The Lernier Family
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 11: Mrs. Evans

Things settled back into a routine after Cory left for California.   Nancy continued to work at the university every day and spent every free moment talking with my mother and Aunt Hannah to make all of the arrangements for her wedding.   One evening in mid-May, Nancy joined us in the family room.   Rick and I were snuggled up together on the couch and the boys were in their playpen.   We had turned on the gas fireplace and lowered the lights to create a nice atmosphere.  Rick and I had been debating whether or not we should watch a DVD or just listen to some music.

Nancy sat down on the loveseat across from us and asked, "Do you guys think I should have a wedding reception at the White House or should I have something small at the church or at Aunt Hannah's?"

Rick smiled at her and replied, "I would do something small and intimate, the fewer the people the better."

"It is really up to you to decide, Nancy," I said.   "We had the big reception at the White House but that doesn't mean that something big like that would be the best thing for you and Cory."

"Has Cory heard anything from his dad?" Rick asked.

"No, he hasn't but that doesn't mean he won't still try to do you and Glenn harm," Nancy said looking worriedly at Rick.   "Cory says his dad has a mean streak a mile wide and a very long memory.   We are afraid that he will not give up on his quest to get the twins away from you."

"Why can't he leave us alone?   We didn't do anything to him," I said.

Rick responded, "Glenn, the world is full of evil people who will do anything to injure and damage others.   It is like their life blood."

Nancy said, "That's true, Glenn.   I have seen it at the hospital where I used to work.    I was shocked the first time I heard someone tell me they enjoyed inflicting pain on others.   It was a guy who came into the emergency room and we were trying to find out how he sustained his injuries.   He told us about his gang and how they initiated new members."

"So how does that relate to Cory's dad?" I asked.

"It doesn't but I'm just saying that there are people in this world who don't value human life and will do anything to gain power over others.   From what Cory has told me about his dad, Vincent is one of those people.   The problem is he happens to be a church minister where he can take advantage of those who are looking for someone to point them to God," Nancy said.   "He has made it his mission in life to punish sinners when he finds them.   He has set up a special deprogramming camp for those who he feels need to be punished for their sins so they can be purged of them and thus be saved in the next life."

"It sounds like it borders on being illegal," Rick said.  

Nancy nodded and replied, "Cory thinks it is because of some of the deprogramming techniques he has heard his Dad talk about.   Cory has described his dad's deprogramming facility as a torture chamber from medieval times only worse."

"Why don't the members of his congregation turn him in to the police?" I asked stunned that such things could happen in the United States.

"I asked Cory the same question," Nancy said.   "Cory said his followers are so blinded by his charismatic message and his magnetic personality that they believe everything he tells them."

"Now that's pathetic!   How can anyone be so blinded by someone like that?" I asked in surprise and disgust.

"I don't know but that is what it is," Nancy said.   She sounded just as surprised and disgusted as I did.

We heard Josh start crying so I got up from the couch and walked over to boys' playpen.   "Josh, Papa is right here.   Everything is okay," I said as I picked him up.

Josh immediately stopped crying and looked up at me and gurgled something and reached up to touch my face.   The rush of love I felt for this little bundle of joy nearly overwhelmed me.   Josh's eyes seem to say, "I love you, Papa."   I gently rocked him in my arms, "I love you, my little Joshy."

Not to be outdone by his brother, J.J. started fussing.   Rick came over and picked him up, "So you don't want to be left out do you?"   Rick asked as he smiled down at his son.   J.J. grabbed Rick's finger as Rick returned to the couch.   "Look, he already has a good grip!"   Rick exclaimed proudly.   "J.J. is going to grow up strong and healthy.   I can just tell he's going to be a star football player."

I grinned, "Just like his father."

Rick beamed, "Yes, but better.   I am looking forward to teaching him and Josh how to play football and many other sports."

Nancy laughed, "I am sure the boys will learn a great many things from both of you.   However, I hope you teach them how to be kind and helpful to everyone without being judgmental."

"We will do the best we can," I said.

"You have already started, Glenn," Nancy said.   "You both spend time working in several homeless shelters and food pantries in the area helping those who are less fortunate.   I have watched you help those around you to be better people."

"Actually, we haven't done near as much as Grandpa," I said.   "Grandpa helps everyone."

"Yes, he does and you and Rick have done your part in those efforts," Nancy said.   "I am confident that the twins will follow in your footsteps.   They are very lucky to have such wonderful fathers to help guide them."

"It's too bad there are those who would ruin our happiness for the sake of their religious beliefs," I said.

Rick said warningly, "Glenn…."

"I know, I know…..I won't start bashing religious people.   I am just stating facts," I said looking at my partner.   "I am trying to be better about it, Rick.   It is just hard sometimes."

Nancy smiled, "I am glad to see Rick is helping you to become a better person, Glenn.   That is what a good husband does."

I stuck my tongue out at my sister, "Don't push it!   I can only take so much improvement at one time!   Besides, I thought I was already the perfect mate for my husband!"

 Rick laughed, "Yes, you are my perfect mate, Glenn; however, we both have things we can get better at doing."

"Okay, I will admit there are a few things I could improve on… tickling my husband into submission," I said laughing.

"You know where that leads," Rick said grinning at me.

"Yes, I do.   I hope to practice later tonight," I said as I reached over and took his hand in mine and raised it to my lips.  Josh started fussing, again.   "It's time to feed the twins."   I stood up and I walked into the kitchen with Josh.   I had premeasured their cereal into their bowls so I wouldn't have to juggle a baby and the cereal box at the same time.  Nancy and Rick followed me into the kitchen.  

Nancy said, "I will warm their baby formula."   She retrieved their bottles from the fridge and warmed them until they were the right temperature.  

Meanwhile, Rick and I put their bibs on and sat them on our laps ready to be fed.   We mixed the formula with the baby cereal until it was the right consistency and started to feed them.

As I fed Josh, he kept spitting it out.   "I think we need to try a different flavor of cereal.   Josh doesn't seem to like this one," I said.

Rick laughed, "J.J. loves it and can't eat it fast enough."

"They may be twins but they have very different personalities," Nancy observed.

After feeding them their cereal, they drank the rest of their baby formula.   We gently burped the little guys and took them upstairs to give them a bath and got them ready for bed.

Bath time is the twins' favorite time; at least it seems like it to me.   Josh particularly likes splashing in his little baby bath and so does J.J.   After cleaning them up, we soon had them in their pajamas.

We sat in the rocking chairs in their room and wrapped each of them in a blanket as we rocked them to sleep.   I looked across at Rick holding J.J. as he rocked back and forth.   Rick returned my gaze and smiled at me, "What are you thinking, sweetheart?"

"I am thinking what a wonderful father you are," I said.   "The twins are very fortunate to have such a great man as their Dad."

Rick replied, "I was thinking the same thing about you, Glenn.   They have two wonderful guys as parents."

We continued rocking the twins to sleep in a companionable silence.   I thought, "Things couldn't be better for us.   We have a great marriage, two beautiful children, good jobs, a nice home and lots of supportive friends and family."

When the boys were asleep, we laid them in their beds and retired to our bedroom.

Rick asked, "Did you remember to turn on the baby monitor?"

"Yes, I did," I replied smiling up at my knight in shining armor, at least that is how I view him since he rescued me from a broken relationship and made me whole, again.

Rick pulled me into his arms, "I love you, Glenn."

He didn't give me time to reply before he captured my lips and kissed me passionately.   When we finally came up for air, I said, "I love you, too."

Rick's kiss was just the beginning of a magical evening together.   Later, I lay in Rick's arms with my head on his chest listening to the steady beat of his heart as I drifted contentedly off to sleep.

The next morning I was up early.   I left Rick sleeping while I went downstairs to put the coffee on and make breakfast.   Nancy soon joined me in the kitchen.

"How are you this morning?" I asked as she took a seat at the kitchen table.

Nancy mumbled something unintelligible.   "I'll take that as a good morning," I said smiling at my sister.

Nancy looked at me and said, "How can you be so cheerful in the morning.   You have always been an early bird.  I have never understood how you can get up so early in the morning."

"It just comes naturally," I replied.   "I like having a good start to my day.    I usually get my morning run in before I start making breakfast."

"Have you been out running this morning?" Nancy asked incredulously.

"No.   I decided to be lazy this morning," I answered.   "Rick and I were up pretty late last night."

This time Nancy smiled, "I know."

I laughed, "I am sorry if we kept you awake."

"You didn't keep me awake.   I was reading my book in bed," Nancy said.

I placed Nancy's breakfast in front of her and poured her a cup of coffee.   I had just finished making Rick's breakfast when I heard the boys start crying.   We have baby monitors everywhere in the house so we can always be sure to hear them when they need us.  

I climbed the stairs to see Rick coming from our bedroom.   "I put your breakfast on the table, sweetheart."   I put my arms around his waist and leaned close to my guy.   Rick gave me a quick kiss, "Thank you, dear."

Rick yawned as we headed down the hall to the boys' room.   "Good morning, Josh," Rick said as he picked him up.

"Hello J.J.   How are we this morning?" I asked as I walked with him towards the stairs.  

J.J. didn't answer but grabbed my finger and held on tightly.   We entered the kitchen to find Nancy had finished eating and had prepared the boys' baby cereal.   "Give me Josh so you can eat," she said to Rick.

Nancy fed Josh while I fed J.J.   After breakfast, Rick and Nancy took the boys upstairs to their room while I grabbed a quick shower.

I took over baby duty so Rick could get ready for work.   By the time he was finished dressing, I had both the boys diapered and dressed for the day.   Each one looked so handsome and cute in their matching outfits.

Rick joined us.   He was dressed in a dark gray double-breasted suit that fit him perfectly.   He always looks so handsome when he dresses up!   Rick looked us over, "Well, well, we do have some very good looking boys here today."   He gently kissed each of the twins on the head, "Be good for Papa today."   Rick turned to me and gave me a quick hug and a kiss.   "Call me around lunchtime.   I have meetings all morning but I should be free by noon."

I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled him tight, "I need another hug and a kiss from you before you go."

Rick wrapped his arms around me and gave me a passionate kiss.   He rubbed noses with me before he pulled back a bit.   He grinned and said, "I believe that will have to tide you over until I return home."

I returned his grin, "I guess so.   You are the best looking guy I know.   I am so glad you are mine."

Rick smile widened, "Of course, I am the best looking guy around.   Don't forget to call me."

"I won't forget," I promised my sweetheart.

Rick turned and left me with the twins.   I heard the front door open and close.   I turned to the twins, "Okay, guys, what are we going to do today?"

Just then, Nancy popped into the room.   "I'm on my way to the university.  I will see you later."

Nancy gave me a quick peck on the check.   She leaned over and kissed each twin on the head, "Good bye boys."

Nancy left and I returned my attention to the boys.   "I think we should go downstairs and begin with the family room.   Then we can go out for a walk.   How does that sound?"

The boys made their usual noises which I took to be agreement.   I put Josh in his front carrier and picked up J.J. and made my way downstairs.   I put them in their playpen and started straightening the room.   I had just finished vacuuming when I heard a knock on the door.   I went to the door and opened it.   I was totally surprised to see Mrs. Evans standing there.

"Hello, Mrs. Evans," I said not sure whether to invite her in or not.

"Hello, Mr. Lernier," Mrs. Evans said.   "May I come in?"

"Sure," I said as a stepped back from the door to allow her to enter.

I closed the door and turned to Mrs. Evans who looked a little upset.  "Please come in and sit down," I said.

Mrs. Evans followed me into the family room and took a seat on the couch.   I sat opposite her on the loveseat.   "What can I do for you, Mrs. Evans?" I asked.

"I have some very bad news, Mr. Lernier.   My boss, Mr. Stubbs, reviewed my notes and has overruled my decision to leave the boys with you.   He rewrote the notes to say that being gay parents threatens the well being of the twins and that they must be removed from this home immediately.   He wrote many other things into the notes that aren't true and tried to make me sign it," Mrs. Evans stopped as she broke down in tears.

When she recovered her composure, she continued, "I have never lied or falsified documents in my 20 plus years as a social worker, Mr. Lernier.   I have seen some pretty bad things over the years but I have never been dishonest nor have I let my religious beliefs override what is just and right.    Mr. Stubbs wanted me to do something that goes against the mission of our agency which is to keep families together if at all possible.   I want you to know that I refused to sign Mr. Stubbs recommendations and I entered a rebuttal stating that Mr. Stubbs was basing his decision on his prejudice against gay people and his own religious beliefs to define what constitutes a fit parent and whether or not the boys are in a good home.   He is very angry with me and threatened to fire me if I didn't recant."

I was too stunned to even speak as I listened to Mrs. Evans.   When I didn't say anything, she pulled out a stack of papers and looked over at me, "I copied the entire file including Mr. Stubbs rewrite and my rebuttal.   I am giving it to you as a defense against his lies.   I can't stand idly by and let that evil man destroy innocent people's lives.  I quit my job yesterday.   I am afraid that Mr. Stubbs will be here anytime to take your children and place them in foster care."

Her statement rocked me.   I couldn't believe what I was hearing.   "You can't be serious, Mrs. Evans."

"I wish I could tell you that it wasn't happening," Mrs. Evans said sadly, her eyes still red from crying.

I pulled out my cell phone and hit the speed dial for Rick.   He picked up on the first ring, "Glenn, I can't talk right now."

"They are taking the children from us and putting them into foster care," I said trying not to panic.

Rick asked, "What did you say?

"Mrs. Evans is here and has just told me that social services has recommended that the twins be placed in foster care," I said.

"Have they taken the boys, yet," Rick asked.

"No, but they could be here any time now," I said.

"Call Grandpa and let him know what is going on.   I will be home as quick as I can," Rick said and ended the call.

Mrs. Evans said, "You will need a good lawyer."

"I have a friend who is lawyer," I said.   I dialed Derrick's number.

"Hello, Glenn," Derrick said.

"Hello, Derrick," I said.   "Do you have a few minutes to speak to me right now?"

"Sure, go ahead," Derrick said.

I outlined what the situation was and then waited as Derrick thought for minute.   "I will be on the next flight to DC.   I should be there shortly after lunchtime.  I will call you from the airport," Derrick said.

"Thanks, Derrick," I said.   I ended the call and dialed Nancy's number.   When she answered, I told her everything that was going on.   She said, "I will be there in 30 minutes."

Mrs. Evans looked at me as I ended the call with Nancy, "I am really sorry that I started all this.   I should have heeded my first impression that Mr. Gale's claims of child abuse and neglect were completely false and ignored them."

I didn't respond to her as the phone in my hand rang, "Hello, Keith," I said.

"Are you okay, Glenn," he asked.

"Yes, I am okay for the moment.   I guess Rick called you," I said.

"Yes, he did.  We will be over in a minute," Keith said.

I hung up and looked over at Mrs. Evans, "Is there any way we can fight this?"

Mrs. Evans thought for a moment, "Yes, but you will need a really good lawyer."

"My friend, Derrick, specializes in family law specifically gay couples and their children.   He will be here this afternoon," I said trying to take comfort in that fact.

"I think that you have a good chance of winning this one because your sister still lives with you and she is the boys' mother," Mrs. Evans said.   She stood up, "I need to leave since they may come at anytime.   I don't want them to know that I am helping you."

Shortly after she left, Keith and Kerry knocked on the door.   Keith said, "This really sucks!"

"When are they coming?" asked Kerry.

"I don't know," I replied.   I walked into the front room and picked up Josh who was fussing.   "It's okay Joshy.   Papa's here to take care of you.   Josh needs a diaper change.   I'll be right back down."

I took Josh upstairs and cleaned him up.   I changed him into a clean outfit since he had soiled his clothes.

He smiled at me as if to say, "Thank you."    I picked him up and kissed the top of his head and said, "I love you, Josh."

We went back downstairs just as Keith was answering the door.   I came into the foyer to see Gerald, our security guard who is an off-duty police officer, with a man and a woman.   The man was short, bald and fat.   His pale blue eyes met mine as I approached the door with Josh in my arms.   The look of pure hatred he gave me stopped me in my tracks.   I have never been confronted with such malice and ill will.   The Asian looking woman next to him gave me a look just as evil and full of hate as her lip curled upwards in disgust.    "I am Mr. Stubbs from the Department of Human Services and this is Evelyn Choi from Child Protective Services.   I assume that you are Mr. Lernier."

"That is correct Mr. Stubbs," I said barely maintaining my composure at the malice emanating from the two individuals at the door.

"We are here to remove the children from this household," Mr. Stubbs said.

"By what authority, Mr. Stubbs," I asked.

"I have an emergency removal order to that effect," Ms. Choi said.   She handed me an envelope.   I handed Josh to Keith and opened the envelope and pulled out the sheet of paper that was found inside and read it.

"What is the basis for this emergency removal order?" I asked looking directly into Mr. Stubbs eyes.

"We received information from an anonymous caller that tipped us off to the fact that faggots were abusing and neglecting two male children at this address," snarled Mr. Stubbs.

Gerald spoke, "Mr. Stubbs, I have to warn you that your use of that term is very offensive and a cause for reprimand by your superiors as a representative of the county."

Mr. Stubbs looked at Gerald, "Who are you to tell me what I can and can't say?"

"I am on the police force for Arlington County and I am very well aware of the county's policies regarding employee conduct towards members of the community and you are in clear violation of that code of conduct," Gerald said.

 Mr. Stubbs sneered, "I can see that you are faggot lover.   I will do my best to get you fired from the police force.   We will see who is right."   He turned to Ms. Choi.   "Evelyn, get the kids and let's get out of here before we become contaminated with the evil that lives here."

I said, "You will have to wait outside.   Neither of you are welcome in this house.   Meanwhile, I will call and verify that you are indeed who you say you are."

I nodded to Keith to shut the door which he did.   Keith said, "I will call the county and see whether this is a valid emergency removal order and request that someone else be sent to retrieve the boys.   I don't trust these two."

I went back upstairs in a state of numbness.   My cell rang and I answered it, "Glenn," Rick said.

"They are here for the twins and they have an emergency removal order to take them from us and place them into foster care until a complete investigation can be made of the claim of child abuse and neglect," I said.

"I will be there in less than five minutes," Rick said.

I gathered together the boys' things making sure they had plenty of diapers, baby formula and clean clothes and put them into their diaper bags.   I returned to the front room and started getting the boys ready to go.   I heard the door open and saw Rick come in with Gerald.

"It's a valid emergency removal order, I'm afraid," Gerald was saying.   "I have called social services to request that someone else from Child Protective Services be sent to take the boys since it is obvious that Mr. Stubbs is very prejudiced against you."

Rick came over to me and took me in his arms.   "It will be okay, Glenn.   We will beat this and make the ones responsible pay for their harassment of innocent people."

We heard a knock on the door.  Keith went to the door and opened it.   Mr. Stubbs was in a heated argument with someone on the phone.   "I will not let anyone else take charge of these children," he shouted into the phone.

He suddenly went ghostly white and then said, "Yes, sir."  

He hung up the phone.   Rick and I came into the foyer and he said as he looked at us in disgust, "You may have won this round but I promise you I will make sure you don't ever see your children ever again.   Make no mistake about it.   I have done it before and I will do it, again."   He turned to Ms. Choi, "Let's go.   Mr. Sheppard will be here shortly.   He will personally take charge of this affair."   Mr. Stubbs looked at the police officers who were standing on the sidewalk waiting to be summoned to take Rick and Glenn into custody.   Mr. Stubbs said, "I will see you faggots behind bars where you will see what they do to men who are child abusers.   You will wish you had never been born!"  

As they went out to their car, I looked at Gerald who said, "Mr. Sheppard is Mr. Stubbs' boss.   I called him immediately after finding out what was going on."

"Thanks, Gerald," Rick said.   Gerald returned to talk with his co-workers and to let them know that Mr. Sheppard was on his way.

We returned to the family room to wait for Mr. Sheppard to arrive.   About ten minutes later, we heard a knock on the door.   Rick opened the door to admit Mrs. Evans and a tall, distinguished looking man with graying dark hair, a hawkish nose and a generous mouth.   I met his brown eyes as he looked over the two of us.   "I am Douglas Sheppard.   May I come in?" he asked smiling at us.

Rick said, "Yes, you may.   Hello, Mrs. Evans."

"Hello, Mr. Lernier," Mrs. Evans said.

They followed us into the family room.   "Mr. Lernier," Mr. Sheppard said.   "I am sorry to say that I have to honor the emergency removal order until we can further investigate the alleged child abuse.   The children will be removed from your custody until a hearing can be scheduled."

"How long will that be?" Rick said with an edge to his voice.   I could tell Rick was barely containing his anger. 

"I don't know," Mr. Sheppard said.   "It depends on many factors so I can't say with any certainty.   I know that the clerk of the court tries to schedule family hearings within 72 hours of a child being removed from a home.   However, we will need to take the children to the Child Advocacy Center where it will be determined who will be caring for the children in the meantime."

Mrs. Evans said, "Ms. Nielsen may accompany the infants as she is a non-offending parent.   I am going to volunteer to care for them until the court decides the issue of who should have custody of the twins.   Hopefully, the Child Advocacy Center will agree to place them temporarily with me.  It is the least I can do since I caused this problem."

Mr. Sheppard said, "Mrs. Evans, do not blame yourself for the mischief others have done."   He turned to Rick, "I am deeply sorry for the heartache that this whole situation brings to your home.   I would undo it if I could.   This whole situation is a miscarriage of justice.   Please be patient with us as we try to straighten out what has been so fiendishly put in place by those who should know better."

"Are there any restrictions on who can be with the twins?" I asked.

"Yes, unfortunately, both of you are prohibited from seeing the twins," Mr. Sheppard said.   He said in very severe voice, "In fact, you are very fortunate that Mrs. Evans alerted me to the falsified documents placed in your case file or you both would be in handcuffs and spending some time in jail based on the claims made by the informant."

"We know who the informant is Mr. Sheppard.   My fiance's father made it very clear that he was the one who made the call to Child Protective Services.   He hates gays so much that he will do everything possible to do them harm," Nancy said.   Turning to Mrs. Evans, she said, "Thank you for trying to rectify the situation you helped create."

Mrs. Evans smiled gratefully at Nancy, "It is the least I could do.   If the Child Advocacy Center places the babies with me, I would like very much for you to stay with me.   There is plenty of room at the house for you and the twins until the children can be reunited with their fathers.   I never had any children of my own and Mr. Evans was killed in a car accident a few years ago so I live alone."

Nancy turned to me and Rick, "You two get the boys packed while I get my stuff together."

"I have already packed a few things in their diaper bags but I guess we should send a few more things since we don't know how long they will be with Mrs. Evans," I said trying to keep control of my emotions.  

I took Rick's hand and we reluctantly followed Nancy up the stairs to complete our assigned task.   As we entered the twins' room, Rick took me into his arms.   "Everything will be alright, Glenn."

I was doing okay until that moment.   I tried not to cry but the tears came quickly as I buried my face in his chest.   Rick smoothed my hair with his hand and then pulled back from me and put his hand under my chin.   He looked into my eyes, "We will beat this and we make sure those who did this are brought to justice," Rick said, his voice was hard as steel.

"I know that Derrick will be able to help us when he arrives," I said trying to reassure myself.   Derrick was our only hope of getting our children back.

"Yes, we will need to develop our strategy to get the boys back and make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen, again," Rick said.  

He released me and we turned to the task at hand and quickly put together a couple of more outfits, pajamas, a couple more blankets, diapers, wipes, and their baby bottles.   We then went to the kitchen to put together the food the boys needed:   baby cereal, baby formula, and the little jars of baby food we had purchased earlier in the week.

Nancy joined us in the kitchen, "I will make sure the boys are okay and will keep you informed of things at Mrs. Evans."

We gave Nancy a hug.   "Thank you for helping us," Rick said.

There were tears in all our eyes as we stood looking at each.   "We will overcome this," Nancy said.   "I hope Grandpa can find enough evidence of Vincent's misdeeds that he can turn it over to the police.   I think Vincent deserves to be behind bars for the rest of his life for the injuries he has inflicted on others in his self-righteousness!"

"I can't agree with you more," I said.

Mrs. Evans came into the kitchen, "May I help with anything?"

"No, I think we have everything ready," Nancy said. 

We went into the family room where Mr. Sheppard had taken a seat on the couch.   Rick and I went over to the playpen and picked up our infant boys.   Rick kissed J.J. on the top of the head, "Good bye little J.J.   Be good for your mother and Mrs. Evans."   Tears were streaming down his face as he handed J.J. to me.

J.J. grabbed my finger and held tight as if to say, "I don't want to leave you, Papa."

I looked into his eyes, trying not to cry, and said, "It will be only a little while and you will be back with us, J.J."   I gently kissed the top of his head and handed him to Nancy who put him in this car seat.

Rick picked up Josh who grabbed Rick's nose causing Rick to laugh, "You have always been so curious about everything, little Joshy.   I love you."   Rick kissed him on the top of the head as well and passed him to me.

Josh grabbed my chin as I kissed the top of his head, "Josh, I love you."   I passed him to Mrs. Evans who put him in his car seat.

Rick and I were both crying as the women picked up the twins and moved towards the door.   I took Rick's hand in mine as we followed them into the foyer.   Mr. Sheppard opened the door to let them out.

Nancy and Mrs. Evans car placed the twins in the backseat of Mrs. Evans car and secured the car seats.

Mrs. Evans opened the trunk and Mr. Sheppard placed Nancy's suitcase inside.   Nancy climbed into the passenger's seat and Mrs. Evans turned to us.   "I promise to take very good care of your little ones."   She opened the car door and started the car.   Rick and I stood holding hands and looking forlornly after Mrs. Evans' car as it disappeared from sight.

Mr. Sheppard cleared his throat to get our attention.   "I am deeply sorry.   I would change things if I could."

Rick's anger surfaced, "There is something you can change, Mr. Sheppard.   You can make sure that Mr. Stubbs and his sidekick never have another opportunity to destroy people's lives based on lies and hearsay.   And more importantly, you should make sure your employees' religious views remain at home or in their churches.   Religious discrimination should never be tolerated by the good people of this county."

Mr. Sheppard said, "I will do what I can to help Mr. Stubbs see the error of his ways.   I am afraid that not everyone in our offices agrees with me.   Our state government and county governments have not been very successful in keeping religion out of the work place.   What I can do is ask the family court to expedite your hearing so we can get the boys back home as soon as possible.   I have already determined that the complaint we received alleging child abuse and neglect is completely unfounded and I agree with Mrs. Evans' original assessment."

"Then why did you allow Mrs. Evans to take our children into custody?" Rick asked.

Mr. Sheppard looked everywhere except at us and said, "The law demands that emergency custody be taken of any child that is in imminent danger.   Mr. Stubbs wrote up a pretty damning report and it will take quite a bit to counteract the lies he has placed in your file.   I allowed the emergency removal order to stand because I need to be sure that all of the alleged abuse was unfounded.   A hearing will be set up for you to present your side of the story within 72 hours.  I will be filing an additional report based on what I have seen here today.   While the Child Advocacy Center determines who will care for the children, the twins will be examined by our pediatrician to ensure that no physical harm as been done to them.   Please be patient with us as we do the job we have been tasked to do.   I know it seems unfair but it really is better to have the allegations completely investigated and determined to be unfounded. Here is my card if you need to contact me."

Mr. Sheppard walked over to the waiting police officers and said, "I have not found any evidence of child abuse here.   Unless something turns up in the physical examination of the children, I believe your services won't be needed."   He returned to his car and climbed in.    He pulled out of the driveway and soon his car disappeared from sight.

Gerald came up to us.   "I'm very sorry this happened.   I will see what we can find out about this Mr. Stubbs.  If he has done this to you, I am sure he has done it to others as well."

"Thank you, Gerald.   We will need all the help we can get," Richard said.

We returned to the house.   Rick said, "Glenn, I am so angry.   I can't believe that Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Department of Human Services have so much power to break families apart."

"At least Mr. Sheppard is willing to help us.   Otherwise, things would be very difficult for us," I said.

Rick countered, "He really didn't do much other than keep us from being thrown in jail.   You noticed he said we wouldn't be arrested unless there was physical evidence that we had abused our children.   I think Mrs. Evans helped us more than Mr. Sheppard did."

We were interrupted by my cell phone ringing in my pocket.   I retrieved it and asked, "Derrick, are you on the ground already?"

"Yes, I am here at the airport.   I don't need a ride since I am going to our law offices in Washington, DC.   We have several very experienced lawyers who have dealt with family law cases in Arlington County.   I have enlisted their aid to bring this to a very quick resolution.   This Mr. Stubbs has done this kind of thing many times in the past.   The difference this time is you have the social worker's original files that can prove he fraudulently filed a different report than Mrs. Evans."

  "When will you be done?" I asked.

"I don't know at the moment.   I will catch a cab to your place when I'm done.   I will let you know if I need more information," Derrick said.

"Thanks, Derrick," I said.

"No problem," Derrick said and ended the call.

I turned to Rick, "Derrick is going to his downtown office to meet with some of the family lawyers who are familiar with Virginia law and the Arlington County courts."

"Good!" Rick exclaimed.   "I am glad you called Derrick."

Rick and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying not to think of the twins but we didn't have much success.   I have never felt so devastated in my entire life!   I feel so violated to have someone come into my home and rip my children from arms and tell me I am a horrible and unfit parent.   The worst part about this whole situation is that there was nothing we could do to stop the county from taking our children from our home!

I spent some time researching things on the internet.   I found the Arlington County Child Protective Services web site.   It states, "Even if the child must be removed, the goal is to keep the family together."   Well, it certainly didn't feel like it when they took the twins away from us this morning!     

It was nearly four o'clock when we heard from the Clerk of the Arlington County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court with a hearing date and time set for tomorrow morning at 10 AM.

I called Derrick on my cell, "Derrick, we have a hearing date and time for tomorrow morning at 10 AM."

"Who is the judge?" Derrick asked.

"The Honorable Judge Natalie Rushton," I said.

"Good.   I have been told that she tends to be favorable towards gay and lesbian couples where the other judge isn't quite as friendly and has sided with Mr. Stubbs on numerous occasions," Derrick said.   "Now that we know who the judge will be, we can fine tune our strategy.   I will see you two in a few hours."

"Okay.   Thanks for your help, Derrick," I said.

"I'm happy to be of service," Derrick said.   We ended the call and I asked Rick, "What do you want for dinner?"

Rick looked at me, "I am not really very hungry right now.   This whole situation just reinforces my dislike for religious people.   They profess to be carrying out God's will by destroying innocent people's lives."

"I agree with you, Rick.   I know we shouldn't make generalizations about all religious people but it is really hard to be objective about it when complete strangers combine their efforts to destroy our family all based on their religious beliefs.   They don't know who we are and don't care how much pain they inflict on others.  They are blinded by their hatred and prejudice.   Are there any religious people who aren't haters?" I asked.

"Yes, Reverend Riegger," Rick reminded me.

"Yes, but he seems to be the exception," I said.   "It seems that in Mr. Stubbs' case the church and state have become one and the same."

"Yes, it certainly does.   I have been hesitant in the past to become involved in your activist events but now I think I will have to reconsider," Rick said.

"Would you consider letting us become a rallying point for our cause?" I asked hoping Rick would agree.

"What do you mean?" Rick asked gazing into my eyes.

"When this is all over, I want to tell our story to the whole world and sue the state and county to make sure this never happens to gay and lesbian couples, again," I said.

"I am not sure I am ready to do that.   Let us see what happens first," Rick said.

"We have to take this war to the enemy," I said energetically.

"What do you mean take it to the enemy," Rick asked.

"Religious fanatics have taken control of the government so we have to do everything we can to fight for our rights.   It's a war being fought in the courts and in the halls of the legislative bodies all around the country.   If we continue to be timid and hide the fact that we are citizens of this country just like straight people are, we will never be treated equally under the law.   Too many of us are afraid to come out to our family and friends and demand that they acknowledge who we are and that we have the same rights as everyone else in this country to engage in the pursuit of happiness which includes being with the people we love.   It shouldn't make a difference if we are gay or not," I said.

Rick looked at me and said, "I am not sure I am quite ready to be the poster child for the gay rights movement."

"At least we can help those who are willing to be the public face of the gay rights movement.   Can we at least do that?" I asked begging my partner to at least let us help them financially.

"Glenn, I am not comfortable putting us at risk as a family by putting us on the front page of the newspaper.   We have two little ones to think about now.   I think we should focus our efforts on helping those less fortunate than we are.   I was thinking we should become foster parents for gay teens," Rick said.

"What?!   You want to become part of the same government agency who is trying to take our children from us?" I asked incredulously.  "How can you even consider such a thing?   Have you lost your mind?"

"No, I am not crazy nor do I propose to do anything with the government," Rick said.   "I am thinking we need to move away from here and build a big enough home to take in gay teens whose parents have kicked them out of their homes.   I think we should set up a hotline for gay youth so they can call and talk to someone about what is going on in their lives.   We need to work within the gay community to reach out to those who are in need of help.   That is how I propose we help our own instead of spending money on lobbying congress and other such political events.   I hate the thought of wasting good money on trying to fix the corrupt political process that has overtaken our country."     

I sat there in stunned silence.   We have argued about lobbying congress and our state legislature to change the very discriminatory laws that are on the books today.   This is the first time Rick has proposed an alternative method of helping the gay community.   Rick took me in his arms, "We don't need to decide on anything right away.   We need to concentrate on getting the boys returned to us, first."

I melted into his arms and laid my head on his chest.  Rick always makes me feel like things are going to work out for the best.   He had given me a lot to think about.   I am not sure I am ready to become a foster parent and I certainly do not want to see county social workers or Child Protective Services in my home ever again.   However, taking in homeless gay teens and helping them did sound like something I could agree to as long as the government was not involved.

Rick held me until we heard a knock on the door.   He released me.   He walked into the foyer and opened the door.   Rick said, "Come in, Derrick.   Let me help you with your baggage."

"Hello, Rick.   Thank you," Derrick said as Rick took his suitcase.  He stepped inside and followed Rick into the family room.

I stood up and gave Derrick a quick hug.   "Hello, Derrick.   Thank you for helping us," I said.  

"I will be right back," Rick said.   "I will put your suitcase in your room for you."

Rick left the room and we heard him climb the stairs.   "How are you guys holding up?" Derrick asked as he took a seat on the couch.

"We are doing okay given the circumstances," I said.   "It will be worse tonight when we don't have the twins to feed and get ready for bed."

Rick returned and sat down next to me pulling me close.   "Are we ready for tomorrow?"

Derrick smiled, "I think we have a very strong case.   I won't tell you our strategy but I am confident we will have a positive outcome."

I said, "Good.   I won't be happy until the boys are back in my arms, again."

Derrick replied, "Agreed.   Have you two eaten, yet?"

"No, we haven't felt much like eating," Rick replied.

"Let me order some carryout.   Do you have a good Chinese restaurant nearby?" Derrick asked.

"Sure, let me get their number for you," Rick answered.

Derrick placed the call and a short while later the delivery boy knocked on our door.   After dinner, Derrick said, "I think we all need to get some sleep.   It's been a long day for all of us.   I will see you two in the morning."

We showed him up to his room and we retired to our own bedroom.   Rick took me in his arms and kissed me.   "Sweetheart, let me treat you to nice hot bath and some tender loving care."

Rick knows me so well.   His offer brought tears to my eyes.   "I love you, Rick Lernier!"

"I heard somewhere that was why you married me," Rick said smiling at me.   His fingers gently brushed the tears from my cheeks.   "No more tears, Glenn.   Everything will turn out for the best."

"I hope so," I said trying to regain control of my emotions.   "I have been on an emotional roller coaster today."

"We both have had a very stressful day.   Come with me," Rick said.   He pulled me into the bathroom where he started filling the bathtub with hot water.   He added some bubble bath and turned to help me out of my clothes.   He helped me into the tub and turned on some soothing music before disrobing and joining me in the bathtub.   He sat behind me and wrapped his arms around me as I leaned against his chest.   He nibbled on my ear and whispered sweet things into my ears some of which made me blush.

Rick is so thoughtful!   Rick knows how comforting his touch is to me when I am upset.   He soon had me calmed down and relaxed.   I turned my head and met Rick's lips for a long, tender kiss.   "Are you feeling better now?" Rick asked with a smile.

"Yes, I am much better," I said returning his smile.  "Now it's my turn to help you."

We climbed out of the tub and dried each other off.   Rick pulled me into bed and wrapped his arms around me.   "You help me all the time, Glenn.   All I need is to have you in my arms, sweetheart."

"I love you," I said looking deeply into his eyes.

"I love you, too," Rick said.   He kissed me.   I laid my head on his chest and tried to sleep.

I couldn't sleep as I couldn't stop worrying about the twins.   I am sure I kept Rick awake as well.   I don't know how long I lay awake but I must have dropped off at some point because the next thing I remember is Rick saying, "Wake up, Glenn.   We need to get ready to go."

I looked over at the clock and was surprised I had slept in so late.   "Okay," I said yawning and stretching.   Rick pulled me into a close embrace and captured my lips.   We kissed for a long time, not a hot, fiery passionate kiss, but one that communicated our love for each other.

Rick pulled back and asked, "How is that for a good morning kiss?"

I grinned, "It was wonderful."

Rick released me and threw back the covers, "Time to get up, Babe."   He pulled me out of bed and we made our way into the shower.   Dressed in our best suits and ties and were ready for the day, we made our way downstairs.   Derrick was already up and had started the coffee brewing.  

He looked up as we entered the kitchen, "Good morning!   You both look much better than you did yesterday."

"Thanks, I think," I said sitting down at the table.

 "I am glad you decided to dress up.   I forgot to mention it yesterday before we hit the sack," Derrick said.   "I need to cover a few things with you this morning about how to respond to any questions from the judge."

He proceeded to coach us and then ended with this statement, "Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you.   If you keep that in mind, you won't say anything you don't have to say.   I would also recommend that you stop hiring off duty policemen as your security guards.   You may think of them as your friends but they are not and cannot be your friends.   Whether on or off duty, their first and only priority is to be a law enforcement officer so everything they see and hear can and will be used against you.   I may sound paranoid but I have seen people confide things to their police "friends" thinking that what they said was innocent enough and then it was taken out of context and twisted by the prosecuting attorney into something that wasn't intended.    Unfortunately, it caused us to lose custody of their children for an extended period of time.   It came out later that it had been badly misrepresented but by then it was too late."

"But we haven't had any issues with them," I said.   "In fact, we were fortunate that Gerald was here both times his co-workers showed up."

"You have been lucky so far.   Please reconsider who you invite into your home.   They may be protecting you now but they could prove to be your undoing when you are completely innocent.   There is nothing worse than having your own words used against you in a court of law," Derrick said.

Rick said, "Okay, we will discuss it with Grandpa Scarborough before we make any major changes to how things are running right now."

"It's time to leave for the hearing," Derrick said.   "We don't want to be late."

We climbed into the Land Rover and drove over to the Arlington County Courthouse.   We parked the car and walked into the courthouse.   We were met by Derrick's associates.   Derrick made the introductions, "Mr. Santani and Mr. Hubbard I would like you to meet Rick and Glenn Lernier."

They both shook our hands, "Nice to meet you," Mr. Santani said.   Mr. Santani looked like he had just stepped off the cover of GQ magazine.   He was dressed in an Armani suit that accentuated his athletic physique.   He was my height with jet black hair, dark eyes, Roman nose, and a generous mouth with teeth so white they looked like they were from a toothpaste commercial.   Mr. Hubbard, on the other hand, was tall and skinny.  His suit hung on him and looked like he had found it at a secondhand store.   His unruly dark brown hair hung down over his blue eyes and beak-like nose.   His lips were pursed together to form a straight, thin line on his face.   He seemed rather stern looking compared to the warmth I felt from Mr. Santani's greeting.

Mr. Santani said, "Please follow me."   We soon arrived at the courtroom.   "I will check to see if we are still on schedule.  I will be right back."   We didn't have to wait long for him to return.   "We are ready to go into the courtroom."

We entered the courtroom to find Mrs. Evans and Nancy sitting at the front of the courtroom.   The prosecuting attorney sat at the table on the right.   We walked up to the front and took our places at the table on the left.   Soon the bailiff announced the judge's arrival.

"All stand," he said.

Once Judge Rushton had taken her seat, the bailiff announced our case.   The judge indicated that counsel and the prosecuting attorney approach the bench.   Mr. Santani got up and approached the judge.   They spoke for a moment and then returned to their seats.  

Derrick leaned over and whispered, "They just shared the list of witnesses with the judge and she outlined what she expects from both sides."

As each witness was called, Derrick explained to us what was going on.   The first witness was Mr. Stubbs.   When he described his findings based on a visit to our residence, Mr. Santani objected to his testimony as hearsay.

Judge Rushton asked Mr. Santani to explain.   Mr. Santani replied, "Mr. Stubbs never entered the respondents' home.   His evaluation of the situation is based on hearsay not direct observation.'

Judge Rushton turned to Mr. Stubbs, "Is Mr. Santani correct?"

Mr. Stubbs tried to evade the question but Judge Rushton repeated her question, "Did you or did you not enter the respondents' home?"

Mr. Stubbs finally answered, "No, I did not."

Judge Rushton said, "Objection is sustained.   Mr. Stubbs' testimony regarding the conditions of the respondents' home and of their children is to be stricken from the court records.   May I remind you Mr. Stubbs that you are under oath to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.   This is your one and only warning, Mr. Stubbs."   Her face was grim and she gave Mr. Stubbs a look that would have caused anyone else to shake in their boots.   She turned to the prosecuting attorney, "Mr. Phillips, you will have to make sure your witnesses are telling the truth or I will have you barred from my courtroom.   This is a court where the vilification of individuals will NOT be allowed.   I want the facts and only the facts.   Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, your honor," responded Mr. Phillips.   Mr. Phillips finished his questions and then sat down.

Mr. Santani got up and crossed examined him.   "Mr. Stubbs, do you have strong religious feelings against gays?"

Mr. Stubbs tried to evade the question and Mr. Phillips objected and the objection was sustained.   Mr. Santani asked his question a different way, "Mr. Stubbs did you remove the report filed by Mrs. Evans from the Lernier case file and replace it with one of your own?"

Mr. Stubbs looked surprised, "No, I did not."

"Your Honor, I would like to submit to you copies of the Lernier case file showing Mrs. Evans' original evaluations of the allegations of abuse and neglect and the replacement evaluations written by Mr. Stubbs and a copy of Mrs. Evans rebuttal."

Mr. Phillips stood up and started to object but was interrupted by Mr. Santani, "Mr. Philips would you care to examine them first?"   He walked over to Mr. Phillips who looked at them and then glared at Mr. Stubbs.

"Are these copies of the case file you were given by Mr. Stubbs?" Mr. Santani asked.

Mr. Phillips said, "Yes, they are."

Mr. Santani walked to the bench and handed them to the judge.  Mr. Stubbs looked murderously at Mrs. Evans who smiled benignly back at him.   Judge Rushton read them and then said, "Mr. Santani, you may continue."

"Mr. Stubbs, did you not write the new evaluation with the intent to defame the respondents?"  Mr. Santani asked.

"They are faggots and sinners and deserve to be behind bars.   Their very existence is an offense in the sight of God," responded Mr. Stubbs.

"Mr. Stubbs, answer the question," Judge Rushton said.

"I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I might incriminate myself," Mr. Stubbs said.

Mr. Santani said, "I am finished with this witness, your honor."

Judge Rushton turned to Mr. Phillips, "Call your next witness."

"The state rests, your honor," Mr. Phillips said.  

I glanced over at Rick who whispered to me, "Mr. Stubbs didn't expect us to have copies of his case file."

Mr. Santani called the Child Advocacy Center pediatrician to the stand.   She testified that her examination found the twins to be perfectly healthy with no signs of physical abuse or neglect.   She also testified that she had verified the records from the twins' regular pediatrician that regular checkups had been performed and that their immunizations were current.

Next, Mr. Santani called Mrs. Evans to the stand.   He led her through her visits to our home and her determination that the claims of alleged abuse and neglect were completely unfounded.   He further questioned her regarding Mr. Stubbs behavior and her subsequent resignation.

His final question to her was, "Why did you resign from your job?"

"I have been a social worker for over 20 years and I have never lied about or exaggerated the conditions I have found in our clients' homes.   When Mr. Stubbs threatened to fire me if I did not change my report, I chose to resign rather than falsify my report."

Mr. Phillips looked completely mortified now that all of this was coming out in court.   He must have hoped that he could skip over it or that the judge wouldn't give it any credence.  

Judge Rushton asked, "Do you wish to cross examine the witness?"

Mr. Phillips replied dejectedly, "No, your honor."

She turned to Mr. Santani, "Do you have any further witnesses?"

"Yes, your honor.   I would like to call Ms. Nancy Nielsen to the stand," he responded.

My sister took the stand.   Mr. Santani's first question was about us and how we treated the boys.   Next, he asked about Vincent.   She explained who Vincent was.

Mr. Phillips objected.   Judge Rushton asked, "What relevance does this have to this hearing?"

"If your honor will allow me to continue, I will show its relevance with the next question," Mr. Santani said.

"Please approach the bench," she said and signaled for Mr. Phillips to join them.

After a brief conference, she said, "You may continue."

Mr. Santani asked, "Please explain what happened when Mr. Gale visited the home of the respondents."

She narrated everything that had happened including Vincent's text message to Cory.   "Your honor, I have a copy of that text message I would like to submit for your consideration."

He handed a copy to Mr. Phillips before approaching the bench and giving the judge her copy.

"I am finished your honor," Mr. Santani said.

"Mr. Phillips would you like to cross examine the witness," Judge Rushton asked.

"No, your honor," he responded.   He had the look of dog that had been whipped.

Judge Rushton said, "After hearing the testimony of the witnesses and reviewing these documents and the case file provided to me by the prosecuting attorney, I find that the claims of abuse and neglect to be completely false and the children are to be returned to the custody of their guardians immediately following this hearing."

She turned to Mr. Phillips, "Mr. Phillips, I strongly recommend that you thoroughly investigate all allegations before you bring cases of abuse into my courtroom.   As for you Mr. Stubbs, you are forbidden from appearing in my courtroom, again.   Your dishonesty and attempts to harm innocent people are despicable and should be grounds for your termination in addition to being charged with falsifying county documents.   I am recommending that the respondents keep careful documentation of these proceedings and file a lawsuit against you for defamation of character."

The judge stood up and the bailiff announced, "All please rise," and the judge left the courtroom.

Mrs. Evans and Nancy came over and hugged us.   I shook Mr. Santani's hand, "Thank you so much for defending us today."

He smiled, "Not a problem.   I am glad to be of service."

 Rick shook his hand as well.   "We want to thank all three of you for your hard work over the past 24 hours.   It paid off and we are very glad to have you on our side."

Mrs. Evans said, "I am glad things have turned out okay."

Nancy said, "Thanks to you, Mrs. Evans.   I don't think the guys had a chance otherwise."

Mrs. Evans flushed with pleasure at Nancy's praise.   "I was just doing what any good person would do."

We retrieved the twins who had been very well behaved during the entire hearing.   "Please join us at the house.   I think we need to celebrate," Rick said to Mrs. Evans and our lawyers.

Mr. Santani and Mr. Hubbard both demurred and left us as they had other obligations.

We carried the boys out to the Land Rover and secured their car seats in the back.   Derrick rode in the back with them while Nancy caught a ride with Mrs. Evans.   We pulled into our driveway and unloaded the car taking the twins inside. 

I took J.J. out of his car seat and looked at him, "I am so glad you are back, little one."  

I handed him to Rick who said, "Welcome home, J.J."

I retrieved Josh from his car seat and kissed the top of his head, "Welcome home, Josh."

Tears started falling down my cheeks as I carried Josh into the family room and sat down on the couch with Rick joining me holding J.J.

Mrs. Evans, Nancy and Derrick joined us.   "I am so happy to see you reunited with the twins," Mrs. Evans said.

We spent the rest of the day with the twins.   Derrick left for the airport shortly after dinner.   Mrs. Evans said, "Mr. Sheppard has offered to let me return to my old job and I have agreed.   Mr. Stubbs and Ms. Thomas have been suspended pending an investigation of his conduct."

"What if Mr. Stubbs returns as your boss?" I asked.

Mrs. Evans said, "He won't because Mr. Sheppard has recommended that he be transferred to another department upon his return."

Nancy said, "I am happy things have worked out for you as well."

"Thank you, dear.   I had better be going since I have to report to work tomorrow morning," Mrs. Evans said.

We saw her to her car and waived as she backed out of our driveway.   We returned to our front room to unwind a bit after our visitors had left.   About an hour later, my cell phone rang.

"Hello, Grandpa," I said.

"I have some good news," he said.

"Let me put you one speaker so we can all hear," I said.

"My investigators have managed to find quite a bit of evidence of wrongdoing by Vincent Gale.   They have turned it over to the local police department.   I imagine that Mr. Gale will be taken into custody and put behind bars in the next few days," Grandpa said.

"Good," Rick said.   "He deserves it."

"I agree with you on this one, Rick.   He has committed a lot of crimes and destroyed many people's lives.   Fortunately, my investigators found a number of his victims who are willing to testify against him.   They provided us with more than enough evidence to keep him out of circulation for many years to come.   Now it is up to the police and the district attorney to do their jobs,' Grandpa said.

Nancy said, "I feel bad for Cory and Kelvin but it will be a relief knowing that Vincent won't be able to hurt us."

"You should warn them to be careful and to make sure they cooperate fully with the police," Grandpa said.

"I will call them as soon as we are off the phone with you," Nancy said.

"Good.   I am glad that the twins are home with their parents and that we will be able to take Vincent completely out of the picture," Grandpa said.   "I will call you if anything changes."

I said, "Thank you, Grandpa.   Good night."

"Good night," Grandpa said and cut the connection.

Rick said, "I am glad Vincent will be behind bars soon."

Nancy agreed, "Yes, hopefully he won't be allowed out on bail.   I really don't want to have to worry about him showing up to my wedding."

"Yes it would be a disaster if he showed up to your wedding," I agreed.

 "I am going upstairs to call Cory.   I will see you guys in the morning," Nancy said.

"Good night, Nancy," Rick said.

"I think we should put the twins to bed and call it a night ourselves," I said.

"I agree," Rick said.

We retrieved the twins and took them upstairs to their room.   We gave them their baths and put them in their pajamas.   As we rocked them to sleep, I looked at Rick and said, "I am so grateful that our family is together, again."

"I am as well.   I never want to repeat the experience we have had over the last 48 hours," Rick said.   "I have never felt so helpless and demoralized.   I have always been able to protect and defend my family from the evils of the world but to have someone come into my home and take my loved ones from me practically ripped my heart out of my chest.   I never want to feel that way ever again as long as I live."

"I am with you on that," I said.   "But everything has worked out for us in the end."

"Yes, it did," Rick said smiling across at me.

The boys dropped off to sleep and we placed them gently in their cribs.   Rick and I stood with our arms around each other as we gazed down at our darling little boys sleeping peacefully in their beds.

Rick led me out of their room and down the hallway to our bedroom.   He took me in his arms and kissed me passionately.   When we broke our kiss, I said, "May I have the pleasure of your company in our bed?"

"I thought you would never ask," Rick said laughing.   We quickly disrobed and climbed into bed.   Of course, Rick and I made love to each other!   After we had sated our desires for each other, Rick pulled me close and kissed me.   He whispered into my ear, "I love you, Glenn."

"I love you, too," I whispered back.   I snuggled closer to Rick and laid my head on his chest and thought how perfect things were now that we were all together, again. 

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

Information regarding gay and lesbian adoption and parenting:

You should take a look at this:

Part One

Part Two