opened her eyes, sat up, and asked, “What did you do?”
Exasperated, Noel threw his hands in the air, “What!?” He flew into a rage and erupted like Mount Vesuvius. “Do you have any idea how worried I was? I almost called an ambulance. Also, I can’t believe you flooded our room like this! You’re so irresponsible sometimes! Moreover, Lilith is screaming her head off in the other room. Now, you expect me to take care of you, check on her, and then finish off the night by cleaning up your mess?”
“I don’t expect shit from you! I never asked for your help in the first place,” roared Cheyenne.
Noel stood in disbelief and stammered, “Wh-, ah...You, you were asleep in an ice cold bathtub and I carried you to the bed to bring your core body temp back up. By the way, you’re welcome! Then, you wake up after your little nap and accuse me of doing this. You must be completely screwed in the head!”

The only noise that was now coming from Cheyenne was the sound of her teeth chattering. She stood up slowly, keeping the comforter wrapped around her, stomped into the guest bedroom and slammed the door. Once again, Noel went to comfort Lilith, unassisted. Before he soaked up the water and removed the waterlogged rug, he rocked his baby girl back to sleep. Exhausted, he went straight to bed, expecting an apology that was never going to come.
Around one in the morning, Noel was awakened to the sound of hangers jingling in the closet. He opened his left eye just wide enough to see what was going on. It looked as if Cheyenne was getting dressed to go out somewhere. Intrigued, Noel pretended to be asleep until she was finished. Cheyenne headed out the door and got into her Civic. The door slammed shut and Noel sprang out of bed barely having enough time to put on a pair of pants. He ran down the
stairs and flew out the door. The Mustang roared to life and Noel put the manual transmission into reverse. Easing his foot off the clutch, an important reminder popped into his head, Lilith. He couldn’t just leave her behind, but if he didn’t leave right away Cheyenne would be gone and impossible to follow. His better judgment led him to turn off the vehicle and go back inside the house.
That night taught Noel a valuable lesson. He would ask his parents to watch Lilith every single day until he could find out where his wife was going at night. It took eleven straight days of awkward silence and ten sleepless nights, but Cheyenne finally made her move. This time Noel was fully prepared, which was made it easy because Cheyenne had spent every night sleeping in the guest bedroom. Paranoid, Noel made a habit of going to bed fully clothed ready for action. On the eleventh night, sometime around midnight, he laid in bed with his car keys poised in his right hand. He’d had about three caffeine pills that night to stay sharp and was jacked up when he heard the bedroom door open a crack. Cheyenne poked her head in to make sure he was asleep and listened to his phony snoring for a few seconds before she made her way downstairs. Without delay, Noel sprang to life and made his way to the driveway. He traveled down the highway trying desperately to follow his wife without being seen, which was harder to do than he ever imagined. Long before arriving at the destination, Noel knew exactly where she was headed. His stomach turned over and a sick taste sloshed around in his mouth. He turned into the Buena Vista Apartment Complex and beads of sweat came upon his forehead. Still unsure whether or not he was going to hurt someone, Noel sat in his car and watched Cheyenne walk up to Freddy’s apartment and knock on the door ever so gently.

How could she be sleeping with him? he wondered. His mind raced back in time and nothing seemed to make sense. They had plenty of opportunities to hook up, so why now after all these years? The palms of his hands slammed up and down on the steering wheel and he hit the back of his skull on the head rest. He felt like crying, but his infuriated emotions wouldn’t allow it. Hatred seethed deep within as his forehead made powerful contact with the steering wheel. Looking in the rear view mirror revealed a superficial gash across his forehead. He smiled and put his fist though the radio/CD player. Pieces of plastic flew in all directions, rendering the electronic devices useless. It’s over. Our marriage is all over. What’ll become of Lilith?
Before any further damage could be done, Noel noticed a black Cadillac park five spaces down from him. Embarrassed, he slouched down and tried to make himself inconspicuous. Two older men in their fifties exited the black car and looked like they were walking over to his car. He slumped down even lower and then laid his torso across the passenger seat hoping they wouldn’t knock on the window. Instead of hassling him, they turned and walked straight up to Freddy’s unit. They were wearing gun holsters, which worried him. He gasped to himself when he saw them unclip the holsters and hold the pistols in front of them. The bald one walked into the bushes and tried to look in the window while the other put his ear to the door. The man with the bald head was heavy set and appeared to be in charge. The other one had a trimmed grey beard and his hair was combed back. They both wore dark colored clothes, which made it hard to tell them apart from the back.
What the hell is going on, wondered Noel. Who the hell are these guys and what are they doing here? Is Freddy in trouble? Worse yet, is Cheyenne in trouble? He waited and watched as the men went back to the car and got a hold of a battering ram seen on shows like Cops. At first, he assumed they must be police officers, but his mind asked a million questions. Why didn’t they look like cops? Why didn’t they act like cops? Are they with the mafia or some other illegal organization? If they are law enforcement, where’s the backup and why do I have such a horrible feeling about this? Noel came to grips with the fact that he couldn’t turn his back on the people he loved no matter what was going on. The two men snuck back up to the door and one of them knocked while the other put his hand over the peep hole.
Again, Freddy answered the door, but this time made sure the chain lock was in place. The bald man stuck his foot in the door and gave his accomplice the sign to hit the door. This was done with agility mixed with the perfect amount of force. The chain lock broke and the door swung open with a minimal amount of noise. The two men stepped inside and shut the door.
Swinging full force into panic mode, Noel jumped out of his vehicle with the swiftness of a NASCAR driver. He unlocked the trunk and grabbed the tire iron in one hand and an old Louisville Slugger in the other. The bat was a present from his dad back when he played high school baseball. Reluctantly, he drew near the unit fifty-two holding his breath. He exhaled and walked into the bushes, peeking through the window just as the strange man had done before him.
Looking in, he saw Cheyenne, Freddy, and another woman sitting on the couch, which was baffling. Was that Freddy’s girlfriend? The question rattled around his dome as he watched the bald gunmen point his weapon at Freddy and place it on his temple. With that, Noel knew they were in trouble and the only person that could save them was him.
Even though he couldn’t quite make out what they were saying the sound of their distant shouting scared Noel into action. He walked onto the front stoop worried the door might be locked and laid his baseball bat against the wall. Gripping the door handle, he felt it turn and everything went into slow motion. The door opened quietly and yelling voices became more audible. Noel grabbed the bat as he stepped inside and swung it at the bald man’s head hitting a one handed home run while he threw the tire iron at his accomplice. It hit the bearded man’s cheekbone hard and left him temporarily stunned. This gave Noel just enough time to drop his bat and reach for the assailant’s gun. Both men held the gun, which pointed upward and let off a single shot into the ceiling. During the struggle, the bald man came to and regained consciousness. Frightened, Freddy stood up from the couch and took a couple steps towards Lambert intending to do him harm. The two women sat there paralyzed watching these perilous events unfold right before their eyes as if they were sitting in a movie theater.

At the sight of a gun, Freddy lost his nerve and put his hands in the air. He watched Lambert swing his gun around in the direction of the two people struggling on the other side of the room and realized Jenkins was being overpowered by his young adversary. Foolishly, Noel believed he was getting the whole situation under control until he looked down and saw a gun pointed right in his direction. Without thinking, he swung his body around, using Jenkins as a human shield. Lambert unleashed two bullets into his companion’s back. One of the bullets penetrated right through Jenkins and lodged itself into Noel’s left shoulder. He screamed out in pain and finally wrestled the gun from the dying man’s hands. Noel dropped to the floor, took aim and delivered a bullet into Lambert’s skull, killing him on impact. He had never shot a gun before that day and would never shoot one ever again. After the neighbors heard the first shot they called the police.
Before the police arrived, Freddy went into action and gathered up all of his illegal contraband. He threw it into a white garbage bag with a red draw string and dropped it into the maroon dumpster out back. Then, he wrapped the battering ram in an old ratty light blue blanket and chucked it into a dumpster on the other side of the complex. All the while, Noel talked with the women in the bedroom to make sure they were alright. The situation calmed down a bit and he began to think clearly. Suddenly, a glaring question burst into his train of thought and he asked Cheyenne why she was sneaking out of the house to come there. A few words stammered out of her mouth before sirens could be heard in the background. Michelle spoke up and announced the cops were there.
It would later be revealed that the very first gunshot flew through the ceiling and struck a small child named Ezra Truman living in the apartment upstairs. The nine year old girl was rushed to the emergency room where she was brought into the intensive care unit. The doctors told her mother that her status was critical and that there was an immense amount of internal bleeding that might be detrimental to the patient’s health. Ezra held on to life for three days before she flat lined and was pronounced dead. Her mother contacted Ezra’s estranged father who showed up at the hospital in time to get the dreadful news. It was the first time the two people had seen one another in five years.
Ronald Jenkins died before the ambulance could make it to the hospital. A bullet was lodged in his chest causing his lungs to fill up with blood. An EMT tried to drain his lungs, but failed to react in time. Jenkins drowned in his own blood and was taken to the city morgue where his wife was called to identify the body. She couldn’t believe he lied to her about where he was going that night. The poor woman was under the impression that he was celebrating a colleague’s birthday at Piccolo’s Bar.
Noel Brighton was taken to the hospital and treated for his gunshot wound, which was relatively minor. After being patched up, he was taken into police custody and charged with first degree murder with a bail set at one hundred thousand dollars. Frederick Macmillan, Michelle Rosenberg, and Cheyenne Brighton were also taken into police custody for questioning, but released shortly after being detained. It was determined that they were not responsible for the deaths of the three individuals and were asked not to leave the state. They were also advised to get lawyers for the upcoming trial that would take place later that year.

Meanwhile, Freddy’s apartment was turned into a crime scene and analyzed by specialists. For the time being, Freddy moved into Michelle’s apartment and laid low for a while. He invited Cheyenne over so the three of them could go over their stories to make sure they added up. Freddy told Cheyenne the truth and suggested they blame everything on Noel. When she objected he went insane. The threats followed his maniacal behavior.
He told her, “If you don’t tell the police my version of what happened I will make sure child services take your daughter away forever. She will go into foster care and you will never see her again. They’ll find the smack in your system along with the track marks and it’ll be an open and shut case. Next, I’ll tell them you were involved in the burglary and make sure you do time. We can all go to jail together and nothing, I mean nothing, will be salvaged from this whole messed up situation. Remember, Noel followed you to my apartment because you are a lying junkie. And one more thing, I’m watching you. If you even think about going to the cops I will find you and I will kill you.”
“Fuck you Freddy!” she screamed back. Right after the words came out Freddy threw her on the floor and jumped on top of her. He wrapped his hands around her neck and said, “I’ll kill you right now if that’s what you want.”
Cheyenne managed to spit out the words, “I’ll do what you say, I swear. Please just leave me alone.” And just like that, a shaky truce was formed to keep the peace and hold their lives intact. They shot up one last time together and everyone calmed down. Freddy apologized and reassured her that he was just terrified of going to prison. Cheyenne empathized with him knowing full well possession of heroin was a felony and grounds to lose her child. They went over what each person had told the cops and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t much. Over the next week Freddy mapped out the entire scenario giving the two women pieces of the story, which would all add up in a courtroom. The first step was to figure out how to blame the burglary on Noel, which would surely come to light during the legal process. It was decided that Cheyenne would plant some of the stolen jewelry at Noel’s office, which would eventually be searched, especially after he was implicated in the crime. Next, Cheyenne would figure out exactly where Noel was on the night of the robbery, so she could lie to the police and tell them he was out all night.
Michelle came clean with Freddy about her true relationship with the deceased Lieutenant, confirming his suspicions. He’d been on to her ever since he noticed how easily they had gotten past the alarm system and broken into the cop’s house. He felt like it had been a set up from the start, promising himself he would get clean and never speak to Michelle ever again. Thoughts of suicide washed into his head like the rolling tide washes in on an ocean beach. It would come and go in waves, but was always present. Michelle on the other hand, chose to focus
on herself, a technique she relied on since childhood. She thought about the money they’d stolen and what she had the ability to buy until it ran out.
Freddy was aware that he had to combat Noel’s version of what happened in court. The jury would have to recognize and accept why the crime went down at his apartment and the only logical conclusion was that Noel led them there. It was a stretch, but if he could get the prosecution to believe that Noel planned to kill Lambert at the apartment complex, it would explain a lot. I might actually be able to pull this off, he thought arrogantly.

The falsified story made it seem like Noel robbed Lambert. He then tipped off the officer and told him that he had information regarding the criminals that broke into his house. Obviously, Noel didn’t want the meeting to take place anywhere near his own home, so he arranged it at the apartment complex. Lambert agreed to the meeting because he was desperate to get to the bottom of burglary and find the person responsible for hurting his daughter.
This was the perfect opportunity for Noel to rough up the old cop and get him to end the investigation. If Lambert refused to back down, he was determined to take the man’s life if it became necessary. Noel also planned on dragging his best friend into the scheme all along, assuming Freddy would help him in his time of need. This story really added up because Freddy lied to the police early on and told them Noel offered him a huge monetary bribe to keep his mouth shut.
Meanwhile, Cheyenne had been staying at Freddy’s apartment because she was scared of her husband’s strange behavior. Unaware of this, Noel arrived at the complex to confront Lambert. He lured Officer Lambert to the apartment and then pummeled him with a baseball bat. That was when Jenkins appeared out of nowhere and kicked the door in. Noel reacted quickly and hit Jenkins with the tire iron. Then, Lambert pulled out his gun and the rest was obvious. Surely the jury would wonder why Noel didn’t take away Lambert’s gun. Unfortunately, the only logical answer was that Lambert lied about having one.
Freddy figured that if the three of them could corroborate their stories during the witness testimony they would be home free. Past that, it became a matter of execution and perfectly sequential perjury. As long as the women had their game faces on, nothing could go wrong. For all practical purposes they had one major thing on their side, Noel was the murderer and he did all of it alone. This was undeniable. During the trial, it would come down to being his word against theirs. Once motive and intent to kill were established, they only had to convince twelve people of his guilt. Ironically, the truth was just as complicated as the lie, making it difficult to distinguish between the two.
During Jury selection, Noel watched as twelve people were picked to decide his innocence or guilt. He also opted to let them decide his punishment if he was found guilty of the crimes instead of the courts. The prosecutor would accuse him of two first degree murders as well as one case of involuntary manslaughter. It became his lawyer’s job to demonstrate that he was acting in self defense of his wife and friend. Noel knew it didn’t help that he had never even met Michelle before and still had no idea what his wife was doing there. Furthermore, he had no idea he was also going to be framed for the robbery. His lawyer’s name was Andrew Paul. He was recommended by his cousin, Katy, who was a juvenile prosecutor for the state.
The trial began two months later with minor evidence defending Noel. It was doubtful to his lawyer that he would appear to be a hero who acted in self defense of his loved ones. Mr. Paul begged Noel to admit guilt and plea bargain his sentence down to second degree murder, but of course he refused. The judge who presided over the case was the honorable Stephen J. Henshaw, a man who had a personal history with Walter Lambert. Their wives had gone to college together and known each other for years, making the two men acquaintances.

During the course of the trial, the prosecutor began by confirming that Noel had single handedly killed two police officers as well as accidentally killing Ezra Truman. Noel was brought before the court and was asked several questions. He took the Fifth Amendment as directed from his council. It was all downhill from there. The prosecution proceeded to bring forth evidence that
linked Noel to the robbery. They presented the stolen jewelry, which was recognized by Valencia Lambert. They brought Freddy before the court and he testified against his best friend without even breaking a sweat. Next, Michelle and Cheyenne were brought up to the stand as witnesses to substantiate his story. Sadly, the most condemning piece of evidence was Cheyenne’s testimony that she had no idea where Noel was the night of the burglary even though he had been at home, asleep in bed.
As Andrew Paul said the closing statement, he finally made a case for Noel, which set the record straight. He accused the three witnesses of conspiring against an innocent man whose actions probably saved their lives. Mr. Paul demanded that all charges be dropped and that Freddy Macmillan be put on trial. Furthermore, his lawyer warned the jurors that if they ruled against his client they would have to live with the fact that they sent an innocent man to prison. It was a poignant speech, but too little too late. The jurors had already made up their mind. They went into deliberation and found Noel guilty on all counts after three and a half hours. Moreover, they decided that he deserved a double life sentence. Noel Brighton would spend the rest of his natural life behind bars, case closed.
When it was all digested in his mind and he understood that he was going to be forced to serve decades locked up like an animal, he stood up at the defendant’s table and slammed his cuffed hands down on the table. He turned around and looked into his wife’s crying eyes, picked up the wooden chair he was sitting on, and threw it at the judge. It hit his podium, broke into large pieces and went flying into his face. The judge’s nose broke when a piece made contact and blood gushed from his nostrils. The bailiffs sprang forth to subdue the enraged defendant. Noel saw them coming and grabbed his lawyer’s chair and threw it in their direction. It hit one of the officer’s legs, stopping him momentarily. The other bailiff raised his gun and commanded Noel to freeze. He raised his arms in the air while the officer walked over to him slowly. He was told to get on his knees, but Noel ignored the instruction and stood his ground. The other bailiff got to his feet, walked directly up to Noel, baton in hand, and slammed his face down on the table. The officer chopped at his legs and took him down for the count.
Cheyenne went straight home and had a strong drink. It was over; she had successfully framed her husband and now there was no one left to answer to, but God almighty for her sins. She cut off all contact with Freddy and swore off the drugs. Going cold turkey was hard, but not as hard as living with the guilt. Less than a month passed by before she really understood she couldn’t stay there. The house was sold without delay and Noel’s business was liquidated along with his car. This money was added together with the fifteen thousand dollars Freddy gave to her for compensation. She packed up her things along with Lilith’s and headed south.

The first place they ended up was Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was a nice little city nestled in the Rocky Mountains. She rented a nice two bedroom apartment in a wealthy sector known as the Broadmoor. In between looking for a job, Cheyenne spent time strolling around downtown. She loved to take Lilith to Acacia Park located in the heart of the city. As summer approached, she was offered two different jobs and she turned down the position at the airport. The one she ended up taking was located at a restaurant located in an area called Old Colorado City. Waiting tables brought in a decent income and didn’t steal away too much time for her daughter. The new living situation wasn’t ideal, but seemed like it was going to work out fine. Lilith celebrated her first birthday with her mother at their apartment. Despite her past, Cheyenne tried to be the kind of parent that her daughter deserved. This helped divert her attention away from her imprisoned husband and took up most of her time. The adjustment to the new climate was hard, but really began to take its toll the following winter.
After the first snowfall, she got into a car accident and her car became lodged in a snowdrift. Luckily, a couple of travelers pulled over to the side of the road and freed her car. She thought long and hard about staying there and knew the right thing to do was keep heading south until she reached warmer weather. Her mother, Roxanne, moved to San Antonio a few years earlier and it seemed like the next logical destination. Plus, her daughter needed more family
members she could depend on. So, she put in her two weeks’ notice at work and prepared to move across the country again. In the back of her mind she felt thankful that Lilith was still so young. The relocation wouldn’t have any effect on her, but she also knew she would have to find a permanent residence to bring stability into her child’s life.
As soon as she fulfilled her work obligations, Cheyenne hit the road and didn’t look back. She drove there straight through, without stopping and made it to her mother’s home in hours, arriving at five o’clock in the morning. Upon arrival, she handed the baby over to Roxanne and slept for the rest of the day. The move felt right and gave her the chance to begin a new period in her life. It was filled with enormous potential and the possibilities were endless. From now on, she would try to learn from her mistakes and make the right choices. And maybe, someday, she hoped to make it all up to Noel, but highly doubted if that was ever going to be possible. But the truth was she’d reached the point of no return.

Stay tuned for Chapter 11 in a few days...

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