Next Friday, May 17, I'll have my last radiation, so fingers crossed my energy will return and I can start writing again!
Bye for now xxxsy
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Four years ago Van's fans created a scholarship at Walnut Hill, the school for the arts Van attented and loves.
Your donation will be put in a fund that will be available to help students in need with tuition or other fees. In addition, the fund can be used to assist needy students in case of an emergency situation. (For example, if a family emergency arises and the student does not have the money for a plane ticket to get home, this fund can assist them).
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Please join us in celebrating Van's birthday by making it count:-)
As you know, I’m on a break. I needed some time to collect my thoughts and to make some difficult decisions. Because as much as I loved writing the soap, publishing it on three different locations on the web took a lot of my time and energy.
I’ve decided to focus on one place. The Word Soap’s home town, so to speak, at www.sylicious.com/astheworldkeepsturning
So this Monday I will publish a new chapter as promised, but not here. Of course I hope you will find your way to the other location, but if you decide not to follow, please know I have appreciated your support and comments.
I will stick around to read (and comment) other stories. I love this community, I really do. But I love my health too and I needed to reduce some of the work.
Hope to see you on the other (web)site:-)
Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Title: #164 Breakthrough
Summary: “Saying goodbye doesn't mean anything. It's the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it.” - Trey Parker
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar
Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 163
Her blue eyes fired her anger and although the Foster Monster forced himself to shrug, he did lean back into his chair. Increasing the distance between himself and her passionate anger.
Luke softly lifted the girl back to his lap and kissed her temple.
“It’s okay, sweetie…”
“He’s been hurt enough…” Zoë muttered and both Luke and Reid tapped her leg.
“He has. And we’ll make sure that man will be punished for it,” Reid promised, still in shock. Did she realize what she just did? Danny did.
“You spoke!” Danny clapped his hands and laughed out loud. “Zoë…you spoke!”
With a ‘yeah yeah, don’t make such a big deal out of it’ shrug she smiled at Danny and then the judge took over again. The minute he looked at Danny, the boy put his hand on his sleeve.
“He’s lying. I didn’t like it.”
“I know, sweetie,” Curt Jessup wanted to hug the brave kid, but just tapped the little hand for a moment. “I know.”
Reassured, Danny sat straight again. “Was that it?”
“We’re almost there,” the judge nodded, “The last thing I want to talk about are the other boys after that…”
That one sentence completed changed Danny’s facial expressions. Horror, fear, pain and disgust showed themselves and the boy’s voice was a small whisper now.
“Please…no,” the little hand on the judge’s sleeve was back, but this time with a tight grip. “They will hate me…” he whispered.
“Who? Your daddies?”
Danny looked at Reid and seemed hypnotized by his father’s blue eyes. Without a sound his dad mouthed ‘I love you’ to him, but Danny shook his head. He knew everybody would hate him. He would lose everything. His home, his family…Dawn…
The tears were back and he pulled Mr. Panda close. For some reason he then looked to the other end of the table. Evil Foster Mom lowered her eyes, but the man next to her smirked at him. I always knew you were a coward.
Then Danny noticed something different. A shift. There was a glow behind his Evil Foster Dad and even after he blinked, the light became brighter. Then he smiled. Annie was here.
Emily frowned. The camera had picked up all the emotions on the child’s face, but the reason for the change was not clear.
“What’s happening?” she whispered and she could feel Paul shrug. “I’m not sure. I don’t know who’s in that corner of the room, but he or she is calming him down.”
“Big time,” Emily responded and her pen flew over the paper.
Everybody present in the chamber was wondering the same thing. Everybody but Luke and Reid. They looked at each other and smiled. They knew. Annie was here.
“I had a friend. At school,” Danny’s voice was soft, but firm. “And I made the mistake of talking about him once.”
Mr. Panda was pulled into a hug again. Danny sighed and then continued.
“And then they said I had to invite him…home…” using that word made him shake his head. “They promised they would leave him alone. You deserve a friend to play with, they said. To have some fun. And I believed them.”
The how-could-I’ve-been-so-dumb’ expression was back. So were the tears.
“When Jeffrey stepped into the house, I knew I did wrong,” Danny kept his eyes on the panda. Obviously too scared to watch the reaction on the faces around him.
“My foster.. he made us go into the room…I told Jeffrey to make a run for it, but he didn’t understand. I never told him about…me… how could he have known?”
“What happened with him, Danny?”
The calm voice of Curt Jessup prevented the boy from losing himself in the memories.
“I had to touch him…like the men had touched me…” Danny was crying now, but forced himself to go on. He could feel Annie behind him, encouraging him. Soothing him. Comforting him.
In a outburst of emotion he then looked at his Evil Fosters and yelled: “And I didn’t like it! Not one bit! I hate you! Jeffrey didn’t deserve any of it!”
“What did they do, Danny?”
“They threatened him like they threatened me. That they would kill us and Jeffrey’s little sister if we didn’t do as they told us to do…”
Again the tumult in the courtroom reached the chamber and the judge decided it was enough.
“Thank you for telling this, Danny. You are a very brave boy and I’m proud of you. None of this is your fault, my boy.”
“Did you know about Jeffrey?” Danny whispered, “and about the others we had to bring into the house?”
Jessup nodded. “We found a lot of them, Danny. They are wounded, just like you. They all have the help they need.”
“Is Jeffrey okay?” this whisper was even softer.
“Can you tell him I’m sorry?”
“He’s not angry with you.”
“He’s not?” Surprise was all over Danny’s face.
“No. But he wants to forget. His parents moved to another town recently.”
“Good,” Danny nodded. The obvious avoidance of looking at his fathers was painful and judge Jessup nodded at Reid and Luke.
“You’ve been a great help, Danny. You may step down now.”
Before the boy could do anything, he was lifted to his father’s chest and he heard Reid’s soft voice in his ear. Saying the three words he really didn’t expect to hear.
“I love you.”
“You still do?”
Danny leaned back a little so he could see his dad’s eyes and started crying when he saw the love. He then felt another hand on his back and without leaving Reid’s arms Danny threw himself around Luke’s neck.
“My beautiful boy,” Luke whispered in tears, “You’ve been so brave.” Brown eyes met brown eyes and again Danny looked surprised by the love in it.
“You don’t hate me? I helped…”
“You were forced, Danny,” Luke kissed him on the cheek, “And hate? I love you so much!”
Zoë was silent, but her hand was on Danny leg and her smile was bigger than usual. When the kids looked at each other they just nodded. They didn’t need words.
They all looked up when the two defendants were escorted out. For a moment the woman hesitated. She looked sad. While Luke was lifting Zoë back into her wheelchair, Reid and Danny looked at the Foster Mom from Hell. For a moment their eyes met. Reid narrowed his and Danny turned his head away. Finding solace in the warmth of Reid’s neck. She nodded, as if she knew this couldn’t be fixed. Not now. Not here.
When they stepped back into the courtroom, the family were visibly surprised by the applause that grew into a standing ovation. Admiration and support reached Danny as a tidal wave. Showing him he was loved. Surprise, shyness and sheer relief entered the boy’s eyes and when he saw the familiar faces of the Snyders, he even smiled.
“Now the hell is really over, Daddy,” he whispered in Reid’s ear and the doctor pulled him very close for a moment.
“It is, Brave Heart, it is.”
Reid looked next to him and Luke’s radiant smile made him almost choke up. He maneuvered Danny on his left arm and put his other arm around his partner. Surround by family, friends and strangers they kissed. Short and firm, but also loving and telling. Another chapter closed.
Another crowd, but this time Reid felt quite comfortable. So far dinner had been great. Lucinda had gone beyond her promise. Not only did the menu show all his favorites, but every dish he ordered was double the normal amount.
His kids – he really liked how that sounded – were enjoying their peers in a little children’s section and the special arrangement of tables and chairs gave everybody the opportunity to mingle.
Not that Reid was making use of that. He was just fine where he was. Next to Luke, with the blond’s hand on his leg. The agitation in the brown eyes hadn’t gone unnoticed. Neither had the fact that the tension was building. And Reid knew why. It had been an emotional afternoon, but they hadn’t had any chance to handle it with their normal routine: working off steam.
“I’m so ready to go home,” Luke whispered with a light blush and Reid grinned.
“I know what you mean…”
“And so do I,” a female voice came between them and then they both felt a piece of plastic pushed into their hands.
“Bridal suite,” Lucinda whispered. “We’ll look after the kids. You guys need a break.”
While Reid grinned and gave the woman an approval nod, Luke blushed and lowered his head. But rose to his feet anyway.
Instead of dragging Reid into the elevator – like the doctor had expected – Luke made his way to Danny and whispered something. The boy looked at him for a moment and then nodded.
Reid joined them in time to hear Danny explain to Zoë: “Our daddies would like to be as close as possible. But they’ll be back soon.”
After ruffling the blond locks and the reddish curls he blew the kids a kiss and followed Luke into the hallway. The minute he reached him, the elevator doors opened and with a quick pull he was launched into the small space. Time to worry about it was lacking. Luke’s lips catapulted him into another dimension and he hardly noticed they moved out of the elevator into the room.
All Reid knew and felt was Luke. He vaguely felt he was pushed against the wall, but then the familiar fingers were on his zipper and he zoned out.
“I wish I’d brought some stuff…” Luke groaned, “but I guess a two is better than nothing.”
Reid cracked the code and before Luke could lower himself, Reid caught Luke’s face between his hands and made him look at him.
“I need this as much as you,” he whispered, “so let’s put our money on bodily fluids and go for it…”
Luke gasped. “Are you sure?”
“Would I suggest it otherwise?”
They smiled and then the need, the aggression, the fire was back. Many, many times they’d made love. Taking their time, taking it slow, taking it tender. This was not one of those times. Luke didn’t even ask this time. He stated.
“I’m coming in.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way, Luciano,” Reid grinned in a daze and let Luke take over.
"You guys need a break.” Lucinda's voice echoed in Reid's head and the last thing he consciously wondered was if their activity would officially be considered ‘taking a break’, but he then concluded he didn’t care about the public opinion. As far as he was concerned, this was the best break he ever had.
I hope to welcome you all back on Monday, July 30th! Thanks for all your support!
Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Title: #163 Intrusion
Summary: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” - William James
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar
Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 162
It had been the major talk of the town, these last weeks, and even in Oakdale this was something else. Kidnapping, murder, people returning from the dead... that didn't startle the average Oakdalian anymore. But child abuse? That had their blood pumping and the courtroom was packed.
There had been rumors and the WOAK van outside the courthouse suggested they were true...today one of the victims would tell his story and although disgusted, they all wanted to hear.
What is it in human nature that makes us feel attracted to the horror of others?
Emily Stewart looked around. She could sniff out the sensationalists in the room like bad apples in a basket. She could see it in their eyes. They were here to relish the pain of a young boy. So they could judge. Tell themselves and others that they were better than the abusers. But were they?
Don't we all hold the responsibility to look after all our children, even the ones we didn't give birth to?
Her hand stopped writing when she saw them enter. The buzzing crowd held their breath and only the sound of footsteps and the soft squeaking of a wheelchair filled the air.
She felt for them. The doctor looked like his aloof, cold and arrogant self, but whoever bothered to really connect with his energy - and she did - could see his pain. His concern. His need to be strong for his family. He was holding the boy close to his chest. The way the child had buried his blond head in his father's neck was telling.
He was obviously very scared, but he'd found safety in the strong arms around him.
His other father was pushing the wheelchair. Oakdale's Golden Boy didn't shine today. No radiant smile, no friendly greeting, no sympathetic ear. Emily bit her pen. She'd always liked Luke Snyder, but lately she'd added admiration and respect. She wished she could hug him. He looked like he needed one.
She had heard about the little girl, but nothing had prepared her for this confrontation. Her Eliza was beautiful, but this girl took her breath away. Not just because of the reddish curls or the remarkable blue eyes, but because of the strong energy of this child in a cast. Like she could fight the world and come out a winner. The way she looked up to the boy in Reid's arms told the whole story. She was part of this family.
Instinctively Emily started writing down her thoughts and when she looked up again the family was passing her. The girl looked at her and frowned. The blue eyes were penetrating and hypnotizing and for a moment Emily felt scrutinized. As if the girl was challenging her. Daring her. To write the truth. To tell the story as best as she could. Emily gave her a quick nod. She would.
The Clerk of the Court guided the family to chairs and after some whispered instructions, they stood until the judge entered and then took a seat.
“I need to state for the record that I already had a conversation with our young witness about WOAK being present. It is his wish that his story will be available for everyone who wants to hear. On the screen behind me you will be able to witness the proceedings, but the identity of the two defendants will be protected.”
Judge Jessup’s telling look at Danny and his family told the hidden meaning of his words. Not that I think they deserve any consideration.
“I’d like to invite the members of the jury, the Clerk of the Court, the Court Reporter and the Oliver Snyder family to join me in my chamber now.”
Emily Stewart quickly scribbled down her findings. The way Reid and Luke grabbed each other’s hand and squeezed it. The way Judge Jessup softly said something to Danny – the boy even managed a small smile – and gave Reid and Luke a pat on the back. The way the jury looked at Danny. The compassion and the endearment for this young victim was evident. The way the whole Snyder clan was clinging together when they watched their family members leave the room. Their supportive love was tangible.
“I don’t envy them,” Paul whispered next to her and she smiled at him.
“Me neither,” she caressed the man’s knee. “We’ve done and encountered some crazy stuff in our lives, but I’m grateful we never had to deal with anything like this.”
“Don’t even want to think about it,” Paul groaned and Emily nodded. She knew about Paul’s encounter with the male defendant and she heard rumors about Reid’s attack on the female one. It was a small miracle he hadn’t lynched her on the spot. Emily knew she would have.
Before her mind could wander off some more, the activities in the judge’s chamber were shown on the screen and all her attention was fixated again. She swallowed as she watched Danny on the chair. His eyes and attention were on the stuffed panda on his lap. Obviously the toy offered some comfort. He didn’t look too worried. But then she realized the defendants weren’t there yet. The boy’s demeanor changed dramatically when she heard people entering the chamber.
Judge Jessup’s face was neutral, but the way his eyes flashed to Danny showed her that the man would protect this little boy and she made a note on her pad about that. He had been Oakdale’s judge for a long time, but today would be the day that The Intruder would blow his horn. She wasn’t sure, but that could be a first. She never thought much of the Oakdale Court System, but today she saw integrity. And liked it.
“Danny…” Judge Jessup gave the boy a encouraging smile, “Can you tell me why we are here?”
When his eyes pinned on the judge, Danny nodded.
“Yes sir…” for a moment his eyes flashed to his dads and he quickly shook his head. “I mean Your honor.”
Curt Jessup smiled and after a nod, Danny continued: “I’m here to tell you what happened to me.”
“Exactly. And how will you tell that?”
Danny frowned and then seem to understand the question. “I will tell you how I feel, not what I think you want to hear.”
Emily Stewart smiled and she felt the energy in the room soften. The boy’s answer was both disarming and telling. Everybody present now knew how communication in the Oliver Snyder household was handled. Tell me how you feel, not what you think I want to hear.
Judge Jessup was visibly impressed and he gave Reid and Luke a quick smile.
“That’s very good, Danny. And will it be the truth?”
“Of course it will,” Danny said with some indignation, but then remembered the line he was supposed to say and lowered his head a little, “I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
“Good boy,” Jessup nodded. “Let’s start at the beginning.”
And they did. Seemingly emotionless Danny answered questions about his past. He explained how the first week had been okay. There had been two other boys in the house, both older, and Danny shared how he didn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to spend time with them.
“We always had to go to our own room and stay there. I didn’t understand.”
“Did you ask?” the judge asked and Danny shook his head.
“I wanted my foster… you know… to like me, so I didn’t ask. But the two boys went to the same school, so sometimes we had a chance to talk. But they were always angry. At everybody. At me too. And I didn’t do anything wrong. Honestly.”
Emily heard some sniffing, but she blocked it out and kept watching the screen. The camera caught a shot of Luke and Reid. Still holding hands. Zoë had been lifted on Luke’s lap and the girl only had eyes for Danny.
“I believe you,” Curt Jessup assured him, “please go on.”
“Then one day…I think I was there for two weeks…Vincent…one of them…told me he wasn’t going back there. Where we lived, I mean. And he said he couldn’t take me with him, but that I should get out of there too. But I didn’t understand. It wasn’t a good home, but it was okay enough. They hadn’t done anything…bad…yet.”
He lowered his head and quickly looked at the spot where his ‘monsters’ sat. Emily wished she could see their faces. Were they moved, liked everybody around her was?
“So Vincent ran away,” Jessup concluded and Danny nodded, focusing on the judge again.
“He did. And that night I heard Eddy, the other boy, yell at…them…How he hoped that Vincent would call the police. And I didn’t understand why.”
Danny had a ‘how-could-I’ve-been-so-dumb’ expression on his face, but when the judge gave him an understanding nod, he raised his head a little more.
“And then they screamed that they would tell the police this was all Eddy’s set up and how the police would believe the adults and stuff like that…”
Danny started to get upset.
“And I could hear Eddy go to his room. I heard some noise, but I thought he was just smashing stuff because he was angry. A few hours later I heard one of them come up, going into Eddy’s room. And then I heard cursing and my foster…he…banged at my door, telling me to stay inside and I heard him hurrying down the stairs. So I stayed in bed. The next day they told me Eddy was dead. He’d killed himself.”
“That must have been difficult,” the judge said in a friendly tone and Danny nodded.
“I didn’t know Eddy very well and he hadn’t been very nice to me, but we were in there together, so he was sort of my brother. I would have liked a big brother.”
The boy gripped his panda for a moment. Obviously seeking support. Then he looked at his dads and the way they both smiled at him, gave him strength. He looked at his Foster Monsters again and said in a cold tone:
“And then it happened. I was the only one there and now it was my turn to receive all the beating and all that other…stuff. And then I understood.”
“Can you tell us about that other stuff, Danny?”
Panic and tears filled the boy’s eyes. “Do I have to?”
“It would help, but it’s okay if you don’t want to…” the calm voice of the judge filled Emily Stewart with respect again and she made a special note of his remark. The Intruder would be very complimentary for a change.
Danny took a deep breath and lowered his head.
“They had a room downstairs…I’d never been there before and the first time…I don’t know…it felt kinda nice. It was clean and it smelled nice. Unlike the rest of the house…”
Was that a female snort she heard? Emily grinned. Apparently the foster mother resented her lack of cleaning skills to be out there. As if that was her biggest crime. Emily had been in court for the last few days and the picture that was painted by the prosecutor had been very clear. She had done a lot of stuff to be really ashamed of. Not cleaning the house wasn’t one of them.
“He told me to go along with whatever happened and to keep my mouth shut. He went behind some wooden wall with a hole in it and then another man came in.” Danny made a sobbing sound, but kept talking. “But I couldn’t look up. I was not allowed to see his face. I could only see his hands. And when he…came down, I had to close my eyes. And he touched my…”
Some tears started dropping down, but Danny didn’t seem to notice. He was back there. In the room. But not for long.
“Danny,” Judge Jessup sounded friendly but firm, “Danny, listen to me. You’re not there. You’re here. You’re safe.”
The last word made the boy look up and then his eyes found Reid’s and Luke’s. He nodded. He was safe.
“Was it always the same man?”
Danny shook his head. Looking sad. “No, there were many different men.”
“Do you know how many?”
Again the boy shook his head.
“More than ten?”
Danny looked at the judge and gave him a ‘are you kidding me?’ look. “Much more.”
Even in the closed chamber the reaction in the courtroom could be heard. Disgust and outrage. Apparently the Evil Foster Dad didn’t think he deserved that and snorted: “Cut the crap, boy. You liked it.”
For a moment everybody was too shocked to move. It was a little girl who first snapped out of it. She leaned on the table in front of her, looking as if she would crawl her way to the speaker. She lifted herself up and looked absolutely fierce.
Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Title: #162 Answers
Summary: “There are four questions of value in life... What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.” - Johnny Depp
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar
Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 161
“Hey…” Reid closed his mouth quickly enough to stop the ‘Coach Beiste’ coming out and his brain delivered the appropriate name on his lips instead, “…Trudy. Don’t tell me you’re doing work calls now too.”
The huge physical therapist gave him a telling grin.
“No such luck, doc. I’m not here to see you.”
“Bad news,” Reid smirked. “So why are you here?”
“She’s here for Kevin,” a voice behind him explained and both doctors exchanged nods.
“Good choice,” Reid’s approval was evident, “Kevin will be in good hands.”
“Thanks, doc. Ruggs told me you two go way back.”
“You know Ruggs?”
“Pretty good, actually. He’s my brother-in-law. My wife’s brother,” Trudy explained.
Reid took a silent sigh. What was it about this town and everybody being related to everybody?
“Well, that works out all pretty well then,” he stated and softly tapped Trudy on her shoulder. “It’s good to have you on board.”
“Knowing you only accept the best in your hospital, I’m flattered,” her smile was a mix of genuine pride and some teasing and Reid gave her a telling wink.
“As you should be,” he snorted and after a quick movement of his hand, he made his way back to his office. It had been a good day, but he was ready to change the stage.
“On your way home?”
“I am,” Reid raised an eyebrow, “unless you have something that can’t wait?”
“Nope, just wondering how Zoë is doing.”
“Well now, Doogie, that’s very considerate,” Reid even managed a quick smile, “and I’m happy to report she’s doing okay. The bruising is almost gone and she’s settling in just fine.”
“I’m glad,” Chris Hughes actually sounded sincere. “But still not talking?”
“Nope. Not a word. Sometimes a sound. A giggle. A soft laugh, even. But that’s about it.”
“Makes you wonder what that little girl endured…” Chris frowned.
“Yeah, it does,” Reid agreed, “Although we may not want to know…”
“Talking about Danny, I suppose?”
“Mom told me about the court date. She’s doing a piece on it?”
“She is. Danny told us he want people to know this stuff was going on, so we’re committed to bring some awareness.”
“I’m glad. These cases…” there was a flash of anger in Chris’ eyes, “It makes my skin crawl.”
“I know,” Reid smiled at his colleague. “Thanks for the support.”
Chris just nodded and put up a hand in greeting. “Say hi to Luke.”
Before Reid could answer, the doctor had turned a corner and Reid covered the distance to his office without more distractions. The minute he stepped in, Reid realized he wasn’t off the hook just yet, but this interruption he actually liked.
“Hello Grandma,” he teased, giving her a quick kiss on his cheek.
“Gorgeous,” Lucinda purred with a smile, “Just came by to thank you again for that lovely party last week.”
After pointing to the couch, Reid dropped in a chair and put his feet on the table.
“Nice intro. Now tell me why you’re really here.”
“I found the guy who hurt Zoë.”
Reid was in shock. He didn’t even know Lucinda was after him. He shook his head for a moment. Of course Lucinda would be after him. This woman was relentless when it came to justice for her family.
“Did you tell Margo?”
The woman pulled a face. “Let’s just say my respect for the local police force is not extremely huge.”
“Plain logic,” Reid muttered, making Lucinda grin.
“Exactly. So I decided to take matters into my own hands…”
“No! You?” Reid’s feigned amazement made Lucinda’s grin even grew bigger and then she continued:
“…and I asked my men to get the truth out of him…”
“Any torture involved?” Reid knew he sounded more hopeful then teasing, but he didn’t care.
“There may have been some,” Lucinda shrugged.
“Did he spill?”
“He did. And I wanted to tell you both in person, but Luke is with the kids right now, so that’s why I singled you out…”
Reid didn’t even feel like joking at this moment. He just nodded.
“So let me start with the good news…she was not sexually abused. I know tests already showed she wasn’t violated, but we both know there are other ways… anyway, she wasn’t. I wasn’t told how they made sure he was telling the truth about that, but they are convinced he did.”
Reid leaned back for a moment. That was a relief.
“He wasn’t very generous with details, but apparently there were drugs involved. According to him, Zoë’s parents were into using and dealing and they tried to mess with the wrong people. He had orders to kill off the parents, but nobody had told him about any kid and he wasn’t able to kill her.”
“Thank god for that,” Reid signed and Lucinda nodded.
“Indeed. But this is where the bad part starts…”
The way Lucinda turned a little pale, worried Reid immensely. That bad?
“Give it to me,” Reid urged her and she took a deep breath.
“Apparently she had been sleeping in the back seat of the car and he hadn’t noticed her while he…did his thing.”
“Oh God. She was there?”
“She was. And Reid…she witnessed it. She started screaming and that’s when he told her to shut up and keep quiet or else he would kill her too.”
With a soft moan Reid put his head in his hands.
“That’s why she’s not talking.”
“That’s why she’s not talking,” Lucinda repeated his words.
“What happened to the guy?”
“They gave him a choice. Jail or death. And killing others is seemingly more fun than being killed yourself, so they dropped him off at a police station where they actually do know how to keep someone in custody.”
“Let’s hope so…” Reid wasn’t convinced.
“I can assure you… even if this guy ever comes out… he will not come after Zoë. We know who he is and he knows we know. And he knows he messed with the wrong people. But with his track record… I don’t see him out any time soon.”
Reid surprised her by taking her hands in his.
“Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re not judgmental about my sense of justice…”
“Ah, that’s what you call it,” Reid teased, shaking his head. “But seriously…we all do what we think is right. Who am I to judge? As long as you’re not hurting my family, it’s none of my business, basically.”
Lucinda smiled. How she loved this man and how she loved that he loved her grandson. She had watched Luke’s involvement with Noah with growing concern and disapproval and she had even started thinking up ways to run the barista out of town. In hindsight she was happy she hadn’t interfered. Knowing Luke, he would have stayed with Noah just to make his point.
She’d thanked her lucky stars when Lily started talking about ‘some guy in Luke’s life’ and because Lily’s recital of the doctor’s bad reputation had concerned her, she’d ordered a background check and found out something very interesting about Dr. Reid Oliver. She could even recall her meeting with the detective word for word.
‘He has no life.’
‘Excuse me?’ How could anyone his age have no life?
‘I dug all the way, Mrs. Walsh, but all this guy does is work.’
‘That’s unnatural. His age. Looking that good. There has to be…’
‘He has some occasional hook-ups with a doctor on his team, but that’s it. He never goes out. No friends. No family. No life.’
For a second it had worried her, but then she had realized something significant. All this time nothing and nobody had been able to distract Dr. Reid Oliver from his work. But somehow her Luke had managed to catch this guy’s attention. And no, she wasn’t surprised. With Luke’s charisma he could charm a polar bear into buying some ice cream. But it did mean Luke was the exception to the rules of Dr. Oliver and Lucinda liked that. It suggested something big was going on. Something special. And boy, had she been right about that.
They were still holding hands and she squeezed the long fingers carefully.
“I’m grateful I could deliver some answers,” she softly said.
“I guess it’s that kind of week,” Reid sighed and Lucinda nodded.
“John and I will be there.”
“I know we’re not allowed in the judge’s chamber, but I’m pretty sure the courtroom will be packed with family and friends.”
“We’ll need all the support we can get,” Reid sighed again, not looking forward to the day to come.
“It will be tough,” Lucinda agreed, “Especially for that precious little boy. But let’s hope it will give some closure and awareness.”
“Yes,” after a last quick pinch Reid removed his fingers and tapped on his upper legs. “At least we will no longer will have this sword of Damocles hanging above our heads.”
“Exactly. And just imagine how good that carpaccio will taste after that… The Lakeview is all set for my grand dinner party. I already made sure they’ll have plenty of all your favorite foods..”
“You understand me so well,” Reid grinned and even let himself be pulled in for a short hug.
“You’re a special young man,” she said seriously, softly touching his cheek, “and you make my grandson very happy. So in return I like to pamper you a bit.”
“You’re doing a great job,” Reid convinced her and she laughed.
“We’re so alike. Only the best is good enough,” she gave him one last smile, “See you tomorrow at court.”
After Reid nodded she left him alone and after a quick glance at his watch, he grabbed his coat and bag and made his way to Gwen’s office. Home. Luke. Two words that made him smile and fasten his pace.
Word Soap: As The World Keeps Turning
Title: #161 To protect and to soothe
Summary: “In every decision we make and in every policy we develop, we are committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves... the very young and the very old.” - Mike Rounds
Big Thanks To: ltklo, for brushing up my grammar
Previously on As The World Keeps Turning: click here for chapters 1 - 160
They hadn’t planned it. If anything, they had been putting this moment off and they both wished they could postpone it indefinitely. They seriously considered it. To tell Margo ‘no’ and not tell Danny. But it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel honest. It didn’t feel respectful. It wasn’t the way they wanted to relate to Danny. It would have sent the wrong message.
‘But he’s just six…’ Luke had muttered.
‘Officially, yes. And I agree, we have to keep that in mind. But on the other hand…this is his past. His story. His call to make.’
Reid had felt physically nauseous saying it, but he also knew Danny deserved the chance to make up his own mind. And all their procrastinating hadn’t slowed down the process. They only had a few days left to decide. So…they hadn’t planned it, but it was a good thing it came out. It was a little creepy that Danny was the one initiating the conversation.
While Reid was making coffee, the rest of his family was enjoying the after-glow of their dinner and completely out of the blue, Danny looked at Luke.
“Are my foster…” Danny’s eyes went to Reid and the boy gave a quick smile, remembering his dad’s nickname for them, “monsters still in jail?”
Apparently both men had held their breath, because Danny looked startled.
Luke was the first one to find his voice. “Yes, they are. It’s just that…your question…we need to talk about your…foster monsters.”
The boy paled.
“Do you want us to talk about this with Zoë here?” Reid asked, putting the two mugs with coffee on the table.
“Of course. She’s my sister,” Danny stated with a what-kind-of-stupid-question-was-that face.
“Zoë, do you want to hear about Danny’s past? It’s okay if you don’t. You let us know and we’ll do this another time.” Luke noticed his brain chanting Please say no, please say no. He wanted to postpone this subject for just a little longer.
But Zoë nodded and even quickly touched Danny’s hand. Her expression was telling. Of course. He’s my brother.
“Okay,” Reid took a deep breath and first addressed Zoë. “As you know, Danny has been hurt by the people he stayed with before he came home with us.”
“Both of them are in jail and they have to see the judge soon,” Reid turned his attention to Danny. Without a word the boy slid from his chair, walked over to Luke and settled on his dad’s lap. His eyes on Reid.
“The Chief of Police told Daddy that they have enough evidence to keep them in jail for a long time.”
Danny looked relieved. “Good.”
“It is,” Reid agreed, “But the thing we need to talk to you about…she also told Daddy that they could put them even longer in jail if the judge and jury would hear your story.”
Instinctively Danny crawled closer to Luke and his dad put his arms around the small body. Protectively. Soothingly.
“Tell my story?” the brown eyes filled with tears and Reid swallowed. Was there any way to end this torture?
“You don’t have to,” he quickly said, “But we didn’t want to decide for you. This is your story, so you tell us what you want to do.”
“I want to hide in a place where I don’t remember,” Danny whispered and then he looked up. “But I do. I do remember. And it’s…” he took a deep breath. “It’s bad. If I tell, you will hate me.”
Luke pulled Danny more close and kissed his hair, while Reid moved forward to touch the boy’s cheek.
“Hate you? Never.”
The boy shook his head, pretty sure about this one.
“You will. I do.”
It took all his self-control to keep himself from cursing and when Reid bit his lip instead, he could feel blood. Somehow that taste calmed him down.
“That’s sad,” Reid softly said, still caressing Danny’s cheek, “Because you’re the most beautiful, loving, caring, smart and wonderful little boy I’ve ever seen.”
Again the boy shook his head, not convinced for one second.
“That’s because you don’t know everything,” Danny whispered.
“I know the important parts,” Reid said calmly and it made the boy look up at him.
“That’s what Daddy said yesterday.”
“Your Daddy is one smart guy,” Reid smiled, winking at Luke.
“But again, Danny…you don’t have to tell your story if you don’t want to do it.” Luke kissed the blond locks again.
“Will they be there?”
“Yes, they will be in the room.”
“The judge and six jury members.”
“Of course. We both would be there. Unless you don’t want us there.”
Danny didn’t respond but looked at Zoë. Her nod showed they had a silent conversation with their eyes again.
“And Zoë would be there too,” Danny stated, taking a deep breath.
“But you don’t have to do it,” Luke knew he sounded like a broken record, but he felt Danny was actually considering talking to the judge and he still wasn’t sure that was the best idea.
“I know,” Danny said softly.
“So why would you even go there?” Luke wondered out loud and the boy surprised him with a big smile.
“I know,” he repeated. “It’s just… I overheard Uncle Will talking to Uncle Casey…” Danny sat up more straight, worry in his eyes. “I wasn’t eavesdropping…honestly.”
“What did you hear?”
“Uncle Casey said to Uncle Will that he hadn’t realized this…stuff…was happening to kids…like me.”
“I want people to know this is happening.”
When Reid and Luke exchanged a telling look, Danny frowned.
“Is that okay?”
Luke kissed the boy’s temple and Reid softly tapped Danny’s leg.
“If that’s what you really want to do, it’s very okay,” Reid assured him despite his own reluctance and revulsion.
“You don’t have to decide right now, though…” Luke hurried to say and when Danny put his hand on Luke’s arm and looked into his dad’s eyes, the boy’s understanding was beyond his years.
“I do, Daddy. Now I’m thinking with this,” the boy pointed to his heart area, “and when it goes to this…” his finger moved to his head, “I’ll get too scared.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being scared,” Luke suggested and again Danny smiled wisely.
“I know, Daddy. And I’m scared in here too.” His finger was back at his heart. “If I tell you will know and…”
“And we’ll love you,” Luke finished the sentence for him. “There is nothing you can’t tell us and there’s nothing you can tell that could make us love you less.”
For some reason he looked up at Zoë and nodded to her. “And that goes for you too.”
She looked startled for a moment and then nodded with a vague smile.
“Can we see Dawn now?” Danny’s face was telling. This conversation was over. When Luke nodded, he wanted to make his way to the ground, but Reid had lifted him before he got there.
“Before you go hug that smelly creature on four legs, I want one first.”
Danny obliged with a huge smile and Reid held him very close.
“You’re one brave boy and I’m proud of you,” he whispered and after they looked each other in the eye for a moment, Danny planted a loud and sloppy kiss on Reid’s cheek and Reid returned the favor. It made them both chuckle.
“Are you coming with us?”
“Nope. I’m pretty sure Zoë and I will find something better to do.” When Reid winked at the girl she graced him with a grin and after waving Luke and Danny off, Reid picked up Zoë’s crutches and handed them to her. She surprised him by shaking her head and lifting up her arms.
“You need a lift, ma’am?”
After her nod, he moved her up to his chest and supported her cast with one hand.
“Come on, Princess…let me bring you to your castle…”
Her giggle made him grin, but after he sat her down on the couch, he plumped next to her and his serious face made her frown.
“Are you okay?”
“We don’t know what happened to you, but if any of this is too much for you to handle…” Reid shrugged, “you will let us know, right?”
“Okay. What do you want to do? Watch some TV?”
Zoë shook her head and then pointed at Reid. After he frowned she wiggled herself closer and put up her arms again.
“You want to sit with me?”
She nodded and fighting off his emotions, Reid lifted her onto his lap where she snuggled against him. Similar to Danny’s seating arrangements with Luke earlier. Without a word Reid held her close, his head on her red curls, softly rocking her. He could feel it in her body. He could feel in on his hands. He could feel it in his soul. His little girl was crying. It didn’t freak him out, though. For some weird reason it didn’t even make him uncomfortable or sad. If anything, it made him feel grateful. She was opening up and he was ready for it. Protectively. Soothingly.