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This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence. As the author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me. This work is copyrighted © 2015 by Steven Wells.
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Jeffery Comes Home
Trevor and Johnathan sheepishly arrived in the kitchen dressed in shorts and tank tops. "I gave Johnathan something to wear this morning until we go to school."
"Very thoughtful of you, Trevor," I began. "Now, please sit down. Can we get you some orange juice?"
"That would be great, Dad," Trevor replied.
When the four of us had our juice, I began to explain the situation. "Johnathan, there is no easy way to say this, so I am just going to say it."
"My dad didn't make it, did he?" Johnathan said quietly.
"No," I replied. "He didn't. I just talked to Ms. D'Angelo from DCFS. She was at the hospital. She will be here shortly. And, you need to make a decision, Johnathan. We hope you will stay with us until we have things settled, which could be several months. Is that okay with you?"
"Yes, sir," Johnathan said in a quiet voice. "I would like that. But, I don't want to be a bother."
Philip went to Johnathan's side and put his arm around him, "You will NOT be a bother to us. Jeffery, Trevor, and I want you to feel like this is your home. You are not a guest, but you are part of our family. Okay?"
"Yes, sir," Johnathan told us as he wiped away a tear.
Chapter 10: The Next Fight
Ms. D'Angelo arrived with the paper work Philip and I needed to read and sign so we could legally be responsible for Johnathan. Philip and I decided Johnathan should not go to school. He was still in shock.
"Johnathan," Ms. D'Angelo said as she put her hand on his shoulder. "Did your father have any relatives: brother, sister, father, or mother?"
"No," Johnathan answered. "My grandparents passed away a few years ago—before we moved here. My father was an only child. It was just my father, mother, and me."
"Once the coroner finishes his investigation, your father's body needs to be claimed," Ms. D'Angelo said. She finally turned to Philip and me. "And, we have a funeral planned."
"We will do whatever is necessary," I told Ms. D'Angelo.
"Johnathan," Ms. D'Angelo said. "Do you know where your mother might be staying?"
"She had a younger sister in Chicago," Johnathan explained. "I don't think she would be staying with her, however."
"Why?" Ms. D'Angelo asked.
"They don't get along well," Johnathan told us. "I don't think they have talked with each other for several years. She had friends in Chicago, but I don't know how to contact them."
"Okay," Ms. D'Angelo backed off her questioning of Johnathan. "We need to get your clothes and other belongings out of your house. Do you want to go with me?"
"No," Johnathan whispered. "I can't go back there!"
"Okay," Ms. D'Angelo decided. "I will supervise getting your things out of the house. We can't take much. Only your clothes and some personal belongings until the police finish searching the house."
"Can you get my laptop?" Johnathan asked. "It's in my bedroom on my desk."
"Yes," Ms. D'Angelo answered.
"When can I go back to school?" Johnathan asked.
"Anytime you are ready, Johnathan," I said. "Do you want me to take you this morning?"
"Yes, please," Johnathan told us quietly. "I don't want to miss too many of my classes."
"Go take a shower, Johnathan," I said to him. "I washed and dried your clothes you had on yesterday. They are in your room."
"Thank you, Jeffery," Johnathan said to us. "I appreciate everything you, Philip, and Trevor have done for me. I don't know how this is going to turn out, but I will never forget your kindnesses."
Philip and I hugged Johnathan before he went back to his room.
"He needs counseling," I told Philip and Ms. D'Angelo. "And, he needs it fast!"
"Do you have anyone in mind?" Ms. D'Angelo asked.
"Yes," I told her. "Sarah Martin. She is a volunteer with our Lost Sheep Youth Center. She is a certified family counselor. She is also Rob Martin's mother. He and Trevor are very close to Johnathan."
After I had taken Johnathan to school, I was sitting in my office, tapping a pencil on the top of my desk and staring at the photo of Philip, Trevor, and me on my desk.
I heard a knock on my open office door. It was my mother, "Jeffery! Is there something I can do to help with Johnathan's situation?"
"I don't really know yet, mother!" I told her. "I don't have any clue as to what needs to be done. Johnathan is a scared 15 year old boy. His mother left him with his father, and his father killed himself. So, he is essentially alone. Why? Why did this happen?"
My mother pulled up a chair in front of my desk and sat down. "I don't know why this happened either, Jeffery. But, think about a couple of things. Who are the two largest employers in this town?"
"I don't know," I told her. "The college would probably be one of them."
"And, I suspect the hospital where Johnathan's father worked would be another," my mother suggested.
"I suspect you might be right about that," I told her. "Why?"
"How many black instructors are there at the college?" my mother asked.
"I don't know," I said as I looked at my mother.
"None," she said. "And, how many black people work at the hospital, other than Johnathan's father?"
"I don't know that, either," I answered.
"None," my mother said. "Who controls both institutions?"
"The county," I guessed.
"Exactly," my mother continued. "Who is the elected head of the county board?"
"I haven't been around for a while, so I don't really know," I told her.
"I have been around," my mother said with a smile. "John Ritter. Does that give you any ideas, Jeffery?"
"According to some of my sources," I said to my mother. "John Ritter is possibly one of the leading racists and bigots in this town. Am I correct?"
"I never said that," my mother answered with a smile. "Now, I need to get back to my office. I am working on Sunday's talk."
"Shit!" I said to myself after my mother left my office. I picked up my phone and called Philip.
"Hello, sweetie," Philip said as he answered the phone. "What's up?"
"Can I meet you for lunch somewhere?" I asked Philip.
"Sure," Philip answered. "The coffee shop?"
"Perfect!" I answered. "I have a few thoughts we might need to consider!"
"I can be there in about 30 minutes," Philip said. "Do I need to bring a gun or another weapon?"
"No, Philip!" I told him with a smile on my face. "We don't need to be armed... yet!"
When I arrive at the coffee shop, Mel hugged me before she launch her inquisition. "Jeffery! I have been hearing rumors all morning! Is it true Trevor's friend's father committed suicide?"
"Yes, unfortunately," I said quietly to Mel. "The boy is staying with us until his living situation is resolved."
"I was also told the kid's father was that nice physician's assistant Jason Harmon," Mel continued.
"Yes," I answered. "Did you know him?"
"Sure," Mel said. "Tom and I have taken our kids to see him. All of a sudden, a couple of months ago, he wasn't there anymore. I didn't even know he and his family were still in town."
"There are possibly some issues that need to be explored," I told Mel. "Philip will be joining me for lunch today to discuss some of those issues."
"Let me know if I can help," Mel said as she handed me a coffee cup.
"I will definitely keep you posted if I need some sleuthing done," I smiled at her.
Philip walked through the door and headed towards Mel and me. "Good afternoon!"
"Good afternoon, Philip," Mel said. "I hope you are aware your husband is plotting something!"
"I sort of assumed that when I was summoned here to join him for lunch," Philip answered.
We gave Mel our lunch order and picked a table in the corner for our discussion. "So, what kind of trauma are we in the middle of now?" Philip asked.
"Some little bird put an idea into my head," I told him. "Who are the two largest employers in this town?"
"I don't know," Philip answered. "The college would probably be one of them."
"And, I suspect the hospital where Johnathan's father worked would be another," I added.
"Okay," I told her. "Why?"
"How many black instructors are there at the college?" I asked.
"I don't know," Philip answered.
"None," I said. "And, how many black people work at the hospital, other than Johnathan's father?"
"I don't know that, either," Philip said.
"None," I said. "Who controls both institutions?"
"The county," Philip guessed.
"Exactly," I continued. "Who is the elected head of the county board?"
"I don't really know," Philip told me.
I said with a smile. "John Ritter. Does that give you any ideas, Philip?"
"The bastard that gave Sam Williamson a hard time?" Philip asked.
"The one and only," I said.
"Where are we going with this information?" Philip asked. "I think we might be getting in over our heads if we take on the county board!"
"I think you may be right about that!" I agreed.
"What about Devon Wright?" Philip asked.
"I thought about calling him and asking for some free advice," I said. "God only knows we can't afford to hire him!"
"And, then, there is the DA, David Cumberland," Philip added.
"I think I would prefer to talk with Devon first," I suggested. "I would hate to get the DA involved with a potential lawsuit against a county government organization until we know more about the situation."
"Do you want to call him now or later?" Philip asked.
"Do you think this is private enough?" I asked.
"Nope," Philip replied. "What about your office?"
"Great idea!" I said. I paid for our lunch and we drove to my office.
When we arrived, I took a seat next to Philip in front of my desk. I dug out my phone and called Devon Wright's office number.
"Devon Wright!" a voice on the other end of the line said.
"Good afternoon, Devon," I said. "This is Jeffery Harris-LeBlanc. Philip is here with me."
"What can I help you with today, gentlemen?" Devon asked.
"Well, I was wondering if you would be willing to give us a little advice about a situation here," I asked.
"Certainly!" Devon agreed. "I am on retainer for Lost Sheep Youth Center, after all."
"Retainer?" I asked. "I don't understand."
"Your name showed up on my retainer list on Monday," Devon explained. "So, I am officially on retainer for your organization."
"How did that happen?" I asked.
"Let me see," Devon said. "Ah! It is official. My retainer fee was paid by the Washington Family Foundation. You might want to talk with your friends Sam and Chris Williamson."
"Why does that not surprise me?" I said. "We have a problem here and we don't know how to proceed with it."
"Explain the situation," Devon suggested. "If I can't help, I will find someone who can."
I explained Johnathan and Jason Harmon's dilemma leading up to Jason's suicide. Then, I launched into the circumstances regarding people of color in our community.
"Hmm," Devon said after I explained the unfortunate turn of events. "This could be a very, very serious allegation, especially because I suspect there is a great deal of state and federal money flowing into those institutions."
"I think you may be correct," I agreed. "How do we handle this?"
"You don't," Devon warned. "Do not get involved. You could turn over a stone that might not right itself easily. And, you could draw a lot of suspicion regarding this issue if you are directly involved. I will contact a few people I know who should help us with this situation. I'll call you either later today or tomorrow morning. Is there going to be a funeral for Johnathan's father?"
"I am assuming that, yes," I replied. "Why?"
"I think I would like to attend," Devon said. "Do you still have an extra guest room?"
"Of course!" Philip said. "We will let you know when the arrangements have been made."
"Thank you for calling," Devon said as we ended the call.
"That's interesting," I said to Philip. "Lost Sheep Youth Center has an attorney on retainer! Who knew?"
"I need to get back to work," Philip said as he kissed me good bye. "Call me if you hear anything about Johnathan."
"Will do, sweetie," I told him.
I was again staring at the photo of Philip, Trevor, and me when I heard another knock on my open office door.
"Sarah!" I said. "Come in and join me. I am a bit distracted after all that has happened the last two days."
"I can well imagine," Sarah replied. "I was on my way to do some shopping, and I thought I should stop and see where things are at this point."
"Johnathan wanted to go to school, so I took him there after our visit with Ms. D'Angelo," I told her. "I think he is still in shock, but he was concerned about missing classes."
"That's a good sign," Sarah said. "It would be worse if he were sulking around in his room all day. Then, I would say we should consider suicide watch."
"Would you consider talking with him," I asked.
"Of course," Sarah agreed. "When would be convenient for you and Johnathan?"
"He and Trevor should be home from school around 3:30 this afternoon," I explained. "Do you have time to speak to him then?"
"Definitely," Sarah replied. "The sooner we start talking the better it will be for Johnathan. He, I am certain, needs to talk about his feelings. I will stop by your house around 3:30 this afternoon."
My phone rang almost the moment I was settled at my desk at the office on the Friday after Johnathan came to stay with us. "Jeffery Harris-LeBlanc."
"This is Devon, Jeffery," Devon announced himself. "I have some interesting information for you. And, I would rather not talk about this over the phone. So, unless you have plans in about five hours, I will see you then."
"Okay," I told Devon. "I will be at my office at the church."
"Can Philip join us?" Devon asked.
"I'll find out," I said.
"I'll see you in a few hours," Devon said. "I'm already in the car."
"Drive safely!" I said before we ended the call.
I immediately called Philip, "Philip! I just heard from Devon. He's on his way down here. He has uncovered something he didn't want to talk about over the phone. Can you be at my office around 2 this afternoon?"
"Sure!" Philip replied. "Do we need weapons yet?"
"I sincerely hope not!" I added. "I'll see you this afternoon!"
I stayed at my office until lunch time. I decided to grab a bite to eat at the coffee shop.
"Jeffery!" Mel greeted me. "We have to stop meeting like this!"
"I'm hungry, Mel," I told her. "Nothing more, nothing less!"
As I was eating my lunch, I pulled out my tablet and started to read my e-mail. One was from Aiden, my former client in San Francisco. "Greetings, Jeffery! I just wanted to let you know Gregory, the guy I met in AA, has asked me to marry him. I have accepted. We haven't set a date, yet. Would you consider officiating at our wedding? How is life with you? Love, Aiden."
I smiled as I re-read the e-mail from Aiden. "Aiden! Congratulations on your engagement! And, I would be delighted to officiate at your wedding. It would be an honor. You can also meet my husband, Philip and our 16 year old adopted son, Trevor. And, I can explain all of the details either on the telephone or in person. But, it has been an interesting time since I left San Francisco! I will call you when the most recent crisis has passed. Love, Jeffery!"
I put away my tablet and headed back to my office to await Philip and Devon's arrival. I stopped by my mother's office. "Good afternoon!" I said.
"How was lunch, Jeffery?" My mother asked.
"Nice," I told her. "I received an e-mail from one of my former clients. He met a guy in AA. They are planning on getting married. So, it looks like at some point, we will be going to San Francisco for a wedding!"
"It is so nice to hear that kind of news," my mother said. "Speaking of news, how is Johnathan doing?"
"He started to see Sarah yesterday afternoon," I told her. "He must be a very resilient boy. He doesn't seem to be depressed or worried about his future. Devon Wright is meeting Philip and me about some information he has uncovered regarding Johnathan's situation."
"Do we need to get security set up for the church?" My mother asked. She was smiling at least.
"Not yet," I told her. "I will keep you posted if the situation changes."
I returned to my office and was looking over the marketing information for the Lost Sheep Youth Center. I was deep in thought, when Philip's knock on my open doormade me jump.
"A little nervous are we?" Philip asked.
"I was concentrating on the marketing material," I told him as he moved beside me and kissed.
"So, men!" Devon said as he stood outside my open office door. "Am I interrupting anything?"
"No," I told Devon. "Philip takes great pride in scaring me! Have a seat! Can I get you something?"
"Not at the moment," Devon said. "I have talked with a source at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. Jason Harmon's attorney filed a harassment claim with the EEOC about four months ago. It appears the hospital administration, not the hiring office or the person listed as Mr. Harmon's supervisor, were named in the complaint. The hospital administration—or someone hired by the administration—fabricated scenarios that resulted in Mr. Harmon's firing. The administration claimed Mr. Harmon had been using drugs and selling drugs to minors. There is evidence of sufficient outside drug tests to repudiate these charges. And, there were no police reports charging Mr. Harmon with selling drugs. So, gentlemen, we have a problem here, and I think there is a sufficient case to warrant charging the hospital administrator with some fairly serious charges. We just need to find the particular administrator who fabricated this information."
"Where is this attorney now?" I asked.
"He works in a Chicago firm," Devon told us. "I left a voice mail asking him to contact me. I did not mention the subject. Do you think the DA, David Cumberland, can be trusted or not?"
I pressed an intercom button on the phones, "Yes, Jeffery!" my mother answered.
"Mother could you come into my office for a few moments," I said. "I think we need the advice of someone who has lived in this town for several years."
"I'm on my way," my mother answered. When she was settled, I asked Devon to explain the situation to my mother.
She took a deep breath, "My husband and I have lived in this town for almost 25 years. I love most of the people here. This is normally a very hospitable and generous community. However, until you have more information about the person who is responsible for this, I would suggest no one in this town be trusted with this information."
"Why don't you tell us how you really feel, Mom," I said to her with a smile.
"This could turn out to be a situation similar to the one with Trevor's father," my mother pointed out. "The local officials were trying to sweep his problem under the rug. This will be the same unless you can officially point the finger at someone who is responsible!"
To be continued...
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This is my 10th posting of my fourth story on Nifty.org.
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Sam and Chris in the `College' section
John's Journey Forward in the `Beginnings' section
Life With Tom in the authoritarian section (Please note, this story is not for everyone because there are several scenes depicting Master/slave and BDSM relationships. So, if you are not interested in this activity, please, please do not read this story.)
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