Protecting David-Finding Christopher 18
It took a couple of hours to fly to San Antonio and I spent the time calling my dads and explaining about the twins.
David said, “Twins? How the hell was he taking care of twins?”
I laughed. “They were living under a bridge.”
Mark said, “Holy shit! He’s only ten, for Christ’s sake!”
“I know but he was doing it. I made the same deal with the governor that I told you about with Chris, so we should be okay. But I got a feeling that it’d be better to move on an adoption sooner rather than later.”
David said, “What feeling? Have you heard anything from those guys?”
“No…and maybe that’s what’s making me nervous. It’s not like people like that to just let something like this go. Are you sure that if the adoption goes through here you can do Larry’s adoption in Washington?” We were planning on Larry adopting the kids in Washington as soon as I adopted them in Denver.
David said, “Almost literally the same minute.”
“This is legal, right?”
Mark laughed. “With the judge that’ll be handing this nobody’ll fight.”
After I hung up with my dads I sat back and thought about Larry and Bob this morning. I love my brother-in-law Bob but I really wanted to have sex this morning. I dunno what it is but I’m developing this addiction for Larry’s cum, particularly as he likes to inject me with it. Geez, this is gonna be a horny day.
When we landed there was a black SUV waiting for us. It was being driven by Samuel Ottman, the attorney that Connie hired to check out the kid’s grandmother. He was a well dressed older man with gray hair.
He held out his hand and I took it. “Mr. Chauvet-Kerry?”
“Yes and you must be Mr. Ottman.”
He smiled. “Call me Sam.” He looked up at the plane. “Damn! I always wanted to see one of these.”
I said, “Ahhhh, sure, c’mon aboard. We can sit and talk.”
I gave him a fast tour of the plane and then we sat at the table facing each other while Karen brought us coffee.
“Sam, what is Mrs. Thorson’s condition?”
“Alex, the only thing they’ll tell me is that she’s pretty much out of it, it’s ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Apparently it’s almost always fatal and it’s getting near the last stages. With ALS the muscles go beginning with the extremities and then, eventually the breathing. Not a good way to go but apparently she was in the early stages of dementia anyway. Not that that makes it any better.”
“Will she know us?”
“Apparently she has some lucid moments but they’re rare and getting a lot rarer.”
“What I need to find out is if I bring the boys here will she even know them. And I don’t want to expose them to that unless it serves some purpose. I don’t want to do something that’s just gonna add more bad memories to their life.” I sighed. “Well, let’s go and see what we’re dealing with.”
The nursing home was huge. We were met by the director, a Mr. Hodging who brought us to his office.
He looked at me. “Your secretary faxed me the grandkids particulars.” I didn’t know what the hell he meant by that but I didn’t say a word because I figured Connie had put together some sort of semi-official looking crap and I didn’t want to detract from the impression it apparently left. “You understand we have to protect our patient’s personal information. But, frankly, pretty soon it isn’t going to matter anyway. For one thing Mrs. Thorson is very sick as you may know and for another she’s only got enough money left for another month. Our financial aid office has been working to get some government money but so far we haven’t been successful and shortly the nursing care she gets here isn’t going to be enough, she’ll need to be in a hospital.”
I held up my hand. “I’ll pay for it, all of it. I want her to get the very best care. The bills can be sent to Mr. Ottman’s office.”
I turned to Sam. “I want you to make sure that she’s got the best care. The best doctors…whatever she needs.”
Mr. Hodging leaned forward. “If this disease runs its usual course you’re probably not looking at more than eight weeks or so. It’s getting close.”
“Would she know her grandkids?”
He shook his head. “Even in her most lucid moments she wouldn’t know them. I’ll take you over there and you can see for yourself but she’s just past that.”
And she was. In the end she was a pleasant looking gray haired old woman who for the fifteen minutes that we were with her didn’t seem aware of anything and didn’t even seem to hear us when we spoke to her.
We had no sooner taken off than I got a panicky call from Connie.
“Alex, Halander is at it again. Lyle called me this morning sounding all nuts. Apparently Halander is friends with the Denver Police Chief and somehow he found out about the twins and that all three boys are with you. He feels that, if in fact you’ve decided to adopt the boys, that it should be done at once because the more time that passes the more trouble Halander can stir up and he says that at some point the political pressure could become overwhelming if we don’t act quickly.”
“How soon, Connie?”
“He wants you to do it today. What I was figuring is that I can pick the kids up and meet you at the airport when you land. Lyle said that the judge could see you at 4:30 today. There should be just enough time.” Then almost as an afterthought. “Oh! What about Mrs. Thorson?”
I filled her in and then said, “My inclination is to not tell the boys about it. It seems to be that it would just be one more bad thing.”
“You don’t think seeing her would give them some sort of closure?”
“No. I think it’d freak em out. But I will try to sound them out about it. It isn’t something we talked about a lot.”
“Oh, and Connie, ask Richard if he thinks that Halander knows that it’s me who’s given him problems with that land. If he actually knows it’s me.”
“Do you want him to know or not to know?”
“I want him to know. The way that we’ve been withholding that cash has gotta be hurting him and I want him to understand that there’s a price to be paid for screwing with us.”
“Okay, I’ll tell him and the boys and I will meet you at the hangar. I’ll have someone pick up your car and take it home.”
Of all the things that Connie had told me the most troubling was that Halander had an ally in the Denver Chief of Police. I sent an email to Mr. Tam’s organization and asked them to find out what they could about the chief.
At the hangar was a limo with an elegantly dressed Connie and three little boys who looked like doom. I slid into the back seat.
I said, “What? Why all the long faces?”
Chris was shaking his head and looked like he was about to burst into tears. “They’re gonna take us away. I just know it. They did it before and they’re gonna do it again.”
Andy and Aiden weren’t holding hands but you just knew that they wanted to be and as it was they were pressed up against each other and they started talking as soon as Chris stopped.
Aiden was almost wailing and said, “Where are they gonna make us go? They can’t make us go different places can they?”
“Look, will you guys calm down! Nothing like that is gonna happen.”
Chris said, “You don’t know that! What if they haul us off?”
“Guys, that isn’t gonna happen!” At least I sure hoped it wasn’t.
At the court house the driver turned back to us and said, “We’re supposed to go around to the back. There’s something about protestors out front.”
Ahead of us was an SUV full of security guys from the house. They pulled in first and then when we pulled up they hustled us in fast. Inside of the doors Stanner was waiting for us. He pulled me over to the side while Connie tried to keep the boys calm.
“Alex, the judge called me. They got like an army of protestors here. He said you need to be prepared for what’s gonna happen. Usually these things happen in the judge’s chambers but this time he’s holding it in open court and Halander is here. The judge is gonna be asking you questions and he’s pretty sure that there’s no problem but you gotta let him lead you. He’s gotta blow Halander outta the water without it looking like it was planned and he’s pretty sure he can do it.”
I looked hard at Stanner. “Chuck, you’ve gotta be prepared to stop this if he gives the kids to this nut. I don’t want that to happen. And if it goes that way you need to get it postponed.”
He held up his hands and said, “Alex, I’ll do my best.”
When we got to the court room the guy that I knew was Halander was sitting on the other side of the room. When we walked in the guy sitting next to him whispered something to him and Halander said, “Why he’s not much more than a boy his self! You sure that’s him?”
I sat down with Stanner on my right and the boys on my left. Connie sat on the other side of the boys and she was holding Chris’s hand.
When the judge walked in Halander jumped up and yelled, “Your Honor! Your Honor! You can’t be serious about this! You just can’t!”
The judge ignored him and sat down. Finally he turned to Halander and said, “Sit down and shut up!”
While the judge reviewed some papers Halander kept looking over at us. Finally the judge finished reviewing papers and turned to him.
“Mr. Halander, I have two quite comprehensive reports attesting to Mr. Chauvet-Kerry’s character. He wants to adopt these boys. Would you please tell me briefly why custody of these boys should be taken from him and given to you.”
Halander jumped to his feet. “Your Honor.” He glanced at me. “I’ve no doubt that Mr. Chauvet-Kerry is, with the right people, a fine man. But, Your Honor, these boys are young and have been through a great deal, it’s time for stability in their lives. No doubt Mr. Chauvet-Kerry would never dream of indoctrinating these young men into his lifestyle but it can hardly be argued that the boys will never be exposed to that.”
“Additionally and perhaps most importantly, I am a man of some means, a man well known to the citizens of Denver. I can provide the boys with a security that a man of Mr. Chauvet-Kerry’s age would have trouble duplicating.”
Stanner leaned over to me and whispered. “I can’t believe it. They haven’t checked you out. Somebody just told em you were gay and they rushed down here.”
The judge interrupted. “Surely you don’t mean that this should just be a matter of money?”
Halander touched his fingertips to the top of the table and leaned slightly forward. “Certainly not exclusively, Your Honor. But it needs to be given its due. The one thing that can, in some way, make up for the bad start these boys have been given is to grow up with enough money to in some way make up for that. The best colleges can cost fifty thousand a year. It needs to be considered. I don’t mean to tell you your job, Your Honor but you would be remiss in not considering it.”
The judge leaned forward and looked over his glasses. “And what did you earn last year, Mr. Halander?”
Halander gave us a quick smug glance. “I believe that it was in the neighborhood of six point three million, Your Honor.”
The judge looked at me. “And you Mr. Chauvet-Kerry?”
I leaned in to Stanner and whispered, “I don’t want to tell em about Krueger et Cie.”
Stanner lifted an eyebrow, there was a twinkle in his eye. “My guess is that it won’t be noticed.”
I turned to the judge. “Approximately four hundred and sixteen million, Your Honor. And, Your Honor, if the adoption is granted today by the start if business tomorrow I’ll establish a trust fund for each of the boys in the amount of thirty million and guarantee to add a million a month to each trust until the boys are twenty-one.”
Halander looked confused and then tried to talk but the Judge brought down his gavel hard and said, “Mr. Chauvet-Kerry’s petition for adoption is approved.”
Chuck leaned over and said, “I’m going to check out the Police Chief. We need to be worried that he’s involved with this guy and I’ve got some friends in City Hall that should be able to help.”
Mei and the security guys got us outta there quickly and into the car. The boys looked stunned and finally Chris said, “So is it okay? We don’t gotta go away?”
I felt the tension finally leave my body and I sagged back in the seat. “Nope. Now you’re my kids. Nobody’s gonna take you away.” And for the first time it was real for me too. These were my kids now and I couldn’t screw it up.
While I was buckling Aiden in he said, “Was that other guy the bad guy?”
“Yep, I guess you could call him that.”
This got Andy’s attention. “Well, what if he comes and gets us in the middle of the night?”
I said, “He can’t get to where we live and besides Larry and I will be there to see that they don’t get you.” He was frowning and didn’t look like he was buying it.
“But what if you’re sleepin and they sneak up on us?”
“They can’t get up the mountain. They only way up is on our driveway and the gate is always closed and locked.”
“But what if they got a real big truck and smashed the gate down?”
“Even a real big truck wouldn’t be able to smash that gate down. We can go down there tomorrow and I’ll show you the gate and then you’ll understand.” I wasn’t kidding about the gate. The security people had upgraded it and it’d take a tank to knock it down.
I knew that the kids had little boy fears and that to some extent nothing I could say would stop them. It was a problem that could really only be solved with time.
When we got home Larry was already there and he met us as we came in the back door. “Connie called me. It’s really all okay?”
I grinned. “A done deal. And I emailed my dads and yours should be done tomorrow. It would have been the same day if we had been able to give them any notice.”
Larry knelt down and yelled, “Whadyou guys think of this? Me and Alex are your parents!” The twins squealed and ran into his arms but Chris tried to look above it although he was edging in that direction. Larry didn’t give him the chance to stand back and he scooped him up along with the twins and you could tell that he loved it.
“You know what though. Normally when kids get adopted they get the same last name as the people adopting them cept in this case we’re totally lousy with last names. Alex’s last name is Chauvet-Kerry except that his real dad’s name is Krueger and my last name is Donovan. So we got like all kinds of last names.”
Chris said, “I been thinking about that. What if we just kept our names? You’d still be our dads it’d just be that we had different names.”
Larry looked at me quickly while ruffling the boys hair with his hands and seeing the look on my face said, “That’d be totally cool with Alex and me.”
He looked into the boy’s eyes. “Imagine, kids of our own.” And he kissed three foreheads.
Then my cell phone rang.
It was Chuck Stanner. “Alex, my people in City Hall are telling me some bizarre shit. The bottom line is that Halander and the Chief are trying to stir up some reason to arrest you and take custody of the boys.”
“But…there’s nothing they could ever charge me with.”
“The problem, Alex is that they don’t necessarily need to charge you with something that you’re guilty of. Basically, if they come up with a phony charge of child abuse which, I’m told, is what they’re planning, they’d take custody of the kids and maybe two months later you’d prove that the charges were bullshit. In the meantime, they’ve got the kids.”
It sent cold chills through me. “Can they get away with that?”
“Not long term but like I said they don’t need long term. They figure they can always say that they’re sorry.”
“Do you know that they’ve definitely decided to do this?”
“Not for sure but my guy said it was like seventy percent certain.”
I stopped to think for a moment and Larry and the boys, seeing the look on my face, had gone silent.”
I said to the Larry and the boys. “We need to get ready to leave.”
Then to Chuck. “I may take a vacation.”
“That’s not a bad idea, Alex. Give me a month and I can kill this, it’s just the short term that I’m worried about.”
Then with the boys all talking at once I called Connie. “Connie, I need the plane. Full crew and fuel but not at the Denver airport. Get them to move to some little airport to pick us up.”
“Alex, what happened?”
“Too complicated to explain. Call Stanner but first arrange for the plane.”
I looked at Larry. “We gotta leave for a few weeks. We gotta get em outta here.” He didn’t ask me to explain, he knew I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t necessary.”
Then I had a thought and called the gate. I talked to one of the quards. “Any unusual traffic down there?”
The guy laughed. “Funny you should ask. There’s been a cop past here like five times. We don’t worry much about the cops so I didn’t report it.”
“Don’t let anyone in. Even the cops. If they ask, tell them that we left and that you don’t have authority to open the gate.” I knew that with their training with Mr. Tam that hell would freeze over before they’d opened the gate.
I yelled for Mei and she appeared at the end of the hallway. “We need a helicopter. Something big enough for Larry and me and you and the kids.”
She had her cell phone out before I finished. Then in a moment she walked towards us and snapped shut her phone. “They land over by horses. Need to go. Be here soon.”
I said to Larry, “I don’t want them in here going through the place.”
He started to talk. “Alex, I don’t…..”
Then it occurred to me. “My dad.”
Larry said, “What about him?”
“Mark…he’s got these guys. He works with all those generals.” I called Mark’s office number and got an answering machine. I called the number for their bedroom and Mark answered almost at once.
His voice rumbled through the phone. I gave him the twenty second version and told him we’d be seeing him in a few hours.
“Don’t worry about the house, Alex. I’ll have people there in less than an hour.” Somehow the sound of Mark’s voice totally eliminated the fear in me and my pulse rate dropped back down to something like normal. “Just come to Washington. We’ll be waiting for you, Son.”
The helicopter landed down near the horse barn on a piece of level land and the downwash was leveling the grass for an acre around as we ducked under the spinning blades. The boys were both terrified and yet totally stoked about the helicopter ride. The pilot told me that we’d be going to the Platteville airport because the Gulfstream had been moved there and then we lifted off. Just as we got to a hundred feet or so the pilot told me that two U.S. Marine helicopters were inbound and we actually passed them on the way. The cops weren’t going to have much luck getting onto our plateau.
When we landed at the Platteville Airport it was totally dark and there weren’t even any lights on at the tiny terminal. For all practical purposes it was a deserted airport and we had zero chance of running into the police which was the reason it was chosen. My plane was sitting at the end of the runway with its lights on and flashing rhythmically. The engines were powered up but were basically at idle. As soon as we got the boys through the door and turned over to Karen the engines went to half power and made a crisp screaming sound in the cold mountain air.
Mike stuck his head out of the cockpit and said, “It’s Washington D.C., right?”
I nodded yes and he said, “Connie was pretty sure but she said it’d be best to check.” He grinned. “I can take you anywhere on earth you know. In case you get a hankering.”
I said, “Mike, can you see to take off? There’s no lights anywhere.”
He nodded and said, “With this plane I can.”
Moments later and with Mike back in the pilots chair the engines went to full power and sounded like twin enslaved dragons crazy with anger at being tethered, crackling and shrieking to be free.
The twins looked like they were gonna spin into orbit. Chris yelled, “It gets way better than this! Just you wait! It’s gonna blow your socks off!”
Moments later we were rocketing down the dark runway then Mike nudged her nose up and doing what this plane loves to do, we soared into the sky.