Through the years: Trials and tribulations of a preteen girl Part 10

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Olivia jogged over and hugged Maggie as she stopped. “Hey, glad you made it.”

“Me too.” Maggie said. “And Joy? She's coming?”

“She is here with Angie. They’re inside the grounds already. They are with friends of mine.” Olivia turned and hugged Tracy. “Hello young lady. It's good to see you out in public like this.” She whispered into the girl’s ear.

“Thanks.” Tracy said, hugging her back.

--SEPARATOR--Editing by Djkauf

A look in on Tracy, Brooke and their mothers in L.A, Yvette and her family, and another look into the story on the Hallmark's side. And introducing Lewis and Nancy Horton, Molly's parents.

--SEPARATOR--

Friday February 25th 1983

Lionel was sitting at his desk, work spread out in front of him. It had been a quiet morning so far and he had gotten a lot of his work done. He was focused on his work, so he wouldn't think about his family life. He was tired of the questions from his co-workers. Those were almost as bad as the people from his church, many of them claiming that he had not supported Molly when she had been falsely imprisoned.

So it was his work that let him relax. Let him concentrate on something other than being yelled at and blamed for everything in the world. But that peace was to end. The phone rang and Lionel reached out and picked it up. “Lionel Hallmark’s office. How can I help you?”

“Mr. Hallmark, this is Evan.” The voice of the family lawyer said over the line.

“Hey, Evan, have you heard about Molly’s court date? Did they give a date yet? Molly should be at the house, if you want to call her.” Lionel asked. The thought of his wife attacking children still chilled his blood, even though more than two weeks had passed. Lionel wasn’t happy with her being at the house alone with the children, but she insisted that she was better now. He had paid for the bail, just so the boys didn’t lose their mother.

The families lawyer spoke up. “Um...Lionel, there was trouble at the hearing today.”

“Hearing today? What hearing?” Lionel asked. “I thought the next hearing was the pretrial conference and that’s not for a few months.”

“You....She never told you?” A very confused Evan asked.

“Told me what?” Lionel asked.

“She had a hearing for a restraining order.”

“She did?” Lionel hadn’t known about her court date. “She never said anything.” He then asked, now a bit worried. “What happened?”

“Well, the family who was getting the restraining order was the one that she had the altercation with, the Pattersons. I was going to meet up with her at the courthouse, but she said she wanted to visit an old family friend that works there. A Judge Olsen?”

“Yeah, he is the Godfather to our boys.” Lionel answered.

“Ah. I see. Well, from what I got from the police, she attacked the Patterson child again, as they headed into the courthouse. I heard that she was claiming she saw him molesting the other kids who were with him, but no one else saw it. There were a few cops there and they never saw anything, until your wife started hitting that Troy kid and trying to bite him and his mother.”

“Not again.” Lionel groaned out. “How bad is it this time?”

“Well, she broke the temporary restraining order that was out on her. But since she was yelling and ranting again, she was put into Mental Health once more. There will be no bail and when she is deemed fit to be released, she is being sent to the county jail.”

“I understand. If there was a restraining order, she broke the law. But why? Why now? ” Lionel asked, rhetorically. “I guess I should have never paid the bail.....”

“Lionel, I know this is bad, but there is more.” Evan said.

“More?” Lionel leaned forward. “How can there be more? The kid isn’t dead, is he?”

“There were several restraining orders she wanted to file today. Each of them she claimed was for a relative. But I found out who the children were.”

“Who?” Lionel asked.

“A Brooke Han, Sage Miller, Andromeda Miller and a Rachel Williams.”

“I....” There was a pause as he thought about the named. Finally he replied. “I don’t know those names.” Lionel stated. “Who are they?”

“Those would be the friends of Troy Patterson. Molly was trying to place restraining orders on a child’s friends. I dropped them, because the parents of those children were there with Tracy.”

“Good.” There was a slight pause, then Lionel asked. “Evan, how is the child she hurt?”

“Scared. She got in a couple of punches and knocked over a pair of other children and almost hit a girl in a wheelchair, but the Patterson child is okay. Molly did try to bite both the mother and the child.”

“Has she changed her plea? Or plead for this attack?”

“Not yet, she needed to be sedated.” Evan said. “But with everything in place, she is going to jail for breaking the restraining order. Not much I can do there. Not to mention that Mental Health will hold on to her for a couple of days. When she is safe, they move her to the county jail.”

Lionel sighed, then he simply said. “Okay. Keep me informed. And thanks for calling.”

“Not a problem, Lionel. Sorry I didn’t have better news.” Evan stated.

“I know. It’s not your fault.” Lionel stated. “Thanks. I have some calls to make.”

He hung up on his lawyer, then Lionel looked at the small Calendar on his desk. His wife’s birthday was just a couple of days away and he knew his sister-in-law was due to come over, as were Molly’s parents. Now there was no reason to hold the party. He sighed and started dialing the phone, deciding to call her parents first. He was sure that they would be in their home in Sacramento.

He wasn’t a big fan of her father. To him, Lewis Horton seemed way too obsessed with Hell and had a bit of a chip on his shoulder when it came to who all would be saved. Lionel tolerated him, just because he was married to their daughter. He had only attended his father-in-law’s church once and that was enough to tell him the man was not the kind of preacher he wanted his kids to see. That didn’t change the fact that he was Molly’s father and if he had been in Lewis’s shoes, he would want to know if something had happened to his daughter.

The phone only rang a couple times before someone picked it up. “Horton’s.” A male voice said.

“Hey, this is Lionel. I wanted to talk to you really quick.”

“Hello Son. What’s going on? Are we still on for Molly’s birthday surprise? After the past few weeks, she needs something to take her mind off of stuff.”

Lionel leaned back in his seat and shook his head, even though his father-in-law couldn’t see it. “No, actually I called because there has been an issue.”

“Is she okay? Is she at the hospital?” The man automatically asked.

“No....well, yes and no. She’s not at the normal hospital, but they took her back to mental health.”

“Why!?!” His father-in-law asked in a loud tone of voice.

“She attacked a child at the courthouse today.” Lionel stated.

“Who? That same little brat from the last time?” Lewis Horton’s voice held a lot of anger, something Lionel knew the man had a lot of.

Lionel paused for a moment and he wondered just what Molly had told her parents. “She did attack the same child, but in full view of about twenty people, several of which were cops. They had to pull her away from the child, she was kicking, screaming and trying to bite the kids mother. They took her back to mental health.”

“Are you getting her out?!?” His tone was getting louder.

“No, I can’t.” Lionel said.

His father-in-law almost roared. “WHY NOT!?!”

“Because!” Lionel shouted. He knew there had been times where Molly’s dad ignored the little things she did. And Lewis was always critical of people he considered evil, even if they had been in the right. He was also arrogant and thought that only his family was smart. But since Lionel was not family by blood, clearly he was an idiot and this was showing that he was a coward, not willing to stand up for his wife.

Lionel sighed and continued. “Molly broke a restraining order. There is nothing I can do. When she is done at Mental Health, she will be moved to the county jail. There is no bail this time. She broke the law.”

”Well, maybe I should pay a visit to the health place and see if I can have her released into my care, if you don’t care enough to protect her.”

“It’s not that I don’t care. It’s that she broke the law and was arrested!” Lionel snapped. He waited a moment and tried to get himself to calm down. He knew that in snapping at the man, he had just angered him. Lewis Horton never liked being yelled at and he was sure that a sermon was being thought up and that gave him a few seconds to deflect him. “There is nothing I could have done! Till five minutes ago, I had no idea she had a court date today. I thought she was at home, cleaning the house! Instead I find out she lied to me and hid her court date and now is back in prison.”

Lewis was mad, but willing to question the situation. “What about that Judge she knows? Maybe he can get her off of this?”

“You’re not listening.” Lionel groaned. “She was arrested for assault. And when she is entered into the mental health building, they can keep her for up to three days to observe her. Since she broke the law, she will be going to jail and I doubt anyone can do anything about it. I could call Joe, but she broke a restraining order and assaulted three children, while on bail. That’s not looking good for her. And I really doubt that he wants to get involved with this, because him helping her could look bad on his career.”

“She is in Chico?” His father in law asked.

“Maybe. If they took her to Mental health, then yes. If she is at the jail, then no, she’s here in town.” Lionel replied.

“Why don’t you know?” His father-in-law asked him, accusingly.

“Because, this all happened like an hour ago. Her lawyer was tied up with court stuff and just called me less than five minutes ago.”

The old man sighed. He knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere with Lionel, not if he was out of the loop. “Fine. Keep me up to date, but I may try and see her. I doubt those places are doing her much good.”

“Go ahead. I don’t know if the boys can go. I’ll ask later. I want to call the others.”

~o~O~o~

Lewis Horton hung up with his son-in-law and he sat back in his chair, shaking his head. “Trouble in Oroville.” He said to his wife as she came out of the kitchen.

“What kind of trouble?” She asked.

“From what Lionel said, Molly was arrested an hour or so ago. I guess she attacked that freak child again.” Lewis said. “I am thinking of going to Chico to see her, if she is there. Do you want to come with me?”

“Yes. Let me get into something nicer.” She said.

“Lionel said she was attacking and biting the child, so she must have seen something, like she saw last time.” Lewis said. “Maybe the child was attacking another child and no one else saw it.”

“Maybe. Little freaks like that are all about assaulting children. She could have saved someone’s life today.” His wife proudly stated.

“That’s what I was thinking. This may just be a big misunderstanding.” He said as he stood up. “Come on, let’s get ready and we’ll go see her.”

“Will we stop in at Lionel’s and Eve’s?” She asked her husband, as she headed to the bedroom.

“Maybe not Lionel. You know how irrational he can get when things he doesn’t understand are happening. He’s already giving up on Molly. He keeps saying that nothing can get her out of the Mental Health building.” Lewis sighed. He knew Molly could have found a better man, one who could fight for her. He used to think that was Lionel, but now he had his doubts. “We may stop by, just to see the boys.”

~o~O~o~

After he had hung up with Lewis Horton, Lionel had spoken to the county mental health doctors and a part of him was glad that Molly was once again under the care of Doctor Knowles. He had been the only one who wanted to fight Molly’s release. So Lionel warned him that he was sure that Molly’s father was going to do what he wanted anyway.

Lionel’s next move was to call Molly's sister. He dialed her work phone number and after a couple of rings, there was a reply. He was sure she would be there. She was mostly a glorified secretary. She didn’t have the job of checking up on complaints. “Department of Children Protective Services, Evelyn Jones speaking.”

“Eve, this is Lionel. I wanted to call you and warn you about Molly.”

“What happened? Is she alright?”

“Not really. She had a court date for a restraining order, this is concerning the child she attacked a couple weeks ago. While at the courthouse, she attacked the same child again. They arrested her and took her to mental health. When she is out, they will send her to the jail, due to breaking a temporary restraining order.”

“Have you called Mom and Dad?” Eve asked.

“Yeah and your father seems to think I can get her out by pleading with the mental health people. But she screwed up. She really screwed up.”

“Are you sure? Maybe she saw the child doing something?” Eve asked.

“Eve, she attacked this child in full view of several cops. None of them saw the child do anything, they just watched your sister attack three kids. None of the kids said that the Patterson kid did anything. Evan said that Molly was kicking and trying to bite that child and his mother. Plus she had a restraining order out on her from the kids parents. So she’s going to jail, once Mental health lets her go.”

“Is there anything we can do?” Eve asked.

“I don’t know. She really put her foot in it and I didn’t even know she had a court date today.”

“She never told you?” Evelyn asked. “I heard about it when she got out a few days ago.”

“No. She never told me. Did you know that she tried to put protection orders on three girls, all friends of the kid she attacked?”

“She what?”

“Molly tried to get protection orders on three girls, to keep Troy from being near them, the problem is that Troy is their friend and she lied about being family. I guess the girls’ parents were there and asked for the orders to be withdrawn.”

Evelyn was silent for a few seconds, then she asked. “Have you told the boys?”

“No. I just found out and they are still at school. I’ll have to tell them when I get home.”

“What will you tell them?” Evelyn asked him.

“The truth. What else should I tell them?” Lionel stated. “Scotty found the story in the paper the last time and there is almost always a reporter at the courthouse, so I have no doubt that it will make the paper tomorrow. So I’ll have to break it that there was another altercation and Molly is at the hospital again.”

“You’re going to tell them that?!?” Evelyn replied, stunned at his honesty. “You’ll crush Robbie!”

“Eve, what can I tell them? That Molly was wrongfully arrested. The story could make it in the paper or on the TV. It’s hard to hide something like this.”

She could see the logic in his argument. “Yeah, you’re right. Maybe you should think about suing the papers for slander.”

Lance shook his head, once again aware that the other person couldn’t see. “It would be hard to sue for slander. On the first attack, it simply stated that she was involved in an altercation with a trio of minors. She was involved and it happened, so it would be hard to claim that was a lie. Slander would be them saying she did it, but was never there.”

“I suppose.” Eve replied. “Are you still going to church this weekend? I know it’s been getting a bit hard with everyone.”

“I’ll go, but I doubt it will get better overnight.” Lionel said. “But what can I do?”

“Keep your chin up. Molly will be out soon and then she can focus on being the best mom she is.”

“Well, I hope you’re right. Who knows how long she is in for.” Lionel said. He looked at his phone and saw another line blinking. “Eve, I got to get back to work, before I get chewed out, so I’ll see you on Sunday.”

~o~O~o~

It was almost two in the afternoon when Lewis and his wife reached Chico. He found a decent parking spot and the two of them headed for her front door. They got to the front door and he reached out and tugged on the door handle, but found it was locked. “They locked the door?” Lewis asked aloud. “I wonder why?”

“Lewis, over here.” His wife pointed to a call box with a note on it saying to page for attendant. He pressed the button and waited. A few moments later, a man came over and opened the door slightly. “Can I help you?”

“My name is Lewis Horton and this is my wife. We’re here to see our daughter, Molly Hallmark. I heard she was wrongfully detained here today.”

“Hallmark?” The man asked to make sure, and Lewis nodded. The man held up one finger. “One minute, I’ll get one of the doctor’s.” He quickly shut the door and went inside. It took about five minutes till another man, this one a bit older came to the door. He stepped out, then gestured them into an inner waiting room.

“You said you are the parent of Molly Hallmark?” The Doctor asked. “I’m Doctor Knowles, I am overseeing her stay.”

Lewis wanted to make a comment about being surrounded by idiots, from the fact they kept asking him her last name, but he decided to go with the direct approach. “Yes, she is my eldest daughter. I am Pastor Lewis Horton. This is my wife, Nancy. We wanted to see her and see about getting her released into our custody. Her husband seems to think you won’t allow it.”

“Actually sir, we can’t.” Doctor Knowles replied.

“But I’m her father!” Lewis angrily snapped back. “Why? Is something wrong that she can’t walk out of here? Is she ill?”

“Sir, I understand your frustration, but I can not discuss a patient to a stranger, without the patient's approval.” Doctor Knowles said. “There are laws forbidding me to do so.”

“But I’m her father. I think I know what is best for her!” the tone of Lewis’s voice was getting louder, but the doctor just let him yell. He was thankful that Lionel had called him just as Molly was being checked in, to warn him the parents were coming to try and release her.

“Sir, please, stay calm. Without Molly’s approval, I can not discuss any part of her stay here with someone else. I’m sorry, but that is the law.”

“Then ask Molly. She’ll let you tell us. I know she’d want to speak to us.” Lewis said, a bit calmer, but he tried to put on the air of authority.

Doctor Knowles shook his head. “I can’t do that. Mrs. Hallmark is currently involved elsewhere and we are currently restricting visits to her, possibly for a day or so.”

“Is there anyway we could have her released into our care?” Lewis asked again.

“No.” The doctor firmly replied, shrugging off Lewis’s attitude. “I’m afraid I can not release Molly into anyone’s custody.”

“Why not?”

“As with all arrivals, we have a seventy two hour observation period. After that I can not say what will happen, due to the law.” Doctor Knowles replied.

“So you’re refusing to let me in?” Lewis sternly asked.

“Yes. I am refusing your entrance.” The Doctor calmly answered. Lewis’s face began to turn red, from dealing with such a stubborn jerk who he thought, did not have his daughter’s best interest in mind.

“You can’t do that.”

“Mr. Horton, I can keep anyone from entering this building. And if you push me, I’ll have you arrested for trespassing.” The Doctor met his stern gaze with one of his own. “As for seeing your daughter, it is my job to see to her safety and the safety of the public who visit. As of right now, I am not allowing anyone to see her. That may change in a day.” He pulled a business card out of his pocket and held it out for Lewis to take. “You may call that number and inquire tomorrow, if she is available to see.”

“So we have to leave and we can’t see her?” Lewis asked. “But we drove in from Sacramento.”

“Sir, I’m sorry you drove in for nothing, but you can not see her right now. Please use that number tomorrow and we will tell you if she is able to have guests.”

Lewis was about to make a fuss, when he noticed a few of the larger orderlies were coming over to the door that kept him from the patients. “Fine, but I’m not happy and I will be talking to someone about getting her out of here.”

“Very well sir. I can’t stop you from doing that. But you need to leave, before you upset any of the other patients.” Doctor Knowles said.

“This isn’t over. I will see my daughter safely home.” Lewis threatened one last time.

The Doctor didn’t reply, he just waited for Lewis to take the hint and leave. It took a few moments and he turned and pushed through the outer door, his wife following him. As they got to the car, Lewis unlocked it, but didn’t climb in. “We need to find someone who can help us. Maybe a lawyer. I refuse to let Molly rot in here.”

“And not letting us see her. Who does he think he is?” His wife asked as they both climbed into their car.

“Clearly, he is a sad man, drunk with the power of his position. It is said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, clearly that man is a shining example.” Lewis took a moment to calm his nerves. He knew he didn’t need a speeding ticket, not from another county.

~o~O~o~

Doctor Knowles waited at the door, watching as Lewis pulled out, and left. He turned and the orderly opened the door and let him in. One of his superiors came over to him. “What was that?”

“That was Molly Hallmark’s parents.” Doctor Knowles said. “He was trying to get me to release her into his care and didn’t like to be told no. I actually got a call from Molly’s husband, warning me he was on his way.”

“Does he know that after here, she is headed to the jail for the attack?” The doctor’s superior asked.

“Nope, and until I have Molly’s approval, I wasn’t going to tell them. I don’t want to be sued. He wanted to talk to her, but she’s still out cold from the sedative. There was no point. Not to mention him trying to insist he could take her.” Doctor Knowles shook his head. “He’s going to go ask a lawyer for help. So you know now.”

“Good, I hate surprises.” The other doctor said with a smile.

~o~O~o~

Lionel was home by time the boys got off their bus. Dinner was going to be an easy meal. He had already picked up pizza and was waiting at the table as they came in. Scotty and Robbie both passed by the kitchen on their way their rooms. Scotty stopped and looked in, at his father, who was reading the paper. The paper had managed to get a quick snippet of the attack in the paper. He knew he had no choice but to tell them.

“Dad, you got the paper already?” Scott asked as they both came back into the room. “Why are you here, already? What about work?”

“Boys, I want you to sit down. We need to have another talk.” Lionel said.

Scott went to a chair and pulled it out, then sat down. Robbie looked around the kitchen and noticed there was no sounds of his mother. “Dad, where’s mom?”

“Sit, Robbie. I’ll cover it.” Lionel said and his son did as he asked. “Today there was a court date for a restraining order, against your mom.”

“What’s that?” Robbie asked.

“Its a legal thing that says if someone is say, five hundred feet from you, and you have one against them, they can be arrested.”

“And Tracy was getting one against Mom?” Scotty asked.

His father nodded. “Yes. They had one that covered up to today, and were there to get a full time one, but when your mom went to the courthouse, she attacked the Patterson child again.”

“Is she back in Mental health?” Scotty asked.

“Yeah.” Lionel said with a nod. “And after that, she is headed for jail, because she broke the law.”

“Jail?” Robbie asked, as tears started to fall down his cheeks.

“I’m afraid so, Robbie.” Lionel replied with a nod. “But she still loves you.”

“Why did she attack Troy? Was she seeing him do something bad again?” Robbie asked.

“I don’t know.” Lionel got up and went to his youngest, then he pulled him into a hug. “I just don’t know. I only know that she did attack him, but the cops in the courthouse say he wasn’t doing anything to anyone.”

Robbie looked up at him. “Will she come home?”

“I don’t know. She broke the law and she has to pay for what she did.” Lionel said.

“I miss her.” Robbie said. He hugged his father tightly and Scott came over and hugged his father as well.

“I know you do.” Lionel couldn’t bring himself to say that he missed her. In fact with the two attacks, he was getting worried about his children being near her. But for now, he just wanted to comfort his boys.

~o~O~o~

Saturday February 26th 1983

Lok drove all of them to the University, to save on parking. He navigated the roads, headed for the event parking, while Brooke and Tracy were busy looking around at the different buildings.

As they pulled to a stop, Maggie got up and out, as Karen was headed for the back, to get Brooke’s chair. Both her racing chair and her regular chair were with them, so she wouldn’t ruin her racing chair.

As Tracy got out, she looked around and saw her mother flagging down Olivia, who was walking through the parking lot.

Olivia jogged over and hugged Maggie as she stopped. “Hey, glad you made it.”

“Me too.” Maggie said. “And Joy? She's coming?”

“She is here with Angie. They’re inside the grounds already. They are with friends of mine.” Olivia turned and hugged Tracy. “Hello young lady. It's good to see you out in public like this.” She whispered into the girl’s ear.

“Thanks.” Tracy said, hugging her back.

“We came for support for Brooke and to see my sister, so she gets to meet Tracy on our terms.” Maggie admitted, even though Olivia knew already. “And this is Shelly, I don't recall if you met her, but she is my best friend and Tracy's godmother.”

“We met, but that was years ago. I think Vance was two and Tracy was a baby. I was in middle school at the time.”

“And this is Brooke, Tracy’s friend, plus Karen, Brooke’s mother and Lok, Brooke’s grandfather.”

“Its good to meet all of you.” Olivia said. “I am Olivia, my dad and Uncle William are brothers.”

Lok gave a slight bow. “Good to meet you. Could you point us to where the contestants are to go?”

“Sure, a friend of mine is helping with the games officials. Head that way.” Olivia pointed towards a small gathering of people.

“Tracy, would you push that chair for me.” Lok asked.

“Sure!” Tracy grabbed Brooke’s racer and she followed Lok to where he had to go, as he pushed Brooke, to save her arms.

~o~O~o~

Lok was with Tracy and watching as the junior races were in progress. With only a few children racers, they were only doing one race for the kids, instead of a bracket. Tracy’s Mom and Brooke's mother were both in the stands, sitting with Olivia, Joy and Angie, plus her mother’s sister, and parents.

As the racers rounded one of the turns, almost on the home stretch, Tracy bounced in place, her skirt moving with her as she cheered out. “Go Brooke! Go!!!”

Lok smiled at her and shook his head. “So excitable.” He said to her, then he waited for Brooke to make her turn into the final leg of the race. In Chinese he yelled out. ~Now Brooke! NOW!!!~

Brooke didn't hear them, but she knew the hand signal her grandfather gave and she began working her hands over her wheels as fast as she could. She threw her whole essence into the race, working the wheels as best as she could.

When it was down to twenty feet to go, she could see a shape out of her peripheral vision. Another kid her age, doing his best to keep up with her. She was near empty, but she threw what she had into working her wheels as hard as she could.

As she crossed the finish line, even with the kid, she let her chair coast for a few feet, before she started to slow down. After a few more feet, she turned around and Tracy and Lok stood back, watching the boards to see where she had ended up at. As she neared him, he turned and held up two fingers.

“Second.” He said with a hint of pride. “By a matter of half second.”

“Damn.” Brooke muttered.

Lok got down on one knee and shook his head at her. “Not damn. Did you give your best?” He asked and she nodded. “Then that is all I can ask. This just means that next time you must give more and above all, be a gracious loser.”

“Yeah.” Brooke said as she started to wheel over to the boy who had beaten her. When she got close, she held out a hand. “Hey there.” She said with a smile. “That was a great race. Congratulations.”

“Thanks.” The boy replied. “You almost had me. I thought it was your race till the results.”

“I'm just glad I posted so high.” Brooke said with a smile.

“Yeah, me too.” The boy said.

“You race often?” Brooke asked.

“I just got into it. You been doing this long?”

Brooke nodded. “A couple of years now, but there are not a lot of races for kids. So I practice when I can. But I play in the basketball leagues back at home. We have enough kids there to make a few teams.”

“Where is that?” The boy asked. “If you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind.” Brooke said. “I live in Livermore. In the Bay area.”

“Oh. I’m near Monterey.” He replied.

“Find a league. I know we play a team from there, if you like basketball, that is.” Brooke said.

The boy nodded. “I might. It beats sitting here and feeling sorry for myself.”

“I know the feeling. A friend of mine had to scream in my face when I first got in the chair, then she had to keep me from doing something stupid.” Brooke said, once again grateful for Sage and how she didn’t give up.

“I hear that.” He smiled at her. “I’m Lucas, by the way..”

“Brooke.” She replied. “Let me introduce you to my fan club.” She said with a big smile.

Brooke and the boy slowly came over to where her Grandfather and Tracy were at. “Hey, Lucas, this is Tracy, one of my friends and Lok, my Grandfather.”

“That was a good race, young man.” Lok said.

“Thank you sir.” Lucas said. A woman came walking over to them. “Come on you two, we’re getting the top three winners to the circle, for pictures.”

~o~O~o~

Tracy's mother and grandparents led the others to where Tracy and Brooke were.

With a shout of “Tracy!!!” Angie darted over to her and two met in a big hug. Heidi and Cheryl followed and they hugged Tracy as well, leaving Tracy to do the introductions for the girls. When Maggie got there with the adults, she did the rest of the introductions. Then Maggie's parent's offered a thought.

“How about we go find some food for the girls, then we can find a park and the girls can hang out.”

Lok nodded. “I talked it over with Karen and Shelly. She said she is staying tonight and leaving with you, tomorrow, I will leave after lunch and Brooke and Karen can ride home with you tomorrow. I will take Brooke’s racer with me. I will give Shelly a ride to her van.”

“Okay.” Maggie said with a slight nod. “That works for us.”

~o~O~o~

As the day wound down, Maggie led the other adults away from the girls. “Okay, I wanted to let you know that we'll be back down in March. We're going to Disneyland on the twenty-fifth. We'll be coming down after the court date to change Tracy's name, and we're making Saturday the first day at the park. I didn't want to tease the girls with it if you can't come.”

“I already told Alice we'll cover her for that first day at the park.” Marion stated.

“I can get the second, if you don't mind us being there.” Alice replied.

“It's been a couple of years, but we're looking at Sunday, if you don't mind.” Joy said. “Angie kept talking about Tracy since Christmas, so she would love more time with her.”

“Good.” Maggie said with a nod and a smile.

“I heard that Nana and Papa are coming. Is that true?” Olivia asked.

Maggie shook her head. “No, they decided to not come. Modine’s back would hurt too much after that trip. I don't know about your father.”

Joy shook her head. “Nah, I think he has plans. Besides, do you want him to meet Tracy this way?”

“Well....” Bernice smiled at them. “Less chance of him getting mad in a park with thousands of people.”

Maggie nodded as did Shelly. “She has a point.” Marion said.

Maggie sighed. “Well, if he goes, he meets Tracy. I just don’t want to deal with Leonard. Not till Christmas. See, by time Christmas rolls around, Tracy will have been on hormones for ten months. She’s bound to have more breast development, so hiding her will be hard. Plus, she will be full time in school, so it will be impossible to bring her back. Bad enough she has to be Troy for the court dates. Once those are over, her life is hers. In September, she is going to be attending school as Tracy Kristen Patterson. ”

“Really?” Olivia said with a smile. “That’s awesome. So Tracy is here for good.”

Maggie nodded. “No going back now. If we did, we’d kill her. She already threatened to kill herself if we made her be Troy again.”

“You said that at Christmas. She really feels strongly about this, doesn’t she?” Joy asked.

“Yeah.” Maggie said with a nod. “She’s more sure of this, than anything else.”

~o~O~o~

Sunday February 27th 1983

Tracy woke to the sounds of horns on the highway. She sat up in bed and noticed that her mother, Aunt and Karen were near the bathroom, whispering. She noticed that Olivia was there with them. She looked over and saw that Brooke was awake already and missing from the room. Olivia saw her move first, so she gave Tracy a small finger wave. Karen saw that and turned to see Tracy sitting up, so she tapped Maggie’s shoulder and Maggie turned and smiled at her daughter.

Maggie went to her bed and sat on the edge. “Would you be up to visiting with Alice and her girls for breakfast today? We’ll meet them, Mom and Dad and Joy and Angie too. We could go to a mall when we’re done.”

“If we could get your sister to meet us there, we could go to the Beverly Center. That is eight floors, but they have elevators and a lot of stores to look at. Plus some good eating nearby. The other good one is near here, it’s Westfield Century City. That’s just a couple of miles from here. I don’t know about any in Bell Gardens.”

“I think this would work for her, but I can call.” Maggie said. “As soon as Brooke is out of the bathroom, you can take a shower and then we’ll get going.”

“Okay.” Tracy replied.

“And when you’re done, we’ll load the car up.”

~o~O~o~

Tracy waited by the van and Brooke got out and was put into her chair. Then the two of them waited for the adults. As they started to head to the elevator, they heard the sound of running and Tracy turned to see Angie coming towards her from one direction and Heidi and Cheryl from another. They met in a giant hug, then went to the elevator, after hugging Brooke. They continued on to the elevator that led them to the mall and waited for one to get to their floor.

As the door shut, Heidi broke the silence. “So, when are you leaving?”

“About one or two, so we don’t have a lot of Mall time. Mom said it should be a four to five hour trip home, and we may eat on the road. But Brooke has school tomorrow.” Tracy stated.

“Did they tell you?” Angie asked. “I’m gonna meet you at Disneyland!”

“We’re going, too!!” Heidi exclaimed. The girls began screaming and jumping in place, except for Brooke, who just screamed and bounced.

When the door opened up, Maggie chuckled, along with Karen and Alice, as the girls exploded out and into the mall.

“It’s almost as bad a Rachel and the mall.” Karen stated. “I hope you all brought your running shoes.”

“That bad?” Joy asked as the girls darted ahead of them.

“Well, if Rachel was here, she’d want a full day to shop. Each store, at least twice. Her mom is training her to be a great bargain hunter.”

“Girls, don’t run too far off.” Alice called after her two.

“You either, Angie.” Joy called out.”

As the girls bounded into one of the stores, Maggie slowed down her pace. I am glad that Angie, Heidi and Cheryl have all accepted Tracy. I worry about next Christmas.”

“Leonard and Amber?” Olivia asked.

“Yeah.” Maggie said with a nod. “That and your father. Although your father is more of a live and let live person.”

“Don’t forget Carter.” Olivia said, mentioning her brother, who was in the Army.

“Or Walter.” Joy said. “He’s bound to come home one of these holidays. I know Angie was begging to see her father last Christmas. But with him being on a ship, it just doesn’t happen.”

“I haven’t. We’ll have to deal with it at some time, but the good thing is that Conner and Modine are on Tracy’s side already. So Modine won’t let anything happen to her.”

As they followed the girls into a store, Joy asked. “Hey, you never said, how did the court thing go on Friday.”

“Bad. That woman attacked Tracy and tried to bite both her and me. Then she was going to put restraining orders on Tracy’s friends, so she couldn’t hang out with them.” Maggie said.

“Really? That can’t be legal.” Joy replied.

“It’s not.” Olivia answered.

Maggie nodded in agreement with her niece. “Olivia is right. We got them dropped, mostly because the parents of the other girls were there. Molly would have had no case.”

“So, Tracy is living in Livermore full time now?” Olivia asked.

“Yes. I am too.” Maggie stated.

“How is Uncle William taking being apart from you two?” Olivia asked.

“Three.” Maggie corrected her. “Vance moved down on Wednesday.”

“All three of you?” Joy asked. “And he was okay with this?”

Maggie shook her head. “Not really, but next Saturday, he moves down with the rest of our stuff. He was getting grief at work and had he stayed, he would have been fired.”

“Why?” Joy asked.

“He called the cops on a co-worker. Let me fill you in completely.” Maggie quickly covered what all had happened from December to February and when she was done, both of her niece’s were stunned.

Joy was the first to respond. “So he called and they were going to fire him because he called the cops?”

“Yeah. They claimed he was making it a hostile workplace.” Maggie stated. “But they wouldn’t listen that he was dealing with that too. I guess guys are teasing him daily while he is working. Finally the union guy stood up for him. But William wants to leave. Before anything happens.”

“I may be wrong.” Olivia said with a grin. “But I think something already happened.”

“More than once.” Maggie said with a chuckle. Her mother laughed.

“You should have seen the little punk who tried to beat her up at the start of February. Tracy took him and one other boy on, all on her own and all she did was backhand them.” Bernice smile proudly. “My granddaughter protected her friends, while facing four boys, all bigger than she was.”

“That is one good kid you have.” Olivia said and her sister nodded.

“Damn good and I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world.” Maggie replied. “She makes me proud almost daily.”

~o~O~o~

At twelve thirty, Maggie went up to where the girls were, and tapped Tracy on her shoulder. “Tracy, we should think about taking off. It’s twelve thirty and we need to get Brooke and Karen home.”

“I guess I gotta go.” Tracy glumly said, once she looked back to Angie, Heidi and Cheryl. “But we’ll be back next month.”

“Yep and we get to go to Disneyland!” Cheryl said and she began to dance around.

Alice walked over and patted her youngest on the shoulder. “Come on girls, let’s walk them to the parking lot.”

“You too Angie. We can get Olivia home and head back ourselves.” Joy said.

As they left the mall, this time the girls trailed behind the adults. Each of them walking slower than before, hoping to stretch out the little time that they had. They did the best to talk as much as possible, but finally they reached Shelly’s van. They stopped and began hugging each other and finally Heidi broke the slight silence that had started.

“Can we get your address? We can write to each other.” Heidi asked. “Both of you. You seem cool, Brooke.”

“Sure, I don’t mind.” Brooke said. “I have paper in my purse.”When they reached the van, the girls quickly traded their addresses, then the adults loaded Brooke into the van and Tracy got into the middle seat with her.

“See you all in a month.” Maggie said as she hugged her mother, then her sister.

“By, Tracy!” Olivia said. “See you at Disneyland.”

Time seemed to drag as the adults said their goodbyes, but finally the adults were in the vehicle with them and ready to head home.

Tracy and Brooke leaned over and looked out the window as Shelly backed out of the parking spot. They watched Heidi, Cheryl and Angie as Shelly pulled out, all five girls waving to each other, as hard as they could. As they turned the corner and lost sight of them, Tracy sat back in the seat. “This was a fun weekend.”

“Yeah. Just wait till the Disneyland trip. That is going to be awesome!” Brooke exclaimed.

“Yeah!” Tracy said, bouncing in her seat. “I’m so glad we moved.”

“Me too.” Brooke replied. “I told you it would be better when you were in Livermore. Didn’t I?”

“Yeah, you did.” Tracy nodded slightly. “You were all right on that.”

“See, I know what I’m talking about. Hey, I got some cards with me. Wanna play Go Fish, or something like that?” Brooke asked.

“Sure.” Tracy answered.

~o~O~o~

Yvette and her cousin had gone to the local park to hang out. On their way home is when her attention got snagged. She had noticed that there was a basketball game going on. There she could see the boy who had caught her attention earlier in the month. All the way to the house, she kept thinking about him, and tripping every few steps. Finally as they reached the house, her cousin had to ask.

“Okay, like, um, you've been a space cadet all week, now you can’t walk.” Heather said as she and Yvette walked into their house. “Like, um, what's going on?”

“Just thinking.” Yvette answered, not using the Valley talk.

“About what?”

“Those boys in the park.” Yvette replied, dreamily.

“You, like, know ‘em?” Heather warily asked.

Yvette nodded slightly. She could hear her mother and Aunt in the kitchen and she was sure her cousin was elsewhere, with friends. “One was a new guy and the other was the brother to the redhead, Sage, from school.”

“Sage? Oh the Freak?” Heather asked. They had never really stated why they called her that, other than Sage tended to act older than most kids their age and that was just weird. Or that her parents seemed to be dirt poor. Or just because they could.

“Do we have to do that?” Yvette asked. “Do we have to run them down all the time? Would it be bad if we were nice to them?”

“You really got to ask that? After our last school and after your Dad told the school you wanted to be a girl? Those jerks attacked both of us.” Heather said. It was her biggest fear, to be found out again and have to move once more.

“I know...but....” Yvette started to say more, but her cousin cut her off.

“Yvette, people hate people like you. No one can understand it so they get mean. But it's like Uncle Hank said, if you're mean to them first, it shows you won't stand for their crap.” Heather wasn’t aware, but both her mother and her aunt were busy listening in on the conversation.

“But he also said that there is strength in numbers. And what he said was that I should be strong, no matter what they say or do. He said that when I give in, that's when they win. So why can’t we have more friends?”

Heather got a hurt look on her face. “I'm not enough?”

“Heather, there was just two of us at the last school and look what happened there.” Yvette reminded her.

Heather was about to reply, when she thought about it. The teachers had stopped the fight before it got too bad, but some of the kids had their older siblings there to help out and in the end, several of Yvette's teeth had been knocked out, and Heather's hair had been cut in places.

“What if the Gimp, Orca and the Freak are just like the others? What if they can't handle a girl who was born into the wrong body.”

“Stop that. At least use their names.” Yvette pleaded.

“Why should I?” Heather asked.

“Look at me. I'm bigger then you are. Do you think I'm fat? Or am I stupid because you have more smarts? Am I retarded?” Yvette shook her head and turned away. “You know that each time you insult someone, I'm afraid that you'll insult me. It comes so easily to you.”

“I'll never insult you.” Heather said. “I promise you.”

“How can I believe that? You seem to get a thrill from insulting people. Why not just attack me?” Yvette asked. Tears were running down her cheek. It had been a real fear of hers, that Heather would abandon her at the first sign of trouble.

“I would never hurt you.” Heather’s expression was a kind one, but then her stubborn side took over. “But I still think we're better off alone.”

“What about next year, when you're going to the middle school and I'm at the school alone?” Yvette asked her cousin.

“I....I could look in from time to time....” Heather replied with her best offer.

“What about when I'm alone?” Yvette asked, tears were forming in her eyes. The thought of being alone was scary to her and her Cousins paranoia made it hard to combat the fear.. “Heather, what if they don't hurt me. I'm not saying them, I'm saying anyone really. You never know. Someone may be cool about me.”

Heather felt as though she was being abandoned and that hurt. “What if they do hurt you? Is this because you think I’m not good enough to hang around? That you’d be happier with the freaks? Is that where you belong?!?”

Yvette took a step back. She had heard what her cousin said, but her mind heard “You are a freak. That’s where you belong.”

“You think I’m a freak?!?” Yvette said. Tears were rushing down her cheek at that point and the mothers moved to stop them. “You hate me, don’t you?!?”

“I never said that.” But before she could say anymore, Yvette turned and ran away from her, almost plowing into Heather’s mom. She righted herself and ran for her bedroom.

“Young lady.” Heather’s mom glared at her. “Why did you just call her a freak? You know she’s sensitive about how she is.”

“I didn’t!” Heather exclaimed.

“You just asked her if she would be happier with people you consider freaks. You heard her say she thinks that you said she is a freak.” Heather’s mother said. “So now what do you think is going on in her mind.”

“Mom, she’s doesn’t understand how people can be!” Heather tried to reply, but her mother stopped her.

“Understand what? How people can attack someone like her? I think she got that message. She is also aware that next year, she will be all alone and you have done your best to alienate everyone from you two.

Heather’s mom pulled her into a hug and held on tightly, as Mary came into the house. With just a look from her mother, Mary made herself scarce. “Heather, I know that fight hurt you a lot. You’ve been the one main supporter of Yvette from the beginning and Uncle Doug was your favorite Uncle. You were hurt. Your picture of him as the perfect father was shattered when he told the school and they attacked both of you. But hiding away from life isn’t going to solve anything. Fear can be a bad thing to deal with and hiding from life will turn you bitter.”

“But mom....” Heather started to say, in an attempt to stop the speech.

“No buts, young lady.” Her mother said, stopping her excuses. “You know at the last few parent teacher meetings they have said the same thing. You are a gifted student, but when it comes to group participation, you are combative and rude. That’s what hurts your grade.”

“It does?” Heather asked.

“Yes. Your interactions with your class rate heavily on your grades. Plus, if you stay like this, the chances of you getting a job will drop significantly.” Her mother stated. “I am not saying to trust everyone, but at least open your eyes and your heart.”

“But what if they hurt me again?”

“Then you learn from that. What if you miss the love of your life by hiding? Living in what if’s can really drive a person crazy.”

~o~O~o~

Yvette’s mother was sitting on the edge of her bed, her daughter’s head in her lap and she was gently stroking her daughter’s hair. “I’m sure she didn’t mean to hurt you, Yvette. You know how scared she can get.”

“I know.” Yvette said between sobs.

“She loves you. She’s just worried. I can understand that, but you have to do what you feel is right for you. You can’t live by Heather’s rules.”

“I guess.” Yvette replied. She lay there and her crying slowed down. Her mother didn’t budge, instead she just kept doing what she could to calm her daughter. Finally Yvette looked up at her, wiped a tear or two away, then asked. “Why me? Why was I the only girl, born as a boy?”

“I’m sure you’re not the only one. And I’m sure that one day, we’ll meet more girls who were born like you.” Her mother said. “But till then, you need to stay strong. Okay? Can you do that for me?”

“I can try.”

“Good. Now would you like to help me in the kitchen?”

“Sure, I guess.” Yvette replied. She wasn’t a cook, by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. So her mother let her do the easy stuff, just so she could help.

There was a tapping at the door and Mary stepped in. “Hey, how is everything going?”

“We had some emotions, nothing to bad.”

“I kinda heard. Mom and Heather are talking down stairs.” Mary said. “Yvette, you ever tell her what you think? About how you’re scared she’ll tease you?”

“What do you mean?” Yvette’s mom asked.

“Last weekend, Yvette was having a good cry and she said she is worried that one day, Heather will start picking on her too.”

“You said that?” Yvette’s mother asked her daughter.

Yvette nodded. “Yeah. She does it so easily and I’m afraid that if I do something she hates, she’ll tease me too.”

“I don’t hate you.” Heather said. This caused Yvette to look over as did her mother and Mary. “I’m....I’m scared.” She admitted, trembling as she recalled that day a couple years earlier. She could still feel the terror she felt as the mob of kids rushed them, kicking and swinging. She could still smell the blood that ran from her nose after someone had hit her with a fist. She could hear the sounds of scissors that were used on both her head and Yvette’s. ‘

Heather’s voice trembled as she spoke again. “I’m scared that people will hurt us again. I don’t want that. I don’t wanna be hurt again.” She began to cry harder. “I hate being mean.....but I hate being afraid more.”

Yvette got off the bed and went to her cousin. She pulled Heather into a big hug. “Then we go slow. Okay. Let me talk to them. Please?”

“Do we have to?” Heather asked, pleading with her tear stained eyes.

“I think it could be good for us.” Yvette said.

“How? What can they help us with?” Heather asked, wiping at her eyes.

“Heather, Brooke is in a wheelchair, Rachel has a weight issue, and that other girl they were with in the park is kinda big too. Sage gets teased for her hair and her mother. They know what it’s like.”

“Do they?” Heather asked.

“Heather, we tease them daily. They know how it is to be teased.” Yvette replied back. “I hate it. I hate being mean just to hide.”

“One day you’ll get attacked for just being a bitch.” Mary stated.

“Mary, ladies don’t use that word!” Yvette’s mother snapped at her.

“Okay, but that’s what the others are going to be thinking about them. Too mean and they’ll think these two are the B-word.” Mary said.

“I don’t want to hate anyone.” Yvette said. "Not any more."

Heather sighed, sniffled, then she spoke softly. “I’m just scared, I’m sorry.”

“Then let me be strong first.” Yvette said, letting her cousin put her head on her shoulder. “I’ll be strong for both of us.”

There was silence for a moment, then she felt her cousin nod and heard her say. “Okay.

--SEPARATOR--

As I told Djkauf, Lewis Horton is a mixing of several people. Yes, he is like that famous Phelps guy, just without a congregation that large. He is also very arrogant, thinking everyone but him and his family are fools. Yes, he is totally under the frame of mind that Molly is being wronged.



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