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Melanie dried her tears and blew her nose before telling the judge that her final witness would be her client, Justin Taylor.

"Justin, could you please tell the court about your relationship with Daphne Anderson?"

The blonde had barely stopped crying after Gus's testimony, and the tears started anew as he recalled his best friend. "Well, she'll always be Daphne Chanders to me, because I've known her since I was five. I loved Daphne as much as anyone could ever love someone who you're not romantically involved with or related to by blood. She wasn't just my best friend, she was my family. Her family was like my family and vice versa; that's why they're sitting on my side of the courtroom.

"We talked to each other every single day, and I have felt so lost since she's been gone. There have been so many times that I've wanted to pick up the phone and call her, to tell her how much I love her, and miss her, and how important she was to me, but I can't. I am so heartbroken that Keegan will never know his mother, because she was an amazing lady. I don't know if I could have gotten through these past few months without Keegan in my life. He helped heal my heart, but it will never be completely whole again."

Melanie bit her lip and nodded before she started crying again, too. "Justin, will you tell the judge why he should allow you to maintain custody of Keegan?"

Justin looked at Judge Dennis and sniffled. "Your honor, I am begging you to let me keep Keegan. If I lose him, it will be like losing Daphne all over again... I don't think I could live through that heartache a second time. I love my son so much, more than anything in this world. Don't get me wrong, I love my fiance a whole hell of a lot, but I love Keegan just a little bit more."

He paused and mouthed "Sorry" to Brian, who smiled and nodded in understanding. The older man could no longer stop the tears from flowing for the love that he felt for his Sunshine and their beautiful son. He was also thinking of Daphne and how special she had been to him.

"By raising Keegan, I will be honoring not only the promise I made to Daphne on the day she died, but I will also be honoring her by making sure her son is raised to be the best person he could possibly be. I want her to have been proud of the man he becomes. I haven't had a relationship with my own father for over fifteen years, because he couldn't accept the person that I am, the proud gay man that I am."

Justin paused to look over at Curtis, remembering all of the ugly things he had said about gay people and how he'd make sure he would never have a gay son. Curtis was staring down at the table.

"Keegan will never, ever go through that if Brian and I were to raise him, no matter if he's gay, straight, bisexual, whatever. I will be very proud to give Keegan an excellent second father in Brian, who loves him like his own son and will be a wonderful role model to him. He will also have a big brother and sister who love him, too, and I'm sure Melanie will continue to be a big part of his life. She's a wonderful mother to Gus and JR, and I'm going to teach Keegan to call her ‘Ima' like they do."

Melanie literally could no longer talk, she was crying so hard. She waved to the judge to indicate she was done and took her seat next to Al, who patted her shoulder.

Turner was also looking down at the table, as if he regretted the day he was born and taking Curtis's case. "No questions."

Al offered to make the team's closing statement, but Melanie insisted she do it after Judge Dennis had allowed a ten minute recess.

"Your honor, I believe we have given you every reason to rule in favor of Justin Taylor," Melanie said. "Not only have we established that no legally binding contract existed between him and Curtis Anderson, but it is abundantly clear now that Keegan's late mother also wanted her son to be raised by Mr. Taylor and his fiance. I also believe that it is abundantly clear that Curtis Anderson is not father material to this child, due to his affair with Amanda Crawford and who knows how many other women during his wife's pregnancy, his statements to Ms. Crawford regarding plans he had to divorce his wife after her son was born and not be involved in her son's life, the lack of giving any compelling reason in this courtroom as to why he wishes to raise this child, and his disgusting homophobic statements.

"If you do rule in our favor, know that I have a petition for Brian Kinney to adopt Keegan ready for your signature. You have the sole power, your honor, to make the Taylor/Kinney family whole and ensure that Keegan Mercury Taylor stays where he belongs, with his biological father and future adoptive father who love him and will give him the life that he deserves. Thank you."

Turner and Curtis whispered to each other for several seconds, with Turner clearly saying "No... Curtis, no."

Turner stood to give his closing statement, but Curtis stopped him.

"Your honor, I would like to go back on the stand for a rebuttal," he announced.

Turner shook his head. "I will not call my client back to the stand, because he will only be hurting our case further. I have no idea what he could have to say at this point."

"If you let me go up there, I will tell you," Curtis said to his attorney through gritted teeth.

"Gentleman, please," the judge said, getting annoyed by their bickering. "Mr. Turner, do you wish to call any rebuttal witnesses before you make your closing?"

"No, your honor," Turner said confidently.

"Then I want a new attorney and a new trial, due to inadequate representation," Curtis demanded as he also stood. "My attorney is clearly not doing what I am paying him to do, which is represent me to the best of his abilities."

"Excuse me?" Turner said, putting his hands on his hips. "I have-"

"Enough!" Judge Dennis yelled. "Dr. Anderson, because you have not put in a written request to have your attorney dismissed, I deny your request for a new attorney. We are literally minutes away from wrapping up this case, so I am also denying your request for a mistrial. Quite frankly, Dr. Anderson, you're lucky that I'm not charging you with felony perjury after you lied under oath yesterday about your relationship with Ms. Crawford."

Curtis took a slow breath. "I was the one who brought this case to this court, so I believe it's only fair to allow me to make a statement before its conclusion, if I so wish. I recall you saying that you wanted to leave no stone unturned before making your decision."

The judge looked at his watch, seeing that it was getting rather late. He had a divorce trial scheduled the following day and several felony hearings scheduled on Friday, so this trial needed to end that day.

"Take a seat next to your attorney and make it quick. I don't want you back on my witness stand."

Curtis and Turner both sat, and Curtis thought about what he wanted to say for a few moments.

"Thank you, your honor. I meant no disrespect to you or this court when I... lied about my inappropriate relationship with Amanda. Not only did I cheat on Daphne with Amanda, but I admit that those instant messages from yesterday really were between me and her. I'm not the first man who has cheated on his wife and later lied about it. You can probably imagine that I feel very ashamed of myself for what I did to Daphne. I will have to live the rest of my life knowing that I may have been the cause of her death, indirectly. We all shouldn't even be here today; Daphne and I should be at home with our son, raising him together as we originally intended. But she's gone and there's nothing we can do about that.

"Ms. Marcus said that I didn't give a compelling reason for why I should be given custody. I'll give you one right now. I knew that the life insurance policy existed, because Daphne and I each started policies after we got married. Because we each had very high earning potentials, we decided to make them worth five million dollars, so we would be taken care of if one of us died. Originally, we made each other the trustee and sole beneficiary with a clause saying that any future children we had would become a second beneficiary. Daphne didn't tell me that she had changed her trustee to Justin and removed me as the beneficiary, and I didn't know that she had written a new will. I know why she removed me as beneficiary: that was around the time she had started to suspect that I was cheating, so she decided to financially cut me out as punishment. She was eight months pregnant and not in her right mind when she wrote that will, and we had been fighting a lot. I hope you take that under consideration while you make your verdict.

"Your honor, I need you to give me custody of Keegan because I need that money from the life insurance policy. I am several hundred thousand dollars in debt, left over from my student loans and credit card bills I accrued while I was in medical school and the house that Daphne and I bought. Things are much tighter now that I no longer have Daphne's income to help pay the bills. Luckily her student loans went away after she died. If I'm unable to use that insurance payout, I'll have to put my house on the market and move into an apartment, so I can start to pay down my debts.

"Also, no matter what I said in those instant messages to Amanda, I really did love Daphne. Telling Amanda that I didn't want to be a father was mostly for show, to try to convince her to stay with me after she found out I was married. I never really intended on leaving my wife. Yeah, Daphne and I had our problems, but..."

Curtis sat there for a few more seconds before muttering "Thank you."

The people on the defense's side of the room were all looking at Curtis in shock. Justin was shaking in anger, and Brian had reached forward to grip his fiance's shoulders in comfort.

Turner quietly asked Curtis if he wanted him to make his closing statement, and Curtis gestured for him to go ahead.

The attorney didn't bother to stand. "First of all, your honor, I ask that you disregard everything that my client just said, because I do not condone him making any statements unless it's on the witness stand and he is being questioned by either myself or opposing counsel.

"I want to finish our case by going back to my original argument, which is that Justin Taylor made an oral contract to give up his parental rights to the child he conceived with Daphne Anderson in order for Curtis Anderson to adopt him. There was no exception or clause to this agreement that included what would happen in the event that Mrs. Anderson passed away before Mr. Taylor signed over his rights, so therefore, I ask that this court honor the specific agreement that was originally made. Please do not let any sympathy or personal biases you may have for Mr. Taylor influence your decision. Thank you."

The judge gratefully exhaled. "Okay, both sides have rested and have given their closing statements. I will take the next few days to review the testimony and evidence from this case, as well as the laws pertaining to the issues at hand. I would like to see everyone back here on Monday morning at nine AM, where I will render my verdict."

Once everyone had gone outside to the parking lot, Justin couldn't help but run over to Curtis, who had parked his car beside Turner's on the opposite side of the lot.

"This has all been about money, you sorry sack of shit?" Justin yelled, crying angry tears. "That's all Daphne's son is to you, a payday?"

Brian grabbed Justin around his shoulders from behind, fearing that it may turn into a fistfight.

"He's not worth it. Think about Keegan," he said into Justin's ear.

"Hey, ten million dollars might be a drop in the bucket for rich fucks like you, but not for lowly people like me!" Curtis replied.

Debbie had caught up to them. "Yeah, you are lowly, you piece of shit! Putting this family through hell, treating that baby like a pawn! How can you live with yourself?"

"It's up to the court now," Turner said.

The other family members separated the opposing sides, letting Curtis and Turner get into their cars and leave.

"I hope you both burn in Hell!" Debbie screamed at the retreating vehicles.

Justin turned around and buried his face in Brian's chest.

"I can't lose him, Brian," he sobbed.

"We've done all we can," he said to his blond, holding him tight. "All we can do now is hope that everything will be okay."


The morning after the trial had finished, Melanie and Brian went to the hospital to speak with Lindsay's psychiatrist about her condition. The mandatory seventy-two hour hold would be up that afternoon, and they wanted to see what he recommended for long-term treatment.

When they got to the psychiatric ward, Dr. Fenton was waiting in his office to speak to them. He already knew who they were, having heard a lot about them from Lindsay.

"Ms. Marcus, Mr. Kinney, I'm glad that you both came."

He turned to Brian. "Lindsay is still very upset about things she perceives to be going on in her life. She sees a Justin Taylor, who I understand is your fiance, as a threat to her relationship with you. She believes that the two of you are meant to be together, to raise your son as a couple, and that Justin is keeping you apart."

Brian rolled his eyes. "I am well aware of her delusions. She knows that she'll never be with me."

Dr. Fenton then spoke directly to Melanie. "I seriously recommend that you, as her wife, have her committed to inpatient treatment for at least three months. Due to statements that she has made over the last three days, I am concerned that without long-term treatment, she could pose a very real danger to Mr. Taylor and possibly to herself. My initial diagnosis would be that Lindsay is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder."

"What the fuck is that?" Brian asked, ever the eloquent gentleman.

The doctor was slightly taken aback by Brian's language, but began to explain. "It's a mental illness where people have unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. The causes of it aren't completely understood. It is sometimes misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, but BPD is distinguishable by the mood changes lasting for shorter periods of time. Lindsay has probably been suffering from this condition for many years."

Melanie nodded. "I've read about it online once or twice in the past, when I've tried to figure out what may be wrong with her. If that's what she has, it would explain a lot."

"Lindsay exhibits many of the signs," the doctor said. "Extreme reactions to abandonment, short periods of intense mood swings, impulsive behaviors such as excessive spending, and unstable personal relationships marked with extreme highs and lows. To put it into perspective, right now Lindsay sees Mr. Taylor as the devil and Mr. Kinney as her angel."

"What does she say about me?" Melanie asked.

"She acknowledges that you took her daughter away from her, but she seems to be fixated on getting her son back and being with Mr. Kinney, having a family with the two of them. You are merely a speed bump while Mr. Taylor is a roadblock, if you will."

"Well, can you fix her?" Brian asked. "Apparently she isn't safe to be around right now, but will she ever be? There are three children in our family, and one of them is my and Justin's young son."

"With medication and therapy, we can decrease her symptoms and stabilize her so that she will not be a danger to anyone. However, there is no cure for it."

"Have you discussed long-term treatment with Lindsay?" Melanie questioned.

"Yes, I talked about it with her during her evening session yesterday. She was not very receptive to the idea. She doesn't believe that anything is wrong with her and that all of her problems are caused by other people, namely Mr. Taylor. As her wife, you can sign her in for long-term care. We'll have to get a court order to keep her, but that shouldn't be a problem seeing as how she ended up here in the first place."

"She needs help, whether she likes it or not," Brian said. "I'll pay for everything, for as long as it takes for her to get better."

"Doctor, can we at least see her and try to explain why she should stay?" Melanie asked, not wanting the woman she has been with for all these years to feel totally abandoned.

"Ms. Marcus, I really recommend that you don't see her. She is very unstable right now, and because you have the power to keep her here, she may lash out at you. Mr. Kinney, it might be a better idea for you to speak with her, to explain to her why she needs to stay here. Knowing that you want her to get help and that you're worried about her might positively influence her."

"Alright, I'll go see her," Brian said. "Mel, is there anything you want me to tell her from you?"

"Just try to make her understand that we are doing this for her own good; not to punish her."

"I will, don't worry," Brian told her, squeezing her shoulder.

Melanie and Dr. Fenton stayed in his office and went over the commitment papers while an orderly showed Brian to Lindsay's room. He was pleased to see that the room looked more like a cozy hotel room rather than a cold, sterile hospital room.

Brian knocked on the open door softly, seeing Lindsay staring out the window and not wanting to startle her. She turned at the sound.

"Brian! I knew you'd come," she said, immediately bursting into tears and running towards him to give him a hug.

He stopped her by taking her shoulders in his hands. "Lindsay, Melanie and I have spoken with Dr. Fenton, and he recommended that you stay here for at least three months. We agree with him."

Lindsay shook her head. "No... Brian, I don't belong here. You have to get me out of here. It's been three days. If you guys are trying to teach me some kind of lesson, it worked. I'm sorry for what I said about you being a bad father in court; I'm sure Mel and Justin told you all about it. That attorney said that I needed to badmouth you, along with Justin. You're a great father, Brian... I was just angry about Gus not wanting to live with me anymore. Let's just go and get our son, and everything will be okay."

"Lindsay, you need to get some professional help, and this is the best place for you to be," Brian explained slowly, as if he were talking to a young child.

She reached up and placed her hands on top of Brian's forearms. "What I need is to be with you and our Gus. You can take care of me. I'll be fine if I'm with you. By the way, I forgive you for recording our conversation in the park that day. I'm sure Mel or Justin told you to do it."

The truth was that Brian had decided to do that on his own, without discussing it with Melanie or Justin first.

"Mel is signing the papers so they can keep you here and see that you get better," Brian said, pulling away from her. "Gus needs his mom to be healthy, and right now you're not healthy, Lindz."  

Lindsay's face crumbled. "Please Brian, just take me back to the loft with you. I'll be a wonderful wife to you and a wonderful mother to Gus, I promise. You can buy us a nice little house in the city, and I'll decorate it and keep it clean. I'll cook for us every night, whatever you and Gus want. I can be all you need me to be. You don't need him."

"Speaking of, you nearly attacked my fiance in court the other day, remember?"

She took a step back and glared at him. "Justin put you up to all of this, didn't he? He just doesn't want us to be together. This is all his fault, and he got Melanie to agree with him so that she would commit me. I told her weeks ago that I wouldn't contest the divorce... why is she trying to stand in our way? Why is she taking his side?"

Brian sighed, tired of sounding like a broken record. "Lindsay, Justin and I are getting married in a few months. You and I will never be together romantically. We will always have Gus, and we will always be friends, but that's all. I'm gay, remember?"

She continued as if she hadn't heard him. "He just wants you all for himself. It's not fair!"

"Lindsay, stop it!" Brian ordered. "Justin is not to blame for this. You have a serious condition, and once you get the help you need, you'll see things more clearly. Mel and I are doing this for your own good, and you'll realize it eventually."

"Fine, leave me here alone in the fucking looney bin!" she screamed, shoving Brian away. "Go home to your piece of blond boy ass, see if I give a shit, you selfish asshole! Soon he will find another sugar daddy and leave you all alone, and with that Goddamned bastard kid of his, too. Then you'll come crawling to me, begging for my help. You know I'm right, just you wait. Oh, and you can tell that cunt wife of mine that when I do get out, she will be sorry that she did this to me!"

Lindsay threw herself on the bed and cried into her pillow. Brian shook his head and silently left the room, hoping that the next time he saw her, she would be more stable.


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