I looked at Corey confused. “…another problem? What now?”
He sighed. “We’ve been called in for an emergency custody hearing by Mike and his ragtag legal defense team. We have to be there as soon as we leave here.”
“What? I have full custody of him an’ have since he was born. For what?”
“Mike’s trying to get Logan on grounds that you’re unfit.”
“What the...?” I snatched the paper, looking it over, but then regretted it as I had to keep it away from grabby fingers.
My mother was angry as she took Logan from me. “That man has nerve to say my daughter is an unfit mother? He’ll be lucky if I don’t show him what unfit means.”
My father put his arm around her, playing with Logan at the same time. He talked to my mother with baby talk, because he looked at Logan. “Now mother, let the legal eagles handle this their way.”
I was more than angry. If I didn’t think I’d go to jail for getting rid of my enemy… “Oh… let’s do this.”
Corey turned to Craig. “Strange, we just talked about the possibilities that he would pull this shit this morning. Get the team ready. This is going to be a big one.”
Craig nodded. “You got it. I’ll have them meet me at the court house. I’ll call ahead to let the judge know that we were unavoidably detained.”
I looked at Corey with a confused stare. “What do ya mean you talked about this? You knew this was gonna happen?”
He shrugged. “Let’s just say I had a bad idea about this. Mike doesn’t like to lose, especially to me. He is going to do whatever he can to keep you and if that means keeping our son… he’ll do it.”
When we walked through the courtroom doors, it was like a scene from Dallas with all the attorneys and people huddled together. Corey, Craig, and his whole team of lawyers and paralegal assistants walked in, rushing to the other table. I handed Logan to my mother and father who sat behind our table before taking my seat. It didn’t escape my attention that Tania was seated beside my parents. We still hadn’t spoken, but it didn’t mean I didn’t miss her. I nodded to her.
Mike’s side looked similar. Except there was only one person sitting behind him. That was his mother. She smiled at me and Corey.
“Well, I’m glad to see you all could join us after all. I was beginning to wonder what happened.” The man behind the bench was Judge Andrews. He was a well–rounded man with gray thinning hair. I couldn’t tell what color his eyes were, but they almost looked beady. He banged his gavel. “This isn’t a court hearing, per say, so I’m a little confused about all the attorneys.” He shook his head. “…but I guess it is what it is.” He motioned to Mike. “Please tell me why you think the minor child; Logan Michael Tanner should be taken from his mother. I do believe we have it on file that she is the legal guardian.”
“To start your honor, she’s a horrible example to the boy. She’s been convicted of smuggling drugs from the company she used to work for. I don’t think my son should be in the middle of that.”
Maureen sighed. “Oh dear…”
“She’s a known adulterer with no morals. I want my son to know better than what she’s obviously teaching him.”
I wasn’t sure what this proceeding was for, to be honest. I wasn’t used to going to court. Hell, I had never been to one for criminal cases before. Was I allowed to shout out, or did I have to wait my turn. He did say it wasn’t a trial.
“Oh really? For one, I wasn’t convicted, so he has started out lyin’ to you, your honor. I wasn’t even there when all that crap was goin’ on. He hired a nurse to watch me when I was bedridden; my irrefutable alibi. Apparently, one of the other managers there, Greg was runnin’ a drug scam out of Aivedal an’ he got busted.” I looked at the judge. “This was a man who worked for the same company, but a different shift.”
Again, I wasn’t sure how this was supposed to work, but I seemed to have captured his attention. It could’ve been my southern accent too. “I see. Please continue.”
“The police merely took me down for questionin’ because my signature was on a few of the receipts. However, my signature was on one that I couldn’t have signed. I was on complete bed rest with my pregnancy at the time.”
“What do these receipts have to do with drugs? Are drug dealers now issuing receipts?”
“I don’t know your honor. I’m not a drug dealer. However, it all started with not orderin’ a delivery fee, so someone signed my name as a standin’ order for free delivery.”
“I’m not sure I’m following.”
“When people ordered gravel, dirt, an’ even mulch, it got delivered by a dump truck. Those drivers would issue a delivery charge. This was basically their tip for delivery.”
“Okay. I’m still not following the drug issue, but please continue. Your story intrigues me.”
“Everyone is charged a delivery fee. Now, apparently, Greg had cleared them for delivery without a fee. Not all of the deliveries are checked to make sure nothin’ is in the dirt. I mean seriously, how are ya gonna find anythin’ in a truckload of dirt without emptyin’ it?”
“That’s understandable. How did you get looped into this?”
“I was leavin’ for my vacation an’ the yard called me. I changed it, per the rules, to show they were bein’ charged. Someone signed my name on one of the receipts when I wasn’t even there, which my alibi proved with a phone call.”
He nodded, writing down the information. “Who are the detectives on the case?”
Craig was the one to speak. “Craig Still, attorney for Mrs. Tanner, your honor. I have the paperwork as evidence from the detectives in charge; John Howard and Larry Frost that my client wasn’t arrested. She was brought in for questioning.” He took out the paperwork.
The bailiff walked over, accepting it, and took it to the judge.
The judge nodded, looking it over. When he finished, he turned to look at Mike. “If this is your whole reason for bringing me in here today, it sounds like it’s settled.”
Mike shook his head. “Your honor, she’s an adulterer. I don’t want my son to be taught that it’s okay for that sort of thing to happen.”
Corey raised his hand. “Excuse me, your honor.”
The judge looked at Corey. “…and you are?”
“I’m Corey Tanner.”
“…and just what do you contribute to this case?”
“I’m the fiancé of Elyse Tanner.”
“I thought she was married to Mr. Tanner.” He pointed at Mike. He turned, looking at the bailiff. “Charlie, did the paperwork get screwed up again?”
The bailiff shook his head. “No sir. This is the right case. Her husband is suing his wife and his brother for the custody of his baby… or their baby… it’s confusing.”
Corey nodded. “She is your honor. He’s also my brother.”
The judge chuckled, sitting back in his chair. He brought his fingers to his chin, interlacing the fingers together. I could tell he found it amusing already. “Well, I can’t wait to hear this.” He pointed to Mike. “You speak first, sir.”