I know that this was supposed to be released some time ago, but wow how 2013 has marked it on my calendar for so many hurdles to clear so far. With this whole get out of debt experience my work schedule has driven me ridiculous. I hate the effort that I have to give to someone else, but as with most things it is good to have struggle so that the reward is so much greater. Along with deaths in the family coming left and right I pray for some rest soon. But to let my favorite readers have a sneak peek here it is:
THE RIGHTEOUS IS ALWAYS LISTENING
This December has to be one of the coldest that I have ever experienced, Preston thought to himself as he brushed snow off of the windshield of his car. He couldn’t believe that the day he had been waiting after three years had finally come. Well…he’s felt that way before, but this time he knew that Lustray would be there no matter what. “Delight, let’s go. One more time and we’ll be done with this part of it,” Preston urged as he opened the door to help her with the kids to get dropped off before they hit the highway for the two and a half hour trip back to the Northern Ohio Courthouse.
As everyone settled into the car he made sure that he had everything right in his place. He had the reports from the Guardian Ad Litem, all of the emails that he saved over the years as well as his receipts and letters written.
After the kids were dropped off and they were on the highway, the ride was very quiet. Preston’s face was tense and Delight could read anger all over his face. There was no other Preston felt that he could be. It was time for war and to let the entire world know how foul she truly was. There was no in the world that Preston would let her slip through the cracks on any angle that she wanted to take. He never forgot her infamous words, “I’m going to make it real hard for you.”
The ride seemed a lot faster than the last time. Maybe, it was because they didn’t have to be so careful using the GPS or Mapquest. They waded through the security lines and spotted Lustray with a few friends this time around. Preston couldn’t make out all of the faces, but he knew that he was very well in control of the situation, because there was nothing wrong that he did.
“Preston her and her friends need to stop looking at me,” Delight whispered to Preston.
“That’s just because they thought that you would probably be uglier than her that’s all. They can’t handle it,” Preston giggled along with Delight.
Preston knew that he had an hour to spare and couldn’t help, but to feel assertive after all of the time he had missed out on his children for no good reason. He felt very good about his chances, but he knew that if his attorney didn’t say anything that he had to take over the conversation so that the courts would know.
As the time drew closer to the proceedings Preston couldn’t see her attorney anywhere. Maybe what Devon said was correct…she doesn’t have a penny to her name.
“Preston it’s supposed to start in five minutes, where is Attorney Graves?”
He looked at his watch and grew agitated with every new second that went by. He wasn’t in the mood for any hiccups and this wasn’t the time for this to be happening. Preston began to find a trend with this attorney and hated to say it, but she was definitely on “CP” time. He hated to stereotype his own cultural, but some just had a way of proving it time and time again.
“I’ll call her office and see what the hold up is. This is crazy. There is no reason that she shouldn’t be here early so that we can discuss this stuff before hand,” Preston huffed with his cellphone in his hand looking up the number. “Uh, yeah could you give Attorney Graves a call and let her know that we are here and that it is almost time for us to get started. She knows what time we are supposed to get started and I haven’t seen her at all yet.” Preston listened intently to the paralegal before he hung up the phone.
“What did they say,” Delight asked nervously.
“Her assistant said that she should be here any minute and that she has it on her schedule to be here today, so I don’t know. I don’t know why it is so hard for her to just be on time and communicate every once in awhile. This is crazy.”
“Mr. Brown, is there any sign of your attorney yet,” Attorney Andy asked with a briefcase in hand and eyes looking like he had just woke up in his car.
Preston looked around feverishly through the gobs of people that were in the waiting area and finally spotted his attorney bumbling and stumbling with paperwork in hands and her forehead sweating as if it were summer time outside. He couldn’t believe how unorganized she had looked and she didn’t even sit down in the courtroom yet. “You see. That’s why I make my own copies, because you can’t trust anyone to handle your stuff the way that you would,” he whispered to Delight.
“Hey guys,” Attorney Graves elated as she saw the couple waiting patiently. “I was looking around Preston and it looks like that she doesn’t have an attorney. I did get a letter from her attorney saying that they may get a possible reatainer, but we’ll see. As far as I know there isn’t anyone in her corner. Is that her over there,” she signaled in the direction of Lustray and her entourage.
“Yes, that is,” Preston confirmed.
“Boy, what were you thinking,” she slapped Preston behind his head. “She looks no where near as pretty as your wife.”
Preston didn’t put a defense, because he knew it was true. Although Preston knew like any other man, if things aren’t right at home it doesn’t matter what she looks like fifty percent of the time. “Okay, well here are the copies of the paperwork and they are ready for us to go inside as far as I can tell.
Delight already knew the procedure from the last time so she took her seat and waited patiently for the proceedings to conclude.
As Preston led Attorney Graves into the courtroom Attorney Andy stated his identification number followed by Attorney Graves doing the same.
“At this time we are here to discuss the matter of Ishmael Redd in the case of Preston Brown versus Lustray Redd,” stated the magistrate. All heads nodded in agreement. Since the Defendant is present here I would like to confirm that by stating your full name.”
“Lustray Saint Redd.”
“And Ms. Redd are you aware that you were not here for the mediation as well as the pre trial hearing and that the things here are taken very seriously and that we do not tolerate any gaming of the courts,” asked the magistrate with a sharp look in her eyes.
“I sure do,” replied Lustray. “But I do request a continuance at this time since I do not have an attorney and I have the possibility of retaining one. He should have called in earlier to the courthouse.”
“I’m sorry Ms. Redd, but this has been on the docket for years and from the looks of the documents that I have here on my screen it looks as though you have been served with perfect service. With that said we can not put this case off any longer and we will proceed with the trial and have a resolution today.”
“Your honor as we have stated before paternity has been established for a younger child that they both share and we wish to have him added onto the case as well if we could,” motioned Attorney Graves.
“Yes, I do see that and as stated we can only deal with the child that was last found in this county. So therefore I cannot add the child, because mother has been living in Central Ohio for at least six months at this point.”
Preston knew that it was worth a shot to try and see the little guy, but was receptive to the will that God had planned for him. As he looked across the table he could see Lustray with her notes and trying to look as studious as possible for the magistrate. There is no way that the magistrate is going to listen to anything that she has to say.
“Your honor my client has been trying to see his child in this matter for over two years and there has not been any effort made by the mother and as put in out motion we would like to have visitation established. He has already gotten paternity established and is paying child support for both children at the moment,” Attorney Graves petitioned.
“Attorney Graves I am looking at this form and it looks like that you did not put in the Shared Parenting Plan in at least 30 days before this trial as stated by law,” replied the magistrate.
This made Preston’s skin boil even more as he looked around for some sort of remedy to calm his nerves as he looked at his attorney scrambling around to search for paperwork that already should have been completed.
“Your Honor I thought that we already should have had that here in place,” Attorney Graves replied unconvincingly.
“Yes, you have it here, but it was not posted as filed at least thirty days in advance. What we have established here is that you were about seven days late.”
Preston didn’t know if he should have smacked her in the back of the head or fired her there right on the spot. He knew that he was overreacting internally, but knew that he could have done a better job of getting the work in that was desperately needed.
“Since I gave the last order has the Defendant been cooperating with the order?”
“From our understanding, yes Your Honor.”
“At this time I would like to call Mr. Preston Brown to the stand,” motioned Attorney Graves.
Preston stood upright with great enthusiasm and focused determination. With every step he took he consistently ran every fact through his head that he could remember from the day that he told Lustray it was over. She was still not over the relationship and he knew it. She could not stop staring at him as he glided towards the stand and raised his right hand.
“Mr. Brown, please raise your right hand and do you affirm to tell the truth to the best of your knowledge,” asked the Magistrate.
“Mr. Brown could you please let the court know the extent of your relationship with Ms. Redd,” asked Attorney Graves.
“Sure. It was basically a relationship of where I was married and she was married and we both were in the midst of seeking divorces. Eventually, we ended up having a child who was Ishmael and I lived with her for about nine months. Once the relationship went sour I decided to end it and that’s where all of the miscommunication started. By that time Ms. Redd was divorced and I didn’t have any contact with the child whatsoever until I was able to track her down and get an order of visitation from this court,” Preston stated without stumble.
“And Mr. Brown when you went to see your son for the first time can you describe how that went?”
“First of all I never been there and I didn’t know what kind of drama I was potentially going to run into so I called the police to accompany me there. They had one unit go before me and another unit in my rear to enter the apartment complex. When I got out of my van she was there going back and forth with the officer and after he showed her the paperwork she turned Ishmael over to me. It was kind of weird that she would bicker with the officer when she already had his hat and gloves on.
Of course he was scared and crying and doing the whole bit, simply because I wasn’t sure if he remembered me or not. But, I asked him if he remembered me and he did in fact tell me that I was his dad,” Preston began to get emotional with his voice quivering.
“So, Mr. Brown. How long have you known the whereabouts of your child?”
“Could you rephrase the question,” Preston asked. He knew where his attorney was getting at, but he really wanted to steer his case in the correct direction.
“Sure. Has it always been clear as to where your child has lived or been living since the two of you split?”
“Oh, okay. No I really didn’t know anything about this until one of the other fathers contacted me and told me. He is originally from the area and he had the most contact with his daughter. In fact, here is the original message that he sent to me on Facebook.” Preston shuffled through his papers and found the document and handed it to his attorney.
Attorney Graves read the document verbatim and labelled it as evidence for the court to assess. “And Mr. Brown, how many counties are you aware of that she has lived in the last three years?”
“To my knowledge she has lived in three different counties in three different years, which means that her oldest daughter has been living in three different school districts in as many years.”
“I see.” Attorney Graves continued to scan through her notes and came back with some more fire. “Mr. Brown before you and Ms. Redd split what was visitation like then?”
Preston felt relieved that she was getting into the meat of his argument. “As I stated previously, when things were going as planned I was living with her and at the time she was going to school and working part time at a daycare. She had to be at the daycare early so what I would do was get her daughters ready for school and while the youngest daughter was not in school I would just homeschool her and give her some education on what a regular school day would be like. I mean, I would do dishes, run errands, pick up medicine, and pretty much anything that needed to be handled to make the house run successfully. I’m pretty sure that without me there was no way that she would even be able to work or go to school. I simply just tried to help.”
Attorney Graves peered at Mr. Brown in gratification as he expounded on his case and with great articulation.
“And finally Mr. Brown, when you found out that she moved back to your part of the state, did she ever think to notify you about making any arrangements to see the children?”
“Not at all. All I know is that when she moved, she basically skipped out on her rent and that the other father that was closer helped her move and he notified me of the new arrangements. From him is the only way that I ever learned anything about the findings of the kids.” Preston’s nerves finally calmed down and he began to get in rhythm with the questioning of his attorney.
The Guardian ad Litem sat back in his chair and began to cross examine Preston. “Preston. Has there ever been an instance where you and your wife have argued and you left the house?”
Preston looked from left to right and then directly into the eyes of the attorney and replied, “Not since I been back home for almost three years.”
Attorney Andy raised his eyebrows and gave an expression of surprise to Preston’s response. “So what do you and your family do as a special things?”
“Could you repeat the question? It sounded kind of vague. I’m just not sure of what your definition of special is,” replied Preston.
“Okay. What do you all do as family functions,” he shot back with a small sense of irritability.
Preston knew he was getting to him so he sat back in comfort and began to retort. “I see now. Well, I am a preacher so that would require us to be in church together just about every Sunday. As a family we have weekly meetings that allow us to discuss what our goals and aspirations are as a family from week to week. My wife and I are both from the East Coast so whenever we want to go and see grandma and grandpop we use it as an excuse to go on vacation to the beach for a few days. We do tree decorations during Christmas, pumpkin cravings during harvest season, tailgate for our favorite football games, I could go on and on; but you get the point.”
“Mr. Brown I recently did home visits to you and Ms. Redd’s residence and I was curious if you knew that Ishmael was diagnosed with any sort of learning disability?”
“Like I said before I never heard anything about them unless it was from someone else. But I did hear such a rumor that there was that possibility,” Preston leaned forward attentively.
“So would you happen to have any experience of how to take of a child that has a learning disability?”
Preston could help, but smile a little bit wider as he reached inside of his briefcase and pulled out a sheet of paper. “This here is an IEP plan. In other words, this is an Individual Educational Plan that my wife and I have signed with the child study team so that our son could be accommodated. We have a very great relationship with the team as well as the director. If you’d like you could have this sheet as this is a copy,” Preston offered to the attorney.
“Why thank you. I believe that this will come in handy for the magistrate.” He took the sheet of paper and examined it for it’s validity. “Now just to ask you for the record. Do you know the last name of your oldest son’s best friend?”
“It would be impossible for me to know that if I haven’t seen the child until just last month.”
The attorney looked down at his feet and rethought his question. He began to sense that Preston wasn’t going to let him get away with anything easy. “What I mean is, do you know the last name of the oldest best friend that resides in your home?”
“Yes,” Preston replied starkly. “His best friend is his brother. But if you want to insist on identifying someone outside of my household I can’t help you there.”
The attorney began to turn beet red and then asked. “So what about Ishmael’s haircut?”
“What about it? He came over to my house and needed a haircut so I gave him one. His hair was unkempt and I went ahead and did what any other responsible father would do. I cut all of my son’s hair and the last time I checked he is my son so I didn’t see any reason to not include him in the same dealings of the household.”
“So you didn’t think to let Lustray know that you were cutting the child’s hair?”
“No. If anything I thought that she would be happy, because it was in dire need of being taken care of. I don’t know how in the world he could have gone a few seconds more with his hair like that. I believe I saved her time and money,” Preston shrugged. “I did end up receiving an email about the whole thing. So I could see why you would bring that up. But, then again she thinks that she’s asexual and that she didn’t lay down with anyone and make these babies. All you have to do is read her emails and find that she just states everything as “my” instead of “our”. Preston handed him another email.
“Your Honor I have no further questions,” the guardian ad litem skimmed the email as he retired back to his chair.
“Mr. Brown, why do you think that she never let you see your child,” asked the magistrate.
“I couldn’t tell you. I mean, I don’t know why a mother would deny her children the rights to see their father. If I didn’t want them she would probably try to break down the door at my house. Honestly, the only thing I can think of is that she is bitter and doesn’t want to deal with the fact that I went back to my wife and she went through with her divorce. She tells me that in order to see my children that I need to go to court. I’m here and that’s the best answer that I can give.”
“So did she ever let you know about any doctor’s appointments or anything since you learned that she has moved back towards your residence?”
“Have you ever made any efforts to see Ishmael since your relationship with Lustray was terminated?”
“Your Honor, I can’t even count them. I have sent checks, letters, emails, text messages, and even sent gifts to the children on the holidays. As a matter of fact here is what I received back from her when my wife and I sent clothes to Ishmael.” Preston pulled out a sheet paper with red ink bloodying the paper.” It read:
“Please do not send him sloppy seconds he deserves better. Happy Holidays: Needless to say, that she didn’t return all of the clothes that were sent in that box. But, I believe the courts here are intelligent enough to know what we are dealing with here.”
Preston glanced over to Lustray and he could sense that she was becoming very uncomfortable in her newly created setting. He saw her writing down some notes like she was ready to approach him at some point during the proceedings. Then…Bingo!
“Ms. Redd, would you like to approach the plaintiff with any questions,” asked the magistrate.
“Yes Your Honor. As a matter of fact I would.” Lustray stood up and walked towards Preston with an attitude. She glanced at her notes one final time before she began to cross examine Preston. “Mr. Brown, you said that you lived with me for nine months. Is that correct?”
“So how is it that you legally live with someone without your name being on the lease?”
He was almost stumped, but without missing a beat he pulled out an insurance policy. “Well, what this document here clearly states is that I was in fact living with you as I took out renter’s insurance on the address that we were living at. And if you know insurance companies the same way that I do; they are not just going to give it to someone at random address as I have also been with the same company for over ten years.”
“You also said that I never communicated with you ever since we terminated our relationship. How exactly did you let me know that when you were still asking me information about our child and the pregnancy?” At this point Lustray had her hands on her hips and shaking her head, which looked less than classy. But, Preston welcomed the gesture since he knew it would work out in his favor.
“For one I called you and told you. And two, since I am the parent that is something I am supposed to do. It seems like you can’t-”
“No Preston, how am I supposed to know?
“If you would let me answer the question…
“Well, answer the damn question then!’
“Objection,” yelled Attorney Graves. “These questions are not relevant to the child, only to their already terminated relationship.
“Sustained,” replied the magistrate. “Ms. Redd are there any further questions?”
“No, Your Honor.” Her honey brown skin started turned purple as she stomped back to her seat. There was no way that she was going to let Preston get away with being happy and she live in a life of embarrassment.
“If there are no further questions, we will now have Lustray Redd come to the stand,” insisted the magistrate.
“Uh, Your Honor, before we go any further I have another question for the Plaintiff,” interjected Attorney Andy.
“Objection,” yelled Attorney Graves with her arms folded and feet crossed at her ankles.
“On what grounds,” replied the magistrate.
“The counsel already had his chance of cross examining and is clearly steering his questions in favor of the Defendant whom he does not represent.”
Preston looked on with great anticipation and eyes of fire; ready for whatever was going to be thrown at him. There was no way he was letting anyone off of the hook. For as much burn as he had inside he fought very hard to keep his emotions intact and to not look like Lustray in front of the court.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows; that he will also reap” -Galations 6:7
Attorney Andy stood up and tried buttoning his blazer around his rotund belly the best that he could and proceeded. “Mr. Brown. To prove to the court that you are a capable parent and that you are in fact serious. What type of education do you have?”
“I have a Master’s degree.”
“And are you involved in the education of your children?”
“Yes, I am. I attended parent teacher conferences just like most parents and in the world of technology I can keep up with the kids school work in real time.”
“Uh,huh. So you have five children at home, correct?”
“Yes. I do,” Preston replied with a little wiggle in his seat; sensing where the attorney was going with his line of questioning.
“Could you let the courts know the names of all of the teachers of your children?”
Preston paused. He was stuck. He looked at the wedding ring on his finger and took a deep breath before responding. “Sir, it is not my job to come here and lie my way into the lives of my children. In fact, if it were that dire then I wouldn’t be here at all. I would have just stayed with Lustray and let my competent wife allow me to visit our children. But, getting back to your question I will say this. Yes I have five children at home. My wife is a stay at home mom who takes care of our children who are not in school,” Preston began to sit back and relax, because he now began to form his own argument through the attorney.
“And how many children are at home?”
“I have two that are at home. I have one in middle school, one in elementary school, and one that is in pre-school who goes to school for half a day during the morning.”
“I see,” the attorney began to run his brow and get back on track. “So could you finally tell us if you know the names of all of your children’s teachers?”
“No, I do not know all of the names, but I do know the homeroom teachers personally and those that in the subjects that they are the weakest in. Mrs. Leslie, Mr. Holder, and Ms. Lake.” Preston then went on to name a few random other names. He knew there was no way of them researching all of the names so he rolled with the punches without missing a beat.
“Thank you, Your Honor.”
“At this time I would like to call Lustray Redd to the stand,” commanded Attorney Graves.
Lustray walked to the stand with glasses on that Preston knew she weren’t prescribed. From her attire, he could tell that she was very conservative and tried to dress almost as a replica to his wife. But, her body would never let her get away with it. Preston couldn’t believe how she had aged in such a short period time. He could tell that she was still in the life of advertising herself. She just doesn’t understand that as long as she keeps giving it up that she’ll never find a husband that would want to deal with four kids and her attitude, Preston thought to himself.
“Ms. Redd, please raise your right hand,” requested the magistrate. “Are you ready to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
“I do,” she replied with a very subtle tone.
“Counsel you may examine,” replied the magistrate.
Attorney Graves stood up and glanced over all of her notes that she compiled from Preston’s testimony. Preston was now relaxed that he was off of the “hot seat”. He was now more interested in hearing from her own mouth why she kept their sons away from him. It was enigma to the him, and enigma to the courts, and maybe an enigma to Lustray as well.
“Ms. Redd. How long have you known Mr. Brown?”
“I met him four years ago.”
“And with in knowing him, you two have developed a somewhat romantic relationship, correct?”
“Yes, we did. But, at the time I didn’t know he was married with a wife and children.”
Preston, hoped that his attorney would hone in on that point. And she sure did.
“Okay, let’s go with that…..You say that you didn’t know that he had a wife and children, but you still went ahead and conceived another child with him.”
“Well, that’s because I was stupid enough to let him back into my life and I felt sorry for him.”
“So now you felt sorry for him! So when you tried to file a restraining order on his wife you did not know that he was married did you?”
This is starting to get good, Preston pondered.
Preston started to feel like he was in the middle of a movie thriller, He smiled at the fact that Lustray started to get uncomfortable and choke on her own words before they ever left her mouth.
Lustray cleared her throat once more so that she collect her thoughts and respond. “He was very good at lying and his wife came to my house unannounced at my graduation party.”
“So you did know that he had a wife?”
“I told you…”
“Yes or no! Yes or no! It is that simple.”
“Yes,” she shouted back.
“Now when you moved back to the same county as my client did you think to get in touch with him? In other words did you call him and let him know that you were a little closer and that there were some things that could be done?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“And why not?”
“I don’t know. I just didn’t get around to it. He’s not trustworthy and all he does is play games. He doesn’t have the best interests of my children on his agenda.”
“Okay, so what is his agenda since you are so knowledgeable of everything that goes on in his life?”
Lustray sat silent. Then responded, “He is just worried about his image and he wants to look like he is such this great father that he is not.”
“Would you say that him wanting to be involved in the lives of his children that were born out of wedlock would somehow be protecting his image?”
Everyone could tell that the statement made no sense to Lustray either and that she didn’t want to make anymore of a fool of herself than she already did, but answered, “Yes.”
Preston looked at the magistrate staring at him for some sort of reaction and Preston looked at the Guardian ad litem as well. They all could tell this story was sounding more bizarre by the second and that Lustray was not really dealing with a full deck.
“Let’s move on Ms. Redd. Mr. Brown said that the two of you were married at the time of conception of Ishmael. Is that true?”
“Yes, it is.”
“And did the courts know that at the time of your divorce proceedings?”
“Yes,” she lied confidently.
I can remember her wearing a girdle to court trying to hide her pregnancy, Preston replayed in his mind.
“My client also stated that you have other children. How many children do you have, besides the ones that you share with Mr. Brown?”
“I have two daughters.”
“And do they share the same father?”
“No, they don’t.”
“And what are the living arrangements like in your residence? Do you have a one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom, or what?”
Preston knew that she couldn’t lie her way out of that decision, because he Attorney Andy did house visits to both homes.
“I have a two bedroom apartment.”
“Wow. You mean to tell me that you have a two bedroom apartment with five people in there? So what are the sleeping arrangements like?”
Again, Lustray appeared to be melting on the stand. She swallow a huge gulp and responded. “The two girls have their room. The two boys have their own room and I sleep on the couch in the living room.” She spoke slowly and didn’t appear sure of her own answers.
Preston looked at the clock and didn’t realize that they were already approaching the two o’clock hour. He had never been involved in a court before and didn’t realize that something so simple would take so long. He was also concerned about his $200 an hour lawyer that he was paying who also drove two and a half hours to figure into the bill.
“Lustray, let’s move on,” Attorney Graves urged on becoming agitated with Lustray’s responses. She flipped through her notes and began to get at the meat of what Preston hoped that she would have gotten to earlier in the proceedings. “Mr. Brown has been having visitation with Ishmael since this court has issued the order for him to do so. Correct?”
Lustray nodded in agreement.
“So why in the world would you not let Mr. Brown pick up two brothers that are of the same mother and the same father?! Both of them are barely a year apart and this is the way that you treat your children towards their father?”
“I know that Mr. Brown has a dog and that his dog is not hypoallergenic.” she replied in an over rehearsed tone. “My son Emmanuel has bronchitis and I know that Preston’s dog is not hypoallergenic,” she swallowed deep again. “So to protect my son’s health I didn’t want to him to be in that environment.”
“Have you ever been to Mr. Brown’s house?”
“Have you ever told Mr. Brown about Emmanuel’s health issues?”
“And why not?! Do not know that he is the father now and that he has rights to know about the well being of his son’s health?”
Preston leaned forward with a slight grin as he became as intrigued as the rest of the court with what Lustray would try to throw up against the wall.
“I didn’t have a chance to and he’s not responsible,”replied Lustray.
“So you just have a habit with sleeping around and getting pregnant by irresponsible and lying men? Is that what you’re saying?”
“Well, what are you saying? You just said he was irresponsible and now you are claiming that you didn’t have sex with an irresponsible man. Yet you still say that he lived with you and when you broke up you denied him to see his children.”
Lustray just broke down and started to cry. Preston chuckled as he began to scribble down notes for additions to his new book. The magistrate had a box of tissues that were set on reserve. Larry Johnson and Delight warned Preston that she would start to cry out for mercy. But, Preston was proud to see that his attorney did not show any remorse.
“Attorney Graves, I have some questions that I would like to ask mother myself,” piped in the magistrate.
Uh,oh, Preston screamed on the inside.
“I was sitting home and battling cancer. I didn’t want the stress and I didn’t want any contact with him,” Lustray sobbed.
Preston wished he could have taken a camcorder into the courtroom so that all of the world could see how pathetic of a performance she was trying to put on. Everyone could tell from the expression of the magistrate made it even more evident that she was not in the mood for sob stories.
“Ms. Redd. So are you saying that you never told father about going to the doctor for whatever reason?”
“No, I did not.”
“So what did you do about writing down the medical history of the child. Did you put down any of the father’s history?”
“No. I did not,” as she wiped the mucus from her nose with a Kleenex.
“So how in God’s name would you let a doctor diagnose your children with anything other than the medical history of the father?”
It was getting sketchy. Lustray had nothing left in her arsenal and Preston knew that Attorney Andy had to get in and throw around his two sense once the magistrate was done. There was no way in the world that Preston could feel the momentum shifting his way as all of the energy in the room shifted towards Lustray and her ignorance.
“I just didn’t,” she shrugged.
“Ms. Redd I need to let you know that this is something very serious and not to have the father’s information down on a piece of paper is not in the best interest of the children. That is blatant and shows stringent negligence to the children that you both share. I would add that this is a very serious situation and this is not a game whatsoever. This is not a situation that has been going on for months, but for several years,” she lectured Lustray with a stringent look in her eyes. “Attorney Andy is there anything that you would like to add?”
“No, but I would like to note some observations to the court that I am reading here from the emails that Mr. Brown has provided. And in my opinion some of the responses by Ms. Redd are kind of funky. I am reading one sentence inquiries by the father and then there is this long, unprofessional backlash shown here by the Defendant.
I would also like to add that in my report previously submitted before the proceedings that my report was kind of vague. I would like to state that both parents have adequate housing and have adequate conditions for the children to live in. I know that Ms. Redd tried to make it an issue that Mr. Brown only had a three bedroom apartment, but during my visit I didn’t see any issues. With that said; as the Guardian ad Litem of this case I would motion for father to be the residential parent of the child and mother to have liberal visitation. It seems that father is more willing to communicate with the mother other than vice versa.”
The words were more than music to Preston’s ears. Attorney Graves squeezed his knee in response to let him know that he was in the running to possibly have residential custody of Ishmael.
Everyone took their respectful places inside the room and the magistrate asked, “Are there any closing statements from either party that would like to be stated at this time?”
The magistrate looked at Lustray and she stood up with a prepared sheet of paper to read off her case of argument. “I would like to let the courts know that I do love Ishmael and that I will do anything to protect him. I would also like to to let the court know that there are some things that I am dealing with personally that make it very hard. I do whatever I can to feed them and keep a roof over their heads and that I do love my son very much and that I am capable of being his mother,” she slammed down the paper after reading with a tearful submission of defeat.
“Attorney Graves is there anything that you would like to close with,” asked the magistrate.
“Yes, I do,” Attorney Graves stood upright on her swollen ankles in heels. “First of all, I would like to say that my client has done everything within his power to be involved with not just his child in this matter, but with all of them. To think that in a day and age where fathers are so important to the well-being of young men is a huge disservice to the children here. My client has shown you emails, checks the Defendant has signed in reference to the children’s financial well-being and the responses he took in stride. It is obvious that father knows how to separate himself from the demeaning past and move forward with his life. Mother on the other hand I can not say that at all. It’s so easily reflected in her attendance in this matter that she failed to attend the mediation, the pre-trial hearing and then once the date is set she tries to get it continued. I just can’t spell it out long enough that this is nothing but a classic case of alienation and not to mention that the father is in fact paying child support. Thank you.”
Attorney Andy fixed his glasses on his face and stood up. “I would like to reiterate to the courts that I am in favor of father having custody and mother having liberal visitation. Mother did not have any substantial evidence as to why father could not be involved. He has no record of misdemeanor or abuse and I am even more baffled that there is another young child involved that does not have the privilege of leaving with his brother when father has been spending the limited eight hours a weekend with him. Finally, I would like to be sarcastic and thank you for letting us into your homes. You two are two adults that are now making children suffer due to differences that will not matter ten or fifteen years from now. Thank you.”
Preston wished that he could stand up and show off his oratory skill, but he felt like he did enough for one day to put everyone on notice. He smiled at the entire court and gathered his things together in his book bag.
“Thank you all for your closing arguments. I will have a decision to you all as soon as possible. I will take this up with some guidance and you will receive a letter in the mail of my decision to be approved by the judge. Have a good evening.”
“I thought that we would have a decision today,” Preston stated to his attorney with shock. “It’s not like the movies where you find out right then and there. Maybe it must be a conservative Ohio thing,” said as he shook his head.
He glanced over at Lustray and she stormed out of the courtroom. Preston strolled behind with his attorney and saw Delight anxiously waiting to hear what preston had to say. He gave Delight a hig and said, “I am more than sure that we will be seeing a lot more Ishmael than just four hours on a Saturday.”
“So when does the new schedule start,” asked Delight.
“Unfortunately Mrs. Brown we will have to wait until the decision is received in the mail,” Attorney Graves informed. “Once we get that order, we’ll go ahead and get the ball rolling for the other one so that way it could just be tacked on and we won’t have to start from scratch. But if she knows any better she’ll start letting you see him along with Ishmael.”
“Sounds logical. But you know, like we know. She is not all there,” Preston pointed to his tempol.
“Let’s just pray about that then. Because if she is really that way off, you’ll have the kids in no time,” Attorney Graves affirmed. “Alright then, good job today and I’ll be waiting to hear from you when we add Emmanuel onto the case. I can’t believe that the magistrate did not add him onto the case. Now we have to go through all of this red tape just to get this one on the same schedule as Ishmael. I’ve got to get my little girl from the sitter so I’ll see you later.”Attorney Graves double timed back to her vehicle that didn’t look like someone with a lawyer’s salary would be willing to drive in. She waved away and burned rubber down the interstate.
Delight and Preston saw Lustray in the parking lot acting like she was the one in favor the entire time in the courtroom. Preston just giggled and shook his head. They both knew that she was the one that took the “butt whoopin’” in the room today.
“She just really does anything to keep her small reputation doesn’t she,” asked Delight with Preston’s are over shoulder.
“She sure does. Let’s get on home and celebrate!” They high fived each other and drove off into the sunset.