Lies, Sacrifices, and Alibis

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Chapter 72

Mike stood. “Your honor, Elyse and I have been together for ten wonderful years. She decided to go on a vacation without me. I was busy at work, making sure to provide for her, so I couldn’t go. She went and then came back. We have a son, Logan, who I have found out was the whole reason for her going on this vacation… so she could cheat. She hooked up with my brother. Now, she’s trying to take my baby from me. I won’t allow it.”

“I’ll be the one to decide what’s allowed and what’s not allowed.”

Craig stood once more. “Your honor, the child in question isn’t even his biological child.” He stood handing another document to the bailiff. “We have proof that Michael Tanner cannot father a child… any child.”

The judge looked over the document. “Is this true, Mr. Tanner?”

“Yes, but it doesn’t matter. She was married to me when Logan was born. She told me I was the baby’s father. I love that little boy like he is mine and have provided for him as such. I am the father on his birth certificate.”

Oops. I forgot about that!

He arched a brow, looking at me. “Did you knowingly falsify documentations?”

I shook my head. “No sir. For all I knew, he was the father. He never told me that he was sterile an’ we did have sex.” I cringed. “Not often, but it was enough that Logan could’ve been his. I had my doubts, but there was still a minute possibility. For all I knew, he finally succeeded.”

He looked me over, as if trying to determine if I was telling the truth. “Your turn to tell me what happened.”

“It’s true. The vacation to find a sperm donor was true. You see, your honor, Mike had conned me into marryin’ him on a lie.”

“Which lie would that be? There seems to be a sale on those.”

“I told him, from the day we met, I wanted a lot of children. I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet all the time. He told me that he wanted the same thin’! He proposed to me many times an’ I always turned him down. Then he proposed to me the last time an’ it was a huge billboard that had a picture of him an’ I with a buncha blue an’ pink baby cribs.” I had saved the proposal on my phone. Taking out my phone, I pulled it up, then handed it to the bailiff. “It was the sweetest proposal, but all those cribs were the thin’ that changed my mind.”

The bailiff took my phone to the judge who looked at the picture, smiling. “I can see how a woman who wants a lot of kids would finally agree to a marriage proposal from this.”

I sighed. “I spent five of our ten years together tryin’ to fulfill his promise to me about children. The first five, he gave me every excuse under the sun about why we couldn’t have a baby. I fixed all those problems into solutions an’ still he came up with twenty more.”

“What sort of excuses?”

“He claimed he didn’t have any money. He’s very rich, your honor.”

His lawyer stood up. “Objection!”

The judge rolled his eyes. “This isn’t a trial. Overruled! Please continue, Mrs. Tanner.”

“Well it was excuses like that. The house wasn’t big enough. We had a built-in swimmin’ pool, an’ one other claimin’ he wasn’t of sound mind.”

“I’m inclined to believe that last one from what I’ve heard so far.”

Mike scoffed. “Your honor!”

“Your time to talk has passed. It’s her turn. What happened next, Mrs. Tanner?”

“I told him I wanted to go to a clinic for testin’ to see who it was that couldn’t have a baby.”

“…a legitimate request. What was his response?”

“He refused. He said he wasn’t gonna go to a clinic. He told me to adopt a baby, or buy one, but he wasn’t goin’ to the clinic.”

He looked at Mike. “You told her to buy a baby and then state she’s an unfit mother?”

Mike shrugged. “I didn’t mean it. I was angry at her for bringing up a baby again.”

I shook my head. “No. He was afraid I’d find out that he couldn’t have kids. When he was fifteen he had chicken pox an’ from that he was made sterile. The doctor told him he would never have children an’ I didn’t find that out until his brother told me.”

Craig took out another piece of paper and handed it to the bailiff. “Proof your honor that the minor child, Logan Michael Tanner is in fact Corey Tanner’s son.”

I looked at Corey with furrowed brows. “You had him tested?”

He shook his head. “No. My mother did.”

I looked over at Maureen surprised. I wasn’t sure whether or not to be upset by that, but it helped in this case.

The judge looked at the paper. “Mrs. Tanner I was on your side… up until you slept with his brother.”

I sighed. “I didn’t know he was his brother. I didn’t even know he had a brother.”

“I can’t wait to hear this.”

“I had never met the man. The two had a fallin’ out when Mike slept with Corey’s high school sweetheart. Mike never mentioned him to me. My sister apparently knew he had a brother an’ she plotted an’ schemed to make sure that he an’ I hooked up. I know it was wrong, but I wanted a baby.”

“Why would she do this?”

“She claimed it was because I wanted a baby. I found out she wanted Mike for her own. The two dated a year before he an’ I met an’ he paid her to keep it from me. She was still in love with him an’ wanted him back. She thought if I hooked up with his brother then she could hook back up with him. He knows I’m gettin’ a divorce from him. He begged me to stay with him, but after I refused… I’m an unfit mother? He’s usin’ this to stonewall it an’ try to ruin my life. I’m marryin’ Corey just as soon as the divorce goes through.”

Corey smiled. “Damn right you are.”

“That’s all irrelevant to the case at hand.” His lawyer stood after Mike nudged him hard enough to leave a bruise. “We claim that–”

“I’ll be the one to determine what is and what isn’t relevant, so unless you have something to add to what she said, sit down and shut up!” The judge told the lawyer. He looked at me. “Let me see if I have this right. He proposed to you with the promise of children. You married him because you wanted children. He couldn’t give them to you. You hooked up with his brother. The two of you have a son. He begged you to stay but you turned him down and he brought you into court. After the divorce, you plan on marrying your son’s father? Do I have that right?”

I followed the trail of lies, nodding. “Yes sir. I need the divorce quickly, because we’re pregnant with our second child.”

Mike looked over surprised. “You’re already pregnant again?”

The judge looked surprise. “Wow. The tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive.”

“Your honor, all this fails to be any relevance to her stature when it comes to motherhood. She’s an unfit mother. She pawned another man’s child, my own brother’s child, off as mine.”

“She’s not an unfit mother. You’re just mad because you can’t father a child and you knew he wasn’t yours!” Corey said, out loud.

“She’s the Mother Theresa of mothers!” My mother cried out. “She would die for that little boy.”

The judge looked from one to the other and back to me and Mike. “I would say you both have done enough to each other to be even in the deceit department. However, I think if you had been honest with her from the beginning Mr. Tanner, this never would’ve happened.” He picked up the folder and wrote on it. “The test results show that he’s not even yours.”

“Your honor, that shouldn’t matter. We were married when she had Logan that makes him mine.”

The judge looked at him, shaking his head. “No. A child isn’t a piece of property. You can’t just buy or claim one because you want it! He has a mother and a father and from the sounds of it he’s better placed with them. This is all I need to see. You signed a false document then filed it with this court.” He looked at my attorney. “Is there a divorce decree drawn up?”

He pulled them out of his briefcase. “Yes, your honor. We were going to be serving them to him as soon as this was over.”

He motioned his hand for them and the bailiff grabbed them, handing them to the judge. He read it over and looked at me. “You’re not asking for anything?”

I shook my head. “No, your honor. I think we hurt each other enough with what has happened. There’s no reason to hurt even more.”

“By law you are entitled to half the property.” He signed the paperwork. “Due to the necessity for a speedy divorce, I’m waiving the time frame. I hereby grant the divorce of Michael and Elyse Tanner to be expedited in a week’s time.”

Mike was shocked and looked at his lawyer. “Can he do that?”

His lawyer nodded.

“I’m further granting Mrs. Tanner with half of the marital estate for the pain and suffering Mr. Tanner has imposed upon her. Furthermore, I think a weekend in jail, and I’m being very lenient there, for your perjury and lying in my court. Not to mention wasting the court’s time on a made-up offense as well as a very stiff fine.”

Mike stammered. “But your honor, I–”

The judge banged his gavel. “No bail. Bailiff, take Mr. Tanner into custody so that he may be fitted in our finest orange suit. Hopefully, this weekend you’ll have time to sit and think about what you did and why it’s wrong.” He pointed the gavel at him. “You never lie in my court… and wasting my time? When I have to get dragged away from the Missus and then go back and explain to her that it was on a useless claim?” He sat back and put down the gavel. “I’d rather face the firing squad. This hearing is adjourned.”

“All rise,” the other bailiff said, while Mike was being taken out as the judge left the room.

Corey and I hugged each other. Finally, I was free!

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