Another Chance - Book Three

Chapter Eight: Custody Hearing

by Zarek Dragon


Monday morning, Jim, Zac and Jake were at the courthouse early. Jim was pacing the hall waiting for Harvey Cox to show up. Ten minutes before the time he told the boys to show, he walked in. Mr. Cox led the boys to a room outside the courtroom where the hearing will be. "I'm sorry that you had to wait."

Jim smiled, "You're a few minutes early, so it's not your fault."

"True, and I would have been earlier, except I took time to try calling Mr. Buchanan again. The staff at his house said that he left the country for a few days, but he did mail me a lengthy letter and it should arrive today," Harvey explained.

After making sure the boys were ready for the hearing, Harvey Cox led them into the courtroom and to their seats. They no sooner sat down when a bailiff opened a door. "All rise. This court is now in session with the honorable Judge Jedidiah Prescott now presiding."

An elderly man came out and walked to the judicial seat. Harvey looked at the boys and muttered just two syllables, "Uh oh." Jim got a fear-stricken look on his face.

The gruff looking man began to speak, "You may be seated. I'm sure that you were expecting Judge Bishop this morning. Yesterday, he was in an automobile accident and will be in the hospital for at least a week. I am Judge Prescott and I have been on the bench longer than most of you have been alive. Is Tina Louise Caulfield present?"

"Your Honor, my client was unlawfully detained by the Police at the request of the Park County Sheriff, who is engaged to the mother of one of the defendants," Tina's lawyer stated.

Harvey Cox stood up, "Your Honor, the Police arrested Miss Caulfield after hearing a recording wherein she attempted to blackmail one of my clients. The Sheriff merely told them that he needed to stay clear of this so no such claim could be made. The Police Department has assured me that they would make sure she will be present."

"Sorry I'm late, Your Honor," Tina stated as she came in the door, escorted by two police officers.

"And you are the birth mother of the child known as Jake Bolt?" Prescott questioned.

"Yes, Your Honor," the bitch confirmed.

"And are the two queers, James and Zac Bolt present?" Everyone looked at Judge Prescott with a weird look when he asked that.

Harvey stood stating, "Your Honor, I must ask you to recuse yourself on the grounds of prejudice."

"Are you one of the two fags?" the judge asked.

"No Your Honor, I am their lawyer," Harvey explained.

"Then I wasn't speaking to you. Are Jim and Zac Bolt present?" Prescott demanded.

"We are, Your Honor," Jim answered.

"Which one of you is the woman in the relationship?" Prescott inquired.

"That's personal, sir, and has nothing to do with this hearing," Jim responded.

"So in other words, you are. And the two of you are the adoptive parents of Jake Bolt?"

Jim could tell that he was not going to like this judge. His stomach was tightening up. "Yes, Your Honor, Zac and I adopted Jake four weeks ago today."

"And now, Mr. Lawyer, do you seriously plan to bring all of these witnesses to testify before me? Do you really think eighteen people will persuade me any more than three or four?"

"Your Honor, each one has something unique to add helping to define the characters of my clients. I must ask you again to recuse yourself as you are being blatantly prejudicial, and if you don't, I will take the transcript of this hearing before the Judicial Review Board."

Judge Prescott looked Harvey in the eye, "You have some big ones, counselor, I grant you that. Ask me again to recuse myself so that your fudge-packers can steal this child away from his birth mother and I will find you in contempt."

"Your Honor, it is my right as a litigator in the great State of Wyoming to ask you to recuse yourself if for any reason you appear biased or prejudiced. Comments that you have made this morning are enough to have you removed from the bench. I will not ask you to recuse yourself again," Harvey sounded forceful.

"Good, now that is settled, Mr. White, would you like to call your first witness?"

Tina's lawyer looked at the judge, smiling, "I'd like to call Tina Louise Caulfield to the stand."

As Tina made her way up, the bailiff approached her and held out a Bible, "Please state your name for the court."

"Tina Louise Caulfield. My mother loved watching Gilligan's Island and named me after an actress on the show."

"Raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" the bailiff asked.

"So help me, God," Tina replied.

Mr. White stood and approached the witness stand. "Miss Caulfield, how old were you when the child was born?"

"I was a mere child myself, I was fifteen at the time." Tina answered.

Mr. White smiled, "And why did you give up your child at the time?"

"My father kicked me out of the house, saying that I gave the Buchanan name a bad rep, or rather reputation by being pregnant out of wedlock. I was homeless and thought that my baby could have a better life without me." Tina started to cry. Judge Prescott handed her a box of tissues.

"And," Mr. White had a sneer on his face as he looked in Jim's direction, "what prompted you to seek Jake out now?"

"I now have a stable home and I miss my son," Tina wailed.

Mr. White went back to his seat. "I have no further questions."

Harvey stood up, "Miss Caulfield, who wrote the note that was with Jake when he was left at the church?"

"I did, why?" she responded.

"Do you remember what it said?" Harvey questioned.

"I believe it said, 'My baby's name is Jake, I am unable to take care of him, will you please find him a good home.' But it has been over five years, so I don't recall actually."

Harvey picked up a piece of paper and handed it to the judge. "The note merely stated 'Baby's name is Jakey B.'. That's it, nothing elaborate. Even after five years, don't you think that would have been easy to remember?"

Tina got defensive, "I don't have that good of a memory."

"And you were homeless?" Harvey asked.

"At the time, I was," Tina replied.

"Where did you find such an expensive piece of paper?" Harvey questioned.

"It was wadded up in a trash can?" Tina answered.

"Interesting since there were no creases except where the note was folded."

"Objection!" Mr. White shouted, "Counselor is testifying."

"I was merely commenting about her saying the paper was wadded, Your Honor," Harvey proclaimed.

"Sustained, keep your comments to yourself, counselor," the judge rapped his gavel.

"How do you explain the lack of crease marks from a wadded piece of paper?" Harvey asked Tina.

"Objection!" Mr. White hollered, "Counselor is badgering the witness."

"I merely asked a question concerning the lack of crease marks. I suspect that something is not right about her story and I aim to find out the truth."

The judge rapped his gavel again, "Sustained, I think that you are through with this witness."

Harvey sat down, looking a little defeated. Jim whispered, "We're going to lose, aren't we?"

Harvey tried to smile at Jim, "Don't give up yet. I've never lost a case before and while I know I will eventually, I will do my best to make sure I don't lose this one. Ever since I spoke with Buchanan's staff, something has been eating at me, and I don't know exactly what."

Mr. White looked at Jake, "For my next witness, I would like to call Jake Bolt."

Jim looked surprised. He looked at Jake and told him, "Just go up there and be honest."

As Jake made his way to the stand, an older man sneaked into the back of the courtroom. He was dressed in an expensive suit and appeared to be in his late forties to early fifties. He smiled at Jake sitting before the judge.

Jake was seated and sworn in. Mr. White looked at Jake, "Do you know who that lady is?" He pointed to Tina.

Jake frowned, "She's the mean lady who threw a coke in my daddy's face."

"And," Mr. White had to compose himself as he wasn't expecting that answer, "Who told you that she did that?"

"Nobody," Jake answered, "I sawed her doed it."

Tina looked over at Jim, "He was there?" Jim just nodded and hung his head down.

"Are you aware that she is your mother?" Mr. White inquired.

"She may have given birth to me, but that doesn't make her my mother. She's mean and I hate her." Jake yelled.

"Jake!" Jim yelled. "Hating is wrong."

"Counselor, please restrain your client from making any outbursts in my courtroom."

Jake apologized, "I'm sorry, Daddy."

Mr. White decided to try a different approach. "That man just yelled at you, Jake. Do you get into trouble often?"

Jake looked nervous, "Not really, I mean, when I went to other families, I would be nervous and pee the bed and they spanked me."

Mr. White grinned, thinking he was getting the answers he wanted, "And did you wet the bed when you stayed with the Bolts the first time?"

"Yes," Jake replied, "But Daddy just hugged me, told me it was an accident and told me to go to the bathroom and clean myself up and put on clean clothes while he changed the sheets on the bed. Then he had to change his shirt because I got pee on him."

Mr. White's grin disappeared. "Did he ever touch you?"

"To give hugs and kisses, and sometimes he tickles me. Do you not touch your kids when you show them that you love them?" Jake asked. "He also picks me up to put me in my car seat."

"I have no further questions for this witness," Mr. White sat down.

"Jake, I have one question for you, what did your daddy tell you before you took the stand?" Mr. Cox asked.

"I didn't take anything, honest," Jake looked like he was ready to cry.

"No, but coming and sitting in that chair is called taking the stand," the judge explained.

"OH!" Jake looked relieved. "Daddy told me to come up here and be honest."

Harvey smiled at Jake before turning to the judge, "I have no more questions, Your Honor."

"The witness may step down. We will break for lunch and when we return, I will render my decision."

"Your Honor, I haven't been allowed to call any of my witnesses yet," Harvey protested.

"And I'm not about to let you call all these people. I'll let you call Miss Dewill and then give my decision."

Mr. Cox, Aunt Sallie, and Matt sat with Jim, Zac and Jake as they ate. "What is your strategy now?" Jim asked.

"He's already made up his mind, and I don't think it'll matter what we say or do now. He's only allowing Aunt Sallie to testify out of pretense. I'm sorry that my first loss will be today. Jake belongs with the two of you. I will file a complaint against the judge and try to get his decision appealed."

Matt piped in, "Don't worry about expense, either. I promised Jim that I would go broke before I see him lose Jake."

"That's nice of you, but since Jim's mom works for the firm, and since I believe Jake belongs with Jim, I won't be charging," Harvey explained.

Aunt Sallie looked soulful, "I just hope that what I have to say helps to change the judge's mind."

As they were eating, the well-dressed man approached Harvey Cox. "Mr. Cox, I am tired of watching that sham in there. Instead of Miss Dewill, you need to put me on the stand."

Harvey looked down, "I don't know if he will let me call someone else instead of her."

The man looked confident, and smiled, "He will let me take the stand."

"And may I ask your name?" Harvey inquired.

"Yes you may, I am Joshua Buchanan. I promise you, I go on the stand and you will not lose this case." Hearing that, Jim started to cry.

"Yes, yes, I believe you should go on the stand," Harvey agreed, sounding more chipper than he has since Prescott entered the courtroom. He smiled at Jim and Matt.

Matt was curious, "Why are you smiling at me?"

"Because I wish everyone had a friend like you. You don't remember me, do you?" Harvey chuckled.

"No sir, I can't say that I do," Matt responded.

"Think back, I think it was about three or four years ago when I last saw you. I weighed about twice what I do now."

Matt looked thoughtful. "Wait, weren't you my grandfather's attorney?"

Harvey smiled, "I was, and I know what you are worth, so when you made that offer to Jim, that's a true friend."

Matt returned the smile, "I haven't procured a lawyer yet since gaining full access to the funds. Since you were honest about not charging Zac and Jim, I trust you and would like to retain your services."

"Come to my office tomorrow and we'll discuss it," Harvey instructed. "I believe that your grandfather is looking down from heaven and is very proud of the young man that you've become."

"We need to go back into the courtroom," Mr. Buchanan advised.

As they sat, Judge Prescott made his appearance. "Alright Mr. Attorney, you may call Miss Dewill."

"If it pleases the court, I would like to call someone else, Your Honor. I would like to call…" the judge interrupted Harvey.

"Counselor, are you trying my patience?" the judge seemed furious.

Joshua Buchanan stood up, "Excuse me, Your Honor, this attorney may call whomever he wishes and as many as he wishes. If he wishes to call me, then that is his right."

Jim watched Tina getting nervous and begging her lawyer to object. "I object, we don't even know who this gentleman is."

"Well, let's find out, shall we?" Judge Prescott said, looking smug, "Sir, what is your name and why, pray tell me, should I not hold you in contempt?"

"I am Joshua Buchanan, Jake's birth grandfather. Or you may address me as Judge Buchanan from the Wyoming Judicial Board. When I leave here, I assure you, a copy of this hearing's transcript will be going with me." Judge Prescott went almost as white as the hair on his head. Harvey Cox just started smiling.

"By all means, Your Honor, take the stand," Prescott managed to get out.

Harvey approached the stand after Judge Buchanan was sworn in. "Sir, may I ask why you came here today?"

Judge Buchanan smiled, "When you called my house, my staff got upset about you asking about my daughter, Jake's birth mother. I had written a letter to you, telling you of the events around Jake's birth but I never sent the letter prior to going on my vacation, so I flew here to personally deliver it. And I am glad I did."

"And you say that you have testimony pertinent to this hearing? Would you like to give that now?"

Judge Buchanan looked a little sad, "My daughter Jacqueline was dating a boy named Jacob Bates. We used to joke that when they get married, their names would be so similar. On the day after Jacob's eighteenth birthday, he left for Camp Pendleton to become a Marine. Little did he know, the condom he had used had a leak and he left my daughter pregnant. I admit, I was upset when I discovered that they were having sex under my roof, but I loved my daughter and Jacob was planning to marry her. Sadly, Jacob was killed in an accident while undergoing basic training."

"Objection, relevance!" Mr. White shouted.

"Let me finish my story and you will see the relevance," Judge Buchanan stated.

"Overruled," Judge Prescott declared.

"Adding to the sadness in my life, Jacqueline didn't make it, giving birth to a beautiful baby boy while we were en route to the hospital. In honor of Jacqueline and Jacob, I named that baby Jake. At the time, I was far too busy to personally take care of a child and I didn't think it would be fair to the child to have my staff do it. So, I asked my daughter's best friend, Tina Caulfield, to take him to be put up for adoption. It saddens me to have given up rights to see him, but I thought it was best for him. I still believe he is in a better home than I could provide for him, even with all the money I make from my business as well as being a judge and serving on the board."

"So, Tina is NOT Jake's birth mother?" Harvey Cox asked. "I knew something didn't feel right."

"No she is not, she has committed fraud against this court, and I know that my daughter would be furious with her now," Judge Buchanan stated.

Judge Prescott averred, "I will see to it personally that additional charges are added to her other pending charges. Officers, you may take her back to jail until her court date."

"I have spoken with Jacob's parents, they are unable to take care of Jake themselves, but would appreciate maybe at least one visit so they can see him and I have already given up my rights to raise Jake. No one else has any right to fight for custody of the boy. He is in a good home with people who obviously love him, and I believe he should remain in that home."

"Then by all means, I declare that Jake shall remain in the custody of the two que… er, I mean James and Zac Bolt. Case dismissed," Judge Prescott declared. Judge Buchanan gave him a disgusted look.

Judge Buchanan walked over to the defendants' table. "Did he just start to call you queers?"

Jim was quick to respond, "Well, we are, but you should have heard what he said prior to you coming in. Mr. Cox asked him to recuse himself on several occasions."

"Trust me," Judge Buchanan stated, "THAT was his last time on the bench."

"Thank you sir," Jim said holding his hand out to shake.

Judge Buchanan took Jim's hand, "I'm glad to help. Legally, Jake may not be my grandson any more, and I do regret that, but I am happy that he has people who love him. And if you ever need anything for him that I might be able to provide, here's my card. He is the only living flesh and blood I have, so with your permission, I would like him to be my heir." Then he looked directly at the boy, "Jake, when you are older, if you ever want to visit, my door will always be open to you, but I will leave that up to you, and your dads while you are under their roof. Just know that I never stopped loving you, and I wish that I could have taken care of you. I see so much of your mother and Jacob in you, you are so handsome."

Jim looked at Jake, "Did you understand what Judge Buchanan said about your mom?"

"That that mean lady isn't her?" Jake gave a small smile. He never told anyone how he felt he was being bad for not loving her, but now he felt relieved.

Jim smiled, "Yes, he did say that, but your mommy didn't abandon you. God took her to heaven and I bet she's looking down right now and happy about the boy you've become."

"Can we go see her?" Jake inquired.

"No, heaven is too far away and we can't go there," Jim stated.

"When will she come back? She won't try taking me from you, will she?" Jake appeared worried.

Jim was having a difficult time explaining that his mother died without actually saying it. He didn't know how Jake would handle hearing that she was dead. "People usually don't come back once they go to heaven, except maybe to visit us in our dreams. And you needn't ever worry about anyone trying to take you from Papa and me again."

Jake began to smile again, "You mean it, I'm forever your son and that will never change?"

"Yes, I mean it. You are stuck with us," Jim grinned.

Jake hugged Jim and then Zac. "That's OK, I love you both. Can we go get some ice cream?"

Zac picked Jake up, "That sounds like a splendid idea. Are you buying?"

With a straight face, Jake replied, "I can't, Daddy said that my money was fake."

"Does that mean Daddy is buying?" Zac inquired.

Jake had a devilish "Uh huh,"

Jim looked at Jake, "When did I say that your money was fake?"

Jake grinned, "When I wanted to buy a toy for the bath."

Jim laughed, "That was then."

"It's the same money!" Jake responded.

Zac chuckled, "He's got you there."

"Fine," Jim agreed, "but it'll cost you both a hug and a kiss."

"I don't know, what do you think, Jake? Is ice cream worth kissing that handsome face?" Zac teased, "What if I pay?"

Jake gave Zac a hug and kiss and then smiled at Jim. "Why you little brat, when we get home, I am going to tickle you."

Jake hugged Zac tighter, "Papa will protect me."

"OH no," Jim announced, "He's getting tickled too, for instigating it."

Zac whispered in Jake's ear, but loud enough Jim could hear, "That's OK, we'll tickle him as he's tickling us." Jake grinned from ear to ear as he looked at Jim.

Jim chuckled, "You forget, I'm not ticklish."

Zac frowned at Jake, "He's not, but then neither is Papa. I know you are, though." He gave Jake a quick tickle. "Let's give Daddy a kiss and go get some ice cream."

Zac handed Jake to Jim and the boy kissed Jim on the cheek, "I love you, Daddy. Can I have two scoops?"

"When it comes to ice cream, is there any less than two scoops?" Jim asked. "How many is two?" Jake held up two fingers.

Zac suggested going to Peter's Café and Bakery. They could eat lunch and then Peter had over thirty different flavors of ice cream. And it was just a little more than two blocks down Sheridan from the courthouse.

When the ice cream came, Jake ordered the same flavor as Jim, but he looked at Jim and asked if he could taste his and did the same to Zac. They gave in to that cute face.

After they ate, Zac went to the ranch and Jim went home to start preparing for going to the dojo. Aunt Brenda looked at Jim, "If you want to leave Jake here, he can play with Austin."

Jim looked at Jake, "What do you think, do you want to skip going to the dojo so you can play with Austin?"

Jake looked at Aunt Brenda, "Can Austin go with us? I like learning karate."

Jim laughed, "Actually, it's not karate, but Jake's getting good from just watching us and practicing. By the time he's old enough to sign up, he may be ready to earn a few different belts."

Aunt Brenda looked at Austin, "You want to go with Jim, Joe and Jake to work out?"

Austin smiled, "Can we take the dragon car?"

Jim smiled, "OK, but you sit in back with Jake this time."

Joe picked Jake up, "You ready to go practice martial arts?"

Jake did a light karate chop on Joe's arm and yelled, "Hiya!"

"I take that as a yes," Joe grinned.

"You going to carry me out to Daddy's car?" Jake questioned.

Joe smiled, "That's up to you. Do you want me to carry you, or would you prefer your daddy do it?"

"My car seat is on your side of the car, so you can. Then Daddy can help Austin get buckled in," Jake suggested.

Joe hugged Jake, "You know, for only being five, you sure are smart."

Jake grinned, "I'm smarter than the average bear. I heard Yogi say that on cartoons."

Joe put Jake in his car seat while Jim buckled Austin in. After the little ones were secure, they got in the car. Jim was driving towards the Dojo and Joe started talking. "Buster decided that he wants to be a teacher and plans on working to get a Master's Degree in Education and you know, I want to get a degree in Child psychology."

"Both are noble professions and I believe that you both are capable," Jim encouraged.

Joe continued, "Well, we've talked about it and were wondering, when you and Zac are ready to start your ranch, Buster and I would like to pay a third and help you run it. Buster doesn't want the headaches of owning it and I thought we could call it the Z Double J Ranch. What do you think?" Jim pulled the car over and slammed on the brakes. "Bro, if you don't like the idea…"

"No, it's not that. I think it's a great idea," Jim said interrupting him. "Did I tell you about the dream I had when Zac, Jake and I were at the cabin?"

Joe looked warily at Jim, "You mentioned that you were thinking of having a ranch for unwanted boys like me. Those are the same boys I want to help which is why Buster and I were talking."

"In the dream," Jim explained, "the ranch was named Z Double J Ranch, Another Chance for unwanted boys. I didn't tell you that? We thought the second J was for Jake."

Joe's mouth dropped. "That's freaky, just plain freaky."

"Isn't it though?" Jim started to ease back onto the road and continued their trip to the dojo.

Once they arrived at the dojo, the sensei greeted Jim, "Is this another recruit?"

Jim smiled, "You remember my cousin that was with us during Christmas?"

"Wow, he's grown a little in seven months. Doesn't he live in Japan?"

"He did," Jim answered, "but his family moved back to Montana. His mom is down here to help Mom get ready for her wedding."

Sensei bowed to Austin and started speaking Japanese. Jim was lost as he couldn't even guess the first word the two spoke in their conversation. When they finished speaking, Sensei called the class together. "Everyone, we have a special guest today. Unbeknownst to even his cousin, Austin has been studying martial arts in Japan. He has agreed to give a demonstration of what he knows just as soon as he changes into a gi he is borrowing from me."

Those that weren't already changed went to put on their gis. Jim was surprised to hear that Austin had been practicing martial arts. He looked at Austin as they changed, "So, when did you start training?"

Austin smiled, "Mom was worried I would get picked on being the only American at school, so she found a dojo that accepted six year olds. I wanted to surprise you, so I asked her to not say anything."

"Surprised?" Jim laughed, "You nearly floored me." Austin grinned. He always looked up to Jim and here was his chance to make Jim proud of him, really proud. "I know you'll do a good job, just don't get nervous and know that you amaze me every day and I am always proud of you."

Austin thought, 'Did he really just say that he was proud of me?' He gave Jim a hug and commented, "What if I screw up during this demonstration?"

Jim hugged Austin back and whispered in his ear, "No big deal, we all screw up sometime, but I know you'll have done your best and you put yourself out there in front of strangers. Not everyone can do that and I'll still be so proud of you."

Austin whispered back, "Thank you, I needed that. I just want to make you proud and knowing I already have helps me not be nervous."

"Austin," Jake said, joining the hug, "I'm proud of you, too."

After Jim let him go, Austin hugged Jake, "Thank you, I'm proud of you as well."

They went out to join the rest of the class and Austin gave a demonstration that actually made him feel good about himself. Jim ran over to him and hugged him, picking him up, "Cuz, that was amazing, just amazing."

Jake walked over, "Will I get that good?"

Jim picked Jake up and hugged him, "By the time you are Austin's age, you have the potential to be even better. You are a year younger than he was when he started, so if you keep working as hard as you've been, then yes. Just know that Daddy is always proud of you too."

Jake hugged Jim back, "Thank you, Daddy." Jim sensed that Jake felt a little jealous of him hugging Austin and started wondering how he would react to another boy in the family. He started debating in his head which would be better, having another son so Jake had a playmate or waiting until Jake was older and understood better. He decided that he and Zac should discuss it and then maybe the two of them would discuss it together with Jake.

After the class, Austin went to hand back the gi and the sensei refused to take it. "You hang onto that, keep it at Jim's or wherever. Anytime you are visiting, you can come as a guest of Jim's and I won't charge you." Austin thanked him and went to where Jim and Jake were waiting.

That night, Zac looked at Jim and said that something was on his mind all day and he wanted to talk. Jake and Austin went up to Jake's room to play and Zac asked the rest of the family to sit at the table. "I was planning to talk with Jim about this, but I wouldn't mind your thoughts as well," Zac began the conversation.

Jim looked at Zac, "Is it about Judge Buchanan? If so, I think we should invite your parents as well, especially if you're thinking what I am."

Zac smiled, "You are right." He called his parents and Marilyn, and Vince came over right away. Zayne looked so happy in Vince's arms.

Jim looked into Zac's eyes and smiled. "Today, Jake's birth grandfather came into court, those who were available had seen and heard how he made it so Jake could stay with us. He's not claiming any rights nor does he expect anything from us."

Zac smiled, "And I've been thinking about this all day, and I have a feeling that Jim has too. We think Jake should be able to have him in his life as well. Would any of you be offended if we let Jake call him grandpa or grandfather as well?"

Heather reached over and put her hand on Jim's "I was at work during the trial, but Harvey couldn't stop talking about how Judge Buchanan saved the case for him. I think it would be a great idea."

Nick gave Heather a hug, "I managed to get in to hear him talk to the judge right before he took the stand. I don't know how bad your case was going, but from what I heard, it was going very badly with the judge and Judge Buchanan did win the case for you. Yes, he did give up his rights and I'm glad he did so Jake can be in our lives, but he can tell Jake about his mother and Jake deserves to get to know her."

Vince spoke next, "I think I speak for your mother and me when I say we won't be offended. If Jake has three or four sets of grandparents who all love him, he's a lucky boy."

"My husband is correct," Marilyn agreed.

"Thank you, now we can see what Jake thinks," Zac stated, wiping a tear from his eye.

"Before we get Jake, I need to talk with Zac real quick," Jim stated and then started telling him his thoughts about Jake seeming jealous. After they chatted, Jim went to get Jake. Austin came downstairs with them so he wouldn't be alone.

Jake looked nervous, "Am I in trouble?"

Jim looked at him seriously, "Did you do anything to get into trouble?"

"I don't think so," Jake answered.

Jim gave him a quick hug, "Then no, you are not in trouble."

After putting Jake in a chair, Zac started, "Do you remember Judge Buchanan from court today?"

"He was the nice judge," Jake grinned.

Jim smiled, "Yes, he was nice. Did you hear him say who he was?"

"My birth mommy's daddy?" Jake questioned.

Zac looked at Jake, "And what do you think of the idea of getting to know him, maybe we could visit him and he could be an extra grandpa to you?"

"Would he try to keep me?" Jake questioned.

Jim tried to ease Jake's worries, "No, he thinks you are better with us, but he would like to be a part of your life."

Jake grew a grin that stretched from ear to ear, "I would like that. I like him, but I love my daddy and papa."

Jim wiped his eyes, "Tomorrow, would you like to call him and invite him for a visit?" Jake just smiled and nodded his head. "Good, and before we're done, Papa and I want to know something. When I picked up Austin after his demonstration, you seemed a little jealous, were you?"

Jake looked down, "Maybe a little, but then you picked me up and I know that you love both of us just like I love both you and Papa. I also felt bad for getting jealous when I know that you love me."

Jim smiled, "Austin is my cousin and I will always love him, but you are my son. We chose you to be our son just like you chose us. We will always love you. What would you think if we adopt another boy so you have a brother to play with? We would want someone we can love just as much as you but we want someone you will love as well."

"For reals?" Jake seemed excited.

Zac looked at Jake, "We won't do it right away, at least not until we live as just our family; after all, they would probably claim that this house is getting too crowded. We can understand you wanting a brother to play with, but we also want you to know it won't change how much we love you."

Jake grinned, "And you love me bunches because I have the best daddy and papa ever."

"Yes, we love you bunches and that will never change. Why don't you and Austin go play?" Jim chuckled.

After Jake and Austin ran upstairs, Zac kissed Jim and said, "I think that went well. I feel better about getting another child after that talk."

Jim kissed Zac before agreeing, "Yes, I'm glad we had that talk. I still would like to wait until we finish all of our schooling, but that wouldn't be fair to Jake."

"I love how you put Jake and me before your own wishes. I also would like to wait, but agree that Jake should have someone closer to his age to play with," Zac agreed.

That night as they were getting ready for bed, Jim started telling Zac about Joe's suggestion. He even told him about Joe's suggestion of the name for a ranch. "And you didn't tell him that was the name in your dream?"

Jim answered, "Not until he mentioned it, but it does make sense, I mean, if we adopt another child, why wouldn't his initial be a part of the name if Jake's is."

Zac finished brushing his teeth, "Well, when you had your dream, we hadn't really talked about adopting another son yet, but I see your point. Sometimes, I think you have psychic dreams."

Jim kissed Zac good-night and laid his head on his pillow. "Sometimes, I do as well. I think I'm going to dream about us making love and see if that comes true." Zac just laughed.

Just before lunch, Jim dialed his phone and handed it to Jake. "When he answers, say 'Hello Grandpa, this is Jake.'"

"Hello, Buchanan residence, how may I help you?" Jake heard a man answer in a heavy Jamaican accent.

"Hello Grandpa, this is Jake," Jake repeated, as he was instructed. Jim started chuckling.

"One moment, I will retrieve Mr. Buchanan," the man responded. Just a minute later, they heard the Jamaican voice speaking again, but he was not speaking into the phone, "Sir, I believe this call is for you, but the young man called you grandpa."

"Did he give a name?" Judge Buchanan inquired.

"Yes sir, he said his name was Jake," the Jamaican voice stated.

"Jake?" Mr. Buchanan sound surprised and then excited, "Give me the phone please." You could hear the phone as it went from one hand to the other and then, "Jamero, you forgot to put the phone on hold again."

The Jamaican voice was a little more distant, "I'm sorry sir. I will try to remember."

"No harm, no foul, but please do. Why don't you go have lunch with your lady friend?" Mr. Buchanan suggested and they heard Jamero being gracious.

"Hello Grandpa, this is Jake," Jake said again with a smile.

"Did you call me grandpa?" Mr. Buchanan asked. Jake could hear a little sadness in his voice.

"Daddy said that you are my grandpa and there was nothing wrong with having three or four sets of grandparents. Is it alright with you if I call you grandpa?" Jake sounded a little worried.

Jake could hear a little sniffling before Judge Buchanan spoke, "It's more than OK, since your dads gave you permission, I would love it. If it would be easier, you can call me Grandpa Joshua."

Jake started growing his smile, "They said to see if you wanted to come visit or if we can come to visit you."

Judge Buchanan thought for a minute, "I will be in Cody tomorrow morning, on official business, but then I have the afternoon free. Can I speak to one of your dads to make arrangements?"

"Daddy's right here, he put you so he can listen," Jake informed him.

"Yes, I have you on speakerphone," Jim chimed in.

"Do you realize how happy you made me?" Judge Buchanan inquired.

Jim smiled, "Do you realize how elated you made my husband and me?"

"I can imagine," Judge Buchanan chuckled. He and Jim talked for a few minutes and agreed to meet at the ranch. Mr. Buchanan asked if he could bring Jacob's parents to which Jim agreed, he just hoped that wouldn't be something they would regret.

As Jim was reaching to turn off his phone, Jake shouted, "I love you Grandpa Joshua."

Jim squatted down to look Jake in the face, "You barely know him and you love him, but when you thought Tina was your mom, you hated her?"

Jake didn't hesitate, "She was mean and tried to hurt you and take me away. Grandpa Joshua is nice and he wants me to stay with you and Papa."

Jim smiled, "I understand. It's still wrong to hate anyone. You can hate their action but don't hate them. Do you understand?"

"I think so," Jake nodded, "Like when you yelled at me, I still love you but didn't like the yelling."

Jim mussed Jake's already messy hair, "Close enough. Want to go out to the ranch and visit with Papa while Daddy goes to earn a paycheck?"

Jake looked perplexed, "I wanna go visit with Papa, but I also want to play with Austin."

Austin came downstairs and looked at Jim, "When can we go out to the ranch again? I'd like to go horseback riding some more."

Jim smiled at Austin, "Ask your mom if you can go now. Jake wants to go to the ranch but he also wants to play with you, this way, he can do both." Jake started smiling, not having to choose.

Aunt Brenda kissed Jim on the cheek, "He wants a horse because his cousin has a horse, you know."

"Do you have a place to keep one?" Jim laughed.

Aunt Brenda smiled, "Not really, but it is Montana, so I'm sure there are plenty of ranches, but Austin wants to keep one at 'Jim works at' so he can ride it with you."

Jim chuckled, "Is he wanting a palomino quarter horse?"

"Surprisingly, no," Aunt Brenda shocked Jim, "He wants a solid black mustang."

Jim agreed that could be a nice horse. "If you want, I can ask Jackson to keep an eye open for any being sold."

Brenda smiled, "He's already asking if he can come down and spend summers with you, Zac and Jake, not Aunt Heather, but you. If you don't have a problem with him spending a month or two, then maybe his having a horse here would be a good idea."

Austin looked at Jim, Jim looked at Aunt Brenda, "I would love having him stay with us during the summer. I would have to talk with Zac before I agree, but Zac loves Austin, too."

Aunt Brenda smiled, "I ran it by him before he went to the ranch, his response was, he knows how much you love Austin, but he didn't just want to say yes without talking to you." Austin started jumping up and down. "I think my son is happy knowing the answer."

When they got to the ranch, Jim took the boys in to see Zac and he told Jackson about Austin wanting a horse for his summers. Zac smiled knowingly at Jim. Jackson looked at Austin, "I have a horse that someone was going to donate to the Rescue but I was there when he brought it in. It's not a palomino, but you might like it."

Austin smiled, "Don't get me wrong, I love Gold, but I want something different. I was watching a movie about mustangs and I want a black one."

Jackson just started laughing and everybody looked at him. The vet came in the office, "That black mustang is in excellent shape. You say the owner just gave him to you? Want to sell him?"

"Sorry Doc, but I think Austin beat you to it," Jackson chuckled.

Jim was curious, "So what's the story? Why did its owner give him away?"

Austin was excited, "What's his name? How much do I owe you for him?"

Jackson looked at the two boys to see if any more questions were coming, "Toranado is about four years old. His former owner is moving to New York City to be an underwear model and said that he won't have time to properly take care of the horse. He was sure the Rescue would find the horse a good home. I offered to pay him for the horse, but he said he couldn't sell him, that he wouldn't feel right, he just wanted me to find someone who would love him and give the horse to them."

"So," Austin looked in thought, "he's free and mine?"

Horse Runner

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