I slept fitfully, thankfully the other two were sound asleep and stayed that way. At six, I gave up trying and went to boost my caffeine levels, sinking a strong coffee instead of my usual tea. Tom had walked and fed Kiki and had left for his office. For an old man, he had incredible energy—more than me.
I checked my suit and pressed it. The cleaners had done a reasonable job and it was spotless. I ironed the blouse, I was going to wear with it, a pin stripe in white, satin and matt silk, with a Peter Pan collar. With this ensemble I decided I would wear my navy shoes, yes those ones, the ones I can hardly walk in. Stella could sort out her own wardrobe, I had to press Jemima’s dress. I’d checked it yesterday and she hadn’t spilt anything down the front of it, nor had she sat in anything either. It was still clean and I simply ran the creases out of it. She had a nice blue coat to go with it, and with her navy Mary Janes, she’d look at least kempt.
I wasn’t making any submissions, that was my QC’s job, we’d met and I’d liked him, he’d asked all sorts of questions and had also spoken with Mima, which he did very cleverly. He’d taped his session with her and had had it transcribed. The judge would get a copy, along with a deposition from Dr Rose, expounding my virtues or some such thing. Presumably anything they’d been able to get from Janet Scott, had also been obtained, or from her advocate in South Africa.
I organised some breakfast after I’d put the clothes safely away from dirty fingers. It was now, nearly eight. I managed to force down some toast, then felt sick after eating it. I knew I needed to eat, but it was so difficult. My tummy was full of butterflies with a wingspan rivalling that of King Condors, no wonder I felt sick.
I gently roused Mima and Stella, for an awful moment I thought they were dead. At that instant I’d felt a mixture of relief and shock, then they moved and I got real again. I was going to have to cope with this trial or ordeal, not only that, but win it.
“What about my gender situation?”
“What about it?”
“Do you not think it matters, that I’m transsexual.”
“I’m a post operative transsexual.”
“Geez, I’d never have guessed. Do the council know?”
“I’ve no idea, it isn’t a secret, insofar as it’s been in the press and on the television. I did a special interview with the BBC.”
“Okay, so it’s in the public domain, if they couldn’t find it, then should we declare it? Yes, just in case, they are waiting to spring it on us. What else do they know about in the public domain?”
“I dunno, I did help rescue a baby from a car fire, and my neighbours when their house caught fire. “ I watched as he did a Google Search
on his laptop.
“Gee whiz, you’re a regular superhero, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Tackled the mafia and rescued Lady Stella, got attacked at the university and rescued by a police marksman, caught a bag snatcher—how much more is there?”
“I don’t know, I don’t keep a record of it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you make Batman look ineffectual.”
“Is that bad?”
“Ah, I see the bit about Sex Change Heroine Saves Baby, yep we’d better disclose it, somewhere in the small print. If the social services have missed it, then it’s too bad, for them.”
My mind came back to the present. “Oh, is that tea for me?” asked Stella. I passed it to her.
“Come on, Mima, up you get, have a quick wee and let’s get you some breakfast.” I escorted her downstairs and fed her, even managing another slice of toast myself.
We were ready to go an hour and a half later. I’d ordered a taxi to take us to the court, so neither of us would have to drive. As we alighted, and my shoes clattered on the pavement, I began to wish I worn a pair of trainers. I had wondered about changing my shoes but a look from Stella, who looked equally elegant, meant I didn’t. I carried my brief case in one hand and held Mima’s hand in the other—she looked a picture in her new dress and coat, and her hair done in pigtails.
My own, I’d thought to put up, but Stella told me to wear it down with that outfit. I bowed to her greater sense of dress decorum. Thankfully, it was a dry day, cloudy but fine. Our heels clicked in unison as we walked to the courthouse, inside which was Simon, wearing one of his Armani suits. He looked a million dollars and as soon as she spotted him, Mima loosed herself from my arm and charged at him, yelling, “Daddy,” thankfully he caught her before she kicked his dicky knee.
“Don’t you look pretty?” he said to Mima, who beamed and giggled, and, “Wow, look at these two ladies about town; do you know them?”
“Dat’s my mummy and Annie Stewwa.”
“Helwo, Mummy an’ Annie Stewwa,” said Simon, as Mima slapped him playfully for teasing her. He hugged and kissed us both. “Don’t you two look smart, I wondered if you were someone’s brief for a moment.”
“Are you implying I look like a pair of knickers, Simon Cameron?” I teased him, trying to hide my real emotions of raw terror.
“Oh absolutely, I’d have thought you were worth a couple of knicker, myself. Any chance, dah-lin’,” he said nudging me.
“Play your cards right big boy, an’ who knows,” I winked back at him, suddenly hoping that Mima hadn’t picked that up to repeat to the judge.
We all trouped inside and our QC met us, followed by the rushing figure of Henry trotting down the corridor behind him. The heavy cavalry were out today by the look of it. It was nice to see him there, he hugged and kissed us both, complimented all three of us girls on our appearance and carried Mima into the room.
It was ten minutes to eleven. My tummy suddenly became becalmed, as if it was too late now to worry, just face the music and get on with it. Our counsel went over a few points and then we were led into the judge’s chambers by an usher in a uniform a bit like a policeman.
Social services were already there and I entered holding hands with Mima, and Simon held her other hand. We were asked to sit down in the front of a small group of chairs. The two barristers were asked to speak to the judge and each then made a summary of their case. We went second, to rebut or challenge any statement they made.
Most of the case revolved around the way I’d come into possession of Mima, as if I had used money and position to enhance my opportunity and short circuit the process which others had to undergo. Then almost as an afterthought, they slipped in my transsexualism. At this the judge, looked over the top of his glasses in mild surprise and at me, as Mima sat on my lap and cuddled me.
My counsel challenged their statement, saying in our deposition, we had revealed that and that there was nothing we were trying to hide. Their case finished, ours began and our chap was absolutely brilliant. He went through their submission and pointed out anomalies, and he made our case very strongly. I was rather glad he was on our side.
“M’lud, I have to remind the court that my clients, actually brought social services into the picture in the first place, when they discovered what appeared to be decidedly unusual procedures by Mrs Scott. In fact, they informed the police, as one should in such instances…
…at no point has the term fostering been alluded to by my clients, although one could deem it to be equivalent to what they are doing. Originally, they assumed it was going to be a very temporary care of a very sick child—I have provided a submission from Dr Rose, the child’s paediatrician, who thinks her recovery is nigh on miraculous and greatly due to the care from Miss Watts and Mr Cameron.”
“Do I not see Viscount Cameron, present?” asked the judge.
“Yes, m’lud, he’s father of Mr Simon Cameron.”
“So you mean Lord Cameron, not mister?”
“Indeed, I could, m’lud, except that my clients didn’t wish to be seen to trying to use any influence of wealth or position in putting their case.”
“Admirable, I’m sure, Mr Bentley.” The judge paused, then looking straight at me asked, “You say, Miss Watts, used to be a man?”
“I didn’t actually say that, m’lud, I would suggest from her obvious appearance that she has undergone gender corrective surgery, and lives a full life as a female. In fact she is intending to marry Simon Cameron in the near future.”
“Presumably the Camerons know of this?”
“They do and accept Miss Watts as the beautiful woman she has become, looking forward to her joining their family when she marries Simon.”
“Is that so, Viscount Stanebury?” the judge addressed Henry directly.
“That is absolutely so, m’lud, and we completely support her application regarding the child Jemima, who as you can see dotes on her.”
“Thank you, Viscount Stanebury, perhaps you leave the case to be presented by your counsel?” Henry blushed as the judge gently berated him. The judge then nodded back at our QC, Mr Bentley, who continued his argument.
He discussed his interview with Mima and that he had a tape of this to show no manipulation, and that he’d provided a typed transcript for the learned judge. He mentioned the submission by child psychiatrist, Dr Cauldwell, about how Mima had settled in and treated me like her mother.
I’d slipped a picture book in my case, which Mima was looking at while all this was going on. During a pause in the proceedings, she asked in loud voice, “Mum-mmee, woss diss?”
“I suggest you answer your charge’s question, Miss Watts,” instructed the judge. I blushed as hot as a microwave on full power.
The judge seemed to be glancing through some papers. He looked over at me, “Miss Watts, could you please ask Jemima to walk to me, perhaps to show me her book.”
Of course, she chose that moment to go all coy. “Come on, I’ll walk just behind you.” Mima started off very nervously. “Come along, show the nice judge your new picture book,” I encouraged.
“Wilw he give it back to me, Mummy?”
“I should think so, if you’re a good girl. So run over and show him your book.” With that, she trotted over to the judge who gave the book a cursory glance and handed it back to her. “Do you like living with Miss Watts and Lord Cameron?”
“I wuv my mummy an’ daddy,” she said coyly back to him before she flew back to me, gripping her book tightly.
“That is quite remarkable. I’ve just glanced through the medical notes, which given her injuries, she has made an almost miraculous recovery. I do have a medical qualification as well as my legal ones.” I stopped in my tracks and took the hand that Mima was offering me.
The judge continued, “I will give my decision in one month’s time. In the interim, I am satisfied that the child is well cared for and has developed a relationship with her temporary guardians. I would therefore suggest she stay in their custody until such time as it has been proven they are unworthy or she is unhappy. Court is adjourned.”
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