Home Is Where The Heart Is: Part 11

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Here is the next part of Seanna's story. Be warned, there is a bit of foul language in this part.

The board room bit with the seven elder Ramsays is a flashback event of sorts, meant to round out things somewhat. It also shows that they aren't truly evil, just too interested in doing and getting what they want that they just didn't think. Now it's all coming home to roost.

I decided to copy and paste the part about the result of the news report about the newborn from For The Love Of The Children: Part 1.

**********

Seanna was sitting in her office on the afternoon that Melissa was supposed to show up. She had caught up on the reports coming into her office recently, she had even worked her way through a large chunk of the files on staff members, mostly to get to know them all a bit better.

There were a few people scattered through the main building that she wanted to keep an eye on, as they might be trouble at some point. An example of this was that fool Richard Port, a man who had done very little in seven years, complaining about the new guy Marty Browne.

Seanna had quite clearly and bluntly told off Mr. Port, who was fuming at a woman putting him down, but he wisely stayed quiet.

Seanna was smart enough to know that Mr. Port had not liked being put down that way, she figured he'd do something dumb eventually.

Here she was with a rare free moment, well, she probably could continue looking at the employee files, but that wasn't urgent right now.

She chuckled as she recalled having taken a bit of time out nearly three weeks earlier, to catch the next Ramsay seven court appearance. It had been a bit of a letdown, she thought, the seven had changed their pleas to guilty, they were that freaked out over the previous appearance.

They had thought that they would be able to somehow get away with it all, the lawyer's walking out on them had shattered that in a very clear and sudden turn of events. Then the judge let loose with the fact that they were all looking at hefty jail sentences, decades in jail even.

This was the worst thing they could possibly hear, now they began to realize that they had put themselves in a very bad legal position.

The seven were emotionally battered and shocked shells of their former selves. Once the judge had finished, they had been led out of the courtroom a few minutes later, to where Seanna had no idea, but it was all too clear at that point that they were no longer fighting things.

**********

The seven Ramsay siblings from the first marriage were led into a large room with what looked like a board room meeting table. Once in there, they were told to sit and wait for a while, with two of the guards keeping an eye on them from either end of the room.

About thirty minutes later, a young woman in a fairly plain but suitable skirt suit walked into the room, looked at the seven and sighed.

"Hello, I'm Vesta Leamis, someone in the public defenders department here decided I should be put in place as your lawyer. I've been given all the relevant information for the case, skimmed through a fair bit of it, and to be blunt, you folks are down a damn deep hole with no way out. The evidence in the files is so clear that you would, as the judge apparently told you earlier, be unable to get anything other than convictions."

She paused for a moment, then continued, "You have two options, enter guilty pleas or keep fighting this in court. If you enter pleas, I will be very truthful with you, you have a chance of getting out of prison at some point. If you keep fighting the case, that chance will be lost, as the court could all too easily slap each one of you down with sentences of up to thirty years each for the wire fraud charges, plus up to $1 million fine per charge, then throw in the conspiracy charges regarding the assault and death of Suzanne Kealoha and add twenty-five to life."

She stopped talking again, pacing back and forth for a moment, then faced the seven. "It's up to you, folks, all I can do is offer advice. I'm going to go out and take a better look through the files for the case; when or if you make a decision, hit that buzzer," she pointed to a dull metallic button on a wall near one of the doors, "And inform whoever answers it that you need to speak with me again."

With that, Vesta turned and exited the room, heading into an unused office a short distance down the hall for another look at the files.

Patricia Ramsay, the eldest, born November 17, 1950, moaned that everything was ruined until Robert, the elder brother, told her to be quiet.

Robert, born January 7, 1956, paced across the width of the room just past the end of the table for a few minutes, thinking furiously.

"If what we've been told is correct, and we all heard the list of charges, it's doubtful we could get anything close to a fair trial. That bastard Lundt apparently kept EVERYTHING we did on his computer, and when he died, he gave the cops the password to that damn thing.

"With the signed confession/suicide note he wrote, plus whatever was on that computer, the cops got everything they need to convict us all; we weren't careful enough, as the transfers of the money left a trail that could be followed. The cops did that, and we're penniless. That means we have NOTHING that we can use to hire someone. The cops claimed all the accounts, the houses, boats, cars, EVERY DAMN THING!"

"So we either do as this lawyer suggests, give guilty pleas, or face a trial that will ensure we never see the outside of a prison again. I'm in not too bad a shape for my age, but there's no way in hell that I want to spend the rest of my life rotting in a cell if there's a way to avoid it."

Beatrice, the middle sister, born August 11, 1957, sighed, then spoke, "It doesn't look like we have a lot of choice. I don't want to die in prison."

Paul, the younger brother, born December 22, 1960, nodded, adding, "If we plead, we might be free in fifteen years or so, maybe twenty."

Rebecca, the youngest, born June 10, 1962, shook her head, muttering, "I should never have listened to the rest of you. Prison! Ugh!"

Robert heard her and sighed, then replied, "If we had a lick of sense between the lot of us, we wouldn't be where we are right now. But Daddy and Momma raised us as if everything we wanted could be ours when we wanted it, so we've always just taken whatever we wanted."

Chantel, the second youngest girl, born May 3, 1959, asked, "Is there any possibility at all that we can beat this case?"

Robert turned to face her and growled, "With the extremely detailed evidence Lundt left on his computer, not a snowball's chance in hell."

Vanessa, the second sister, born May 11, 1954, crumpled after hearing Robert's blunt statement and whispered, "Then we plead?"

Robert looked around the end of the table where the other siblings were all sitting. "That seems to be our best option, yes."

He then walked over to the button on the wall, slapped it and when someone spoke, he said, "Please inform Ms. Leamis we're ready to talk."

The seven had to wait another twenty-five minutes before Vesta entered the room, then they all informed her they would plead guilty.

**********

Seanna was still sitting at her desk, wandering in thought, this time she was remembering the most recent appearance of the Ramsay seven. Seanna and Thaddeus had shown up in the courtroom early again, then watched the guilty pleas being entered by the seven accused.

The appearance didn't last much longer after that, she remembered the Judge setting the sentencing date for February 27 at 9:30 AM.

**********

Seanna was interrupted briefly by her phone ringing, her secretary told her there would be a VP meeting next Thursday afternoon. Seanna sighed, she and the other VPs had been so busy with sorting things out for the last seven weeks that they hadn't appointed a new board. This meeting would be to nominate possible candidates, then arrange to contact them and set a time to appoint those who agreed to help.

Once the phone call was completed, Seanna returned to her musing, this time along a bit darker line than before. She was thinking about the upcoming court appearance of that thug that had beaten and killed Sue back in December, his trial would start on Monday.

She was sincerely hoping the bastard would get life in prison, he deserved it after what he had done.

She returned to her work, looking through more employee files, being interrupted occasionally by calls which were soon resolved.

**********

Seanna was just shutting down her computer and preparing to put on her coat, pick up her purse and leave when the phone rang again.

She answered it, and was quickly connected to Lara, a child that was traveling with Melissa. Lara took a few minutes to outline what had happened since they left Houston earlier that week, then informed Seanna about the baby they had just found on the side of the road.

Seanna spluttered, "A newborn? Someone just up and left a newborn on the side of a road? Damn, people are screwy."

The chat continued for a moment, with Seanna eventually telling Lara to have Melissa meet them at the house, giving Lara the address.

**********

A very large car pulled into the drive of Seanna's new house shortly before 6 PM that evening. Melissa climbed out, followed by Lara who was carrying the baby, Tabitha, Bobby who was wobbling around using a pair of canes and Rebecca who seemed to be watching Bobby.

They headed up to the front door, Melissa rang the bell and they waited for a minute, then the door opened.

Seanna looked out, stunned to see this young giantess and five children, but she was glad to know that they were all safe. She led them into the house, hanging coats up and having them carry their boots to the mudroom in back as they were wet from the slush on the driveway.

Once their outerwear was all sorted, they all gathered in the large living room, where Seanna turned on the TV, then used the remote to switch the channel. The new channel showed the beginning of the local newscast. There was a big story about a robbery in the downtown core, another about a car accident involving seven different cars on the edge of the city, then the piece they wanted to watch came on.

"I'm Bob Parvis, one of our lead stories tonight is the discovery of a newborn girl about an hour ago. The baby was found on the side of the road between Purcellville and Paeonian Springs, VA. We're asking anyone who may have info relating to this baby to call us at 555-1717."

Melissa, Seanna and the seven children had watched the newsman as he did the story on the newborn being found.

Within an hour, calls were flooding the news office, prompting them to add three more staff to keep up with the calls.

Most of the calls were simply nuisance ones, no real content, just people being idiots, obstructing the search for the newborn's family.

A few calls sounded like they might be pertinent, but further investigation revealed that the child they were claiming was not the newborn.

The station was about to shift over to the night time program, it being just before midnight, when the special lines rang again.

The person who took the call happened to be Bob Parvis, the reporter who had given the initial story on the 6 PM national news.

He listened intently for a moment, then nodded to another staff person, who picked up another line and phoned Seanna.

""Hi, Seanna, this is Phil Bottomley, I work with Bob Parvis, we believe we have the child's real mother on the line."

"Thanks for calling, Phil, can you connect me to her? I'm putting this phone on speaker, as the folks that found the baby are here with me."

"Sure thing, Miss Ramsay, just a moment," as a brief buzzing sound could be heard, "Here, we go, Louisa, you're talking to Seanna."

"Hello, Miss Seanna, I hear y'all have a pretty little girl that was found on the highway earlier, am I right?"

"That is correct, Miss, although I wasn't the one that found her. Here she is. Melissa?"

"Hello, Miss, I'm Melissa, I was coming here to start a new job when I saw and heard that little one yelling her head off. What else could I do but stop and grab her? That child could have died out there, it's the middle of winter! Such a sweet little one, too, quite the beautiful little girl."

"Well, ma'am, I been on the street for the last five years, usually living out of my seventeen year old clunker, sometimes in a shelter," Louisa stated. "That sweet little girl was the result of a rape last spring. I have no way to be able to care for a child, I can't even care for myself."

She stopped speaking for a moment, then continued, "I have terminal cancer of the ovaries, it's already spreadin'. The docs that I saw recently in one of the free clinics in the city sent me to a hospital. The tests showed I have less than a month to live, it's spreadin' that fast."

"Holy shit!" Melissa swore before she realized it. After a quick apology, she asked, "What about your family?"

"Family?" The woman on the other end of the line laughed, a harsh, sad laugh. "I ain't had no family since I was twelve. I turned eighteen two weeks ago, just before all those dayum tests were done, and I delivered that little girl by myself in the back seat of my clunker. There weren't hardly any labour a'tall, the water broke, and less than an hour later, she popped out. Gods, my back seat was an almighty mess!"

Melissa shook her head, she thought she had had it rough, but that was nothing next to this woman's experiences.

Louisa continued after another brief pause, "I'm glad someone found her. Y'all take good care of my baby, she needs it," then hung up.

Melissa, Seanna and the children were all stunned. It seems the little newborn was about to become the newest member of their family.

**********

Seanna sat back and sighed. Whether Melissa decided that she would keep her, or whether she herself would, that child now had a home. Seanna asked Melissa to keep an eye on all the kids, then carried the newborn out to her car and drove to the Children's Hospital.

Seanna spent four hours there, waiting as the child, who had no name yet, was examined extensively, then declared to be in good health. Seanna had to pay for the examinations with her company credit card, she wasn't pleased, but the child's health was more important.

Seanna and the child returned home after that. Seanna stopped in at a 24 hour market and picked up some organic infant formula and a pack of newborn diapers. When they were back in the house, Seanna changed the baby, smiling down at her, then mixed the formula and fed her.

She had noticed that most of the lights downstairs had been turned off, except for the kitchen and laundry area/mudroom.

She found herself making cute little cooing sounds to the baby, who looked up at her, blinking and contentedly swallowed the formula. Seanna had never expected that she would be in this position, yet it felt right to her, this baby needed a mother. If that meant her, so be it.

The baby eventually finished, then Seanna put her up against her shoulder and patted her back until she burped as she headed upstairs.

There had been no chance to get a crib, so she found a fair sized old orange crate, put a small blanket in it, then laid the child in the box. Seanna continued to watch the baby, cooing at her. Ten minutes after she was laid in the crate, the baby yawned, closed her eyes and slept.

It was a long night, Seanna woke up once to feed the baby and change the diaper, Melissa twice.

**********

When Seanna arrived at work the next day, followed by Melissa and the six older children, with Lara carrying the baby in the carrier, the daycare staff stood there goggle-eyed for a moment before Leilani and Asemba led the other kids down the hall to the playroom.

Lara handed the baby carrier and baby over to Melissa, then ran to catch up to the rest of the kids.

This was when Melissa was approached by Juliet Landry, Melissa smiled briefly at her as she approached.

The next ten minutes were spent in quiet conversation between Seanna, Melissa and the daycare staff members. Juliet asked if Melissa was the one that caught the carrier down in Texas in late December, Seanna said she was, then gave a brief history of Melissa's adventures.

Seanna eventually left Melissa in the daycare, then headed up to her office on the top floor. There was work that needed to be done.

**********

Whenever Seanna could find a free moment, she would pickup her phone, get an outside line, then call a school in the area.

This was not going well, the fact that these children were all new to the city and that all three were transgender was not the issue in Seanna's eyes. What she was seeing was school principals and vice-principals who didn't want to even bother to deal with transgender children.

Seanna was furious, after five calls that had all ended with the school refusing to take the three, she called Jackie Stormhouse. The two had a quick discussion about the way the schools were acting, then Jackie said she would file discrimination lawsuits against the schools.

While the two were talking, Jackie overheard someone outside her office mention a school that accepted ALL children, no matter what. Jackie briefly put Seanna on hold, then ran to her outer office door, where she saw one of the company's business lawyers walking by.

"Keisha," she called out, "Did I just hear you say something about a school that will take all children, even transgender ones?"

Keisha, a tall, slender black woman with cafe-au-lait skin, turned around, smiling, "You sure did, Jackie; my boy Ryan is twelve and already entering puberty. Over the last six months, he has found himself watching the boys around him, he says the girls just don't interest him."

"Hmmm... pretty good odds, then, that he might be gay," Jackie mused, Keisha nodding agreement. "This school is helping him?"

"Uh huh," Keisha replied, "Since he switched to there just after New Year's, his grades have been improving by leaps and bounds."

"Sounds good," Jackie grinned, then added, "Could you please come into my office, I need to have you talk to someone."

Keisha nodded, following Jackie into the inner office, then sat down in front of the desk as Jackie took the phone off hold, then put it on speaker so that Keisha and Seanna could hear each other. "Hiya, Seanna, I'm back, I think you'll want to hear what Keisha here has to say."

Keisha smiled across at Jackie, then began speaking. "Hello, Seanna, I'm Keisha Kingston, I cover business law in the building here. My son Ryan, who is twelve now, was not doing well in his old school, so I looked around, then had him transferred to a new school.

"This new school, Vinton Preparatory Academy, has been doing wonders for kids in this area for nearly ten years. The headmistress and actual owner of the land that the school sits on, Miss Felicia Antoinette Vinton, supports all children, including those who are LGBTQI, etc."

Seanna listened intently, then giggled briefly before she asked, "Miss Vinton will have no problem with transgender children, then?"

Keisha laughed, replying, "Last I heard from Ryan, there are five transgender girls there and two transgender boys, so yours will be fine."

"That is excellent news indeed. Thank you very much, Keisha, could I please have the phone number for that school?" Seanna inquired.

The information was soon obtained, and Seanna grinned as she ended that call, then set up the call to this superior school.

**********

The call rang a few times, perhaps six or seven, before someone picked it up, saying, "Hello, this is the Vinton Preparatory Academy."

Seanna introduced herself and asked to be transferred to Miss Vinton or the next person in line if Miss Vinton was not available.

There was a wait of about five minutes, then the line was connected again, Seanna hearing a whispery, elderly voice on the other end.

"Hello, this is Miss Felicia Vinton, the headmistress here, I was told that you wished to speak with me about something, Miss Ramsay?"

"I do indeed, Miss Vinton." Seanna then told her about the three transgender children who should all be in school, but weren't, as they had all just arrived up here after fleeing from their various circumstances, each being picked up and saved by Melissa before or while coming here.

Miss Vinton listened, saying things like yes, oh, dear, oh, my from time to time.

"Well, Miss Ramsay, I can say with all assurance that your girls will be welcome here, we respect everyone's need to live as they wish. Now when would you be able to bring them up here, please?" Miss Vinton asked, then waited while Seanna had to take a call.

Seanna eventually returned to the call, apologizing for the delay. Miss Vinton asked again when she could bring them there.

Seanna thought for a moment, then asked if they could come up later that day, and Miss Vinton replied that she could stay late if needed.

Seanna thanked her, the two talked for a moment longer, then Seanna ended the call and returned to her work.

**********

After she had relaxed over a nice lunch of grilled chicken breast with a Ceasar salad, Seanna called the daycare, then spoke to Melissa. "I think I've found a school for the three older girls you have, Melissa,", then Seanna told her about her discussion with Miss Vinton.

Melissa laughed, then replied, "The place is fairly quiet at the moment, I can come along with you and the girls if you like."

Seanna giggled, "If I like? You're the one that has any history with these girls, I'd think you need to be there for this."

Melissa answered, "All right, I'll grab the girls and tell Juliet that I need to go somewhere. Heh, I've been having fun with all the kids here."

"I'm not too surprised by that, Melissa," Seanna responded, "I saw the way that you tended to those two babies this morning."

**********

Ten minutes later, Seanna walked out of her office, then headed down to the eighth floor where she met Melissa and the three girls.

The group headed down to the underground parking, then to Melissa's car. Once Melissa used the remote to unlock the car, she sat down in the driver's seat, Seanna on the other side of the front seat and the three girls all climbed into the back seat. Everyone buckled up.

Melissa started the car, waited a bit as it warmed up, then backed out and headed for the exit. The drive took a while, as they had to make their way out of the city, then head for Lynnfield and the school's location in the northern part of that small but picturesque town.

Eventually, they pulled into the drive at the entrance to the school, then Melissa hit a buzzer that was near the gate.

"Hi, ahhh, give me a moment," announced a female voice through a speaker that was part of the buzzer system, "I'll open the gate."

They didn't have to wait for long, the heavy metal gate swung open silently, allowing them to enter the school property.

There were signs pointing to staff parking and visitor parking, Melissa found a space in the visitor lot, then everyone climbed out of the car.

They walked over to the cobblestone walkway that led from the parking lots to the school's entrance, where they headed inside.

**********

Melissa, Seanna and the girls had to wait for about ten minutes, then a voice called, "Miss Ramsay, could you all come with me, please?" The girl in question, a young woman actually, perhaps twenty years old, led them to a room with a table where they could all sit comfortably.

Just after they had all seated themselves, draping coats over the back of their chairs, a tall, elderly woman entered the room.

"Hello, I'm Miss Felicia Vinton, I'm the headmistress here. I assume one of you is Miss Seanna Ramsay?" she asked the two adults.

Seanna grinned, "That would be me, Miss Vinton. This is Miss Melissa Johansson, the person responsible for these three girls."

Melissa reached into her purse, drew out papers sighed by Judge Thibideau giving her authority to act for Tabitha and Lara, then pulled out another sheet, this one being the document giving her authority to act for Robert Paul Millar, now identifying as Rebecca Petra Millar.

Miss Vinton examined the documents, nodded, then asked if there were any school records. Melissa replied that they could get the records for all three children, but it might take a while, as all the records would be under their birth names and the schools were not known for civility.

Seanna laughed as Melissa said that, then spoke, "That's easy to fix, the company has lots of lawyers, I'm sure Jackie would help."

Melissa giggled, "By what you told me last night about how Jackie has helped you a few times, yeah, I'd have to agree."

"Ms. Vinton, if you'll give me a moment, I'll make a quick call and get Jackie, one of my company's lawyers, to help us out," Seanna said.

Ms. Vinton nodded, Seanna stepped out of the room and was soon talking to Jackie. Jackie agreed to help and Seanna ended the call.

Melissa was talking about some of her recent experiences when Seanna re-entered the room. Seanna listened for a few minutes.

Melissa eventually ran down, then Ms. Vinton suggested that she have the girls take some tests to find their appropriate grade levels.

Seanna and Melissa agreed, then left the room, taking their coats. They returned to the waiting area and sat down, picking up magazines.

The testing was apparently quite extensive, as the girls were kept busy for nearly three hours before they were done.

Ms. Vinton had been looking at the tests as the children finished them, she was pleasantly surprised. Tabby was very bright, bright enough that she could probably be placed in grade three instead of two. Rebecca would be fine in the grade seven group, Lara with the grade fives.

After hearing Ms Vinton's assessment of the three girls, Melissa agreed with her, as did Seanna. All that they would need now would be the school records, and Seanna stated that Jackie had likely already been burning the phone lines to get that sorted out for the kids.

**********

Jackie was not impressed, this was the school where Robert Millar, now Rebecca, had once taken classes, and they were being assholes.

The vice-principal stated that they could not release the records without proper authorization, Jackie responded that such authorization could be sent to them the next day, as she had been assured that the document giving Melissa authority over Rebecca/Robert was legally sound. She then informed him that, if the records weren't released once the authorization had been sent, she would bring in legal help there.

She had gone through the same hassle with the schools that Lara and Tabitha had attended before they ended up in Melissa's care. She hoped that they would all see sense and allow the records to be transferred, but she would contact legal people she knew just in case.

She spent another hour on the phone, talking to people she knew in northwest Texas, the Greater Houston area and Jackson, Tennessee. Each of the lawyers that she contacted, once they knew what was going on, swore to do everything they could to help the children involved.

**********

Seanna, Melissa and the three girls put on their coats and walked out to the car, it was time to go home.

Melissa drove again. Everyone was quiet, Seanna was thinking about the little baby, as was Melissa, the girls were all wiped out. Seanna turned around at one point and saw the three girls slumped a bit in their seats, all of the asleep, looking sweet, innocent and beautiful.

Seanna spoke to Melissa, they stopped off at a Chinese food restaurant, where the group ordered lots of food before exiting the restaurant.

They made one more stop, picking up Leilani, Asemba, Bobby and the baby from the company daycare, then continued on their way.

They split the group up between the two cars, Leilani and Asemba going with Seanna, the others with Melissa.

They eventually reached the house, both cars pulling into the drive, parking side by side, then everyone headed inside the house.

After they had finished eating, all of the kids headed for their beds, the little nap on the way home hadn't helped those three at all.



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