Sonny Peltier walked slowly into the back of the jail where his son and his son's lover were once again being held. He couldn't believe the new charges, but the medical evidence was going to be difficult to prove wrong especially to a jury in this town. He had to hear the truth from his son and Jason. He knew this wouldn't have happened, it couldn't have, but he did need to hear it from them. A moment later he was standing just on the other side of the bars from the young men. "Boys, I told you that going out for dinner was a bad idea," he said quietly.
"Dad! Where's Priscilla? Is she alright?" Philip practically shouted as he jumped up.
"She'll be alright," Sonny told them both as he saw Jason's tear strained face look up at him. "Jason, Philip, what happened really? What they've charged you with, the evidence they've got...."
"It was Uncle... I mean Officer Dupuis, Mr. Peltier," Jason said sadly. "I never dreamed he would do something like this."
"What exactly is it that he did, boys?" Sonny asked. He was afraid to hear the answer, but he knew he had to for the sake of their case.
"Dad, he pulled me over when I wasn't doing anything wrong," Philip began. "He used a bullhorn to tell me to get out of the car and put my hands on my head."
"He told me to get out and do the same thing after that," Jason added. "He walked up to the car and looked in and saw Priscilla in the back seat. He told her to get in the back of his patrol car. He was waving his gun right in her face, so she did it."
"He made us strip down on the side of the road, Dad," Philip picked back up. "When we were naked, he handcuffed us to the car and took our clothes back to his cruiser. The next thing we know, his car is bouncing up and down."
"He hurt her, didn't he?" Jason asked emotionally.
"Priscilla has been raped, boys," Sonny confirmed. "The police report says that Officer Dupuis saw your car on the side of the road and that it was the one bouncing. When he investigated, he found you, Jason.... well, you can imagine what he is saying."
"He came back to us after a few minutes and he did a cavity search on us," Jason said softly. "He was very... thorough."
"He got Jason hard," Philip told his father. "Once Jason was erect, he put a soiled condom on him. It had blood on it."
"Well, first of all, I want you to know I believe you," Sonny assured the young men. "Libby and I know that you would never do this."
"Thank you, Mr. Peltier," Jason sighed.
"It's still Sonny or Dad, to you, Jason," Sonny insisted. "I told you we believe you. You're still family."
"You said you and Mom believe us, what about Priscilla?" Philip asked.
"Priscilla can't remember what happened," the man told them. "She can't remember a thing until she got to the hospital. Her mind seems to have blocked out the pain, but the whole night is missing from her mind along with it."
"She doesn't believe them, does she?" Jason cried.
"She's a very confused little girl right now," Sonny told them. "All she knows is that she's hurting, and she doesn't know why." Jason sobbed as Sonny continued. "You have to remember that she has had a rough life before she came to live with us. People that were supposed to love her have lied to her before," he said tenderly. "She will understand this at some point, I promise you. She doesn't want to believe them, I can tell you that. That's what seems to be hurting her the most right now. She doesn't want to believe that you did this."
"I swear I didn't," Jason wept. "I would never hurt a child."
"Especially a girl," Philip added with a smirk. Jason looked up in shock. Gradually all three of them began to giggle and then to laugh.
"Well, he does have a point," Jason admitted finally. That only increased the humor for all three men.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, boys, but this time I can't manage your bail," Sonny told them sadly. "Between the charges and the fact that we had to mortgage the house again for the last time...."
"Dad, you didn't tell me you had to...." Philip interrupted, but was cut off himself.
"I would do it again in a heartbeat, if I could, son," Sonny told him firmly. "I know you boys didn't do this. I will prove it somehow. The evidence is hard to combat in this town. Everyone here has already made up their minds, it seems."
"Yeah, we've noticed," Jason snorted.
"If only your father were still alive," Sonny told him. When he saw the look on Jason's face, he continued. "I was the one who convinced the State Police to assign your father here as an investigator into the corruption of the local establishment," he confessed. "I never dreamed I would get you as a son in law in the deal, but I will never complain. Not even now, do you hear me?" he asked both boys pointedly.
"Yes sir," they both answered, and then Philip and Jason both added, "Thanks, Dad." Sonny wiped a tear from his eye as he walked away. He knew the effort that Jason had just put into that last statement. Whether the boy had admitted it or not, Sonny knew that it was tough for him to call someone else Dad when he so obviously still missed his own so much. It was at that moment that his cell phone rang. "Who in the world would be calling me from South Carolina?" he wondered silently.
"Dixon, Jessie, could you come to the kitchen please," Aunt Pet asked the boys from outside their bedroom door. She didn't want to make them uncomfortable, so she didn't go in the room; she had simply knocked on the door. "Your grandmomma Amee wants to talk to you."
"We'll be there in a couple of minutes," one of the boys answered. Pet still wasn't sure which one was which just by hearing their voice. She thought that Jessie had answered, but she wasn't sure. If she had walked into the room, she would have discovered that she was correct.
Jessie had answered because he was awake. Dixon was still asleep. Jessie had bought him a t shirt for his last birthday that had said "Not a morning person doesn't begin to cover it." It was perfect for Dixie. He hated getting up in the morning. Well, that wasn't strictly true, Jessie admitted to himself. Part of Dixie used to wake up bright and cheery in the morning, just as that part did on Jessie, and every male in the history of the world.
Jessie lay in bed looking at his lover. He could definitely call Dixie that now. They had done things last night that they had never done before. Every bit of it had been incredibly awesome, too, he remembered with a satisfied sigh and a grin. He wouldn't have believed it was possible yesterday to love Dixie more than he already did. What Dixie had done, well, what they had done together last night proved that not only was it possible, it was definite. He felt more connected to Dixie this morning than he ever had before. He hoped Dixie felt the same way.
For his part, Dixon was awakening slowly that morning. He was aware that his boyfriend was staring at him. He just wasn't sure yet if it was a good thing or a bad thing. He was about to ask when Jessie noticed his open eyes.
"Good morning, sleepyhead," Jessie said with a smile. "Last night was so awesome."
"I thought so too," Dixon agreed with a yawn. "I really love you, Jessie."
"I love you, too, Dixie," Jessie told him. "Aunt Pet came up and asked us to come to the kitchen. She said Mamee wants to talk to us."
"I guess that means we have to get up," Dixon moaned.
"Well, it means we have to get out of bed," Jessie said with a wink. "I was up before she knocked on the door."
"I'm not complaining," Dixon giggled as he watched Jessie get out of bed and cross the room to their private bathroom. "What do you suppose Mamee wants to talk to us about?"
"She probably wants us to keep quiet at night," Jessie suggested with a giggle of his own accompanied by a blush. "Let's hurry up and shower and get down there, and we can find out for sure."
"You can go down after you shower," Dixon told him. "I think I'd rather get dressed and then go down."
"HA HA," Jesse retorted. "You know what I meant."
"Yeah, I did," his boyfriend told him. "You're just so easy to tease."
"Get in here and wash my back for me," Jessie said, shaking his head.
Once the boys were washed, which took a little longer than it would have a day before, they got dressed. The other clothes they had gotten at the mall yesterday were all really nice. Neither boy had ever shopped at some of the department stores that Mamee took them too. It took some convincing to get them to actually pick out clothes after they saw the prices. The old woman had insisted, and they had finally given in. As they went downstairs, they were both thinking the same thing, though. "He looks better without them."
"Good morning, lovebirds," Melvin called out as they walked into the kitchen. He laughed out loud as both blushed bright enough to stop traffic a mile away. "I'm just playing with you two, don't you go thinking we minded one bit hearing a little commotion last night." Of course this only served to deepen the boys' red tint.
"Melvin, you leave them babies alone," Grandmomma Annie Mae scolded. "They's just happy to be together. You and Pet used to be louder than that. Still are every once in a while," she added pointedly. This succeeded in getting Melvin quiet instantly. Pet on the other hand was a different matter.
"MOMMA!" she gasped. "I can't believe you talking like that in front of young'uns."
"Hush child," the older woman fussed. "You heard them boys last night. They ain't as innocent as they look, not by a long shot." The boys' blushes which had started to fade returned full force instantaneously. "Come on and eat something boys," Grandmomma told them. "You sure need some nourishment after all that racket last night."
"Don't you boys pay any attention to them," Mamee said as she walked up to them. "Your room is so far from anyone else's that we never hear a thing from you." Jesse and Dixon relaxed visibly. "Why if one of you hadn't bumped the intercom that we had put on the bedside table when Dixon's mother was so sick, we wouldn't have ever known that you were feeling better." The blushes returned with record speed as their mouths dropped in shock. "Melvin is going to remove that device today so we can all sleep a little more peacefully tonight. You don't have to sleep, of course, but at least we won't hear it."
"I guess they told you about the intercom," Huey commented as he walked into the room and looked at their shining red faces. "Nice performance, by the way," he whispered as he got closer. "I'm jealous, of course."
"You'll find yourself a nice young man soon enough," Mamee told him. "You stop talking to strangers on that computer of yours and start looking around locally and it will happen even faster."
"You can't talk to people on the computer!" Jessie cried out. "Never talk to anyone on the computer. They just lie to you and then they show up and they... they...." He couldn't finish the sentence as his sobs took over. He fell into Dixon's arms and wept. Neither boy noticed at first that everyone in the room had joined their embrace.
"You don't have to tell us anything that you're not ready for," Pet whispered as Jessie and Dixon looked up into the loving faces of their new family.
"You need to know about this, Huey," Jessie said more firmly than he obviously felt. He then told them all everything that had happened to him before he and Dixon got together. The women were all weeping when he finished.
"Well, no wonder you love your brother so much," Huey whispered.
"Your brother is the very reason I asked you down here so early," Mamee told the boys. "I had a call from Little Donny Leggette this morning. He's going out to Arkansas with his sweet wife today. They are going to be helping Philip's parents get you boys back together."
"Little Donny?" Dixon asked. "You said that he's married."
"Donny was one of my former students," Mamee explained. "I'm afraid I tend to call them by the names I used when they were students no matter how old they are now." She sighed as she continued. "Donny was in my last class before I retired. He was such a sweet boy. Even then he knew he wanted to be a lawyer. I promised him that if he made it through school with the highest marks he could get, I would let him be my attorney. He surpassed even my fondest hopes for him. He was an honor student all the way. He was one of those children that just needed someone to believe in him to give him the courage to believe in himself. He was the best attorney I ever had, until he became a judge. I haven't found anyone I like enough to replace him yet."
"He's got a son just a little older than you boys," Pet added. "Yes, he's already on the guest list for your party," she smiled before they asked. "It's not all old farts and politicians that are going to be there."
"There's going to be politicians there?" Dixon asked. "Why would they want to be at our party?"
"Because I'm the richest old lady around this neck of the woods, and they want my money for their campaign funds," Mamee complained.
"They all going to be wanting to meet you boys, too," Grandmomma added. "Mrs. Amee ain't gonna live forever, no matter how cussed stubborn she is."
"Oh, I'm stubborn?" Mamee gasped in fake shock. "I like that, you calling me stubborn, you old mule."
"I ain't stubborn," Grandmomma replied quickly. "I ain't no mule, neither, you heifer."
The vision of these two old women calling each other names was all that was needed for Jessie and Dixon to forget the somber mood they had been in a moment earlier. In fact, they, like Huey, were practically rolling on the floor in laughter. Melvin was fighting the overwhelming urge to join the boys, and Pet was obviously conflicted. She didn't know whether to laugh with the boys or scold them, for that matter she thought about fussing at her mother and Mrs. Amee. Grown women of their age acting schoolgirls on a playground. In the end, Pet gave up and laughed with the menfolk.
Sonny answered his phone a little hesitantly. If this was some gimmick call from some fly by night con artist trying to get his credit card number or his bank account, he was going to lose control. He just knew it. He could feel the stress tightening his chest, and knew he should take it easy, but the boys needed him. His wife and daughter needed him. He had to remain strong for everyone around him.
"Hello, this is Sonny Peltier," he said into the phone.
"Good morning, Mr. Peltier," a man's voice said at the other end of the connection. "My name is Donald Leggette, and I have been asked to assist you in any way that I can."
"Assist me?" Sonny asked in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"Please forgive me for not explaining better," Donald apologized. "Mrs. Amee Whatley Wiggins, a former client of mine and close friend, has asked that I contact you and offer my services as an attorney for your son Philip and his friend, Jason Blankenship."
"While I appreciate the offer, I have to ask," Sonny began.
"Mrs. Wiggins is the great grandmother of one of the boys that your son and Jason are accused of molesting," Donald explained. "She has custody of the boy you knew as Dixon Pickhinke, and at the moment, she also has custody of Jason's younger brother, Jessie."
"You say the boys are in her custody?" Sonny asked. He was suddenly glad he had not started his car and left the parking lot of the police station. He surely would have caused an accident when he heard this stranger mention the two younger boys. "Are the boys safe? Are they alright?"
"I can assure you the boys are both fine," Donald promised. "If I know Mrs. Amee, they are being spoiled absolutely rotten with the exception that their grammar will never be the same again." He added more seriously, "Jessie and Dixon were rescued by members of Clan Short of Vulcan. I will explain them later, for now let me say that both children were near death at the time of their rescue. Thanks to some pretty amazing young people, both boys will be fine. They are both healing and recovering in Mrs. Amee's capable care with the help of her extended family."
"Thank God," Sonny whispered. "We have heard conflicting stories about Jessie and Dixon and have had no luck getting straight answers from anyone."
"If you would be so kind as to give me the name and address of a hotel in your area where my wife and I can stay, I will gladly give you contact information so the boys can all at least speak with one another again," Donald said.
"I'm not sure you will be very welcome at any of the hotels in town, once word gets out that you are in town to help my son and his partner, Jason," Sonny said sadly. He then realized what he had said, and quickly spoke again. "Mr. Leggette, there is one thing you should know," he began.
"I was aware of the relationship between Phillip and Jason," Donald cut him off. "I promise you, it's not a problem for me."
"Then by all means, please meet me at my home," Sonny offered. After giving the address, he asked, "How long will it take you to get here from South Carolina?"
"Oh, a few seconds after I share the address with our... um travel agents, so to speak," Donald replied nonchalantly. At the silence from the other end of the phone conversation, he added, "I have a few friends with connections in Starfleet that will be glad to help me get there quickly so that we can start building our defense."
"I'll call Libby and tell her to expect you," Sonny said quietly. He was more than a little shocked by this turn of events. "I look forward to meeting you."
"The feeling is mutual," Donald agreed. "Margaret and I will be there shortly."
The phone conversation ended, Sonny quickly called his wife. "Honey, you're not going to believe this. Are you sitting down?"
"What's happened to the boys?" she gasped.
"They're alright for now," Sonny told her quickly. "I just had the most amazing phone call."
"You scared me half to death," Libby scolded him. "You called me to tell me about a phone call?"
"Honey, Jessie and Dixon are both fine," Sonny had to cut to the chase or he would be sleeping on the couch tonight. "They are living in South Carolina with Dixon's great grandmother."
"I thought he didn't have any other family," she questioned.
"I did too," Sonny admitted. "I will be home in a few minutes, if the doorbell rings, go ahead and answer it."
"Sonny, I don't feel like talking to the neighbors," she started.
"It won't be the neighbors," he told her. "There is another attorney on Philip and Jason's case."
"Who.... What..... How....."
"I will explain when I get home, or he will," Sonny told her. "I have to go now so I can drive. I'll see you in a few minutes."
Libby had barely hung up the phone when the doorbell rang. She went to look out the window first, despite what her husband had just told her. She saw a couple standing on the porch. They both had graying hair, but didn't look any older than she and Sonny. The point was they were strangers, not neighbors. She opened the door a moment later.
"Mrs. Peltier, I presume," the man said with a warm smile.
"Please call me Libby," Libby answered as she gestured them inside. "Welcome to our home. I'm afraid my overworked and overexcited husband forgot to mention your names."
"Not a problem, Libby," Donald replied. "I am Donald Leggette and this is my wife Margie."
"It's very nice to meet you," Libby said as they sat down in the living room. "Sonny mentioned that you're here to help with Philip and Jason's case."
"Yes, are they home? I'd really like to meet them," Donald told her.
"I'm afraid not," Libby answered, wiping a tear as she began to tell the new attorney everything that had happened over the last several days.
First of all, I would like to thank Jeff and AC for putting up with my questions about story timelines and for helping me figure out what day it was (in the story, I'm neither that blonde nor that old.. Ok maybe I am both, but that's not the point). Next I want to point out to all of those concerned that the hurting of innocent people was necessary for the plot, and is now concluded. The next chapters should deal with healing some of those hurts. The only pain inflicted will be on those who so badly deserve it. Please stick with me through this troublesome time of the story and it will get better I assure you.
Thanks again Jeff and AC for all your help and for the loan of a few characters now and then. (That's a hint for you folks that the guest appearances aren't over.) Keep reading if you're a reader, and maybe try your hand at writing sometime. It is fun. If you're a writer, keep up the good work. I'm a reader too, you know.
Laissez les bon temps roullez!