A/N This story is sequel to "Passage Of Time Can Change The Heart" I've researched information for this story not only online, but also via phone calls to court clerks in Nevada and California. Some details included in this story are actual things that happened to one of my sisters who was in an abusive marriage. The subject of spousal abuse was covered on "The Streets Of San Francisco" in a fifth season episode titled "Who Killed Helen French?" This has been thoroughly proofed by Shergar.

Disclaimer: I do not profit from the characters of The Streets Of San Francisco. I am not the creator of the series, that is Quinn Martin.

Just Let It Be Over

On the ride from McCarran airport Mike seemed anxious and Steve couldn't blame him. They were both thankful Jeannie had already taken the necessary steps and left the house. Steve turned slightly toward Mike.

"Where did you say she wanted us to meet her?" Steve inquired

"Safe Nest. We're meeting her at their protective order office," Mike answered "An associate of Jeannie's volunteers there. I can't believe I'd missed the signs, buddy boy."

"Mike, don't beat yourself up. People in that situation learn how to hide what's happening. Another thing, he could have been right by her during your calls. I had a friend who couldn't make herself leave, no matter what happened to her. She was one of the strongest women I knew besides Jeannie. A person doesn't have to be insecure to not be able to leave. Even the strongest ones often find it hard to just walk away. Once she suffered a broken collarbone. That was blamed on a fall over a flower pot. Another time she had her 15 year old sister visiting her and it turned into a bad scene. Boyd didn't want her having any visitors, even family. He kept her as secluded as possible. When he aimed a rifle at her sister and threatened to blow her head off, that's when she knew she had to leave." Steve spoke with sadness.

"I wish more felt they could leave. I'm relieved Jeannie did. She only called so I'd know," Mike answered as the taxi arrived at Safe Nest.

Steve paid the fare with tip. As they approached the address Jeannie gave Mike, a lady saw them and came out. She gazed at Mike as though she knew him.

"You're Jeannie's father. I'm pleased to finally meet you. My name's Elaine Murphy. Jeannie's talking with the police. One of my assistants is with her as well. Let's go inside where we can talk."

Steve held the door for Elaine and Mike then followed. Elaine led them to a small office where they took a seat. After they both declined coffee, she proceeded to explain what happened next. She knew both had previous law enforcement experience so felt that made this talk a bit easier. Each of them only interrupted a couple of times with questions. By the time she'd finished, she saw Jeannie and the police officers as they finally came out of a conference room. Another lady followed with a legal pad and tape recorder. Steve looked where Elaine had and saw Jeannie. He muttered a curse under his breath as he saw Jeannie's mouth. Mike heard Steve and looked where his gaze was. The three left the office and headed over to Jeannie. They were reassured by the officers that Jeannie was okay considering. Mike embraced his daughter lovingly. After they had finally released each other, Steve took his turn.

"Has Trahan been arrested yet?" Steve inquired.

"You are?" Officer Edward Coolidge questioned.

"Sorry, I'm Steven Keller. I'm a long-time friend of Jeannie and her dad," Steve answered.

"He's actually more a member of the family than just friend," Jeannie informed them. "Two officers arrested him on his way back to the house. They offered to escort me there in case there was anything I wanted to pick up. I got all my clothes and the few important things that I care about. They brought the complaint form with them to talk to me and I've already signed it. I have to file for annulment in California since that's where we were married."

"We'll go first thing tomorrow and start the paperwork," Mike assured Jeannie. "If there's nothing else needed at this time, I'd like to take my daughter home."

"We'll be in touch concerning court dates, although I'm almost certain her written statement will suffice. Mrs. Trahan gave us contact information for San Francisco," Officer Nathan Spears informed Mike.

Once the officers had left, Jeannie spoke with Elaine a few moments before she went with Steve and Mike. Steve got Mike over to the corner where he could speak with him privately.

"Mike, will it be safe for Jeannie to remain in San Francisco? I mean, shouldn't she stay someplace that Trahan doesn't know about?" Steve questioned.

"If things get bad I'd like to send her your way. For now though, San Francisco," Mike responded.

"Anytime, Mike, you know that. Both of you are more than welcome," Steve assured his friend.

Elaine walked the three out to where Jeannie had parked and saw them off. Once they were back at McCarran airport Steve and Mike helped get Jeannie's things to the plane. Mike introduced Jeannie to their pilot before the flight got underway.

"I'd started to wonder if I should have gone with you. I'm relieved to see you three are safe. We better be headed back now," Ross Scott suggested kindly.

The flight didn't seem to take as long going home. Steve and Mike both kept watch on Jeannie during the flight. Steve noticed how Jeannie leaned toward one of her cases every few moments and seemed to be talking. He started to ask but decided to wait until their arrival. After they landed at SFO and were able to disembark, they all thanked Ross Scott before they made their way to Mike's car. Jeannie allowed Mike and Steve to help with her luggage except for one bag. Steve noticed it was the bag he'd seen her lean toward on the plane and finally had to ask.

"Jeannie, you mind if I ask what you've got in that bag? I couldn't help but notice on the plane you seemed to be talking when you leaned near it. If you'd rather not say I won't invade your privacy," Steve inquired.

"I don't mind saying, Steve, it's Hope. I rescued her about three weeks ago near a store we were in. I just couldn't leave her there at the house especially not knowing what he might do to her," Jeannie answered emotionally.

Mike and Steve peeked in the bag and saw a black cat with a yellow tip on her tail and amber eyes. Both couldn't help but smile at the sight. Steve tried to let her sniff his fingers and was greeted with a swipe of her claws.

"She's beautiful, Jeannie, feisty little thing like you," Steve smiled.

"It's okay isn't it, Mike? She's helped me through so much I just couldn't abandon her," Jeannie explained.

"Of course, it's okay, sweetheart. She's one of the family and we don't abandon family. I'm thankful you had her and that she had you," Mike answered with a smile.

Mike and Jeannie dropped Steve off at his home in Berkeley after he promised dinner with them the next night. When they arrived at De Haro Street Mike unlocked the house. After Jeannie made Hope comfortable in her old room she went to help with her luggage. Mike suggested they run to the store to stock up and get a few things for Hope. Before they left Jeannie laid newspapers over her floor and gave Hope a small dish of tuna. On the way back from the store they stopped for some take out to eat at home. Jeannie fixed Hope's litter box and new food and water dishes while Mike fixed plates. She took a moment or two to pet and cuddle Hope before she washed her hands and went to eat. As they ate, Mike was deep in thought about the best way to draw needed information out of her. Jeannie, who'd been watching him, seemed to read his mind.

"Used to your best method was Stone's axiom chapter two verse one remember?" Jeannie teased and both smiled.

"I'd almost forgotten that. I guess you listened to me as close as Steve did," Mike commented.

"Yes, we both did and we still do. How else were we going to learn anything? I'm sorry I didn't listen to you about Donald. I knew you were right even back then; I just was being stubborn. I'm sorry I didn't tell you or Steve what was going on. I thought I could handle it because it wasn't constant. There were days that things were actually good with Donald. There were days he'd be highly agitated and nothing was right. The day President Nixon's funeral was on was one of the more highly agitated days. I put Hope in another room so he wouldn't hurt her. She couldn't stand him. It was as though she knew he wasn't a good person."

"Animals are very smart and can mostly sense when a person's good or bad," Mike concurred.

"Sometimes better than people do. Anyway, I was able to let some of what he'd said slide. There was one thing though he said that just shook me to my core. He told me if I didn't start showing him respect he'd kill me like his wife Myrna. Mike, I couldn't even hardly breathe. It was as though I was in a vacuum but his words were coming through clear to me. I managed to ask what he meant about Myrna." Jeannie managed to retain control. "That's when he hit me."

"Jeannie, do you mean he was married before you?" Mike inquired.

"That's the way I understood it but it was the first I'd heard of another marriage. When he left, Mike, I started looking. There was a file box he always told me to stay away from. I admit that made me curious but I never touched it. I finally did though and found papers in there. Mike, two of the papers were marriage certificates for him and other women. One was dated the same day he proposed to me. The other was a year before that. I thought I might need them so brought them in my luggage," Jeannie explained.

After they'd eaten what they could, Jeannie showed Mike the certificates and other papers she'd brought. Mike made some calls after he'd seen them. He might be a retired cop but he still had plenty of friends at SFPD and with the D.A. One call was to Gerry O'Brien. Jeannie sat near Mike with Hope in her arms stroking her fur as if it comforted her. When Mike finally got off the phone he made one more call. The phone was answered on the third ring. Mike didn't give the person a chance to say hello.

"Buddy boy, would it be possible for you to be here earlier than just for dinner?" Mike requested.

"Of course, Mike. What time will you and Jeannie be going to file the petition?" Steve asked.

"As soon as they open, buddy boy; 8:30. We hope to be back no later than 10 am. Gerri's going to contact a friend of his that specializes and have him meet us there. I wondered if you could come on to the house and be here when we're back. You still have your old key?" Mike questioned.

"I'll be there count on it. Yes, I still have it. Give Jeannie a hug for me. You both better get some sleep," Steve suggested.

After they'd hung up, Mike put the certificates in a safe spot. He told Jeannie what Gerry had said and Jeannie mostly just listened. In most circumstances, she had a take-charge personality. Right now though, with the toll that the past six to eight weeks had taken, it was nice to just let another lead for a little while. They headed to bed after another half hour as they wanted to make sure they were some of the first to arrive.

The next morning Jeannie rose earlier than she'd planned. After a shower and having dressed she took care of Hope's needs before she made coffee. Mike came out dressed and ready not long after. Both managed a cup of coffee but neither were hungry at the moment. Mike made sure he had the marriage certificates Jeannie found. She had her statement regarding her request for annulment in her purse and they got on their way. There was very little talk on the way. When they arrived at the courthouse they saw three people who waved as they parked. Jeannie and Mike both smiled as they saw Steve was one of them. Jeannie and he shared a hug and a smile. Mike cuffed the back of Steve's neck affectionately, just as he had in their days at SFPD, before he pulled his surrogate son in for a hug. When they released each other, Gerry introduced his friend who was going to be Jeannie's lawyer.

"Mike and Jeannie Stone, this is Adam Givens. He was in law school with me. I've basically filled him in on what's happened," Gerry explained.

"May I call you Jeannie?" Adam inquired.

"Yes of course," Jeannie responded.

Adam explained what the procedure was and, although Jeannie already knew, she politely listened. She and Elaine Murphy had checked to verify that ,even though Jeannie had been living in Nevada since her marriage, there was no residency time limit requirement to file in California. She also knew that the marriage could automatically be considered void due to bigamy on the part of Donald Trahan. That news was a huge relief to Jeannie, as she preferred not to wait three to six months before being declared free. Mike gave Jeannie the marriage certificates as Gerry thought it was best to have copies made by the court clerk. A friend of Mike's was checking out the names of the brides. They all headed inside to the unified family court division. Adam had looked over Jeannie's statement and the certificates. He quietly told Jeannie he honestly saw no reason her request wouldn't be granted. He knew they had to wait to see one of the judges before it was certain though. When the petition was filed, the clerk made copies of the certificates and Jeannie's statement. Jeannie was also given a copy of the annulment petition that was to be delivered to her husband.

"You could mail it with a signature receipt attached or have a friend or family member deliver it in person. The only thing is that person absolutely shouldn't be you," the clerk stated. "Do you have a friend that could deliver this to him?"

"Yes, she has. I apologize for answering for Jeannie but I'll hand deliver the papers." Steve spoke firmly.

"Steve, I couldn't ask..." Jeannie started.

"You didn't ask, Jeannie. I offered. Bill already told me if I ever needed to fly anywhere he'd take me. I'll call him, as it'll be faster than having to wait in line," Steve commented.

After some discussion amongst all of them Steve's proposal was agreed to. Adam explained exactly what was needed when the papers were delivered. Steve assured him Trahan's signature would be received. With the business concluded at the court for now, and the necessary papers in hand, Steve took off. Jeannie now felt much more at ease about the matter but knew until the judge was seen nothing was definite. Adam gave Jeannie and Mike both one of his cards and told them he'd be in touch soon. Jeannie thanked him and Gerry for their help before she and Mike left.

After they left the courthouse Jeannie and Mike decided to stop by Mama's for breakfast. As they had just placed their order, Steve had connected with Bill at San Carlos airport. Bill was happy to fly Steve to Nevada as he was about to leave in a few moments. Steve was thankful he'd caught him when he had. Steve had thought they'd be flying in Bill's Cessna Skyhawk but instead he was guided to a different plane. Steve was in awe of the new plane; a Beechcraft 58.

"You like it?" Bill inquired with a smile.

"Definitely. When did you get it, Bill?" Steve asked.

"About a week ago. When we don't have to be somewhere we'll take it out and let you fly it. You handled the Cessna perfectly so I know you could handle this one," Bill assured Steve.

Steve smiled in answer as they got in the air. When they arrived, Steve noticed this wasn't the same airport he'd been at the last trip. Bill told him it was North Las Vegas airport, it was closer to downtown than McCarran. They could catch a taxi from there. After Bill had done all he needed regarding his plane, he and Steve went to find a taxi. Luck seemed to be with them because the first one they hailed stopped. Steve told the driver where he needed to go. When they arrived, Bill went in with him to be an extra witness and also in case Trahan tried to give Steve trouble. Bill and Steve registered and were told they were expected. Adam Givens had called ahead for Steve and spoke with the person in charge and explained the situation. Steve and Bill were led to where they could speak with Trahan. Steve noticed as they were led in two other officers were already in with Trahan. One stepped forward to greet Steve and Bill after he gave a nod to the officer that escorted the two.

"Mr. Keller, I'm Captain Charles Skinner. I'll remain in here with you and Mr. Trahan while you're here. This is Sergeant Mark Evans he's in charge of the jail. We understood you might need witness signature," Captain Skinner concluded.

"Yes, to verify that Mr. Trahan had received this paperwork. This is Bill Tanner." Steve introduced his friend.

"Pleasure to meet you both." Bill smiled warmly and shook hands with each one. "And you as well, Mr. Trahan."

"I'm not signing anything!" Donald Trahan proclaimed.

Steve was unbothered by the proclamation and opened the papers where Trahan could see exactly what they were. Trahan broke the pen that was handed to him. Sergeant Evans' hand grasped Trahan's shoulder in a persuasion tactic.

"Sign or don't sign it's not a big deal but your connection with Jeannie is over. You ever come near her again, I assure you I won't be the only one you need to worry about," Steve promised Trahan in a slight threatening tone. "If you think Jeannie can't get an annulment or even a divorce without your signature you need to think again. We've checked that out and it's legal for her to proceed even without you signing."

The two officers signed a paper that they'd witnessed Trahan receive annulment papers. Trahan tore the annulment papers in half. Steve accepted the paper from Captain Skinner and he and Bill prepared to leave after they'd thanked both him and Sergeant Evans. Once Trahan was escorted back to his cell, Captain Skinner informed Steve and Bill they'd found Trahan's other wives. The one he claimed to have killed wasn't dead but had been badly beaten and left tied up. He didn't think Trahan would be a problem to Jeannie Stone. Bill and Steve nodded their thanks for the information. They were escorted back to the front desk where they called a taxi service to head back to Bill's plane for their return home.

Two days later, Jeannie, along with Adam Givens, Mike and Steve, met with Judge Anne-Christine Massullo in her chambers, rather than in a court room. Jeannie's marriage was automatically deemed void due to Donald Trahan having multiple wives prior to Jeannie. She was granted the request to have her maiden name of Stone restored to her. Although she never heard from Donald Trahan again, that didn't stop him from seething with anger each time he thought of her as he sat in his cell. Life for Jeannie from that point on was lived as she had named her beloved feline, with fervent hope and happiness.