SIDEBAR CHAPTER 8: STOMPING WITH THE BIG DOGS: WHEN A PINSCHER BECOMES A POODLE Part 2
As the courtroom fell into stunned silence, Cynthia continued. “Justin told me that he just couldn’t sit back and watch Brian lose everything on some bogus bs. Since I knew I couldn’t stop him, I supported his plan. I also made sure that I was on the phone so I could record the sound byte, and that he called me the minute he returned home. It was the least that I could do since I couldn’t betray his confidence to Brian. He was doing more than the two best friends had thought to do, and it wasn’t for glory or gratitude, but because he loved... loves Brian.”
“So in terms of Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor’s relationship, you disagree with Craig Taylor’s assessment that Brian Kinney is a child molester?”
“Unequivocally YES! The only two things that truly separate Brian and Justin from being considered equals are life experiences and money. Brian was prepared never to see Justin again after that first night, even though it would have broken something inside him. Many think that Brian Kinney doesn’t have a heart, but that is far from the truth. I’ve been witness to conversations and arguments of Brian telling Justin that he should be with guys his own age. Justin’s response was always the same: ‘What would I want with some no-nothing kid?’ And you know what? Justin was right!
"That young man wasn’t a kid even before he took to Liberty Avenue and met Brian Kinney. He had a maturity about him that was off-putting to at least one of the other adults in Brian’s life, and he was able to see through the facade straight to the motives of a person. If anything, Brian and Justin drive each other to be better and stronger. If Craig Taylor or any other person thinks that their relationship was based solely on sex, or that it is now, then they really need to have their heads examined. From what I know of Brian Aiden Kinney, sex may have gotten Justin in the door, but its his intelligence, inbred wisdom, and ambition that’s kept him within the inner-realm of Brian’s life.”
“Thank you, Ms. Moore for your candid testimony. No further questions for this witness but I reserve the right to recall. Your witness, Mr. Dunham.”
“No questions at this time for this witness, but reserve the right to cross-examine later should the need arise,” Harrison intoned much to the annoyance of Craig.
“What the hell are you doing?! No questions?! I have a ton of them!”
“Well, if you’d like to be the fool of a client who represents himself, feel free Mr. Taylor,” Harrison sneered. “Other than that, please be silent.”
Emmett and Ted’s questioning went much in the same way, as well as Daphne’s. All of them disputed Craig’s claims that Brian was a child molester or that he was the aggressor in the Justin and Brian dynamic. Again, Harrison had no questions for any of the three of them much to Craig’s displeasure.
“I call to the stand, Jennifer Taylor,” Charles intoned. Immediately after Jennifer was settled, he asked her to state her full name, including her maiden name. It was a surprise move, but Melanie knew that Charles must have had a reason for it.
“Jennifer Justine Alwin Taylor.”
The gasp from the courtroom rent the air, with the exception of two people. Craig and Justin were well-aware of Jennifer’s heritage.
“Thank you, Mrs. Taylor.” Charles said after recovering his shock. He like everyone else knew that Jennifer was true WASP stock, but he had no idea that she was ranked so high.
“I’d prefer to be called Jennifer, or Ms. Alwin please. Although I love my son, I can no longer stand to be associated with his biological father.”
“But you can stand to be associated with my money, bitch!” Craig yelled from his seat.
Jennifer laughed bitterly as the judge banged his gavel and ordered Craig to sit down and shut up. “I would like to address that enormous misconception, if I may?” At Judge Montgomery’s nod, she continued. “Rudyard, let’s look at the facts, shall we?” she enjoyed the cringe that hearing his given name made him do. “You were broke when I married you. Sure, you were from a prominent family when I did, but financing your education had drained your family coffers dry. Well, that and your whoring mother and philandering drunkard of a father. The only reason you were able to afford St. James was because of your grandfather, and Dartmouth because you received a partial scholarship while you worked at a local electronics store throughout for the rest. Your grandfather refused to further support you since you had reached your majority and thought you should be a man and do it yourself.
"When the time came, you were only able to purchase the store because of my act of rebellion and the money I brought to the marriage. I flouted the rules of our society by dating and marrying you as I truly couldn’t stand their choice for me. According to my parents, you were just a step above a lowlife, even though you had some status via your parentage. But they wouldn't see me without a home of my own, even if I was married to you. So they allowed me to fund your endeavors by releasing my trust fund. I would say that I regret the day I ever married you, but then I would have to say that I regret my children, and I love Justin and Molly much too much to ever say that. However, I do regret that I wasted so much time with you and that I trusted you not to steal from our children.”
Charles interrupted. “Steal from your children?”
“Yes. I, in my naivete, gave Rudyard charge over my children’s college funds. During the divorce decree, the judge mandated that he pay back every cent he took from them.”
“And how much was that?”
“A total of six-hundred and forty thousand dollars.” The judge couldn’t stop the low whistle which escaped at the mention of the figure. Jennifer looked over to him and smiled. “Exactly, sir.”
“Do you know what was done with the money?”
“Yes. In fact, thanks to my attorney and Brian Kinney, we were able to uncover that Mr. Taylor had put several properties into my son’s name, including the chain of stores formerly known as Taylor Electronics. The rest was spent on vacations, hotels, condos for his mistresses, and buying politicians, school board members, and a judge’s, favor.”
“Objection! That last hasn’t been proven as of yet.” Harrison spoke up.
“Judge Montgomery, I would like to submit into evidence, exhibits E and F, which are copied registers of Craig Taylor’s bank transactions- both business and personal for the past five years. The transactions pertaining to the influx of sudden cashflow into his personal account from the business account also coincide with exhibits G and H, which are the transaction registers from the trust funds of both Justin Taylor and Marlinda Taylor, also known as Molly. All transactions have been circled and highlighted for your convenience, your honor.”
“You can’t do that! Tell them they can’t do that, Dunham!” Craig shouted.
“They can and have,” Judge Montgomery answered. “Now another word from you, unless you are on the witness stand, will see you in jail for contempt of court, Mr. Taylor! I accept the evidence, Mr. Sands. Please continue.”
“Thank you, your honor. So Jennifer, let’s move onto when you discovered that Justin was gay. How did that come about?”
“On the morning of September 21st, I went into Justin’s room to wake him up. The night of the 19th he had spent the night at his best friend, Daphne’s house, or so I thought at the time. It wasn’t an unusual circumstance since they have been inseparable since they were five years old. Anyway, I went in to wake him up and he jumped from the bed after I told him he had five minutes to get ready and gulp his breakfast before we were leaving. Again, not an unusual occurrence to tell him he had less than time than he really did.” she chuckled and smiled wistfully. “My son is definitely not a morning person. Anyway, I noticed that his bookbag was unpacked and his sketchbooks strewn across the foot of the bed. It was then that I noticed the name Brian written and several sketches of the male anatomy. At first, I was puzzled but then I noticed the underwear.”
Jennifer blushed. “Yes. A pair of expensive thong underwear, definitely male and not in Justin’s size.”
“That must have come as quite a shock. What did Justin say?”
“He didn’t. He had come back into the room and asked if I had shampoo. I quickly shoved my newfound discovery into his bookbag and the questions about them to the back of my mind, then left the room to get him his new bottle of shampoo. It wasn’t until days later when we were on our way to the Nike outlet that I approached him about it while he was driving.”
“I’ll bet that went well.”
“About as well as can be expected. We were talking about life and relationships. I mean, I realized that Justin was at the age where he should have been dating around and honestly, I was curious. Outside of Daphne and a few other female classmates, I’d never seen Justin take an interests in anyone specific, especially not romantically. So I told him about the boyfriend I had before I decided to get mixed up with my one and dumb…”
“One and dumb?”
“Yes. We all have them, except maybe Justin. It’s the one who you got involved with when in reality you should have run screaming the other way.” The court chuckled at her description of first loves. “That’s why my father called it the ‘one and dumb.' Anyway, I asked Justin if he had a boyfriend. I could tell that he was shocked and scared but I… I just wanted to feel a connection to him again, you know? He and I had been so close and it felt as if I didn’t know him anymore.” She became sad at the memory.
“I know this is difficult for you to relive, Jennifer. But can you tell us why you took Justin to a psychiatrist?”
She chuckled. “Again, in my naivete, I thought Justin was too young to know what he wanted, or that he was gay. Stupid and more fool me! If I had any doubts left about Justin being gay, they left the moment of his ‘I like dick’ speech to the doctor and myself. That is something that I will never forget in all my days.”
Charles gasped and then his eyes watered in suppressed mirth. The more he got to know about Justin Taylor, the more he actually liked the young man. He sounded more like human dynamite instead of the firecracker Melanie had repeatedly called him. “So tell me how it was that you’d come to meet Brian Kinney.”
“Well that’s not as easy to narrow down. There was Justin’s art show at the Gay and Lesbian Center. I didn’t meet him there, but I found out who he was. It was hard not to go ‘rescue’ Justin when there was this grown, extraordinarily handsome man hanging over my baby. Suddenly, the story of Little Red Riding Hood popped into my head and we know who I thought of as the Big Bad Wolf. It didn’t help that when I had gone for drinks with Debbie Novotny to calm my frayed nerves, that she basically confirmed my initial assumptions about Brian.”
“And what was that assumption?”
“That he was playing around with Justin and he was going to break my son’s heart.”
“So when did your opinion of Brian change? Or at least, begin to change?”
“As Cynthia had testified earlier, Brian was prepared to ‘do the right thing’ by Justin. His father had attacked Brian outside of a club and told him that either he stopped seeing Brian, or never come home again. Justin chose Brian. In retrospect, I can’t say that I blame him. Brian Kinney is a good man for all his faults, but I couldn’t see that at the time. It wasn’t until a week later that I glimpsed that good man underneath the tough facade.
"Brian had brought Justin home- or should I say to the Taylor family house. It hadn’t been a home for many years by that point; just a gilded prison. Anyway, there we all sat in the living room as I basically pleaded with Justin to come home. I realized that I couldn’t stop him from living his life, but I wanted my son where I could still see him everyday and know that he was alright. During the first week he was gone, I’d barely slept at night wondering what he was doing, or if he was eating… if he had a warm place to sleep. I knew he was going to school, as Daphne had confirmed that for me, and she would feed me information on how he was doing. But there’s nothing like being able to see it for yourself, you understand? Anyway, I thought that I was finally getting through to Justin and I could see that he really did want to come home, but then Craig had to go and ruin all that progress with his homophobic tirade about what Justin would do, and won’t do. ‘Give up your disgusting lifestyle and you are never, ever to see that man again!’ Craig yelled, and I knew I had lost my son… again.” A small tear trickled out of the corner of her eye, which she quickly wiped away.
“How did Brian respond?”
“Well, he defended Justin’s right to be himself. I’ll never forget it. He said as calm as you please, ‘So in order to live here, Justin has to deny who he is, what he thinks, and how he feels? Well, that’s not love; that’s hate.’ Craig told him that he wanted him out of his house, which was a moot point because Brian had already stood up and was moving towards the door. Then Brian looked back and asked Justin if he was coming. Justin looked at me with an apology in his eyes, but then they hardened when he looked at Craig. He turned and left with Brian.
"The one thing I took from that experience was how controlling Craig had become of all of us and that it was time to make my own decision. So after Justin was basically kicked out for the second time, Craig went to the office at Taylor Electronics and I went to work cleaning out my own garbage. I packed everything Craig owned and called a moving company. I had everything delivered to the store with a note attached to each and every box. ‘NEVER COME HOME AGAIN!!!’ They were the same words he’d spoken to Justin and he deserved to know how they felt. I began separation proceedings that day, even though I still hoped somewhere in my heart that we could reconcile. It wasn’t until Justin was hurt by Chris Hobbs, and Craig’s response to it all, that I knew for certain we wouldn’t.”
“Thank you, Jennifer for your testimony. No further questions for this witness but reserve the right to recall,” Charles said as he sat down.
“Mr. Dunham, do you have any questions for this witness?” Judge Montgomery asked. Honestly, he hoped not. He could see how the memories were taking their toll on the delicate looking lady.
“In fact, I do have a few questions, your honor.”
“I believe that I’ve already stated that that name is no longer acceptable to me…” Jennifer sneered.
“Yes, but your real estate license and a host of other documents are under that name, correct?”
“True, but are we really going to argue over semantics, Sir? Trust me, you do not want to make this a source of contention.”
“Mrs. Taylor, didn’t you agree with your husband that Brian Kinney was a child molester?”
“Answer the question, Mrs. Taylor.”
“Your Honor, please direct the witness to answer the question.”
“Mr. Dunham, it was duly noted that she would prefer to be called Jennifer, which is her given name, or Ms. Alwin which is her maiden name. Both I will point out are also on all of her legal documents, including her divorce decree and real estate license. Now if you do not respond accordingly, you and your client will be held in contempt as I’m sure he’s enjoying this contretemps right about now.”
“Fine. Ms. Alwin, please answer the question.”
“I don’t remember what the question was. My ears deliberately stopped working when you addressed me with that man’s surname. So if you’d like to repeat yourself, then I might see fit to answer you.” Jennifer smirked.
Brian chuckled loudly. “Looks like Jennifer is employing those Jedi mind-tricks again… she really needs to hold a class.”
“Silence, Mr. Kinney,” Judge Montgomery said, although there was a definite twitch of amusement to his lips.
Clearing his throat, but not the smirk, Brian uttered, “Sorry, your honor.”
“I highly doubt it, Mr. Kinney. But Mr. Dunham, please proceed.”
“Yes, your honor. Ms. Alwin, isn’t it true that you agreed that Brian Kinney is Justin Taylor’s molestor?”
“I never agreed to any such thing! True, I didn’t think that a man his age should be involved with my son, but that’s because of my own personal preference and beliefs at the time. I knew the law concerning the age of consent. Although it was written in regard to heterosexual boys, it still included ALL boys who are sixteen years old or older. Again, Mr. Dunham, semantics.”
His eyes narrowed at the woman on the witness stand, unable to dispute her words. He hated that! “Let’s say this was a situation with your daughter, would you be so liberal then?”
“Objection! Calls for speculation. Besides the law is very gender specific in terms of age of consent regarding boys versus girls. This would also be a very different conversation in terms of statutory rape if this involved Molly Taylor. Please remember the Amy Fisher fiasco. It has been made abundantly clear that Brian Kinney cannot be termed as the homosexual version of Joey Buttafuoco anymore than Justin Taylor can be put on par with Amy Fisher,” Charles said.
“Sustained. Mr. Dunham, I don’t need to tell you how inappropriate that question was. Please, let’s keep to facts relevant to this case, of which Molly Taylor is not one of them,” Judge Montgomery ordered sternly. That was a fucking genius argument! He wanted to say to Charles Sands, but couldn’t as he knew Craig Taylor would scream ‘favoritism.’ The man was a schmuck and somewhere inside of himself, Jessup Montgomery felt bad for Dunham having to put up with him.
“Yes, your honor. So, Ms. Alwin, about the bashing… why was Brian Kinney given power of attorney over your son?”
“I wasn’t aware that he was until Justin was in the hospital, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as Craig was determined to cause trouble for Justin. Fortunately, with Brian having Justin’s POA, dated the day my son turned eighteen, it allowed him to take care of all facets of Justin’s care, including banning Craig from visiting the hospital. The last time he did, we had several restraining orders issued- one for Justin, one for Brian, one for myself, and at my daughter’s recent request, one for her as well.”
“Wh-Why would you do that?” Mr. Dunham stuttered.
“You see, Mr. Dunham, my ex-husband had become a violent man. He’s attacked Brian Kinney twice… once outside of the gay nightclub called Babylon, which I’d already mentioned. The other time was with his sedan. He’d rammed it into Brian Kinney’s jeep twice, which I later found out about after seeing the vehicle. Justin was also present at the time that Craig had told us that some ‘idiot backed up into him.’ The lie of it was discovered when Craig ordered me to take it to the body shop to have it fixed. The mechanic told me that if I thought that our car looked bad, he would love to see what the other car looked like, since not only was the radiator of our car damaged, but the spark plugs were also crushed. He said it was a major miracle that I’d even been able to drive it to the auto repair shop without going up into flames myself.
"Then there was the slap that Justin incurred for standing up to Craig; the violence he displayed at the hospital by attacking Brian’s friend Michael when he was being denied access to Justin, and finally when he snuck into Justin’s room after the bogus verdict was given in the Hobbs trial. Do you need any more reasons why the restraining orders were issued?”
“No further questions for this witness, your honor,” Harrison murmured as he took his seat.”
“I’ve heard enough and am ready to render my verdict. Mr. Rudyard Craig Taylor, will you please rise? You are hereby ordered to pay the requested amount of one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars to Brian Aiden Kinney for the undue Defamation of Character and Conspiracy charges. It is payable today.”
“This is an outrage! I want my say!” Craig yelled while trying to be shushed his lawyer.
“Bailiff, take Mr. Taylor into custody immediately. He’s already had his say in more ways than he bargained for! I have not only based my decision on the evidence submitted by the plaintiff’s attorneys, but also have received evidence submitted by the District Attorney’s office, Mr. Taylor. Jones, have him booked for Contempt of Court, but you can add Witness Intimidation to list as well! You see, Mr. Taylor, you were instructed long ago of the gag order in reference to the Civil case of Justin Taylor versus the Hobbs family. Your arrival with them this morning bespeaks that you’ve flouted the rules. However, it was your antics during recess that has caused you to be arrested.”
“Your honor?” William asked, puzzled.
“Do you remember the fax that came through while we were reviewing the recordings submitted by Marcia Hammond, Mr. Dunham?” At his nod, Judge Montgomery continued. “Well, your client was sending messages to Hobbs, advising that Justin’s watchdog, as he so plainly put it, had left his poor little pooch unguarded and he was headed to the restroom. Wasn’t that your exact wording, Mr. Taylor? Well apparently you screwed your own pooch, as the fax that I received was the transcripts from your cell phone. This case is dismissed and court is adjourned! Bailiff Jones, get him out of here! NOW!”
“What the hell do you mean… I have my rights! I…” The rest of Craig’s protests was drowned out while he was Mirandized and taken away. Mr. Dunham followed behind them sedately and still in shock.
“Ready to go and chop off some more monkey asses?” Shavonne asked. She couldn’t have planned the timing of Craig’s arrest better if she’d tried. She owed Rory a raise.
“Yeah. It’s time to cut them too short to shit, not enough to piss, and barely enough room for a fart,” Mel answered. “Brian and Justin, are you two ready?”
Brian looked down into the face of the blond who was coming to mean more to him than he’d ever bargained for. The sparkling blue eyes blinked back at him and then the smile he’d longed to see for so long appeared. Clearing his head of the daze he’d felt himself sliding under, he whispered the two words Mel couldn’t wait to hear. “More than…”