Who the hell am I? Book 2 Chapter 9

Chapter 9 Philip Wright's POV Mildura Lawyer

I was meeting with Charles for the second time and not looking forward to it. Father Geffory had asked me to take on this case, so I knew I was doing the right thing. At the same time I knew the law and we would not be successful if Charles insisted on calling Bob a boy and telling the world that was why he needed full custody.

My receptionist led Mr Carstairs into the meeting room where I was waiting for him. As usual he was almost exactly on time. I stood up and offered him my hand to shake. After a hand shake and small talk we sat down to do business.

“So what are my chances?” Charles asked me bluntly.

“If you follow my advice you are almost certain to gain custody. The reality is that your daughter is obviously incapable of caring for her, and...”

“Him.” Charles said firmly, interrupting me.

“I said 'her' quite deliberately.” I replied and then held my hand up to stop the next interruption. “Legally Bob has convinced a Judge to change her sex from male to female. Whether we disagree with the Judge or not doesn't matter. Whether he is right or wrong doesn't matter from a legal point of view. If we apply for custody based on the gender issue we will be asking one Judge to dispute another Judge's decision. That will not go well for us.” I explained to Charles.

“I do not think I can lie under an oath to God.” Charles informed me.

“I don't think you will need to. It is all about language. Do you think you can provide the best care for your grandchild?”

“Yes, but I don't think I can call him a her.” He replied.

“Calling Jesse with female pronouns is merely acknowledging another Judge's decision. Do you think it is right to follow the laws of this country?”

He thought carefully for a while. “Yes, but doesn't the laws of God supersede the laws of man?”

“To be frank, no they don't. Since this was a majority Christian country when most of our laws were established, most of our laws are based on Christian beliefs. But Church and State have always been held separate. My belief as a lawyer is that all citizens of a country or even visitors are duty bound to follow the laws of that country. Personal beliefs have to be held apart. You don't have to agree, you just have to follow them.”

Charles sat there and frowned at me. His reaction was not unexpected and was the reason why I had not been looking forward to this meeting. Trying to change his mind was almost impossible.

“Look.” I continued. “Your daughter has already given you custody of Lilith. Willingly, without protest, so it is going to be hard for her to argue that you are unsuitable. Getting custody of Jesse is almost guaranteed providing she cannot prove that you are going to abuse the child. Calling Jesse Bob and he/ him rather than Jesse and she/ her, could be grounds to suggest that you are not suitable. Once you have custody what you call it and what you do with it, will largely be ignored. If you convince Jesse that she is really a he and should be Bob again, you can take that to court and maybe change the gender back to male, legally.”

“I won't have to lie?” Charles asked.

“No. You will have to call it Jesse. I will try and keep you out of it, but if you are required to speak, you will say that legally Jesse is now female, which is true. You will say that you will do your best for the child, which is true.”

“And once I have custody I can apply to get Jesse legally male again?” Charles inquired.

“Yes. I haven't looked at the medical explanation. This should be a custody battle, not a medical issue, but if you can prove that Jesse should be male or a psychologist is able to tell the court it is in it's best interest to be seen as male, then you can overturn the judgement. I believe you know Dr Baker. He is a psychologist who is a member of our church and I'm sure would be happy to help.”

Charles stayed quiet for a bit as he thought things through. He sighed dramatically. “OK. Lets do it.”

Jennifer Carstairs POV

I knew from my reading that in my condition I needed as little stress as possible. There was even suggestions that stress was a major cause of all illness including cancer. Still, telling myself not to stress wasn't working. Father Jerome had spoken to Father Geffory and could only say that they had a different opinion on the matter. My attempts to speak to lawyers for a free half an hour and at one company for a whole hour, mainly showed me that I couldn't afford lawyers and my case was difficult at best. I was also bored out of my mind with nothing to do, so all I could do was stress about either my situation, Lilith's or Jesse's. And now I was beginning to worry about Karen.

Lilith started crying when she heard my voice so my father has forbidden her to talk to me for two weeks. I was prepared to drive up to see her, but my father told me no and even threatened to get a restraining order against me. I don't know if that was possible. Whether or not he could get a judge to agree to stopping a mother from seeing her children was immaterial. The threat was enough to get me to comply.

Jesse seemed to be OK, but she had moved out of one house and into another which is hardly the stable environment I was hoping for. She acted happy, but I know she was missing her friends. I also knew that she would never admit anything that would cause me stress which conversely meant I worried about what she wasn't telling me. I desperately needed to find a stable home for her. At least her paperwork had come through and she was now legally Jesse, a girl.

Since Jesse could no longer help Karen, I had offered and considering that I now had no job to go to, it was great having something to do. As I had plenty of time it meant I didn't have to rush and spent a good part of my evening at her house chatting, keeping her company when her husband spent less and less time at home.

It had got a bit ridiculous how much time he was spending away so she hid her phone in his car after installing an app that allowed my phone to track it and together we watched him leaving his workplace and travelling to a house. She detailed everything with pictures from my phone and then convinced me to travel with her to confront him. I really really didn't want to do it, but it is hard arguing with a pregnant woman especially a determined one who flat out told me if I didn't, she would be hiring a taxi.

I stood with her, supporting her as best as I could. Just in case I set my phone to recording video and put it in the top pocket of my blouse. The scene was an ugly one and ended up as a shouting match. The next day when she was at school he removed all his clothes and moved out.

On the plus side Karen's father had a high powered lawyer who owed him a favour, so it sounded like Peter was going to be royally screwed, legally speaking. Still, to Karen her life had come crashing down. I felt a bit guilty since I was sort of glad. I couldn't discuss it with her while she was still feeling so down, but it did offer me hope that she might be able to foster Jesse. Besides, when Peter acted so intolerant towards Jesse, he was showing his true colours and I wanted someone better for Karen.

I thought I was feeling better on the medication, but now my cough was worsening again which sounded like a bad sign. Right now I needed a stress free lifestyle and that just wasn't going to happen. I had another two weeks until my next scan when we could determine whether the medication was working. I like to be optimistic, but the more stress I was under the less optimistic I felt.

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