Here is another contribution of mine for the Truth Challenge

Hardcastle Finally Gets It Off His Chest

By JeanneZ84

After Hardcastle got McCormick all straightened out and going in the right direction of doing the extra chores he was ordered to do because of the recent trouble caused by getting into the judge's files without his permission, Hardcastle said "Now that you're all set, McCormick, I need to go and see Frank."

Mark said, "Does it have anything to do with the break-ins by Jack Abner?"

Judge Hardcastle said, "No! It does not and never mind why I'm going; I'm the boss, McCormick, not you, you best remember that."

Then, without giving Mark a chance to reply, he headed out the door and jumped in his GMC truck and took off for Frank's office. Harper was working late this evening as always.

Milt walked in and said, "Hey, Frank, any news on the case?"

Frank glanced up from the papers on his desk and said, "No, Milt we haven't got any. In fact, we came to a dead end. We lost him, Milt."

Milt sat there with a puzzled look on his face and said, "What do you mean, you lost him, Frank? I know Jack Abner is slippery, but how'd it happen?" Then Milt just kinda sat there with nothing left to say.

Frank looked at him and said, "Okay, Milt, what's on your mind?"

Milt said, "Uh, it's nothing really, Frank."

Frank said, "Come on, Milt. Since you walked in here something's been on your mind. Now out with it." Frank kept trying for an hour to get out of Milt what was on his mind.

Finally Milt looked at him and said, "Ah, Frank, it's the kid."

Frank said, "You mean he isn't working out for you now? What happened?"

"No, Frank, he's doing okay."

"Then what, Milt?"

"Well, Frank, it's just he did something today when I was here earlier. He got in my files to look and see if he could get an idea what was going on with the case or any other leads and I was overly angry, I guess. Any way he was pretty upset about it. I almost had him arrested for invasion of privacy, Frank. He didn't do any harm, really. I was out of line. I know it now, Frank."

Frank said, "Milt, you have to let him know what is expected of him. He understands that I think." Harper paused a moment, then added, "Milt, you never felt this bad putting him in prison when he stole that Porsche, did you?"

Milt just sat there, not saying anything and looking down at the floor, until Frank said, "Milt? You mean to tell me you have felt guilty all these years for sending him to prison for stealing that Porsche?"

Milt said, "Well, yeah, okay, Frank. Yeah, I have sorta felt guilty all these years for that but the jury convicted him. I didn't. What choice did I have but to sit there and watch it all happen, then, Frank? I did have to follow guidelines and court procedures and he did do it. Frank, back then I saw a lot of potential in what he could be as long as he kept his nose clean. Which he has done pretty much since he's been at Gull's Way. Anyway Frank I gotta get back to the estate and check and see how the kid's doing."

Milt got up and headed out the door and headed back home to Gull's Way.

Milt walked through the house looking for McCormick. He didn't see him anywhere so he walked in the kitchen and said, "Hey, Sarah, where is the kid?"

Sarah said, "Mark is in the gatehouse."

"Sarah, I am gonna go over there. He and I need to talk."

Milt headed over there and walked right in as usual.

Mark walked down from the loft and said, "Hey, Hardcase, I got half of the extra chores done. Sarah told me to get washed up for dinner, so I did."

Milt said, "McCormick, we need to talk."

Mark said, "Yeah, what about?"

"Well, I just wanted to say . . . well," the judge trailed off for a second, then he said gruffly, "oh, never mind, just don't ever pull another dumb stunt like that again with my files or any other private stuff of mine. Okay?"

Mark looked up at the judge and said, "I accept your apology, Judge."

Milt rolled his eyes and said with a growl in his voice, "Come on, McCormick. Let's get some dinner."

Then they walked out of the gatehouse over to the main house side by side to get their dinner.