One Little Bit ©

By

K-Morgan

kmorgan.5674@yahoo.com

(Feedback is appreciated)

Part 13

If there was ever a ‘most beautiful baby in the world contest,’ Alexandra Marcos Larsen would have won it with flying colors. She was adorable. She was like a little doll.

Everyone had something to say about her and her moms were crazy about her. Addy was possessed by the child and Karen, who had been the reluctant pregnant woman, was thrilled with the little one as well.

When Alex said her first words, which was something like 'mamamamama' she was with Karen. Karen screamed so hard calling for Addy to come and listen, that she scared the poor child so much that Alex started to cry.

Addy came running, expecting the worst. She heard Karen yelling and Alex crying, so she was scared to death when she made it downstairs.

“What? What happened!?”

“She talked! She said ‘mama’ but I think I scared her when I called you and she started to cry.”

Karen was holding the little one in her arms trying to comfort her. Alex’s face was swamped with tears.

“She has wonderful tear ducts for sure. Look at her! She becomes a human flood in two seconds.”

“Awww, my poor baby, did Mommy Karen scare you?”

Alex immediately threw her arms to Addy and practically jumped out to her.

Karen loved the relationship between the two.

Alex was really Addy’s child in every imaginable way. Her word, her commitment and her eternal love for the little one had been there even before Alex was conceived. Karen’s fear of having a child was totally gone. She knew that Addy was there 100% all the time. Addy’s heart was fully invested and that was worth more than all the gold in Ft. Knox!

As for Addy’s satisfaction with Karen’s conversion to motherhood, it was beyond
what she expected - the miracle of love, that’s what she called it.

Karen relied a lot on Addy’s experience as a mother, but she loved the little one and never hesitated when it came to her. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for Alex.
She was totally in love with the two women in her life.

“Well! How easily I have been replaced!” Addy would joke sometimes when she saw Karen adoring the little one. She only said that kind of thing to tease Karen.


“I adore her, I worship you!”


The celebration of her first birthday was at the Manor house. Neighbors and friends with kids and no kids came to the party.

To Addy, a birthday of any of her children was a celebration of life and a blessing. “Today marks the day our little one came into our lives and for that we are blessed. We celebrate this great happening with all our friends.” As Addy spoke and everyone listened. The huge candle on the cake began to tilt and finally fell on the cake. This happening went unnoticed by all except for a little pair of huge green eyes who had been looking at the cute Tigger characters on the candle.

What could a little one do upon seeing the object of her attraction drop flat from its very prominent position on the cake? She had to grab it, of course. And that is just what she did. With a full powerful little hand she grasped the candle, which was fortunately off. She dug in the cake bringing the candle with her as well as a chunk of frosting and cake attached to it. As with everything she grabbed, it immediately came to her mouth. Her face was covered with frosting as she licked the delicious substance off the candle, apparently liking it. All this happened in fractions of seconds, as it was usually the case with a fast little one.


Everyone screamed when they saw Alex dig into the cake. “Oh no!” and “Oh my God!” and “the cake!” “the candle!” “Alex!” “Look out!” and the result was a scared, crying and very frosted Alex.

Addy attempted to first take the candle from Alex’s hand and then to wipe her clean using a napkin. However, all that happened was that the frosting was smeared all over Alex’s face as she fussed about her clean-up and apparent disruption from licking the very tasty candle. In the wrestling match for the frosted candle, Alex managed to get frosting in her hair and just about every other inch of her. Addy also got some frosting on her face as Alex waved the candle back and forth. All of this was caught on tape by dear Uncle James who thought it was adorable and later thought he should have entered the video on the funniest video TV show.

In the meantime all Karen could do was laugh her heart out, proudly thinking ‘that’s my girl!’

Alex was so covered in frosting that the only thing to do was to take the very upset Alex upstairs to clean her up. Alex was mad about the interruption from her happy treat. Karen also went upstairs laughing. “Look at the mess you made little girl! I guess you are going to have a sweet tooth! There’s frosting everywhere! I don’t think Mommy Addy is very happy. Although I think she looks kind of cute and sweet all frosted!”

“Karen Larsen! This child will grow up to be reckless if you encourage this type of behavior!”

“Not encouraging, just telling it like it is. Here, you get clean up and I’ll take care of bathing our Tasmanian devil.” When they came back down Alex was wearing another outfit and was much less frosted, sticky and once again happy.

After singing Happy Birthday, they sat her in her high chair and fed her some cake. She loved the frosting which she again managed to get all over her hair.

Later that night at the cottage, Karen thought that all of Addy’s comments regarding keeping a clean Alex were hilarious.

Addy kept talking to Alex. “What are we going to do with you? Is this how you are going to be? A messy girl, full of mud and dirt all the time? This is not very lady like, if I may add! And lifting up your dress in front of everybody was not very appropriate either!”

Alex smiled and jumped up and down on her lap and made all sorts of noises.
Karen just listened and laughed. “Way to go, Alexandra! Or should we call her ‘Lady Alexandra’?

“I see that Mommy Karen is trying to be funny. Let’s not pay any attention to her.”

“Well! If you ask me…..telling your child not to pay attention to her mother is not a very good lesson!”

“Here! Have the frosted Lady. I’m going to shower! I still feel sticky!

“Let me know if you need some help removing the stickiness!”

Alex was all happiness jumping all over Karen.

**

Alex was all the fun in the world. Karen and Addy took her everywhere they went.

Not only because they enjoyed her so much, but because they were frightened to death that if they left her with someone else something might happen to her. She was a handful and they always thought that no one else would be able to keep an eye on her as they would. Addy was of the opinion that no one watches a child like their own mother.

Sure, it would have been easy to leave Alex with the friends and relatives who always volunteered to watch her. JP and James always offered, but if anything ever happened to Alex neither one of them would have been able to live with the guilt, so they carried their bundle of joy everywhere. One of them carried Alex, the other would carry the diaper bag, or the playpen, the baby-gym, the big stroller, the small stroller, the comforter and any of the one hundred items necessary to comfort, care and keep Alex safe.

They also had as a policy never go to a restaurant where they did not see high chairs readily available. And in short, their whole life now revolved around the little one and they loved it. They were both enchanted with their adorable little devil.

After she turned one, Alex was already running. Sometimes at night, when Karen got home, she’d find both asleep in the family room or Alex asleep and a very tired Addy reclined on the love seat.

“Hi sweetie pie.”

“Hi, babe, how was your day?”

“We have a lot of work with this new law firm we are working with. How were things around here? Do I detect the remnants of a storm?”

“Hurricane Alex, is in her playpen. I had to put her there, couldn’t run after her anymore.”

Karen chuckled. “I’ll take over now, go shower and rest.”

Karen would change and either feed Alex or play with her, depending on where things were. Sometimes dinner was ready when she came home. Other times, Addy didn’t even have time to cook.

“Mama play?” Alex was developing her vocabulary very quickly. They thought it was because she had a lot of attention from them and because they dedicated a lot of time to educational activities which Alex happened to like.

“You sure can talk a lot now, little bitty.”

“Alex talk, mama play?”

“Yes, what are we going to play?”

She’d come over to Karen carrying some toy or activity board. Other times she brought books, picture books, pop-out books and talking books. She had all sorts of cute things to play with and do. During this stage, it was mostly Karen taking over Alex activities after dinner. She had been away most of the day and she loved coming home to play with the little one. Sometimes, in the summer, when Karen came home early, they played outside on the patio. They had a lot of playground toys out there. It seemed that Alex’s things were everywhere in the house. In fact, it seemed that Alex had taken over the entire house.

Religiously though, she was taken to her bedroom by 7:30 and by 8:00 she was already asleep. This gave the women time to talk and have their time together. Lots of times, Karen came home in the middle of the day and after playing with the little one for a while, the woman had time to themselves when the little one was napping. No matter how much time they dedicated to Alex, they always made sure that they had time to themselves. As Karen wished and Addy had assured, they weren’t going to allow having a child interfere with their intimacy. It never did.

**

Away in Glasgow, Karen’s family still seethed on her fortune and happiness. They knew that Karen had been pregnant and that she had a girl. This was terrible news to them. They still had hoped that when Karen passed away with no living heirs, the estate would revert to their side of the family, to Charles and Margaret’s daughter. However, now that Karen had a blood heir and a girl, the estate would go to Alex.

As it is happens many times, those who are evil tend to come together and join forces to cause damage. Charles came across an ambulance chaser attorney in Glasgow, the type that is always looking for victims and willing to fabricate a case for them. This fellow gave him the advice he was looking for.

“They are lesbians, you say?”

“Yes.”

“And they have a daughter?”

“Yes.”

“We can use that to our advantage. Let me explain.” The plan was simple. They would file for custody claiming that the mothers were unfit to raise a child because of their sexual orientation. Of course, there was no interest in the child at all. The child would be their bargaining card to get the estate. They would strike a deal to drop the custody battle in exchange for the estate. Clearly extortion, but it would work.

So it happened. Charles and Margaret filed a custody claim. They claimed that Karen and Addy, as lesbians, were unfit mothers and that the child was growing up in an unnatural and depraved environment totally unsuited to raise a young girl and that they as a husband and wife couple were better suited to raise the child. Even if they weren’t able to get Karen to hand over the estate, if they became Alex’s custodians they would eventually swindle the estate from her and make it theirs. This was not the most appealing option because they would have to deal with a child they did not want in the first place, but she could be sent to boarding school and then be sent off to work as soon as she was old enough.

When Karen received and read the court papers, she literally collapsed on the sofa. Her energy left her body as she crumpled and wailed crying her heart out. This time she didn’t even have the strength to call for Addy. Never in her life had she received such a low blow and this was coming again from her own family. Addy saw Karen react to the paper as she collapsed on the chair and came running to her thinking that she was in pain. Karen couldn’t speak, she was in pain. A pain so deep she could not bear. How could she explain to the woman she loved that her own family was taking them to hell again.

When Addy came close to her, all Karen could do was repeat Addy’s name in pure agony. “Addy, Addy, Addy!”

“What is it love, what is it?”

Karen said nothing but Addy knew the letter was the reason. She took it from Karen’s hand and read it.

After a moment of silent agony, Addy got up and paced the room as she was building up her steam. She went ballistic. She vented and cursed words Karen had never heard from her mouth. Karen remained motionless on the chair. She felt dead inside.

Addy grabbed Karen by the shoulders. “This is not going to happen! Do you hear me? This is not going to happen as long as I have one bit of breath in my lungs. I will fight these people to the death. This time I will have no mercy!!! I want blood!!! I’ve had it!”

Karen continued to cry, and Addy knelt in front of her and embraced her. “They will never have her! Never!! This I promise you!” After what seemed like hours of holding each other in the living room. Karen pulled away from their embrace.

“Addy they want Alex because they want the estate. All I want is you and Alex. They can have everything else. We’ll go back to the States and I will work and we will be fine.” I’m not risking Alex for anything. This may be our home now, but it’s just a place. We can make our home somewhere else. I will let them have it all as long as I have you and Alex.” She looked at Addy. Even if they want the money we made from the inns….” All of a sudden she realized that this was not a decision she could make by herself. Addy owned half of everything and there was Laurie and Joey having a right to her estate.

“Addy, say something. Do you have a problem with that?”

Addy answered immediately. “No, I have no problem with that. I will not risk Alex for any money in the world. We’ll do whatever we need to do.” Addy was willing to do whatever, but she had one concern she didn’t share with Karen at the moment. She didn’t want to add to the problem.

What Addy thought was that these people had resorted to the lowest trick in the book to get this place, they wanted it so bad and they would make sure they’d find a way to get it. There was one loose end to Karen’s plan to give it all away. The MgGuill estate and the nobility title that went with it, was not for anyone to reject or give away. The title and estate belonged by birth right to the rightful heir, and Alex was now the rightful heir. As long as Alex lived, she had a birth right on the estate. There was no legal handover that could trump a royal decree. Alex was the legitimate heir to the estate and nothing would change that.

In this case, Alex was the ultimate commodity, to secure the estate they either had to have Alex or she would have to be dead. Neither option was going to happen on Addy’s watch. Karen in her anguish had not realized the gravity of the situation. This was evidence of how much the matter had affected her that her usually clear mind had not seen the enormity and seriousness of the situation. Karen’s plan to give it all for her daughter would not resolve the matter. Something else would need to be done.

“I’ll talk to Phil tomorrow. I’ll ask him to handle everything. In the meantime, we pack our bags and we leave for Culebra indefinitely. I want Alex far away from these people. We leave as soon as I talk to Phil.”

Addy nodded in agreement and kissed her. Addy also talked to Phil when Karen was not present. Phil agreed with Addy’s concern and they were both deciding how to tackle the matter. “Phil, I don’t know if Karen has thought of this. I don’t want to burden her more. I’ve never kept things from her, but I think we need to work around her on this.

Phil talked to the family’s attorney. They wanted everything. They wanted the estate together with the stables and the distillery. Nothing was said about the money from the sale of the inns. At least that was good. Addy thought that she would use every single penny she had to destroy them. She was resolved to be in an all-out war with them. She was resolved to do something. She would not allow them to have or hurt their child.

The settlement agreement was prepared. The deal was that they would drop Alex’s custody claim in exchange for the MgGuill Estate.

JP and James were outraged. And, of course, with JP who had missed his calling in the public relations field, the entire town of Altee found out what was happening within a week.

The outrage in town was such that the citizens demanded a town hall meeting to discuss and plan what could be done in Karen’s and Addy’s defense. Mr. Kimbell, the town attorney was present at the meeting. They also invited Philip, since he was the women’s legal counsel.

Karen, Addy and Alex went away to Culebra, as Karen wished. They needed to get away from it all and they did. They left Philip handling everything. Of course, Phil tried to talk them into fighting the custody claim vowing that he would fight them to the death and assuring them that the odds were always in favor of the biological mother, but the women did not budge.

They knew that that although civil partnerships were legal in England, in matters where children are involved the courts are usually very strict and traditional. The whole idea of lesbian and gay parents was still pretty new in today’s world and still very unacceptable to a great deal of people whose narrow minds would never allow it. They would not risk their little one to the luck of the draw, no, there was no money in the world, nothing that would make them risk Alex.

The women were devastated and in terrible fear of the vicious actions of Karen’s relatives. They would only come back the day of the trial to present the settlement agreement in court, hope that the court would accept it and pack their bags and belongings and leave for good, never to return. They had also agreed that Alex was to stay behind with Laurie. Laurie was to keep her and hand her over to them only. They had secretly agreed that they would flee with Alex to an undisclosed location and swore to each other that they would never hand Alex over to Karen’s relatives. They did not share this alternate plan with anyone because they did not want to make any one accessory to their scheme. But they would go the last mile for Alex, if there was need.

“Addy we are treading on thin ice.”

“Karen Larsen, say no more. I told you once, 100% forever. I stand where I have always stood, right beside you.”

Karen embraced her and their daughter. They were all sleeping together that night in the same bed. They wanted their little one close.

Under Mr. Kimbell’s and Phil’s advice a plan was put together. Phil talked to Mr. Kimbell about Addy’s concern and Mr. Kimbell agreed. “Addy is right to have that concern. These people seem to be very vicious. We cannot let this travesty happen. If there is Justice in Scotland still, it will prevail and I shall be the one to make this plea in court. Even if it’s the last one I make!”

Phil was impressed with Mr. Kimbell. He knew the man. Phillip came from one of the oldest families in Scotland and had gone to Oxford Law School. Mr. Kimbell, was now an older man who had retired to a small practice of law in the town of Altee, but those who had been raised in the legal grounds of Scottish law knew that Mr. Kimbell had been a professor of law at Oxford, and a prominent, well know Judge. Anyone who had studied law in Scotland new the name Andrew Kimbell from having read the best known legal decisions ever written in Scottish law. And before, becoming a Judge, and later a professor at Oxford, Mr. Kimbell had been one of the best orators in the court system. Phillip knew that Mr. Kimbell was an asset to their cause and he quickly enlisted the man. In that regard, Phillips was a great strategist. When he didn’t have the best cards in his hands, he knew exactly where to find them. Proving again, that the greatest wisdom of all, is not knowing it all, but knowing where to find those who knew and could do what you couldn’t.

All of this, of course, was propelled by Addy’s meeting with Phil. She had authorized him to do whatever needed to be done and assured him all the funds for whatever was necessary. The details of the plan were unknown to Karen and Addy. The women were away and arrived back home the day before the trial. Alex was left in Laurie’s care back in the States. Laurie and Kate, Joey’s wife, had gone to an undisclosed location with their children and were to stay there until Addy and Karen returned. Joey and Shaun, Laurie’s husband, took time off to be with their family. They were resolved not to hand Alex over even if they had to hide with her at the ends of the earth and live in a hut for the rest of their lives. Both Laurie and Joey along with their families had committed their total support.

While they were away, Melanie came to visit them at Culebra and spent some time there. For a while, Karen fell into depression. She felt guilty because it was her family who was causing them all this grief. She had always wanted Addy to be happy and now this terrible happening had created unhappiness and she felt helpless to resolve it. Of course, Addy was as reassuring as ever, but the truth was that her concern was always present and it was hard to conceal your innermost fears to the one person on earth that knew every bit about you and could even sense your smallest apprehension. Melanie came and helped, but the dark cloud still hung over them. The fear of losing Alex was agonizing. Alex was even sleeping in the same room with them for fear that someone might snatch her overnight. They were living in pure panic.

When they walked in the court room, they were holding each other by the arm. They did not reflect any emotion or spoke. They didn’t know anyone so there was no need to greet anyone. The only familiar faces were those of the perpetrators of this travesty and there was no need to even look that way. They sat and merely looked at the Judge’s chair. The Judge came in and the proceeding began. The family’s lawyer explained that they had reached an agreement and that they had submitted it to the Judge for approval and formalization. Charles and Margaret sat all pompous next to their attorney, Margaret occasionally looking to see if she saw some reaction from either woman. She saw none. Charles was basking in his glorious moment.

The judge had the documents in front of him. He paused and took a long look at the women who merely stared silently at him. The judge was about to say something, when the court room doors opened up and a mob of people burst into the court room to everyone’s amazement. The judge panicked and called for court security to intervene. There was no intervention possible. The crowd was of such magnitude that it was beyond control. There was no possible way to stop all those people unless they had several swat teams present, and they didn’t. The crowd however, was quiet and peaceful. Once they entered the court room, to the judge’s amazement, there was solemn silence, there was only the noise of the movement of people and a sort of murmur of a sound.

The constable spoke. “Your honor, we cannot close the court’s doors, or even get to them. The police informed us that buses have arrived in town transporting hundreds, or maybe a few thousand people!” The District court was in the town of Edingville, which was the seat of the shire’s government.

Even with a quiet, peaceful crowd, the judge felt fear of the mob and stood up trying to regain control of his court room. “What in the name of God is all these about?!” He demanded, almost screaming over his lungs. The judge was known to be a very strong, commanding, rightful man. The court room and all adjacent areas immediately came to total halt. Then a figure emerged from the crowd which to give the judge a sense of calmness. Ahead of the mob, stood a very familiar and well known, respectable face. An outstanding member of the old English bar and an old time college friend of Judge Thatcher: Mr. Kimbell.

The women were speechless and astonished. They recognized many faces, but had no clue what all these people from Altee were doing there.

“Addy was going on?”

“I have no idea.”

Mr. Kimbell spoke. “Your Honor, if I may address the court as a long standing member of the bar….”

Judge Thatcher had no hesitation in allowing Mr. Kimbell to speak. He was almost glad that he had something to say to clear the situation.

“Please do, if you have any words to enlighten us!”

“For the record, my name is Andrew Kimbell, attorney at law in the town of Altee. This was a humble introduction for a man for such an outstanding career and legal standing. Judge Thatcher knew Kimbell well and whatever he had to say was very much worth listening. His speech was slow and eloquently delivered in a tone and stature that one would have imagined Winston Churchill speaking to Parliament.

“I beg the court to accept an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the town of Altee, a town which I gladly and of my own free will, represent here in court, as an attorney and citizen.” He paused for effect. “It is the purpose of this manuscript and the desire of the town of Altee to assist this court in deciding the matter of the custody of Miss Alexandra Marcos Larsen, a native of the township. As the court will be able to confirm from the brief and its attachments, the document contains the signature of the 800 voting residents of the township. The town of Altee as a whole attests and vouches for the moral character of Ms. Karen Larsen and Adriana Marcos, Miss Alexandra Marcos Larsen’s biological and adoptive parent.” He again paused for effect. This tactic was extremely effective since the man was eloquent and forceful in his speech. Every time he paused people couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say next.

“The two ladies in question in this proceeding have been for the last seven years exemplary citizens of our town. Among the attachments to our brief, the court will find affidavits from among others, Mayor Hutton, Dr. Naylor, our constable, two of our ministers and many merchants and many of the respectable members of our town who have come to know these ladies as citizens and friends through the years. They all vouch for their integrity, respectability and decency.” Another pause.

“The town of Altee respectfully begs the court….. to award Ms. Larsen and Ms. Marcos custody of their daughter, Alexandra who all the signatories know as a happy, well cared, and loved child.” Mr Kimbell paused again. A lot of people thought he was done, and were somewhat shocked when he continued.

“The town of Altee also begs the court to -- deplore, reject and hold with suspicious eyes -- any settlement entered in this court today whereby relatives interested in the custody of the child…… sooooo quickly, heartlessly and loosely relinquish the interest of the child’s well-being for their own personal gain in acquiring the MgGuill Estate.” Another pause for effect. Everyone was mesmerized listening.

“This custody proceeding was entered with no other purpose but to maliciously use an innocent child as a bargaining chip to swindle these decent, respectful and hard working women from their property, and to SPLIT (Mr. Kimbell raised his voice at this point) and TEAR a happy loving home. If these women, have agreed to relinquish their property without any hesitation, it stands only as proof and evidence of the love they have for their child - - WILLING TO GIVE ALL THEY HAVE FOR HER.” Mr. Kimbell’s voice trembled with his last words and he paused, to calm down and gather himself. He appeared shaken by his emotions.

Judge Thatcher was wide-eyed totally captured by Kimbell’s speech, and must have been sitting at the edge of his chair because the man looked as if he was ready to climb over his high desk to be in a better position to listen to Kimbell’s speech. Everyone in the court room was sitting at the edge of their seats or biting their nails or knuckles.

“The town of Altee hopes that justice will prevail in this honorable room of law today. We thank the court for allowing our plea, and beg the court to allow our brief in evidence. ” Every time Mr. Kimbell emphasized a word or raised his voice, he raised his hand in such a commanding forceful way that together with the tone of his voice people were mesmerized. Some were grasping hands, some in tears while gasping, or holding on to one another. His speech was hair-raising and shook every heart in the room. Karen and Addy could not hold back their tears anymore and wept as he spoke.

As Mr. Kimbell ended his summation, only sobs were heard in the court room or along the adjacent rooms holding the hundreds of people who had gathered there. As he retreated, Karen got up from her chair, to Addy’s surprised and hugged him. Addy got up as well and stood behind Karen. Mr. Kimbell patted her on the back and accompanied them to their seats and then retreated to join and stand in front of the crowd in the room.

After Kimbell’s speech, the judge took out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face. Then he spoke. “The amicus brief and the plea from the town of Altee are accepted into evidence. This court will recess for two hours to peruse and analyze the evidence. The gavel was heard and the judge exited the room.

The women who were totally heartbroken were taken to a small room off the court room where they could have some privacy. Alone in that room, they cried and held each other. After a while Phil and Mr. Kimbell entered the room bringing with them some lunch.

Karen stood up when she saw Mr. Kimbell. “Mr. Kimbell, I have no words to….”

“It’s alright, my child, it’s alright. We will prevail. I have faith in justice.”

Addy’s teary face was also lost in all of her emotions and was unable to speak as well. He came over and also held her in his arms. Sometime later someone knocked on their door and announced that the judge was coming back. The two hours had not passed yet.

Everyone took their seats, and the court was called to order. The judge took notice that the court remained as packed with people as it had been earlier, and noticed that the local press was now also covering the event as well.

“This court has considered all the evidence presented and has reached and will make several judgments today. I advise all present that I will not accept any displays of emotions from anyone. I order that no one speak until this court has rendered its entire judgment. Anyone disobeying this ruling will be taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct.” The judge paused and then continued.

“In my entire career at the bench, I have never seen such a public display of solidarity as I have seen here today. Taking into consideration all the evidence presented, this court makes the following pronouncements: First, this court rejects the settlement agreement entered by the parties.” The judge looked up to see if anyone was disobeying his previous ruling. He noticed some faces of disbelief and how the two women seemed to have deflated. Without acceptance of the settlement agreement the custody battle was on. Karen buried her face into Addy’s shoulder and Addy held her, although in the depth of her soul, she was torn and ready to collapse herself.

“This court will now pass ruling in the matter of custody of Alexandra Marcos Larsen. This court awards custody of Alexandra Marcos Larsen to her legal parents and guardians, Ms. Karen Larsen and Ms. Adriana Marcos.”

Karen and Addy gasped and held themselves. They were both in tears. The world stood still at that very moment. Nothing else mattered. They had their child and that was all that mattered. A slight murmur was heard throughout the court room, but it quickly subsided when the judge looked up to check on the crowd. Everyone much aware still of the judge’s preliminary threatening words.

“This court finds Ms. Larsen and Ms. Marcos fit, and suitable parents on their own record. This court also takes legal notice of the evidence presented in support and solidarity from the town of Altee who in its entirety has vouched for the good standing in the community of these women as respectful, decent citizens and parents. This court also finds the actions of the plaintiff deplorable and vicious. We will recommend to the court’s prosecutorial branch that an investigation be conducted to ascertain whether the actions that have brought us here today can be construed as any punishable infraction of the law. All costs, expense and fees fall on the plaintiffs. This court now adjourns.”

The court room cleared among congratulatory shouts and handshakes. The women still in tears and very shaken left the room with Mr. Kimbell’s arms around them. Once outside, Karen spoke.

“You have our eternal gratitude. We are forever in your debt. Please, Mr. Kimbell let everyone know how we feel. We are in no condition to meet with anyone now. We just can’t.” They were both visibly shaken, Addy held her hands to her heart. After saying their good-byes, they left still holding and supporting each other in their frail emotional state.

James and JP, who had also been in tears, were waiting for them and drove them away from the crowd. They were all in tears and sobbing in the car. No one spoke. All of them were emotionally drained. Karen’s head rested in Addy’s shoulder, and Addy tenderly caressed her. When they got to the cottage the men got out with them. They had no intention on staying wanting to give them their privacy, but still wanting to hug them for comfort. “If you need anything from us, give us a call. We’ll come right over.”

“James? Can you take us to the airport tomorrow afternoon? We would like to go get Alex immediately. After that we are going to be headed for Culebra again and spend some time there.” She looked at Addy when she spoke looking for agreement. She hadn’t talk to Addy about this plan, but she knew she would find no objection from Addy. Karen’s arm was over Addy’s shoulder. Addy cuddled into her and wrapped her arm around Karen’s waist.

“Sure, honey, give us a call in the morning and tell us at what time do you want us here.”

Once inside the cottage, Addy led the way upstairs. “Come on, I want to hold you in bed.” They took a shower and went to bed.

Neither one was talking they just lay there under the cover holding each other. “Addy? do you remember the first time we made love?”

“Which first time? The one in New York when you came on my leg, or the one in Japan when….” Addy couldn’t finish. Karen came up and quieted her placing her lips over hers. Addy chuckled. To this day Karen was embarrassed that she had come on Addy’s leg that night in New York after the plane accident. Karen defended herself stating that she was heavily sedated. Addy never forgot that night. She had always reminded Karen that it was that night that she realized how much she wanted her. That it was the first time in her life that she really craved a woman and that that woman was her. Karen would always smile at that statement. Addy always claimed that only Karen had made her have those feelings and that it was definitely because she was the sexiest woman in the world. Karen loved all of Addy’s compliments and attention which always resulted in arousing Karen and culminating in an endless night of passionate love making. Tonight was no exception.

In the morning, Karen woke up first. Addy was nestled in the crook of her shoulder partially uncovered. Karen smiled. She always loved to watch her in the morning still naked in her arms. Addy looked so peaceful, so beautiful. Karen always took the time to count her blessings. How lucky she was to have this woman love her. Unable to contain her emotions, she’d always end up kissing Addy who would wake up asking if she was trying to take advantage of her.

Karen would always chuckle. “I already did.”

“No, you didn’t! I would know, but if you still want to….”

“Oh blind man…do you want to see?”

Morning activities resumed immediately, taking them into mid-morning. Of course, today was a real treat. Since Alex was born, there was no way that anyone could stay in bed past 6 AM unless the little green eyes would go back to sleep which was unlikely once she woke up.

**

Later that afternoon, James dropped them off at the airport and they left for Scotsdale, Arizona which was where Laurie and Kate were with all the children. They were waiting for them at the airport. Alex came running to them the minute she saw them. Karen picked her up and embraced and kissed her, as she wept holding her daughter. Laurie hugged Addy as she also began to cry. Then Alex jumped to Addy’s arms and the same happened. Laurie in the meantime hugged Karen. There was another round of hugs with Kate as well.

“Oh Karen, You have no idea of how much we’ve prayed!”

“Thanks, Laurie.”

“How did it go here?” Addy asked.

“Well, the first couple of days she was looking for you guys, but Erica constantly played with her, so we kept her busy all the time.” Erica was Laurie’s daughter, who was now four years old. Strange as it sounded, Alex had a four year old aunt.

Karen took Alex in her arms and Addy held Erica’s hand and they all left for the house they had rented there.

“Why don’t the two of you come with us to Culebra?” Karen asked.

“Karen, we’ll come later. I think you guys need some alone time. We will come next month. Shawn will stay for a week and we’ll stay for the rest of the month. I need a break. Mom I’m expecting again.”

“Oh God! Congratulations!!”

“Wow, Laurie that is wonderful.” Of course Karen was glad Laurie was having a baby, but going through pregnancy was something she didn’t want to think about!

“You too, Kate, come and stay with us, whenever you guys want to. I definitely think everyone should come for Christmas or New Years, whatever works best. We are going to be there for an indefinite period. We need to put our memories of the last few weeks away and I think it will take some time.” Karen spoke knowing that she was making a decision for both again, but still she smiled. Addy saw on Karen’s face an understanding and contentment she had never seen as clear as she did this day. Karen’s realization in the depth of her soul that Addy would always be with her wherever, no matter what, and forever. The women looked at each other and smiled.

“Oh that will be great! I love it when we are all there.” Laurie really liked the family gatherings.

Two days later, they boarded a plane with a Miami connection to Puerto Rico. They stayed there for several days to make arrangements for shipments to Culebra. Whenever they planned to stay in Culebra for extended periods of time, they would place a huge order of supplies in Puerto Rico to have it brought later to them. Once all of that was taken care off, they proceeded on the chartered plane to the island.

It was December when they got there, but the weather was always warm in the tropics. Karen took time off from work and later worked from Culebra. Phil in a newly formed association with Mr. Kimbell was running the law consulting business. Mr. Kimbell was already retired but was a bright legal mind and was lending a hand. Also, some law clerks had been hired to handle routine things and research.

The women had not talked about any specific day of return. They didn’t care. As long as the three of them were together, they were home. Also spending winters away from Scotland was an appealing idea. As things were, they had a great time that Holiday season and didn’t return to Scotland until May when the weather was already warm there. They later returned, to the States when Laurie had her baby, Ashley, another girl. There appeared to be an abundance of women in the family. It was Joey that ended up being the one with the two boys.

In the meantime, both women were trying to forget all that happened with Karen’s family. They talked about it endlessly to get it all out of their system, but ended up agreeing to put it all behind them. Addy was still worried about the family presenting future issues. She felt that she had to protect Karen and Alex from them forever. They would always be there and would do anything to hurt them. Addy did not believe in revenge, but she thought that if there was a way to stop these people from ever trying to pull another one on them she would.

Before they left for the island Addy had a conversation with Phil. Karen was busy making arrangements and still accepting peoples’ congratulation and well wishes, so she was unaware of Addy’s conversation with Phil. “Phil, I need to talk to you.”

“Sure, Addy, what’s up?”

“Phil, these people have tried to hurt us more than once. I need to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Get a reputable private investigator and find out all you can about Charles business and finances. I want to know where his money comes from.”

Phil looked at her with a worried face. “What do you intend to do?”

“Nothing. I just need to be prepared, in case they try to pull another one on us. Just see what you can find out about him.” In her mind, Addy wished she could find a way to ruin them, or to find something to hold them back with if they came back again to torment them. She was resolved to find that something.

**

They had called ahead to have supplies delivered to their home in Culebra. They still stopped at the grocery store to get some of the perishables items and then proceeded home. Once at home, they unpacked and made a quick dinner. All of a sudden they realized that there was nothing to do but to relax. Addy noticed that Karen was uneasy and she had the little one in her arms. In fact, the little one had been in Karen’s arms or her lap the whole time, even when they ate.

Addy sensed Karen’s anxiety. She could tell Karen was uneasy, and was trying to come up with something to deal with it. As they settled in the living room, Karen remained standing with the little one still in her arms. Addy didn’t say a word and pulled Karen to sit next to her. She still said nothing and looked at Karen straight in the eyes. Karen swallowed. Her eyes were playing the ping pong game they always played when she was nervous. She knew that her eyes were giving her away. She knew Addy had them memorized and could read them well. Karen couldn’t hold it in anymore and the tears began to fall. Addy was expecting the meltdown and held her tight the minute Karen took refuge in her arms. Karen was still holding Alex when she fell into Addy’s arms.

“Mommy Booboo cry?”

“No, baby Mommy has no booboo. Mommy is okay.”

Karen hid her face from Alex in Addy’s shoulder. “Let me have her, Ker.” Karen handed the baby over to Addy and Addy placed her in her playpen in front of the sofa. “Alex, play with your toys.” She then went back to the sofa and pulled Karen to her. Karen held on to her. Addy could feel the tension and the roaring engine in Karen’s body. She knew there was trouble brewing in her mind.

“Tell me what’s wrong, baby.” Addy kissed her head and gently ran her hand up and down her back. Karen eased into her. Karen knew there was no point hiding things from Addy. She’d know sooner or later.

“I’m afraid, Addy. I’ve never been afraid in my life, but I’m afraid now. All my life, it was always just me and I knew I’d do okay. When you came along … I always thought I could protect you against anything. I felt good and strong and thought I could stand for you anytime. I felt strong about us. But now, after all this has happened. I’m afraid, for her.” She pointed to the little one. “She’s so little, so helpless. I feel so responsible.” Karen started to cry. “I feel….I feel like I need to protect her from the world, and I don’t know if I can! I don’t want anything bad happening to her. I want to give her a perfect life. And I don’t even know if I can protect her from those bastards! I haven’t spoken to you about this, but I’m afraid that this might not be over. They want the estate and Alex is a threat to them. She stands in between them and what they want. I fear for her. I have this anxiety inside me. I need to protect her, Addy and you! I never had anything to loose, but now I have so much, Oh God! I wouldn’t have minded giving them the dammed estate if that meant that they would leave us alone forever! But there’s no real guaranty of that because they are vicious!”

Addy wanted to tell Karen that she shared her concern, but she didn’t want to add to Karen’s worries. In her mind, she was more resolved to do something and she was glad that she had talked to Phil about her concerns and wishes before they left.

“Ker, we need to decompress. We have been through a lot and I understand what you are saying. Everything will be okay. We’ll stay here and relax and we will be safe. We won’t leave her with anyone and we’ll keep an eye on her the whole time. Also, you are not alone. I know you feel yourself our protector, but I’m strong too, sweetie. No one messes with my child. I’m like a lion. Ker, I will do whatever it takes to protect her.”

“I know, Addy, but I feel responsible for both of you, and ….”

“Ker, I know how you feel. I know you too well. But I also need you to understand that it’s not just you protecting her, it’s the two of us.”

“I just wished we didn’t have to live with this fear. I didn’t want it like this.” Karen was again tense.

“Ker, I need to tell you something I did.”

Karen pulled from her embrace with an inquiring look.

“What? What did you do?”

“I had to do it. I needed to be prepared if there is a next time. I hope that you don’t get mad at me.” She grimaced.

“What?”

“I asked Phil to investigate the source of their finances.”

Karen was surprised.

“I mean… where do these people get money for all the crap they pull? I have the feeling that there is something going on with them and I thought that if we could have something, some dirt on them to hold against them we would be in a better position to negotiate, if they bother us again.”

Karen smiled. “That was clever. You’ve been ahead of me on this one.”

Addy smiled. “Ker, I’ve always told you….I don’t just come up with things out of the blue as you tend to think. I think and I see things and I plan. Granted that sometimes I do get carried away, but this time I’m being very deliberate. Ker, I hate them for what they’ve done to us and I’m resolved not to let it happen again. I will go at them with whatever I can find and at whatever cost. I’m not laying low. I’m taking the offensive. I didn’t tell you about what I had done because you were so hurt. I didn’t want to add to your worries, but I’m resolved, honey, no one is hurting us again! I will be one step ahead of them, if there is a next time.”

Karen was overwhelmed by Addy’s actions and thoughts. “Addy, you are amazing. I’m glad you did what you did. I just regret not having known until now. I could have given Phil some ideas. Umm, maybe I’ll call him.”

“No, Ker. We are going to put this behind us and we are going to move on with our lives. Let’s deal with whatever Phil finds out when we get home. If there’s anything fishy with them, we’ll hold that card and, God forgive me for what I’m about to say, but if there’s a way that I can bring trouble their way, I will do it. Even if I have to buy the company he works for and fire him!”

“Addy, don’t let it get the best of you, revenge is not good.”

“Ker, it is not revenge, it’s self-defense, it’s survival! They wanted to take our Alex from us!!! Fuck them, Ker!! I will crush them for that if I can!”

Karen smiled at the feisty brunette in her arms. It was Karen now who was comforting Addy. In the silence of the night, they held each other caressing and kissing one another. Both resolved to fight together and not allow anyone to ever hurt their family.

After a while, it was Addy who spoke. “Hey, I was going to make a suggestion. I know this goes against one of the rules we agreed on, but for now, I would feel much better if Alex slept in the room with us, in her own crib, of course. We can put the crib close to our bed…”

Karen was quiet, but chuckled. “Adriana, do you think you can fool me?”

Addy grinned. “What?”

Karen looked at her lovingly, still with teary eyes. “You are trying to make me feel good. Thanks, baby. For saving me the embarrassment of going back on my word and having to ask you if she could stay in our room.”

Addy smiled. “I think the constipation thing is enough for me to hold against you.”

Karen smiled and kissed her. “You are terrible, and yet you have me wrapped around your finger.”

“Hum! Let’s go roll that crib and accommodate the room. Then I will unwrap you from my finger and see what I can do with you.”

“Whatever you want, sweetheart, whatever you want.”

When they were in bed, Addy was not too sure of Karen’s emotional state so she just held her, and kissed her.

“Addy, do you think it is inappropriate if we make love with Alex in the room?”

“I don’t think so, Ker. She’s asleep, and I don’t think she will be getting up anytime soon. She usually sleeps the whole night. Plus, even if she woke up and saw us, she’d probably think that you and I are playing.”

“Playing, huh? Do you want to play?”

“Ummm…I always love to play with you.”

Fortunately for both, Alex didn’t wake up all night, which gave them plenty of playtime.

**

The weather was fine and they enjoyed being out in the pool and walking on the beach. They specially loved having Alex in the pool with them. She had the cutest floaty and she loved playing in the water. Sometimes, Addy would sing to her in the pool and the little one would lean back in her floaty and almost fall asleep. Karen loved to watch them from the side of the pool. She pretended to be reading, but she was lovingly watching the reasons for her life sing and dance their lullabies in the pool. There were times, when even she had dozed.

A few days later, Little Bit woke up at her usual time and both women immediately reacted to the little one’s call. “Stay and sleep in, babe. I’ll take care of her.” Addy knew that the ordeal with the family had taken a huge emotional toll on her. She still couldn’t believe how Karen, who was a very subdued person with everyone, got up from her chair in the court room and actually hugged Mr. Kimbell. Karen, the one who didn’t believe in hugging people, was actually hugging someone other than Addy.

The morning passed and Karen wouldn’t get up, finally around 11 AM, Addy went up to check on her. She had Alex with her.

“Hey, baby, are you okay? Aren’t you going to get up?”

“Addy, I think I’m sick.”

It was rare for Karen to be sick. “What’s wrong?”

“I feel awful.”

“Come here. Let me feel your face.” Karen got closer. Her eyes were sort of shut. Addy touched her forehead. “You have a fever.”

“How can you tell?”

“You are burning up. Go back to bed. I’ll bring you some Tylenol.”

The next day, they went to the clinic, and they ran all sorts of tests on her. All the tests were fine, and she was diagnosed with a virus. It took her about three days for Karen to feel better. In the meantime, Addy took care of her. “Ker, I think with all that happened your immune system is very low and you were vulnerable to whatever bug you caught. Honey, all is fine and will be fine. Here eat some asopao, this will be good for you.” Karen loved asopao. It was a soupy chicken and rice. It was delicious. On a sick day, it could lift the dead and on a rainy, cold day it would warm every bone. Karen felt much better after she ate. “Thanks, baby, you cook like no one.”

“You are welcome sweetie,”

“Awex like soup!”

The women looked at each other and laughed.

**

To be continued in Part 14

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