Joan VS The State of Liberty
"Brian, you've got to help me!" Claire practically screamed over the phone.
"Fuck, Claire, you don't have to deafen me."
"She has petitioned the courts for custody of Peter and John. I just got the papers. She's going to take my kids, the evil bitch!"
"They're just papers, Claire. Calm down and think for a minute. She sent the papers, but that doesn't mean she's going to win. When you tell a court about her drinking and how she … treated us, they won't give her the time of day, let alone your holy terrors."
"They're not terrors. They have been doing so good lately. We're starting to feel like a family and then she has to go and ruin everything."
Brian sighed. "She hasn't ruined anything … yet. Get a grip and I'll make an appointment with Melanie. She should read the papers and see just how they're going to go after you. I'll call you back when I have an appointment."
Brian could hear the relief in her voice. "Stay strong. Joan is not going to win this one."
Later that afternoon Brian met his sister in front of Melanie's office. Claire looked pale and shaken, but she smiled as Brian walked up. He didn't say anything to her as he ushered her into the office.
"Is something wrong?" Claire whispered to him as Melanie retrieved the right file from the pile on her desk. Melanie looked up and noticed Brian's clenched jaw. She waited wondering what was to come.
"Yeah, something's fucking wrong?" Brian spat out. "That old battleaxe had me served just after I called Melanie. She claims ownership of the Kinney's, all of them, and of anything else that was property of Jack Kinney. She obviously doesn't know all about the farm and John and Claire or she would have named them."
"Fuck!" Claire reacted. "She can't do that, can she?"
Brian and Claire both looked expectantly at Melanie waiting for her to tell them that they had nothing to worry about.
"I'm afraid I can't answer that yet," Melanie said carefully. "I don't have all the information."
"What do you need to know?"
"Do you have a copy of your father's will?"
Both Brian and Claire shook their heads. "I never wanted anything from the old bastard," Brian said. "Paying off his debts was enough for me."
"And you?" Melanie asked when Claire didn't say anything.
"I … I did get a bequest from daddy," Claire said slowly. "He left me some stupid painting that he always kept in his den."
Brian's eyebrows shot up. "But you never got it, did you?" Claire shook her head. "Didn't Joan offer it to you?"
"She told me daddy had left it to me, but I didn't want the dirty old thing. I just told her I wanted daddy back. She kept the painting as far as I know."
"You never saw the actual will, or never took part in the reading of it?" Melanie clarified.
"Mom said I could come with her to the lawyer's office, but I knew daddy didn't have any money to leave me and at that time that was all I wanted. Money was what I needed."
Brian squirmed uncomfortably in his chair. He knew where that painting was, and now that he thought about it he wondered why Joan had never mentioned it or asked either of them where it had gone. Then again, she had barely spoken to either of them in months.
"The will had to be probated," Melanie said. "So I can get a copy. Maybe that will tell us where we stand. As far as the boys go, I think we should have Child Services come to your home and do an assessment. They would also want to visit Joan and chat with her. You wouldn't object to that, Claire, would you?"
"A few months ago I would have been scared out of my mind if someone had said they were going to do that, but not anymore." Claire held her head up proudly.
"What's changed?" Melanie asked.
"Could you be more specific?"
"The boys and me, we're going for counseling and things are so much better. We don't fight and we eat meals together and they actually talk to me."
Melanie smiled. "Then I don't think you'll have anything to worry about. I'll set up an appointment. Oh, and if I were you, I'd tell the boys what's going on. Whoever comes for the visit will want to talk to them. They should know what's happening." Claire nodded. "That's all I can do until I see the will."
"Thanks, Melanie," Brian said. He stood and waited impatiently for Claire to get ready to leave. He had some thinking to do.
Joan sat in her kitchen sipping her sherry. She had just picked up a new bottle on her way home from the lawyer's. He had sent out all the papers and everything was now in motion. Joan smiled as she sipped. Soon she would have everything and her children would have nothing. Good things came to those who waited, and she had waited far too long.
She looked around the kitchen. It was immaculate like all of her house. She had tidied Claire's old room and bought some new bedding for Brian's. The boys could each have their own room, and the school was just down the street. She knew the social worker would pay her a visit anytime over the next few days. The lawyer had told her to expect that. She was ready.
She poured herself another glass of sherry. She'd have to be careful with the sherry. She didn't want the smell of liquor on her breath when this person arrived. But right now she could celebrate. The lawyer told her she had a good chance of getting everything she wanted. And she would get it.
Suddenly Joan had a fleeting thought of Claire without her boys. She would be upset. But that wasn't Joan's problem. Those boys deserved a God fearing home, not the emotional rollercoaster ride that was always happening at Claire's. Joan would have to tell the worker that Claire's boys lied and stole and used foul language. They never went to church. They were totally out of control. She would see that they had structure and discipline and rules.
Joan debated getting up and making some dinner, but she was quite content with another glass of sherry. She poured it and looked at the liquid in the glass. As she did, the phone rang. A little unsteady on her feet Joan made her way to answer it.
"Hello," Joan said.
"Gran," a little voice said.
"John, is that you?"
"Why are you doing this, Gran?"
"Trying to take us away from Mom."
"I'm trying to insure that you have a decent life," Joan snapped back at him. How dare he question what she was doing?
"Peter and I are fine here, Gran. We don't want to go with you."
"I don't care what you want. I know what's best. Put your mother on the phone."
"She … she's in her room crying."
"I see," Joan said and she couldn't help but enjoy her daughter's pain. Then she caught herself. She should be more charitable. "Tell your mother that I'm doing what's best for us all." Joan set the phone back on the base. Her self-satisfied smile was luminous if anyone had been there to see it.
John set down the phone and wiped away a tear. He thought maybe he could reason with his grandmother but he should have known better. He didn't know what else he could do. He walked slowly up the stairs to his room.
Brian pumped into Justin's ass, both of them drenched in sweat.
"Fuck!" Brian yelled as his orgasm ripped through him. He rolled away and flung the used condom in the direction of the wastebasket.
"What the fuck was that?" Justin asked.
Brian glanced over at his partner. The look on Justin's face told him that everything was not all right. "Did I hurt you?" Brian asked with a frown.
"Not exactly," Justin replied, "but it's been a long time since you used me for mindless sex."
"You heard me. Are you going to tell me what's going on?"
Brian clenched his jaw. He hadn't wanted to tell Justin, because he knew the lad would think it was all his fault.
"You might as well tell me," Justin said staring into Brian's eyes until the man looked away. "I'll find out eventually.
Brian heaved a sigh. "I got served with papers today."
"From Joan. She seems to think she's been bilked out of her inheritance. She wants all the Kinney paintings or the money from them and anything else that Jack may have left. She claims to be the sole beneficiary."
"But … that could mean the farm and Claire's house and everything," Justin said his eyes getting wide.
"Thank God, she doesn't know about John or Claire, at least not yet."
"And the Kinney's are sold."
"She could demand the money. I might have to come up with it or else the farm will have to give it back."
"My sentiments exactly."
"How can she be so mean?"
Brian raised an eyebrow like that went without saying. "You know the Kinney painting from Jack's den?"
"Oh fuck, we stole it," Justin said looking pale.
"That's the one thing we don't have to worry about. Claire says Jack left it to her in his will."
Justin breathed a sigh of relief. "Doesn't she want it?"
"I don't think so," Brian replied as he reached for the ringing phone beside the bed. "What?" he barked into the receiver.
"John, is that you?"
"I … I just wanted to say that … that I'm sorry for accusing you, you know, of molesting me. I never said I was sorry for doing that."
Brian could hear the tears in John's voice. "It's all right. We don't have to talk about it. Did your mother tell you what's going on?"
"Yeah, can you stop her, Uncle Brian? I don't want to live with her."
"And you won't if I have any say in it," Brian promised. He wouldn't commit his worst enemy to live with Joan Kinney, let alone two young boys.
"Thanks, Uncle Brian. I'm sorry to bother you, but everybody's crying and I didn't know what to do."
"Do you want me to come over there?"
"No … no, it's okay. I just wanted to know that you were on our side."
"I am and I always will be."
Brian waited until the line went dead. He set the phone down and turned to look at Justin.
"Need some more mindless sex?" Justin asked rubbing Brian's arm.
"No, I just need to hold onto you."
"You got it," Justin said sliding into Brian's arms and holding on tight.
Brian fell into a fitful sleep. Justin did his best to soothe him but he could feel the tension emanating from the man even in his sleep. At some point Justin drifted off but was awakened by Brian's lips around his cock. It wasn't as violently mindless as before and Brian made sure Justin was satisfied but there was no love involved, just a raw need on Brian's part to lose himself in the act.
When it was over, Brian was remorseful and contrite. He asked for forgiveness without ever saying the words. And began to push Justin away.
"Justin, maybe you should stay at Daph's for a while or at your Mom's."
"Why the fuck would I do that?"
"You just started back at school. You don't need any of this shit. If this gets ugly it may hit the papers. Especially if the Farm is at risk of losing all that money. Oh hell, what if Claire and John get served with papers. This is all my fault."
"Brian Kinney, do not, I repeat do not start that 'it's all my fault' shit. It's not your fault! None of it is your fault. The only thing you're guilty of is loving your sister and her children. You took a chance of bringing them all to the farm. And it fucking worked. So cut the shit and roll over."
"You heard me. Roll the fuck over. It's my turn for some mindless sex and you owe me."
Brian stared at Justin in shock. He couldn't believe that Justin was really going to use him that way, use his ass that way. He almost told Justin to get the fuck out until Brian took a good look in Justin's eyes. The blue eyes that reflected the sky and reflected Brian's heart.
"Shh, it's all right. Everything will be all right. We have a good lawyer; we haven't done anything wrong. You just need to feel. Joan's cold bitterness is trying to take away all you've learned, all you've allowed yourself to feel. Let me make it warm again, feel me, feel us."
Justin pushed just a little at Brian's shoulder and Brian rolled over. Justin made Brian feel. This time they both fell asleep feeling sated, warm and loved.
"Claire, it's me, Justin."
"Hello Justin. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"This is far from pleasure..." Justin told Claire what was happening and what Joan was planning. Needless to say Claire was shocked, surprised and a little nervous at the prospect of her life being scrutinized, again. She had been through this before as a young woman, pregnant, unwed and living in a small town. She had no intention of going though it all again.
"Justin, I agree with Brian and Claire. They must put up a fight. The boys need to be with their mother. Claire has learned to be a good mother and the court will see that. As for the Farm, I'll have a meeting with John, Bobby, Steve and Bill. We don't have a lawyer on retainer, not yet, not until Bobby graduates and passes the bar. But I'm sure he may have a suggestion. Don't worry, Justin, we won't let that woman tear this family apart. Thank you for calling me. I'm sure this wasn't easy for you. You give Brian and Claire my love."
"Okay, bye Claire."
"What did she say?"
"Shit, Brian. You scared the life out of me. I thought you were taking a shower."
"I was and I finished. Now what did Claire say?"
"Basically what we've all said. We should fight back and she'll have a meeting with John and the rest of them to make plans just in case. Claire doesn't think Joan has a chance of getting the boys. Not after all they've been through but she's worried about the farm."
"I wish I knew what to do about that. I don't even know where to start. We do have the letters that Patience wrote to Jack saying that she hoped that Jack and Claire would find a way of living together on the farm. I mean it does prove that Joan wasn't in the equation."
"Maybe we should turn the letters over to Mel."
"I'll head over to the bank later and get them. Don't you have a class today?"
"Huh? No, I got a call. The professor had some sort of family emergency. I have the syllabus and I'm ahead in my assignments. I think I'll stay here and read some more of the journal."
"Okay, I have a couple of clients to see today but I'll try to come home early. Try not to spend the whole day on the computer."
Brian gave Justin a kiss then walked toward the door. He looked over his shoulder at Justin. Brian knew the boy was going to be in the same position when he got home later.
Justin stuck in the disc with the Kinney journal and began to read.
A girl, a healthy baby girl. She will be named for my beloved wife.
Patrick and I have tried to remain apart, remain as mentor and student but our passion for each other grows with each passing day. It is difficult not to give myself over to him. He is so loving, so responsive in my arms. How odd it is to love a man and to love a woman. My sweet wife has never refused me but Patrick excites me in ways I can not explain. Making a comparison is unworthy of me and of them. This will not do.
Martha suspects that something is amiss. The birth of our daughter was not an easy one. Martha has yet to recover and it would be cruel of me to demand my marital rights. She suspects I seek affection from one of the maids. It would be a scandal if she learnt the truth.
I have begun preparations to ensure that my beloved Martha and our children will be protected in the event that I must leave our home. I do not know why I feel I must do this but I feel I must.
We have been found out. My sweet Patrick has left me, left our home, left the country. I am a fool. Death would be a happy release.
My preparations have been completed. My wife and children will not suffer long of me. Patrick awaits me in South America. He has come into his own fortune and is no longer dependent on the kindness of others.
I have signed all the papers. Martha shall keep charge of the house until our son reaches manhood. The house and all its lands will then be passed on to him and to each first born male child in my line thereafter. My will has been registered and I keep a copy in a safe place known only to myself and to Martha. When the time comes, she will know what to do.
"Shit! When did you get home?"
"A few minutes ago. Did you move out of that chair at all today?"
"Yes, I moved out of the chair."
"Oh yeah, so what did you do?"
"I went to the bathroom and I made a sandwich."
"Oh yeah, you went real far. So what's got your knickers in a twist this time?"
"They were found out. And Patrick left the country."
"That's the shits."
"Yeah, but Kinney wrote something interesting."
"He wrote something about a hidden will and that the farm and the land can only be passed down to male heirs. First born male heirs."
"If that's true then Joan wouldn't be able to take control of the farm or have any rights to anything. And if you think about it, neither did I. I'm not Jack's first born male heir, John is. If the will didn't specify that the male heir had to be legitimate then John had the right to it all along. If it does say legitimate then I'm it and Joan still can't get her mitts on it. Justin, you did it again."
"But don't we have to find Kinney's will?"
"Maybe it's registered in Harrisburg. I'll call Melanie in the morning and tell her about it. But first I'll call out for dinner while you print out more of the journal. I think with two sets of eyes maybe we can figure out where Kinney hid his will."
Joan VS The State of Liberty
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