Thanks, once again to DJkauf for the Edits.
After a month long wait, the continuation of Through the years.
How shall things go down? Billy's involvement is known, Clark is still out there, Molly Hallmark is still out there, and now her Grandparents are out there. Things are slowly shaping her future, but will it be a good one and will our young Tracy make it to see twelve years old?
Persephone had pulled up, parking Harvey's truck near his trailer. As the girls started to unload, a another truck hauling a trailer pulled up by the house and came to a stop. Sage was busy pulling Brooke's wheelchair out of the back, as Rachel pulled out the couple of bags of things they had bought as well.
“Okay. That's weird. Wonder if they're lost.” Maggie said. Then her eyes went to the license plate. She knew the Wyoming License plate with the picture of the man on the horse and she mentally kicked herself for forgetting. “Oh crap. I completely forgot.”
“You know them?” Persephone asked.
Maggie nodded, trying to think of how to handle the situation. “Yeah. Those are my parents. They wanted out of Wyoming for the winter and I said they could come out. We've been so busy with everything that I forgot.”
“Grandma and Grandpa?” Tracy asked as she watched the drivers door open and her grandfather got out of the truck. She could hear the passenger side door open as well.
“Yep.” Maggie turned to face the girls and lowered her voice. “Girls, until I get the chance to talk to my parents, please don't call Tracy by her name. It's Troy, at least until I can break this to them. Understand?” Each of them nodded and she watched any happiness that Tracy had just melt away like ice in the sun.
“You going to need any help?” Persephone asked.
“Maybe, but I may have to do this alone, or my mom will think I'm ganging up on her. I'll have to play it by ear.”
Maggie walked over to her parents. “Mom, Dad.” She hugged each of them. “I've been so busy, I totally forgot you were due up this week.”
“I hope we're not intruding. We didn't expect to see anyone else here.” Her father said.
“Just some friends of the kids, up from the Bay Area, and their families.” Maggie said, carefully watching what she said.
“Do you want us to leave? We could head to Los Angeles and see your sister first.”
“No Dad, you're welcome here, We just need to put your trailer elsewhere. Harvey will be taking off tomorrow night with two of the girls.”
“Do you think Conner will mind us parking over there?”
“Tell you what, give me a few minutes and I'll move my car. We can put your trailer in front of the house for the next day or two.”
Tracy watched as her mother moved her car and by time her grandfather was pulling in, her Dad had come over and was standing next to her. “You going to be okay?”
“I guess.” Tracy said. “Mom said she'll try to talk to Grandma, but who knows.”
William nodded. “Your Grandmother can be a bit stubborn. So let your mother work on the hows and whys and you just focus on fun with your friends. Just remember, you've only got a few days to worry about it, then you go to Shelly's”
“Yeah.” Tracy smiled at him. “You're right.”
Clark was at the home of his cousins, Stan and Hank when he heard something that made him stop the card came they were playing. It had just been a mention of his cousin and an arrest at his place of work. Clark's mind began working and the only reason he could come up with was that Troy had done something. So he decided to figure out if he was wrong.
Clark dialed his Uncle Larry's home and after a couple of rings, the phone was picked up. “O’Brien's, how can I help you?”
“Uncle Larry? It's Clark. Did Billy just get arrested?”
“Yes, he did. Clark.” Larry replied.
“Why?” Clark asked.
“I think you may know why, Clark. Sending threats through the mail is a crime, plus threatening four people over the phone and breaking his probation by carrying a knife and having drugs in his possession.”
“But he didn't send those.” Clark replied without thinking. “It's not his fault, it's the fag’s fault.”
Larry decided to test the theory he had of the pictures’ origins. “Tell me the truth boy, are you the one he got those pictures from?”
“He didn't do anything wrong. It's all the fag's fault.” Clark stated again.
He heard the old man on the other end of the phone sigh. “Clark, you know they'll catch you. Don't do anything stupid. You broke a federal law. If you mailed those threats you could look at some major jail time.”
Clark heard his Uncle still talking as he hung up the phone. He looked to his cousins. “They arrested Billy because of those pictures. Little fag called the cops on him.” It wasn't what he had been told, but it was what he believed. “I say we go over there and beat the shit out of the little fag. His brother too.”
“What if the retard is there?”
“Then we kick all three of their asses.” Clark stated.
Deputies Kline and Olsen had received the warrant, although he had to push and bend the facts to get the D.A. to go along with putting the search warrant out on an eleven year old's stuff. An hour later and they were already in Clark Millet’s bedroom. They had left a third Deputy to deal with Clark's distraught mother as they searched the boys room. They had been at it for half an hour and hadn't found anything of importance until Kate Olsen let out a whistle. “Found something.” She said.
Keith Kline looked over and saw her holding a couple of negatives and a picture with Tracy and her mother on it. He took the negative and held it up to the light and smiled. “We got him.”
After searching the boys room and finding more evidence, namely four envelopes, already filled out, two for Maggie's work, one for the Patterson home and one for Troy's grandparents, they put it all into evidence baggies and went to his mother in the kitchen. “Ma'am, where is your son, Clark?”
“He's off with his cousins, Stan and Hank.” She replied, then she slouched in her seat, aware that her only other son had messed up. “Why? What did he do this time?”
“Ma'am. Someone has been leaving threatening pictures for another student at your Son's school. We found the negatives for those pictures in your son's room. People have implicated your son as well.” Deputy Kline held up a hand to stop her from talking. “Ma'am, we're not arresting you, but I must advise you to not say anything till you can get a lawyer for both you and your son, is that understood?”
“I....I understand, but answer me one question. This child he threatened, is this the same boy that Bruce attacked back in December?”
“I can't say, Ma'am.” Deputy Kline said. But she got the answer from his face.
Mrs. Millet guessed she was right from his response. “I should have known. I should have known that Bruce would talk him into something stupid. I tried my best with him, but he never listened. He could never take the blame for his actions....”
“Ma'am, I need you to stay quiet. Don't implicate yourself until you get a lawyer, okay?”
Molly had the house to herself as she sat at the kitchen table, trying to find a way to deal with the Patterson problem. She knew the kind of person that Troy would become. She knew the loathsome, vile pervert he was shaping up to be. At least she thought she did. Dressing and acting like he was a girl, it was wrong, she knew it. Anyone who read a bible knew it. It was no different than a person from her past. As she sat there, glaring at the picture of Tracy and Maggie at the store, she began to think of her childhood. Of the good friend she lost the summer she turned fourteen.
Molly knew she would have never done it. Nothing that vile. Even her parents had told her it wasn't her fault. They had spent months explaining how her old friend Cathy and the devil had tricked Molly into thinking the feelings she felt for the other girl were real. And it had felt that way. Each kiss her old friend had given her, each embrace. Each touch when they were at the lake, the feel of her fingers against her skin. At the time, none of it felt bad, but once her parents had explained how she had sinned, and how the Devil made her do it. They told her how people like that would only prey on the weak and the trusting. They told her how her friend Cathy was just getting her to lower her defenses so she could hurt her. Her parents insisted that's what those people did. Thanks to the conditioning from her parents, Molly realized how perverted and dangerous queers and dykes could be. Ever since then, she had done her best to shun and expose Gays and Dykes. Each time she felt an urge for another woman, she knew it was the devil and that woman trying to lure her into sin. She knew how they could sway someone and she guessed that Troy would be a thousand times worse.
She guessed the girl’s clothes were used to lure someone into a false sense of security, to feel that they had nothing to fear from him. Then he could attack them. Molly had to get him out of the town, before he set his sights on Robert, or Scotty. Or worse yet, an unsuspecting girl who he befriended. She could see a path of broken lives starting to form, all by the hands of one little freak.
She had to save the children of the town from the perversion that was Troy Patterson, and she would do it any way she could.
Clark walked towards Tracy and her friends, his cousins staying behind him. “Hey Fag!”
Tracy turned around to see Clark, his two cousins and Bobby Anderson walking towards them. She was still wearing Troy's pants and one of Troy's shirts, but she figured Clark wouldn't let it drop if she pointed that out. So instead, in her nicest tone of voice, she told him. “Go away Clark.”
“Fag, you fucked up by by having my cousin arrested. Now I'm gonna kick your ass.”
“I didn't have anyone arrested. If someone got arrested, then it's his own fault, just like your brother.” She looked over her shoulder to Sage, 'Romy, Rachel and Brooke. “Get inside, lock the door. Stacey, go get my Dad.” She walked with Rachel and the others, but kept her back to her friends . Stacey took off, Casey started following her.
Peter had been hanging out with Mooney, Vance and Jerry still, but the boys saw Sage and Rachel helping Brooke up the step to the house and they jogged over. Clark kept advancing, gesturing to his cousins and Bobby to stand back. “Gonna kick your ass till your mom can't recognize you.”
“Clark, why are you here? Why are you doing this?”
“Because you got Bruce arrested. And now you had Billy arrested, claiming he sent those pictures. All of this has been my doing. The pictures. I even had my cousin call you on the phone. And it worked. Now you don't even have Emily and Mary Beth to be your friends. Made you so scared you won’t even go to school. Maybe I should tell your little girlfriends what time of little dress wearing freak you are. By the time I'm done no one will want to be your friend. ” He said.
“Clark, just go away. This isn't going to end the way you want it to.” She stated.
“You in the hospital for getting Bruce arrested? Yes it will.” He growled, then he started his attack. He rushed her and Tracy waited till the last second, then she twisted her body as Clark's fist hit her, then she brought her arm up, catching his in the crook of her elbow. She twisted back, almost instantly and slammed her left hand against his chest. As he started to stumble, she let go of his arm, letting him hit the ground. She was aware that the door had shut and her friends were safely inside.
“Get him!” Clark commanded. Stan and Hank moved forward, but were cut off by Peter and Vance. Mooney and Jerry moved to help Tracy.
Bobby came running at Tracy, but she blocked his first punch, ducked under his second punch and sent a blow to his gut. The bigger teen staggered back, gasping for breath. In this span of time, Clark was back on his feet.
“I got this guys. ” She said to Mooney and Jerry as they stood by her side. “Peter, Vance, let them go.” Tracy glared at Clark. “I want you to take your friend and cousins, and get off the property. I want you to get the hell out of my life before I get mad and beat the shit out of you, understand?”
“I ain't scared of you.” Clark said as he mustered up as much bravado as he could.
“Clark, just go. Don't push your luck, this isn't worth it.” In the distance, she could hear sirens, but she was focused on the fight, so she didn't hear them clearly. “I don't want to fight you.”
“Scared? You should be.” He tried to muster his bravado again and he puffed out his chest.
He ran at her again, this time she blocked his punch, gripped his wrist, then simply slapped his face. “I mean it Clark, back off now!”
“A slap?!? Bruce said you fought like a girl. Said you kicked his nuts! Lets see how you like it!” Clark's foot got past Tracy's defense and connected with Tracy's crotch, but it didn't have the intended result. She felt pain, but nothing like Bruce had done to her. She grimaced, but held her ground. Clark stared at her in surprise for a moment, then he decided to try it again. Clark kicked a second time and Tracy caught his foot and lifted it up and began walking him to a spot in the driveway.
“Is it my turn now?!? Can I kick your crotch two times, as hard as I can?” She asked as she forced him to hop backwards. He failed to keep the surprise and fear from his face. He was sure he'd put Troy down with that kick. “You can't even kick me hard enough to hurt me, and you think you have a chance of beating me? You and Bobby can't even take me together. I'm being nice right now Clark. Stop this stupidity.” She pulled up and kicked out with a foot, connecting with his one leg that was touching the ground, sending him to his ass once more. Moony and Jerry stood between her and Bobby, so there was no sneak attacks. “Did your brother tell you how after they hurt me, I stood up and kept fighting all three of them?
“He said you were on the ground crying like a baby!” Clark started to move, trying to get to his feet quickly. She moved over and shoved her foot down on his chest and added some weight.
“Of course he said that. How dare the truth come out. Clark, I just want to hang out with my friends and my grandparents and forget you even exist. So I'm gonna take my foot away and go inside, but I swear to God, you get up and I will put you down so hard your kids will feel it.” To show she wasn't kidding, she pulled her foot back an inch, then shoved hard on his gut, causing him to grunt. “I want you to leave and take your little friends with you.” She now heard the sirens a bit clearer. “Maybe they won't catch you before you get off the property.”
Bobby Anderson heard the sirens and he began to pale. He turned and started sprinting down the road, ducking into the trees to avoid being caught. By this point, Stacey, and Casey were watching from the safety of the fenced in yard that Modine and Conner had. Harvey had been jogging over with Maggie and William. The front door was open and Sage, Brooke and Rachel watched from the house. Lok stood in the yard with Persephone, Modine and Conner. Harvey was about to run after Billy when Maggie caught his arm. “No stay here, just in case. Let him run.”
Tracy lifted her foot up and took a could of steps back, then she waited to see what Clark would do. “This ain't over Fag!” Clark snarled. His anger prevented him from thinking straight. He got to his feet and rushed Tracy, but Jerry stepped in his way and with one good punch, he knocked Clark off his feet.
“Thanks, Jerry.” Tracy said as she pushed her way in front of Jerry as the cruisers slid to a halt in front of the house. “You lose, Clark. And it's not my fault this time.” Clark started to get up, in his anger he failed to comprehend that the police had arrived. He started to stalk towards Tracy, till a voice boomed out.
“Freeze!” The Familiar voice of Deputy Kline shouted.
Tracy put her hands in the air, till the Deputy motioned that she could lower them. “You okay?” Deputy Kline asked.
“Yeah.” Tracy replied. “He barely touched me.”
“Deputy Kline, we want to press charges against that boy and his friends for trespassing, and assault.” William stated.
“We'll add that to the charges he's already facing for sending threats through the mail.”
Her parents talked to the deputy for a few more minutes and Tracy tuned them out. With Clark gone, she guessed they only had one last worry, Molly Hallmark. That made it easier to be ready for a possible attack. After a few minutes, the deputy left and her parents came over to her. By this point, Bernice and Marion had come out of their trailer, and the girls had come out of the house.
“So does this mean I have to stay?” Tracy asked as the cop car left the property.
“No. I still think it's better to get you out of town.” William replied. “After how Molly treated those ladies a few years back, I think we'd be playing with fire to stay.”
“I agree.” Maggie said. “The therapist is there, and the girls.”
“So can I stay then?” Vance asked his parents. The teasing would die down, at least he hoped it would, but he was ready to join the baseball team if he could. “Till the end of the school year? Clark's gone and he knows Bobby is just a blow hard and the coach let me on the soccer team.”
“It may be best.” Maggie replied. “That way you two can start packing when school is almost finished.”
As Tracy was led inside by her friends, Bernice came over to Maggie. Their nap had been interrupted but the sudden fight and now her curiosity was running wild.
“So what was that all about?” Maggie’s mother asked.
Maggie led her parents away from Tracy and William, so Tracy could relax and not have to live the past again.“You remember back in December when Troy was attacked and he defended Modine from the group of boys he caught stealing?”
“Yeah, I remember you telling me about it, why?” Her mother replied.
“That boy who Troy just smacked around is the younger brother of the main attacker and he's been sending threats to Troy at School, that's why we had him home-schooled, but they also sent them to a girl he knows and Troy's friend at school plus he mailed threats to my work and someone left them at William's work. We found out that the man who sent them to William's work was the one who had threatened to come over here and rape and murder Troy and myself and kill Vance and William.”
“Good God, why did he say that?”
Maggie sighed. “He's a fool? Also he is the older cousin to Troy's attacker.”
“So he was calling because of his cousin. I see.” Bernice said with the nod of her head. “Why the fag remarks?”
Maggie almost spilled the beans, but she looked away and shrugged. “Who knows. This kid is trying everything he can to turn people against Troy and it's working. We're taking Troy out of here because some of the stories that boy was spreading have made their way to a group of church ladies we knew when we went to church.”
“What type of stories?”
Maggie sighed. “Mostly that Troy will rape and murder all the kids in town. But the woman insists that Troy is gay, thanks to some pictures and she is mounting a personal campaign against my family.”
“And there's no way to talk to them?”
“No.” Maggie stated. “And we tried. Molly Hallmark is a force of nature, and she's already ran other people out of town.”
“Ran them....what is this? The old West?”
“Honestly Mom, I don't know. I just know I want Troy out of here and in June, Vance and William will come down and join us. Gives me a couple months to find a home.”
“I'm sorry you have to move. I always thought you liked it here.” Bernice stated. “But let us know if you need help. We could always come out to help move ya.”
“I may hold you to that.” Maggie said, giving her mother a smile. But for now, I want to check up on Troy, okay?”
Lok waited till just after dinner to pull Tracy from her friends just once more. “For someone with just a few years of training, you fight decently, even if he had no skill at all.”
“You're not mad that I fought, are you?”
“I said before, even a hare bites when cornered.” Lok replied. They walked around the backside of Modine's home and they stopped at Modine's porch, where Tracy took a seat on the second to bottom step. Lok leaned against the porch. “You did try to send him away, several times. He refused to take that option. You were headed to safety yourself and you made me proud by making sure that Brooke, Sage, her sister, and Rachel got into the house safely.”
“They're my friends. I can't let them get hurt. Not over me.”
“It takes a big person to defend people instead of thinking only of themselves. You have done it before, by protecting your grandmother. And now your friends.” Lok said with a smile. “You are a good person for doing that.”
“And when we get you to Livermore, I want to take you to Jaio for a refresher course and see where in her class you can fit.”
“Thank you.” Tracy said with a smile.
Bernice was walking down the hall to the bathroom of her daughters home, while Maggie was busy at her mother in law's place, as were William, the boys and all the girls. Bernice had wanted to come over to get a shower and head to bed, mostly because she was tired from the days drive and the lack of a nap that afternoon, due to the fight that had happened on the property. Normally she was used to going to bed at nine in the evening and her body was still used to the time in Wyoming which was only an hour ahead. But it had been a long day for her and sleep was needed.
She noticed something in the closet belonging to her two grandsons, just out of the corner of her eyes as she passed the bedroom door and She stopped, backed up a step and leaned inside. There hanging in the closet were several skirts, blouses and a couple of dresses and a stack of boxes, stuffed inside the closet.
Bernice stepped inside and took a closer look at them. She gently moved one of the blouses to get a look at the size. Something wasn't adding up right. She could see some boys clothes, but more than half of the bar in the closet was filled with girls clothes. She waited a moment and listened to see if her daughter or anyone else had come over. She knew this was none of her concern, but the nosy side of her decided to investigate something. On the floor by the dresser were five packs, two of them had the names of two of the girls that were next door. “Why would they hang up their stuff.....” She asked aloud. “And why are all of Troy's friends girls?”
On the dresser was a picture of the same five girls that were at the property, plus Modine, Maggie and a third girl. Something compelled Bernice to take a closer look at the picture. And as she stared at the unnamed child, she realized she was staring at her youngest grandson, in a dress and with pigtails. Things started to fell into place. She had thought that Maggie said something a week or two earlier, like calling her child a different name. And she swore the bigger girl named Rachel had whispered the name Tracy. And they had all heard the little six year old call Troy something that started with Trace, but the redhead had spoken over her sister. Then there was the fag comment from the punk who had attacked earlier.
“He wears girls clothes?” Bernice said, unaware she was speaking aloud. “why...what would compel....” She trailed off as she heard the sound of the gate to Modine's property. She glanced out the window to the boys room and saw Maggie, Persephone and the girls coming towards the house. She did a quick look around the room, just to make sure nothing was out of place, then she slipped out of the room and into the bathroom. She knew she should talk to her daughter, but she had to get Maggie alone.
Casey and Stacey were busy with Brooke, packing up the books in the bookcase. Tracy had showed them where her books were and where Vance's was. Rachel and Sage were taking the time to neatly fold all of her stuff as they pulled it out of the closet and put it in a box. 'Romy sat on the bed, holding Tracy's bear, as Persephone and Maggie talked in the kitchen.
Tracy was glad they had waited, so her grandmother didn't have the chance to see what was really in there, but she knew that she had to wear Troy's pajamas, in case her grandparents came in early the next morning. It would be too hard to hide her nightgown. Tracy focused on the dresser, making sure to leave her boy clothes in there so she had things to wear the next day or two. Her Grandparents were already in bed in their trailer for the evening and Vance was up watching TV, leaving the girls the chance to get things done.
“I still can't believe how good you fight.” Rachel stated.
“I may not be that good.” Tracy replied. “Clark just can't fight at all.”
“True.” Sage said with a giggle. “'Romy could have beat him.”
The little girl nodded and giggled back and balled up her tiny fist. Tracy chuckled and Brooke shook her head. “Don't sell yourself short. You were as good as some of the students at my Grandparents’ school.” Brooke stated.
Tracy leaned her back against the dresser. “I guess. I'm just glad that he's gone. Too bad he already screwed up any chance of Emily May and Mary Beth coming over.”
“Yeah.” Sage nodded in agreement.
“Hey, we should write some letters for them.” Rachel said, her eyes twinkling. “So they knew we were here and wanted to hang out.”
“I got some paper.” Tracy said, pointing to the dresser. “The binder with the pink cover, we could use that. Each of us could send a letter to them and Vance can give it to them on Monday.”
“Cool, but after we're done, okay?” Sage suggested. “May as well finish this now, while you got the help.”
Her husband lay next to her, already fast asleep, but Bernice lay there, still thinking about the picture she had seen in her grandchildren's room, and the clothes. She knew that Maggie knew, but she wasn't sure how she should approach it. She was also sure that William knew, just from having the clothes in the house and Conner seemed nicer to Troy, but Modine wasn't positive if he knew or not. She wasn't sure if Marion knew, or cared. He seemed to be the laid back one of the two of them. Every part of her told her it was wrong. Boys were boys. Sure, she knew her other daughter, Margret's sister had slept with women, she had found that out ages before and she knew that's why she had never remarried after her husband passed away. She was sure that there was another woman in the picture, but that was a lot different than dressing up as the opposite sex.
Bernice lay there, unsure of how to handle this. It wasn't her home, but she was sure that she could help steer Troy back onto the right path. Then she recalled something from the past few months and she quietly whispered. “That's why.” The pieces fell into place and Bernice knew she had to talk to Maggie, for the sake of her daughter and grandchild. Before Troy left for Livermore.
Two problems down, now how shall the Grandmother act? What of Molly Hallmark? What of Maggie's past? Will William's work treat him differently after Billy's arrest? So many questions.....
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