by DJ Thomas
by DJ Thomas
As soon as Bruce leaves, I turn to my overpaid lawyers, asking, "Give me the name of officials, who can give me custody of the two boys, while circumventing CPS!"
Brian thinks for a minute, before he answers, "I know just the person, let me make a few quick calls."
Once the last word leaves his mouth, he is on the phone.
As we wait, I say, "Miles, tomorrow, get someone to open up the old house, I feel ready to move back in."
"Drew, are you sure? That place holds some painful memories. Is this a good moment to deal with them, now that you are adopting, not one but two, abused youngsters?"
"Yes, I know, however this is the right time to make a fresh start. A little family history would be great for the boys, provide them an anchor. Plus, this condo was only meant for me to stay during the week. In addition, I don't want my children to go to school in the city. Also, I think Donnie and Dylian have already become friends. So living close by, makes great sense. Finally, why buy another place, when I own such an outstanding one!"
"You've convinced me. I will ask Helen to find you a house manager."
Let me explain my pal's concern. Eighteen years ago, I was a twenty-year-old college student. One weekend, while home on a visit, I told my parents I was gay. To say it didn't go over well, would be an extreme understatement: After yelling, my father beat me to within an inch of my life, before he threw me out.
My sister, Kari, helped me over to Miles house, where they patched me up. When she returned home, my sibling discovered our mother suffered a massive stroke, which led to her demise, three days later. A restraining order, obtained by my father, prevented me from attending Mom's funeral.
Her death led to a rift between Kari and me. We didn't speak, for the next six years.
I put myself through college, and then I started my own company. It became enormously successful, making me a multi millionaire.
With respect to my so-called father, not only did he not speak to me again, he never uttered my name. He also removed all signs of my existence from the house. Eventually, he died from lung cancer.
My sister and I reconciled several years later. Shortly afterwards, she dated Tom, now our governor. They eventually married. Tragically, she died giving birth to my now three-year-old niece, Lisa.
Shortly before his death, for some unknown reason, the man disinherited Kari, and by default, the estate passed to me. I set aside three hundred million dollars for the little one, after my sibling's demise.
To date, I haven't entered the mansion, simply using it as a warehouse. On the other hand, whenever I stay there, I sleep in the servant's apartment, located above the enormous garage, which houses much of my vast vehicle collection.
I am now determined, to transform the old place, into a loving home for my new family.
About this time, a smiling Brian returns. But, before he can say a word, the phone rings. I wonder, who could call me on my private line, at this late hour. By then I pick up my cell, and I ask, "Hello?"
"Drew, it's Tom. I scheduled a press conference for tomorrow morning at eight thirty. I found out the scandal extends beyond the state boundaries. I contacted the FBI, they intend to assign a task force. Also, I asked the governors of the affected states to send social workers to repatriate their kidnapped youngsters. I plan to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the Social Services Agency. I want an audit of every case file: We need to find all the children found!"
At this point, my friend breaks down.
"I like your proposal, however I suggest you hold off on the press conference, until well after the investigation starts. Otherwise, some of the offenders might take off, or try to dispose of evidence, which could include the youngsters involved!"
"Yes, you're right, I never thought of that. Okay, I will have an agent contact you within the hour, considering you started this." he quips, with a slight chuckle, then he adds, "I will keep you posted as to the investigation, I ask you do the same."
"Only for you, Tommy Boy!"
After hanging up the phone, I turn my attention to Brian, saying, "Okay, so what did you find out?"
"I called a friend of mine, who clerks for Judge Mason. She reported to him, on what we know. The man was so upset, he agreed to issue the order giving you full legal custody, not simply foster status, when the court opens in the morning!" my smiling lawyer proudly reports.
"Thank you, Brian, you earned your income for the night!" I joke.
Just then, Bruce rings. I grab the phone to hear him state, "Drew, we got the location of Simon. We plan to rescue him first thing tomorrow!"
After thanking him, I hear Dylian scream in his sleep, "SIMONN...NOOOOOOOOO! OH SIMON, PLEASE DON'T GO!"
I run into his room, where I find Donnie, trying to calm him. I pick up my child, I rock him, while I whisper in his ear, "Dylian, Sweetie, you're safe. Simon soon shall be here with you."
"No, he is in trouble, he is hurt: You won't find him in time!"
Calling back my security chief, he answers, "Hello?"
"Bruce, it's me, Drew. I'm not going to explain: Simon is in danger, get him now!"
"Fine, Boss, I don't like it, but I am on it..."
With that, I cut the line. Looking at my youngster, I explain, "Sweetie, you shall see him very soon."
"I don't think it's too late, but I feel he may already be badly hurt. I am scared of what's going to happen to me now. Will I end up at the group home, or a new foster?" Dylian asks in tears.
"No, Son, you are home with me. Tomorrow, we will legalize your adoption, and you shall be all mine!" I reply with a hug.
Pulling back, he looks into my eyes. Then, he wraps his little arms around my neck, while he squeezes me.
"I love you, Daddy, thanks for finding me!"
"Me, too, Son." I say, as I rock him.
Before long, I feel the deep slow breathing, which comes with sleep. So I lay him down, next to the already slumbering Donnie. Kissing each on their forehead, I whisper goodnight.
Returning to the living room, I realize the others retired, Miles in my bedroom with Debbie, Brian, with Mark, on my pullout couch. This leaves me the choice of sleeping on the floor, or in the boys' bed.
I get a cup of hot tea, hoping for a call from Bruce, before I turn in. I decide to crash with the children, so I would be there, if Dylian has another nightmare.
I no sooner put the kettle on the stove, and then my cell goes off.
"Drew, I have him, but you need to get to Children's Hospital, now! Bring, Deb, however leave the little one at home."
"Bruce, I take it Simon isn't alright."
"Drew, just come quickly!" he exclaims, then he hangs up.
Running to the master bedroom, I awaken the Edwards. After I explain, I leave, accompanied by an upset Debbie. My lawyers join us, with Brian saying, "Just in case, Drew."
We pile into my Bentley, arriving at our destination twenty minutes later. Once parked, we run to the Emergency Room information desk, where I ask, "Ma'am, I am looking for Simon Price."
"Sorry, Sir, I don't have a patient by that name listed."
At this point, Debbie takes charge. She calmly proclaims, "Nurse, I am Dr Edwards, a child by that name was brought in by our friend, Bruce Miller."
She points at me, before she adds, "This man, Drew Thomas, is the child's legal guardian. I don't know what was entered in your registry, but I need you to find out where he is, now!"
I never saw a person jump so high: She runs through the back doors to the ER, before I can say a word.
"Thanks, Debbie, I had no idea know what to say. Acting as a parent is new to me, it scares me. What if..."
"Drew, stop: He will be fine, and so will you!"
I start to respond, as the woman returns with Bruce. She asks, "Sir, did the doctor say you were Drew Thomas?"
"I am sorry, Sir, I thought you said you were looking for Simon Price, not Simon Thomas. He is up in X-Ray right now: You may see him, the moment they bring him back down. Dr. Smyth wants Dr. Edwards to join him. Everyone else, please take a seat in the waiting area."
"Drew, I will come get you as soon as I know something, or they return him." Debbie remarks, as she leaves.
"Drew, I am so sorry: I thought, since you have custody of him, you would ask for Simon Thomas, not Price. Besides, I didn't know his last name."
"It's okay, Bruce, I freaked out for a little while. Please fill me in."
"Simon is in bad shape. The thugs beat him up, when he refused to obey them. They would let him heal, and then repeat their abuse. It grew worse over time, their last attack nearly killed him!"
"I have an idea, what they asked of him, as to the others, where are they?"
"Sorry, Boss, I didn't know what else to do, so I had the doctor admit them, saying you would pay."
"Good, how badly hurt are they?"
"All three boys were sexually abused. The sixteen-year-old, Even, told me he tried to get Simon to comply, so his friend would avoid further punishment. But, your son said he would rather die than be a whore like his mother."
"Damn, so how badly injured is my child?"
"Boss, I can't say, he was unconscious, when I arrived. Thirteen year old Tyler, told me he passed out last night, after his latest thrashing. Even concurred, adding he thought his friend might not survive. Sir, I broke the legs of the bastards holding the kids, leaving their mangled bodies for the FBI to collect. But, I still don't feel, I did enough to hurt those ass holes." Bruce declares, as he tears. Then he adds, "I know you took Simon, and Dylian, but I want to help out. If Bess agrees, I intend to adopt one of the remaining youngsters."
"Thanks, Bruce, let's see what happens. I can't handle more than the two, however I intend to insure the others are taken care of. Tell me the name of the fourth boy."
"Andy, a fourteen-year-old, which meant they had kids from thirteen up to sixteen, and they tried to buy a nine-year-old as well. These monsters need to be hurt. I also found their client listing: Do you want a copy?"
"No, let Tom and the FBI deal with them. I already told the governor, whom I intend to publicly crucify him, if he doesn't handle this scandal properly. Being family won't save him, if he fails to act forcefully!"
About this time, a frowning Debbie came out to fetch me. She explains, "Drew, he remains unconscious, which is good, otherwise he would be in great pain. He has a broken tibia, that we successfully treated, however the fracture to the front of his skull troubles me. Fortunately, there doesn't appear to be any internal bleeding, nor is there any splintering. He has one other major injury, involving his fibula. He requires surgery, for him to walk without a limp. I can't say, if this will cause him further pain, but right now it's not important. Get in there, hold his hand. Let him know, he will be safe, loved."
Entering, I see my inert dark-haired boy, with tubes connected to all parts of his body. After I sit down, I pick up his hand. Then, I look in his face, while I gather my thoughts. Ten minutes pass, before I say, "Simon, my name is Drew Thomas, I am your legal guardian, not your foster parent, I formally will ask to adopt you, once you wake up. I literally bumped into Dylian, who is at my condo: He begged me to find you. I won't tell him we have you, until you wake up. He would be shocked to see you in your present condition, yet he will go crazy, if he can't visit soon. Therefore, please open your eyes now! I don't know how to raise a child, even one as smart as your sibling, so I need your help. I already love you both, even though you have yet to speak. Son, I can't say how proud I am of you. You fought those monsters tooth and nail, which took extreme guts. Simon, they damn near beat you to death numerous times. I wish I had your strength. I am proud to call you my boy, my eldest child. I like the sound of that. Oh, Simon... p-p-p...please come back to me!"
I break down crying.
"Why...would...you...want...me...as...a...son?" comes a whispered gasp.
"Oh my god, SIMON!" I scream.
I alert Debbie, then add, "Son, why wouldn't I? You're strong, smart, damn good looking: Your little brother thinks the world of you. I don't care if you are gay, bi, straight, punk, blue, Goth, or just plumb crazy, I already love you!"
At this point, my friend enters. She states, "Simon, good to see you awake. My name is Dr. Edwards, but please call me Doc Debbie. When did you wake up?"
"Fine, Young Man, I don't want you to use your voice anymore, simply nodding response to my questions."
She pauses, until he agrees, then she continues, "Are you having trouble breathing?"
Simon shakes his head no.
"Good, does your throat hurt?"
He indicates yes.
"We will get you something, then make sure everything else works."
As she leaves, he whispers, "I...can't...see!"
Freezing, my friend queries, "Tell me with your head, is this new?"
He does. So she adds, "Thank you, we shall check them. Remember no talking! Mr. Thomas, may I see you outside for a moment, you need to sign a few consent forms."
"Of course, Doctor. Simon, Son, I will be right back, okay?"
Although he nods, he won't let go of my hand.
"Sweetie, you must ungrip me, if you want me to return."
I chuckle, as he lets go. Then, I head out to talk with Debbie. Pouncing on her, I ask, "Why the "Mr. Thomas"? And, how come he can't talk? Finally, what is wrong with my child's eyes?"
"Drew, he is too frightened, to understand our relationship at this time. We will let him know soon, but I fear he is hanging on to reality by a tread. Since he seems to have bonded with you, I don't want to jeopardize your progress. As for your other questions: I think his larynx was damaged. So, I prefer him not talking, until I get Ed down here to examine his voice. With respect to his sight, we must examine his optical nerves."
I observe an enormous man, dressed in a dark grey suit. He walks down the hallway, in the direction of the nurses' station. Then, I hear him say, "Ma'am, I am Special Agent Jackson with the FBI. I need to speak with one of your patients, Simon Price."
"I am sorry, Sir, we do not have anyone by that name," she claims, with a straight face.
"I know damn well, he is here in this ward. If you value your job, tell me where!"
"Let me make myself clear, Mister, this is a children's hospital. I am the head nurse for this floor: I will not allow you, or anyone else, to bully me, nor any of my staff! Our children are seriously ill. Should you scare a hair on anyone of my babies, you will need more than the great FBI to protect you! Have I made myself clear?"
"Yes, Ma'am, I am sorry. But, it is very important I talk with this boy, so we can put some evil men away. I will be careful not to frighten him."
"Well, that's much better, Sir. As you know, you can't talk to a minor without his guardian, or a lawyer, and he has both. I didn't lie, when I said we didn't have a Simon Price, he is listed under a different name. Give me a moment."
The lady turns to me, and then she asks, "Mr. Thomas, would you come over here?"
Next, she swivels back, to say, "Agent Jackson, I would like for you to meet Mr. Drew Thomas, Simon's guardian, and Dr. Debbie Edwards, his doctor. Dr Edwards, Mr. Thomas this is Special Agent Jackson with the FBI."
"Doctor, Mr. Thomas; it's a pleasure to meet you. I will do whatever you tell me, but I need to talk with the boy as soon as possible."
"Sir, Simon has been severely injured. He is not permitted to talk at all, so any questions would have to be answered without his speaking. In addition, you mustn't upset him, for any reason. Are we in agreement?"
"Yes, Doctor." he states, then he turns to me to add, "Mr. Thomas, I respect your status as his legal guardian, although it remains unofficial."
"You're wrong there. Judge Mason already acted on my petition. I also hired lawyers for Simon, in addition to the other boys. So, you need to speak to me or their advocates, before you can question any of the youngsters."
"Good! I like you, Sir. I'm indebted for bringing this pedophile ring to our attention. Dr. Edwards, may I speak to Simon?" the now grinning official asks.
"Yes, however, please remember, he is not to use his voice. Drew, I think it would be wise, if you go in first to prepare him. Have Brian, or Mark, stand silently by. I want to limit the number of people he interacts with, until he stabilizes."
"Brian, will you do that?"
"Of course, I shall even keep my mouth shut!"
In response, Mark burst out laughing.
"Good, Agent Jackson, you will be called, after I prepare my son."
With that, I return to my boy: I explain what happened. He stiffens, appears to get scared. So I add, "But, don't worry about a thing, I will remain with you the whole time, and so will your lawyer, Brian. He and his partner are my advocates as well they are also my friends: I trust them with my life, as well as with my eldest son's! So, are you ready to listen to the man?"
A smile spreads across his face. Then, he nods, but before I get Agent Jackson, he grabs my hand.
"Yes! In my heart, and sole, you are. All we have to do is make it legal. I love you so much!" I state, as tears roll down my face.
"Me...too." he squeaks, while he also cries.
I wipe his face, and then I kiss him.
"Are you ready?"
"Okay, let me get him. I will be right back, I want your hand to hold." I tease.
I went to fetch the agent, reminding him, "Agent Jackson, I just want to emphasize my boy is in a very fragile state right now, please watch what you say."
"Don't worry, Sir, you will be surprised how well my interview goes."
When we walk into the room, I do what I promised, which results in a large smile reappearing. The officer also grins.
After making the introductions, the official begins, "Simon, I am here to talk with you about your experiences over the past weeks. I want you to know, you are one of the most courageous individuals, I have the honor to ever meet. I present you with a medal of bravery, for your actions in the face of extreme adversity."
At this point, he hands me a box, which contains a small gold medal. I place it in my son's hand, for him to feel. He then continues, "When you are up to it, I shall ask you for your statement. Is that alright?"
My child agrees.
"Great, Simon, it was an honor to meet you, and I look forward to working with you in the future. I will not stop, until those responsible are punished."
Then, turning to me he says, "Mr. Thomas, I must speak with the other boys, before I leave. Have you chatted with them?"
"No, my head of security, Bruce Miller, is taking care of them. You will find their lawyer outside. I trust you will be as gentle with them, as you were with my child."
"Of course! I want them to look at some photos, so we can make some identifications."
"Goodbye, Simon, till next we meet."
My boy waves in response, then the agent leaves.
"Wow, Son, I had no clue you were going to be honored. I am so proud of you. I hope he didn't upset you, when he referred to me as your father."
My child cries in response. I fear I might have upset him, so I ask, "Simon, what's wrong?"
"Nothing could make me happier. I love both you and Dylian with all my heart."
I bawl with him.
After we stop, he asks, "Dad...please...call...Dy."
"Okay, Son, give me a minute."
He nods, before he lets go of me. I leave, ask Debbie to have Miles bring Dylian. Returning, I sit by Simon's bed, while I look into his face: His eyes appear closed, his breathing slow. He seems to be asleep. Then, I hear him gasp, "Dad...is...that...you?"
"Yes, Son, don't talk. Before you decide whether you want me as your father, let me tell you a bit about me. First off, I am gay."
I await a reaction: He smiles. Encouraged. I ask, "I take it your fine with it?"
He shakes his head yes, so I continue, "Thanks."
I go on to explain my plans for our new family, plus what the future holds for his friends. Once again, the tears flow. At this point, Debbie pokes her head in the door, stating, "Drew, Miles and the boys are here. If you don't come out to update your little one, he may combust!"
I tell my eldest, before I exit once more, Seeing me, a running Dylian jumps into my arms, while he exclaims,
"Daddy, your okay!"
"Of course, Sweetie, why wouldn't I?"
"Cause your at the hospital. Uncle Miles said that you were at the hospital, and we had to get there NOW! I thought you were hurt," my crying child replies.
"Oh, my dear little guy, I'm fine. But, something important happened."
He looks at me, as if I had two heads.
"See, I found my eldest, his name is Simon."
A deafening scream escapes the tiny fellow, then he blurts out, "You got him! Oh I can't believe you have him. Where is he, I want to see him. Take me to him, please!"
I go on to explain his brother's physical state, before I ask, "Son, can you be a big boy, stay composed in front of him?"
"Yeah, Daddy, I will, I just want him to be okay! Let's go to him now!"
Picking him up, I set him on his feet, then I grab his hand, and we enter Simon's room.