“Clyburn, it’s enough!”
When my mind returned to reason, my face felt like it had been hit with a car. No… it had to be the fists of an adult man. He was standing across from me, breathing hard. That despicable bastard who dared come into this mansion. It felt like he had given as good as he got. With his lip bleeding and his eye turning black and blue, that was probably saying something.
As for me, I was being held up by Brooke, her comforting hands once again helping me. She wasn’t the only one there. There was Charlene as well as Aunt Rose nearby. Charlene was ready to jump in if she needed to, but the guy who called himself Oswald showed no move to attack me again. From the looks of it, the attacking was all propagated by me, and Brooke was holding me back now.
“I’m good.” I finally relaxed a bit, straightening up, and glancing over at Brooke. “I’m good.”
Brooke didn’t look convinced, but slowly released my body, even if she looked taut like she was ready to grab me again at a moment’s notice. As for myself, I had relaxed enough that I wasn’t going to take another swing at him. At the very least, the pain I felt in my own body was enough of a deterrent.
Oswald pulled out a handkerchief, straightening himself in a more proper posture now that he was certain I wasn’t going to leap at him again. He dabbed his lips, making a small hissing sound before breaking into a chuckle.
“You’re, a lot like your father…”
I decided to not take his bait. I had heard similar sentiment before, and while I didn’t like being compared to this man I had never met, at the very least I could bite my tongue for the moment. Instead, I continued to watch him, waiting for Oswald to finish leaving. To my surprise, he didn’t make any more attempts to head to the door, instead of focusing on cleaning his face like he had all the time in the world. I certainly didn’t do anything to make him feel welcome here, so his behavior was a bit obnoxious. Eventually, I had enough waiting.
“Aren’t you leaving?” I demanded impatiently.
He grinned. “I think I’ve changed my mind. You need a lawyer, is it?”
I only realized I took a step forward when I felt the pressure of Brooke’s hand on my chest. However, I relaxed immediately and stepped back again.
“You’re not needed,” I responded curtly.
“I doubt that.” Oswald snorted. “I can see it in your eyes. You’re desperate. That lawyer you have now… let me guess, she doesn’t believe a word you say? She’s convinced you should just admit to the guilt?”
Rose grew restless as he spoke. After all, the lawyer we were talking about was one that she had carefully selected.
“She… recommended that I impregnate some of my accusers to lighten my sentence.”
Oswald responded by nodding thoughtfully as if he was actually considering things out. “At least, she’s not completely incompetent.”
“Oz…” Rose spoke up, her eyes seeming to spark.
Oswald held up his hand. “Yes… you gave me your mind earlier, Rose. I’m not trying to start a fight here. Morgan asked me to assist her son in any way possible. I’ve decided to do so. It would be wise not to reject my help.”
Please… don’t reject the help. Mom’s words came crashing back into my mind. That was what she meant, wasn’t it? She knew I’d have a problem with Oswald, and she didn’t want me to reject the help he was willing to provide. I wanted nothing more than to kick him out, but he was right. It would be a stupid thing to do. No matter how much I hated this man, he was in a position where he could help me unlike any other.
Ever so slowly, I nodded. “Alright, you’re the lawyer, tell me your expertise.”
Oswald nodded, his face looking oddly professional despite the split lip. He immediately headed to a chair and gestured for me to sit in the one across. I stood and didn’t move. He gave a derisive snort but otherwise didn’t respond to my actions. I agreed to accept his help. I didn’t agree to be nice to the guy. He pulled out a pen, a paper, and a document that appeared to be my file. After he was done, he looked up at me with a raised eyebrow.
“Now, Clyburn, explain to me what happened. Be honest. I can only help you if I know the truth in entirety.”
I took a breath and then started my story. At first, I tried to hold some things back. For example, I deliberately didn’t mention Aiko. However, he seemed to notice every piece of missing information and immediately asked about it. He was ridiculously thorough, and I started sweating as I began to recall details that even I didn’t think I had remembered. He asked me for some of the most inane inquiries, such as the positioning of people or the distance they were standing before each other.
Even my interrogation by the police hadn’t been this thorough. A story that usually took me ten minutes to recite ended up taking two hours. By the time I was done, I gulped down the tea the maids had brought out. I also realized at some point I had sat down, although I wasn’t conscious of when I had done it. Brooke stood nearby, looking half asleep. Rose didn’t even manage half, her eyes closed and gentle breaths coming from her as she curled up under a blanket someone had brought her.
“And so… I passed out after getting the pair out of the fire.” I ended my talk, my throat feeling very hoarse.
Oswald sat back, a serious expression on his face as he glanced over at me. “Clyburn, this outfit you put on… Did Clarice sneak into the school, is that where you went today?”
I blinked, a bit surprised at his direction of questions. “You’re not going to tell me what I said is unbelievable?”
Those were words I had heard from just about everyone else involved. Of course, other than those close to me, I had kept parts of the story secret. I definitely didn’t tell anyone about dressing up as Clarice. That was a taboo that could potentially get me in a lot of trouble if I talked about it too freely.
“I told you to speak the truth.” Oswald shrugged. “Whether it is difficult to believe or not is meaningless. I just need to make the judge believe it before they give a sentence. If you chose to lie to me, you’re only wasting my time and yours.”
I nodded, my feelings on this man a bit more complicated now. It was difficult to hate him while he was putting off exactly the strong persona that I needed to survive this upcoming trial. I hated to admit it, but Mother seemed to have made the right decision in contacting him. However, what I didn’t understand is why he had changed his mind. He was ready to walk out on me, then I punched him, and he stayed. Was it about me showing my determination? Somehow, a simple juvenile excuse like that seemed wrong. I’d be damned if I asked him the real reason though.
“In that case, the answer is yes. I dressed up as Clarice today…” I began to explain what had happened today as well.
I didn’t mention sleeping with my sister, although I did say I met and spoke with her. I watched him as I spoke about Madison, but he didn’t seem to react in the slightest. It was possible that he didn’t know that Madison was his. However, in this world, it was just as likely that he didn’t care. A man’s daughter was almost nothing to him on Gaia. He had absolutely no obligation to care for her. If anything, showing favoritism to daughters was dangerous precedence. You’d likely have hundreds if not thousands of daughters in your lifetime. Trying to give each one special care could quickly become a full-time job. That’s why I eased up off the idea of pumping out babies as well. If I could get to a point where I made enough money, then I wouldn’t need to constantly produce babies. I could pay the male unproductivity taxes and continue to live my life the way I wanted to.
However, I did tell him about Rebecca attempting to get me to make false claims about myself. He politely chuckled at that, but otherwise maintained a perfectly professional air about him. Had he been anyone but the man who raped my mother, I might have even seen myself looking up to this guy. He was the first guy I had met in this world who didn’t act like a buffoon.
“I don’t plan to go back…” I ended my conversation. “It was way too dangerous. Not only was I almost caught by the worst people to catch me, but I did expose myself to a certain nurse.”
Oswald shook his head. “No.”
“Hah? What do you mean, no?”
“As your lawyer…” Oswald paused as if waiting for me to deny it before nodding with a pleased expression. “I’d advise you to continue to dress as Clarice. Go to classes, as you intended, and grow closer to this Rebecca girl.”
“I’m sorry?” I watched Oswald in disbelief, and even Brooke had woken up to give the man a shocked look. “I don’t think you realize how close things came today. I was almost caught!”
“Doesn’t that speak more about your poor acting skills? Perhaps you should work on improving them.” Oswald shrugged as I glared at him. “Don’t look at me like that. There were several benefits to going as Clarice. You can keep a pulse on the state of the academy. You can listen for rumors.”
“I could do that just as easy!” Brooke spoke up.
“Also…” Oswald continued without a break. “You’re close to the president of Wrath. This Rebecca girl, you need to keep track of what she’s doing. I’ve been under the impression your relationship with her is quite volatile, isn’t it, Miss Brooke?”
Brooke looked away, unable to answer and muttering under her breath.
“Is all of this really necessary?” I asked.
“Who knows?” Oswald shrugged again as he smacked the cushion next to me in annoyance. “However, would you rather just sit back and do nothing these next two months? We are in a bad situation. Right now, we’re fighting blind. The more you can learn, the better off I will be informing your case. Don’t worry, I will give you a list of things I’ll need you to learn. I need to know who’s pushing to have you arrested. I need to know what they hope to gain. In the end, it’s not whether you’re guilty or not, it’s how you play the game.”
I looked away in disgust, but I couldn’t really deny that what he was saying was likely the truth. My memories from another world told me that it was this way there too. I was a privileged class, but I was also in a position where they were trying to set an example out of me. This would certainly take finesse if I was to get out of this situation with an innocent verdict.
“So… that’s it.”
“Not exactly.” Oswald sighed. “The main reason I need to you to get back into Amaryllis Academy is to fulfill a little mission.”
Oswald nodded, his face full of concentration. “There is one thing you must absolutely accomplish when you get there. This is something you can not fail in. Your last lawyer had similar thoughts, but it doesn’t need to be as broad and nonspecific.”
“What do you mean?”
“Mako, the teacher who was found raped. You were found with her. There is no means of applying doubt. Cum leaked from her pussy, and she was in your hands. Getting those charges dropped would prove impossible… unless…”
“Unless?” I asked the question, even though I already had a dark feeling I knew the direction this was going.
“I’m going to need you to impregnate her.”
“Impregnate her? I’ve never even slept with her!” I stood up, shouting. “How could I do that?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Oswald shrugged. “The only way to get those charges dropped is to make her pregnant with your baby. It doesn’t matter if you rape her. It just matters that she becomes pregnant from it. Once she’s confirmed pregnant, we can equate it to her original rape, and the male protection act will absolve you of all but a misdemeanor.”
“How can it do that?” I demanded.
Oswald waved his hand. “Oh, it’s not that exciting. There is just a bit of wordplay written into the act that suggests that any act that results in pregnancy is considered procreation. Meanwhile, another part of the act states that any act of procreation cannot be considered a felony. Rape is a felony. Ergo… if a woman becomes pregnant, it cannot be classified as rape. This is the loophole we need to exploit.”
“Isn’t this that case… ah… what did they call it…” I tried to recall a conversation I had overheard on the trolley ride. “That’s right, the Reynolds case!”
“Oh?” Oswald seemed genuinely surprised. “So, you have heard of my work.”
“Sh-shit…” I sat back down, my hands falling on my forehead.
If I remembered, the guy was a serial rapist. That meant Oswald got a serial rapist off by using the same exact technique he was suggesting I do right now. For a moment, I felt like I was going to throw up. I remembered the end of that conversation too. That guy had ended up getting stabbed to death, just like my father. Was Oswald a guy whose male acquaintances often died a horrific death? The goodwill as a professional lawyer he had built so far came crashing down in my mind.
“Only you can decide if you’ll do it, but unless this Mako chooses to refute all charges and consent to having a sexual relationship with you, then this is the alternative.”
“That one… what about that one!” I looked up, eager to jump on anything that wasn’t me being encouraged to rape a completely innocent woman who had already been forced to experience it once before.
Oswald was already shaking his head while smiling wryly. “You’re never going to get the girl to agree to that. She already thinks you’re the man who raped her. Why would she agree to openly declare herself in a sexual relationship with you?”
“I don’t know… but if I did get her to… it would absolve the charges?”
Oswald patiently massaged the bridge of his nose. “You’re not really understanding this. Mako is a teacher at Amaryllis. While it is known that many female teachers will try to have sex with the male students, there is a difference between doing it behind closed doors and declaring it in front of a court of law. Basically, for this teacher declares herself your lover, she’d lose her position. What I’m saying is that it’d be career suicide. Not only would she lose her teaching credentials, but no other woman would hire her, whether out of scorn or jealousy. The WRA, in particular, would be furious and see her as betraying all women. They’d make sure her life suffered for it. For a woman as young as Mako, this declaration is like choosing social suicide.”
I leaned back with a sigh. If it was like that, there wasn’t much I could do. Mako was a teacher at this school, and sleeping with a student had to have some level of consequences. Even if these consequences stemmed more from prejudice and jealousy than any sense of moral obligation, the results were still the same. What kind of fucked up world was this where raping a teacher and impregnating her with your baby was preferable to openly state you had a consenting relationship?
“So… in the end, I have to… with Mako.”
Oswald nodded, a look of relief that I wasn’t fighting his words anymore. “In a perfect world, I’d also have you impregnate this Madison girl. Both women were caught with you, and even though there was no particular evidence Madison was raped, the courts will still argue it.”
“My sister!” my eyes widened again at the unexpected words.
“Yes… your half-sister was drugged at the time. She claims not to have been touched, but you don’t understand the level the prosecution will be willing to go to get this case to stick. No matter how much she denies it, there is room for doubt. They will use that doubt to push their agenda. I’m certain of that. We can fight it, but if she was pregnant… it would resolve a lot of things.”
“I’ll do it.” A voice came from the side, causing me to glance up. So did Oswald.
Standing in the doorway to the receiving room was Madison. She was waiting hesitantly, still in her outdoor coat. How long she had been standing there was difficult to determine. Her face was flushed and just slightly windburnt, but she looked absolutely beautiful to me. She had done what she said she would do. She had returned home. I could only feel infinite excitement upon seeing her face.
I stood up and immediately walked up to Madison, embracing her in my arms. To my delight, Madison held me back. We embraced in the living room until Oswald let out a cough. Remembering the immediate conversation, I pulled away and looked straight at Madison.
“You’ll do what?” It wasn’t that I didn’t understand what she meant, I just felt like I had to play dumb here because what she said was beyond my belief.
Madison smiled up to me gently, stroking my cheek. “I said, it’s okay if I get pregnant, as long as it is Clyburn.”
“So, this is Madison then,” Oswald spoke simply.
I froze for a moment. This event, a father meeting with his daughter for the first time, was something big. However, Oswald probably didn’t know that she was his daughter. I also wasn’t certain if Madison knew that Oswald was the man from the video. I didn’t recognize him myself the first time I saw him, after all.
Madison suddenly bowed toward him, pulling out of my embrace for a moment. “Thank you for taking care of my little brother.”
“Eh?” I let out a noise. “D-don’t bow to this lech!”
The words sort of came out before I could help myself. Rose, who seemed to have woken up around the time Madison came, broke into a chuckle. Meanwhile, Oswald gave a sigh, wearing a complicated expression on his face.
Madison glanced back at me. “You shouldn’t treat someone who is offering to help you this way.”
“Ah… ah…” I suddenly found myself lost on big sister’s earnest comment.
“Well… at least someone in your family has sense…” Oswald muttered to himself.
Yes, it was true, he was helping me. Ever since we punched each other, he’d been nothing but insightful. However, he was also the man who raped my mother, and Madison’s derelict father. I couldn’t help but leaning forward, whispering to Madison in hushed tones.
“You understand that this man is your biological father, right? He’s the man who raped mom and got her pregnant with you!”
There was not an ounce of surprise on Madison’s face. Instead, she leaned forward and kissed me on the tip of the nose.
“This is why I love you, Clyburn,” Madison spoke in a voice loud enough that everyone in the room could hear. “Because only you can say those words like it’s something that should matter. I’d be blessed, to have you as the father of my children.”
“Children, you’re already planning more than one!” Brooke broke in, causing Madison to turn away with a blush.
Meanwhile, I felt completely dizzy, unable to wrap my head around it. Only I could say rape mattered? That was… Well, I guess that made sense. Oswald just explained that procreation was, under law, not rape. Since mother became pregnant, even if I showed that video to a judge it’d be completely thrown out. As for Madison finally meeting her father, fathers were not in the lives of their daughters. No woman expected a man to stick around. Perhaps a man and the mother might keep in touch, particularly if her slice was large and long-lasting, but short of bribery, men just didn’t take care of their daughters.
“Wh-what about school?” I shot out one last line of defense.
“I dropped,” Madison responded simply.
Madison blushed again. “Actually, I’ve been thinking about it for some time. The woman at school have always been cruel, and I realized now that my time is better spent at home where I can get some peace and privacy.”
“B-but, your future…” I felt bad, not wanting my sister to give up everything.
“D-don’t get me wrong!” Madison’s cheeks puffed. “I’ve been thinking about this long before you came knocking down my door! I actually have gotten to know several people in the audio-video department and I’ve been running a blog on the infochan for a while now.”
“A-a blog…” I stared dazed as my precious big sister revealed to me her life goals in a single lump.
“A-actually… pregnancy blogs are very popular right now. If I got pregnant, I know my subscriber base would surge. The ad revenue is quite good.”
I found myself in a daze once again. My sister really did have this all worked out. When I had fallen onto her floor, I had thought her confession was a bit spontaneous. My ego told me that it was my big grand gestures that ultimately won Madison over. However, Madison was being bullied relentlessly at school, so naturally, it’d be a place she’d want to leave. Perhaps, Ben was her last chance to try to make schooling work before she went to her backup plan. I didn’t know how great I felt about being sister’s plan B, but at least we were together.
“Madison…” I spoke, reaching out and touching her face, feeling delighted by my big sister’s presence like a complete siscon.
Madison smiled again, her eyes slightly wet. “So, you see, becoming pregnant would make me happy as well.”
“Ahem…” Oswald coughed. “Eh… yes. I’d recommend you… um… get her pregnant by the end of the month. However, don’t forget about Mako as well.”
“Mako?” Madison asked.
“Oh, nothing!” I immediately grabbed Madison and kissed her, eliciting a surprised moan.
She must have not heard that part, and I wasn’t ready to bring it up. Even though I was fifteen, I was already getting quite a lot of children. If something didn’t happen soon, I wouldn’t be able to afford it even if I wanted to. Maybe if I married Dia, she’d allow me to keep my harem and support us. Somehow, even casually thinking that made my heart hurt a little.
“S-so… I see you’ve finally sorted things out with Madison…” a tight voice caused me to pull away from Madison and glance over at Rose who was speaking. “Th-that’s good. A-and more babies too. Aunt Rose is happy. It’s good you’ve found a nice, young woman to satisfy your ne-needs…”
“R-rose!” I cried out, releasing Madison.
Rose was shaking slightly, her expression completely flat and her eyes lifeless. I ran over to Rose and gave her a hug and a kiss immediately. Apparently, the one who was having the hardest time with this development was my aunt. Even though I left for various reasons, I always returned home to Aunt Rose and the kids. Perhaps she had grown used to the idea of being my one and only at-home woman. While she didn’t hold the same level of jealousy as Mother would, she was still a woman in love. Naturally, if her lover brought home a newer, younger woman open to baring his children, she’d begin to feel a bit inadequate.
Madison folded her arms and puffed out her cheeks, slightly upset I had abandoned her all of a sudden to tend to Rose. After all, we were having a moment, and I suddenly ruined it to go kiss another woman. I cried tears as both women grabbed on to either arm, glaring at me angrily. Crap! What was I going to do? I turned to the only person in the room who could possibly understand my plight. Oswald raised an eyebrow, an odd grin on his face.
“To be young and stupid…” He shrugged.
That was the only advice my lawyer provided. Useless! Didn’t he understand this was a fragile time! I broke into tears while being chastised by my two women. Worst of all, I was only dealing with two women. That number would certainly grow larger!