Monday, September 27, 2010

Harter Union: Part Seven, Chapter 4

Annie and I continuously hugged in the terminal of JFK airport as Dustin, Amber and Kate looked on. “I have to go, love. I’ll call you as soon as I arrive in Miami,” I said, then kissed Annie on the nose. “You three take care of her, all right?”

Dustin shook my hand, “Congratulations, buddy. I know how long you’ve wanted this.”

“I’ll take care of Annie, Jeff. You have a good time on your tour,” Amber hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“I honestly never thought it would come to this, Kansas. I never thought you would actually get a book published but seriously, what do you have to say that’s important?”

“I love you, too, Kate,” I smiled. “I got to go, guys. I’ll see you all in two weeks,” I grabbed my carry-on luggage, hugged and kissed Annie one last time and dashed down the corridor while everyone shouted congratulations at me. I looked back, waved and smiled.

Dustin and Amber walked through the hallways of Manhattan-Rooks briskly while he held a cup of coffee and she held a bottle of fruit smoothie. “So you’re finally going to court over this?” she asked.

“Yeah, I have to drive down to Jersey for it but hopefully by the end of today, all this will be over,” Dustin and Amber stopped in front of his office. “I’m gonna ask for full custody and try to force the state to make her get a job.”

“Well, good luck and I hope everything works out for you. I have a meeting in fifteen minutes so I’ll see you this weekend maybe,” Amber walked quickly down the hall and disappeared around a corner.

Dustin sat down at his desk and began reading through a manuscript that was lying on a stack of papers.

Annie, Shani and Kate sat outside a coffeehouse on Bleecker Street. “We need to do this more often,” Annie said setting down her cup.

“If those damned men wouldn’t come along then it would be fine but they’d come along a like every other man, they would ruin it,” Shani said.

“A little bitter about something?” Annie snickered.

“She’s just saying that she doesn’t need a man to make her happy. Right, Shani?” Kate asked.

“Well, I don’t need a man in my life but it seems more fulfilled that I’m making Jeff happy and that I know someone loves me with all their heart,” Annie said.

“Aww,” the other two girls said in unison.

“So how’s the third grade, Kate?” Shani asked.

“I’m still alive. I’m having them draw their favorite person or activity and then having them write a paper on it. I love making them write stories or reports.”

“I think there’s a time in everyone’s life when they want to be a teacher. Mine was actually in high school because of Mrs. Parker. She was the one who encouraged me to be a writer and look where I am now,” Annie said.

“You’re a promotions executive for a publisher. Your job has absolutely nothing to do with actual writing. Your fiancĂ©e does that,” Kate pointed out.

“Well, then I can live vicariously through him,” Annie smiled. “The point wasn’t me being a writer, it was being a teacher.”

“And you didn’t do that either so shut up,” Kate said.

“Now I know why we don’t do this very often!” Annie yelled, tossing down a crumpled napkin.

“She kicked me out of our child’s life for the entire pregnancy and the first ten months of his life. I offered to help but she refused my help, refused to add my name to the birth certificate and when she finally realized that babies cost money, she sued me for back child support and still refused to let me see my son,” argued Dustin to the judge at the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold, New Jersey. “I’m paying my dues and I more than deserve a fair share of seeing our son.”

“Miss McFarland, do you have anything to say?” asked the judge.

Beth stood up at the podium and began speaking. “I have given Mr. Randall, Dustin, plenty of chances to see his son,” she began. Dustin tried to control his reaction and looked back at his lawyer, Charles Sperber. “The few times I have let Mike go to his father’s house, he comes back with bruises or scratches all over…”

“He’s a boy! Of course he’s going to have bumps and bruises!” Dustin shouted.

“And,” Beth said forcibly, “when Michael came back from his last visit, he said that Daddy touched him. In a private spot.”

Dustin gasped and began shouting. “That is a blatant lie! She is lying!”

“Order! Order, Mr. Randall. In light of these new allegations and developments, we will adjourn for today and reconvene Monday morning at ten,” the judge banged his gavel and Dustin lowered his head to the table.

“She's lying…” mumbled Dustin.

Kate reveals feelings for Jeff as Dustin goes to Annie for comfort.