Chapter 31: For The Record

Had Madison not been there, Marie probably would have just broken down sobbing and probably missed her appointment with Judge Bernard. In a move that shocked Marie and possibly earned her a house guest, Madison had chosen to stay with her. Marie had tried to protest, telling Madison that Logan needed her more than she did, but both Madison and Logan stood by her decision.

“Besides, it will only be for a few hours,” Logan had rationalized, smiling confidently at her. “I’ll be fine.”

With no other choice, Marie had kissed Logan goodbye and promised to come for him as soon as she possibly could. She didn’t get a chance to say anything else because Logan was all but dragged from their home at that point.

“Did ya know that this was goin’ t’ happen?” Marie asked softly as she watched Charles help Logan into the back of their rented car.

Madison came to stand beside her, shaking her head. “No. My mother secretly got in touch with her lawyer and had him draw up the papers which he then had FedExed here yesterday. The package came and she told my Dad that she and Tanya were going shopping when in fact they took the papers to the judge and had him sign them,” Madison said sadly as they both watched the car pull out of the driveway. “They would have brought them over last night, but it took them all night to get the police to cooperate and tell them where you lived. The only reason the police caved was because they had already filed the paper work for you and set up the meeting with the judge. Pete told me that if they could have, they wouldn’t have told her and Tanya where you lived. I only found out about it this morning because I woke up while they were getting ready.”

Sighing deeply, Marie shut the door and headed back inside. With a fake smile on her face, she took Alexandra from Madison, holding the infant tight against her. “Ah hate t’ think about what this is gonna do t’ Logan.... Why can’t they understand that tryin’ t’ force Logan t’ remember all this is only gonna hurt him. Gawd, after what happened yesterday, Ah’m terrified o’ what this’ll do t’ him.”

“If I know anything about my brother, it’s that he’s as strong as they come,” Madison said as she guided Marie towards the living room. “As long as he knows that you’ll be coming for him as soon as possible he’ll be just fine. He may be in need of some good snuggling time and not want to let you out of his sight for a little while, but he’ll be all right.”

“Logan’s not gonna be the only one in need o’ reassurance,” Marie murmured, taking Alexandra’s tiny hand in her own and pressing a kiss against her palm. She then looked over at Madison. “D’ ya think ya can watch her fer a little bit while Ah go take a shower. Then Ah gotta call Cal an’ Ron an’ let them know what’s goin’ on.... Martha, too. Then Ah gotta call mah lawyer....”

Madison took Alexandra from her and gave her a reassuring smile. “You go take a shower, Marie. Just give me the numbers and I’ll make the calls for you. This is going to be hard enough on you without having to explain it to everyone over and over again.

Marie wiped away the tears that were staining her cheeks. “Thanks, Madison. There’s a um... a notepad by the phone in the kitchen. All of the numbers are on it. Oh. Ron’s name is under ‘Gawd o’ the Universe,’” Marie quirked a small smile at that. “He wrote that down himself an’ Ah never had the heart t’ tell him that he’s not a gawd.”

“Don’t worry, Marie. I’ll take care of everything,” Madison assured her. “By the time you’re done your shower, all you’ll have to do is get dressed and show up.”

Marie sniffled slightly and stood up. She got halfway to the bathroom before turning back to Madison and saying solemnly, “Ah hope ya realize that Ah’m gonna do as much t’ yer mother an’ Tanya as possible. Ah’m not gonna settle fer just a restrainin’ order. They’re gonna pay fer tryin’ t’ get Logan declared ‘mentally unfit’ an’ fer everythin’ else they’ve done. This is hard enough fer Logan without havin’ t’ deal with them so Ah’m gonna get mah lawyer t’ charge them with whatever she can.”

“I figured as much,” Madison said with a sad smile. “And I’m not going to try to talk you out of it. That woman is not my mother. My mother would never do something so cruel to Logan. She would never try to take him away from his child and the woman he loved... and she sure as hell wouldn’t get a judge to say that he’s insane. I’ll testify against her if I have to, but I want them both as far away from Logan as possible. I know when Logan’s hurting and he’s hurting right now.”

Marie placed a hand over her heart, trying to ignore the ache inside of her that went right to her soul. “Ah know he is. That’s why Ah’m gonna do everythin’ Ah can t’ get him home as soon as possible.”

Heaving one last great sigh, Marie headed into the bathroom. There was enough light streaming through the window in the bathroom that she didn’t need to turn on any lights. Marie hated that it was such a beautiful day out. It shouldn’t have been. Not with what was going on. It should have been a terrible, stormy day. There should have been nothing happy about the day.

Allowing the sleeves of the sweat shirt to slide down over her hands, Marie brought her hands to her face, inhaling a scent that was purely Logan. If Marie closed her eyes, she could imagine that Logan had his arms wrapped around her. Eventually, though, Marie had to open her eyes and face reality. If she didn’t, there was no way she was going to get Logan back.

With great reluctance, Marie took off the sweat shirt. She held it for several long moments before gently placing it down on the closed lid of the toilet seat. The boxers she was wearing soon followed. Marie was turning towards the shower when she caught sight of something sitting on the shelf above the sink.

It was the dogtags that Madison had given to her.

Picking them up, Marie examined them for a moment, watching as the light reflected off the shiny surface. Without even making a conscious decision about it, Marie looped the chain over her head. Marie fingered the dogtags as they lay between her breasts for a moment before stepping into the shower. Oddly enough, feeling the weight of the dogtags around her neck was comforting to Marie. Logan had worn those tags until just before leaving his old home and his old life. Still, they were a part of him and that was what Marie needed at that moment.

When she stepped out of the bathroom twenty minutes later, Marie was still toying with the dogtags. To her surprise, though, Cal, Martha and Ron were all gathered around her living room talking quietly with Madison.

“Hey,” Marie said softly, managing a slight smile. “What are ya’ll doin’ here? Shouldn’t ya’ll be gettin’ ready fer work?”

“No way, little lady, we’re here to help you out,” Ron said with a fake Western accent. “So why don’t you mosey on upstairs and put on a little number that’s not bedroom gear while we wait for you lawyer to show up.”

For the first time since opening the door, Marie had a full fledged smile on her face. Ron was always good at making her smile and always seemed to be able to do it without effort. So, with little more than a roll of her eyes in Ron’s direction, Marie headed towards the stairs.

While Marie was pulling on what Logan liked to call her knit hippie skirt, Marie heard a knock at the front door. Knowing that it was her lawyer, Marie hurriedly slipped into her dark orange knit long-sleeve top that she wore with the skirt. Stopping only long enough to run a brush through her blow dried hair, Marie rushed down the stairs to where everyone was gathered in the living room.

“Terri, you’re here!” Marie cried, letting out a huge sigh of relief. “Tell me what I have to do to get Logan back. I want him back home as soon as possible.””

“And that is exactly what we are going to do,” Terri assured her, placing her hands on Marie’s shoulders to still her hyperactive movements. “Madison explained everything to me and I’ve already talked to the judge.”

Ron made a startled noise and quickly held Alexandra out towards Marie. “She’s doing the spit up thing again, Marie. Take her away!”

Smirking at Ron, Marie took a giggling Alexandra from him. “Hey there, angel. Stop pickin’ on Uncle Ron. He whines when ya do that.”

“So you’re Alexandra?” Terri cooed, rubbing the infant’s stomach. “I could hear you jabbering away while I was talking to your Aunt Madison on the phone.”

“What did the judge say?” Marie asked, shifting Alexandra slightly. “Will he sign the papers?”

“As soon as he gets to the courthouse,” Terri said, making a face at Alexandra before looked up at Marie, all business. “When he signed the papers Mrs. Vance presented him with yesterday, he wasn’t aware that Morgan Nathaniel Vance and Logan Brenden Hunters were one and the same. He was quite shocked when I informed him that they were the same person. I’ve already asked for a restraining order against Mrs. Vance and Ms. McGreggor and, with your permission, I’ll talk to the D.A. about filing charges of criminal harassment and for filing false pleadings-- for trying to get Logan declared mentally unfit.”

Marie nodded her head, gently rocking Alexandra. “Good, Ah don’t want them anywhere near Logan ever again. They’re makin’ an already traumatic experience even worse fer Logan. No more, though. After today, Ah want them outta our lives fer good.”

“And they will be,” Terri assured her. She then glanced down at her watch. “Now Judge Bernard won’t be at the courthouse for another forty-five minutes. Now it will take us about an hour to get to the courthouse so we can leave whenever you want.”

“Okay,” Marie said, letting out a deep breath. “Ah’ll just get Alex dressed then we can head out. Cal, Martha, Ron, thank ya so much fer comin’ here, but Ah really don’t think it’s fair that ya’ll put yer lives on hold fer me an’ Logan so Ah want ya all t’ go t’ work. An’ don’t ya dare start arguin’ with me, Caledon. Ah love ya all so much an’ Ah’m incredibly grateful, but now Ah want ya all t’ go t’ work. Ah dragged ya all away yesterday an’ Ah’m not gonna do it again today just ‘cause Logan’s mother turned out t’ be a psycho.”

“Marie, I don’t like--” Ron started, jumping to his feet.

Marie gave Ron a pointed look. “Ah’m not arguin’ with ya, Ron.”

Holding his hands out in submission. “All right, Marie, I give. I yield. All I want is your promise that you’ll call as soon as you get home with Logan.”

Wrapping an arm around Ron’s shoulders, Marie gave him a sideways hug. “Ah promise that Ah’ll call as soon as Logan an’ Ah get home.”

“I expect a call as well, my dear,” Martha told Marie as she came up to give Marie a hug as well. “Now I had best be going before George destroys my kitchen.”

Soon, the only people left in the cabin were Marie, Madison, Terri and Alexandra. Leaving the two women in the living room, Marie headed into Alexandra’s room to change the infant’s diaper and get her dressed and ready to leave. Alexandra seemed oddly subdued, as though sensing Marie’s mood.

“Enough o’ this mopin’, Alexandra,” Marie said softly as she slipped her daughter’s arm into her small shirt. “When we get t’ Daddy, he’s gonna want a big smile an’ we’re gonna give that t’ him. Think ya can manage a smile fer Daddy?”

Alexandra gave a cry and kicked her legs. There was a bright smile on her face.

“That’s right, Alex. Just like that,” Marie praised, leaning over to press a kiss against Alexandra’s stomach before snapping closed the undershirt.

Once she had Alexandra dressed and in her light blue snowsuit, Marie headed back out into the living room where Terri and Madison were waiting. Both woman had their coats and shoes on and were merely waiting for Marie. Handing Alexandra to Madison, Marie quickly slipped into a pair of knee high black boots and a leather jacket. She grabbed her purse and Alexandra’s diaper bag.

“How about we make a trade?” Madison suggested, coming to stand next to Marie. “Alex for the bag?”

“Come to Momma, angel,” Marie cooed, holding her arms out for her daughter.

The three woman and the infant then began to seemingly endless drive to the courthouse. In her jeep, Marie, Madison and Alexandra were following behind Terri’s car. The young lawyer was on her cell phone the entire time. According to Madison, one of the calls was to the District Attorney, discussing the criminal charges Terri had mentioned to Marie earlier.

Marie didn’t say a single word the entire fifty-three drive from her home to the courthouse. Besides concentrating on following Terri, all that Marie could think about was Logan. It was all that Marie could do to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She knew that something was wrong with Logan. She could feel it. It pained Marie that she could do nothing about it then. To Marie, it was as though those five days he had been Creed’s prisoner was happening again. The sooner it was over and Marie had Logan in her arms, the better.

Marie all but burst from the jeep as soon as she parked in the courthouse’s parking lot. Wanting to get in to see the judge as soon as possible, Marie quickly opened the back seat of the jeep and scooped a sleeping Alexandra from her car seat. Smiling softly at her precious baby girl, Marie repositioned the infant in her arms as she followed Terri and Madison into the courthouse.

“I had a talk with Judge Bernard on my way here,” Terri said as soon as Marie caught up to her. “He’s signed the papers that renounce the claims Mrs. Vance brought before him yesterday. She no longer has any claims over Logan and he is free to come and go as he pleases. I also had a conversation with the D.A. and I will be meeting with him as soon as we’re done with the judge to file those charges we talked about.”

“And how long will that take?” Madison asked quietly, understandably at odds over what was happening.

“I’d say around lunch,” Terri estimated as she held the door open for Marie.

Much of what happened once they entered the courthouse was a blur for Marie. Her mind was torn between what had happened the last time she had been in that building and what was taking place at that moment. All of the emotions that she had thought behind her from the trial and Dave’s conviction were suddenly stirring within her. Marie quickly pushed them away, not wanting to deal with them at that moment. All of her focus needed to be on Logan which was where she put it. She received the necessary papers from Judge Bernard and gave appropriate responses when he apologized profusely for what he had allowed to happen. The meeting itself took roughly fifteen minutes and as soon as it was over, Marie and Madison set out on their next stop.

“Ya don’t think yer mother would actually do anythin’ t’ hurt Logan, do ya?” Marie asked from the passenger seat of her jeep. It had been decided that since Madison was the one who knew the way to the hotel that she would drive and Marie hadn’t voiced any disagreements.

“I’d love to be able to tell you that she’d never do anything to my brother... but I can’t be sure right now,” Madison admitted with a heavy sigh. “After he disappeared, something inside her changed and she hasn’t been the same since. At first she focused all of her attention on the mother of her ‘supposed’ soon-to-be grandchild, but when Tanya faked her miscarriage, she got even worse. To her, she’d lost both her son and the only link to him within a few weeks.... She still doesn’t know that Tanya had faked her pregnancy.”

Suddenly, Marie’s stomach lurched and she felt as though she would be sick. She took several deep breaths and was soon able to push those feelings away, but the fear in her mind remained.

“What about Tanya?” Marie whispered, her voice barely audible.

Still, her voice had been loud enough for Madison to hear and react.

“Oh shit....” Madison cursed. “I didn’t.... I didn’t even think about Tanya. I always just thought of her as a possessive bitch, but.... “

“But what, Madison?” Marie demanded, her fear rising once again.

Rather than answering her question, Madison simply pushed her foot down on the accelerator, exhibiting reckless driving skills that rivaled Logan’s. Of course, it did nothing to curb Marie’s fears. If anything, they got worse.

“Madison, what do ya know that Ah don’t?” Marie asked, her eyes trained on the other woman.

By this time they were pulling into the parking lot of the hotel. She parked the car in a spot on the right side of the building and immediately went for her purse. Madison took out her electronic key for the hotel and handed it to Marie.

“Go in those doors, take the elevator to the second floor then go to your right. Room 285 if about halfway down the corridor,” Madison instructed, already reaching for her cell phone.

“Yer scarin’ me, Madison,” Marie murmured, taking the key with a shaking hand.

Madison let out a burst of frightened laughter. “Right now I’m pretty damn scared myself. I just remembered something Tanya said to me on the plane ride up here.... I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I was just so happy that my brother was alive. But she basically told me that if she couldn’t get Logan back that she wasn’t going to let anyone else have him either. And after what Tanya did before and been acting lately....”

A split second later, Marie was out of the jeep and sprinting towards the hotel door.