The gallery waits in breathless anticipation for the verdict.
The tension in the front row is palpable as Gannon, Giselle and Connor await the words that will determine the fate of their friend and daughter.
Jessy's cousins lean on one another for support.
A few minutes earlier, during the prosecutor's closing arguments, the gallery wasn't so quiet and attentive. Lucien's words remind Jessy's friends and family of the horrors she experienced in the home of Noah Fuller.
Giselle, having lived through it with Jes, is especially affected by the prosecutor's attempt to paint Jes as a hardened criminal.
Alexia is also particularly affected by Jessy's story, as her twin Natalia was the girl's birth mother and was responsible for dumping her at birth. Coco seeks comfort and support from her mother.
The grand dame of the St. Clair family seems lost in her own thoughts as the lawyers' statements remind her of her own responsibility in this matter.
Peter and Darius exchange concerned looks over the head of a very distraught Colleen.
Tender-hearted Etsuko could be seen openly weeping in the back row.
But now, as the jury foreperson pauses before uttering the words that will seal Jes's fate, all tears have been dried and everyone in the courtroom waits expectantly, barely breathing. The atmosphere in the room crackles with tension.
Finally, the moment for which everyone has been waiting.
"The jury finds the defendant . . . ."
". . . not guilty by reason of self-defense."
The courtroom explodes with applause, excited chatter, hugs and high fives.
"Hey Darryl -- here comes Yummy on the run. Better grab your camera!"
"Yeah. I figured as much. It's under my chair."
"Oh, Mother. I am so relieved! Now maybe we can begin to try to make it up to her . . . what Natalia did."
"Ranger! Not guilty! She said 'not guilty'!"
Detective Joseph swivels around to face his partner, who shrugs as if to say "We did what we could."
In the very back corners of the gallery, there are two whose relief is rivaled only by Giselle, Gannon and Connor.
There is jubilation in the front of the courtroom as well. Keira throws her arms around a stunned Jes.
"I told you everything would be all right!"
At the other table, the mood is not quite as upbeat.
But there is celebration in the jury box, where decorum has flown out the window. The foreperson, however, does not participate. Her eyes are glued to the prosecutor, hoping that he will at least glance her way.
"Court is adjourned. The defendant is free to go."
"Well, Cochran . . . it was a good run, but we never really had a chance."
Look at me. Look at me! What do I have to do to get you to look at me!
The courtroom bustles with activity as the judge returns to his quarters.
As Lucien shakes hands with his co-counsel, the jury foreperson lingers, hoping for a word with him.
Keira helps a weak-kneed Jes up from her chair and begins to guide her toward the gallery and Giselle's waiting arms.
Clutching her stomach, Jes grabs the railing for support as her knees begin to buckle.
Giselle jumps up with arms outstretched and moves quickly toward Jes.
As some of the gallery rushes toward Jes, others begin to make discreet departures.
"Mother? You're leaving??"
Suddenly, as she pushes through the gate to the gallery, Jes collapses and falls to the floor.
Jessy's cousins try to push through the crowd to reach her side.
To be continued . . .