Pa picked up EJ and sat him on the couch and Martha placed some pillows behind his back and brings him his tray with some sandwiches and some more broth to drink and rubbed his hair and bends down kiss his forehead.
“Wayne?” Grandma called from sown the hall as she watched the boys moving furniture from bedroom to the next as they make room for her and Danny on a more permanent bases, for when ever she decided to stay. She tried to tell them there was no need to fuss, but Martha insisted on it and Wayne refused to argue the point any further.
“Yes Grandma?” He said leaning against wall as she and he watched the boys and their daughters work together as they helped make the beds with fresh clean sheets and quilts for the beds.
As they both looked at EJ from around the corner. “I thinks it time you and I paid a visit of our own to his parents house, you too Martha. Seeing coma and join them as they watched them work. “I would like you to come too. I want them to see what good parents you are for EJ and so you can set their minds at easy. Plus at the same time I want to make it clear that they are treading on very thin ice and not to step within fifty-feet of him without your permission. That way… when he is able too get around. He can without having to worry about them or Danny, because soon Danny and his sisters will be retuning home to them,” she replied.
They looked at her with fear in their eyes. “I know, I know, I don't like it either, but the law is the law according to the State Welfare System and guidelines. Don't worry, EJ still safe, they won't touch him. Doc and I have taken care of it so far.” Martha, Wayne let out a sigh of relief as they looked at EJ on the couch eating his lunch.
“Grandma?” Martha asked.
“How long do we have before we have to be concerned?” She asked.
“Oh at least,” she said as she looked at EJ. “Maybe 1 maybe 2 years if we are lucky,” hating the very thought of these children being returned to them because of some useless laws and guidelines. She mumbled. “They are more on the parent’s side not having the children best interest. Why can’t they see that?” As she gritted her teeth in anger.
“Then what?” Martha asked just the mere thought of any child living in those condition scared her senseless.
Grandma shrugged her shoulders. “I don't know,” they wouldn't give me a time frame. It depends, when they feel that he's ready too go home, we don't have a choice,” she said.
“Pa?” Robert asked walking towards them in them in the hall.
“Yes Robert?” He turned his head towards him keeping the anger out of his voice.
“The wagons loaded we are ready to bring in the bed.”
“Good, have you boys moved the other one down the hall yet?” He asked
“Yes Pa, everything's done except for this one and our sisters are just finishing up making up the beds and last of the touch ups.”
“Alright then, let’s bring it in then and set it up, and then you boys can have some lunch and rest for awhile.”
“Yes Pa.” and walked way leaving to do what his Pa told him to do, after all it none of his business on what they are talking about. But caught snippets of Danny having to returning home, which made his blood boil all the same…
Grandma watched the boys setup the new bed in the bedroom and admired Wayne's craftsmanship. “Wayne, this is a beautiful bed, I must say,” she said.
“Thanks Grandma. So Grandma, when did you want to pay them this little visit?” Wayne asked admiring his hard work.
“Oh I was thinking about today would be fine. Since I am already here and it is fresh on my mind and I don't think I'll be able to sleep until I had my say. Other then sit and stew looking at Danny and EJ all day. Thinking what in tar nation are those no good parents doing right now?”
Pa and rubbed his hands. “Then we have to come home and chop some more firewood out by the barn. Because I'm also steaming as well, just thinking about it,” he said.
Martha walked into the room, “I hope you guys are going too be hungry tonight, because I'll be cooking up a storm, after we get back,” as they turned and watched EJ finish his lunch.
“Julie, Robert?” Ma called.
“Yes Ma?” They replied
“You two mind watching the farm for awhile. Why Pa and Grandma and I go somewhere? We will be back in few minutes. Just keep on eye on Danny and Sam for us will be back soon as we can,” she said.
“Oh Robert?” Pa called before he left.
“I am expecting the shipment of lumber today, if it comes while I am gone just start unloading it by the back of the house,” he said.
“Yes Pa,” he said as he watched the three adults go out the door.
“Robert?” EJ asked.
“Where are they going?” Turned too see Pa and Ma leave with grandma.
“They said they had to take care of something and would back in a few minutes.”
“Did they say where?” EJ asked.
“No, but don't worry EJ, we won't let anything happen to you, I am here Will's over there. Julie and Anna, Danny and Sam are too.”
“I know Robert, Thanks.”
“Good because they skin us all alive if you decided to just to leave.”
* * *
Grandma pulled up to the driveway of EJ house and they knocked on the door. “Hello Jim, I thought it was time we talked. May we please come in?” His mother said. Jim sighs knowing it was best not stir the pot anymore than necessary, he opened the door let’s them in. “Where's your wife Jim?” She asked.
“In the bedroom, I’ll get her,” he said as Grandma grabbed some chairs for Wayne and Martha to sit down. Jim went down the hall where his wife is and knocked on the door.
“What do you want now Jim?” She asked from the other side of the door.
“We have company at the door.”
“Who is it?” She asked.
“It’s my mother and she brought those people from EJ's place.” he said.
“She what? Here? Now? She brought them here?”
“What do they want?” She asked.
“I didn't ask.”
“Jim I swear, do I have to do everything myself? Alright I am coming,” she said.
Jim walked back up to the living room and sat on the couch and waited for his wife to join him.
Wayne and Martha trying very hard not to stare at him and let the anger inside them burn, knowing what they have done to EJ and Danny. It breaks their hearts at the same time thinking of them and their kids and what would happen if their kids were missing. How could they live with themselves? It was if a giant vacuum could suck out the life in a room for them. Yet here you couldn't feel it in this home or when she looked at EJ's father across from her it was if nothing was even missing.
Slowly EJ’s mothers entered the room and gave them at lest a courtesy nod before sitting down, but not to their grandmother, she got a cold hard stare. Grandma understood and paid it no mind. “We won't keep you long Jim and you too Linda, I thought it was time you should meet and get acquainted, and we needed too set some ground rules,” Grandma said.
“Ground rules? I have just about had enough of this from you!” Linda replied letting the anger boil over into her voice as she growled angrily.
“Linda hush…! I am trying very hard to be polite, we all are. I want you to know we have heard everything…. seen, all we need to see from EJ regarding this.” Linda, Jim face nearly turned white. “That's right, he has told us the whole story to last detail he can remember. Now then least you can do is listen to what we have to say and then will leave you alone.” Grandma said as she looked down the hall, “Jim I see you got that window replaced, that's nice.” Jim nodded his head. “That's good, because I wouldn't want my grandson Danny to freeze this winter when he comes home.”
Linda slowly composes herself. “Did you say they are coming home?” She asked.
“Yes dear,” Danny, Peggy and Dona will be coming home before school starts this fall,” she replied not happy about it.
“What about EJ?” She asked.
“No dear, he's not coming back. That's what we want to talk to you about.” Linda stopped smiling and glared at Grandma then at the Wayne and Martha sitting across from her.
“Why not?” She replies with anger in her voice nearly coming off the couch to strangle her. The very thought of her hands squeezing the life out of her filled her with joy as she imagined her limp dead body falling to the floor. But their would be witness and this man across from her scared her to death as tried to control her fear when she looked into his burning cold eyes. She knew she would lose in the fight, but perhaps she could get Jims mother alone. Yes she thought alone long enough to kill her and stop the words echoing in her head. It was her fault; she took them away from her. The blood pounded hard in her chest just with the thought of death and revenge that would be so sweet. Nobody would miss a little old lady like her, as growl left her throat.
Grandma Stuart continued as she set calmly back into the chair as she looked into Linda’s cold dead eyes that burned with anger as she heard the low growl when she looked at her. Jim on the other hand seemed bored and cared less to what she had to say. “For several reasons, one: he still badly hurt, but he is mending quite well. He did give us quite a scare few days ago, but he is doing much better now.”
“The second reason is,” she said as she looked at EJ father; “I think you know what that is so we won't bring it up. The third reason is he is happy where he is and I am not or anyone else going to take that away from him,” as she glares back at both them. “So to keep him happy, there are going be some ground rules and you are going to follow them or it's going to get very messy and you know I can do it. Right?” She waited for them to answer.
“Yes mother.” Jim replied with a growl of his own. As she looked at her son then looked at Linda and waited for her to answer.
“Alright Grandma,” she said as each word sounded punctuated and angered.
“You can call me Grandma Stuart,” she replied with a growl of her one as she glared back just as hard. She knew it was time to leave before this woman decided to come unglued and cause a scene, that would make her regret the other choices she would make and they would never see their children again regardless of the law. She would move them so far they’d never find them. Most likely send her to prison for it, but it would be worth it. “My late husband would do no less,” standing her ground.
”Yes Grandma Stuart.” She said with a frown as the anger inside her burns.
“That's better.” Grandma said. “This is Wayne Downing and his wife Martha Downing. They are the ones taking care of EJ. You will treat them with respect and common curtsy when you see them. Because one of the requirements will be for you to drop off Danny at their home or I should say farm. At least every other weekend so Danny and EJ can spend time together. And if EJ wants to see you, which he may not, that's his choice,” she replied.
“To that point we don't want you to come anywhere near him, just leave him alone. You've done enough to him, not just to him either. I will have my eye on him and the other children for now on. A very close eye… and if I see one mark on them or hint of anything wrong,” as Grandma shook her fingers “I'll.”... Grandma looked at Wayne and Martha sits back down, tried too calm her self.
Martha looked at Linda trying very hard to keep the anger out of her voice said as polite as she could. “I promise to take real good care of him,” as Martha looked at Wayne. “And already do love him like he was our own son. So you have nothing to worry about and little Danny too.”
Wayne looked at EJ father he controlled his anger which was not easy after seeing and hearing all the things they have put him through. “You have quite boy, I am very proud of him like he was my own son and Danny too.” Jim doesn’t say anything just looked away, like it didn’t matter what he thought. Wayne could feel the coldness in his eyes and almost felt sorry for him, but he could tell by the look and feel of Jims presents alone that he just did not care.
It frights him that this man in front of him could be so cold, showing no compassion. He was ready to leave and go where he could feel the love of his own family around him. Now realizing this person had no regrets of the things he had done to his boys, it brought tears to his eyes how a man could be like this. “Well Martha we need to get back Will, Robert, EJ and I, we got lumber to get unload for their rooms.” As they stood up getting ready to leave with one hand on the doorknob he turned before opening the door. “Nice meeting you folks,” and three walked out of the room and headed back to the farm.
* * *
Jim followed them and watched them leave making sure they didn’t stay around to spy on them and his wife or even poke their noses into their business, then walked back into the house. Linda screeches, “oh that woman... Jim your mother has really made a mess of things. First she dangles a carrot in front of your nose then pulls it away. Oh I hate her, if she could have just left things alone. We wouldn't be in this mess.
“Yes dear, I know! Least you get something out of it.” Closing the door behind him as her voice came up another octave the made his ears cringe and put shivers down his back.
“What Jim? What do I get out of it?” She asked.
“Your daughters will be home and Danny,” he replied turning around to face her letting the anger boil inside as clenched his fist wanting very much to strangle her and his mother for putting him in this situation in the first place and those damn neighbors. He did nothing wrong, nothing in fact he should have done more fingering the belt on his waste.
“Oh yes that will be nice, except you are forgetting something. Everyone will be watching every move we make. We will be living in a glass house with her eyes bearing down on us all the time. I ask you Jim how are we going to smooth out those bad genes with her watching and everyone else? And who knows what else they have been added on since they been away.
“That's not worst part. Oh no! Not by a long shot! She expects me to let those people raise EJ as if he were their own son already, by leaving him alone. By setting ground rules like State Foster Care System for such a worthless child and their damn rules that govern them. Only difference is she and EJ chose the family he would be placed in and rest of us is supposes go a long with it, right under our nose. Because you couldn't find him and let him get away with it. She takes a deep breath and stumps her feet as she walked back down the hall to her room pushing the door open with a hard push putting a doorknob dent in the wall and screams.
“Then she expects me to deliver Danny to them as well. Oh that burns me to the core Jim. You tell me at lest we get something out of it; you are as crazy as she is. Let me know when that something gets here.” Linda slams the bedroom door yells. “Leave me alone.”