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Juan could not believe that his own mother had just threatened his friend, a woman who had never hurt a fly in her life and who was the sweetest person you could ever meet. Linda was a saint, and her kids were just as well mannered. He shook his head as he looked at the shocked Linda while the kids tried to figure out what just happened and why Juan was so upset.
Juan grinned widely as he happily stated to his mother "after discussion with Tio Jorge I put any phone calls from you on speaker and recorded the call because he thought you would do something like this. As I am part of this call and have just informed you of the recording it is now legal to use this recording for court. John, did you hear the threat?" John chimed in with "I heard the threat and as a duly sworn officer of the law will contact the police on Linda's behalf. I must inform you that she is the aunt of a state police detective who will be upset to hear that you threatened his aunt. That is if his cousin doesn't get dispatched to your house first. I hope he does, he will be gentler with you than my nephew."
Juan's mother didn't back down, telling them "I don't care if you heard, pendejo. I told my son to dump the maricon or she gets it and I mean it." John asked if they heard, getting a hearty "unit is off at the house now" from Willie who had just arrived. Willie then added "threatening someone over the phone is illegal and we take criminal threats against people seriously. Better answer the door, my officers don't want to have to come back with a warrant. It only makes them angrier."
She hung up and tried to run, but literally ran into the towering Ian Bailey. He smirked, extended his handcuffs, and announced: "you are under arrest for criminal threats." She tried to run, kicking Ian in the shins but was grabbed by her pants, lifted airborne, then cuffed by Ian's backup officer. The officer harshly added, "you are now under arrest for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest."
She was finally walked outside in shame, with her family threatening the two officers. They were about to gang up on the officers when Jorge appeared with his friends for a serious discussion with the Perez family. The other officer was about ready to call for backup but Ian told him that Jorge had this covered, it was a family matter. Jorge's sister hisses at him and threatened to kill him for what he did to her to which Ian bellowed "he did nothing, your own nephew called us to pick you up. Chief Pena has no problem standing up to you when nobody else would, he has had enough of your antics towards your son. Your nephew is an honorable man, as is your son."
Jorge ignored her, told his nieces and nephews to get inside to speak. Once his friends had herded them inside he sat down, laid out the eviction notice, then told them "be out by the first. You have enough money saved up to pay for a new apartment. I know damn well you do because none of you pay rent to your brother and what you pay your mother is a pittance compared with what you make working. Your mother is not getting out of this, she might have gotten a slap on the wrist for the threats but she had to go and kick Ian and try to get away. There is no way she doesn't go to prison for a while. Given that she has a long criminal record she is going to Framingham for three years at least, likely 10 years. Your cousin is serious, he has had enough of his mother taking advantage of his goodwill. She threatened his friend, there is no coming back from that. Be out, and don't contact him again. If you do I can't be responsible for what these fine people do to you. They have held off hurting your mom for a long time, but a lot of them owe Juan for helping them whenever he came to visit and they have no problem repaying him for the kind acts he did."
Jorge got up and left, with the Perez family scrambling to cover themselves. Half didn't believe he could do that, the other half saw the seriousness of the situation and decided to bail out while they still could. Jorge's friends knew who was going to stay and who was leaving without a fight, those who left would get helped while those who stayed were in for a rough time from the law.
Jorge called Juan and happily told him "your siblings and cousins have been dealt with. Your mother is going to prison, she went after Ian Bailey and tried to flee and got her just desserts. I issued your eviction orders for everyone here, those who stay will be in violation and will be dealt with firmly. We know who is going to be trouble, they aren't going to live in this state for long."
Linda heard Jorge's grave warning to which Juan smiled and explained "he means they are going to become not only homeless but jobless and friendless. Uncle Jorge is a major fixture in the city. What they are doing goes against his orders which in turn is going to cause others to back away in respect as they have shown they are untrustworthy, disloyal, and don't care about consequences.
The kids were in awe while John grinned with pride over Juan telling the story. Juan adored Jorge, he would never allow himself to be seen as anything more than Jorge's nephew but there was a strong paternal bond between the two. John added a careful "Willie had to act due to my being here, if I wasn't here she would have denied she ever threatened Linda. Even if you recorded the call you would have had trouble getting it admitted but since I was here it's backing up my own testimony."
John gave Linda a hug and added a soft "don't let them drive you too crazy. The girls are good but the boys are still boys and can be mischievous at times." Logan gave him a glare which Linda understood to be John catching on to them planning something fun that the adults wouldn't like.
Inside Linda asked about Juan's family as he had not told her anything about them in all the time she had known him. Juan sat them down and carefully explained "mom has always been tough to get along with. Dad fell in love with her at a young age and stayed true to her, never straying from her but mom was always having flings with other men. He was a great man who worked himself hard and who saved up every penny to buy our home instead of renting forever like so many other of our relatives. When he died in an accident it devastated us with my sisters moving away and my mom growing angrier and becoming more and more violent. She never hit the girls but I was fair game as I was the boy and the eldest. Uncle Jorge always kept me safe but she clashed with him often and did get her licks in whenever I wasn't able to go over his house."
He looked out the window to focus then continued "when I graduated high school I went to school out in Amherst to get away from mom. My grades were good enough to earn a partial scholarship so Uncle Jorge paid the rest of it for me to go to law school in Boston. I worked hard and passed the bar exam but without many contacts, I had to scrape by as a public defender then as a legal adviser to a few nonprofit companies to build up my reputation. I didn't mind barely making a living as a lawyer but I hated that my mother made me defend my relatives whenever they got in trouble especially my horrible cousin Penelope. After the fifth time defending her I had enough of them and moved away, borrowing money from my uncle again and using a contact at college got a job as a junior lawyer with a law firm then worked my way up through the ranks."
He looked at Linda then shook his head, telling her "I was their token diversity employee at first but I worked hard and got them more money than anyone else and quicker payments from our victories due to my overwhelming arguments and forceful court presence. I worked alongside Ted and saved his ass too many times to count with Ted always getting the glory. I didn't mind that, I was getting paid more and more money and working my way up but when he finally stepped over the line I called him on it then took it to our boss getting him disciplined and myself promoted over him. This was when I met Marlene and from there the rest is history to us."
Linda understood his frustration and heartbreak. He did smile at talking about his uncle allowing her to see the real Juan that he kept hidden. He was the man who replaced his father as the guiding light for him and the one who saw the greatness in him when nobody else did. She didn't need to say anything more, she thanked him for being more of a brother to her than her own brother Ted ever was.
Things were quiet the rest of the evening with Hannah and Pete visiting to ensure they were alright after seeing the strange car in the driveway. Linda thanked her for the concern and asked about John's reaction to Sophia. Hannah complained "that little sneak knew we were home and didn't bother to take our niece over to see us" getting a sympathetic apology that was countered by Pete's laugh and quick "she probably saved that for you but Uncle John was an easier target.
In the morning the trio drove around the city to familiarize themselves with the layout of the city, where their friends' homes were, and the schools. The kids took note of the parks and the different quality of them. They liked the one closest to them the best and seeing Junior and Neil going there with Faith and Daisy sealed it as their favorite.
The duo wanted to go play with the kids which prompted Linda to agree to stop. They were out of the car as soon as she parked with both seeking out their new friends. Linda was finally able to stop to breathe as the girls and boys got together to play leaving her to sit and watch.
Linda was approached by a man and woman who introduced themselves as William and Amanda Kelly. Linda timidly greeted the couple, realizing they were Junior's parents. William was quick to make small talk with her as the two wanted to get to know her, especially after the boys took Logan on as another of their friends.
The trio talked for an hour with Linda feeling at ease with them just as she felt with the others. Amanda surprised her, she was a great person who made things better for kids around her. William was a surprise, the unassuming skinny man was witty and insightful and made her smile. He was actually one of few guys who had tried to get to know her who wasn't interested in her sexually. Him being married was beside the point, he was actually treating her like a normal person which she appreciated.
The kids watched the adults talk with Logan telling Junior and Neil "mom is happy." Junior nodded, adding "mom and dad know how to make you feel better. They always talk with people." Neil joked "your mom is making friends with everyone, it's like they always do after they make us kids be friends. Scott said the adults do that so they can have friends too."
Linda eventually got a call from her nephews asking where they were, she forgot that they were coming by to see them. The kids were reluctant to leave the but their friends pushed them out, refusing to let them give up a chance to see Sophia especially as they saw her frequently. Besides, they knew it was important to the older cousins to get them used to one another allowing them a chance to ease the last of their anxieties as they adjusted to being around people who wanted to be around them.
The kids weren't too happy but seeing their cousins waiting outside with Juan chatting with David made their grumbling cease especially as they saw Sophia stirring in her carrier. Sophia saw them and wanted out, demanding to be held by Linda so she could see the others clearly. Emma released her, picked her up, handed her off, and watched as Sophia smiled at them all over getting her way.
The eight went inside with Linda holding Sophia tight. The more she was around Sophia the better she felt about being there, she was making her feel at ease and releasing a lot of grief and anxiety. Sophia didn't have a care in the world, Linda looked her and eased up on all tension fully relaxing.
The kids were getting Sophia's constant attention as she giggled and gurgled at them. Ella's hand was grasped and wouldn't be let go while Logan was always in Sophia's sight. The two had never been around a baby before so this was a new experience, one that they enjoyed despite knowing what she could easily produce in her diaper if she wanted to.
Emma relaxed alongside Linda with Sophia getting comfortable in Linda's arms, eventually falling asleep. The others gave them a chance to talk as Linda sensed that Emma needed someone to talk to her about something. David ushered the kids next door to visit the Smiths with the kids seeing that it was important and not a request from their cousin.
The kids greeted Bryan and Hannah Smith who were in the midst of talking with their grandparents in England. The two listened and were in awe as the normally joking 20-year-old couples were respectful of the elders. When the elder Smiths couldn't hold off long enough they were asked about the kids, getting a grin and simple "they are David's maternal cousins. Their mother is with Emma and Sophia, Sophia is the image of her grandmother which her great-aunt is getting used to seeing."
The elder Smiths understood and didn't say anything further. The kids were quiet but they understood it to be staying on their best behavior instead of something else. It was true, they were intimidated at being in the Smith home not knowing how they would react to them being there especially as they had only met Hannah once and didn't know if she was alright with them or not.
When the Smiths signed off Hannah turned her attention to the two and gave them a lot of attention. She asked them about the day before and Ethan's actions to which their responses were flattering to him. Logan was exactly as Ethan had described and Ella was the fun girl they had been told about by Faith. She simply needed to get their side of things to see if they were being nice to Ethan and Faith or if they were acting naturally.
The kids kept looking at Bryan and Paige expecting them to say something about them being there but neither seemed to say or do anything about them, almost ignoring their presence while talking with Pete. Hannah nodded to Pete to move them out to the other rooms allowing the kids some comfort as they weren't used to college age people being around them and not saying something about how they were acting. Hannah whispered to them that they were better with kids than her, they always did better with her little brother and the twins.
The kids asked what they were talking about getting a smile and soft "aerial photography" from Hannah. She shook her head and added "Pete and Bryan are talking about a project in geography while Paige serves as a referee for the two. I can't do it because I would go against both no matter what. I love my husband but sometimes he doesn't see that others are right and I really can't go for what Bryan wants just out of principle."
The three finally came out with Pete looking down as he had lost the battle. Hannah comforted him with him perking up instantly. Paige just shook her head at it, it was funny and cute. The kids snickered at him almost melting in her arms and getting googly-eyed at her kisses.
Next door Linda and Emma talked while Sophia slept. Patrick and David took a discrete walk around the neighborhood to let the two discuss things with both knowing that Emma needed another set of ears to give her assurances that they had already tried to give to her. Emma was silently suffering from a bout of depression with Sophia's little illness sparking her concerns about her abilities to be a mother to Sophia, something that was due to happen at some point to her.
The two sat in awkward silence until Linda asked how Emma was dealing with Sophia's first illness. Emma looked saddened and burst into tears, a sign that she was holding back her true feelings. Linda hugged her, kissing her cheek and telling her warmly "you have a lot of help but you need to do this on your own. You are stronger than you think. The others may have experienced it before but it's one of the few things that you need to experience first to set you over the hump as a mother."
Linda drew in a deep breath then confessed "when I first had Logan I had nobody to help me. Marlene was always out working and Sophia was busy dating people to bother being the big sister I needed. When he got sick with the flu I thought I was going to die because I killed my son. He got better, but I still felt like I hurt him by letting him get sick. You need to see that you are stronger than you think. The others want to help but you need to prove to yourself that you are a mother and you are doing what is best for Sophia. David will be there for you, he knows his role and is doing everything he can but you need to do the same. Let your instincts guide you, you may make mistakes but every mother has to make them. Learn from them, use them to guide you as you go forward."
Emma was in tears again. Linda hugged her again, kissing her forehead and telling her firmly "you are a great mother, you just need to see it for yourself. No amount of assurances can do that for you, you can only do it for yourself. You know what to do, you just need to let yourself do it. The other mothers will offer advice but we can't do it for you- only you can."
Emma thanked her again, then noticed Sophia starting to stir causing her to get a diaper ready for her wail. Smiling at her, Linda gave her the wipes to use then let her change Sophia who didn't get the chance to cry earning a coo from her as Emma showed the diaper and showed Emma she was right. The little pep talk worked as Emma began to ask if they all had little tells like Sophia getting a grin and swift "I told you your instincts were there, and yes each kid does have them which you learn over time. Sophia is only three months old so you haven't had much time to learn the signs yet due to exhaustion and recovery. You learned one of the biggest signs, that she is wet. I think you already know her pooping face from last night. She will have a feeding time face and attention seeking face as well."
The two put Sophia back down with Sophia giving her a popping expression with her lips showing she was hungry for her bottle. Emma instinctively went for it with Sophia seeing the movement giving her a happy giggle. She was now doing alright, and once Sophia was finished and down for another nap she hugged Linda, thanking her for helping her.
Linda hugged her back, explaining "It's part of the job of being an aunt. Our kids tend to listen to aunts and uncles at times over their parents, Lilly and Karen probably had similar talks with you already but it didn't have the same impact. I am here for you if you need me, I never got to help Sophia when she had Daisy but I will happily help you and David especially when you need a heart to heart like this."
The kids came back over looking for their mother and saw the hug. They were upset that Sophia was asleep but understood that she slept a lot and really couldn't do much more than flap her arms and legs around at her age. The two were just happy to be allowed close to her and posed for some pictures with Linda while Sophia slept in her arms.
David and Patrick arrived back with Deborah and Lilly in tow. Lilly saw the sleeping Sophia and took pictures of Emma and Linda together with the kids, the latter not knowing they were unintentionally posing for the pictures until they saw the flashes going off. It was a sweet moment as they were just sitting there together without a care.
Lilly sat with Linda and Emma while the kids moved off. They went up to their rooms while the adults talked about things that they were too young to hear. They adults didn't actually do that, they simply talked about school and waited on Claire and Daisy to be dropped off next door.
Claire entered with Daisy who asked if Ella was home getting a roll of the eyes from Claire. Daisy went upstairs immediately while Claire sat down to complain about her being grumpy all day over forgetting to do her homework while the others went to the park. Linda had to smile at the girls' antics, they were so much alike yet so different much like her and Sophia were as kids.
Lilly snickered at Linda's realization, adding a solemn "it's tough on the teens with such a big age difference in siblings." Linda nodded, adding a happy "at least they aren't physical, when the fists are flying and scratching you should be scared. And be glad the boys aren't egging them on, Ted did that to us to get his kicks before he finally left for college."
Linda unknowingly opened up to them, with Lilly getting what she wanted from Linda. She was the insight that the others didn't have as they were too close in age to their siblings or only children. She understood what both kids were feeling and understood why they did what they did to one another.
The kids started to get hungry so they called it a day with Sophia waking in time to see the kids and give them her cute act as they said their goodbyes. Daisy invited herself over the next day with Logan accepting a ride to Ethan's house where the boys were going to be playing. Daisy hugged Linda tight with Logan hugging Claire and Claire kissing his cheek making him blush getting a snicker from both Daisy and Ella.
The rest of the weekend was a blur of activity as the kids were busy and Juan was holed up in his room working on the lawsuits and compiling every piece of evidence he could think of. Ricardo and their new assistants were in and out with the two lawyers having every possible reply to the lawsuits covered. Valerie and Kennedy added their own thoughts with Katie giving them their biggest angle of attack as she figured out the law firm had no way of countering his accusations without lying in court.
Juan had to admit that it was simple yet completely effective. Juan had to admit that she was probably the keenest legal mind he had ever encountered, but her heart was set on teaching so she wouldn't set foot in a courtroom unless it was absolutely necessary. She could help out behind the scenes though, with Juan being happy that she chose to do that at all.
Monday saw Juan faxing in his responses to the lawsuits and providing the counters to the claims. By afternoon he had had the replies from the law firm- he was out of line and breaking their charter by suing them thus negating his lawsuit. This was a bluff, they wanted to scare him and since they had suspended him without reason and had been proven to be doing so under dubious reasons based on proven lies he had grounds for the lawsuit making their claim null.
The federal lawsuits saw the county claiming ignorance and refusing to support the administrators. That didn't matter, the hospital was a fault as they had used its resources to propagate the breach of Ella's rights both regarding her care and her records. He laughed as they claimed the people who examined Ella were unqualified then tried to claim that they had no right to do so as she was still a patient at their hospital. His counterclaim was simple: she sought care from people who had more experience, were the primary doctors for children that she knew and cared about, and were unbound by preconceived notions and unafraid to give prompt and proper medical care. She had every right to move to a different doctor as she no longer resided in Illinois and her new doctor was a leading authority on her condition so they had no real claims against Ella's care.
The last lawsuit was against Marlene. She didn't contest the divorce and agreed to split the money in her bank accounts 50/50 as well as to have no contact with Linda whatsoever. The feds allowed Linda to remove the money from the bank accounts with Linda being informed that it was tax-free due to being the proceeds from a lawsuit. Linda simply ignored it, telling him to put the money aside which Ricardo had done already.
The kids were unaware that their mother now had $100 million in the bank. Linda met with Karen Smith early in the morning with Ethan and Nichole tagging along giving the kids a helping hand in getting ready. Karen had all of the paperwork ready to go with the trust funds set up for the kids with $50 million going into each with Linda refusing a penny herself.
Karen was happy to tell her that the kids were the second richest people in the city, with neither kid having to do a thing anymore as they could live comfortably for the rest of their lives. Linda countered that they would earn their keep and get an education. She would rather they learned the value of a dollar than growing up to be spoiled rotten brats, which she learned was the same response all of the parents had given to their kids coming into a windfall for them.
The kids were finally bundled off to the school with Karen telling them that Mick Jones would pick them up after school so they could do their homework and play for a bit. Linda understood why they were doing that for her, Yvette had arranged for her to have some extra time to get adjusted to the school and their filing system but it was more for the kids' benefit as it was a stressful day and they would need some time with their friends to decompress.
Ethan introduced them to Nancy Flynn, Kylie Pena, and Margaret Douglas with the girls eagerly hugging Ella and Logan causing Logan to blush over the affection from the girls. Nichole had to hide her smile as she knew they'd cause that reaction with Margaret and Nancy being very affectionate with boys. Daisy and Faith came over and led Ella to wait with their class with Yvette then leading the boys inside as well.
Nancy was heard saying "he's cute" which caused Logan to blush while Margaret added "not as cute as Neil" getting the girls battling again over the boys. Yvette had to shake her head at them but knew it was history repeating itself as she softly mumbled "just like Karen and me" to Logan. He understood what she meant, the old friends had done the same thing in school as Karen had explained her relationship to Yvette in the car on Friday.
The boys introduced Logan to their teacher who then told Logan to work with the boys in case he was behind but didn't think he was far off overall. Yvette nodded at that, adding "he is right on par with your class and has proper support. His cousins and neighbors will ensure he does well."
She left then went to Ella's new class with the girls going inside and Ella meeting her new teacher. She wasn't too thrilled that Ella was joining them and she had a special notice about her upcoming surgery but Yvette shot that feeling down with a firm "she is having major surgery to correct an issue that should have been corrected years ago. She is no different than other students. I know you hate having to accommodate students but I would rather you endure some minor inconveniences in April than have to find a new job starting in June."
Their teacher gave her a glare asking "is that a threat?" Yvette was going to say something but Daisy added "Uncle John and Aunt Valerie know about the problem and told Mrs. King." Yvette grinned, adding "Herman, Herman, Bollinger, Kelly, Eliza, and Finn all know as well as Bollinger, Vega, and Rodriguez. That's not counting both Pena and Reagan as well as my husband all knowing. She didn't threaten you there, she stated a fact. Try something that is in violation of the city's rules and regulations and you lose. They are taking a keen interest in this, she has been through a lot and doesn't need someone who feels they are above the law trying to refuse to abide by required accommodations."
Ella was ready to leave so she didn't cause more problems but Yvette stopped her, explaining to Ella "your new teacher was given her warning that she can't do what she had thought she could do. You are in no trouble but if she punishes you because you have to take things slow during gym and stay indoors during recess then she is. You don't have to put up with problems because of something that isn't your fault and you don't have to accept punishment for someone doing what is required by federal law."
Yvette left with the other two girls smiling at their teacher, daring her to say or do something. She just sat down and waited for the rest of the students then started class after introducing Ella. She didn't get any notice as it was clear that she was with Faith and Daisy with both girls being close with the older kids making anyone who went after her face their wrath.
Julio had a tougher time as Melanie dropped him off for his first day at school. It was the first time that he had to endure a normal school and the rules so he was frightened. JD, Cat, and Willow were by his side allaying some fears but he was afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing to upset his new teacher.
The kids in the class were surprised to see the new student but his new teacher greeted him warmly. Melanie explained his situation and to which his teacher said she would talk to the kids about it if it came up. It would be a good thing if it did just in case another kid was being hurt like he was but she hoped it didn't.
The kids were reluctant to play with Julio who was starting to feel like it was the same as daycare all over again. When Cat and Willow asked him to play he grew scared and nearly had a breakdown until JD joined him and told him they didn't have to do anything except play. JD then played pretend with Cat while Willow and Julio helped prompting the other kids to take notice.
Julio was asked by his teacher what happened, getting told about the girls making him dress up then the boys tormenting him making him only play with the girls causing a vicious cycle of him having to dress like a girl all the time. Julio was on the verge of another breakdown but JD assured him it was what the teacher did and made them do things that made them play together while working on school work which caused him to ease up some.
After school Melanie was asked about Julio's breakdowns which caused the teacher to grow angry as she realized it was more than just simple abuse. The teacher understood the why once Jaimie's name came up and could see that Julio was too young to understand much about gender let alone why they would be upset at all. JD's behavior was surprising to her as he never played with anyone other than his sister and Willow let alone the boys but Melanie was practically glowing at hearing that, with her happily saying "they are closer than Cat and Willow and it is growing to be true friendship not simply JD helping him because he was asked. He has matured a lot in just over a week of knowing Julio."
The kids went home to happy faces as they waited for the teens to arrive. Melanie wasn't happy to receive notice in the mail from a New York address. The social services down there were seeking Julio's custody on grounds of alleged abuse with Juan being named as the abuser. She shed a tear at the thinking but called her parents then Valerie. The answer from both was a decisive "it's on."
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