TG Universes & Series:
After lunch, the executor happily met with Ricardo at the executor's office. He listened as Ricardo carefully and methodically explained "I am here on behalf of my child as my child is the recipient of an inheritance from the estate of one Cynthia Salvatore. I have documentation that my child is actually my child so counterclaims from Sierra Ramirez that I am in no way related to our child is a lie. I simply want to know if my child received anything from the estate of the deceased and allow the child to settle some long-simmering feelings towards Cynthia that have impacted my child recently."
The executor sighed and explained "my client left strict instructions that her grandchild only receives the full estate if and only if it was confirmed that her granddaughter was actually her grandson. She had long suspected that her granddaughter Eve Rodriguez wasn't a girl and often fought with her daughter over Eve receiving help for her mental health issues. When she passed away her daughter tried to claim the entire estate, unknowingly triggering a poison pill clause in the will that then barred her from receiving any kind of financial help from the estate. Eve was to receive the full estate at age 21 should a doctor verify she was not actually transgender but Sierra refused to abide by the wishes of her mother so has tried to stall until a backup clause kicked in that upon Eve's 19th birthday she receive half of the estate while the other half went to charity."
Ricardo smiled then showed the important files he had brought. First was the evidence that he was the legal and biological father of the former Eve Rodriguez, the latter that Eve had legally changed his name to Diego Vincent and was legally male. He then looked over the additional paperwork regarding the adoption by Alex which explained the name change from Rodriguez to Vincent.
The executor looked over the paperwork and asked: "was this due to the inheritance?" Ricardo shot back a quicker "it was done to get Diego out of foster care and with us permanently to prevent future abuse by Sierra and her boyfriend Pablo Rodriguez. We only two days ago found out about his grandmother and what she had done for him and only just this morning did I find out that he had even received any kind of inheritance from her. I suspected based on Sierra's actions that Diego was a recipient of something but didn't confirm until this morning. Him receiving money made the actions of Sierra all the worse as I have to inform the state that it was due to attempted theft that the abuse was committed in addition to hatred towards gays."
The executor asked about himself and his relationship to Diego. Ricardo knew he was fishing so he was truthful, explaining "after Sierra divorced me and the fallout with her husband Pablo Rodriguez, my sister and her two kids moved in with me so she could work and the kids are cared for. When they were old enough to go to school I started work at a large firm but was fired when my sexuality was revealed. I sued the firm, earning a $25 million settlement thanks to my close friends Valerie Finn and Katie Eliza, formerly Katie Benson. Since then I have volunteered with several non-profit groups and helped several of Valerie's friends and family through some of their own custody issues. If need be you can verify as I have the court cases noted."
The executor excused himself to research into Valerie and Katie. What he found both shocked and surprised him. Both women are accomplished lawyers and had made waves, with Valerie's reputation as a fighter for children's rights being frequently touted, along with her personal connection to the vastly rich John Finn.
He went further to read into Alex and Ricardo. Ricardo was as expected, having few mentions all of which are related to his work with non-profits. Alex drew some concerns for his line of work but as he read he understood that the man was simply a man, not someone who was flamboyant or militant towards people who didn't understand his sexuality and clearly didn't use his sexuality to further his position or impact his investigations. Surprisingly no mention of it was in any of the research material at all.
Satisfied with what he had found the executor turned to Ricardo and proclaimed "your son has become quite wealthy. His maternal grandmother Cynthia left him several properties in Prescott that are now in excess of $1 million. He also inherited the contents of her life savings, which is in excess of $5 million. Several bonds have fully matured and are worth in excess of $10 million while multiple stocks have increased 10 fold and are currently valued at close to $5 million. All told, Diego Vincent is the recipient of approximately $35 million from the estate of Cynthia Salvatore."
Ricardo was taken aback. He asked firmly "where did this money come from?" The executor smiled and told him "it seems your wife never bothered to tell you about her family. Well, I can tell you that Cynthia was a shrewd planner who knew how to invest her family's money and over the decades accumulated wealth on her own. Her husband happily encouraged her hobby to the point of giving her the starting money that once paid off was left to her to do as she pleased. He himself worked hard as a contractor who earned a nice living but who always wanted to give more to his family."
Ricardo was floored. The executor smiled, explaining "it is fitting that these investments will be handled by a man and two women who have done just as she has done. Diego won't touch the inheritance until he turns 21, but I suspect the two will ensure that he has plenty of revenue to live off of just from the dividends and interest."
Ricardo made a quick phone call to the investment firm owned by Greta Nelson, James York, and Karen Smith. The name caught the executor by surprise, as he proclaimed "that is the firm that handles the accounts for me." Ricardo grinned at hearing that, then explained: "Greta is my son's future mother-in-law, Karen is Valerie Finn's sister-in-law, and James York was one of my clients and whose wife is related to my friend Katie Eliza."
Greta and James listened to what was going on while Karen got the needed paperwork. The fax machines were working hard for the next two hours as all accounts were signed over to Ricardo on Diego's behalf with James and Greta signing and countersigning. Finally the last forms were signed and a trust fund was set up for the cash in the account that Diego now owned. He was now a wealthy young man, even wealthier than Francesca Herman and the Johnsons and second only to John Finn.
With that out of the way, Ricardo was finally told "your former mother-in-law hated what her daughter did to you when you came out. She fully understood that you were trying hard to be a good person and be the man that your family wanted but saw the hurt in your eyes when you had to finally end your relationship. She harbored no ill will and was disgusted by her daughter's behavior in the year before the dissolution. She left you a large amount of money, at the time in excess of $500,000. Further, the money was invested wisely by my previous firm. Mrs. Nelson and Mr. York have managed to make that $500,000 balloon to over $2 million."
Ricardo cringed then added "I know exactly the firm you are referring to and why it went under. The reason for the increase was simply that the man handling it was the same person but without restrictions of corporate greed. James York handled the account and continued to do so when you moved it to his firm. I will not take the money, though, it will go to my son Eric as Diego will not accept the money, my husband will refuse it, and I have more than enough of my own money. So my son Eric will get it."
The executor smiled and agreed to do the transfer. James simply asked " the same situation?" Ricardo added a firm "he better not need to access it before he graduates college. I don't think Greta is ready to become a grandmother yet."
That statement caught the executor by surprise but Ricardo added "it's the standard reason for accessing the trust funds. So far only one has had so and he has a solid job with a college degree and prospects of a bright future. The other five were married and wanted their independence. All six are actually directly related to Karen Smith through marriage and birth- her eldest son and daughters married this past summer with her eldest daughter just recently giving birth to a lovely little girl."
The more he heard the more satisfied he was that his client had seen the good in Ricardo and knew he was the one to make her grandson proud. He admitted to Ricardo "had you not come forward with Diego's change in six years my client's will stated that half of the money would go to her grandchild. The only way that it would have been voided would be actions taken against her grandchild such as abuse. Further Diego becoming a boy triggered the main clause to override the secondary clause so she now receives nothing from her mothers' will."
Ricardo sighed and admitted "your client was wise. I must regretfully inform you that Sierra is currently incarcerated for child abuse as well as assault and criminal threats against both myself and Diego." The executor smiled, he would take great pleasure in informing Sierra that she had voided the will and all money would now to go Diego regardless. He chose not to admit that Diego was now a boy and had on his own terms fulfilled the obligation allowing him to inherit everything, she needed the shock of losing it all.
Ricardo left with all of the paperwork and a hearty "thank you for coming. You just saved me a lot of aggravation and frustration. Cynthia would be proud of how her grandson turned out and that you truly were the upstanding son-in-law that she believed you to be."
Ricardo drove back home with a good feeling. He sat Diego and Eric down and told both what happened and why. Diego was floored at the stipulations, crying openly at the love his grandmother had shown him. It explained so much about why his mother and he were so distant and at odds- it was about money, not his being a tomboy or not living up to her expectations.
Ricardo turned to Eric and informed him "you aren't getting off easy. She left me a bit of money that Greta and James turned into a nice sum. I don't need it. Alex won't take it. Your brother won't accept it. That means it goes to you. Don't think that because you have some money in your account that you can be a different person because you don't need to be reminded that your girlfriend and Scott have more in theirs, and all except Stacy and George have $1 million trust funds in their bank accounts."
Eric grinned and told him firmly "why would I care if I have money, it's not like I am going to waste it right away by knocking up Jessica. I don't want to be a dad yet and I don't want her to miss out on college and working because I am too lazy to wear a rubber and I am not as dumb as David in using an ancient condom even if I did have sex."
Alex and Ricardo laughed with Alex handing him $20. Both Diego and Eric looked at them to which Alex said "he said you would say the same thing, I said you would make a joke about wanting to waste it all on hookers and booze. We know you won't do something that makes us grandparents yet, we just had to ensure that you knew the ground rules for your money. It is yours, I refuse to touch what I didn't earn and wasn't meant for me in the first place. It's Ricardo's to give to you and I only have to say that you can't touch it unless you need it and know that you knew why you couldn't touch it yet."
The two went up to bed while Alex and Ricardo talked about what happened that day. Ricardo somberly admitted "Diego is in for a lot of problems in the future. I just hope that Polly and he work out because I don't think he could handle any more disappointments."
Alex added "I know that they will. There is something special about the two of them that gives me the hopes that they will be walking down the aisle in eight years. Plus they know their limits, neither will disrespect the other's boundaries."
Alex then told him cautiously "we are on to something big. I am leading the charge against Todwell for being connected to the truck hijackings that crazy phantom trucker ended. We have him dead to his rights. If we turn out something he is going down for RICO, money laundering, and more. Diego may have caused this to become a huge find for us, maybe even bigger than Ethan's find."
The next day Diego over breakfast at school admitted to the others "dad found out for me that my grandmother left me a lot of money in her will. They couldn't give it to me until they were certain I was really the boy she suspected me to be. Dad showed him everything and he handed it all over to him. He said I had a lot of money but nothing that I can touch until I turn 21."
Al and Amy both snickered while the others looked at them oddly. Amy told them "mom did the same thing with the money Donald and I got from taking down Felicia and Colby. Al is the same with her money. We can't touch it until we turn 21 unless we get married early or have a baby. That's why Bryan, Hannah, and David got theirs early, they got married and David is a father."
Polly didn't understand fully. Al added "your mom did the same with the money DCF had to give you after Uncle Ricardo sued them for what that bastard tried to do to you. It's locked up so people can't take advantage of us and we don't become like those rich Hollywood snob kids. They want us to be regular kids, the money doesn't matter to us, only that we are normal people."
Both Oscar and Kyle kept quiet. They didn't have nearly the kind of money the others had. Kyle had a small trust fund that his former parents started for him and turned over to his new parents after being shamed by their friends while Oscar had one his mother and father started after hearing what the others had that was supplemented by his father's own savings. Al warmly told them "it's no big deal, just because ours are bigger doesn't mean you aren't amazing boyfriends that we love deeply. And mom said you are better than us because you are going to earn your money instead of coming into it and you love us despite us technically being rich."
The other kids didn't believe a word of what they were talking about. It didn't matter to the group, they knew the truth and the opinions of others about their personal wealth didn't matter. Zeke Bollinger did have to caution some guys from trying to befriend Diego because he had money, it didn't need saying that he wouldn't appreciate their attempts to exploit him to get things they wanted.
Early morning, while Diego and the others were still asleep, Alex drove out to Worcester to start the searches of Todwell's properties. Alex's searches went off without a hitch. He concocted a decoy mission, one to be done overnight and leaked to members of the agency. This was what concerned him the most and caused him little sleep but it was one that needed to be done and would ensure that everything was going to run smoothly later on.
The big hitch was none of them were real. The real actions would take place hours later after everyone had another couple of hours of rest once the decoy missions were done. All of the locations were being observed by trusted agents, local officers, and state troopers who were hand selected by Mick Jones, Mike Daniels, and Alex. They would apprehend the people who showed up while Alex went after the agency's leak.
At Willie's location, they hit the jackpot. Four men appeared and tried to remove the contents of the building. The house was one that wasn't occupied and hadn't had much traffic since the family was forced out by the bank several months ago. Inside was empty, so they had no other reason to be there. Given the "owner" was in jail and the assets of the company seized by the state they had no right to be there in the first place so they were going to prison for burglary.
Alex told them to hit fast. He went through his list and the target was one that he hated to take down but it was necessary. Mike and Mick conferred with the regional director who gave the blessing to take the woman down right away.
The two drove to Cambridge and knocked on their colleague's door. As soon as she opened it she gave them a glare as Mike extended his handcuffs while Mick read her her Miranda Rights. Alex shook his head in disappointment, telling her "you were a great agent, you just threw it all away."
She spat back "save your breath, you don't belong in the agency. I did what I had to do for my own sake. You should never have been hired, you should never even have been given a badge. Your people are scum and don't deserve to tell others what to do."
Mick loudly advised her "that man has a better record in 18 moths with the agency than you ever had in 20 years. He has also saved more lives than you have so don't you dare try to justify your greed and jealousy by blaming who he fell in love with. You don't deserve a badge, I'll guarantee that the US Attorney ensures that you don't see the light of day for decades for what you did."
Four hours later and after a quick two and a half hour nap the real raids were conducted. Teams hit each place simultaneously, catching guards asleep or by surprise. The decoy locations were hit as well, they were deemed the least likely places to store the weapons but it was still necessary to rule them out just in case their former colleague used that reason as an excuse to have the goods moved to those locations. All in all several hundred assault and hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns were seized. In addition, a couple of dozen heavy machine guns were found along with hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, fragmentation and stun grenades, and several dozen claymore mines.
Alex won high praise for his diligent work. Kennedy's group were given equal credit for helping and earned much-appreciated admiration from the agency's director down in Washington. Willie and David were reluctant to receive any praise but the regional director insisted that they get proper credit for their commitment to helping a fellow law enforcement agency as well as taking time out of their lives to endure a sleepless night assisting the operation, but also got a laugh as the director added it would happen anyway with Sophia Peterson being so young.
Ricardo had an easier day. He endured a lawsuit from Sierra but that was quickly dismissed by a probate judge as he showed that she had forfeited the right to anything in the will let alone sue him when she abused Diego. He spent much of the day simply relaxing at home while working on some light work, the first time in days that he had actually forced himself to relax.
Diego's week was quiet after the first two days. He simply faded into the background in class and in school, being seen as part of the group while also being his own person. Polly and he were rarely apart, with the two becoming more and more at ease around one another to the point that Polly stopped being lovable and Diego stopped being so anxious. By Friday he even kissed her on the lips as he got int Eric's car, causing her to swoon as he smiled brightly at the daring deed.
That Saturday Diego had an appointment with his endocrinologist to discuss hormones. The two talked for an hour about the effects while his estrogen level was looked over as was the development of his body so far. By the end of it, he felt like he was being rejected for transition but his doctor was simply being through.
After what seemed like hours the doctor informed him about the side effects of starting hormone treatments. This led to the doctor revealing his first shot of testosterone. It was a small amount, but it was going to start building his body up towards presenting as male. After flinching at the prick of the needle and seeing the plunger fully depressed he felt different afterward, letting the reality that he was now going to start becoming manly while at the same time becoming less feminine in appearance.
The seven congratulated him on starting down the path towards permanently being a man. Polly blushed and hugged him tightly, letting him kiss her back. The others didn't say a word, simply let Diego and Polly have a moment alone.
The next day Alice and Ricardo were asked to come by the Castillo home for something important. Neither knew what was happening but Alex felt he understood why the couple wanted to meet with them. He happily drove his husband over to the house then backed way, opting to "visit" Carmen and Addison upstairs with Raul and Stephanie joining him.
Jorge sat the two down then handed them two forms. Alice read through them while Ricardo tried to comprehend what Jorge really wanted. Alice smacked her brother's head and firmly told him "he wants to do for us what Joseph and Evelyn did for Mick, Lilly, and Melanie. It's for the kids, he wants to give them what most of the others already have."
Ricardo asked him firmly "are you sure about this? Once you do it you can't undo it." Jorge grinned and admitted "I had my lawyer explain it to me every which way and she told me that I was foolish to think you wouldn't ask that. We understand what we are doing- we went through this already two years ago you know!."
Alice shoved the pen into his hand and told him "sign before I make you sign." He quickly signed, seeing the glare that his older sister only gave him when she wasn't joking around. Alice signed as well, adding "I think you had better break this to the kids."
Ricardo called Eric who brought Diego with him. Alice got the trio from upstairs which prompted Carmen and Addison to grin widely. Both knew what was going to happen, they were told by Victoria the day before and who agreed to keep the secret even from Dorothy.
Eric and Diego arrived and were ushered in, the two barely noticing the grins on Carmen and Addison's faces as they walked by. Inside they sat down next to Raul and Stephanie. All four looked at their parents for answers, with Jorge waiting for them to calm down before speaking.
Finally, he announced "I asked your mother and your father to let me do the honor of being their father. Victoria and I can't have children thanks to a horrible act done by a vile woman who is rotting in prison so we never experienced parenthood directly. We have love to give and see that Alice and Ricardo could use that bit of parental guidance that others have the benefit of. We have opted to ask them if they would like to be adopted as our son and daughter. Both have accepted, and on Monday you four will be our newest grandchildren."
None of them said a word. They got up to leave, letting their parents handle it. When they were outside they sat down on the stairs as Eric mumbled "I'm now related to Jaimie. I swear no matter what others do I am still in her shadow."
Diego hugged him and added "how do you think she feels? She gets us as relatives now, she gets another two uncles and an aunt. Plus you are now Reed's first cousin, you two are close but now you are even closer."
Stephanie was going to make a joke but Raul's look killed it. He whispered to her "the guy has nobody now he has a dad, brother, cousins, and now, even more cousins. Leave him alone or you will explain to Hannah why you were making her new cousin feel bad."
That caused her to gasp. Raul nodded, grinning as he added "second cousins, mom's cousin's daughter. Hannah, Bryan, Nicole, Ethan, Nigel, Michael, Miles, Jaimie, Cat, JD, Rachel, Iris, Marcus. All of them are now related to us thanks to mom and Uncle Ricardo. We are even closer related to Billy, Kylie, and Reed since Uncle Willie is now mom and Uncle Ricardo's brother."
Eric was going to say something which caused him to stop. Diego caught on to the need to say something and asked what else was there, getting a soft "Daisy and Claire are related to us too. Officially they aren't related to us but in reality, they are. Their sperm donor is Uncle John's, and Aunts Karen's and Leslie's brother."
Diego let it go. If Eric wanted to tell him he would. The four just waited outside and let things settle while inside the paperwork was gone over. Willie and Kennedy came by with Reed, Kylie, and Billy. Kennedy didn't need to be told what happened, letting the three Pena kids learn firsthand what went on.
The three came rushing out with Billy grabbing Diego tight while Kylie gave Eric kisses on each cheek. Reed and Raul didn't say anything, just nodded to one another silently. The two younger Penas finally got over the novelty of first cousins and went inside to do something else while the adults finished talking.
After another hour the group broke up with each branch of the family going to their respective homes. Kennedy gave Diego a big hug while Willie kissed Stephanie's cheek. Alice did the same to Reed, Kylie, and Billy getting blushes from all three as they went off to their cars to go home.
There was a frenzy the next day as Diego and Stephanie told their friends what had happened. Amy laughed until it was pointed out that her sisters were practically already married into the family with Reed being her future brother-in-law. Al took it in stride, she was used to it already thanks to Jaimie and Rick being so close for so long.
Eric though got the toughest reception as his new cousins gave him lots of unwanted attention. He was going to be teased mercilessly about the unwanted affection from the girls by the normal jerks in school until just who his new grandparents were was revealed. Jaimie and Claire loved needling him about it but both were happy to have him as a cousin and even happier to have Jessica now being closer family to them with Jaimie happily telling her that she never thought she'd be so close to her and Scott.
Ricardo and Alice filed the forms and had a quickie hearing in front of Judge Perez. She glanced over the paperwork and asked the usual questions. When they told her just who their new relatives were she had a hard time containing her laughter, adding a quick "I joked about you being in front of me before, I guess I might have caused this whole thing to happen thanks to some sort of karmic justice."
She ordered the adoption finalized, adding her congratulations. Back at the school, Dorothy congratulated both, adding a happy "John must have a huge grin at getting me even closer to him than before." Alice countered with "it had to happen to him, you already got closer to Valerie through Deborah!" The two laughed it up while the secretaries shook their heads at the two close friends' antics.
Things settled down for the Vincent family after the adoptions. Eric, Diego, Raul, and Stephanie got used to their new cousins and found they had more scrutiny but also more leeway from people. They enjoyed being part of something bigger, with Diego actually enjoying being the target of the rambunctious Billy Pena's fun and Kylie's overly feminine nature. Both were what he thought younger relatives would be like.
Eventually, the trials began with Sierra and Pablo pleading out while turning state's evidence against Todwell. Both admitted to being paid off to get rid of Diego and sell the house, with the intent that Pablo would be given a cushy job with Todwell's company while Sierra would get her mother's money once the executor was dealt with by Todwell's thugs. When that didn't work they had to repay Todwell by storing his assets for them and actually working for him by breaking into houses and causing damage to prompt people to sell their homes to Todwell. They endured hours of examination and cross-examination, finally admitting that eventually, they wanted to extort the man but instead fell into a trap of service to him that only ended when Diego fled and the state got involved in the investigation into the whole Bancroft School situation.
The cops fared worse. Their testimonies painted them as innocents but the facts contradicted their stories. Their involvement was shown to deep as they were willingly housing weapons caches and deflecting any investigations into the boys who were terrorizing the school. The fact that they intimidated so many was not lost on the jury or the judge, he ensured they couldn't plead down to lesser charges and received maximum sentences.
Rice, Diego's former principal, was crucified on the stand by Kennedy's office. Nothing was held back as he was eviscerated by the prosecution for allowing girls to be brutalized by the boys. When the prosecutor was finished there was nothing left to defend as every angle had been covered, from greed to extortion, to admitting in open court and in front of Zoe Miller just what he thought about Diego and the girls.
Todwell's thugs and bodyguards refused to cooperate and were taken down fast by the prosecution. The staff at Todwell's house were vicious and tore the bodyguards apart on the stand with their vitriolic testimony. The bodyguards were fully involved to the point of assaulting people who tried to make any trouble for their boss, which coincided with a lot of the times that Todwell was shown to be buying properties adding to the case against him.
Burke, the disgraced ADA, was not spared. He tried to plead out and testify against the others but Kennedy, the DA, and the judge refused. He was shown to have fixed cases and brought false and nonexistent charges that ruined reputations while purposely keeping the DA uninformed about the progress of cases that were known to be open and prosecuted by him.
It took less time than expected to convict him. The judge simply tossed the book at him and sentenced him to the maximum allowed sentence. He got no sympathy from his family as they were humiliated by their association with him, culminating with his wife leaving him and taking custody of their youngest kids.
Carl Masters, the now fully and openly disgraced former DCF social worker, was tried for the crimes committed regarding Diego and the various victims of the four boys. He had a lot to answer for and no answers that were acceptable by the jury. The fact that he was having an affair with Sierra when he should have removed Diego from his home was seen as a deplorable act.
The jury listened as he ignored his own son's actions and failed to do many of the basic requirements of his job. When they heard that he tried to keep some of his actions a secret while taking a plea deal from the state hit them hard. Hew as convicted on all charges and sentenced to an additional 20 years in prison, but would serve much of it in a prison hospital as word reached the inmates that he was openly involved in girls being abused prompting them to take out their own vengeance upon him.
The four boys who brutalized the Bancroft Middle School were up next. Sarah Jones' pictures of the bruises and scratches on Diego's arms told the whole story, there was no way that they weren't caused by someone brutally assaulting Diego. The school's secretary confirmed that the scratches and bruises were where the boys were grabbing Diego and confirmed that Diego screamed for help but was ignored by Rice and the boys.
Diego was called to the stand behind closed doors with only Alex and Ricardo, court officers and officials, the defense, and prosecution, and the jury being allowed to hear what he had to say. He went at the boys, painting a story of constant abuse by the boys with many different dates being given, all of which coincided with girls who had given statements to police about being assaulted. He left nothing to the imagination as he had everything working in his favor and explained away every possible reason why he wasn't at fault instead of the boys, so much so that the judge had to stop the defense from badgering him.
When they couldn't win fair the defense lawyers tried to go after Diego's gender change. This backfired as the judge pointed out that his gender change was irrelevant. The defense tried to prey on the bias and homophobia of the jury but all it ended up doing was enraging the judge and prompting several in the jury to tune out the defense.
The only ones who were able to be called to defend the boys were the boys themselves. The boys made quick work of showing just how horrible they truly were by claiming Diego deserved what happened to him and if they had known he was a boy they would have beat him to a pulp. The same testimony was repeated which the judge admonished the defense for and told the jury to completely disregard the boys' testimony but the damage was done. Much of what they actually said matched what was said to Zoe Miller and the troopers so they merely confirmed they were out of control and did what they did to Diego willingly with the expectation of no repercussions.
The boys were convicted by the jury after a short deliberation. All were sentenced to the maximum allowed penalty of 15 years, with the first five done in juvenile detention while the rest was done in prison. The girls of the school breathed a sigh of relief as the news broke in school but the one with the biggest relief was Diego, who was now free of their influences and could finally relax in school as word went around Winnisimmet that he had gotten now seven boys sent to prison for what they had done to him.
The last one to stand trial was the Todwell. He was hit with evidence that showed collusion from city, state, and federal officials to get everything needed to build his developments while not actually having any of the money he needed to build them. He later used money to help influence elections and hire people to campaign to get his developments approved, money that he didn't actually have and were actually down payments from people buying lots in the developments he had not yet built.
That was the tip of the iceberg as the whole development scheme was built on getting homes that he didn't actually own and whose owners didn't want to sell. This was where the extortion came in, he would extort and coerce families into selling or face humiliation by Burke using his office to file trumped up charges or having his "bodyguards" perform outright beatings. The bodyguards were shown to have carried out several with charges that were filed against them getting dismissed by the Burke despite witnesses stating that they saw them assault the victims. Those who filed charges often ended up with counter-charges filed and standing until the sought after property was sold to Todwell, with the paperwork mysteriously vanishing making the charges never actually appear on any criminal record.
This went on for three years until there was only one property left to buy- Diego's former home. Diego's fleeing proved to be what finally caused the whole house of cards to collapse as without the property nothing could be done because it was still an inhabited neighborhood and thus unable to get the proper zoning and permits to build. This was then further reinforced by the emails to the cops to get at Diego any way possible, specifically targeting his cousins and aunt.
There was nothing to defend against as the emails and documents found in his home were irrefutable. All he had to go on as a defense was to go after Diego and Ricardo. That backfired as both were shown to have had no knowledge and lived normal lives and the fact that he was targeting a kid who was brutalized in school then almost losing his freedom because of the scheme by Todwell was too much for the jury to handle. His money and political connections couldn't save him from being exposed as the liar, thief, and scumbag that he truly was.
The jury took a while to deliberate and found him guilty on all charges. He was sentenced to the maximum penalties possible. That was just on state charges, the federal government was going after him for even more charges and taking it to the city as well.
When the federal government was through with their investigation they had Todwell and his cronies and lackeys on dozens of federal extortion, RICO, money laundering, civil rights, bribery, tax evasion, and conspiracy charges. This earned them all another 30 to 40 years in prison each, with it being done in a distant prison instead of nearby prison camp.
That didn't include the dozens of federal weapons and smuggling charges against Todwell and his bodyguards that were proven. The weapons-related trial took only a week and after that additional sentences totaling another 50 years were levied. None of those involved were getting out of prison alive once the last of the sentences were handed out.
The state went at the City of Worcester for Rice's actions. Multiple prominent members of the school committee and city council were forced to resign in disgrace as they were shown to have shielded Rice at the request of Todwell. The vice principal was put in charge permanently with changes made to improve the school that had been illegally held up by the city due to Todwell's insistence.
The city was forced to keep the school open as the land deals were undone and the land returned to the rightful owners. The folks who lost money due to the Ponzi scheme that Todwell ran were given money back, the money in Todwell's previously hidden bank accounts barely covering the costs of the sold land plots. The unused properties were sold to cover the costs of paying victims restitution, with the properties being bought by people who actually wanted to develop the rundown buildings into affordable housing making it a win-win for the city and state.
Angela Victor earned lots of praise from her handling of the tough trial and the investigation, getting a promotion out of it by being appointed as the head of the Worcester office for the Attorney General's Office. Her predecessor chose to retire instead of face inquiry as to why he allowed such a thorough scheme to happen under his watch. She promptly went after him anyway, it was abuse of the office by him and she wouldn't accept that kind of behavior from anyone.
She was proving to be a hot commodity and was slated to be the #3 in the Attorney General's Office, behind the AG and Kennedy. Kennedy received a promotion to the highly sought after position as Deputy Attorney General and was seen as the one to be elected the next Attorney General in the next election. Her appointment over "normal" people caused a stir which Governor Christian James was quick to show as being both transphobic and actually driving by politicians who wanted to fill the office with their lackeys allowing them to do as they place.
Kennedy openly refused to run for public office, instead choosing to back Angela should she run. Many had continuously tried to groom Kennedy and all failed, either through suggestions from other people who knew her or through Kennedy's own scathing refusal. When asked if he would support her Christian simply pointed out "if you have to ask me then you already know that she will refuse to run. I back her in full but I know the woman is not a politician and no matter how many times I offer her a position in my government or an appointment to the bench she refuses, citing family and the need to ensure the safety of the Commonwealth."
Angela though considered a run for office and Kennedy was quick to tell her to do it. She ensured herself a job already, even if she lost Angela would have a job with Kennedy or would be sought after for a judicial appointment. Either way, Angela was on to bigger and better things in the following year.
David Peterson was appointed as the newest detective assigned to the Attorney General's Office. His colleagues teased him about the low-level detective job as it was a less glamorous job but one that he was well suited to doing. Ricardo and Alex actually served as references for David with Mick and Mike joining Alex in offering their takes as fellow detectives. He even got support from colleagues in the UK as his work with them caught the eye of the Attorney General.
Zoe Miller moved east to join the Boston region as the head of the Boston office as Mark Sylvester finally gave up his old job as head of the office to completely take over the Boston region. She was kept busy but actually enjoyed the differences between Boston and Worcester. She had a rocky start but showed that she wasn't one to be trifled with and corrected a lot of the issues that the office had with the previous supervisor that Mark hadn't been able to address yet. She reported directly to Mark which made her job a lot easier as the two were of a similar mindset and knew what the other wanted before they asked.
Anne Connors set her up with a decent home that came really cheap by comparison to the others in the neighborhood. She struck up a friendship with Mike Daniels with his sons George and T.J. giving them a chance to be friends. George didn't really care if they were friends, he knew Zoe was a decent person and Zoe knew all about George through her brief stays with Anne.
T.J. proved to be a tough person to crack. He was cranky, acted out, and often fought with his brother and father. George confided in her that it might have been a mistake to adopt him as he was starting to terrorize others, becoming more and more like their mother Amelia.
Zoe asked if anyone talked to him yet. George shrugged to which Zoe sighed and told him "he is acting out for a reason. Someone needs to talk with him."
Mike had a talk with T.J. that evening, getting a rough story about the boys abandoning him because they blamed him for several kids being kicked out of the daycare center. When asked why they were kicked out, T.J. complained about Melanie not liking what their parents had been telling them. Mike asked if he remembered what he had been told about several of the people he knew, getting an angry "but they told me they were bad people! They never lie to me, their parents never lie to them!"
Mike finally told him "they are wrong. How would you like it if they treated you bad because you were adopted by your brother's father? How would you like it if they made fun of you because your mother ran off? You wouldn't. That's the same thing they are doing to others and they are wrong to do so. You know Jaimie, do you think I would let you go anywhere near her if she was bad or dangerous to you?"
T.J. started to act better after that with his buddy DJ stuck by him. He started seeing the boys acting like jerks towards the girls and other boys, something he hadn't noticed before. He didn't really feel like he was missing out on them anymore and felt better at getting away from them.
Mike and Zoe grew closer after that with Mike finally openly dating her after a month. By Christmas the couple was inseparable. He was going to ask her to marry him on New Year's Eve but Zoe stole his thunder, telling him before he could get the ring out "there's something that I need to tell you, you kind of gave me a delayed Christmas present."
Mike realized just what that was as Zoe produced a pregnancy stick. Mike nearly fainted while George shook his head and complained. The two had a quicky wedding at city hall with Zoe being asked to sign forms to adopt T.J. and George. She didn't see the need to but did so anyway, letting the little family finalize and giving T.J. a mother that he could love instead of one he wanted to forget.
With everyone getting what they deserved, both good and bad, Diego started to put on weight and muscle mass as his body reacted to the testosterone treatments. His breasts started to shrink as the fat redistributed back around his body to he point that you would mistake the small mounds for baby fat. The masculine look was further enhanced by Diego's pectoral muscles becoming more and more prominent as he started to workout with Amy's brother Donald at his house while the girls practiced ballet during the winter months.
Eventually, the breasts receded enough to not even be considered breasts. The nipples and aereola were prominent but not out of the ordinary. He was happy to show off his chest to Eric who promptly told him "that's nice, but don't you dare tell anyone you did that!" Diego understood, it was too early in his manhood to do things like that and could be misconstrued by the wrong people.
Diego though was happy when he was told that in a few months his menstruation would stop. He was also told firmly by Alison "even if you don't want to do it, you can still stop and become a biological parent if you so choose. You say you don't want to now but you may later. Plenty of men have become pregnant both out of love for their husband or wives or out of the need to be a parent. It's never fully closed until you have your surgery to remove your womb."
He asked why he would do that, getting a soft "it may hit you eventually, you can't fully say no to the urges. You might not think about it but once your friends start becoming parents. You could get the urge and it'll simply take a few months off of the hormones to jump-start again. You might be the father of a child born to Polly, but you may want to give the little one a sibling from the donor's sperm."
He understood. It wasn't exactly what he wanted to hear but she had a point and even if he didn't like the experience at least he now controlled it. He had one up on biology, albeit he didn't want to experience them at all.
Diego held true to his word and helped out with the girls' ballet recital. He was happy that he wasn't forced to be a prominent role but he was also saddened that he wasn't going to dance much with Polly. The two did enjoy helping one another practice and even enjoyed some subtle groping that the others didn't notice.
The recital was a hit with the girls earning praise from the family. Virgil York and Junior Kelly loved that another boy was helping out and was one they could look up to. Diego hadn't thought that he could be seen that way but the boys were hanging on his every word as he helped them learn their roles.
Diego's change in body prompted Kyle and Oscar to start taking up running with him, with the two joining Diego in lifting weights with Eric, George, and Donald. Diego slowly started to become the girls' counterpart, joining the two in everything to the point that you always found them together. They loved all of the same music, movies, books, comics. It was a perfect fit and what the two were lacking- the third person to balance out the two egos and strengths.
Things were good for Diego. He could not picture his life getting any better. He didn't have a worry in the world and had everything he could want and more. H was finally himself, the boy he always knew he was and on the fast track to becoming the man he was born to be.
There was a complaint about the story being so interwoven among the other stories. Oddly, this is the first time anyone has complained about the complexity of the Winnisimmet Tales but to be blunt these are linear and at points do need to rely on past stories. They are summarized and the original stories are there to read. The first three are removed but the contents retold so much that you don't have to have read them to know the general plot. I tried to write this story without so much of the backstory of the non-essential characters to this story but I guess even when I cut it out I still get complaints about it. Sorry, but I am not changing what has worked for me so far because of one person being unwilling to either find the information or overlook what they are too lazy to seek out. I won't degrade the story to please others.
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