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    John Henry
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
This story is meant for mature audiences.  Reader discretion is advised.

Thicker Than Water - 54. Chapter 54

This chapter may contain topics that could be triggering for some readers. Discretion is advised.

Bryan was furious. He spent most of the night pacing and venting his bitterness. It had been years since he and Caleb had been in elementary school together, and he blamed himself for not being there to protect him. Kenny tried his best to calm his boyfriend down, but nothing seemed to work. Bryan wanted to find the kids who sent his brother to the hospital and beat them up as badly as they hurt his little brother.

Billy had ordered Chinese take out, since they didn't really have enough time to prepare dinner. As everyone sat around the dinner table, Billy said to Bryan, “I understand what you're feeling, but I have to ask that you don't retaliate. You'll only make things worse.” Bryan gave Kenny a stern look, which nobody missed. Billy, irritated by the implications of the gaze, added in a gruff tone, “Kenny didn't say shit to me or Trevor, so you lose that look right now. I also have a little brother who was hurt, so I'm speaking from experience and not because you were tattled on.”

Sorry,” Bryan said to everyone. He felt ashamed for even thinking that Kenny would betray him. “I'm just...I don't know how to deal with this.”

Trevor, more calmly than his husband, replied, “First, you don't take your anger out on those who care about you. It's not their fault this happened. Second, you let your dads and Billy handle everything. If you try to take matters into your own hands, you'll be the one who goes to jail, since you're old enough to be arrested. Third, you focus on Caleb and making him feel loved and secure. You're going to be taking care of him for the rest of the week by the sound of things, and your attitude will be very important for his recovery.”

Trevor made sense but also made Bryan feel like a bigger piece of shit. He was only thinking about himself and not what was best for Caleb, his dads and his boyfriend. He was a person of action, and being told not to do anything was very counter intuitive; however, he also saw the logic in Trevor's words.

After dinner was done, Kenny and Bryan watched some TV before going to bed.

I'm sorry for thinking you told Billy what I said. I feel like a dick.”

You were a dick,” Kenny said, “but I also don't blame you. You sounded serious about beating up a bunch of 5th graders, so yeah, if I actually thought you were going to do it, I'd tell on you.”

Thanks,” Bryan said, sulking.

I wouldn't do it to get you in trouble.”

I know. I shouldn't have even been thinking about it; any of it. Dad said that Caleb was out of it because of the pain killers. Just thinking about him being hurt is upsetting.”

It's because you love your brother.”

I know...just don't tell him that. Caleb will be insufferable.” They both laughed.

Kenny wrapped his arm around Bryan, who started crying. Not long after, they fell asleep.

*     *     *

Caleb was still asleep when Trevor dropped Bryan off. Bryan laid down next to his brother and did his best to hold him without waking the 11-year-old. Caleb's 12th birthday was still a few months away, and Bryan considered what he wanted to get his baby brother...provided they weren't living with Calvin.

The thought of Calvin started to boil Bryan's blood. Given how much of a dick the man was when it came to Caleb's asthma, he could only imagine what Calvin's reaction to the attack would've been. Bryan assumed that Calvin would shrug and tell the boy to get over it or to act like a real man. Bryan wanted nothing more than to punch Calvin in the mouth.

Ow,” Caleb groaned. “You're hurting me.”

Bryan hadn't realized that he was accidentally squeezing his brother. “I'm sorry,” he said, loosening his grip. “I didn't mean to.”

Caleb rolled over and rested his head under Bryan's chin. “Are you mad at me?” he asked.

No! Why would I be mad at you?!”

Because I'm not as tough as you are.”

Bryan kissed Caleb on the top of the head, because honestly didn't know what else to do or say. It took him a few minutes before he replied. “You're tough enough, hermanito. It's not your fault you were ganged up on.”

You wouldn't've been jumped like that, though.”

That's only because it hasn't happened yet. Honestly, I'm surprised it hasn't, especially after what happened with Dan Thomas at the beginning of the year.”

Really?”

Yeah, really. Dan's friends are just cowards. If they were braver, they probably would've done to me like what happened to you, so if anything, you're braver and stronger than me.”

You're just saying that to make me feel better.”

No, I'm not...but is it working?”

Yeah, kinda,” Caleb chuckled then said, “Ow. My face hurts.”

Really?” Bryan said, “because it's killing me.”

Jerk,” Caleb laughed, playfully punching Bryan before groaning again.

Bryan gently hugged Caleb one last time before getting his baby brother a pain pill and some breakfast.

*     *     *

Since Diego had time before court, he stopped by Caleb's school to speak with the principal; however, he was told, after waiting an hour, that the school couldn't comment on the situation, given the possibility of a lawsuit. Diego was furious and proceeded to call Mr. Declan a coward before leaving. He wasn't seriously considering suing the school, but the encounter certainly made him reconsider.

Judge Arthur was surprised when he saw Diego. What's more, Mr. Clarke tried making an issue out of Calvin not being notified about the fight. Billy explained that Calvin lost all rights to know about the condition of the boys when he lost his parental rights, which he still has not won back, given the current case.

Diego was surprised when the judge agreed with Billy's argument. The judge added that due to Caleb's health, he didn't have to go on the visit that weekend, but Bryan was still obligated. That won't go over well, Diego thought.

Mr. Parker, please call your next witness,” Judge Arthur said, and the next of Calvin's exes got on the stand.

As with the day before, the remaining ex-girlfriends had similar stories. Calvin lied, cheated and stole his way in and out of their hearts and lives. With each new witness, Calvin's tales grew larger and more sympathetic, but the pattern always remained the same.

During the lunch break, Diego had time to talk to Billy about suing the school for what happened to Caleb. Billy seemed interested in the idea but cautioned to wait until after the police investigation was complete and if any criminal charges could be filed.

We could use a criminal conviction and evidence in civil action against those involved. The kids might not be old enough to go to juvenile detention, but their parents can be sued for damages, nonetheless. A completed investigation could make things a lot easier when it comes to liability.”

That makes sense,” Diego said. “I hate the idea of taking money from the school district, but it's hard to feel bad when my kid was attacked, while the people who were supposed to be taking care of him were more concerned about their Facebook feed.”

I completely understand, and I have Charlie looking into things, as well. I don't want you getting too worked up, but there's a chance that Caleb's attack might be connected to the protesters outside.”

What?! How?!” Diego's anxiety when up and his fight response was on the verge of kicking in.

We're not completely positive right now, so you need to calm down. If our assumption is correct, we might have cause to go after more than just the school and a few parents.”

You need to give me more than that, Billy!”

I honestly can't and won't. I shouldn't have said what I did, but I feel you should be prepared for what might come as a result of the police investigation. If they find the links we're finding, then things might get interesting.”

How interesting?”

It'll make the school board hearing seem tame.”

Holy shit.”

Exactly.” Billy looked at the clock and said, “Come on. We don't want to be late and miss what's coming.”

Diego hated how cryptic Billy could be, but he didn't press the issue.

*     *     *

Mr. Parker, your next witness,” Judge Arthur said, with a hint of annoyance. It was close to the end of the day, and Billy only had one more witness to call.

Thank you, Your Honor. The Respondent would like to call Mrs. Cynthia Knutson to the stand.”

Cynthia Knutson was a tall, redheaded woman, with a few extra pounds on her. As with the others, she had a tomboy look to her. Ever since the first time Calvin assaulted him, Diego had wondered if Calvin was closeted and just acting out his twisted fantasies during the abuse. It made Diego sick to even consider it.

Mrs. Knutson,” Billy said, “would you please explain to the Court how you know the Petitioner, Mr. Calvin Johnson.”

Cynthia glared at Calvin and said, “We dated briefly about a year ago. We met online in a BDSM chat group on Facebook. He told me that he had just broken up with his girlfriend, Jessica Tanner--”

Billy interrupted, “--Let the record show that Mrs. Knutson is referencing the Respondent's witness from earlier.”

So noted,” Judge Arthur said. “Please continue, Mrs. Knutson.”

Sure. Anyway, I believed him. I had also ended a relationship around that time, so we bonded over how bad they were...or so I thought.”

What were the circumstances surrounding Mr. Johnson living with you?”

He flew to Portland from, I think, Fort Lauderdale. He only had a one-way ticket, and said that he needed a place stay till his apartment was ready for him and his two sons.”

How long did he say it would be till he had his own apartment?”

A month.”

And how long did he actually live with you?”

About five.”

And what caused the end of your relationship?”

Diego thought Cynthia was about to hit Calvin, there was so much hate in her eyes. Cynthia replied, “He confessed a lot to me at a party.”

Could you be more specific?” Billy asked.

Oh yeah,” Cynthia said, staring daggers at Calvin, who dropped his head. “First, he told me that abandoned his kids. He had mentioned them before, but said that they were take from him by his former best friend.

Second, he told me that he hadn't been looking for a job. Prior to that, he said he was out everyday looking for work. I had been supporting us that entire time, barely struggling to get by. Portland isn't a cheap place to live, let alone on a single-person income for two people.

Third, he told me that he had cheated on his ex-wife...then confessed to cheating on almost every girlfriend he ever had. I was furious and demanded to know if he had ever cheated on me. At first he denied it, but it didn't take long for him to finally admit that he had cheated on me, and usually in my bed while I was at work.

Fourth, he told me about the last time he had talked to his mother after she got custody of his kids. He said and I quote, 'I told her that she and the boys could fuck off, and that I don't want to have anything to do with any of you. Once the boys turn 18, I'll find them then. Until then, I don't want to have anything to do with any of you.'”

Objection, Your Honor,” Mr. Clarke said. “This is argumentative. For all we know, Mrs. Knutson could be making this up.”

I'm not,” Cynthia said, through gritted teeth. “I have proof, and he knows it,” she said, pointing at Calvin.

Your Honor,” Billy said, happily, “I'd like to submit Respondent's Exhibit R-35. A video recording of the conversation between Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Knutson taken at a New Years Eve party the year previous, in which Mr. Johnson wasn't aware he was being recorded.”

Objection,” Mr. Clarke demanded. “Secret recording are inadmissible and illegal in this state.”

But, they're not in Oregon,” Billy pointed out. “Oregon is a one-party consent state. Under Oregon Law, so long as one person on the recording is aware they're being recorded and the recording isn't in private, the recording is lawful and not deemed secret.”

Even if that is the case, secret recordings are inadmissible in this state.”

It isn't a secret recording. They were at a private party but in a public venue. The footage was taken by a third party who observed the conversation between Mrs. Knutson and Mr. Johnson. It's all perfectly legal, Your Honor.”

Judge Arthur sighed and said, “The Court is in recess while I look this up. We'll reconvene in 10 minutes.”

What are you playing at, Billy?” Mr. Clarke snapped.

I'm not playing at anything, David, but you might want to talk to your client about what's on that video before the judge admits it into evidence.”

Diego watched as Mr. Clarke and Calvin left the courtroom. He wanted to ask Billy about the video but assumed he wouldn't get an answer.

10 minutes later, Judge Arthur returned. “After reviewing Oregon Law and contacting a member to the Oregon Judiciary, I've concluded that the video is admissible. Let the record reflect that Respondent's Exhibit R-35 is entered, and Mr. Clarke's objection is overruled.”

Thank you, Your Honor,” Billy said. “Now, Mrs. Knutson, what else did Mr. Johnson reveal in his confession?”

He told me that he had sexually assaulted his former best friend, Diego Padilla.”

If there was a chapter yesterday and today, will there be one tomorrow? Maybe.... Thank you for reading the latest chapter. I hope you're liking the cliffhangers. Please recommend, review, react, comment and reply. It all helps.
Copyright © 2023 John Henry; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you for reading this story.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

12 hours ago, weinerdog said:

Wow @Lee Wilson you have accused me of finding and reading future chapters of yours but in this case you saw what I was going to say in my comment before I posted it😄 I bet that classic one-liner has been said on the school grounds of every middle school (Junior high) in the country 

I hate the idea of having a opinion that would help Calvin but to me I don't think the recording should have been admissible but (And this is a first) I'm glad Judge Crustypants ruled the way he did.

So Caleb because of what happened doesn't to have visit Calvin this weekend. Let's see🤔 what would one rather do? Get beat up by a group of bullies or spent time with Calvin?.......I'm thinking,I'm thinking this is not an easy answer.

As for the video, typically, it wouldn't be admissible, but since Mr. Clarke attacked Diego's character, the video can be at play.  It would've been impossible for the judge to deny it without showing bias, which is why everyone was upset.  You literally cannot character assassinate as a lawyer because it opens the door to stuff like this.

Yeah, I don't know if I'd rather get beaten up than spend time with Calvin. Lol

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10 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Loved the following, succinct and to the point, I would go a bit further, take away their cable TV and internet, give them a forced subscription to Mother Jones along with mandatory diversity classes....

 

Or you could put them all in gimp suits and march them around at PRIDE? 🤔

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16 minutes ago, BoyLove said:

I am so sorry that you had to suffer such pain. No one should ever have to endure such pain and agony from anyone.

It's complicated, which will be explained more when Diego takes the stand, but yeah, I was certainly manipulated and he didn't give a fuck about it.

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16 minutes ago, Lee Wilson said:

You should send the real Calvin the link to the story, with a short note that says:

Enjoy your story,

Fuck you very much

We have no contact and it's best that way, as much as this does sound like a good idea.  I know the real Calvin would try to lie about the things I've said on here, despite the evidence/witnesses I have, but he's honestly not worth the time or energy.  Like Diego, I don't want to even be in the same room with him.

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