TREEHOUSE - SATURDAY MID-MORNING
The time off has done me the world of good. I feel more rested and ready to rip some new ones!
Mom, Milton, Uncle Luc and Aunt D are coming tomorrow and they're bringing Daph too. I think, despite all assurances, he just wants to hug his best friend.
I'm heading to the kitchen when my phone goes.
"This is Zaden. Oh hey. What you got for me? What! Are you sure? Oh my God, you are a miracle worker, okay give me the address!"
I stare at the piece of paper in my hand and then turn and run back to the bedroom shouting for Faal.
We're still in bed having tea and staring out the window, when I suddenly chuckle.
"You too?" Mel smiles at me. "It's not just me? God, we've turned into this clichéd lesbian couple with the 2.4 kids but with dogs not cats."
"Yep! We need to do some dirt biking today, to clear the tubes. What cases you got this week? I...come in!"
Gus pokes his head round the door with a smile. "Morning, we're going to go to grandma and grandpa's this morning and then spend rest of the day at the Brownstone with Hunter and Matt and go with them to the Tree..."
"Define we." Mel interrupts and Gus shifts from foot to foot.
"Well, uh Phil and Hank are going to be there too...don't make a big deal about it, it's bad enough that dad gave me a box of condoms when I told him!" He's blushing badly.
"Jenny!" I call out.
"Yes Aunt Leda?" She's also the colour of a tomato.
"Do Charles and David know that Hank is staying overnight with no adult supervision? Answer carefully as I will check no matter what."
"Yes and dad and Steven do too." She sighs. "So embarrassing having a safe sex lecture from my gay father...and stepfather!"
"Okay you two come in here and sit." Mel pats the bed and they settle down. "Do you both think you're ready to have sex?"
They exchange mortified expressions and blush harder.
"I'm going with ‘not yet but close' am I right? So you've messed about correct?"
"Mom!" Gus cries out almost burying himself inside his sweater and Jenny just gapes at her.
"That's a definite yes." I chuckle earning a glare from Gus, which makes me laugh harder.
"All I'm saying is go at the pace you want; not the pace other people set for you okay?"
They both nod and look longingly at the door.
"Now get out of here. We want to feel the throbbing between our thighs and you're eating into that time!" She grins at them.
"Please tell me you're going dirt biking!" Gus cringes.
"Ugh parents!" Jenny groans as she shoves him out the door.
DINER - EARLY AFTERNOON
"Would you stop wriggling?" I'm so relieved my lig is back to her fighting best. Last Monday was the most distraught I've ever seen her apart from at her grandfather's funeral.
"I'm just so happy." She beams at me and then waggles her eyebrows. "Shall we play ‘how still can you sit'?"
"No." I swat her hand out of my lap. "Behave, we can do that later!"
"Hi guys, thought we were seeing you tomorrow?" Debs looks concerned. "Everything okay?"
"Yes, apart from the fucktard from NYC, everything is fine. I'm glad you're here. Can you sit because I think you're going to be a big help?"
"Hi darlings, sorry I'm late." Kiki comes to the booth looking gorgeous. Whoever is giving her tips should set up shop. They'd rake in a fortune around here.
She unwraps her fur stole and settles down. "So what's happening?" She asks looking between us.
"About what?" Debs demands looking confused.
"We found him." Zee replies.
"Found who?" "Are you serious?" Debs and Kiki ask at once.
"Bernie and Arnold's son, you found him?" Zee nods. "Is-is he..."
"Very much so...and here's the address. I thought you might want to...and Debs this is where you come in." She nods towards the bathroom where she takes Kiki to compose herself.
Soon they're back. "Oh my God, how do I do this? How do I tell them?" She look a bit panic stricken.
"Tell who what?" Carl asks joining us.
Kiki goes on to tell him about Bernie and Arnold's son, Thomas, and by the time she's finished, she's in tears again and he's looking thoughtful.
He clears his throat. "I would start with him; see if he wants to see his folks again." I nod in agreement. "Want me to come with you?"
Debs beams at her husband with pride. He's come a long way from the first time they met. The old Horvath would've been dismissive and rude but now he's been Debucated he's very much a Pride-filled man...not quite PFLAG button wearing but close enough.
"Please Carl that would be very kind." Kiki sniffles.
"Okay let's go. We might as well do it now. Red, I'll see you later and we'll let you guys know how it went tomorrow."
Debs goes back to her shift and I tug Zee out of the booth. "Later is now." I growl in her ear.
"Oh yes baby yes!" I groan as he thrusts back into me. "S-so close. There! Fuck yes!"
"Brian!" Justin cries and thrusts a few more times and then shudders and collapses on my back as I sink into the futon.
Slowly he starts to soften and then he flops onto his back. "H-how many times have we replaced this futon?" He pushes the hair out of my eyes and grins at me.
Raising myself onto my elbows I reach down for the water and take a swig sharing some with him before kissing him deeply.
I turn on my back and start to think. "Six, or maybe seven."
He reaches for the blanket, covers us and snuggles into my side. "Maybe we should consider a bed it would be cheaper. We could knock back that alcove and put a good sized double in there."
I look to where he's pointing and nod. "And Brian?" He starts to blush, I know where this is going. "About the plugs, can you ask Zee?"
"You stood for the casting. Why is it embarrassing now?" I chuckle.
"It just is and make sure you get the swirls added." He swats my chest.
THOMAS WILLIAMSON'S HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON
We wait for the door to be opened. When it does we are greeted by a young-ish man with tousled hair and- as Red would put it- gorgeous eyes and killer cheek bones, who looks like a kitchen has exploded on him.
"Yes can I help you?"
"Are you Thomas Williamson?"
I flash my badge. "Detective Carl Horvath, may we come in?"
His face pales and he swiftly waves us in and leads us to the lounge. "Excuse the mess but I'm testing today. Please have a seat, what's this about?"
"My name is Kiki and, I-I know your parents..."
"Mom and dad? Oh God, what's happened to them?!" He looks panicked and I know this is going to be okay.
Kiki immediately puts up her hands to calm him. "Nothing. Nothing has happened to them. They've been looking for you and..."
"Th-they have?" He gasps and slumps in his seat.
"Yes, they have and I just wanted to know if it would be..."
Before she could finish, he's crying. We exchange looks and I move to his side and puts my arm around him. "So I guess we can tell them we've found you?" I ask gently.
"A-after all I did a-and they're looking for me? Yes please yes tell them you've found me! I want to see them, t-to say sorry for being such a shitty son and..."
He looks dumbfounded as Kiki hands him her phone. "Tell them yourself." She prompts.
With shaking hands, he takes the phone and the number is already ringing.
"Bernadine Williamson speaking."
"Mom, i-it's me. T-Thomas."
There is silence on the other end before we hear the sound of tears. "This is Arnold Williamson, who is this and what have you said to upset my wife?"
"Thomas, Thomas is that really you? Oh my boy! Where are you? Where are you?!"
"Arnold, its Kiki. We're at his house in Mt Lebanon."
"Kiki, its Bernie. Thomas, are you still there?! Don't hang up please! I'm going for the other extension!"
"We'll be outside." I stand to leave but he grabs at Kiki's hand and I nod and leave them to it.
TREEHOUSE - SUNDAY MORNING
"Okay. Here's what is going to happen where Gus and Jenny are concerned. We're not going to say anything, not going to stare or in any way embarrass my grandchildren, clear?" I'm trying to be stern but I can feel a smile starting. "Come on! I'm serious, this is private..."
This earns snorts from Brian and Faal and a smirk from Ben. "I give up!" I mutter.
Twenty minutes later, they arrive and Jenny glowers at us all. She rolls her eyes, heavenward. "Seriously! Can't anything be private in this family?"
"No honey it can't!" Red cackles. "But that's all we're going to say on the subject. As long as you had a good time, that's all that matters, no matter what you did or didn't do. The Queen has spoken!"
"All hail the queen!" We all intone solemnly and that makes Jenny and Gus smile.
"What's for brunch?" Gus asks, shaking his head.
"Popped cherry pancakes." Faal replies.
"Oh for...!" Jenny throws a roll at him.
CAR SERVICE TO THE TREEHOUSE
"I shouldn't have hit him." I look across at Milton who reluctantly nods. "That's one heck of a bruise he's got but the swelling has gone down a bit but you can still see it."
"Hmm but you were reacting to what you had been told by your ex and..."
"Still... I shouldn't have hit him." I reply.
"Come on we're here!" Daphne calls out.
As we get out of the car, I stop and just stare. It is the most beautiful building I have ever seen.
"Wow." Milton breathes. "This is magnificent and she designed it."
"Designed and decorated." Luc replies proudly. "She's a smart one, my little one. And Del, you get to knock."
I rap on the door and it is swung open quickly and I find myself lifted off the floor by Faal.
"Faal for goodness sake, let us get in first!" I splutter with mock-indignation.
"Daph!" Justin shouts and almost knocks me and Faal over to get to her.
"Everyone get in, come on!" Luc starts to wave us into her beautiful kitchen, which also smells heavenly.
"Jesus, Zee this is beautiful!" Milton exclaims. "Champagne this early?" He looks at her. "Don't mind if I do."
"Right, Hunter, Matt take their bags up to the rooms that Ben and Emmy use." Faal orders.
I take a deep breath. "Uh Zee, there is one more other person to come in..."
The room goes quiet immediately. "Who is it?"
"Little one..." Luc warns.
"I'll go see him. He doesn't get to come in here! Are you coming with me mom?"
I have to will my legs not to run to the car as I see him leaning against it look around the garden.
"Zeus." Mom calls out and as he turns around, I gasp.
"What the fuck happened to you?" I quickly close the distance and turn his face so I can look at the bruise. "Who did this?"
"Oh that's alright then." I smirk at her. "So what do you want?" I snarl at him.
"Let him in and hear his side. Please. For me, please?" Mom touches my arm and I sigh.
"Fine but talk fast. You only have 15 minutes."
"An hour. You'll need an hour." Mom tells me.
The room is quiet as Zeus finishes his story and I look across at mom and she looks so guilty for hitting him.
"You need something for that bruise, I've got some arnica." I get up and hand him the tube when I get back. "I'm going to check lunch. I won't be long."
"Tell me something Zee." Mom's presence is not a surprise. "When was the last time you saw your brother cry?"
"Grandpa's funeral." I reply quietly.
"Ask me when I did." She waits.
"Last night. And you know him... he never cries. He's hurting so bad and not just because of haymaker. I know it will take time but let him back in. He's been manipulated too; we all have."
"She's right." I look up at Brian in surprise. "I didn't tell you but I went to return his card and when we told him to tell "his dad to come with what he has" he looked confused. And...and he says there's more. He went to see your father and he knows what he going to do or at least some of it..."
"Slow down Lindsay! I can't understand what you're saying. So you're in New York, right but why are you in New...deported! Why on earth have you been deported?!"
On hearing that, Nancy picks up the other extension and we look aghast at each other. "Don't worry darling." I soothe. "Mom and I will send money now. We'll send you $20K, get to a hotel and get some rest okay. Yes, we'll speak tomorrow."
"I thought she was over this! Seems she's going to keep punishing Lindsay until she feels fit to stop. Well I've had enough of this!" Nancy bridles. "Millie its Nancy, do you have Zee's telephone number by any chance..."
An hour later Zee calls us back.
"Mr and Mrs Peterson, how are you both?" She asks.
"We'd be doing much better if you would leave Lindsay alone." I snap.
"Ah, she's found out, has she? Shame I had hoped to have her there longer. However, she should've checked who her landlord was before..."
"Landlord? What are you talking about? I'm talking about you having her and Michael deported and then shipped off to New York!"
"Deported? Hang on...wait New York? Start from the very beginning."
"...and that's how they're in New York." I finish.
"Mr and Mrs Peterson, the one thing I don't do is lie and as omnipotent as I'd like to think she accused me of being, I do not control immigration. Besides, why the hell would I want her in the USA? Canada was the perfect place for them and if she was stupid enough to come back despite the restraining order..."
"Restraining order?" Nancy and I look at each with a sense of dread.
"Yeah, they can't come within 50 miles of us and the airport is 35 miles away..."
"Zee, please accept our apologies for disturbing your Sunday. We won't detain you further."
"Oh, okay, goodbye then."
Nancy rubs her temples and grimaces. "She's been playing fast and loose with the truth again...why don't we ever learn? Is it too late to get the transfer stopped?"
"Yes, yes it is." I sigh.
I come back in feeling bemused and sit down.
"...so he's having Justin and I investigated. We're not surprised by this but it's the court case angle that worries me. Is there anything he can do?" Brian asks Mel.
"Not sure. Let me see what Adam and Solomon think."
"Lig, you okay?"
"According to Ronald and Nancy, Lindsay and Michael have been deported and are now in New York."
Amongst the murmurs of surprise there are small smiles.
"So which one of you reported them to immigration and what for?" Leda asks looking round.
"Okay so we didn't. Then who the hell did? Let me make some calls."
"Need help Zay...Zaden, I can check the system see what happened." Zeus offers.
Taking a breath I nod and he follows me to the office. "Uh no, you tell me how to check and I'll do it." I tell him as he goes to sit down at the computer.
He nods and explains what I have to do and quickly we find out who it was. "Don't forget..."
"To clear the back end, I know." I snap. "Now excuse me I need to make those calls."
He heads to the door and pauses but I ignore him and pick up the phone. "It will take time", I hear him mutter to himself as the door closes.
I come back in carrying more champagne and grinning.
"Well good ole Lindsay and Michael have been making friends in the art world in Canada it seems."
"Huh?" Justin asks round a beef sandwich.
"When did you...seriously so annoying how you never gain an ounce!" I gripe. "Anyway, seems that their now ex-employers were being treated to the full force of their personalities. Yep I said their personalities as they hired Michael to do inventory. Immigration came calling because Michael applied to enter on a tourist visa but of course his earnings caught their attention and after advising them that Lindsay and Michael no longer work there, it was all academic."
"Okay that explains the deportation." Jennifer nods. "But what about New York? Why not stay...ah the restraining orders."
"Yep. When you have a restraining order, you're tracked so of course the moment they were booked on flights to Pittsburgh a representative of Chase, Donaldson & Draper was there to make sure they didn't stay and if they did, it would be in jail."
"Hold up, why would you need a restraining order?" Zeus growls. "What happened?"
As much as I didn't want it to my heart fluttered just a little bit.
"I'll catch you up." Uncle Luc advises. "That's a whole other thing. Oh I've just thought we're going to have to send their stuff to them, if I know the immigration boys, they just take you in what you're standing in if you're lucky."
I nod. "Okay, so get the letting agent to clear their shit out and ship it off to them when they have an address." Uncle Luc nods and goes to make the call. "Now enough about Wankerboy and Twatzilla let's get these bottles open."
"Wankerboy and Twatzilla?" Zeus echoes and then grins at me and before I can stop myself I grin back but immediately school my features to neutral.
I hand mom her champagne. "I saw that." She whispers to me. "It's a start. Thank you."