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    Parker Owens
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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.

A to Z - 54. Chapter 54 Repercussions

Repercussions

No special warnings for this chapter.

Questions and issues raised in this chapter or any other chapter can be discussed at the A to Z story thread here: http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/40860-a-to-z/

Entry for Monday, March 13, Continued…

We woke up this morning still spooned together when the alarm went off, an explosion of harsh sound, far too soon. Zander silenced the alarm, and we cuddled, still very, very, naked for a few moments.

“If we don’t get going now, we’re gonna piss Coach off,” murmured Zander into my ear.

He rolled out of bed, with a resignation born from years of early swim practices.

“Come back!” I whined, missing the contact, the warmth, the loveliness.

But there wasn’t any swaying Zander, and soon I was moving as quickly as he was. We walked quickly to the school in the pre-dawn darkness. But we walked holding each other’s gloved hand, which was a first for us.

There was clearly a change in the weather coming; there was a wind up coming out of the south. Maybe it would warm up today and melt the snow, I thought.

“Andy?” Zander spoke, breaking the silence. “I’m scared about today.”

I felt anxious too, but I waited for him to tell me more.

“That post that outed me is going to get around. Someone may have already seen it. It could get nasty in school, you know?”

Definitely. But then, Blackburn wasn't Carlsberg, either. Still, I was uneasy. I squeezed his hand. “You're not going to be alone, Zander. I'll be there. And so will Kaz and Terry.”

Zander nodded. “I know. But, see, if people know about me, then it won't be rocket science for them to put two and two together. They’ll know about you, too. Some people might not take that too well. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

I squeezed his hand again. “I'll be okay. Don’t worry.”

"But that's just it. If it were just me on my own, I could handle it. But I just can't stand thinking someone's going to target you because I got outed."

I shrugged, then tried to put the best face on it I could. "I'm worried, too, Zander. But I put up with way more crap at Carlsberg High School, and nobody even knew about me there. I'm not running away from this. I'm going to be with you, so you're stuck with me."

I saw him smile in the faint glow of the distant streetlight. “I knew you’d say that.”

We walked some more before I had a question of my own.

“Zander? Was it okay? What I did last night?” I had to ask.

I saw Zander smile again. “Okay? Andy, it felt fantastic. Miles beyond ‘okay,’” he said. “Why? Did you have a problem with it?”

“No. I’m just afraid…” I hesitated, “I’m afraid that somehow you might feel different this morning, or that it would change us some way, you know?” I was having trouble sorting out my thoughts.

Zander thought about that for a few moments as we walked along. “I loved what you did, Andy,” he said slowly. “That’s the first time anyone has ever…done that,” he groped for words. Was he embarrassed about it? "It was...damn, Andy, it was wonderful, and…and loving, and better than anything I've ever experienced." He paused as we walked a few steps further. “And I don’t feel any different about you this morning than I did yesterday or last week – except that maybe I love you even more.”

God, I have a wonderful boyfriend.

For him, I actually wore my new Speedo. But then Coach Simpson surprised us as we entered the pool area. He had already arrived and changed into swim trunks and t-shirt.

I stiffened, trying to keep myself facing him and my back hidden from his view.

“Nice to see you so bright and early, Zander," he greeted us wryly. “And Andy. Nice swimsuit. Thinking of joining the team this summer?”

I blushed deeply, feeling very self-conscious, incredibly nervous. I wanted to bolt. A glance at Zander kept me still.

“Okay guys,” he went on, “it has come to my attention that I need to provide more direct instruction, and to be more, um, present, shall we say. I’ll be doing some instruction, and Zander is going to be my demonstrator. And you, Andrew,” he said turning to me, “are the guinea pig. Okay, into the pool with you, while I get my clipboard."

While Coach turned and stepped away, I slipped into the water as quickly as I could. I was ducked down and facing him by the time he returned to the poolside. And then I didn't have a second to think about my back.

Coach proceeded to review everything from last week and then had me learn the sidestroke. It was great to have Zander to model everything I was supposed to do as I was doing it. I had no time to think about how I looked in my Speedo or how my bare back was exposed; Coach kept us working hard until it was time for us to shower and get school breakfast.

The morning proceeded like any other, just classes, and homework and the business of school. I was super aware of other people around me, and I didn't notice any change in their attitudes. No funny looks in English, or stage whispers in History. Mr. Hopewell still did his usual stuff in Physics without interruption. I began to hope that the Facebook post wasn't going to be a big deal.

But lunch was something different.

We were sitting at our usual table, me at the end sitting next to Zander, Kaz and Terry across from us, Nick Lewis next to them across from Alyssa.

“So, Andy, are you going to sign up for Track this afternoon, or am I going to have to drag you in kicking and screaming?” Kaz joked.

Today was signup day for the spring athletic season. There would be a meeting, but no practice. I decided to make Kaz happy. Why not? “I’ll be there,” I said firmly.

“What? You said what?” Kaz prodded, smiling. He cupped one of his big ears. “What did you say?”

“I said, I’ll be there! Don’t worry.” I let out a sigh of exasperation.

Nick Lewis crowed, “Hah! I talked him into it!”

There was laughter all around the table. Just then, a large, bulky figure loomed behind Zander and me.

I turned to see Bruce Mack, one of Zander’s senior swim teammates. Blond, hunky, and not at all happy.

“Yo, Stevenson,” he said abruptly.

All eyes at the table were suddenly on him.

Zander frowned.

“Stevenson, I got a question for you. Is it true?” The question hung in the air.

Zander narrowed his eyes but said nothing.

Mack moved forward, challenging Zander. “Answer me,” he demanded in a loud voice, starting to grab the attention of the room, “are you a fucking faggot or not?”

Zander rose, turned, and faced him. Two, maybe three seconds passed. “You know, Bruce, I really prefer the term ‘gay’ instead,” he said evenly.

Bruce Mack’s eyes went wide. “So you admit it! You’re a fucking homo, Stevenson! You're a faggot! Pussy!” he spat, getting in Zander’s face.

“Yeah. So?” Zander said more quietly.

“So you’re a fucking pervert, that’s what. You're a lying, homosexual sack of shit! I can't believe you! Raping everyone in the locker room with your fucking pussy faggot eyes! Who knows what the hell you do after practice with the freshmen, you cocksucker,” Bruce was raging, shouting now. He looked ready to start something physical.

I stood, the sound of my chair scraping the floor interrupting the tirade. I suck at fighting, but I wasn’t letting Zander do this alone. If Bruce was going to attack Zander, he was going to go through me first. I heard other chairs moving; it must have been Kaz getting up, too.

“And what are you?” Bruce went on, turning to me, “Are you Stevenson’s bitch boy butt whore?”

I looked squarely into the other boy’s ice-blue eyes, defiant. “I prefer the term ‘boyfriend,’” I told him, quietly, trying to match Zander’s tone.

Before he could respond, someone else spoke up.

“Really, Bruce?” Terry’s voice cut through the tension like a knife. More like a chain saw, actually. “Really?” She drew out the word, so she had everyone’s attention. “You chase practically anything that moves, sleep with anyone who’ll spread her legs for you, and you have the guts to call someone out for being gay? Are you serious?”

Nervous laughter rippled in the room. It sounded like most of the cafeteria heard Terry’s put-down. Bruce apparently realized Terry might have made him look a little ridiculous. He stepped back a little.

“This isn’t over,” he huffed.

“It's sooo over, Bruce, you hear me?” Terry didn’t want to let him off the hook. “If you mess with Zander, that means you’re messing with Andy and Kaz here,” she went on, “and if you mess with Kaz, that means you’re messing with me. You want that?”

There was more laughter in the room, but I heard the undertone in her voice. She was dead serious. Bruce could beat the shit out of me, fight Zander, and maybe even take on Kaz, but no way could he attack Terry, even verbally. Terry was a friendly person, a girl everybody in school liked. Socially, Bruce would be dead meat, if he wasn’t already.

And then, at that moment, Mr. Warfield belatedly arrived. “Mr. Mack, perhaps you’d spare a moment or two for an interview?” he interposed pedantically, “I’m sure the principal would like to quiz you on your choice of vocabulary as you played the stentor.”

Bruce looked at him in confusion. Slowly, the idea that he was being summoned to the principal's office registered. Glaring at everyone, he left with Mr. Warfield. Conversation started up around the cafeteria again. The moment had definitely passed.

We sat, letting the tension leak out of us slowly.

“Well. That explains a few things,” I heard Alyssa say conversationally on Zander’s right.

Nick Lewis snorted.

“Like what?” Zander asked, irritated.

“Like how it is you and Andy are practically joined at the hip,” Nick answered for her. “Like why you ignored Mary Ellen Schmidt throwing herself at you,” he grinned.

“Like how you broke up with me last spring,” Alyssa added more quietly.

Silence greeted her words.

“Shit, Alyssa, I’m sorry about that,” said Zander.

“Don’t be,” Alyssa said smiling. “It’s good to know it really wasn’t me. It was all you, like you said.” Then she leaned forward so she could look past Zander at me. “And you, Andy,” she said, “you’d better be good to Zander. Somebody needs to make him happy.”

I tried to smile and nodded. “I can do that.”

The storm had passed, but all was not well.

When we went to sign up for Track, Bruce wasn't there. He hadn't been seen after lunch. But a couple of his friends were. When we passed them on the way into the meeting, I heard someone mutter “faggot,” and “queer,” the pair of them merry at their own wit.

I'm absolutely sure I heard one of them say: "It isn't over, faggots," as we walked by. Bruce wasn’t going to let this drop, but he wasn’t going to stick his neck out, either. God, I hate sneaky people.

There was worse, much worse tonight.

Right before supper, a short, blocky woman in a dark tweed coat and steel rimmed glasses appeared at the kitchen door. I happened to be there, helping wash veggies; Monica answered the rap on the glass.

“Yes? Can I help you?” she inquired.

The woman stepped right in, not quite shoving Monica aside. Dark, greying hair. Leather gloves, stylish purse. She was someone certainly used to having her way.

“I’m looking for a boy calling himself Andrew Stevenson,” she announced. I froze.

“Who are you, and what do you want with him?” Monica countered.

“Oh. Yes.” The woman rummaged in her pocketbook. She produced a business card. “Phyllis Chandler, County Family Protective Services,” she introduced herself.

“You have some identification?” Monica asked, tightly. While the visitor fished out her wallet, Monica turned to me. “Go and get Garrett, would you? He’s in his study.”

I hurried to fetch him. “Mr. Stevenson? Sorry to interrupt you, but there’s a lady from Family Services in the kitchen. She says she wants me for something. Monica thinks you should come,” I explained.

His eyes narrowed. “You’re joking. What does she want?”

I shrugged and looked blank.

“All right, stay out of sight for a little while,” he said. I won’t say Mr. Stevenson stormed out of his study, but he was clearly irritated. Fortunately, it wasn’t me he was mad at.

I hung back by the stairs. I couldn’t see anything, but I could hear plenty.

“I’m Phyllis Chandler,” I heard our visitor cut Mr. Stevenson’s greeting off, “and I’m here for the boy called Andrew Stevenson.”

“That’s our foster son,” Mr. Stevenson said politely. “Do you need to interview him?”

“No, I need to take him with me,” Ms. Chandler replied brusquely. “I’ve recently learned that this home is an inappropriate placement for the child,” she informed him.

My heart just about stopped.

“I’m sorry, but you can’t do that,” I heard Mr. Stevenson say. He was very firm, very certain. On the other hand, I was scared as hell. I wondered if I should grab my boots and run for the woods.

“I can, and I will,” Ms. Chandler snapped. “I’m the Director of Family Protective Services for this county, and I have the authority to…"

“Show me the order, please,” Mr. Stevenson spoke, cutting her off.

At this point, Zander crept down the stairs behind me, with a puzzled look on his face. I put my finger to my lips, silencing him.

“I don’t need an order to protect the child. I’ll take him now, if you please.”

“Actually, Ms. Chandler, you do need a court order,” said Mr. Stevenson carefully. “If you look at the file, you’ll see that Andrew was placed in our custody directly by the court, and so an order will be required to alter that.”

“That’s nonsense,” the woman blustered. “If a child is in danger, then we have an obligation to remove him from that dangerous environment. Period. I have that authority. Now if you’d…"

“Just what danger is this child – Andrew – supposed to be in?” Monica interrupted.

The woman huffed. “I have learned that there is a homosexual living in this house,” she dropped her voice ominously. “Do you deny it?”

“How do you know that?’ Mr. Stevenson replied sharply.

“I have been told by several people,” Ms. Chandler snapped.

“That’s hardly a due process investigation,” Mr. Stevenson observed.

“It doesn’t matter. My agency makes that decision for the good of the child. If I’m convinced there’s a homosexual living here, then there is. That’s completely inappropriate. Bring the child to me now, or I’m going to call for assistance from the police.”

“I’ll tell you what’s inappropriate,” began Monica, but Mr. Stevenson interposed smoothly,

“Now, now, now, hold on, Ms. Chandler; before you call in the police, and get the courts involved, let's try to resolve this in more civil way. You can inspect the house to see it's perfectly safe and conforming to code. Then maybe be we can meet tomorrow or the next day in the judge’s chambers and sort things out?”

He sounded almost friendly, but there was an edge to his voice. He didn't give Ms. Chandler a chance to respond.

“There’s clearly a legal issue that needs resolution, and you don’t really want me to call the judge right this second, do you? I have him on speed dial, and I can put him on speaker if you want. But he’d be awfully annoyed at the intrusion, don’t you think? And you and your agency do a lot of business with Judge Harrison, don’t you, Ms. Chandler?”

There was a silence. Clearly, Ms. Chandler was thinking the matter over.

But then Garrett went on in a calm, icy tone: “Because I assure you, if you call in the police to force the issue now, I can and will have your department up before child and family court not tomorrow, but tonight, even if I have to haul Judge Harrison out of his dinner or his easy chair; and there you will find yourself the target of a seriously annoyed judge, completely overruled, and your authority deeply in question.”

“Is that a threat, Mr. Stevenson?” Ms. Chandler blared.

“Under the circumstances, Ms. Chandler, you’d better use my official title. It’s ‘Counselor,’ and no, that’s not a threat. That’s a promise,” Mr. Stevenson finished with finality.

A long silence again.

“Well," Ms. Chandler tried to recover, "perhaps you have a point. Let me see the house,” she rallied in her demanding tone, "I need to ascertain that the accommodations comply with the regulations."

“Very well,” Mr. Stevenson said, suddenly all conciliation, “fine. I'd be glad to do that, as long as you understand we're doing this as a courtesy to you. We're not conceding anything."

When I heard that, Zander and I quietly ascended the stairs as quickly as we could.

"What do we do?" I whispered to Zander in his room.

"Quick. Get out some homework," he said, "spread it out on my desk. I'm going to disappear – I don't think we should be seen together right now."

He slipped into the bathroom while I hurried to sit and get out some papers. I tried to look busy. I heard feet coming up the stairs, voices. "…and the laundry is in the basement. Do you need to see that?" Mr. Stevenson was saying.

A moment later, I turned and saw Ms. Chandler and Mr. Stevenson enter. Monica hovered in the hallway behind them. Ms. Chandler barely looked at me; her eyes flicked around the room. Too bad for her Zander and I had cleaned up earlier in the day.

"You. What's your name?" she barked, her eyes returning to me.

"Andy," I answered as respectfully as I could.

Ms. Chandler's eyes narrowed, but she didn't say anything. Instead, she turned and stepped into the hallway again. "Where does the homosexual live?"

I saw Monica bristle; Garrett stepped in smoothly before she could blow up. "That door, over there." I saw him pointing in the direction of the spare room down the hall, where Monica had her office and work room. "Right this way."

"That won’t be necessary," Ms. Chandler said shortly. "It doesn't matter. But I’d like to interview the child. Alone." Again the demanding tone. This was a woman accustomed to getting everything she wanted.

"As a courtesy, I'll allow it," Garrett replied, "that is, if Andy doesn't mind. Andy?" he turned to me.

Slowly, I nodded. What else was I going to do?

Garrett went on, "Why not use the living room downstairs, so you’ll be away from dinner preparations and homework and so on?”

So in the space of a minute I descended to the living room to meet Ms. Chandler. She sat, plainly unhappy, in one of the wingback chairs by the fireplace. She hadn’t even taken her coat off. I figure she had meant to intimidate Garrett and Monica and cart me away before they could think about it. She hadn’t meant to stay at all.

I sat across from her.

“So. You’re Andrew,” she stated.

“Yes, ma’am,” I acknowledged.

She looked me up and down for a few moments.

"Why didn't you say you were Andrew when I first came in?"

"I thought you'd want to speak to my parents first."

Monica. Garrett. My parents.

She didn’t like my answer. I don't think this woman had any idea what to do or say. She must be used to people just being afraid of her. Like my father. She must have expected to just walk out the door with me, I'll bet.

"What did you have for breakfast?" she rapped out the question.

I thought for a second. School breakfast. I'd doubled up this morning. "Two bananas, cereal, a couple of pancakes, peanut butter and jelly, scrambled eggs…"

"I see," she interrupted me. Ms. Chandler regarded me for a few moments. “Hold out your hands,” she commanded.

What was this, anyway, something out of Dickens? Had she read Dickens at all? I had. I held out my hands for inspection. I heard vegetables being chopped vehemently in the kitchen.

Roughly, she grabbed my chin, and turned my head to the left, and then to the right. “When did you last comb your hair?” she asked sharply. I reminded myself that this woman was no caricature. She was dangerous.

“This morning, ma’am.” Simple answers. No extra details.

“What about this homosexual living in this house?” she asked suddenly, aggressively.

I put a puzzled look on my face. “Why would that be a problem?”

“Well. He might do things…inappropriate things…force you into…sexual acts,” Ms. Chandler said, trying to choose words carefully.

I shuddered. This woman had no idea of the difference between Zander and people like Uncle Ray. What planet was she from?

“I think I could handle that, if it happened,” I said, just as carefully.

“Do you? I wonder if you know. You might be tempted to take up that lifestyle yourself, young man.”

Lifestyle? Like being gay is a choice?

“I can make up my own mind, ma’am. That’s what I’m learning at school, anyway,” I said trying to sound confident.

“So you’ve chosen the right path already,” she said smoothly.

“I believe so,” I said. If she wanted to think I agreed with her, I wasn’t going to stop her. As long as it got her out of the house.

“Well, you seem healthy enough,” Ms. Chandler said, changing topic and tone abruptly. She heaved herself to her feet.

I rose, and she held out her hand. I took it to shake, but she grabbed mine and reeled me in close. Her breath smelled of stale chewing gum. “Don’t worry, boy,” she whispered to me, “we’ll have you out of here tomorrow.” Then she boomed out, “Good to meet you Andrew,” and released my hand. I followed her out to the kitchen, where Monica held the door. Garrett was nowhere in sight.

“I’m sorry Mr. Stevenson isn’t here to see you off,” she said. “He received an urgent call.”

The door closed, and I heard Zander bounding down the stairs. He had me in a big hug before I could take another breath. A good thing, too, because I was shaking with anger and tension.

“No way is anyone taking you away from me,” he whispered in my ear, over and over.

I felt Monica wrap her arms around us both. “Amen to that. No way is that woman taking you anywhere, Andy,” she echoed Zander fiercely.

I wanted to believe them. I really did. Drained, I just sat and watched Zander and Monica finish making supper. Mr. Stevenson appeared soon after.

“Well, I’ve called Judge Harrison and told him what’s up. He’s as mad as a hornet,” he grinned. “Better still, he’ll make time in his schedule to see everyone Wednesday morning. When Ms. Chandler shows up, he’s going to roast her alive.”

That put Monica in a better mood, but I felt sick.

Mr. Stevenson went on. “Zander and Andy both have to be present, so be prepared to miss some school,” he said, turning to us. “Oh, and Andy? You’re going to meet your lawyer Wednesday.”

“My lawyer?” I blurted out. “I thought you were my lawyer.”

“Nope. I’m your guardian. I hire your lawyer. And buddy, you have got one of the best.”

“Who’s that?” Monica asked.

“Heidi Graber. I asked her last month in case something came up, and miraculously, she’s available,” Mr. Stevenson explained.

Monica responded with a low whistle. “Unless Ms. Chandler has some hot shot New York lawyer up her sleeve, she’s gonna get shot down in flames.”

Mr. Stevenson nodded, happily. “Yup,” was all he said. But he grinned.

When I told him what Ms. Chandler had said about 'getting me out' tomorrow, Mr. Stevenson stopped grinning and got angry. But he seemed very sure that there was nothing to worry about.

But for all of the confidence at the supper table, I was a nervous wreck afterwards. What would happen if I had to leave this place? Ms. Chandler seemed awfully certain of herself. This isn't the way things were supposed to turn out. I wasn't supposed to get taken away from Zander. From my family.

Tonight, I actually left Zander alone in bed and retreated to my own room to pace and fret. And to write, which is really what I needed to do to get it all out.

I really wonder if maybe they’d all be better off if I disappear tonight. I can pack up and hit the road again, and everyone would forget about me.

Except I couldn’t forget them. I’m stuck, and I know it. I can’t leave because I love Zander too much, and Monica and Garrett have been so good to me. I’ve been with Zander for what, a month? Why can’t I have a little longer with him? Why is it anyone's business who I love or live with?

Zander’s awake now, and I can hear him calling me, softly. We really can’t sleep apart. The next few days until going to court are going to be fearsome days, but they have to happen. I'll do whatever it takes to stay in this house. Just let them try to take me away from Zander.

Craftingmom graciously and kindly edited this chapter. Her tactful persistence was invaluable, and I am deeply grateful.

Please leave a review. I appreciate and value all comments and reflections, whatever their nature.

Copyright © 2016 Parker Owens; All Rights Reserved.
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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.
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Chapter Comments



Wow! Just wow!

 

You are full of surprises! Just when I expect the trouble to be (only) in school, Andy gets blindsided.

 

I wish I had found A to Z after you had finished the whole story so I wouldn't have these seemingly long, difficult waits for the next delicious chapter!

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Damn, damn, DAMN! Just when I thought things were starting to settle into something normal, this stinker from CPS shows up. And I'm really looking forward to the back story on that!
Hate it when gifted writers leave us with cliffhangers, eagerly anticipating the next chapter.....

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If Garrett was smart he'd have recorded all conversations with that woman and also had Andy record his interview. She's showing prejudice against a legally protected group and is in charge of a local branch of a government agency. They could prove her bias against gay people and easily have her removed from her position. If Garrett and Monica were smart they'd conveniently have Andy stay home sick from school the next day. If that lady is hellbent on abusing what little authority she has and tries to remove Andy from his living situation, she'll do it while he's at school. That's how CPS tends to operate. However, it would be illegal for her to do so without a court order, which she wouldn't get, and she'd need more than "I don't like the gays" to get one anyway. Considering the local family court judge placed Andy in that home she'd really be screwing herself to try to interfere with the situation.

 

So I'll be looking forward to the next chapter but I'll be a little skeptical of any funny business by this bigoted yahoo.

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Wow, Parker, you had my heart beating with this development out of the blue. And what blatant irony - to have the self-righteous now concerned for Andy's welfare of all people, of a boy who formerly was perfectly ignored by all those meant to look after a child's welfare while he was in very real danger and pain. Now, when he is with a loving family and happy and safe for the first time for almost 10 years, more than half his life, since his mother left (not sure about the time before, his uncle had been there, too...) this is beyond belief...
Garrett has now turned out to be what others foresaw: Andy's champion. He does need one and one lawyer seems not enough to protect him... if I remember those allusions rightly from the chapter with the judge, there is abundant reason not to trust the local CPS (funds disappearing etc.).
But what moved me was to feel again Andy in fear. Andy as he used to be for months. Yet I also felt that he had grown and matured. He could think more clearly while he was being interviewed and manhandled by that woman. He was not purely the victim any more, paralysed by fear. He seemed to be somewhat quicker and more self-assured in his assessment of this woman than in that one months ago of the police officer at Carlsberg.
And he took far fewer thoughts/sentences to realise that running is not an option any more. Good for him. I remember him wondering if he had run far enough - perhaps he can realise soon that you never can run away from your own story...
As if the harassment at school would not be enough. I love Terry and the reaction of the school and their friends at the table. Let's hope against all hope that this has been the worst and things are "over", in spite of the threats...
You keep me on tenterhooks, Parker. Yet I cannot but thank you once more...

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On 02/03/2016 12:29 AM, droughtquake said:

Wow! Just wow!

 

You are full of surprises! Just when I expect the trouble to be (only) in school, Andy gets blindsided.

 

I wish I had found A to Z after you had finished the whole story so I wouldn't have these seemingly long, difficult waits for the next delicious chapter!

I apologize for leaving you at the cliff edge. Andy got just as blindsided as you did. He expected harassment in school, but not this. At least Garrett did his lawyer's best to keep Andy safe. But now he has to go to court...thanks for your review, and for continuing to read Andy's journal.

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I had a bad feeling things were going too smoothly, but I have to admit CPS wasn't even on my radar as a potential threat. Thank you....I love a good plot twist.

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On 02/03/2016 12:38 AM, Robert Rex said:

Damn, damn, DAMN! Just when I thought things were starting to settle into something normal, this stinker from CPS shows up. And I'm really looking forward to the back story on that!

Hate it when gifted writers leave us with cliffhangers, eagerly anticipating the next chapter.....

Poor Andy - and the Stevensons - were just as surprised as you. This is worse than the crap he was used to at school in Carlsberg, and what he expected in school that day. Sorry about the cliffhanger, but I respectfully decline the 'gifted writer' tag, which is reserved for demigods like yourself. Andy writes about what happened on Friday...many thanks for your review, and for continuing to keep faith with Andy.

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On 02/03/2016 12:51 AM, spikey582 said:

If Garrett was smart he'd have recorded all conversations with that woman and also had Andy record his interview. She's showing prejudice against a legally protected group and is in charge of a local branch of a government agency. They could prove her bias against gay people and easily have her removed from her position. If Garrett and Monica were smart they'd conveniently have Andy stay home sick from school the next day. If that lady is hellbent on abusing what little authority she has and tries to remove Andy from his living situation, she'll do it while he's at school. That's how CPS tends to operate. However, it would be illegal for her to do so without a court order, which she wouldn't get, and she'd need more than "I don't like the gays" to get one anyway. Considering the local family court judge placed Andy in that home she'd really be screwing herself to try to interfere with the situation.

 

So I'll be looking forward to the next chapter but I'll be a little skeptical of any funny business by this bigoted yahoo.

I suspect Garrett was just as rattled as Andy, but put on his best lawyer's front. As for Ms. Chandler, I can only agree with your excellent comments. You say much that is true. The sad part is that our layers of municipal government are sometime populated with bigoted yahoos. They even get their hands on some levers of power. We've seen this here and there in the news. Doubt this will make the headlines, but such things do happen, and yahoos get away with outrages perpetrated on the legally unprepared. Don't expect Garrett falls into that latter category. Thanks for your excellent and informative review, and for continuing to read Andy's story.

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Well surely what everyone else said, but I was impressed with Andy who showed his strength again.

 

Placing himself where the big bully would have to go through him to get to Zander, agreeing to be interviewed by Ms Bully and handling it quite well,and refusing his, by now, natural urge to flee shows a new strength.

 

While the fire under him is dangerous and hot, it can also anneal him.

 

So lets hope for an even stronger Andy!

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Oh geezzzz Parker...and here I thought we'd had our fill of the Kim Davis's of the world for a while!!! Wow...what an amazing, anxiety filled chapter!! I personally can't wait until the judge deals with this POS in the manner in which Davis should have been dealt with...flush her down the toilet!! In any event...going to take a pill, relax, and let her get handled.. :D Again, awesomeeee chapter!!! :yes::thankyou:

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On 02/03/2016 12:55 AM, mayday said:

Wow, Parker, you had my heart beating with this development out of the blue. And what blatant irony - to have the self-righteous now concerned for Andy's welfare of all people, of a boy who formerly was perfectly ignored by all those meant to look after a child's welfare while he was in very real danger and pain. Now, when he is with a loving family and happy and safe for the first time for almost 10 years, more than half his life, since his mother left (not sure about the time before, his uncle had been there, too...) this is beyond belief...

Garrett has now turned out to be what others foresaw: Andy's champion. He does need one and one lawyer seems not enough to protect him... if I remember those allusions rightly from the chapter with the judge, there is abundant reason not to trust the local CPS (funds disappearing etc.).

But what moved me was to feel again Andy in fear. Andy as he used to be for months. Yet I also felt that he had grown and matured. He could think more clearly while he was being interviewed and manhandled by that woman. He was not purely the victim any more, paralysed by fear. He seemed to be somewhat quicker and more self-assured in his assessment of this woman than in that one months ago of the police officer at Carlsberg.

And he took far fewer thoughts/sentences to realise that running is not an option any more. Good for him. I remember him wondering if he had run far enough - perhaps he can realise soon that you never can run away from your own story...

As if the harassment at school would not be enough. I love Terry and the reaction of the school and their friends at the table. Let's hope against all hope that this has been the worst and things are "over", in spite of the threats...

You keep me on tenterhooks, Parker. Yet I cannot but thank you once more...

Andy was certainly tougher in this instance than he has been before. He did not run or cringe, though he flinched inwardly. Garrett was exactly who we all hoped he would be. He can be a tough lawyer if necessary. The law is such that Garrett cannot be both his guardian and his lawyer simultaneously, which is why he must have a second one. This is not uncommon in many states. Running may not be an option for Andy, but it unquestionably occurred to him, and probably will again. Harassment at school Andy might have handled. This was a complete and unhappy surprise. Terry defused the cafeteria situation particularly well, no? We will hear more from Andy about what happens in court on Friday...thanks for your penetrating review, and for reading in Andy's journal.

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On 02/03/2016 01:48 AM, mitchelll said:

I had a bad feeling things were going too smoothly, but I have to admit CPS wasn't even on my radar as a potential threat. Thank you....I love a good plot twist.

Andy was even more surprised than you were, if that's any consolation. And what a pity CPS (or FPS, as Andy's county calls it) is a threat at all. I'm glad you thought this a good chapter - thanks so much for your remarks and your continuing to read the story.

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On 02/03/2016 02:07 AM, skinnydragon said:

Well surely what everyone else said, but I was impressed with Andy who showed his strength again.

 

Placing himself where the big bully would have to go through him to get to Zander, agreeing to be interviewed by Ms Bully and handling it quite well,and refusing his, by now, natural urge to flee shows a new strength.

 

While the fire under him is dangerous and hot, it can also anneal him.

 

So lets hope for an even stronger Andy!

Andy was probably as scared as he's ever been, but it shows how far he's come that he would stand in the way of danger for Zander. Ms. Chandler was something else again. But you're right of course - less than a year before, Andy (then Stefan) would have meekly submitted to anything she demanded. Not anymore. He resisted his urge to run, but that doesn't mean it hasn't occurred to him, or that it won't again. Thank you very much for your insight. Yes, the fire may anneal, if it doesn't destroy him first. Glad you continue to read Andy's story.

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On 02/03/2016 03:23 AM, Onim said:

Oh geezzzz Parker...and here I thought we'd had our fill of the Kim Davis's of the world for a while!!! Wow...what an amazing, anxiety filled chapter!! I personally can't wait until the judge deals with this POS in the manner in which Davis should have been dealt with...flush her down the toilet!! In any event...going to take a pill, relax, and let her get handled.. :D Again, awesomeeee chapter!!! :yes::thankyou:

I regret to say there are far too many "bigoted yahoos" (quoting an earlier reviewer) who are functionaries in our county and municipal governments. Every now and then, one of them surfaces. It's only when one of us makes a stink about it that it ever makes the news. Doubt this instance will make headlines, but Garrett certainly isn't going to quietly accept Ms. Chandler's demands, either. I'm glad you felt some of Andy's anxiety, and that you thought the chapter was a good one. More importantly, I thank you for continuing to read Andy's story.

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Bullying CPS worker, bully at school. These are the things Andy has run from in the past. Hopefully with everyone on his side, things will work out much better for him this time. Although bullies and hard headed case workers never give up and resort to dirty tactics. Another great chapter Parker and a left curve for sure.

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On 02/03/2016 04:15 AM, slapshot said:

Bullying CPS worker, bully at school. These are the things Andy has run from in the past. Hopefully with everyone on his side, things will work out much better for him this time. Although bullies and hard headed case workers never give up and resort to dirty tactics. Another great chapter Parker and a left curve for sure.

Family Services (what a doublespeak here) certainly threw Andy a sinker, slider, knuckler and curve all in one nasty pitch. He was at least as surprised as you were. Andy hasn't run from it, yet, though. He knows he is loved right where he is, even though the whole experience left him decidedly anxious. Thanks for your review, and hope you'll continue reading Andy's story.

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I need 'likes', but it was a great chapter Parker..

 

There was was bound to be one jackass at school, and he's got fools who think he's cool and will do his dirty work.. But Kudos to Andy and Zander for standing up to him. Andy would never have done that before.. Bruce is going to regret pissing Terry off..

 

We're hitting the inevitable rough patches too. That CPS worker will probably find that she's bitten off more than she could chew with this family. Andy has people to fight for him now, how amazing is that.. Also again yay, for how he handled her questions. It's no surprise that the urge to run is always there, but it says so much that he chooses not to.. Looking forward to what's next!

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Thank you for another fantastic chapter. The first part is everything I have come to expect and love in your wonderfully well written story; the second part is highly problematic, although it does work well dramatically.

 

Zander, and by extension Andy, catch some flack at school. Andy's anticipation of it, and his reaction to it, is exactly what I expect and adore in his emerging self confidence. The kid is strong and we know it. To see him share his strength with Zander is predictable in a gratifying way. It is also beautiful as it exemplifies the strength each receive from one another's love.

 

“You're not going to be alone, Zander. I'll be there. And so will Kaz and Terry.” Zander lovingly expresses his concern for Andy, and true to form, “I'll be okay. Don’t worry.”.

 

"I prefer the term 'boyfriend'" ... lmao ... brilliant. This is not Stephan from Carlsberg. Those are not the words of Eric Anderson. These are Andy's words, Zander's Andy, our Andy. He may not see it, but we know him to be intelligent, witty, and above all else, very strong.

 

And DO NOT mess with Terry :) ! Go girl!

 

The scene with CPS Nazi does not work well. It is obviously a 'loose canon' acting on its own volition; that is believable.

 

The responses to the Nazi justification of it' s presence, “I have learned that there is a homosexual living in this house .
.. Do you deny it?”, is not believable.

 

Neither Garret nor Monica ever challenge the relevancy of the assertion. They could easily respond: 'every one here is homosexual, so what' ... 'bring the police, the more the merrier' ... 'leave now or you will be charged with criminal trespass' .... 'excuse me while I retrieve my gun' ....

 

As Spikey points out, "She's showing prejudice against a legally protected group ...". The police would not support it. Police in the USA are generally too well trained. The Nazi is incapable of posing a single credible threat.

 

I like the dramatic implications of a threat from CPS. Ignore the absurdities, the scene works and is well wriiten. As written, the threat lacks enough credibility to really fulfill dramatic function. In the age of greater transparency into governmental entitities, text messages, Facebook and marriage equality .... the Nazi is not real!

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On 02/03/2016 04:41 AM, Defiance19 said:

I need 'likes', but it was a great chapter Parker..

 

There was was bound to be one jackass at school, and he's got fools who think he's cool and will do his dirty work.. But Kudos to Andy and Zander for standing up to him. Andy would never have done that before.. Bruce is going to regret pissing Terry off..

 

We're hitting the inevitable rough patches too. That CPS worker will probably find that she's bitten off more than she could chew with this family. Andy has people to fight for him now, how amazing is that.. Also again yay, for how he handled her questions. It's no surprise that the urge to run is always there, but it says so much that he chooses not to.. Looking forward to what's next!

I am glad you liked this chapter. Andy stood up to Bruce; Stefan would never have done that. What a change! Ms. Chandler has clearly run into more trouble than she thought she would. Again, the contrast with Stefan could not be clearer - Stefan would have cringed to Ms. Chandler, then would have taken a beating from Dad. But the urge to run remains, though he has not acted on it. Thanks for your review and for continuing to read Andy's journal.

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On 02/03/2016 06:05 AM, said:

Thank you for another fantastic chapter. The first part is everything I have come to expect and love in your wonderfully well written story; the second part is highly problematic, although it does work well dramatically.

 

Zander, and by extension Andy, catch some flack at school. Andy's anticipation of it, and his reaction to it, is exactly what I expect and adore in his emerging self confidence. The kid is strong and we know it. To see him share his strength with Zander is predictable in a gratifying way. It is also beautiful as it exemplifies the strength each receive from one another's love.

 

“You're not going to be alone, Zander. I'll be there. And so will Kaz and Terry.” Zander lovingly expresses his concern for Andy, and true to form, “I'll be okay. Don’t worry.”.

 

"I prefer the term 'boyfriend'" ... lmao ... brilliant. This is not Stephan from Carlsberg. Those are not the words of Eric Anderson. These are Andy's words, Zander's Andy, our Andy. He may not see it, but we know him to be intelligent, witty, and above all else, very strong.

 

And DO NOT mess with Terry :) ! Go girl!

 

The scene with CPS Nazi does not work well. It is obviously a 'loose canon' acting on its own volition; that is believable.

 

The responses to the Nazi justification of it' s presence, “I have learned that there is a homosexual living in this house .

.. Do you deny it?”, is not believable.

 

Neither Garret nor Monica ever challenge the relevancy of the assertion. They could easily respond: 'every one here is homosexual, so what' ... 'bring the police, the more the merrier' ... 'leave now or you will be charged with criminal trespass' .... 'excuse me while I retrieve my gun' ....

 

As Spikey points out, "She's showing prejudice against a legally protected group ...". The police would not support it. Police in the USA are generally too well trained. The Nazi is incapable of posing a single credible threat.

 

I like the dramatic implications of a threat from CPS. Ignore the absurdities, the scene works and is well wriiten. As written, the threat lacks enough credibility to really fulfill dramatic function. In the age of greater transparency into governmental entitities, text messages, Facebook and marriage equality .... the Nazi is not real!

Thanks for your detailed and insightful review. The moment Andy publicly claims Zander as his own stands out as one of the high points in this story, if you ask me. And definitely, don't mess with Terry.

 

Ms. Chandler is a bully, and a blowhard who is used to getting her way. The vast majority of CPS personnel are caring, compassionate individuals, often overworked and underpaid. Unfortunately, a small number of bigots and persons with other agendas to pursue remain. Some, unfortunately, find themselves in charge. Sift through the news, and we find them. Mercifully, not many.

 

Monica began the relevancy challenge you spoke of, but Garrett cut her off. I expect he wants to nail Ms. Chandler in a courtroom, where it will stick. She may know this, which is why she tried bullying and bluster. She clearly doesn't know the Stevensons at all. Garrett is as confident as you are of putting Ms. Chandler in her place in law, but Andy is clearly rattled. Maybe that was the point.

 

Thanks a ton for all of your remarks, and for reading this much more of Andy's journal.

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"Hate it when gifted writers leave us with cliffhangers"..........Excuse me Parker while I address this comment from Rex......Dude, you're so full of it...but I still love ya!!!!!!! lol
Parker, this story has kept my hooked from the first agonizing chapters.....Great to see the bonds strengthening between members of the Stevenson family and their peers at school.......Nothing like a common enemy to unite people, whether its a high school bully or one from CPS.....I really enjoyed reading this chapter and hopefully won't have to wait too long for another.........Thanks, Mike:)

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On 02/03/2016 08:58 AM, flamingo136 said:

"Hate it when gifted writers leave us with cliffhangers"..........Excuse me Parker while I address this comment from Rex......Dude, you're so full of it...but I still love ya!!!!!!! lol

Parker, this story has kept my hooked from the first agonizing chapters.....Great to see the bonds strengthening between members of the Stevenson family and their peers at school.......Nothing like a common enemy to unite people, whether its a high school bully or one from CPS.....I really enjoyed reading this chapter and hopefully won't have to wait too long for another.........Thanks, Mike:)

Thanks for your comments and encouragement, Mike. I really appreciate it. The Stevensons are certainly united in their desire to send Ms. Chandler packing, certainly. All four of them. Notice how big a crowd there was at the lunch table on Tuesday? That's support for you. Andy will write about what happens in court on Friday...I am very glad you liked this chapter (I liked writing it, too - especially the 'I prefer the term "boyfriend," ' line). Thanks for continuing to read Andy's story.

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Oh, that woman is a piece of work! But I trust Garrett and that hot shot lawyer to clear things up. The judge too of course. Terrible to think things like this or varieties thereof actually happen...

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On 02/03/2016 09:29 AM, Puppilull said:

Oh, that woman is a piece of work! But I trust Garrett and that hot shot lawyer to clear things up. The judge too of course. Terrible to think things like this or varieties thereof actually happen...

Now it it's a wonderful thing to have Garrett the Lawyer for a guardian. Nice to know the Judge Harrison is at least moderately friendly, What's bad is that such bigoted loose cannons exist as bureaucratic functionaries everywhere, and apparently in Blackburn, too. Thank you for commenting and especially for reading this chapter in Andy's life.

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Even after 54 chapters this story is still riveting and going strong. Well done :) We knew there would 'repercussions' at some point, and we got them here in spades. The trouble at school is just beginning, even though it seems like most of the school is on Andy and Zander's side. My guess would be that it was the bully - Bruce? - that blew them into CPS. I have to agree a bit with Oxala about the CPS director. She goes to an extreme that I imagine one in her position would handle a bit more subtly. A random 'safety check' or some such thing to ding the Stevensons on and probably a private conversation with Andy like she had. A director would know that she wouldn't be able to remove someone purely based on discrimination of sexual orientation, but would find or fabricate another reason to remove him or make their lives hell in a more bureaucratic way. Just my opinion, though. I look forward to the judge nailing her to the wall during their meeting. lol There's still another shoe to drop, too. We don't know what's happening with the investigation into his father's death and what will happen to Andy in that regard. I look forward to the next chapter!

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