ScoutHub

Jul. 21st, 2021 10:19 pm
is_the_motion: (scouts)
Badge book

FAQ
Update #1: We now have patrols
Update #2: The Scout Hut is now a hut of its own right.

Current Patrol Lists: updated 24/3/16

Cat Patrol
Patrol Leader: Autor
Patrol Second: Athelstan
Vanellope
Sherral
Almanzo
Fixit
Gyda
Naruto
Coral
Alex Rider
Franklin
[Attached tiny people - Brooklyn]

Fire Fish Patrol
Patrol Leader: Rae
Patrol Second: Enzo
Tyler
Fry
Gavroche
Lucas
Cat
Dick
Cy
Tim
[Attached tiny person - Egil]

Cache-Hunter game log.
is_the_motion: (scouts)
For requests for me to make badges see Badge Suggestion Post

How do I set up a merit badge?
Any pup who fits in the 'Joining in' criteria can set a badge as follows:

1. Decide what the badge is for:
- Badges must comply with the rules of the bar, the rules of the Scouts (have fun, don't get hurt, don't be an asshole), and be something the badge setter is capable of doing themselves.
- They absolutely can be a pisstake/taken advantage of within the above guidelines but should not target a specific individual. For example the 'Making Autor Blush' badge was suggested in chat, but for the sake of Autor's sanity, a 'Making People Blush' badge might be more fair!
- Badges should be able to be completed without being put in physical danger (e.g. the Saving Christmas Badge can also be awarded for healers, investigators, etc). Scouts are expected to risk assess all activities (see below).

2. Check in this post if it's been done (similar is fine, just name it differently)

3. Each badge must have at least one clause/task to complete. You can make multiple levels of the badge if you desire. (e.g. Saving Christmas once, Saving Christmas twice).

4. Make a picture of your badge. IC the badges are fabric (sew-on patches) about an inch wide and are a coloured circle with a small picture inside.
I've done mine with a blue circle on the outside, using powerpoint circles (denim texture outside, canvas inside) but do them different/more technical/less technical if you like. If you want to do levels (usually done in roman numerals), or other text, I've used Berlin Sans FB as the font if you want to match. Try and make them icon size if possible.

5. Put your badge and instructions in this post.

6. To complete a badge IC you must present what you did to a leader. You can then collect your badge from Bar. You can not cheat IC, unless you are working for the Badge Forgery Badge. If you are not able to find one of us to present to IC, let one of us know and we can handwave.

IC you sew your badges on the arm/front of your hoodie.


Side note 1: Leaders will not police the content of badges unless there is a good reason e.g. someone is getting harassed/hurt/being a pain in the arse.

Side note 2: Pups under the age of 11 are expected to be supervised for an adult. Particularly Harmless Badges = should be suitable for supervised under 11 year olds. Tiny Person Badges = aimed at kids too young to do the regular badges.

Side note 3: Setting a badge does not obligate you to teach it.

Side note 4: Ideally badges should not be awarded retrospectively unless there is a good reason (e.g. an event only happens yearly or the task involved is huge). If you want your badge to be awardable for retrospective activities please state how far back.
is_the_motion: (Default)
When Bonnie steps into her workshop at the end of the school day, she is somewhat surprised to find two figures standing by her desk. Gerry, looking very solumn, and his son Robert, looking somewhat contrite.

"Mrs Murdock." Gerry says.

"Mr Hart." Bonnie nods. She has an inkling what this is about.

"Go on, son." Gerry says, firmly.

"Ma'am, it was my friend and me."

"My friend and I." Gerry corrects.

"My friend and I who assaulted you." Robert says. "We didn't set out to harm you and the preacher, we just intended to scare you to sign the papers, but then you fought back so fierce ma'am, that it turned into a real fight. I'm really very sorry, ma'am. It was just me that did the hittin', my friend stopped."

Bonnie stares him in the eye.

"Well it was a good start that you confessed, Robert." she says. "Did yer father catch you?"

"He checked my sneakers, ma'am." Robert says. "When he got home. I was wearin' new ones so he didn't recognise them. He said you'd already agreed to sign the papers, all civilised like, and he was real angry."

"I didn't raise you to go beating on women and preachers." Gerry confirms. "I told him it's up to you what becomes of him and I will support whatever punishment you see fit."

Bonnie looks at the father and son. It's unusual, from those she's had fights with in the past, for anyone to be hauled up in front of her to apologise.

"Well, Robert." she says. "Unfortunately it's already a police matter because we made a police report, so we best go down to the station so that we can make a report."

"Will he still receive his diploma?" Gerry asks. "He graduates tomorrow."

Bonnie looks at the boy. She sees despair in his eyes. She remembers how he lost his mother at a young age, and has had to grow up with an alcoholic sister and all the trouble Turtle has brought their family. Also, she recalls, the Principal has told her that if she allows her private life to cause trouble at the school again, her job could be on the line, and now would be the ideal time to fire her with the whole summer to replace her.

"What do you plan to do with yer diploma?" she asks Robert.

"I want to be a firefighter, ma'am." Robert says.

"That's a worthy trade. And you probably need yer diploma fer that." Bonnie says. "You must be careful, Robert, not to do anythin' like this again."

"Oh I will, ma'am." Robert says.

"All right, we'll not go to the Principal, but you are banned from the end of term fair." Bonnie says. "And we'll go down to the cops now. You need to face up bravely to what you did, as you've done to me and Alvin."

Robert nods. It wasn't quite as bad as it could have been, and he recognises that. Bonnie gets her hat.

"I couldn't keep this from the cops even if I wanted to, you understand." she says. "And Turtle cain't keep it from them, or he'd lose his job. Hopefully the fire service will still take you."

They head to the station. Robert makes his confession, and Bonnie watches him with mixed feelings. At least Turtle is still in rehab.

"Thank you." she says to Gerry, outside, while Robert is being processed ready to be released. "It cain't be easy draggin' yer own son in front of the law."

"You would have done the same with any of your boys, right?" Gerry says.

"Damn straight." Bonnie says. "But my life has always been full of rough folks, gettin' into fights, and it's rare fer me to come out with any justice."

"You are a remarkable woman." Gerry says, and then blushes slightly.

Bonnie feels, to her annoyance, a hot flush coming on, making her own cheeks inconveniently pink.

"Yer a sweet man, Gerry." she says. "But I'm serious. I've spent my life around those that society has given up on, and I've got involved in all sorts of things I shouldn't, and there's a reason they say those things about me. I mean, they ain't true, but..."

"Mrs Murdock, when the dust has settled, would it be terribly inappropriate of me to ask you out to dinner by means of apology for my thoroughly inadequate parenting skills?" Gerry asks.

"Oh yes, very inappropriate." Bonnie says. "But don't let that stop you, it never stops me. So long as you understand that it cain't lead to nothin'."

"Oh, I understand." Gerry says. "I know it would be hard to trust another man after Wes. I just enjoy your company. It's lonely sometimes, being a widower."

Bonnie has to admit that this is something she can agree with.
is_the_motion: (fixing)
Bonnie has the sense to only meet Turtle's new father-in-law-to-be with Alvin waiting in his truck outside the cafe.

She has to admit, the note he sent offering to pay Turtle's back child support made her curious. Even more so than the threatening, poorly-written letters, that have been pushed through her door trying to pressure her to sign the divorce papers.

As it turns out, Mr Hart - Turtle's fiancee's father - looks older than she remembered from the last parent-teacher conference. She wonders if his younger son, Robert, is the one writing the other notes, since they seem to be using the same batch of envelopes. Also Bonnie is pretty sure Robert graffiti-ed her door last year when she got pregnant.

But when she sees his tired eyes, she doesn't demand information on that right away. Still, although he looks tired out, he at least doesn't look completely dishevelled like Turtle does these days. He wears an old suit, which looks like it was once expensive, a long time ago, and a tie even though it's the weekend.

"Mr Hart?"

The man gets up, and shakes her hand.

"Mrs Murdock, thank you so much for seeing me." He says, in a soft voice. He orders them both a coffee.

"Look, yer offer is very generous." Bonnie says, coming straight to the point. "To pay Turtle's back child support. But the reason I haven't signed the papers ain't out of spite, it's because I don't think he will afford the payments he's proposed."

Mr Hart sighs.

"Ma'am, I appreciate that. That's why I've taken matters into my own hands. I've not just written the cheque fer you, I've also paid off Wes's alimony debt to his first wife, and I've sent him and Celia to alcohol rehab to get themselves clean before the baby comes. So please, take it. It's much easier if Wes just works on paying back one person than having all those folks who might break his legs."

Bonnie is taken aback. "Then you must be a great deal more wealthy than I realised."

Mr Hart smiles sadly. "No. I've sold my property, the one my late wife and I lived in fer forty years. Bought a couple trailers, one fer me to live in, the other fer Wes and Celia and the baby."

Bonnie stares at him.

"That was very noble." she says. "You do realise I would never have seen him in jail."

"You wouldn't, but his first wife would." Mr Hart says. "I can't have my grandchild growing up in such chaos. It's been a price. My son isn't talking to me any more. He demanded the same money, but I have nothing else to give him. He's moving out as soon as he graduates at the end of the week, and then I'll be packing up my property to move to the trailer."

Bonnie bites her lip. She's half inclined to give him the cheque back, now. But it won't get him his property back.

"Sir, I do hope you understand, Turtle... Wes, I mean, he won't never be able to pay you back. If he don't get better, he won't live long enough to, fer a start. He's got alcoholic liver disease, it was stable, but with him drinkin' again..."

"Well, I can't take it with me." Mr Hart says. "At least if he gets clean he'll get a fighting chance of seeing his child grow up. And I daresay a trailer will be easier to clean and manage. Please, take the cheque. I'll be all right."

Bonnie sips her coffee.

"When did yer wife pass?" she asks, gently.

"Sixteen years back." Mr Hart says. "When Robert was just a baby. Celia took it very badly." He looks sorrowful. "I did the best that I could, but Celia started drinking at a very young age, and it's been a struggle getting Robert to stay in school. I don't think I did a very good job."

"I doubt it was yer fault. I was much the same after my mom got sick." Bonnie admits. "She died when I was just a girl too. Though I was a little older than Celia."

For the first time, she finds herself feeling sorry for Celia. Even when she taught the girl, she had no idea.

"Are you gonna be okay?" She asks.

"I'll make the trailer my own. I'm sure I'll be just fine." Mr Hart says. "Please, accept the cheque. Wes and Celia will live in the trailer owned by me when they come out of rehab. I think if they stop drinkin' and don't have to pay rent or other debts, he should be able to keep up with his support. They were already evicted from their last apartment anyhow."

"Yer a good man, Mr Hart." Bonnie says. "I'll get the papers signed."

"Please, call me Gerry." Mr Hart says. He hands her a business card. "This is my new telephone number at the trailer. In case he lapses again."

"Bonnie, then." Bonnie thanks him. They look one another in the eye for the moment, bound together by one man's mess. Then Bonnie remembers the other notes.

"You got any idea who's sendin' me threatenin' letters?" she asks. "I know it ain't Turtle, he knows how to spell 'whore'."

Gerry looks at the letters.

"It... it could be my son, or one of my nephews." he says, sorrowfully. "The whole family have been pretty upset. I will speak to them. I don't think they will truly hurt you, if so, but call me right away if they give you any trouble."

She thanks him again, appreciating his honesty, and gets up to leave. As she goes down the street to Alvin's truck, she suddenly senses something is wrong.

She quickens her pace. Alvin is on the ground, behind the truck, clutching his middle.

"Alvin! What happened, are you all right?"

"I'm... I'm okay... they might still be here." Alvin wheezes, clearly winded.

Bonnie looks around slightly too late; two young men in balaclavas have grabbed her and slammed her against the truck. She kicks and lashes out at both of them, taking them by surprise, and they scuffle for a moment.

"Sign the papers, you damn whore!" one of them snarls.

"I'm already signin' them!" Bonnie gasps, kicking one of them in the groin. "And if either of you assholes turn out to be students at Rydell I will personally make sure you don't get yer diplomas."

She grabs for a balaclava, and gets hit in the jaw.

Just as she's about to scramble up and finish this off with a quick punch to the diaphragm on each side, she sees Gerry rush in, attempting to haul off the youngsters, which only results in him getting shoved to the floor as well. But with three against two, one of whom, Bonnie suspects, they are related to, the balaclava pair decide to leg it.

"You all right?" Bonnie asks Gerry, wiping blood off her lip and moving straight over to Alvin.

"I think so, are you?" Gerry asks.

"Nothin' that cain't be healed. I woulda' won, you know, you'd have been better callin' the cops." Bonnie says. "But thank you."

She turns her attention to Alvin, who is still on his hands and knees.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Alvin asks her. "I'm so sorry, I couldn't get up, I made a lousy bodyguard."

"Hush you, yer the one that's hurt." Bonnie checks him over carefully. Just winded, nothing broken.

Gerry insists on going with them both to make a police report. Given it could have been his son and nephew wearing the balaclavas, Bonnie isn't quite sure what to make of that. But then again, she knows if any of her boys beat up a woman and a preacher, she'd be he first to drag them by the ear to the cops herself.

"He likes you." Alvin says, when they're finally alone together in his truck again.

"Who?" Bonnie asks.

"Gerry." Alvin says.

"Oh Good Lord." Bonnie says. "Flatterin' as that may be, I cain't think of anythin' that would wind up more complicated than bangin' my ex-husband's father-in-law."

"You could just have dinner with him, Aunt Bonnie." Alvin says, reprovingly.
is_the_motion: (fixing)
The neighbours were gossiping. This was nothing new for Bonnie, who had met with disapproval from her neighbours for the best part of thirty years and wasn't going to start bothering about it now.

Stuart and Ted also took it mostly in their stride. But Terry, who had become used to a more stable life recently, was getting bullied at school, as Bonnie discovered one day when the girl came home with a black eye.

"Shirley called you trash." Terry says fiercely as Bonnie gives her a bag of peas for her eye. "And I was all 'Hell no'. She was crusin' fer a bruisin'!"

"I don't care what words Shirley used." Bonnie says. "You are older and bigger than most of the kids in yer grade and you will keep yer hands to yerself."

"But Grandma, it ain't fair!" Terry says. "You ain't trashy, it's Grandpa Turtle's fault you're gettin' divorced. I tried talkin' to my teacher but my teacher said divorce was wrong. Why cain't he just come home?"

"Terry." Bonnie sighs and sits next to her. "Yer teacher says it's wrong to divorce because many people believe that. We can argue with 'em until we're blue in the face but that view ain't gonna change any time soon. Grandpa Turtle ain't comin' home again because he's in love with another lady. You cain't keep someone when they get like that, it doesn't make nobody happy."

"But then why did he marry you?" Terry asks.

"Because Grandpa Turtle and I had been very lonely fer a very long time." Bonnie says. "And we were lovers a long time ago, and we got carried away with a lot of feelings. And then we made Billie, and you really got to be married when you got a baby together."

She gives Terry a squeeze.

"You've done so well to get on at school. Don't mess that up now over someone else's mistakes, okay?"

***

When Turtle turns up for visitation that week, Bonnie doesn't let him in the door.

"No child support, no visitation." she says firmly.

"Bonnie, I'm trying, I gave you what I have." Turtle says.

"Not my problem." Bonnie says. "I got four kids to feed, and I intend you to learn this fast. I've had to take a second job doin' work fer Jay to make up fer you not payin' yer maintenance."

Turtle sighs.

"You managed before I moved in." he complains. "Can't you give me a bit more time?"

"I didn't have Billie then." Bonnie says. "I didn't have to pay fer day care. I didn't have someone pinching the money from a joint account."

"Bonnie, I'm really not doing this on purpose." Turtle says. He takes a breath. "I need to push through with the divorce and getting a new place."

Bonnie stares at him, her eyes hardening.

"How far gone is she?"

"Bonnie..."

Bonnie slams the door in his face. Then decides she's not done and opens it again.

"I am deeply disappointed in you. That's what hurts the most. You've been my friend fer thirty years, we broke up less than two months ago and yer already rushin' into creating yet another baby you cain't afford."

"We didn't plan this..."

"I don't freakin' care, you are nearly fifty years old and you know what a damn condom is!" Bonnie says.

A neighbour, pruning a rose bush, gasps and drops her secateurs.

"Bonnie, I'm sorry." Turtle says. "But it wouldn't be any less painful if I had a baby with her in a year, she wants children..."

"I don't care, you don't make babies you cain't afford!" Bonnie says. "Did you learn nothin' from bein' in care? From watchin' all my foster kids who'd been in unstable homes?"

Turtle takes another breath.

"I will pay what I owe you. I will work hard to support you, and Cassandra, and Celia and the baby. I know I have completely let you down, but I know you love Billie, and that something positive came out of my carelessness, and I am going to take responsibility for all of this."

"Damn straight. When you pay, you get visitation." Bonnie says. She looks over at the neighbour. "And Mrs Jones, if you are goin' to eavesdrop you should come closer, or turn up that hearin' aid!"

Now she slams the door.

It seems to have some effect at least. The next day Turtle sells some stuff he doesn't need and pays her back for the money that was hers in the joint account. And by the end of the month he manages to scrape together the child support, although not the alimony, and she grants him visitation. She feels in control, which she needs now.

Missing him as a friend hurts more than missing him as a husband. But when she gets out the new biker jackets for her new group, the Rattlesnakes, she starts to feel better. The boys are thrilled to get to go out on the back of bikes with her and Lucy, with Billie and Terry in a side car. And a surprising number of her old biker gang pitch up to join them. Things start to feel right again.

***

"I forgive you."

Turtle looks up in surprise from rocking Billie to sleep, at the end of his second visitation.

"Why?" he asks, quietly.

"Because being angry at you is destroying me and my kids." Bonnie says. "Because I understand what it is to have loved more than one person. So many times I felt guilty fer being with you because I felt like I was betraying Bill, even though he's been dead over a decade. Because I'd hardly talked about him or to him. And since you left, I went right back to bein' devoted to him."

Turtle nods. "Thank you." he says. "I miss you an awful lot as a friend."

"Me too." Bonnie says. "I cain't trust you quite like I used to but I'm prepared to give it time. I think you should join the Rattlesnakes. You'll be able to spend time with Billie and Terry in an environment where we won't be alone together, and frankly it'll be much easier than our current visitation arrangements."

"You'd still want me in your group?" Turtle asks.

"It's the closest we can do to get back to how we used to be." Bonnie says. "Two people who have been friends a long time and used to have sex."
is_the_motion: (fixing)
Picking a neutral location to discuss child support and alimony was relatively straightforward. It had only been just over a week, but for Bonnie, it feels a lot longer, because she's had to get so much done.

Oddly, being able to do something, being angry, actually brings out strength in her.

It was an annoying blow to discover that Turtle had closed the joint account - what did he think she was going to do, rob him? Fortunately she'd just about managed to sort out the urgent bills enough to get the money for completing Jay's work.

A couple of days later, she'd had a visitor. Back in the day, such disaster would have brought dozens of bikers to her doorstep, but since the death of Black Ice and the resulting schism from the leadership arguments the group has become very disjointed. Picket had returned to 'lead' the gang, and she and Turtle had been set to start their own. She had expected the remaining bikers to side with Turtle after their split, and was therefore quite surprised when Rusty knocked on her door.

"Is it true you're startin' a new group?" Rusty asks, once she's shown him in.

"Not with Turtle." Bonnie says. "I mean, we were, but we cain't now, obviously. You'll have to ask him."

"We don't want to join a group with him, we want to join a group with you." Rusty says. "Me and Glassy and Scythe, and I'm sure Chains will come too since he's your boy, and of course Ernest will. Red, you've been in our lives a long time, you got Glassy through his GED, and we were ready to go with you when you said you wanted a more family friendly group. I'm gonna be a pa too, soon."

"Oh congratulations!" Bonnie says.

"Thanks. But my wife, she don't like me goin' off gettin' hammered with the boys, I got to be responsible now." Rusty says. "But I want my kid to see the road too."

Bonnie considers this. Starting a new group is a lot of work, but then they already did most of the donkey work. All they were lacking was...

"You help me come up with a name and I'll see what I can do." she says.

"Well I thought... I thought maybe the Rattlesnakes." Rusty says, hesitantly. "Because a bunch of the folks will come along with a rattle."

Bonnie barks a laugh. "You know, that actually could work."

***

When she gets to the 'neutral location', in the back room at Alvin's church, she sees Turtle arrive holding hands with a young woman. Ted had guessed that the woman was in her mid thirties, but Bonnie was used to looking at the faces of drinkers and she suspected the woman was younger. She's fair and slim and has nice skin; but when the woman turns around Bonnie is suddenly taken aback.

"You gotta be kiddin' me!" she says, causing the woman to jump in alarm. "Didn't... didn't I teach you? Weren't you in my homeroom class, about ten years ago? Celia whatshername..."

Celia blushes. "Celia Hart, Mrs Murdock."

"You got a younger brother?" Bonnie asks. "Robert Hart, in the senior year?"

Celia nods.

"Well, Celia, something very odd happened last year just after it came out at school that I was pregnant." Bonnie says. "Someone painted 'Whore' on my door. You know anything about that?"

Celia hesitates. "I can ask him. Would he be in trouble?"

"No, not if it clears it up." Bonnie says.

"Well, er, shall we sit down?" Turtle asks, going rather red himself.

"Sure. Why is she here?" Bonnie asks, sitting on the opposite side of the table. Alvin comes in, in his full preacher clothing, and sits next to her.

"Same reason as Alvin's here, I'm guessing." Turtle says.

"Alvin is here for moral support." Bonnie says. "Celia is presumably here for immoral support."

Celia sits next to Turtle. "I was with him first, Mrs Murdock."

"You were with him when he got with me. I was with him when you came to get him back." Bonnie shrugs. "The only difference is that I didn't know he was cheatin' on someone else, you did."

"Can we get to the arrangements?" Turtle asks.

"Fine." Bonnie says, getting out a sheet of paper. "Here's what you need to do in order that I don't take you to court. These are the current going rates fer child support and alimony on yer current salary. You will return my share of the joint account within seven days, which is detailed on this page."

"I cain't give you that just yet, I needed it to get somewhere to live when you kicked me out." Turtle protests.

"Tough shit, it ain't yours and I need it fer bills." Bonnie says. "Why cain't you move in with her?"

"Because we ain't married." Turtle says.

"Fuck's sake, Turtle, yer on yer second divorce, bit more living in sin ain't gonna make much difference."

"Aunt Bonnie." Alvin says gently. "I don't mean to be rude, but we are in the house of the Lord."

"Sorry honey." Bonnie nods at him then turns back to Turtle. "You will return my share of the joint account within twenty eight days or I will take you to court."

"Do I get any say in this?" Turtle asks.

"No." Bonnie says. "I do not want to take you to court but if I do, I will win. I know what you earn and I keep full accounts."

"We don't need to go to court." Turtle says. Not least because he knows she's had enough ventures into family court that she would win.

"Excellent." Bonnie says. "This is a contract fer the money owed. Sign and print here."

"Maybe you should get a lawyer to read it." Celia says, as Turtle takes the document.

"It's legit, one of her boys is a judge." Turtle says, reading it through and then signing it. "Visitation?"

"Well that depends. Obviously you work shifts." Bonnie says. "I am not happy fer Celia to be taking Billie on her own."

"You're happy leaving Billie with Lucy." Turtle says.

"We've both known Lucy as long as Celia's been alive, and she's family." Bonnie says. "The most I know about Celia is that she attends Alcoholics Anonymous with you, likes yellow and black lace underwear, and flounced outta my class in tenth grade because her bird box fell to pieces."

"I'm quite capable of looking after a baby, Mrs Murdock." Celia says.

"There is no reason fer you to." Bonnie says. "If Turtle is at work, there is no reason fer Billie to have visitation with you. I daresay your skills will come in handy when he's home, given I've never seen him change a diaper or get her dressed yet. I suggest we start with a provisional up to two weekend days a month, depending on shifts, no overnight stays, and you give me some notice when you get yer shifts."

"Why not overnight?" Turtle asks.

"When was the last time you took care of Billie at night when you lived with me?" Bonnie demands. "You should be thankin' me fer lettin' you off the hook."

"All right." Turtle nods. "What if I wanted to take her on holiday?"

"That will need discussion, but I'm sure we can make that work." Bonnie says. "If I take her on a trip with the bikers we'll rearrange the visitation time."

"You're still starting a new group? Without me?" Now Turtle looks hurt. "That was my idea, Bonnie."

"Tough..." Bonnie pauses, hearing a cough from Alvin. "Cheese. As Billie grows older and doesn't need so much care - diapers and things - we can adjust the arrangements as necessary. And if you don't pay child support, you don't get visitation. Objections?"

Turtle shakes his head. Bonnie presents him with another contract to sign.

"How is she being so cold?" Celia asks Turtle, as they pack their things up to leave.

"She's not." Turtle says, turning back to glance at Bonnie. "She's being a survivor."
is_the_motion: (fixing)
It is Ted's bruised knuckles that Bonnie notices first, as he passes the salt. A quick look around the table spots the bruise on Turtle's chin.

She wastes no time after dinner taking the two of them into the living room and shutting the door.

"Something you two want to tell me?" she asks, folding her arms.

"About what?" Ted asks, cautiously.

"Why there's a matching bruise on your knuckles and Ted's chin?"

Turtle takes a breath. Ted looks at him, then back at Bonnie.

"Because he's got something to tell you, if he has the guts."

"Ted, can you leave the room please?" Turtle asks. "Bonnie and I need to talk."

Ted doesn't resist that. He shoots a glare at Turtle, then leaves them and closes the door.

Bonnie doesn't stop him. She watches Turtle as he sinks into a chair. She watches as he bursts into tears and sobs into his handkerchief. Eventually she sits down next to him.

"Right. Why are you cryin', exactly? Pretty sure by the end of this that's my job."

Turtle takes a breath and tries to compose himself.

"Because I've ruined everything." He says. "And now I'm going to lose my best friend, my soulmate, or my daughter. Maybe all three."

Bonnie watches him. A few days ago she'd have been the one in tears. Now, no tears are coming. She fixes him with a stare.

"So who's this soulmate?" she asks. "The girl you been cheating on me with?"

"I didn't cheat on you, Bonnie, I cheated with you." Turtle says, explaining how he met Celia at AA and had been engaged to her when he and Bonnie first got together. He'd kept with Celia until he'd found out Bonnie was pregnant, when instead of breaking it off with Bonnie, suddenly found himself needing to marry her.

"Not that it would have made a difference." he says. "You got pregnant when we first got together again."

"I'm afraid it does make a difference." Bonnie says. "You might think that you could get away with seein' another girl when we were only just havin' casual sex, but you had no right to cheat on yer fiancée once, let alone carry on."

"I know. Celia was heartbroken. I had this foolish idea that you and I, with all that history, would fall fer each other. By the time we didn't, it was too late."

"And now it all makes sense." Bonnie says. "The lukewarm reception I got to us gettin' married. You goin' all quiet at the weddin' when Cassandra burst in accusing you of being married - you thought she knew, didn't you? Namin' our kid after Bill."

"Bill was a better man than I'll ever be." Turtle says.

"Ain't gonna disagree right now." Bonnie says. "So you split off with Celia. When did she come back on the scene?"

"After I got shot, she came rushin' to the hospital to be with me." Turtle says. "As a friend. Spent a lot of time with me, there every day."

"And I didn't?"

"I didn't mean it like that."

"Good, because in case you forgot, I was at work, Turtle. I was at work with a bullet wound in my arm pretendin' to be normal so that one of us at least brought in some money to feed the kids and Lucy."

"Sorry. Anyhow, she was there. We just got talking. I couldn't get her out of my head again. A few weeks before Christmas she gave me some panties and told me if I ever decided to leave you she'd take a twice divorced man. I panicked and shoved them in the wardrobe. Then you were rootling around in there fer Christmas presents on the shelf below. I thought you hadn't found them, so I hid them in somethin' and put them in the trash."

"So you were going to just string both of us along?"

"Until I decided what to do, yeah."

Bonnie takes a long sigh. At least now she knows.

"I'm sorry to break this to you." she says, without raising her voice. "But you are no longer in a position to make that choice. Neither am I, really."

"How do you mean?" Turtle asks.

"Because that's not the only thing you've done." Bonnie says. "I am more than aware that our relationship came by accident, that we both got baggage, and you might have thought you could get away with fallin' fer someone else without meanin' to." She looks back at him. "But you've crossed another line. You forced one of my boys, my child, to share yer dirty secret."

"Ted's not a child."

"Oh yes he is!" Bonnie says. "He is sixteen years old and by law he is a child. You had absolutely no right to put yer guilty burdens on him. And worse than that, he hit you and you covered up fer him, because you knew I would want to know why. He's one crime away from goin' back to jail, he has serious anger management issues, you know I'm tryin' to get him seen by a psychiatrist. You should have told me right away."

"I guess yer right." he says quietly. "So what happens now? I know I've messed up our marriage, Bonnie, and I'm so sorry, I really am. But we've been friends for so many decades..."

"Don't ask me that right now." Bonnie says. "What happens now is that you go and kiss Billie goodnight, you pack yer bag, and you get out of my house. In one week when I have calmed down, we will meet at a neutral spot and we will discuss child support, visitation, and alimony."

"You don't seem as cut up as expected." Turtle says.

"You don't seem like a cheatin' idiot who thinks with his penis ahead of his brain." Bonnie says quietly. "Guess things ain't always what they seem."

"Bonnie, I..."

"Go to your 'soulmate'." Bonnie says. "You'll see me again, bringing up our baby. The flame will likely go out with Celia too, one day, and maybe one day I'll forgive you, and maybe I won't. But you won't come back to live in this house. You have bonded with those children, and I will not have that misused, and I will not have you walk in and out of their lives."

She is just about holding it together. She holds a straight expression when he apologises again, and when he walks upstairs to pack and say goodnight to the baby.

"Aunt Bonnie?"

Bonnie looks up, and blinks, from what seems to have been a long time. Stuart and Ted are looking at her.

"I'm real sorry about this, boys."

"You showed him!" Stuart says, sitting down next to her. "Cheating bastard! You don't need to worry, Aunt Bonnie, we can be all the men of the household you need."

"Thank you Stuart. You were listening in?" Bonnie says.

"Not all of it. We heard the cheating penis bit." Ted says.

"For what it's worth." Stuart says. "Your experiences have been a valuable re-education in sex ed."

A few minutes later, there is the sound of the door closing. The kids take themselves to bed early. Lucy comes to sit with her for a bit, and makes her tea. She doesn't manage the tea, and has to make a dash for the bathroom after the first few sips.

"Are you okay?" Lucy asks her, when she comes back out. "I mean, as much as you can be."

"Just the adrenaline." Bonnie says, sitting back down, as Lucy gets her a glass of water.

"It's going to be okay." Lucy says, rubbing her back gently. "I'll find more work. We handled three kids between us before, we can handle four."

"Makes a change at least to lose someone without them bein' in a coffin." Bonnie says, sipping the water. "I knew he was up to somethin'. Almost felt sorry fer him in the end."

"Why?" Lucy asks.

"We weren't really meant to be in a relationship in the first place." Bonnie says. "It just happened because I got lonely and he got carried away. If it weren't fer that one night, he'd be married to Celia, but I'd never have had Billie. He's given me more than I could ever have hoped for. So I cain't completely hate him. Is that stupid?"

"Probably." Lucy says. "But it'll probably make it easier when you next have to see him."

She isn't sure how she gets through the next few days. But she does. She takes off the ring. She gently explains to Terry why Grandpa Turtle isn't going to live there any more. She finally finds a buyer for her latest repair project so the money situation isn't quite so desperate. And though the bedroom is empty at night, there's a picture there that she never did take down, and she finds herself staring at the face of her gentle giant once more.

She runs her finger across the glass of the picture of Bill.

"Guess when you truly love someone, when you hold them dear in yer heart..." she says softly. "They never quite come out again. Does that make me much different from Turtle?"

The picture doesn't reply. But the kind eyes watch over her, unconditionally as always, as she puts the picture on her dresser.
is_the_motion: (fixing)
"You nearly done there, Ted?"

Ted pauses as he cleans the front of the shop window. He'd just seen something across the street that caught his attention. But it's late, and Shark wants to lock up.

"Yeah, sorry." he turns around to his boss and goes to put the cleaning stuff away. Shark has just finished counting the day's takings, setting some aside in an envelope but putting the rest in the safe. Ted's mood lifts slightly. It's not well paid, working in the comic book store a couple evenings a week, just tidying up and restocking the shelves; but it's good to have a bit of spending money without having to ask Aunt Bonnie and Shark gives him a hefty discount on the comics.

"Here, you did good work this week, kid." Shark says, handing him the envelope. "You keep working on those math skills and I'll find you some Saturday work."

Ted thanks him. Funny how things work out, he figures, as he gets his coat. He'd got this job in secret, thinking he could find a way to quit high school, but turned out Shark thinks he'd be better off getting his diploma too. The coat is too short in the sleeves, he realises as he puts it on. He makes a mental note to take it off as soon as he gets home, before Aunt Bonnie sees. It's not like he needs a coat most of the year in this part of the country.

But first, there's a more pressing issue.

He's pretty sure he won't be allowed to linger in the bar opposite the street, but he goes in anyway. It's not like he's going to buy alcohol. He looks around until he spots the person he was looking for.

There are a number of ways that he can approach this situation. But Ted isn't someone who spends a lot of time thinking of plans, which is why he just walks up to Turtle and the blonde woman and sits at their table.

"Oh excuse me ma'am." he says to the blonde woman, as Turtle jumps in alarm. "I'm Ted. Could I please borrow my guardian's husband for a minute?"

The woman looks at him, then at Turtle. Ted watches her face. Okay, she looks worried, but she doesn't look surprised.

Turtle puts a firm hand on his shoulder. "Outside." he says. "You're not twenty-one, you can't be in here anyway."

Ted shrugs him off, and they step out into the alley at the side of the bar.

"This better be good." Ted says. "What are you doing in a bar with a strange woman?"

"She's not a strange woman." Turtle says. "She goes to my AA group. We were just talking. We weren't drinking alcohol neither."

"Does Aunt Bonnie know about her?" Ted asks.

"No, she doesn't." Turtle says. "Keep the noise down. I didn't cheat on Bonnie."

"You 'didn't', huh?" Ted retorts. "So you're gonna, you mean. She freakin' trusted you, man! She's a fuckin' widow."

"Ted, you don't understand..."

"I saved your life, the least you can do is tell me the truth!" Ted yells.

"I didn't cheat on Bonnie!" Turtle yells back. "I cheated with Bonnie. That woman in there was my fiancee when yer aunt seduced me."

Ted stops and blinks. Turtle leans back against a wall and runs a hand down his face.

"Look, you're sixteen, you're not a little kid." Turtle says. "So let me tell you like an adult. When Bonnie and I were young, we all slept around. Half the Iron Scorpions our age have slept with each other some time or another. When I was young, I fell in love with Bonnie. But she fell in love with Bill, and when she started going with Bill officially, she was faithful only to him. I told myself it was over and I had to move on. I married Cassandra, but she knew deep down I still carried a torch for Bonnie. I never cheated on Cassandra, but she always believed I did."

He sighs. "But over time, the torch went out. I learned to love Bonnie as a friend. I loved her, but I wasn't in love with her any more. I moved on. A couple years ago, I met Celia at AA, and we fell in love. We were going to get married. I was just about to introduce her to Bonnie when I took Bonnie to AA, as a friend, to try and help her get off alcohol. But when Bonnie came onto me, all those feelings from the old days came back. I betrayed Celia, thinking that Bonnie and I would fall in love with each other.

"But she didn't want more. And I soon realised I didn't either. I realised I'd made a mistake. I decided to come clean to Bonnie and break it off. Before I could tell her, she told me she was pregnant." He shakes his head. "Some freakin' luck. She tried for decades to have a baby with Bill, we make one mistake and she gets pregnant first time."

He looks back at Ted just in time for the fist to make contact with his face. He falls to the floor, with Ted standing over him, trembling with anger.

"Your kid is not a mistake." Ted says. "You're a mistake."

"I know. Don't touch me again." Turtle says, getting up. "I don't want you winding up back in jail."

"Why would you care?" Ted says.

"I do care, I just don't know what to do." Turtle says. "I think it might actually hurt Bonnie more to tell her the truth."

"Yeah, well..." Ted massages his fist. "At least that'll only hurt her once."

Ted slopes off down the alleyway, before pausing and calling back.

"You've got a week to figure out what you're going to do. But if you don't tell her, I will."
is_the_motion: (nosewrinkle)
Sometimes you have to not jump to conclusions.

The Christmas period is too busy for Bonnie to sit down and think about the fact that the sexy panties she found in the wardrobe with Turtle's other Christmas presents have not reappeared. Perhaps other people would have demanded answers immediately. Perhaps some people would have brought it up at the Christmas table to make sure there was no squirming out of it.

A few nights later, when Turtle is at work and everyone else is in bed, she sits down and examines the evidence.

She's known Turtle thirty years. He had many lovers in their youth, just as she did, but since being divorced from Cassandra she's never known him to have another girlfriend until her. He lived in a crappy apartment and spent most of his waking hours at work. Apart from going out on his bike, and going to AA, he doesn't really go anywhere that she knows of, and far as she knows he doesn't have any other female friends. And the panties wouldn't fit Lucy, the only other woman in the house.

So that leaves two options. Either, the panties were meant for her, and for some reason he didn't give her them, or they're for another woman she doesn't know.

She sits back for a moment. Neither of these answers seems likely. Turtle isn't the sort of guy to get shy about panties. And although since the shooting he's been a bit quiet and distant, he just doesn't seem the type to go looking for sex somewhere else. Heck, he's only been fit enough for sex again for a few weeks.

There has to be another explanation.

She goes up to their bedroom and starts searching. She can't just go accusing him of cheating. If he's guilty, he'll likely have covered his tracks, but it's worth a shot. He mostly put all his stuff in here when he moved in after the wedding, and she's sure there was a photograph album in there somewhere. She digs it out and looks through it from the time since his divorce. There's few if any pictures of women, and nobody that seems a likely candidate.

This is ridiculous.

She hears the door open, and hurriedly puts the album away. Just ask him.

But what if he is cheating? What if he packs his bags and leaves her tonight with four kids to raise and Lucy out of work? Would it be best to keep quiet?

When it gets to New Year's Day, and the panties still haven't materialised, she confides her fears in Lucy, who offers to take the kids out for the day. Turtle seems a little perplexed, until Bonnie sits him down, calmly, in the living room.

"I found panties in our bedroom." she says, keeping her voice level. "On Christmas Eve. They did not appear on Christmas Day. I need you to tell me what's going on."

Turtle looks startled. Then he looks at the floor. She watches him like a hawk. He looks nervous.

"I bought them for you. But I lost my confidence."

Bonnie watches him.

"Since when?" she asks, feeling a hint of suspicion. How can a man who she had sex with in goodness knows how many places suddenly be shy in the bedroom?

"Since the shooting." Turtle says. "I have failed totally as a husband and as a father. The young man I raised as my own, even if I knew he wasn't by blood, going on to shoot me? And as for you - the only thing Bill ever wanted for you was for you to be safe. I failed that."

She searches his face. Okay. She can kind of buy that.

"Yer not a failure." she says quietly.

Now he looks at her.

"Bonnie, it was me that left the door unlocked. I came back to grab something I forgot, I got an emergency call on my radio and I dashed off. I was the last one to leave. I didn't remember right away." Turtle looks back at the floor. "I caused you to start doing all that crazy checking stuff. I made you feel unsafe in your own home."

Bonnie feels her insides drop. Then suddenly, anger rises up.

"I'm not mad that you left the door unlocked by mistake, but I am mad that you let me blame the boys fer that." she says. "You let Stuart and Ted think it was their fault we both nearly got killed."

"I'm sorry."

"Too fuckin' right you should be sorry." Bonnie says. "They are vulnerable teenagers, Turtle! Ted saved yer life and you let him think it was his fault?"

Turtle is quiet. Bonnie takes a breath.

"You need to apologise to the boys and tell them the truth."

"I will." Turtle says.

"So, where are the panties."

Hesitation. "I threw them away."

Bonnie blinks. Up until that point, she'd felt total honesty. But who the hell throws away panties?

"Where?"

"What?" he asks.

"Where did you throw them away?" Bonnie asks.

"In the trash can."

"When?" Bonnie asks.

Now he's hesitating again.

"What's the matter? Cain't remember if we had trash day yet?" she asks, flatly.

"Bonnie..."

"Tell me the truth, are you cheating on me?"

Turtle sighs. "I didn't cheat on you." he says, but he doesn't make eye contact. "I thought of leaving you so that you'd feel safe in your own home again, but I wasn't going to do it at Christmas."

Bonnie swallows hard. "I'm mad at you right now, but I don't want you to go." she says. "I don't think there's anything that cain't be fixed here."

"Do you love me?"

She looks at him. "You know I do."

"Just not like you loved Bill."

"You said you never expected me to and I never told you anything otherwise." Bonnie says.

"I know." Turtle says.

"I'm a widow, I come with a lot of baggage." Bonnie says, trying to keep her temper. Why is he now in charge of this argument? "Yes, I love you, and no I don't want you to leave. I've been batshit crazy fer thirty years, this door checkin' is nothin' and it'll pass."

They are quiet for a moment.

"I already decided not to leave." Turtle says. "So you don't need to worry. It was just a thought that went through my head, it was stupid."

She swallows that anger again. It's all very well for him. He thinks he can just walk out and leave her with all those mouths to feed, vulnerable children who have bonded with him, and all that's stopping him is that he decided not to?

"I love you and don't want you to leave." she says again. "So thank you."

He draws her into a hug. He promises to go and see a counsellor about the shooting.

When he leaves to go to his AA meeting, Bonnie takes out the trash to the can in the yard. She isn't surprised to see an empty trash can with no panties.

Well, he can have the benefit of the doubt, for now. But Bonnie knows one thing for certain. Cheating is one thing, but if he decides to walk out on those kids, he won't be walking in again.
is_the_motion: (Default)
Christmas in the Murdock household has always been a chaotic affair. It's usually the time when Bonnie rounds up any of her people who are either going to be on their own, or can't cook, or just want to come.

At least this year she isn't pregnant and exhausted, thank goodness.

Still, what most of her guests haven't realised is that cooking for over thirty people isn't just tiring, it's actually quite expensive. Some of them at least remember to bring their own dessert and pies and things, but even so, Bonnie finds herself counting the pennies. She usually manages to restore a vehicle now and again to bring in some extra income, but hasn't managed to find a buyer for the latest one, which is more than a little frustrating.

She's been knitting like crazy at least, so everyone has at least one present. She was sure neither of the teenagers would want knitwear though, and managed to get Stuart the book he wanted, and Ted the comic book he'd been after. Her adult boys have long since accepted that they're probably only getting a card, though she did manage to find a little model Santa for Ernest's train set.

Once the kids and the guests sleeping over are in bed on Christmas eve, she starts getting the gifts from their hiding places and putting the parcels under the tree. Turtle isn't home; he's got a late shift on Christmas Eve, but he'll be off tomorrow. She wonders where he's put his gifts, and eventually gets a chair out to search the top of the wardrobe.

Tsk, he hasn't wrapped some of these! Typical man! She goes to get some plain brown paper, because that's all that's left. At least he's done a bit better with the presents. There is a little toy train for Billie - she smiles, now there is a gift for an engineer's daughter. For Terry a doll, good shoes for the boys. There's some art supplies which must be for Lucy, and... aha, the only one he's actually wrapped is for her, but it's pretty obviously a bike helmet.

Just as she's putting these all on the floor, something drops down a gap at the back of the shelf at the very top that she can't reach. She climbs back up and picks it up. Oh my, it's some very exotic female underwear. She snorts in amusement and then tucks it back where she found it, wraps everything else, and puts it under the tree.

When she wakes in the morning, Turtle has managed to sneak into the bed without waking her up. She lets him lie in, and goes down to start making breakfast.

All too soon, everyone is up, and chaos ensues. If anyone is disappointed with their gifts, they don't show it at least, and soon the house is full of people and fun and laughter.

"Aunt Bonnie!" Ernest envelops her in a big hug when he arrives with his girlfriend. "Becky and me, we're gettin' married!"

"Well congratulations!" Bonnie says. "You ain't got her pregnant have you?" she adds, eying him.

"No ma'am." Ernest says.

"Good, well, we can have a chat later and see if yer need any help." Bonnie says, happy for him, but worrying at the same time.

It's only at the end of the day, when she is about ready to get into bed, that Bonnie suddenly realises something. Whatever happened to those panties? Of course he wasn't going to give them to her in front of the guests, but now they're alone... well, perhaps it's time to 'find' them again. She climbs back up on the chair and reaches into the top of the wardrobe.

The panties are gone. Oh, well perhaps he's going to give them to her now. She gets into bed, as he comes in, but he just kisses her goodnight and gets in the other side. Well, it would be hard not to get disturbed by all the guests. Perhaps he's waiting for tomorrow.

When the panties don't reappear the next night, after the guests have gone home, she goes to bed with a cold, sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
is_the_motion: (billie newborn)
This year, Bonnie wasn't sure if she should wait up.

Really, what would she say?

How would she tell Bill if he showed up that, after all these years, she'd married someone else? And had a baby, no less?

In the end, she brought Billie up to the room with her. Bill was always soft on babies. Perhaps that will help her case.

She locks the door of the room, then places her hand on the handle and pushes three times like she's been doing at home, because that way she can be sure the door hasn't just stuck.

Then she settles Billie down in the crib, sits on the sofa, and waits. In previous years she's tried to wait up all night for Bill. He's never come, of course. Last year her Mom showed up, now that messed with her head. It was the last time she got drunk before she got pregnant with Billie.

This time... she has never been so tired. She can't even blame the baby; it's getting up three or four times every night checking the front door.

What will she say?

What will she say?

Does she even want him to come back any more?

Yes. Yes but. Oh Hell.

By the time there's a movement in the dark room, she's fallen into an uneasy doze on the sofa. It's Billie that opens her eyes, and looks at the tall ghostly figure in the corner.

The ghost walks over to the pram. A heavily tattooed hand moves towards the baby. Billie reaches out her hand, and takes the ghostly finger.

"Hey there, Billie." Bill whispers to the baby. "I'm yer Uncle Bill. Your Mommy has waited a long time to have you."

He glances over at Bonnie, then back at Billie. "Your Mommy promised to stay with me until death do us part. Death parted us, as it does to everyone in the end. We'll always love each other, but she's better off with someone in the real world too. She don't do loneliness well. I couldn't ask fer a better man to be with yer Mommy than yer pa. Yer Mommy has enough love to share, I only ever wanted her to be safe."

He kisses the infant on the forehead, then turns to face Bonnie. But then sighs slightly.

"She's so tired. Won't sleep a wink tonight neither if I wake her now."

***

When Bonnie wakes, in the morning, there's a blanket over her. She blinks blearily, trying to remember if she grabbed it last night, before forgetting about it and getting up to feed Billie.
is_the_motion: (Default)
The nights are long.

Bonnie blames it on the baby, but in all honesty, Billie has been sleeping through most of the night for the last two weeks.

When Bonnie gets up to check on her, she's sleeping peacefully. And that's when Bonnie goes downstairs instead and places her hand on the front door handle. Just to check it's locked.

Of course it's locked.

She heads back upstairs, gets to the bedroom, sits down on the bed.

But.

Hang on.

Sometimes, the door does that thing where the handle sticks slightly, and you can put your hand on it and it doesn't quite go down, but actually if you really push it the door would open.

She gets up and goes back down, just to check. Hard push. All the bolts are across. It's locked. Of course it's locked. Silly old bat.

She drifts off. She wakes with a jerk a couple of hours later.

Was it tonight she checked the door twice? Or was it last night? What if one of the family has been up and unlocked it?

This
Is
Ridiculous
Go
To
Sleep

If you just check it once more, you'll know for certain

***

She wakes early to a loud banging on the door. She shoves on a dressing gown and heads downstairs, because nobody else is going to get out of bed at this time on a Sunday. She undoes the bolts, then the lock, then opens the door.

It's Picket. She slams it shut again, but he jams his foot in it.

"Red, it wasn't me!" Picket wails. "Someone is tryin' to kill you two and it's not me!"

She opens the door. He steps forward, and finds himself kicked hard in the groin and shoved back outside the door, which slams.

"Murdock!" Picket gasps through the pain. "Please listen! I wouldn't shoot Turtle, but even if you don't believe that, you know I'd never shoot you. You took care of me when I was sick or sad, you tried to get me through my high school equivalency, you taught me how to ride a motorbike. You were practically a mom to me. I would never shoot you. I'm not the shooter!"

Bonnie hesitates. This kind of actually makes sense. By now, Stuart and Ted are making their way downstairs, rubbing their eyes, to see what all the noise is about.

"Ted? See this guy through our letterbox? The one you identified at the station. He definitely the shooter?"

Ted looks through the letterbox.

"It looks like him." he says. "But I only saw the shooter for about a second."

"But you knew it was Picket? How?" Bonnie persists.

"Black hair. Wearing Iron Scorpion colours with 'Picket' on the back?" Ted shrugs. "I didn't get a good look at his face but the hair looks the same."

***

She didn't let Picket in. But she sat with Turtle at the kitchen table, and they tried to piece the whole thing together.

"Let's say fer a minute he didn't do it." Bonnie says. "Who would have access to Picket's clothes?"

"He's living with Cassandra, so I guess her." Turtle says.

"But he was with Cassandra, he's got a solid alibi." Bonnie says. "Fourth floor hotel room, fire escape bein' painted and nobody went up or down, lift man and door man both say neither of them left during the time."

"But why would Cass take him to a hotel in the first place, they're both broke." Turtle says.

They hesitate. Then.

"Turtle... I know this is a touchy subject, but you said you've always known your sons with Cassandra weren't biologically yours." Bonnie says.

"Well yeah, black hair, Japanese sort of appearance." Turtle says. "Coming from a blonde woman and a red haired man. I always thought she'd banged that Japanese guy who disappeared just before the internment started."

"They both got black hair." Bonnie agrees. "And yer older one definitely looks Japanese. But are you sure the younger one does?"

"Maybe he looks more like Cass." Turtle says. "But what's your point?"

"Are you sure they have the same father?" Bonnie asks.

Turtle hesitates. "Well, I'm not sure of anything really."

He gets a picture out of his wallet and they inspect it. Bonnie goes to her photograph album and finds an Iron Scorpions picture from their late twenties. She holds the picture of Turtle's sons up against an about twenty-year-old Picket.

"Well, well." Turtle says softly.

"So here's what I think happened." Bonnie says.

"We sued Cassandra fer twelve thousand dollars, money she didn't have. The first people she would go crying to are her sons. Then she turns to an old flame - Picket - and they realise they have a common enemy.
Suddenly, she has the chance to solve two problems in one go. With you dead, your assets pass to your children - Billie, and her sons. She can see enough resemblance fer him to pass as Picket, and takes Picket off to get an alibi while her youngest takes his gun and his colours to murder you, knowing that he always takes a nap after an early shift."

"You think a lad I raised as my own son tried to kill me?" Turtle asks.

"I don't think he wanted to." Bonnie says. "You were incapacitated after he drugged you. It would have been easy to fire multiple bullets or fire one point blank into your head, but he didn't. He shot you once, in the chest, then panicked and ran."

"It's a theory." Turtle admits. "We still have to prove it."
is_the_motion: (nosewrinkle)
It isn't easy to juggle a young baby, three upset kids, a frightened housemate, and a husband who just had to have a bullet removed from his chest. Oh, and work.

Fortunately, Turtle didn't decide to go into a coma as tends to happen extraordinarily often in fiction for no logical reason, which meant that the cops were able to interview him pretty quick on who he thought was his attempted murderer.

"We think Ted is the most likely suspect." one of them says to Turtle. "He's the only person we can confirm as a shooter at the scene."

But Turtle shook his head. "No, Ted didn't do it."

"You remember your shooter?" the detective asks.

"No." Turtle says. "I think I was drugged. But I know it wasn't Ted. I might not be his Dad, but I'd be proud if I was. He saved my life, Bonnie's too, and Billie's."

He looks around, and sees Ted standing in the hospital doorway. He gives the lad a nod, and gets a nod back.

"Come here, Ted." Turtle says.

Ted slopes over awkwardly, and sits on the edge of the bed.

"I would never want to replace your father." Turtle says. "But if you ever decide you want me to adopt you, you just say the word."

"That doesn't prove he's innocent." the detective says.

"Why don't you try focusing on some of the people who actually want to kill me." Turtle says. "Start with Picket and Cassandra."


Later in the day, the cops find the bullet that went through Bonnie's arm in the grass outside the house. It doesn't match the gun that shot Turtle, and the second gun is confirmed.


In the evening, some of the bikers come to visit. Turtle hands them a letter.

"This is my resignation as president. I'm not putting my family in any more danger."

"You cain't." Rusty Nail protests.

"Cain and have." Turtle says. "I'm startin' a new gang, when I'm back on my feet, fer family road trips. I'm gonna show my daughter the world of bikin', and anyone keepin' to the four drink limit is welcome to join. If Picket ain't the one that shot me, that leaves him free to lead the Scorpions."

"I think you did the right thing." Bonnie says afterwards. "I'll miss being an Iron Scorpion, but it's not been the same."

"We'll design new colours." Turtle says. "We'll admit women as standard members same as men. The boys can learn to ride a motorbike in a year or two and it'll be a suitable environment fer them to hang out, and you won't have to have a babysitter."

"I think I like this plan." Bonnie agrees. "Just don't let Terry design our colours."
is_the_motion: (nosewrinkle)
"What is your full name?"
"Ted Evans."
"What is your relation to Wesley Tuttle."
"He's married to Aunt Bonnie who is my foster mom."
"You were found at the scene by Bonnie holding a gun, correct?"
"Yes."
"You claim you went into the house and you heard a gunshot. What did you do next?"
"I locked the door"
"Why?"
"Because I knew the rest of my family would be home soon and I didn't want them to walk into a gunman."
"Then what?"
"I hid upstairs until the gunman came to find the front door locked. I knew he would go and try the back door next. The key is on a hook next to the door. I thought he was leaving so I went into the kitchen and Uncle Turtle was on the floor with the gun in his right hand."
"How did you know there was a second gunman?"
"Uncle Turtle is left handed. I picked up the gun because I heard the other man come back. I went onto the stairs. Then I heard Bonnie at the door so I yelled at the gunman to get away from the house, hoping she would hear. I knew she would have baby Billie. I knew if he came closer he would see her through the glass. I fired towards the kitchen to make him go away, but he fired round the corner and hit the glass door. That was how Bonnie got shot in the arm."
"Why were you home early?"
"Because I skipped my last class."
"Why?"
"Because I'm a lazy bastard."
"Officer Tuttle was shot with his own gun. Had you ever handled his firearm before?"
"No sir."
"I understand that you have previously been in juvenile detention for robbery. Are you aware that you have violated the terms of your parole by being found in possession of a firearm?"
"Yes sir, but I'd go to jail in a heartbeat before I saw the rest of my family murdered."
"You have identified Harold Parker as the second shooter. Did you see him shoot Officer Tuttle, or holding Officer Tuttle's firearm?"
"No sir."
"So how do you know he was the second shooter?"
"Because I saw him when he shot at the front door. He was at the wedding."
"And you knew he held a grudge."
"Yes sir."
"Well we haven't got much to go on there, boy. You better hope we find that third bullet and that it came from another gun."


"What is your full name?"
"Harold John Parker."
"Are you the biker known to the Iron Scorpions as 'Picket'?"
"Yes sir."
"Where were you on the night of the shooting?"
"I was in the Three Turrets hotel, in bed."
"In bed at half three in the afternoon?"
"Yes sir."
"With whom?"
"A woman."
"Did you hold a grudge against Wesley Tuttle for defeating you in the election of a new biker president?"
"Yes. But I already got revenge."
"How?"
"I was in the Three Turrets hotel banging his ex wife."


"What is your full name?"
"Cassandra Lace"
"You are Officer Tuttle's ex-wife?"
"How many police dinners did we attend? You know perfectly well I'm his ex-wife."
"You were recently sued by Wesley Tuttle and Bonnie Murdock for trashing their wedding?"
"Yes."
"Were you out for revenge?"
"I couldn't afford revenge."
"Where were you at the time of the attempted murder?"
"In the Three Turrets hotel, having sex with Picket."


"What is your full name?"
"Lucinda May Murdock."
"What is your relation to Officer Tuttle?"
"I'm Bonnie's late husband's sister. I came to live with Bonnie before she took in the boys, Terry and married Turtle."
"Why did you come to live with Bonnie?"
"I was homeless. I had some problems."
"What problems?"
"I was afraid someone was trying to hurt me. I think I was mistaken."
"Your neighbours report that they have seen you behaving oddly. Covering objects in tin foil. Wandering around the front garden at night, staring at the sky. Talking to yourself."
"I'm an artist."
"Where were you at the time of the attempted murder?"
"I was picking Terry up from school."
"The school reports that you were late, and flustered. You had time to have been at the scene."
"I am often late and flustered. Why would I want to hurt Turtle? We've been friends since childhood."
"Do you hear voices?"
"No."
"You are aware that it is a felony to lie to the law?"
"Yes."
"Are you on good terms with Ted?"
"Yes."
"Good enough that he would cover for you?"
"... yes, maybe, but I didn't do it."


"What is your full name?"
"Stuart Murdock Evans."
"You are Ted's brother and Bonnie's adopted son?"
"Yes."
"Do you normally walk home with him from school?"
"If he didn't skip class, yes."
"Does he often skip class?"
"Yes. He hates school."
"Does he have a violent temper?"
"Sometimes. But he wouldn't plan to shoot someone, he'd just punch them at the time."
"Did he hold a grudge against Wesley Tuttle?"
"No. He just has that sort of face."
is_the_motion: (shocked)
The last thing Bonnie wanted to do was bring Billie back to this potential gun scene, but she couldn't explain her disappearing. So when she slips back through the hole in the motorcycle cover with Jay, she immediately ducks out the other side to put her back against the wall.

"Okay. Ted is in the house, holding a gun. I don't know where he got it but he said there was an intruder. Turtle was on an early, so he ought to be home, but I don't know where. If Ted's home, Stuart ought to be home too, unless it was him that ran to call the cops."
is_the_motion: (shocked)
Going back to work proved not as difficult as Bonnie had envisaged. Turns out leaving a baby in day care at eight weeks old is a ton easier than doing it at seven months, because at eight weeks a baby doesn't get separation anxiety.

Less easy for Bonnie, who was expressing breast milk in the back of her work shop at lunch time, but she's glad that Billie doesn't seem bothered at least.

In fact, things seem to be really starting to settle. Stuart is delighted to find himself on the Honor Roll for all of last year's work. Ted has decided not to drop out of school just yet, and seems to have even made a friend. Terry is joining a regular class - albeit a grade below her age, but getting out of the remedial class alone is a good start. Even Lucy has been well enough to do a few weeks of substitute art teaching.

It's a couple of weeks into the new semester when Bonnie is coming home with Billie that she nearly walks straight into her front door. Which is odd; why is it locked? The boys and Turtle should be home by now, and usually they just leave it open for everyone else. Lucy should be out picking up Terry, and she would normally leave it open.

She sets the pram to one side and fumbles for her keys in her overalls. She can hear them jingling somewhere, they must be on her, ah, here they are.

As she puts her key to the lock, she hears Ted shouting.

"GET AWAY FROM THIS HOUSE!"

She drops her keys in surprise. As she bends to pick them up, she hears two loud bangs, then the glass in the door explodes above her, something hits her in the left arm like a punch, followed by a searing pain. She straightens up to yell at whichever teenager is in trouble through the empty pane and then freezes.

Ted is standing in the hallway, holding a gun, ducked behind the stairs, facing the kitchen. He doesn't look around at her, but he yells again.

"TAKE WHATEVER IS IMPORTANT TO YOU AND GET AWAY FROM THIS HOUSE! THE COPS ARE COMING!"

Bonnie ducks down beside the wall next to the pram. Her arm is bleeding profusely, and she can see glass sticking out. Her mind is racing. That last line particularly sounded like a double-meaning instruction, which means that there's someone else dangerous in the house and that Ted wants her to take Billie and run.

She gets up, and her vision darkens. Shit. She ducks down again. This is going to take a plan. There's a call box down the road, perhaps that would be of use.

Suddenly, Ted is next to her, swearing under his breath. He pulls his shirt off and hastily ties his sleeve around her arm. He then grabs the cover from her motorcycle, throws it over her, Billie and the pram, and then sticks his head under it.

"Don't make a noise or move. There was a man with a gun but I think he's gone out the back."

Bonnie lies still, her heart pounding, as he goes again. She can't leave Billie. She can't protect Ted. She doesn't know who else is in the house. She feels like she's going to throw up, but takes some slow breaths. Not making a sound. She puts pressure on her arm and hopes Billie stays asleep.

After what seems like forever but can only be a few minutes, there's only silence around. She can't just lie here, her arm is bleeding even with the tourniquet.

She lifts the cover an inch. Nobody in sight. She reaches up with her good arm, careful not to touch the cover, and scoops Billie out between the gap from the hood of the pram to the cover. Billie pulls a face at the unconventional way of being picked up, but thankfully doesn't cry. Bonnie holds the baby close, hoping that what she's about to attempt works, and lifts the cover again.

She can see the bar.

She holds Billie carefully, and crawls under the cover to safety.
is_the_motion: (nosewrinkle)
It isn't ideal to bring a baby to court, so Bonnie ends up leaving Billie with Lucy and Terry as they head down to the court. Stuart and Ted insist on coming along, mostly out of curiosity, but also as a rehearsal for the adoption hearing later in the week.

Going to court twice in one week is a new one even for Bonnie, but she's not expecting to lose either of these cases.

As they go into the courthouse, the defendant strides up to Turtle on her high heels.

"Wes, honey, you got to call this off."

"It's too late fer that, Cassandra." Turtle frowns. "You caused twelve thousand dollars damage to that chapel at our wedding, and we ain't paying. We don't got the money."

"I don't got the money!" Cassandra snaps.

"You got everything in the divorce." Turtle says. "You must have twelve grand, and if you don't, you shouldn't go around breakin' church windows."

"Hey." Bonnie intervenes. "Defendant ain't supposed to hassle the plaintiff. Come on, Turtle."

Stuart grins in amusement at Cassandra, who gives him a sour look in return.

"Hey, Aunt Bonnie, is my adoption case goin' to be like this?" he asks, as they head inside.

"Depends if yer mom shows up." Bonnie says. "But the judge'll take a dim view of it if she behaves like that. Yours will be much easier anyhow, you just tell them what you want." She looks over at the boys. "Now, you two have to be on yer best behaviour today and later in the week. This is a court. If you are disrespectful, you can be fined or locked up. You are to sit quietly and not speak unless you are spoken to. Got it?"

The boys nod seriously. Bonnie gets them seated in the gallery, then goes to sit with Turtle at the front.

"You think we should have got a lawyer?" Turtle asks.

"We cain't afford one." Bonnie points out. "Besides, we've been in court heaps of times between us."

The judge comes in, and Bonnie presents her evidence, including the wedding photographer's picture of Cassandra in the process of hurling a statue at the stained glass window. It takes just half an hour for the judge to rule in their favour and present Cassandra with a big bill to pay the chapel.

"Was that helpful fer Thursday?" Turtle asks Stuart when they get outside.

Stuart grins. "Thursday? I was thinking I might want to go to law school."

"You'd be good at that." Bonnie grins at him.

As they get back to the car, her grin fades. Two young Japanese-looking men are standing next to the car.

"Oh dear." she says quietly.

"Who are they?" Ted asks

"Turtle's sons." Bonnie says. "And they don't look happy."

The two young men round on Turtle, arguing with him about how he could sue their Mom. Bonnie is a little afraid that they're going to come to blows, but Turtle's cop instincts are keeping the situation under control.

"Why are they Japane..." Stuart starts.

"Not now." Bonnie chides gently. "And besides, pretty sure you can figure that out. They're good lads, usually, they're just upset right now."

***

At night, Bonnie lies awake, thinking she heard a noise.
She gets up to check. Nothing. Not even Lucy wandering around, as she does at times. Billie's fast asleep in her cot.
She checks the doors are locked, just in case.
Then she goes back to bed, tutting to herself slightly for being silly.

***

Stuart looks rather more nervous on the day of his adoption hearing. This time, the four of them travel in Turtle's cop car. Turtle has managed to get a late shift, but he's going to have to go to work straight after the hearing.

"Just be polite." Bonnie says, straightening his tie. "And state clearly what you want to do. Remember to address the judge as 'Your honour'. If your mom screams and shouts or makes nasty comments, don't take the bait, just stay calm. That said." she smiles slightly. "I will be proud as can be to adopt you, but if she says anything that makes you decide you aren't ready, it's okay to say that too."

"Aunt Bonnie? I'll be fine." Stuart says. "I don't want her to recommence custody ever again."

Bonnie smiles at him. If he's taking refuge in being a walking dictionary, he definitely is nervous.

"Stuart?" Ted nudges his brother as they go in. "You're not really going to change your last name are you? It'll feel like we're less brothers."

"No, I'm going to have two last names like Billie." Stuart says. "Stuart Murdock Evans."

"Huh. Maybe I'll do that too one day." Ted says. "Good luck."

It turns out to be, again, quite straightforward. The judge asks Stuart who he wants to live with and how, and Stuart says he wants to be adopted by Bonnie. His mother starts weeping and wailing and complaining that Bonnie ruined her family.

"Mrs Fenton, if you don't settle down, I will have you removed from this court." the judge says.

Mr Fenton stands up.

"Your honour, my wife couldn't cope with Stuart and Ted, with their hardened criminal tendencies, but she has grave concerns about them living with this chaotic woman. And with her husband, given he has guns in the house. The boys are mentally unstable, they shouldn't be housed around weapons."

The judge turns to Turtle. "Mr Tuttle, what provisions have you made for the weapons?"

Turtle stands. "It's true that as a cop I do have a gun, your Honour, but it's either on my person or locked away at all times. Bonnie has a replica gun which makes a loud noise to frighten intruders, but it isn't capable of firing bullets."

"They have involvement with gangs!" Mrs Fenton says, pointing at Turtle. "He's a gang leader, they're both recovering alcoholics."

Bonnie raises her eyebrows. She has to admit, the woman has done her research. But the judge shakes his head.

"Mrs Murdock has been fostering challenging young boys for over twenty years and I have dealt with one of her cases before. Her life experiences only add to her qualifications. I have reports from school saying that Stuart is a straight A student, takes an active part in the debate team, and is getting into trouble far less. Neither of the boys have been involved in any criminal activity in the year they have been living with Mrs Murdock. You don't want custody back, you merely want to block the adoption - but you abandoned your children, and your granddaughter Terry too. You have made no efforts to take parental responsibility again - you don't even want to today - so I have no hesitation in declaring Stuart and Ted Evans legally abandoned, and if Stuart wishes to be adopted that's more than appropriate."

Mrs Fenton starts to howl hysterically. Bonnie takes Stuart with the judge to sort out some paperwork. Ted stays with Turtle, staring awkwardly at his mum and her new husband. Turtle gently puts his hand on Ted's shoulder.

"Come on, let's get some air." he says. "You don't have to watch this."

"You!" Mrs Fenton follows Turtle out of the courtroom. "You get your hands off my boy! You're not his father, his father was a war hero!"

"Don't talk about my father!" Ted yells, turning around and rounding on his mother. "He would hate you for what you did to us! I hate you! I never want to see you again!"

Mr Fenton charges forward to defend his wife, and the next second he and Ted are brawling on the floor. Turtle moves quickly to separate them, as Ted gets a good couple of right hooks in.

"He hit me first!" Ted protests.

"You both need to stop." Turtle says. "Before I have to arrest you. Come on."

He hurriedly escorts Ted from the building. Ted is still fuming.

"You're not my dad." he says. "But she doesn't get to talk about him. She was horrible to him."

"I would never want to take the place of your dad." Turtle says quietly. "But it would not have gone down well if the judge had seen you do that after just reading how well you've been doing."

He casts a worried eye over Ted as the boy paces around. How long before he learns to control that temper? And will there come a time when there's nobody there to step in before then?

Across the parking lot, he sees Mr Fenton shoot them both a dark look, as the sobbing Mrs Fenton gets in their car. Maybe Bonnie is right about getting another bolt on their front door.
is_the_motion: (nosewrinkle)
The Iron Scorpions were not a happy bunch of bikers.

The sudden death of their leader, Black Ice, from alcoholic liver disease a few months back had opened up a power vacuum. The vice president had been running the gang in the meantime, but in all honesty, he wasn't a well man either, and he had already admitted he wasn't up to becoming the new president.

The gang had been together for decades; the oldest members coming on for forty years, Bonnie's cohort for thirty, and even most of the youngest for ten. A life of regular binge drinking, overeating and riding long distance had taken its toll on many of them.

And suddenly, they were presented with a problem. Ordinarily, one of the senior members would have become the next president. But after a few weeks it became apparent that none of them were really up to it.

And that was when Picket decided to stand.

Picket was not a natural leader. He was a couple of years younger than Bonnie, and had been born into a very wealthy family who had lost everything in the stock market crash - including his father who had succumbed to a heart attack shortly after. Faced with homelessness, Picket's mother put him in care, he was sent off to work on a farm, and that was the last they saw of one another. Picket had left school with no qualifications, and now worked picking trash off the highways, a job which had led him to go nuts if he saw anyone littering. And yelling at people to 'Pick it up' was how he'd ended up with the name Picket.

A lot of the gang weren't too pleased at the idea, and were pressing Turtle to stand against him. Turtle had initially refused, saying he would have enough on with Bonnie and the baby, but eventually under pressure he'd announced that if he stood, he'd introduce a four drink maximum for all events, thinking that would put everyone off and be the end of the matter.

It wasn't. Turned out that about half of the other bikers didn't want to watch everyone die either.

And that was where the problem lay.


"Look, Turtle?" Bonnie says one evening, as she rocks the pram with Billie to sleep. "You know I don't interfere with what you get up to, but some of Picket's supporters seem to be gettin' very heated. I'm worried fer your safety."

Turtle looks up, in surprise. Despite living together, the two of them have been very much letting each other do their own thing, and he knows he must be seriously worrying her for her to have said anything.

"You know what they're like, Murdock." he says, gently. "All bark, no bite. If they don't like the four drink rule, they'll just disobey it."

"President's word is law, certainly one they voted you in fer, you know that." Bonnie says. "Do you think we should be working towards splitting the group?"

"I don't know, Red." Turtle says, sighing. "Either they'll vote for Picket and keep drinkin', or vote for me and maybe they won't all be dead in ten years. I'm tired of watchin' them."

When it comes down to the vote, Bonnie leaves Billie with Lucy (who as an ex member no longer has voting rights), and goes to join the meeting. Her heart is in her throat. If Picket wins, she and Turtle will leave the gang. If Turtle wins, the gang will never be the same again.

The vice president counts the votes. Thirty three for Turtle, ten for Picket. Turtle gets up and stands at the front, and Picket turns to him.

"You have destroyed everythin' we stand fer!" Picket yells at him. "You got no damn right to take away our drink, our only pleasure! You got it all, a great job, a family - all I got in the whole world is the Iron Scorpions!"

"It's a four drink limit, not prohibition." Turtle says. "Gang'll be just the same as ever, Picket, don't be dramatic."

Picket takes a swing at him. Turtle, a foot taller and a police officer, blocks it easily.

"Stop it." he says firmly. "You do that again, you really will be leaving."

"This isn't over!" Picket yells, turning and storming off.

Bonnie has a feeling that, about that, he may well be right.
is_the_motion: (billie newborn)
"I cain't believe she came while we were out." Terry says, staring wide-eyed at baby Billie.

"Yeah, well sometimes when babies decide to come they really decide to come." Bonnie says, casually.

Lucy, who knows about the bar, gives her a little grin, just glad to see them both in one piece.

The boys peer at the baby cautiously, then Stuart gingerly offers her a finger. Billie grips it.

"Hey little sister." he says.

"Wait, Grandma?" Terry says. "Is Billie my sister too?"

"Well technically, she's yer aunt." Bonnie says. "But I don't think you got to call her auntie unless you want to."

It's finally sinking in now that baby is here, safe. For the whole pregnancy, she's never dared get too excited. She's never dared think too much about her daughter. When Turtle had said quietly that they ought to call her Billie, she hadn't dared think too much about that either. Hadn't dared give her a name.

***

The next day, she and Turtle walk out with the pram to the end of the street, to the cemetery. Turtle holds the pram, while Bonnie steps forward into a shady corner, which had until recently held no marker. But now there is a stone, with a rose bush.

'Here lies Alice Murdock
Born 9th July 1930
Died 9th July 1930
Daughter of Bonnie and William Murdock

In memory also of William Alan Murdock, engineer.
Killed in action August 15th 1943
He lies in France
But his legacy of kindness lives on.'


Bonnie lays a flower in front of the stone, and spends a quiet moment, before walking back to Turtle and putting her hand next to his on the pram. Together they continue their walk across the graveyard gardens.
is_the_motion: (shocked)
The fair has all gone very well, thank goodness. Judging done, plenty of people to help, great food... okay, so she couldn't hit the beer tent this year, but who cares?

She'd had a couple of braxton hicks over the week, but it's just as she's putting some chairs away that the pain suddenly comes, and she bends over the chair, gripping the back of it until her knuckles go white.

That was a big one.
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