[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with: Richard Armitage as Sam Wakeforest, Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s older sister Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney, and Emily Deschanel as Tessa’s sister-in-law Olivia Delaney Wakeforest, Viola Davis as Pauletta Perkins, Cicely Tyson as Nellie Newton, Anna Sophia Robb as Alice Trent, Kevin Spacey as Roger Delaney, Sam Heughan as Todd Wakeforest, Idris Elba as Dominic Perkins and others as noted.]
Authors Content Note: “Love in the Great Pine Woods” is a mature love story with dramatic themes of love and relationships. It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of: L for language, D for dramatic emotions, and S for sensual themes. And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of the next chapter.
Authors Recap from the Previous Chapter: Olivia Wakeforest and Pauletta Perkins share their pregnancy and Civil Rights concerns, respectively, on Monday, February 22, 1956. Later Tessa stops by Olivia’s home and finds out that Olivia is pregnant. But an unexpected phone call brings news that they had been dreading, that Tessa’s foster children Alice and Bobby Trent might be taken from them. And Alice overheard and tries to run away again.
“Love in the Great Pine Woods”, Ch. 24: Alice & Bobby
Fourteen year old Delaney foster daughter Alice Trent tenderly holds her baby brother Bobby as she sees the furtive nature of her Aunt Olivia and Mommy Tessa’s frantic phone call in her Aunt Olivia’s bedroom in Wakeforest. And Alice wonders what is the matter. Then she overhears her Aunt Olivia saying that her Uncle Sam is a lawyer whose area is family law. As realization hits her, Alice repeats those words—family law—neither her foster mother Tessa Delaney, nor her foster Aunt Olivia notice the panic in Alice’s eyes because they are so focused on calling their husbands.
Alice slips out of her Aunt Olivia’s 1st floor bedroom with Bobby and races to the front hall closet where the coats are put when you walk in the door. Alice knows that she has to get Bobby bundled up from the cold before she takes him outside. Where she is going once she gets outside is anyone’s guess-including hers.
But providentially Olivia’s cook walks to the front hall foyer.
Cook: “Missy Alice! Are you leaving us so soon?”
Alice: Jerking her head to look at the cook, Alice sputters. “Yes! I mean, I have to get Bobby ready to go home. But I can’t find his winter coat!” Alice is agitated and tense—which the cook notices.
Cook: “It’s not there. Mrs. Tessa came in the back way and their coats are in the kitchen.”
Alice: “Oh! Good! My coat is there, too.” Alice rushes past the cook to get to the kitchen.
Cook: “Missy Alice!” She calls after her, not understanding why the young girl seems so upset.
Having looked up from Olivia as she dials Sam, Tessa realizes that Alice and Bobby are not in Olivia’s bedroom. So Tessa sprints for the bedroom door. Tessa bursts into the hallway just as Alice flies past.
Tessa: “Alice, wait!” Tessa cries out as she flails her arm, but fails to catch Alice. And Tessa follows Alice into the kitchen.
Alice: Twirling around in the kitchen, Alice looks sorrowfully at her foster Mommy Tessa. “We have to go. If the law is coming, they’ll take Bobby away from me and adopt him to another family. He’s my brother! We belong together!”
and we will do everything to keep you together. Your Uncle Sam is heading to the courthouse to procure an injunction to stop the police from taking you from us.”
Alice: “But what if he can’t stop them? I can’t risk losing Bobby. He’s all I have. I’m all he has.” Alice grabs Bobby’s coat from the chair and starts to put his arms in the sleeves.
Tessa: “No, Alice! You have Roger and I, and Olivia and Sam—and everybody. We love you! We want to adopt you!” Tessa rushes forward and crushes Alice and Bobby into her arms.
Alice has learned to be distrustful of the adults in authority from her former hometown who had tried to separate she and Bobby after their father died last Fall. Alice had run away to Wakeforest to escape—but she realizes now that she had only delayed being caught.
Alice puts Bobby’s hat and gloves on him with some difficulty since the twenty month old toddler thinks that his big sister is playing a game as he moves his arms about.
Alice: “Bobby! Please stay still!” She frets.
Tessa: Grabbing her coat, Tessa insists. “Alice, I’m taking you and Bobby home! Daddy Roger and Uncle Sam and Mrs. Perkins will meet us there.”
Olivia hobbles into the kitchen on her crutches.
Olivia: “I’m going home with you and the kids, Tessa.”
Tessa: “Olivia, should you be out in this snow and ice? In your condition?” Tessa is thinking of both Olivia’s leg and of her being pregnant.
Alice: “You don’t want to fall down and hurt your leg more, Aunt Olivia. It’s best if Bobby and I go alone.”
Tessa: “No! Don’t go!”
Alice starts backing toward the kitchen’s back door to the backyard where her bike is. She plans to lay Bobby in her front bike basket and bicycle away with him. Bobby used to love being carried on his sister’s bike like this last Summer—but he was much smaller and not as heavy then. But Alice isn’t thinking straight. She is only thinking about getting away with Bobby. Then Alice bumps into a small round and unmoving object.
Cook: “Missy Alice! You’re not going nowhere! It’s cold out there. Do as your Mommy Tessa says and go home with her.”
Grateful for her former undercook’s—now Olivia’s cook’s—intervention, Tessa buttons up her coat and helps Olivia do the same. Then Tessa barks orders like a drill sargent.
Tessa: “Alice, I’m not taking no for an answer! You are my daughter and Bobby is my son! Nothing is going to change that. Now we’re going home to tell the state police that. We’ll get your bike tomorrow!”
Alice: Crying in hiccups, she asks fearfully. “But what if they want to take Bobby away from me?”
Tessa: “Over my dead body! You children are not going anywhere away from us! Not tonight! Not tomorrow! Not next week! Not ever! Now give me Bobby, and let’s get a move on! We want to make a good impression on the state police. Now Alice, please help Aunt Olivia to the door since she is coming with us. I’m going to pull the car up close so she doesn’t have to walk far.”
Then bristling with righteous indignation, Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney carries her foster son Bobby out the back door and to her waiting car. She has just enough bravado in her not to break down. She knows that she has to stay strong for Alice. But once they get Olivia safely to the car and Alice and Bobby are strapped into the back seat, the five mile drive to Delaney Manor seems to take longer than it ever has before.
Meanwhile, Tessa’s husband- Wakeforest County Bank President Roger [(4) right] is participating in a discussion with the state police officers in his Bank office. As one might expect of the Bank President and Owner, Roger’s office is large and impressive—with its wallpapered walls, teal velvet drapes, and a gleamingly polished large walnut desk. Roger sits commandingly behind his desk as he submits to their questions.
Officer 1: “At what point did the runaway Alice Trent become known to you?”
Roger: “It was the day after Christmas last year.” Roger states succinctly.
Officer 2: “And?”
Roger: “And what?”
Officer 2: “Could you elaborate?”
Roger: “You will need to be specific about what you want to know.” Roger is stalling, only giving the police the information that they expressly ask of him. If they have other questions, then they need to ask their question in detail. Roger will not simply ramble on, giving up information that might be misinterpreted or misconstrued by them.
There is a knock on Roger’s closed office door by his Secretary, Mrs. Lambert. She is no nonsense, crisply dressed in a wool skirt and blouse with a suit jacket bearing a large gold pin in a fleur de lis design and she enters Roger’s office looking at the police officers with disdain.
Mrs. Lambert: “Mr. Delaney, Sir, Mr. Sam Wakeforest has arrived and requests to join you.”
Having been told by Mrs. Perkins in a follow-up phone call that Olivia told her Sam was going to try to intercede in a legal capacity, Roger smiles broadly at her.
Roger: “Thank you, Mrs. Lambert. Please show Mr. Wakeforest in. Oh and please bring us four coffees.”
Mrs. Lambert: “Certainly.” Then she steps aside and motions for Sam to enter. “Mr. Sam Wakeforest.” Then she leaves and tends to Mr. Delaney’s request.
Roger: “Mr. Wakeforest, thank you for coming.” They shake hands.
Sam: “Mr. Delaney.” Sam nods and smiles at Roger’s formality, guessing it is a strategy.
Roger: Then Roger introduces the officers to Sam [(5) right] , and returns the favor. “Mr. Wakeforest, these are the officers coming to inquire about my foster children, Alice and Bobby Trent.” Then he turns to the officers again. “And you should know that Mr. Wakeforest is also my brother-in-law, my wife Tessa’s brother.”
Sam: “Yes.” Sam nods at the seated officers, towering over them. “Gentlemen. Apart from owning Wakeforest Mountain and our Wakeforest Family Lumber Mill, I am a practicing attorney. May I see your credentials and any documents you have with you regarding your purpose here today?”
Officer 1: “Certainly!”
Officer 1 takes out his badge and id, that Sam peruses. The other officer also offers his ID for inspection, and Sam also reviews it.
Sam: Then Sam turns to Roger. “Mr. Delaney, these officers seem to have authentic credentials.”
Officer 2: “Of course we do!” He scowls. Sam slowly raises an eyebrow and looks at the other more reserved officer.
Officer 1: “Settle down.” He admonishes his junior colleague. “Mr. Wakeforest is simply acknowledging our credentials to his client, Mr. Delaney.”
Sam: “Yes.” Sam states blandly. “And here are my credentials.” Sam takes out his wallet and hands the officers a plastic sleeve that contains his driver’s license, attorney license, and air force ID card—that is companioned with a wallet sized picture of himself shaking hands with President Eisenhower while wearing his silver medal. The latter has the effect he was hoping to engender.
Officer 1: “Captain Wakeforest, Sir!” The Officer 1 nearly salutes Sam. Eisenhower is his hero.
Sam: “Gentlemen, Mr. will suffice. Since I retired from the Air Force after WWII, I only go by my military rank at Air Force Reserve exercises and functions.” Sam states austerely—with a steely undertone of reserve that conveys his expectation of deference by the officers, without him having to state it directly. The officer respectfully returns Sam’s id to him.
Then Mrs. Lambert returns with the coffees and everyone sips them.
Roger: “I am expected home for dinner with my family in 30 minutes. Shall we get to the point of your visit?” Roger directs at the officers.
Officer 1: “We are here to take into custody, two minor children—an Alice Trent, a fourteen year old Caucasian with blond hair, and her eighteen month old brother Bobby Trent, also with blond hair.”
Roger: “Yes, yes, I know their hair color.” Roger rolls his eyes. “Afterall, they are my foster children and we are planning to adopt them in a few months time.”
Officer 2: “Adopt them! But that is not proper!”
Roger: “That is not true! Everything is proper! Mrs. Pauletta Perkins of our Wakeforest County Orphanage and School is also our social worker. I believe that you have already met and questioned her earlier.”
Officer 1: “Yes, she was most forthcoming with the fostering reports that she has made on the Trent children.”
Sam: “May I see your court order regarding the minor children Alice and Bobby Trent?” Sam holds out his large hand to Officer 1—who seems to be the more astute of the two officers.
Officer 1: “Of course.” And Officer 1 hands over the document.
Sam takes his time reading the court order—taking care to note each specified detail for accuracy and appropriateness.
Sam: “It says here that Judge Whittaker signed this document two weeks ago. Why is it that you are just now getting around to executing it?” Sam asks blandly.
It is a question whose answer is of little interest to him—court orders are executed at sometimes glacial paces—but it is an opening gambit in questioning the authority of these officers to act in seizing custody of Alice and Bobby. Sam’s goal is to undermine their reasoning and their authority.
Officer 1: “Well, it has been a busy time.” He blanches.
Sam: “Hmmm.” Sam growls noncommittally.
Officer 2: “And custody cases have lower priority.” The junior officer admits sheepishly.
Sam: “Indeed!” Sam turns to Roger. “Handling of custody cases should be well thought out and deliberate—for the best current and future interests of the children involved, and not for the convenience of the state.” Sam states brusquely. “The goal is to find families for children, not the other way around.” Sam intones imperiously.
Officer 1: “That court order gives us the authority to take the said minor children into custody.”
Roger: “But you can’t …”
Sam holds up his hand, interrupting Roger.
Sam: “Roger, please.” Then he turns toward the officers. “Gentlemen, your court order says you wish to take the children into state custody. But they are already in state custody—them being in custody under the jurisdiction of Wakeforest County.”
Officer 2: “State orders supersede county orders.” He sneers.
Sam: “Not quite. You see, I also have a court ordered injunction staying you from carrying out your seizure of Alice and Bobby Trent.” Sam pulls out two copies of the court ordered injunction issued just before Sam joined Roger at the bank this afternoon. He hands one copy to Officer 1 and the other copy to Roger. “This court order was issued by Judge Millard Barclay of the 5th Circuit. He has both Wakeforest County and State wide court of appeals jurisdiction.” Sam gives a sidelong glance to Roger, who is smiling for the first time since Sam arrived. “The Court Order states that the minor children Alice and Bobby Trent are in legal foster custody with the Delaney’s pending the initiation of adoption proceedings in a few months time—after the usual 6 month trial fostering period is up.”
Officer 1: “This court injunction looks to be in order.” He states resignedly. “But if after our court’s attorney reviews it, they might send us back.” He is not threatening, merely stating a fact.
Sam: “I doubt it. In my considerable legal experience in two states—the other being New York—I have never seen a custody seizure injunction overturned.”
Officer 2: “We will need your contact information, Mr. Wakeforest.” He requests grudgingly.
Sam: “You will note that it appears on the last page of the injunction, as usual.” Sam blasely replies.
So there is nothing for the two state police officers to do but to say goodbye and head home three hours away. Afterward, Roger and Sam grab each others’ shoulders in a reserved man hug. Then they call Mrs. Perkins with the good news and she expresses her relief—and asks them to convey that to Tessa. Then the men head to Delaney Manor to give their ladies and children the good news before they sit down to a family dinner.
After returning home to Delaney Manor a little while ago, Tessa had gotten Alice calmed down while Olivia cradled Bobby in her arms as he napped before dinner time. It feels a little odd for Olivia to be back at her old home after being gone for ten days—despite the fact that they had been living at Delaney Manor since her injury and her recuperation from it. Olivia’s and Sam’s Wakeforest home is their home now.
Tessa busies Alice with setting the dinner table—anything to get her mind off of the state police whom she expects to see on her doorstep any minute. Alice is very quiet as she goes about her nearly nightly task. Table setting and keeping her bedroom tidy are the only chores required of Alice. For the first time in a long while, Alice has been able to just be a kid again in the Delaney’s home. And she hopes that she will not lose it—her home with them.
The crunch of an approaching car on the snow on the long Delaney Manor drive way—and the car headlights shining into the living room windows—signal to Tessa and Olivia that Roger has arrived—maybe with the state police. Tessa and Alice stop what they are doing and go to stand beside a sitting Olivia holding Bobby. It is a tense few moments while they wait to find out their fate. The hall grandfather clock ticks loudly, reverberating in the large front foyer hall. Alice frets, biting her lip. Tessa strokes Alice’s hair as a comforting gesture. Olivia gently rocks Bobby in her arms as she hums the Coventry Carol [(6)] .
Finally, Tessa, Olivia, and Alice hear the heavier footsteps of Roger and Sam heading toward the living room where Tessa, the children, and Olivia are waiting impatiently to find out what will happen. As Sam and Roger come into the room, they have pleased smiles on their faces.
Roger: “We did it!” Roger fist pumps. “Or rather, Sam did it.”
Sam: “No, we did it.” Sam gently and humbly corrects his twice over brother-in-law.
Tessa: “What did you do, exactly?” Tessa seeks clarification as she and the Alice hold their breaths.
Sam: “I gave them a copy of the court ordered injunction, preventing the state police from removing Alice and Bobby from your home and custody.”
Alice: Unable to contain herself, she asks in hopeful relief. “You mean it, Uncle Sam? We can stay?”
Sam: “Yes, Alice Dear.”
Roger: “No one can take you or Bobby away from us, Alice.”
There are hugs all around. Then Sam raises his hand for silence and everyone looks at him.
Sam: “But this is a temporary stay. There will be a hearing in one month to formalize the foster custody. Then after that, the adoption proceedings may take place.”
Alice: “Adoption!?!” Alice looks hopefully between Tessa and Roger.”
Roger: “Yes! Tessa and I want to adopt you and Bobby, Alice. Would you like that?”
Alice: “Yes please!” Then there is another group family hug. And Sam standing off the side next to seated Olivia and holding her hand, leans down and kisses her lips and pats the head of his sleeping foster nephew Bobby.
And Roger feels quite pleased with himself as he walks over to Olivia and holds out his arms for the sleepy Bobby.
Roger: “Come to me, my little man.” Roger kisses Bobby’s forehead and soothingly rubs his back as he gently sways in rocking the toddler. Then he looks down at his sister Olivia and her husband Sam now sitting next to her and smiles. “I’m going to make you two an aunt and uncle.”
Olivia: “Thank you, Roger and Tessa. We are looking forward to it.” She blushes, for she also has baby news. But she thinks that perhaps that now is not a good time. She will let Roger have his time to shine.
However Sam as no such compunction. So as they file out of the living room, Sam leans over to Roger.
Sam: “You have some great kids there.”
Roger: “We know.” It’s a dream come true after not being a parent for so long. It’s like getting a very large present.”
Sam: “Yes, well. Here’s another present for you, Roger. Come September, you’re going to be an uncle.” Sam thwaps Roger on his back.
Roger: “What???” Roger’s eyes widen as he stops walking—causing Tessa and Alice walking together to almost bump into him. Then he looks at his sister in wonder. “Olivia!”
Olivia: Now thwapping her husband Sam’s shoulder, Olivia asks. “You couldn’t keep it to yourself for a few more months?”
Sam: “No!” He smiles at his wife. Then he laughs. “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Then more family hugs ensue before they all sit down to a lovely family dinner.
To be continued with Chapter 25
References for Ch. 24 by Gratiana Lovelace, February 29, 2016 (Post #879)
1) The “Love in the Great Pine Woods” story cover is a composite of two images manipped by Grati:
a) the Richard Armitage portrait is from the 2011 Project Magazine photo shoot and article interview, that was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/ProjectMagJuly2011/album/slides/ProjectMag-05.html;
b) the snowy Pine forest vertical image was found on Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/62/fa/ff/62faff1253d55f571eb3659cc7661e73.jpg
2) Tessa Wakeforest Shoop Delaney is Marcia Gay Harden image that was found at http://topnews.in/files/images/Marcia-Gay-Harden_1.jpg
3)Alice Trent crying fearfully is Anna Sophia Robb and was found at http://www.teenidols4you.com/blink/Actors/annasophia_robb/annasophia_robb_1301638026.jpg
4)Roger Delaney upset is Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty found at http://cdn2-www.playstationlifestyle.net/assets/uploads/2014/07/callofdutyadvancedwarfarescreenshotjuly294.jpg
5)Sam Wakeforest image is Richard Armitage in 2011 Project Magazine-BlkJkt664917000Oct0111RARU-pix-sized-brt
6) “The Coventry Carol” video by morphthing1 was found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jIYyPOoEc8
Previous Blog Ch. 23 Story link: