For all those that think it is about time, here are the final scenes of the Arkansas side of this story. Many thanks to D&B, Ilu, ACFan, StoryLover, MultiMapper, and anyone I am forgetting for their invaluable help getting this chapter written.
Donald Leggette walked into the study of the Peltier home and pulled out his cell phone. What he had experienced walking around town today had convinced him that he would indeed need to call in the big guns. This town wouldn't believe the truth unless he rammed it down their self-righteous throats. Fortunately, he knew just who to call for that.
"Clan Short Headquarters - Seth speaking; how can we help you, your honor?" the teen voice spoke.
"Hello, Seth," Don replied. "I need to call in a favor for one of the families in the Clan."
"Your own or the Wiggins?" Seth prompted.
"The Wiggins," he answered. He then proceeded to roughly outline the situation. Before he was finished, the teen cut him off.
"Someone will be there to handle that," the boy assured him.
"How will I recognize him?" Don asked.
"Easy, just look for the purple hair and purple eyes," Seth replied, his grin evident in his voice.
"Don't forget the cute grin, Uncle Seth!" a young voice yelled from the background.
"Purple hair? Purple eyes?" the man wondered aloud. "I want to shock the town, not give them a coronary."
"Dylan will be very well behaved, I'm sure," Seth assured the man. "How much trouble can a newborn cause?" With that the teen thanked the judge for calling and then ended the call.
"What have I gotten myself into now?" Don asked himself staring at the phone in his hand. "A newborn with purple hair and purple eyes, and he's going to break this case? If I hadn't met Cory and Sean myself, I would be really worried right now. I might even wind up talking to myself."
He walked back out to the family room and found that there were some new faces in the room. Two were familiar; Mrs. Beasley and Carolyn from the bank. He could guess from them that the young man with them was Carolyn's boyfriend. His presence implied that the other young men around the room were also teammates and friends from the college.
"So I told old Raisin that if you guys are off the team, there is no team," Carolyn's boyfriend was saying.
"You guys shouldn't ruin your futures for us," Jason told him. "I mean, how are you going to pay for school if you lose your swimming scholarship?"
"I'll tell you how he can," Mrs. Beasley announced. "As president of the bank, I am empowered to endow scholarships for deserving students." She smiled at the students gathered in the room. "I doubt I could find a more deserving group of guys at any college in the country." A round of cheers greeted the woman's announcement.
Sonny saw Don and walked over to him. "These are some of the boys' friends from school. They all got together and walked off the swim team when they heard that Jason and Philip had been removed from the team and their athletic scholarships revoked. Some of these boys won't be able to finish the semester without that money and quite a few more won't be back next semester." The man wiped a tear from his eye as he added, "I love them all for doing it, but I can't let these young men sacrifice themselves like this. I just don't know what I can do to help."
"I do," Don grinned. He looked up and called Mrs. Beasley over to join them. As she made her way through the room full of college students, he also grabbed Jason and led them all back into the study. Looking at the banker first, he asked, "How much money do you think you will be able to get for those boys out there through your scholarship funds?"
"That is the sad part," she admitted. "It will be no more than 200 dollars per semester for each boy. I wish I could do more."
"Perhaps you can very soon," Don said cryptically. He looked next at Jason. "I need to know some idea of how much it will take to keep each of those boys out there in school until graduation. Can you find that out for me? Get me just a ball park estimate from each boy as quickly as you can. Come back in here when you have the total."
Jason left the room and the other two adults looked at Don questioningly. He took out his cell phone again and made another call. It rang for some time as usual before it was answered.
"Hello, Donny dear," the woman's voice said pleasantly.
"I have news for you, Mrs. Amee," the judge said, feeling like a fifth grader again, just the way he always had around the woman who had taught him in that grade. "Jason and Philip are set to appear in court at nine o'clock tomorrow morning."
"Yes, dear, and you handled it very well," Mrs. Amee said simply. There was a pause and then the old woman added, "Oh, I wasn't supposed to say that, so just ignore it. Now go ahead and set up the scholarships for those sweet boys just the way you are thinking. You know that I have complete faith in your judgment. Goodnight, Donny," she added before hanging up.
Don stared at the phone in total confusion. It took Sonny poking him to get him back to the world around him. Both Sonny and Mrs. Beasley were staring at him with concern on their faces. He blushed slightly and waved their attention away.
"I'm fine, I'm not so sure about Mrs. Amee at the moment, though," he told them. "The point is, I have the authorization I wanted for what I am about to do."
"Well, what are you about to do, Uncle Don?" Philip said as he walked into the room followed by all the other boys. "Aunt Margie said we were all to call her that, so is it OK to call you Uncle Don?"
"It's just fine, Philip," Don agreed with a smile. "What I am doing is arranging a full scholarship for the rest of your teammates until they all graduate." There was a collective gasp from the boys in the room. "I will be setting up a scholarship fund at Mrs. Beasley's bank, to be administered by her, if she agrees." At this point he turned to the woman in question to see her already nodding.
"I would be honored to take that responsibility," she said, wiping tears from behind her glasses. "My husband and I were never able to have children, so I never thought I would get the chance to send anyone off to school. Now it seems I have a whole team."
"Three cheers for Mama Beasley," one of the boys shouted. They all gathered around the banker and group hugged her.
"If you boys could give me some idea of how much money we will need to endow the scholarship with, Mama Beasley and Uncle Don will make sure you get the educations you deserve," Don said with a broad smile. Jason handed over some scraps of paper which Don scanned quickly and then shared with Sonny and Mrs. Beasley. He held one up and asked whose it was. A shy dark-haired young man got pushed forward.
"I'm sorry if I asked for too much," the obviously frightened and nervous swimmer stammered with a noticeable accent. "I could try to get by… I mean I could make do with…."
"This isn't about getting by, or making do, JB," Sonny told him. "I assume that is what you were getting at, Don?"
"That is exactly what I am getting at," Don confirmed. "This amount is the exact amount of your swimming scholarship, isn't it?" he asked the young man.
Sonny, seeing the young man nod, spoke again. "Just because you're named John the Baptist, that doesn't mean that you have to eat locusts and honey while you are in school."
"John the Baptist?" Mrs. Beasley and Don questioned in stereo.
"My mother was from Louisiana originally," the swimmer explained as he blushed. "My name is Jean-Baptiste Dolfis."
"The newspapers have called him Dolfis the Dolphin, because he has been one of the best swimmers on the team, but the guys all call him JB," Sonny added for the boy, who was clearly uncomfortable with the attention he was getting. He turned to face JB again and asked, "I don't like to put you on the spot, but, how much money do you have left from your parents' life insurance settlements?"
"Mama's insurance was just enough to pay for her and Papa's funerals," JB answered quietly. "Papa's insurance wouldn't pay off since he killed himself."
"What?" "Why didn't you tell us?" "Dude, you should have said something." These were just a few of the responses from his team.
"When was the last full meal you ate?" Margie asked the now weeping young man. She got a shrug as a response.
"Dunno," he mumbled. "Mama, she always said I eat like a bird. I don't need big meals," he tried to reason, but just at that moment his stomach growled.
"You can have him back for business after he's eaten," Libby announced as she and Margie dragged JB from the room. "Come on in the kitchen, boys; it's time to clean out the fridge."
"FOOD!!!" the horde of walking appetites yelled as they followed the two women to the kitchen.
"Now that part of being a mother I did not miss," Mrs. Beasley laughed.
Mrs. Amee hung up her 'annoying little contraption', as she called the cell phone, and looked at her companion as he laughed. "Would you please share what you find so amusing with the rest of us, Donny?"
Donald Leggette straightened up and blushed a little, but he answered in his best schoolboy voice. "I was thinking last night, I mean tonight, that you were going senile." His former teacher regarded him with a raised eyebrow that would have done Spock proud. "I couldn't understand why you were so calm about the court trial being this morning, I mean tomorrow."
"Mikyvis magic," Jessie beamed from his big brother's arms where he was getting another cuddle.
"I don't care how it happened, little bro," Jason told the contented little attachment he had gained to his body that morning, or was it the next morning? "I'm just glad that we are together again, and you are all right, both of you," he said, pulling Dixon into their hug as well. "It looks like a couple of other people are glad it all worked out the way it did, too," he added, nodding toward the figures of two young men walking around the compound outside the window.
One of the two figures that had been indicated felt like he was floating on air as he thought back over the last 24 hours of his life.
Layton Miers looked at the caller ID on his cell phone before he answered, as he always did. He was shocked to see that it showed Clan Short Headquarters as the caller. His mind was racing as he spoke into the phone.
"Deputy Layton, can you go to Arkansas with us for Jason and Philip's trial?" Dixon asked quickly. "We got told not to go without security backup, and we know you better than any of these guys, plus they're all busy and stuff, and we didn't want to bother them, and…."
"Hello to you too, Dixon," Layton laughed. "Yes, I can go to Arkansas with you; when is the trial?" He blinked in shock as Dixon, Jessie, Mrs. Amee, and a little tiny kid with purple hair suddenly appeared in the room with him. He quickly grabbed the sheet on his bed to cover up with, as he was lying there in his underwear.
"Young man, at my age, you have nothing of interest to me," Mrs. Amee told him with a dismissive wave. "Dixon and Jessie only have eyes for one another, and somehow I get the feeling that those covers won't hide a thing from little Dylan here. We would like to get a move on, though, so that we aren't too tired when we get back to Orlando, so if you would be so kind as to get up and get dressed, I would appreciate it."
"I can help," the kid apparently named Dylan announced happily. Layton suddenly found himself standing and fully dressed. The boy walked closer to Layton and whispered, "That's just a mole by the way, but I can get rid of it for you if you really want me to." The young man's hand instinctively covered his inner thigh very high on his leg. When he looked down at the same time, he realized that he was wearing a uniform he had never seen before. "That's the Clan Security uniform. Your uncle already said it was ok for you to transfer. You are officially assigned to the Wiggins family, as head of security for the Internet Predator Patrol."
"Wait, you said we were going to a trial? What kind of court has a trial at nine o'clock at night?" Layton asked. By the time he was finished speaking, however, he looked around to see that they were all now standing in a garage and the sun was up and shining brightly. His police training kicked in instantly as he noticed out of the corner of his eye that there were some kids sneaking around a car in the driveway. They had knives in their hands and were kneeling by the tires. "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?" he yelled at them. The kids all scattered and disappeared into the neighborhood.
"What's going on out here? Who are you?" a man called from the door of the house. Another man pushed past him.
"Mrs. Amee, it is a pleasure to see you again," he greeted the woman with a hug. A woman came out of the house and joined them in the embrace.
"Donny, Margie," Mrs. Amee smiled. "I would like you to meet my great-grandson Dixon and his boyfriend Jessie." Just at that moment two voices could be heard inside the house yelling.
"Jase? Phil?" Jessie whispered. Before anyone could blink, the two college boys were kneeling on the floor of the garage with their arms around each other and Jessie. All three of them were weeping openly. "I've missed you guys so much. I got told that you guys were dead," Jessie gasped out sobbing.
"We thought we had lost you too, Little Bro," Jason replied as he fell onto the floor of the garage, pulling his brother on top of him and holding the boy tightly. "We wouldn't have known any different at all if it weren't for Uncle Don."
"Don't think we weren't just as worried about you, Dixon," Philip said as he grabbed Dixon and spun him around in a hug. "You look terrific, healthier than I ever remember seeing you."
"I am better than ever," Dixon replied happily. The boy grinned at his great grandmother. "Mamee, this is Philip. Phil, this is my great grandmother, Amee Whatley Wiggins."
"It's an honor to meet you, Mrs. Wiggins," Philip said offering his hand.
"Fiddlesticks," Mrs. Amee told him as she pulled him into a hug. "You're family to Dixon, so that makes you family to me. You call me Mamee, you hear?" She released Philip and turned to face Sonny but spoke to Don Leggette. "Is this the man you plan to replace yourself with, Donny?"
"Mrs. Amee, may I present Madison Peltier and his wife Elizabeth," Margie announced. "Sonny, Liz, this is Mrs. Amee Wiggins."
"It is an honor to meet you, Mrs. Wiggins," Sonny began.
"Well, you are starting off on the wrong foot already," Mrs. Amee said with a scowl. She couldn't hold it long though. She broke into a grin as she embraced the couple. "I'm Mrs. Amee or Mamee, you hear?"
"Yes, ma'am," Sonny and Liz said in unison. A small nervous face peeked out from behind them.
"Hi Priscilla," Dixon said from his cuddle with Jason, Philip, and Jessie.
Mrs. Amee knelt down and beckoned the girl closer. When she stepped out from behind her parents, the old lady held her hands out in an open hug. "I believe you are the prettiest little girl I've ever seen, child. I'll bet all the boys just fall all over themselves around you."
Priscilla blushed and looked away a little sadly. "The only boy that I ever wanted turned out to want another boy," she mumbled.
"I'm really sorry about that, Priscilla," Dixon told her. "I wanted to like you that way. You know I did."
"It's ok, Dixon," the girl shrugged. "You can't help being the way you are. It's too bad you weren't a twin, though," she added with a grin that was both bashful and mischievous at the same time.
Mrs. Amee sat back onto the floor of the garage suddenly. Dixon rushed to her side.
"Mamee?!" he asked concerned. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, sweetheart, but Priscilla just reminded me of something I had just about forgotten in all the years since it happened," the old woman answered. "Dixon, you were a twin. Your twin was stillborn, though." She looked over at Priscilla and chuckled. "I don't think it would have helped you, though, dear. Dixon's twin was a girl."
"I don't know," Priscilla said thoughtfully. "At least I would have had a friend to help me pick on these guys." Everyone laughed and then they all went into the house to get ready for the court appointment.
When they came back out, they realized that the kids Layton had scared off apparently weren't that scared off after all. All four tires of the car were flat. Sonny just shook his head sadly. Liz looked ready to cry. Margie held her hand on one side and Mrs. Amee took the other.
"Why are you all upset over flat tires?" Dylan asked. "It's not like we were all going to fit in there anyway."
"You have a very good point, little one," Liz said as she started to laugh slightly. "I'm just not sure how we will get them fixed."
"Oh, that's easy," the little purple haired imp said with a giggle. Instantly the tires were good as new.
"HOW….What… Did you…." Sonny stammered, pointing from the boy to the tires and back again.
"I've learned not to question anything about Clan Short," Don told him with a smile.
"A wise idea indeed," Mrs. Amee agreed. She looked down at the cute little boy and nodded. Within less than the blink of an eye, they were all standing in a hallway of the courthouse. Mrs. Amee and Layton were prepared for the reactions this time. Mrs. Amee was just in time to help Liz to a seat as Layton assisted Sonny.
"That wasn't a transport from Starfleet," Don said suspiciously.
"Mikyvis Moving Company," Dixon and Jessie giggled.
"I'm going to heed my own advice and not ask," Don said holding up his hands in surrender. Just at that moment, another man walked up to them.
"Surrendering already, city slicker?" the man sneered. "That's probably a good idea. Those clients of yours are guilty as sin, and everyone in this town knows it." The man looked Layton up and down before saying, "A little early for Halloween costumes." His attention was drawn to Mrs. Amee next as she responded to his obvious attitude.
"I do believe we are still in the United States, even if we are in the most backward part of the most backward state," Mrs. Amee sneered. "That means that in that court room, these boys are innocent until proven guilty. I can assure that will not happen either, as they are innocent." The man looked as if he was going to say something else, but the dreaded look of a teacher at a disobedient child silenced him quickly enough.
Just at that moment, a crowd of people entered the hallway from the elevator. It was the guys from the swim team at the college. There was a hasty round of introductions, and more than one person noticed that when Layton and J.B. shook hands, they held on for more than a little too long. They both blushed and looked away hoping that no one had seen this, but the Cheshire cat grins on Jessie and Dixon's faces told a different story.
"Shall we go in?" Sonny asked the family. Jason and Philip both looked nervous, but when they looked at each other and then at Dixon, Jessie, and Priscilla, they got a determined expression on their faces. They nodded and the family walked in.
Moments later the room was called to order as Judge Diehl walked in and sat down. "Be seated," he told the crowded room. "I want to begin right off the bat by letting you all know that I will not tolerate interruptions from the gallery. One peep from you people and you will all find yourselves out in the hall; am I clear?" He looked at the prosecutor's table first. "Are you ready, Ben?"
"Yes, your honor," the man from the hallway earlier answered.
The judge now turned to look at the defense table and frowned. "Mr. Leggette, you were warned about theatrics in my courtroom," he said sternly. "What is that little boy doing sitting at your table?"
"I'm going to settle the case," Dylan answered with a proud grin.
"You will do no such thing," the judge responded. "What you will do is take a seat behind that banister where you belong and you will shut your mouth. This is a courtroom in real life, not some stupid television show from Orlando. Kids today don't know their place."
"Hey, what's wrong with Orlando?" Dylan protested. He studied the judge for a moment and then said, "No wonder your grandkids never want to visit you. You're a grouch."
"What did you just say?" the judge snapped.
"I said your grandkids are afraid of you," Dylan answered as he suddenly popped into existence sitting on the top of the judge's desk. There were gasps all around the room. One woman actually passed out. The judge himself practically fell over backwards in shock. "You don't have to be a judge all the time, you know," Dylan pointed out as if nothing were happening around him. "They just want to know that you love them."
"This is neither the time nor the place to discuss my personal life," the judge said quietly. He wanted to be mad at this purple haired little rascal, but the boy's words had an uncanny truth about them. He had begun to wonder why his son's children never came over. The man shook his head and determined to focus on the court case. "We are here to determine the guilt or innocence of two young men on very serious charges."
"You already know they didn't do it," Dylan told the man.
"What I know is not the issue," the judge said shortly. The man shook his head and asked the ceiling, "Why am I arguing with a child in my courtroom?" He looked at the uniformed guard beside the witness stand and ordered, "Bailiff, remove this urchin from my desk and from my courtroom."
"He can't do that," Dylan giggled.
"Why can't I?" the bailiff asked gruffly. Dylan disappeared again and then reappeared, this time sitting on the prosecutor's table. This time it was the prosecutor who was falling out of his chair. The woman who had fainted before did so again. He recovered quickly and tried to grab the boy. The purple haired munchkin simply reappeared in the witness box.
"Because I won't let you, that's why," Dylan answered simply.
"I insist that you leave," the judge ordered. "This is no place for children."
"Jessie, Dixon, and Priscilla are children, and they have to be here," Dylan pointed out. "Don't you think that if you don't want kids in courtrooms, you should do more to stop people from doing bad things to them?" There were more gasps from the room as some people called out their agreement with the statement, and others argued against it. "If it's just my size that's the problem for you, I can fix that," Dylan giggled. The little boy metamorphosed into a full grown adult, while retaining his purple hair. There were a lot more gasps of shock from the room this time, including the group that Dylan had brought to the courthouse. "Now will you let me stay? Are you ready to listen now?" The dumbfounded judge merely nodded. Dylan whirled around suddenly and pointed at the deputy that had raped Priscilla. "Time for you to be here," he said as he and the deputy that had arrested Jase and Phill suddenly changed places. The man jerked in surprise, but found that he was unable to leave the chair.
"What the hell is going on here?" the man yelled. "Let me out of this chair," he demanded.
"You don't worry about getting out of that chair until I tell you to step down," the judge snapped. "Are you quite done with the magic show?" he asked Dylan. "May we proceed with the trial now?"
"Sure, that's what we're here for, isn't it?" Dylan asked as he shifted back to his normal childlike appearance. "But I'm still going to help out," he added.
"It seems that we would be unable to stop you, so just try to keep the parlor tricks to a minimum," the judge sighed as he wondered when he had lost control of his courtroom.
"You should have Uncle Don talk to this guy first," the little Mikyvis told the judge. "Uncle Don, ask him what happened to Priscilla," Dylan suggested.
There was another round of shocked noises as the deputy began his carefully rehearsed testimony. He assumed that the gasps he heard were due to the sensitive nature of the testimony he was giving. What the deputy could not see was the large viewing screen that had suddenly popped into place on the wall behind him. As he began telling his lies about finding Jason and Philip raping Philip's little sister, that screen showed what had really happened, complete with subtitles of everything that had been said. The judge had to fight to maintain his composure, but he managed to keep quiet. The audience in the gallery could not. Just as the judge warned them, they suddenly found themselves standing in the hallway. Dylan just grinned at the judge, who nodded somewhat grudgingly, but appreciatively.
"With your honor's permission, I will now ask the deputy about the night of the attack on Dixon and Jessie," Sonny said as he stood up. Judge Diehl consented and watched the screen behind the man's head. It showed the deputy giving Dixon's kidnapper a wad of money and kissing her before she drove away, all while the man sat in the stand and said that he had hunted the woman as a material witness and had been unable to find her.
"Your honor, may I question the witness about other incidents involving these defendants?" Don asked.
"You certainly may," Judge Diehl replied.
"Your honor, I was not prepared to answer any other questions not directly pertaining to this case," the deputy said nervously. Somehow he knew something was going on, but he couldn't quite figure out what it was.
"You will answer the questions," the judge told him.
"Your honor, this witness should be advised of his rights and given the chance to seek legal counsel," the prosecutor spoke up.
"He don't need an attorney," Dylan said icily. "He has already been convicted of enough crimes now to warrant a death penalty."
"What's this?" Judge Diehl demanded. "What conviction? Whose court, and under whose authority?"
"My authority," Dylan said as he instantly changed into official clan robes. "I am empowered by Clan Short of Vulcan under the terms of the Safe Haven Act to pass judgment on this man."
"You ain't got nothing on me," the deputy shouted. "What are you talking about, you little freak?"
"Tell us what you know of the murder of Jessie and Jason's parents," Dylan snapped back.
"I don't have to answer that," the man sneered. Even as he spoke, however, the view screen behind him showed him paying the man who had shown up that terrible night. The subtitles revealed that he had even told the man that it would be preferred if Jessie's parents were killed, but to keep Jessie alive at least until the deputy got there to have some fun too.
"Now tell us what you know of Carey Dunlap," Dylan said firmly.
"That was the name of the boy that I talked to online," Jessie gasped.
"I have no idea what you are talking about," the deputy sneered. The view screen showed him typing into his computer while he recorded the webcam show that Jessie was giving him.
"He didn't sell the videos," Dylan reassured Jessie, who looked like he wanted to crawl under a rock and die of embarrassment. "He kept them for his own private collection."
"Collection?" the prosecutor asked.
"Well duh. You don't think this was his first time, do you?" Dylan retorted. "He has videos of several other children in town as well."
"I wasn't alone in this, you know," the deputy yelled out, as he now finally realized that he was in big trouble. "I'm not taking the rap for all of this alone." He then proceeded to spill the beans about all of the corruption in the sheriff's office. As he implicated someone from the office, that person suddenly appeared in the courtroom. It was when the sheriff himself was popped in by the purple-haired imp, as the judge was secretly referring to Dylan that things got really exciting.
The man was stunned to find himself suddenly in another place, but he recovered quickly; a little too quickly. Two people in the room saw what he was doing in time to take action. J. B. dove down the row of seats beside him, taking Mrs. Amee, Dixon, and Jessie to the floor with him. Layton shoved Libby and Margie down behind him, while at the same time pulling his new phaser from his side. His heroism cost him valuable seconds, though, and the sheriff was able to fire several times before Layton could get off a shot that stunned the sheriff.
Slowly people began to settle back down and take stock of the room. The judge's chair had a bullet hole in it, but fortunately he had ducked just in time and was unhurt. The man on the witness stand had not been quick enough to get out of the way, though. As the body of the deputy fell out of the chair to the ground, Priscilla yelled out.
"NOOO!!!" the girl screamed. "It's not fair. He can't die that way." She ran forward before anyone could stop her and started kicking the dead man in what would be a living man's most vulnerable spot. She stopped after eight or nine blows and ran to the arms of her mother. "It's not fair. He needed to pay for what he did."
"He will pay for eternity, sweetheart," Libby assured the weeping girl.
"Folks, I believe we have seen enough at this point," Judge Diehl announced. He looked at the prosecutor's table to see the man still hiding under the desk. "Ben, I think you can come out now."
"Actually, I can't," Ben Locke answered with a hiss of obvious pain. "I seem to have a bullet in my leg."
Dylan walked over to the man and put his small hand on the man's leg. "No bullet, just a hole," he told the prosecutor. A moment later, he grinned up at the man's face. "All better." The boy leaned in closer and whispered, but did so loudly, "I left you a scar so you could brag about it, like you do your other ones." The man blushed slightly as he stood up, testing his weight on that leg carefully.
"Your honor, given what we have experienced here today, I would like to move that all charges be dropped against these boys," Ben said looking over at Jason and Philip. "I would also like to apologize to them both personally and professionally. I have been a bullheaded, obnoxious s.o.b. and I was very, very wrong." He walked over to Mrs. Amee and took her hand and kissed it like an old fashioned Southern gentleman. "Dear lady, I thank you for calling me down as I should have been."
"I'm a retired teacher," Mrs. Amee smiled. "It's an occupational side effect that I call a youngster to answer for his or her misbehavior."
The judge dismissed everyone from the courtroom once Starfleet security arrived to take command of law enforcement in the county until other local arrangements could be made. Jessie and Dixon started yawning a bit. Libby raised an eyebrow at this.
"How could anyone be sleepy after all that excitement?" she asked. "I'm so on edge right now; I can barely stop myself from shaking like a leaf."
"We've been awake since yesterday morning," Dixon answered with another yawn.
"I can take you back to last night so you can all get a good night's sleep in just a bit," Dylan answered.
"Do we want to know what that means?" Sonny asked.
"Probably not," Jessie answered. "Just go with the flow, Uncle Sonny," he grinned.
"Peltier, we'll be looking for you in the office bright and early in the morning," a voice announced haughtily, drawing everyone's attention away from the idea of time traveling. Sonny turned to see the head of operations for the paper mill walking away without waiting for a response.
"Mr. Peltier, I see now why you are so glad to be leaving that employment," Mrs. Amee said loudly. The man turned quickly around and walked back up.
"Pel… Madison… Sonny, am I hearing this correctly?" he asked with a voice dripping with sweetness. "You will be coming back out to the plant, won't you?"
"Actually, Jim, I wouldn't come back to you if you doubled my salary," Sonny answered. He turned to Mrs. Amee and said, "Mrs. Amee, I know we haven't discussed finances yet, but I don't care if you cut my annual salary; I would rather work in an environment of mutual respect, and I feel that we will have that."
"I do respect you, Sonny," Mrs. Amee agreed. "That's why I plan to triple whatever this rude man was paying you." She then turned her perfected teacher's scowl onto the paper mill executive. "If you had any respect for Sonny, you wouldn't have to order him back to work, because you wouldn't have sent him away in the first place. Furthermore, you would not have referred to him as Peltier, as if he were a nearly anonymous entry level employee."
It was at that moment that Layton walked up to join them. He had been required to stay in the courtroom and give his statement regarding the events that took place. He announced that Starfleet security had things well in hand and he was free to leave.
"You have excellent timing," Sonny told the young man. "Let's go back to the house now."
"Speaking of your house, I'm sure we can work out that pesky little mortgage," Mr. Tadlock said as he walked up with his hand outstretched. "I want you to know how happy we are at the bank that your boys got justice and are now free."
"You certainly had a different view yesterday," Don sneered at the man.
"How much do the Peltiers owe the bank for their home?" Mrs. Amee asked as she pulled out her checkbook.
"Mrs. Amee, I can't allow you to pay for the house," Sonny protested. "Hiring me is more than generous enough. Besides that, we owe far more than the house is worth right now. We will be moving to South Carolina anyway, so we have to sell the house, and we would still not be out from under that debt. The only viable option here is to let the bank have the house."
"Wait a minute, that means that the bank will lose money," Mr. Tadlock protested. "We can't sell that house for what you owe either."
"Sell the house, Mr. Tadlock, and I will pay off the difference of the debt," Sonny told him. "I owe you the money because I took out the second mortgage knowingly."
"Dad, I am so sorry you had to do that," Philip said as his voice cracked with emotion.
"Son, never apologize for letting me show you that you mean more to me than any material thing on earth," Sonny told him as he hugged his son tightly.
"Not a bit of this was ever your fault either, Philip," Don reminded them all. "This was the corruption of a small minded, gossip filled little town that hopefully has learned a lesson from all of this."
"Mr. Leggette, here is your check for the bond that you posted for the boys' release yesterday," the judge's clerk announced, walking up. "Since you made the transaction in Mr. Peltier's name, the check got made out to him. I can correct that if you wish."
"Consider it a signing bonus for coming to work for me," Mrs. Amee said as she handed the check to Sonny. "That should eliminate the money problems here, and give you the necessary funds to buy a place in Charleston. You are all welcome to stay at Wiggins House with us until you find a place of your own, of course."
"Yeah, Mamee's house is huge," Dixon told them excitedly. "And you guys will love Aunt Pet's cooking. She is so much better than that woman that raised me." He looked down sadly. "I had hoped to get more information about her. I want her to pay for what she did to my family."
"She'll get what's coming to her, Dixon," Dylan assured him. The purple-haired little Mikyvis grabbed Dixon in a tight hug and Dixon looked shocked for a second before returning it happily. Jessie had seen the look that flashed across his boyfriend's face though.
As the family made ready to have Dylan take them home, everyone suddenly realized that Layton had wandered away with J. B. The two of them were found on a nearby bench talking animatedly about how heroic the other had been in the courtroom. Every couple of words, though, and they would fall silent, staring into one another's eyes. When they realized they were being watched, both young men blushed profusely.
"Mr. Sonny, I don't think I'm going to need that money for school," J. B. announced a little shyly. "Today taught me that I don't want to be an attorney." He grimaced and apologized quickly. "I'm going to take the criminal justice degree I have already and go into police work like my Papa and his Papa before him."
"My family was in law enforcement several generations as well," Layton smiled.
"You know that as head of security for your branch of the Clan, you can hire your own team," Dylan mentioned to the deputy who responded with a broad smile.
"J. B. I realize this is sort of sudden and if you have other commitments, I will understand," Layton began.
"Hey, Mr. Tadlock," J. B. yelled out. "You can took my house too. I'm moving to…. Where you gonna took me to live?" he asked Layton and then blushed profusely. He started stammering nervously, "I don't mean that the way it sound. I just uhhh…. Well, I wants to took that... I mean I will take the job." He was obviously struggling to hide the accent that still plagued his speech whenever he got excited.
"Actually, you will be living together," Mrs. Amee couldn't resist teasing a little. "You will both be staying in my home; of course sleeping arrangements beyond that are strictly up to you." This had the two young men blushing so badly that there were jokes made about spontaneous combustion. "Can you take us all back to Florida now, little cutie?" she asked Dylan. "We have a wedding to go to a couple of hours ago, and I need my rest, even if these young folks stay up all night playing with each other."
All the couples present blushed at that comment, but they all indicated that they were ready to go. A second later there were a couple of gasps of surprise as everyone realized they were in Florida and it was late at night instead of just after noon.
I had wanted this chapter to completely catch Dear Diary up to CSU current time, but there was just too much to cover in one chapter without it being incredibly long. The good side is that I have a new full time job for the summer that allows me time to write. I plan to have the next chapter ready very soon.
Clan Short Archivist's Review Notes:
Welcome back Boudreaux you have been sorely missed. It is a good thing to see justice served and families united. Well done Mr. Boudreaux.
The Story Lover