Children of Starlight, part 3 episode 22 of “The Starlight Trilogy” by Thea Washington
The character “the Rock Star” is based on Adam Lambert.
The videos in Part 3 feature Adam Lambert, Queen, Depeche Mode and Savage Garden.
Chapter 42 – CODA
It was the day of the custody case and Dad and Papa were sitting in the courtroom trying not to jump out of their skin. Dad had just finished distracting Papa with stories about their wedding and how they’d decided to have children after all and gotten the Reporter thrown into jail, charged and awaiting his own trial. Seated directly behind them were the Therapist, Twin, the entire band and their wives and partners. All of them and others had testified on behalf of Angel and Lover.
Only two people had testified against them. And both of them had socio-political agendas against non-traditional families. Hardly what you’d call “objective.”
The Judge had asked to speak to the children personally and in private except for the Court Reporter and Social Worker #2. The children were half terrified, half fascinated by all the stuff in the Judge’s office, especially Daughter. Like Papa, she loved to read. Her eyes grew wide when she first walked in the office and saw all the bookshelves crammed tight.
Before the Judge could even say “Hello” and introduce himself she had run up to a bookshelf, tilting her head and trying to read the titles.
They were a little above her head. So she frowned and went to sit down in the chair next to Son.
“Well, hello, you two.”
Son was leery but said “Hello” back. Daughter was a little afraid, but after seeing her friend, Social Worker #2, she calmed down. “Hi,” she said, quietly.
The Judge introduced himself and told them he’d wanted to meet them for a while, but he’d been so busy he hadn’t had the chance.
Daughter said, “That’s alright. Papa and Dad are busy, too.”
The Judge said, “That must be hard. Do you get to see them a lot or are they busy?”
This time Son spoke up. “They’re never too busy to see us. At least one of them’s usually home.”
The Judge pondered this.
“That’s good. Do you like that?”
“It’s OK,” answered Son. “Besides, whenever even one of them’s gone, we get to video-call them as much as we want.”
“Wow, that’s good, too,” said the Judge. “Who seems to be gone the most?”
Daughter piped in. “Oh, definitely Daddy. He’s a Rock Star.” She hesitated and then asked, “Do you know Daddy? Do you like his music?”
The Judge chuckled. “Yes, I’ve met your Daddy. He seems very nice. I listen mostly to ‘old people’s music’, though.”
Daughter considered this. Then she smiled. “That’s OK. Lots of old people like Daddy’s music.” Then she nodded.
The Judge nodded back. “I know that. He’s very popular.” Both children nodded.
Then the Judge turned to Son. “You’re the Rock Star’s son, right?”
Son shook his head. The Judge momentarily looked confused. “Maybe I got my information mixed up here. I was sure you’re his son.”
Son shook his head again. “I’m Dad’s and Papa’s son. Just like she’s Papa and Daddy’s daughter,” he said. “We’re a family.”
The Judge had to smile at that.
“Do you like being a family?”
Daughter popped in again. “Yeah, it’s the best,” she said.
“And why is it the best?” asked the Judge.
Her answer was simple.
“Because we all love each other,” she said.
The Judge had a few more questions for the children. He already knew what the core issue was, though. He’d needed to know if his original decision regarding them was the right one. Now he knew.
“Well, that’s all I wanted to ask you. Now, do you have any questions for me?”
Son spoke up. “When can we go home?”
Daughter nodded. “We wanna go home. Can we go home today? It’s been so long and I miss our house.”
“Why’s that?” asked the Judge.
Daughter let out a short, exasperated sigh. “I told you, because we love each other. And every time I get back from somewhere, I know everybody’s happy to see me. Except him sometimes,” she said, looking at her brother. “But he’s a boy.” She let out another sigh. “And I miss my room.”
This might be interesting, thought the Judge. “What do you miss about your room?” he asked.
“Well, it’s my favorite color.”
“What’s that?” asked the Judge, thinking he knew the answer.
“Yellow,” she answered. “It makes everything look sunshiney!”
The Judge was surprised. He’d been wrong about the color.
“What else do you miss?” he asked. He expected an answer here, too.
“I miss all my toys.”
“Do you have a lot of toys?”
“I have some. Papa and Daddy go shopping with us and everybody picks out three toys every Christmas for the poor children.” She turned serious. “Sometimes they don’t get any toys. So when we go shopping, we all pick out three new toys for them. Plus Son and I get to pick out three more extra.” Her little brow wrinkled as she worked to remember the exact words. “So that makes … “. She stopped and began counting on her fingers, her face very serious. She couldn’t quite get it right, though. “Anyway, it makes me feel happy.” She added, “And sometimes Papa and Daddy throw big parties around where we live for whole groups of children. And Papa dresses up like Santa Claus!”
“Eighteen,” said Son, rolling his eyes. “That makes eighteen toys.” He looked at his sister and then at the Judge. “She’s little. She doesn’t know her times tables yet.”
The Judge smiled. “That’s OK, Son. She’s got plenty of time for times tables.” He thought, “He’s just like me when I was that age with my little sister. Normal.”
Social Worker #2 led the children out the private entrance from the Judge’s chambers and down the hall to the playroom. It was a precaution so parents and children wouldn’t see each other before the ruling.
In the court room, Papa and Dad/Daddy were getting nervous. Now they were taking turns calming each other down. It was Papa’s turn to calm down Dad when a door opened and The Judge entered the courtroom, taking his seat on the bench. Everyone stood in respect until the bailiff announced the case, told them they could be seated and gave the papers to the Judge.
“First of all, I will not tolerate any unruly reactions from the people in this courtroom after I read my decision. Is that clear?” Everyone nodded, too scared not to.
“Secondly, I want you to know that I have carefully reviewed all of the information I have received about both of these cases. I have taken into consideration the dates of the offenses, the available witnesses, interviews with all parties concerned, including the children, and court records.
“I must say that I am concerned about the circumstances of Mr. Lover’s case. Causing the death of a man, even one alleged to be as despicable as Mr. Snake, is a serious crime.”
Angel and Lover reached for each other’s hand. Both were cold as ice.
“I also have received the results of the District Attorney’s findings in that case.”
Lover, shaking, hung his head, sure that the kids weren’t coming home after all, sure that indeed, it would be his fault.
“The Court therefore finds that” … he paused and looked over his glasses at the courtroom from one side to the other. The room was filled with the parties involved in the case, family members, friends, interested onlookers and the press. He even suspected that some of the people there, of all ages, were fans of the Rock Star, whom he himself had liked when he’d interviewed him. Maybe he’d have to listen to some of his music after all. And Lover was a very respectful, good man, with ethics and integrity. Both seemed to be excellent parents who loved their children deeply. More important, he thought, was that the children loved them.
Still there was the matter of not reporting the crime, even after Lover became an adult and although the traumatic memory had been buried in his mind. He agreed with the findings and the sentencing in that case. And after talking with the children, he felt he was right in this one.
“ … and let me remind you of my earlier comments about unruliness not being tolerated in my courtroom.” He was clearly a representative of justice and in charge of the hearing and everything that happened there.
“I find that the children are happy, healthy and well-adjusted. Therefore, it is the ruling of this court … ,” he paused, expecting his rule about unruliness to be forgotten once the ruling was read. He then continued, ” … that they be returned immediately to their home of origin and that the involvement of Child Protection Services is no longer necessary in this case.”
A cheerful murmuring filled the courtroom. The Judge’s hand moved toward his gavel. Seeing that, there was an immediate silence. The Judge was not done.
“I will remind Mr. Lover,” he pronounced, “that, because of his probationary status, any violation of that will have repercussions that will affect these children. Do you understand, sir?”
Lover stood and said respectfully, “Yes, Your Honor, I certainly do understand. And we thank you, your Honor, for your ruling in this case.” With that smile on his face he could barely not break out into cheers himself.
“You are welcomed, sir. And for all our sakes, let us hope we do not cross paths again.”
The Judge lifted his gavel and gave the signal.
“This court stands adjourned.”
Angel and Lover fell into each other’s arms when the gavel struck and court adjourned. Their souls shared one Joyous thought: It’s over.
The Judge went back into his chambers. After he’d shut the door and removed his robe he finally allowed himself to smile and tears fill his eyes. Yes, he thought, some days were very good days, indeed.
Chapter 43 – HOME
A path of happy faces cleared for Lover and the Rock Star as they made their way down this center aisle to the courtroom doors, hand in hand and huge smiles on their faces. The Judge hadn’t said anything about celebrations after the hearing was over. He could hear the noise in the courtroom but allowed the happy news to have its expected effect.
Son and Daughter had heard the celebratory outburst, too. They turned to Social Worker #2, who had a wonderful, open, happy smile on her face. Just then the doors burst open and Papa and Daddy had their arms full of happy children and each other.
“We won?” asked Son.
“Yes,” said Dad. “We won.”
“Does that mean we get to go home now?” asked Daughter.
“Yes!” Papa said. “We all get to go home, to our house, right now.”
Son still wasn’t willing to believe it. “Forever?” he asked, not sure what answer he’d get.
“Forever,” said Dad and Papa together. “Forever,” repeated Dad.
There was paperwork to be filled out, goodbyes to be said to the Social Workers and Detectives, thanks given to the Lawyer (and the Universe), even a smile exchanged with the Bailiff. Outside, Papa and Dad, each with a child in their arms, happily took a few questions from the press, camera lights flashing in their faces. Son squirmed out of Papa’s arms; at five he was too old to be carried around. He did happily wrap his arms around Papa, though. Even the children couldn’t stop smiling, although they still didn’t like all the noise and everybody calling for each of them to look this way or that.
They let the Lawyer take the rest of the questions while the Security men, having to look serious but inside just as happy as everyone else, got the family and friends to the vans and cars for the ride to the Mansion for the Homecoming party. The fans across the street from the courthouse were making the most noise they possibly could. They’d known their guy would win; he’s always a winner to them, and especially when it counted. He waved but not for too long. A party, which they’d arranged before the hearing with crossed fingers and hopeful hearts, was waiting for them.
When they got home there was glitter EVERYWHERE, from the opening of the driveway leading up to the house to the doorway and in every single room.
“She’s been here, hasn’t she?” asked Son as the guests came through the door (nobody tripped up the steps this time). Dad and Papa had long become accustomed to his ease with Starlight.
“Seems so,” said Dad. “I’m not surprised, are you?”
“No,” replied Son. “She wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
It was a little different with Daughter. She went looking for Starlight herself.
She knew about Starlight, of course (the two children made a pact with each other to not mention they had a “ghost” who sometimes came to visit and who left disappearing glitter all over the place) but Daughter’s connection with her was more like Papa’s. Usually she could see Starlight, whereas Daddy and Son rarely saw her, they just knew.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she isn’t still around here somewhere,” Dad said. “You’re right. She wouldn’t miss this.”
He was right. Daughter found her in her room, waiting to give her a celestial hug. And there was a huge arrangement of yellow roses in the family room.
Tomorrow in “Children” – It’s all about family, isn’t it?