Checking his watch, the Crown Governor vibrated in his fury. “Let’s go. We have a trial to get to. You too, Daniel,” he commanded.
Dan followed his father and Governor Haydenshire into the Senate prep room. He headed out the other side and took a seat in the back of the chamber room while the Governor’s donned their robes.
Tucking himself in the back corner, Dan’s eyes swept the room. Katherine Bryant was seated with her lawyer. Her eyes were nearly swollen shut. She was slunk forward. Her depression was evident to everyone in the room.
Her husband was scowling from the opposite side of the bench. Two lawyers sat on either side of him. Dan knew one, Martin Westfield. He was cutthroat and as vicious as they came. Moving back a few rows, Dan’s eyes landed on the Bryant’s son and daughter. They were seated behind their father. Dan wondered if that was a sign of their allegiance.
No one else was in the courtroom. This was a civil custody case and didn’t require the Sention’s involvement. The laws that had been compromised or broken were already in place. There was no need for interpretation.
Portwood, Logan, and Jeff followed in four Non-Elite Iodex officers that were there to make certain that the civil case remained civil.
Understanding that Dan needed to remain as inconspicuous as possible, they all offered him a slight nod. Dan returned the gesture. The Governors entered and everyone stood.
Governor Haydenshire had obviously briefed the rest of the Governing board as to everything that had happened just prior to the trial.
As the board made their entrance, Dan heard a slight scuff of a man’s loafer near the door. Wilshire was making a stealthy entrance. He’d donned glasses and a baseball cap and took a seat almost underneath the flags of the American Realm in the opposite corner.
It was then that Dan understood. Wilshire was truly worried about Katherine Bryant and the ramifications of all they’d done began to crash down around them.
Governor Haydenshire banged the gavel. “I have an entered plea from Terrance Lyle Bryant to obtain full custody of Bradley Lyle Bryant age 15 and Elise Madison Bryant age 12. He is also requesting the banking accounts once belonging to himself and Katherine Elise Bryant be divided in half, and to divert half of Katherine’s current salary as a Mentor at Venton Academy to a private account held by him. Terry also requests that he be given the deed and full ownership of the family home in Alexandria. His request comes with an additional addendum that Bradley and Elise be kept from any visitation from their mother, Katherine,” he concluded morosely. “Is that correct Mr. Bryant?”
Terry stood. “Yes, your honor. That’s correct.”
Mentor Bryant began to weep audibly.
Governor Haydenshire shook his head, stood, located a clean handkerchief from his pocket, and walked it down to her. Then, he continued, “Mentor Katherine Elise Bryant has entered a plea for joint custody of Bradley and Elise. She would also like the family home in Alexandria. She offers Terrance half of her salary upon her returning to work and half of their savings accounts. She requests primary custody with Terrance being able to see the children on the weekends. Is that correct Mentor Bryant
Mentor Bryant grasped the bench in front of her to help her stand and offered a slight nod. “Yes, sir.”
“Is there anything else either of you would like to inform the board of before I make my suggested ruling and the board votes?”
“Well, you could talk to her lover. He’s sitting right back there,” Terry snapped.
Katherine gasped as everyone turned to see Chancellor Wilshire seated on the back row.
Governor Haydenshire’s eyes narrowed. “That won’t really be necessary, Mr. Bryant, as I feel certain most of us were subjected to the nauseating display you chose to smear all over the internet last evening in effort to sway our votes. I don’t need any more information. Suffice it to say, I am not impressed. It seems neither you nor your wife have the capability to make any kind of responsible decisions. Truthfully, I have half a mind to take Bradley and Elise from you both.”
This had Terry reeling as the fire he’d ignited and stirred all night long began to overtake him, the smoke choking his lungs.
“Did either of you stop to consider even for a moment what you’re despicable actions,” he gestured his hand to Katherine, “And you’re unnecessary classless retaliation” he pointed to Terry, “Was doing to either of your children?”
In what Dan was certain was one of the first truths to exit Katherine Bryant’s lips in a number of years, she shook her head and succumbed to tears once again.
“Answer me,” the Governor demanded of Terry.
“No, sir.” He glanced back at Brad who refused to meet his gaze. He kept his sister’s head tucked to his chest. She was sobbing.
With a nod, the Governor went on. “Here is what I feel would be best for this situation. I’ll lay out my plans and then we’ll vote. It will take three members of the Governing board’s approval to decree my plan. If we do not reach consensus, we will take a brief intermission until we decide how to proceed.” He explained the way the Governing board of the American Realm, and in this particular case also the board of the commonwealth of Virginia, worked.
Terry and Katherine both managed a nod.
“First of all, Mr. Bryant I do understand the desperate desire to fight for and protect your children. It’s something my wife and I have done together for the last thirty-three years. Every single post you made about your wife’s adultery was nothing but willful revenge, childish immaturity, and supreme selfishness. I do not for one moment believe any of that was done to protect your children and you will remove your accounts from any social media sight that you can access.” The Governor gave his first command.
“Yes, sir.” Terry agreed.
“In terms of the entered pleas, and please try to understand the position that you have not only put myself in but also this board. Because you see, Mentor Bryant, when you decided to have an extramarital affair that decision does not only affect you as much as you tried desperately to convince yourself that it did. When you throw a rock in a pond, Katherine, the entire pond feels the rippling effects.”
Katherine wept quietly as she nodded her understanding.
“Therefore, my recommendation is for Mentor Katherine Bryant return to her post at Venton Academy bright and early Monday morning. Mrs. Bryant, your esteemed partner in crime,” he glared at Wilshire, “has been suspended. I see no reason for you not to return to work. Everyone is an example, either a good one or a bad one. Right now, you can show the students at Venton the ultimate outcome of cheating. Cheating your children, and your husband, cheating your work, and cheating yourself, because you didn’t really give your all to any of those over the last few years. You were too busy at wells that brought no water.
“Since you will be returning to work with a paycheck, half of your paychecks will be given to your husband Terrance. However, I am assigning both of you primary custody of Bradley and Elise, divided equally. You both seem equally unable to make responsible adult decisions so you are both being placed under the care of the Realm Auxiliary Department. The house I am assigning to Bradley and Elise.”
Confusion etched every face in the chamber.
“I will not have these children, who are the victims in all of this, jerked around every week. The first and third week of each month, Terry is their primary care giver he will live in the home with his children. You will not be in the home or intrude on their time in anyway, Katherine. The second and fourth week of the month, you will stay there. Terry you’ll have to find yourself somewhere to stay from Friday evening at five o’clock until Monday morning when Katherine leaves for work on your weeks.
“For now, the savings accounts will be divided in half. The entire family will begin counseling twice a week here at the Senate in the Auxiliary department. Do not miss a session.”
Dan watched the Governing board backed Governor Haydenshire’s decisions unanimously.
Governor Vindico and Governor Haydenshire shook hands with the members of the board before they made their way to Dan. Portwood, Logan, and Jeff were shaking their heads as they all began discussing what everyone had viewed online and what was likely to happen with Mentor Bryant returning to work Monday.
“I’ll be there to make certain nothing gets out of hand. You can be sure the press will be there when she arrives,” Governor Vindico sighed.
“You’re sure you want to take this on along with your duties here, Arthur? That’s going to be quite an undertaking,” Governor Haydenshire asked.
“It needs to be done and I’m the Governor of Education. This isn’t in addition to my job here. This is part of my job here. I’m taking up the chancellorship at Venton until we get everything there back on track. Then my beautiful daughter-in-law is going to have me another grandbaby so my son and I will be busy with something much more pleasant.”
“Hey, Dad, you know I have a few suggestions for Venton,” Dan goaded.
“If you’re about to start complaining about meetings or any of the other things you hated when you were up here…”
“Meetings are essentially useless and most could be covered with an email. How many freaking faculty meetings do I really need to sit through?”
“If I were you, son, I’d get ready for the press. The cries of nepotism are going to be everywhere.”
“Oh, I know, and they can bring it on.”
“Does that mean you’ll let the whole Lady in Red thing go? Please.”
“I’m working on it, Dad.”