Redemption Falls: Stillwater RisesbyMyhands316©
Redemption Falls was supposed to be a standalone story. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do. You will need the background to truly understand this section of the story. If you read the comments from Redemption Falls, you'd know that I forgot to completely finish it before posting it. Making that mistake has allowed me to go over the story again and close off some of the other character's storylines while I was at it. Yes, this section will deal with straight and lesbian relationships, but overall, it still mainly deals with open lesbianism in a small town. I hope you enjoy it!
"Come in Mary... what happened to you?" Amber asked her crying sister-in-law.
"He hit me... I can't believe he hit me!" Mary sobbed, as the women surrounded her and walked her into the kitchen.
"Here, let me take Louse." Sherry offered, as she took the baby from Mary's arms, so she could sit down. "She can go lay down with AJ in the kids room." She rested the drowsy baby on her pregnant belly as she waddled up the stairs to the nursery.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to intrude." Mary apologized. "I just didn't want to go to Momma and Daddy's house. I have no other place to go." She sobbed, mortified. She felt like a complete failure.
Amber was surprised by Mary's condition. It was the first time since she had known her, that she wasn't perfectly put together. She wasn't this much of a mess even after delivering Louse. Mary's shorter swing style hair was unruly and her clothes looked like she slept in them. It was also the first time her perfectly proportioned face didn't have the cosmetically correct amount of make-up on it. Shaking herself out of her surprised stupor, she told Mary.
"It's fine... we're just going over the renovations. Trust me, it can wait. What happened?" Amber asked again.
"Are you okay?" Tara asked as they sat her down at the table.
"I don't know really." She answered hesitantly, not knowing how much of her problems to reveal. "I mean, Trace has been so angry lately and he's gotten so controlling." She took the tall glass of water Tara handed her. "We were arguing about your mother's will, the attorney, and how Trace wants everything now. He wants to go down and buy an expensive truck. I told him it would be better to put it in the bank."
"Let me look at that.... Louse is sleeping and I've got the baby monitor." Sherry said coming back in. "Why is it they always go for the eyes?" She asked rhetorically. "You're going to be bruised. It's going to be one beauty of a shiner." She softly touched the large red welt.
"I can't go back... I won't be anyone's punching bag." Mary said as she flinched away from Sherry's soft probing fingers.
"What are you going to do?" Amber asked as she reached over and held her sister-in-law's hand.
"I'm going to divorce him." She shook her head at Amber's protest. "If he hit me once, he'll do it again. Especially over something stupid as money...!" She shook her head in bafflement and anger.
"Why is he worried about money? He's getting over sixty thousand from mom's estate." Amber asked as she gathered up the paperwork and plans from the table.
"He wants it to pay an attorney to sue you and Mr. Welsh." She said, looking at the other women who were sitting around the table looking at her. "He wants the house so he can sell it. Then he wants me to sue you for control of Louse's trust fund." She wiped the tears from her eyes. "I just can't take it anymore. He's not the man I married. I don't know what's happened to him. He's changed so much." She sighed in defeat.
"Are you sure you want a divorce... maybe marriage counseling?" Tara asked, as Sherry got up and puttered around the kitchen, making a snack for everyone.
"NO...!" Mary insisted. "I'm sorry, but no. This is a deal breaker." She calmed herself. "Especially with everything else that's happened." Mary said sadly. She hated thinking that her marriage had failed.
"What else happened...? I thought things were better for you guys once he started sobering up?" Amber asked confused. She remembered when they first started dating; Trace's feet didn't hit the ground for weeks. He had worshiped her since they were in elementary school together. She had always thought Mary was way out of his league.
"I thought so too, for about a month. Then the small changes started coming. Little things at first.... Then orders started being issued. He acted like I was some kind of a child that couldn't think for myself. Then the demands he stared making. He slapped me when I told him no. I refused his stupid demands about suing you." She stood up and started pacing.
"I... I don't know what to say." Amber looked down and realized just how stupid her argument with Tara and Sherry was, over the changes in the renovations.
"Just say I can stay here until I figure things out... please?" Mary begged. It was the first time she had to beg for anything.
"Sure..." She said looking at Tara and Sherry who were nodding yes at the same time.
"We'll have to rearrange some things, but Louse can sleep in the room with AJ; and we can get one of the small beds out for you. You can share a room with me." Sherry said instantly.
"Yeah, we'll make room. I'm so sorry. I know what it's like to have your marriage implode." She rubbed Mary's arms offering her support and comfort. She smiled a little and told Amber. "See, I told you we'd need the extra bathroom."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah... and the insulation for our room. You get to pay for the new set of plans though." She leaned into her lover and asked Mary, "Are you okay with us?" refusing to hide her relationship with Tara.
"I guess..." She shook her head. "I never really thought about it. But I can see you two love each other." She shrugged, "It's more than I've got right now."
"Food's ready... can you girls move all that stuff off the table so I can serve?" Sherry interrupted before Mary could become overwhelmed again.
As they sat down, Mary asked Sherry. "So why was Allen looking mad enough to kill, as I walked up...?"
That night as everyone settled in, Tara pulled the plug on the phone before it could start ringing again. "What an ass." She said to Amber, as she stuffed the phone into a drawer.
"Yeah, who would have thought that he wouldn't get the hint after the first fifteen times of telling him that Mary doesn't want to talk to him? I mean while we were growing up he could be a brat, but I don't know what his problem is anymore. He was always the golden child and got everything he wanted." She shrugged and got into her nightgown.
"Well let's forget about him tonight. We've got to get up early and go to work." She snuggled against Amber and started kissing her neck and cupped her breasts, cuddling.
"No hanky-panky tonight." She shivered and sighed. "I think it would be too much for her to take in. Let's let her get settled, and give Sherry a chance to calm her down. Sherry is good at that." She hugged her lover, wanting nothing more than to make love and cuddle.
"Damn, I wanted to bring out the whips and chains tonight." She kissed Amber. "I love you; but sometimes, you state the obvious. Let's get some sleep. I have a feeling Trace is going to keep our lives interesting." She didn't know how true her words were.
They all found out at two am, when they were jolted awake by the pounding at the front door. Amber and Tara both approached as Sherry and Mary held their kids and looked from the stairway.
"Who do you think it is?" Tara asked sleepy eyed as she pulled on her silk robe.
"Who else would you think?" Amber said, and called out. "Who is it?"
"Goddamn it Amber, open the fucking door right now!" Trace's angry voice came through the solid wood. "I want to get my wife and baby. She's coming home with me!" Trace shouted and pounded. "You better change back the lock. You can't lock me out of my own house. I'm warning you, don't fuck with me Amber!" They could hear the hate in his voice.
"Trace, go home, Mary and the baby are trying to sleep." Amber tried to get her idiot brother to leave.
"I said, open the fucking door! I want in. I know she's there and awake. She's my wife and I'm taking her home where she belongs." They could see his face as it pressed against the glass next to the door. "Open up or I'll just bust it down. You can't lock me out!" He threatened again.
"Trace, leave now or I'm calling the police. Mary isn't going with you tonight and I need sleep." She made the dialing motion to Sherry, who nodded yes.
Mary came down and stood next to Amber and whispered. "I'll handle this." She walked up behind the door and set the dead bolt. "Trace, I'm not coming back. Not tonight, not ever! Get used to it. I won't be your personal punching bag. You brought this on yourself."
"I didn't punch you and you know it!" Trace yelled. "If you'd just listened to me and do what I say, it would've never happened! You just need to learn your place." He stated flatly.
"Trace... we're calling the police and don't forget who my father is. Feel lucky I came here instead of going to Momma's house. If I did that, Daddy would be looking for you with his army rifle. Go home and leave me alone, it's over... we are finished!" She shook her head and rolled her eyes at Amber over the antics of her husband.
"I'm not having my wife and child holed up with my lezzy sister and the sluts she keeps as friends." He screamed. "Mary Mouser...! You need to come home where you belong, right now!" He ordered again.
"Oh my god... Trace, grow up! Just leave, you'll be hearing from my lawyer. We're done." Mary said exasperated.
"We're not done unless I say so... I'm the man and the boss. I get to say if and when we're done." He might have gone on, but they saw the flash of red and blue lights and heard the heavy footsteps.
"What's going on here?" the deep baritone voice asked.
"I'm trying to get my wife out of this place and take her home where she belongs." Trace said belligerently.
After a soft knock, "Ma'am, could you please open the door?" The voice said.
"As long as you keep him out of my house...! We don't want him here." Amber said. She unlocked the door and started to open it. Trace tried to push his way in and Amber and Mary put their shoulder to it, stopping him. "I said we don't want him in here!" She scolded the tall cop standing there.
"Sir, you need to go out to the yard." The cop pulled on Trace's arm.
"Like hell...! That's my wife and they are keeping my child away from me. I'm going to get them!" He continued trying to force his way in.
"I said..." the cop grabbed Trace's arm harder, "you need to go to the yard, or I could take you to the station; Mr. Mouser." He pulled Trace back and nodded to his partner. "Keith, keep an eye on Mr. Mouser here, while I talk to the ladies."
"Yes sir." The young cop said and pulled Trace off the steps. "I need to get some information for my report.... Do you have your identification on you, sir?" He asked, as he pulled Trace back off the porch.
"Alright: Now can I please come in?" the cop looked at Mary and saw her bruised eye.
Amber moved back and opened the door enough to let the officer in. "Just keep him outside!" She demanded crossing her arms over her robe, keeping the gap closed, since she was almost nude under it.
"Fine, um, which Ms. Mouser am I talking too?" He asked looking at all the women in a glance. "We got a call saying there was a domestic disturbance."
"I'm Mary Mouser, soon to be Bailey again." Mary said, standing in front of the cop.
"I'm Amber Mouser, the owner of this house!" She refused to back off. "The other ladies are Tara Barns and Sherry Martin, soon to be Tyner, my house mates. We don't appreciate being woken up at two in the morning by my idiot brother, who has been told repeatedly, not to come over and bother us."
"I see... did he give you that shiner Mrs. Mouser?" He pointed at Mary's bruised eye. "We can pull him in on domestic abuse charges." He offered.
"No, I'm divorcing him." She covered her eye. "That'll cost him more than enough. I just want to be free from him, not to destroy him. He's already on probation at work. I don't want him to lose his job." Mary said after some thought. "Can you just make him go home and leave us alone, so we can go back to sleep?"
"Yes Ma'am.... I'd suggest you see a lawyer as fast as you can. Just to get the restraining orders and such. Even if you decide to reconcile, it will make it better to keep him away from you, until the judge can see to it." He handed Mary his card. "The incident number is on the back. It will help with the filing. Give it to your lawyer. He'll know what to do with it. Have a good night..." He tipped his head to all the women and quietly exited the house.
"I'm sorry Amber..." Mary tried to apologize, as she locked the door again, as the cops walked Trace back to his car.
"Don't..." Amber stopped her, "it's not your fault my brother's an ass. I don't know how you put up with him as long as you have. Let's get some sleep." She put her arm around Tara. "I'd keep your robes handy girls. I doubt this is the last late night visit we'll get before it's all said and done." She pulled her lover back into their room.
"Mary, calm down sweetie, don't let little Louse feel how upset you are. She's fussy and needs fed." Sherry said holding both kids and rocking them.
"Are you sure?" Mary asked, as Amber walked her into Mr. Welsh's office two days later.
"Yeah, it accomplishes several things at once. Mr. Welch knows you and Trace. He knows about Louse's trust fund and it will piss Trace off no end to have Mr. Welsh as your attorney. Come on, I only have an hour before I have to be back at the bank." Amber hooked her arm in Mary's as they walked with her.
"Thanks for taking time out of your busy day. I don't know what I'd do without you. I have to call Momma and Daddy tonight and tell them." She blew her bangs out of her face and straightened her spine as they entered the little office.
"Don't worry about it. Just because you're divorcing my idiot brother, doesn't stop you from being my sister, nor Louse being my niece. It's his loss." She waved at the receptionist. "Trish, can you tell Mr. Welsh we're here?" She sat next to Mary and waited.
Thirty minutes later, "Let me see if I got this straight." The balding attorney asked as he scratched his chin. "Irreconcilable Differences; standard stay away orders, and full custody of the minor child. You're okay with him having reasonable visitation, as awarded by the court. You want the standard division of the joint properties acquired during the marriage. What about the extra money he's getting from the estate?" He looked at Mary.
"Well, all I really want is to have him keep what's his and I keep what's mine. I have a trust fund, he knows nothing about, and I don't want him to touch it. It won't pay out for another year or so."
"Hmmm, I see. And why did you keep this from him? If it is accountable, I have to post it on the forms." He said, warning her.
"The trust isn't in my name, but I'm the beneficiary, so it's really not mine yet. I'd hoped to surprise him, but now...." She shrugged. "It's a family thing. Daddy believes until you've made it for over five years, you are a spouse, but not really family." She explained.
"Ah, I see. So, it's possible future earnings..., it's not yours yet. I think I know a way to deal with that. You're family is smart and careful. If the account was in your name, he could make a claim against it." He looked at Amber. "And you refuse to share receivership of the trust fund in Louse's name." He asked, knowing the answer.
"Yes sir.... We know he's going to try and go for control of that. Plus we need to stop him from spending all of Momma's money until the judge can order the split. I hope this doesn't cause a conflict." Amber said, not wanting to find another attorney.
"No... no conflict," He reassured Amber. "I can bifurcate these matters, since all I'm doing, is ensuring the money and estate is all accounted for and distributed. I don't have authority over the trust. I'll ask the court for an impartial auditor and that solves any complaint Trace or his attorney might bring up. When do you want me to get started on this?"
"Right away...!" Mary said. "I can leave you an open check with a five thousand dollar limit, for your retainer. I want this done as soon as possible. I'm not going back to him and he won't lay a hand on my daughter either." She stated venomously.
"Okay then, I'll have the paperwork ready for your review by next week. Make sure you return that property and earnings form to Trish as soon as you can and we will have this filed by the end of next week. Is there a reason for an exparte hearing for the stay away and custody orders?"
"Yeah, we had to call the cops the other night, when he came banging down our door at two in the morning." Amber said, and pulled out the card. "The cop put the report number on the back. Mary and Louse will be staying at my place until this is all settled and she can find a place of her own." Amber told Mr. Welsh.
"Okay, that's fine... it might mean that he gets to keep the house as the primary resident. We'll ask for a civil standby so you can get the rest of your and the baby's stuff. If you get those expense forms back to me today or tomorrow, we can have this done by mid week. Go ahead and fill out that check, so I can put a hold on the money before he thinks to drain the accounts. I'll return any moneys not used, or bill you for any extra."
"That's fine... I'll make sure you have my cell phone number. If you need anything, let me know. I've told my work that I'm taking an extended leave of absence, so I'll be available any time, until this gets settled." She filled out the check and handed it to him.
"Okay... that's fine." He stood up and reached over to Mary. "I'll see you soon. Oh, Amber, the deed will be processed by end of week. I know you need it for the renovation loan you're applying for. A word to the wise, I'd have a good electrician look at it. I know when we did ours; it caused a big problem right in the middle of things. We had to bring the whole house up to code."
"Gee, thanks... I feel like I'm bleeding money already, with the new bathroom we've decided on." Amber sighed.
"At least there isn't a current mortgage you have to worry about. Try having to buy a house in this market. You're a step ahead of the game. And the extra ten grand now will save fifty later." He smiled at the look on her face and waved goodbye.
As they walked Mary back to her car, Amber asked. "Why is every conversation about the house involve, if you spend massive amounts of money now, it will save more money later?" She huffed. "I was thinking maybe five to ten thousand; fix a few things convert the attic for the kids... now we're talking over fifty, if he's right about the wiring." She shook her head. "I'll see you at home tonight." She waved and headed back to work.
She let her mind wander as she walked the three blocks to the bank. She absently waved to passersby's as she thought about everything and nothing. As she was ready to open the door, she saw Sherry's van in front of the diner. If she could believe her eyes, the very pregnant woman was flirting with Brad the firefighter. Giggling a little bit, she went back into the bank.
As soon as the door closed behind her, her boss Mr. James motioned her into his office. "Yes Sir?" she asked as she took a seat.
"Ms. Mouser, I hear that you are single-handily ensuring Mrs. Welsh is going to have a great retirement." He smiled. "I never knew so much about my clients in any of the other banks I've worked at."He shrugged and smoothed down his tie.
"Welcome to small town personified." Amber said sarcastically. "That's part of the reason I got out when I did. I hate knowing that the butcher, baker and banker; knows every time I flush my toilet. Speaking of that, did you review my loan application? I might have to revise it again." She sighed.