A good night sleep seemed to help Jamie with the pain in the bottom of his feet and he found he could hobble around a little to make his way to the bathroom in the morning after putting on his pants. Dylan came into the bathroom while he was brushing his teeth. Dylan grabbed his own toothbrush and joined him. When Jamie finished he carefully left the room.
Dylan turned and looked at him with concern. "Aw oo…." Dylan held up his hand and spit into the sink. "I mean, are you okay to walk?"
Jamie nodded, even though he winced a little as he moved. "Yeah it hurts a little, but it feels better this morning than in did yesterday. I'm going to go get dressed."
Dylan nodded and turned back to finishing brushing his teeth. Jamie gingerly made his way to the room and closed the door behind him. He got dressed and then made his way downstairs. He heard the shower going as he walked by the bathroom. He wished his feet weren't bandaged up. He wanted to take a shower. He got downstairs and saw Barbara and David moving around in the kitchen getting something for breakfast.
They saw him walking in the room and Barbara came over to him. "Oh Jamie. Are you sure you should be walking around without someone helping you?"
Jamie nodded as he sat down at the table. "Yeah, it just hurts a little. It's better than it was yesterday and I don't want to always have to depend on someone. It'll be okay."
"Alright then. Does cereal sound okay?"
"Yes, thank you."
She got a bowl and spoon for him and brought some cereal and milk, and then she sat down. "Jamie, I've left David's and my work numbers by the phone so if you need to you can call us. I know some of your friends are coming over this afternoon and its okay with us."
Dylan joined them. "Morning everyone. Jamie, do you have anything for me to take to school?"
"Yep, they're on the table in my room."
"Okay, I'll grab them before I leave."
After breakfast, Jamie made his way to the living room while Dylan went upstairs to get his school stuff and Jamie's assignments. Everyone said goodbye to Jamie and Barbara reminded him to call if he had any problems. Dylan reminded him that the guys would be over after school. After they left, Jamie watched TV for a little while before he became bored with the morning TV. It seemed to just be game shows, talk shows and kid's shows. He turned it off and thought about going up to his room, but then he thought about seeing if he could try to control what he seemed to be able to do. He didn't know how he could do it, but somehow he could make things move by thinking about it. He had read about something like this in books, but he couldn't remember what they called it in the books, but he did remember hearing about it.
He looked around the room to find something that wouldn't break or hurt himself with. He spied a pillow on the couch and picked it up. He looked at it and then threw it on the floor about five feet from him. He looked at it and tried to make it come to him. Nothing happened for a moment and he concentrated harder and the pillow quivered a little and then flew at him. He ducked to the side as it flew by him. When he ducked, it caused him some pain in his side and he sucked in his breath through clenched teeth, as he sat back up. The pillow was now behind him. He carefully turned around until he was kneeling on the couch, and looking at the pillow on the ground. He tried to think about all the different movies he had seen where someone could move things with their mind.
He remembered some of them talking about reaching out and feeling the thing that he wanted to move with his mind. So he closed his eyes and tried to reach out with his mind to feel the pillow. He kept concentrating and finally just turned back around and sat down in frustration. He couldn't figure out what to do differently. He knew he had made it move so he knew he could do it, so he should be able to do it. He turned around again and looked at the pillow. This time he didn't close his eyes. Once again he tried to recapture the feeling that he'd had when he had knocked those kids back when they attacked him. He reached out with his hand and his mind and then it happened, he felt something in his mind and the pillow started to move away. He stopped it and the pillow stopped. He did it again and this time he really paid attention to what he was doing. He felt something like he was pushing something out and then the pillow moved again. He grinned when he realized that he was probably on the right track. He tried to reach out with that something that he had felt in his mind, only this time he was trying to pull the pillow to him rather than pushing it away from him. Again he felt that feeling in his mind and this time the pillow started moving towards him, only it was dragging along the ground. He wanted to lift it off the ground and he pictured in his head changing the direction of the force he was using so that it was underneath the pillow and pushed up, but again he overpowered it some and it hit the ceiling falling back to the floor again. He tried again and this time he pushed carefully and the pillow rose up. He then pulled it toward him and the pillow was back in his hand. For the next couple of hours, Jamie tried moving all kinds of things. At first he just tried to move small things around. Then he tried larger things like the dining room chairs, then the table, then both together. By the end of that time, he was feeling hungry and a little tired. He found that it wasn't hard, but it was a little tiring to do it. He hobbled over to the kitchen and made a sandwich. When he finished his lunch, he decided to go back and lay down on the couch. He turned the TV on and because of all the effort he had put into trying to control his gift, he was soon asleep.
Later that afternoon Dylan led Jamie's friends up Nashville Court to his house at the end of the cul-de-sac. They put their bikes along the side of the house behind the side gate and followed him around to the front door. He opened the door and went in, the other boys followed behind him. One of them could barely contain himself. When they came into the living room they saw Jamie asleep on the couch with the TV on. Dylan went to go over and wake him, but Josh stopped him and held his finger to his lips. He knelt down next to Jamie and then leaned in and kissed him on the lips.
Jamie smiled a little and turned on his side, hugging a pillow to him. There were many stifled giggles coming from the other boys. Josh smiled at them, a little red faced, but he once again leaned in and kissed Jamie. This time a little harder and a little longer.
Jamie opened his eyes to slits as he stretched. He blinked a couple of times and when he focused he could see Josh kneeling next to him. "Hi Josh."
"That was nice, I think. You just kissed me right, I wasn't dreaming that?"
Josh nodded and then from out of his line of vision came the giggling and cat calls. Jamie and Josh both blushed at that. Jamie tried to get up and winced a little and Josh helped him sit up, until he could see everyone.
They all came over and took turns giving him a hug. Dylan had told them about his ribs, so they didn't put a lot of pressure on them. Josh sat next to him the whole time. Jamie felt Josh's hand on his face as Josh inspected the bruises that covered his face. Jamie could see that Josh was bothered by them.
Josh looked at Ian. "Can you do something about everything?"
Ian nodded and knelt next to Jamie. "Besides your face, where else does it hurt?"
"My side, right here, and the bottom of my feet."
Ian nodded and looked first at Jamie's feet. He picked them up and took the bandages off. He held each one between his hands and stretched forth his mind into each foot. He found the cuts and sealed them off and then the bruising and cooled that off. Ian stayed in that position for a few minutes. Eventually he relaxed and lowered Jamie's feet to the floor and got up.
Jamie sighed with relief and took the rest of the bandages off, to look at the skin of each foot. The soles looked completely healed, no evidence of the damage they had taken over the weekend. Jamie put his feet on the floor and pushed down a little and felt no pain.
Ian then scooted closer and put his hands under Jamie's shirt on the side of his chest. He found the bruised areas and eased the aching muscles there.
When he was finished with that, Jamie took a cautious deep breath waiting for the pain, but there was nothing and he smiled.
Ian then stood up and took Jamie's face in his hands and gave him a quick little grin. "Give me another moment, and I'll have you back to your normal cute looks."
Jamie giggled and Ian leered at him. He looked at Jamie's face and then closed his eyes and started working. The others that were crowded around watched as the bruises slowly faded and swelling went down. When he finished Ian sank back on his heels for a moment before getting up.
"That was cool Ian. That was the first time I actually saw the damage heal up."
"Thanks. Now I feel a little hungry and tired."
Jamie got up. "I'll get you something. Anyone else want something?"
Dylan went to help and they found some chips and cokes. Dylan carried several of the cokes to the others. Jamie started to follow and then he got an idea. He left the chip bag on the counter and carried the cokes into the room and handed them out before sitting down.
"Hey Jamie you left the chips."
"Oh yeah, huh."
"I'll get 'em."
"No Dylan, I left them there, I'll get 'em."
Dylan shrugged and sat back down. Jamie turned around and looked at the bag. He concentrated and held out his hand. The bag flew through the air to his hand.
Most of the guys didn't notice anything as they were talking to each other, but Josh was sitting right next to him and his eyes widened as he saw the bag fly to Jamie. "Wow!"
Jamie grinned at him and the others looked at the two of them with puzzled expressions. Then Dylan noticed the bag in Jamie's hand. He did a double take and looked back at the counter where the bag was and then at Jamie. Jamie just grinned, beside him Josh was staring at Jamie with an amazed expression.
"Wow what? Wait, how did you get that so fast?"
"I guess I could show you."
"I know how to get it……."
Dylan's further statement dropped off as Jamie let go of the bag and floated the bag back to the counter and then back to his hand. He turned to his friends who now mirrored Josh's expression.
"I KNEW IT!" They all looked at Sean who had yelled that out. He was smiling in triumph.
Dakota looked over at Sean. "You knew what?"
"I knew that he had something, because of what Ethan said about the seven of us being hard for Ethan to read. We all admitted to having some sort of mental gift…."
Sean looked at Dakota.
"You just don't believe me yet, but yes you have and as I was saying…."
"What about Josh?"
Sean looked at Dylan who had spoken and then at Josh.
"I bet somewhere inside of him, he has something too. It just hasn't shown up yet, that's all."
"And me too."
"Oh hush Dakota, yours has too. I told you what it was, you just don't believe me yet."
"Hmmphf! I'll believe it when I see it."
Sean patted him on the arm. "I'm working on that. You'll see I was right."
Dakota shook his head, still not believing Sean's assertions.
"So when did you figure it out?"
"It was this weekend, that I noticed it. It was when those four guys at the home were attacking me. They had me held down and I couldn't move at all. I couldn't get any leverage to push them off, but somehow I was able to throw all four of them off me at once and get up. Then when they came after me again, I slammed them against the walls. I think at least some of them were knocked out when they hit the wall. I got out of the room and when one of the staff guys at the home came toward me to stop me from getting out I pushed him over the chair when I was at least ten feet away. I was then able to grab the keys off his desk and get out."
"Man that is cool. How much can you move like that? Just small things or can you move bigger things?"
"I don't know yet, I was practicing earlier today, but I got tired and hungry, so I made a sandwich and fell asleep."
Ian looked at him. "Yeah, that's kinda how I feel after I do much of that healing stuff, not that I have a lot of practice, but like just now, I feel tired and a bit hungry."
"Yeah, so I was practicing and I was able to lift bigger things than the chip bag."
Jamie looked around, he glanced at the dining room set and then he looked at Sean and a moment later Sean squeaked as he was lifted off the other couch. He grinned as he looked at them as Jamie set him back down.
"That was way cool. Now we just have to figure out Josh's gift."
Sean just shook his head. "I already know yours."
"Yes, you do."
Dakota then started tickling Sean who started giggling in a high pitched giggle.
The others joined in laughing at Sean as he tried to squirm away from Dakota's fingers digging in his sides. He finally escaped to the other side of the room. "Truce."
Dakota agreed, but Sean was still wary as he went to sit next to him again. Dakota gave him an evil grin, and Sean started to back away, but he suddenly felt a push from behind him and Dakota grabbed him.
Sean looked at Jamie with a betrayed look. "Hey no fair."
Dakota just held him tighter as he tried to squirm. "All's fair in love and war." Dakota started tickling him again.
"Help! Someone help…I'm…gonna…pee…"
Dakota suddenly let Sean loose and looked around embarrassed. Dylan was laughing and pointing. Dakota had to adjust himself and cross his legs to hide what Dylan had done to him. Sean looked from Dylan to Dakota and then back. He saw Dakota adjust himself and then giggled.
"That was unfair."
"All's fair in love and war."
"Okay, no more outside assistance."
"Well I didn't want him peeing on my parent's furniture."
Sean was sitting in Dakota's lap and put his arms around his neck. "Truce?"
Dakota nodded. "Truce."
Sean leaned in and kissed him. He happened to like where he was so he stayed in Dakota's lap as he looked around. "So we just have to figure out what Josh can do. Josh, have you had anything weird happen or have weird feelings?"
"No, not that I know of."
"Well, maybe you're just a late bloomer."
Josh looked indignant. "Hey, I've got more hair than you."
"Yeah, but I only meant with your gift. Maybe it will show up soon."
The boys continued to talk about their gifts and each of them asked Jamie to make them float. It was a little tiring, but he had no problem doing that. After an hour it was time for everyone to head home.
Dylan led the guys around to get their bikes while Josh got a goodbye kiss. "I'm glad you're okay Jamie."
"I was so scared I wouldn't be able to see you again."
"We would have found some way, I'm sure. My uncle would've helped."
"Yeah, we would have found a way. See ya, Josh."
One last kiss and Josh went to get his bike and join the others in riding home. Back inside the house Dylan gave Jamie his homework assignments and they got to work on them. Jamie was in a much better mood now that he wasn't hurting all the time and he had gotten to spend time with his boyfriend and other friends.
During dinner Jamie asked his foster parents about going back to school. "Mister and Missus Robinson…."
"Jamie dear, calling us Mister and Missus all the time is going to get tedious. Why don't you call us Barbara and David or Barb and Dave? Mister and Missus is just too formal."
"Okay, Mi….Barbara. Um….I'd like to go back to school tomorrow, if that's okay."
She looked at him for a few moments studying his face. "Well the bruises on your face seem to be pretty much…gone. It looks like you healed up pretty well. How are your side and your feet?"
He got up and padded around in his sock covered feet. "See I'm not limping and my side doesn't really hurt that much at all."
"Okay, but I think you should…oh, that's right."
"You don't have your bike yet. Well, we were going to go over to Maggie's house to get your things tomorrow. I'll give you both a ride to school and pick you up afterwards. Then we'll meet Dave here after he gets the rental truck, then we'll go over and get your things."
"Great thanks. Oh, can some of our friends come along and help? It'll be faster."
Barbara thought about it and looked over at Dave to see what he thought. "It sounds like a good idea Barb. How many are we talking about?"
"Six, just our closest friends."
He looked at Barb and shrugged. "You can take six in the Honda and I'll take two in the truck with me. With all that help, we should be able to get everything loaded, unloaded, and turn the truck back in fairly quickly."
"Yes, and I think for their helping us, we'll have pizza delivered. After dinner why don't you call your friends and see if they can help?"
"Okay. Oh yeah I just remembered something I was going to ask you guys. They still have my wallet and my phone at that…place they took me to. Do you think you could find out if I can get them back?"
"Sure, I'll call Mister Jackson in the morning and see about that."
They finished dinner and Dylan and Jamie went up to Dylan's room to make their calls. All of their friends said yes that they would come over after school and help. He and Dylan then played some video games on Dylan's TV before going to bed.
The next morning Barbara took them to school and reminded them that she would be there to pick them up. The school day was uneventful. Because of his rib injuries, he had a note to give to the coach to excuse him from PE for the week. They heard rumors about Enrique Mendes being arrested for shooting someone over the weekend and that he had been in a big shootout with the police. The stories varied widely from him shooting a cop, to him being shot and killed, or that he had killed some kid, or the kid had shot him. Jamie's name never came up as being the one who was shot at, which made him very glad to hear. During PE, he did some of his homework while watching the class play basketball. When school let out, their friends got their bikes and headed towards Dylan's house, while he and Dylan waited for his mom to come get them. She arrived soon after school was out and they pulled into the driveway a few minutes before their friends got there. Parked in front was a U-Haul truck. Once everyone arrived, they loaded everyone in the vehicles. Jamie and Josh rode in the truck with David and they were on their way.
They pulled up in front of the Wood's home, and when Jamie and Josh got out of the truck two young boys came out of the house and ran over to Jamie. Well Mark did, Shane walked because he was still bandaged up a bit and had his arm in a sling. Both boys put their arms around Jamie and hugged him. He returned the hug and realized how much he missed seeing the two boys after school. All three boys had some tears in their eyes when they let go.
Maggie by that time had come outside to greet them and she gave Jamie a hug too. "How are you doing Jamie?"
"I'm okay, now."
"You're happy at the Robinson's?"
"Yes. But that doesn't mean I didn't like it here, cuz I did, but I was told that I can't live with you guys right now, so living with the Robinsons is the best idea."
"Yes, I think it is. So I see you've brought a moving crew with you."
"Yep. Maggie, these are my best friends, Josh, Dylan you know, Sean, Dakota, Ian, Logan, and Ethan."
"It's nice to meet all of you. This is very kind of you to come and help Jamie move his things to his new home. Well, let's get to work."
As they went in, Shane and Mark were at Jamie's side.
"How's your arm Shane, does it hurt much?"
"A little, but they said it will get better and it will be as good as new."
"That's good. I'm sorry you got shot by the guy who wanted to shoot me."
"You have nothing to be sorry about. You saved Mark and me from being hurt worse."
"Still, I'm sorry."
Jamie looked around for Ethan.
< Ethan, can you hear me.>
When he broadcast that, Ethan looked around and nodded. Jamie heard the answer.
< Yes, what do you need?>
< Can you ask Ian if he thinks it would be okay to heal Shane?>
< I’ll ask.>
As they made their way inside Josh stopped Jamie outside for a moment. He leaned in close and whispered in his ear. "I heard you talking to Ethan about if he could hear you."
Jamie looked at him with surprise and Josh nodded. Jamie sent Shane and Mark ahead of him.
"Maybe that's what you can do?"
"Maybe, but I've never heard before, except when he talked to all of us that one time."
"Well, we'll have to test it, but for now let's get this done."
They went inside the house and into his former room. Dave had brought some collapsed boxes that were being put together out in the living room. Once a box was put together, it was brought into the room and filled with things from around the room. It was an efficient assembly line. Mostly they had Jamie doing a lot of the supervising so that things were organized in the boxes and marked with the contents. It didn't really take a lot of time to get the boxes filled and taken out to the truck. All that was left was the dresser, desk, entertainment center, bed, and the computer. Sean volunteered to take care of the computer and printer. The others got to work with getting everything else outside and into the truck. They started with the mattresses and then broke down the bed. The drawers were taken out of the dresser and Dakota and Dave as the strongest ones there carried it out. Jamie followed along behind carrying a couple of the drawers. He saw that they were still struggling a little so he decided to lend a mental helping hand and took some of the weight. The two were surprised to realize that it was suddenly a little easier. Dave thought that they had just gotten it balanced right, Dakota knew better and looked around until he saw Jamie walking nearby with a look of concentration on his face and he grinned at him, getting an answering nod. Dakota smiled and they were able to get it loaded on the lift gate. Once it was up to the level of the truck, Jamie continued helping hold the weight.
When they got it where Dave wanted it Dakota walked with Jamie back to the house. "Maybe you should hire yourself out as a moving company."
Both boys laughed. Ian joined them, curious as to what they were laughing about. Jamie told him and he smiled before looking around to see if anyone was near. "Jamie are you sure about me trying to heal Shane. He might tell someone. I don't think I want anyone to know about this."
"Yeah, I guess, but I hate to see him hurting like that."
As they came into the living room, they saw Shane trying to help, but with his arm in a sling, he couldn't do much. Ian turned to Jamie. "I'll see what I can do."
Ian smiled and made his way over to Shane, while Jamie and Dakota went back into the bedroom. Ian walked over to Shane. "Hi Shane. I'm Ian. How's your arm?"
"Where did the bullet hit you?"
Shane pointed high on his arm and Ian gently put his hand on Shane's shoulder and leaned down a little. He bent closer like he was taking a look and quickly closed his eyes trying to sense where the injury was. Since he wasn't right over the wound, it took him a few moments to find the damaged area and he did what he could to take away the bruising and swelling part, which was causing some of the pain and then he pulled back out.
Shane was looking down at his arm with a puzzled look. "My arm feels funny, but it doesn't really hurt now."
"It must be healing. That's good. Well, I gotta get back in the bedroom and help."
Shane nodded and Ian went to the bedroom to help. The other boys were passing by him carrying out pieces of the bed and entertainment center. Ian joined them and helped with carrying parts of the desk outside. They soon had the room emptied. They then followed Maggie out to the garage where they got the furniture that used to be in the bedroom before Jamie moved in and carried it all back to the bedroom to turn it back into a guest room again. While the others were moving the furniture back into the room, Jamie got his bike and put it in the back of the truck. When they were done, Maggie got drinks for everyone.
Ian sidled up to Jamie and told him what he did. "I took care of some of the easy stuff, like the bruising and swelling. I didn't heal anything else, because I didn't have time and I didn't want to make anyone suspicious."
"Cool, thanks Ian."
When they finished their drinks, they said goodbye and Jamie again got a hug from Mark and Shane. They made him promise to come and visit them and see their little league games. He hugged them and promised that he would. They got back into the vehicles and drove back to the Robinson's. When they got there, they unloaded everything out of the truck. Jamie once again assisted with the heavy dresser getting another grin from Dakota. They put it all in the garage until they had a chance to move the furniture from the bedroom out to the garage. Barbara called in the pizza order while Dave left to return the truck and retrieve their car from the U-Haul place. He returned thirty minutes later with four large pizzas and some two liter bottles of soda. While he was gone, the boys had been in the bedroom moving what they could out of the room. Barbara asked them if they wanted to wait until Dave got back to help with the heavier stuff, but Dakota just smiled and told her, that they could handle it. So Barbara stepped back and they soon had everything moved out. Jamie lent them a helping hand so that the furniture wasn't too heavy. By the time Dave returned they had all the furniture out of the room and stacked in one part of the garage. They were about to start moving Jamie's furniture, but his arrival stopped that.
Dave saw that all the furniture was out of the room. "Good job guys, now it's time for a pizza break and then we'll finish with the heavy lifting."
Jamie and Dylan helped bring the pizzas and drinks in the house. Barbara already had a stack of paper plates, napkins and glasses on the table for them. The boys got their pizzas and went to sit in the backyard. Dave and Barbara sat at the table.
"So when are you planning on opening the Jamie Carpenter Moving Company?"
Dakota laughed and looked at the others.
"You did know Jamie's been helping us lift the heavier things."
The others caught on after a moment and nodded.
"Yeah, I wondered why that desk wasn't quite as heavy as I thought it would be."
"Hey Jamie, I was looking inside your computer and if you'll let me, I can fix it up a little. I can come by this weekend and I'll bring some stuff to make it faster and more powerful."
"Um, I guess that'd be cool. Oh, and Ian, thanks again for helping Shane."
"No prob. I didn't do much, just mostly made it so it doesn't hurt so much."
"Oh yeah…." Josh looked toward the house to make sure that they were alone before continuing. "Ethan, I heard Jamie when he called you earlier."
"Really? That's cool."
He looked around at the others. "Did anyone else hear it?"
The others shook their heads.
Ethan looked at Josh. "Maybe you have something like me. What do you think Sean?"
He asked that of Sean because he had done all the research in their gifts and he had become the de facto "expert".
Sean thought for a moment. "I guess, maybe. I'll research it some more, but maybe we could test it right now. Jamie why don't you call to Ethan now and we'll see if we can hear it too?"
Jamie nodded and immediately tried to contact Ethan.
< Can you hear me Ethan?>
Ethan nodded and they both looked at Josh. He nodded too. The three of them looked at the others and the rest shook their heads.
Sean thought for a moment. "Okay, do it again, but wait until we are ready. Everyone else try to hear Jamie this time."
They nodded and Jamie waited until everyone signaled that they were ready.
< Can anybody hear me?>
Again Ethan and Josh nodded. They looked at the others and most of them shook their heads. Dylan had a speculative look and didn't shake his head like the others did. Ethan looked at him, as he could sense something from Dylan.
Dylan looked at the others. "I think I did, but it was kind of faint, almost like a whisper."
Jamie thought he'd try something.
<DYLAN CAN YOU HEAR ME?>
Ethan winced and looked at Jamie. "Dude not so loud."
"Yeah Dude, that sounded like you were yelling in my ear."
Jamie looked at Josh. "Sorry."
"Hey, I could hear that one. It was still not real loud, but I could hear it pretty clear and I recognized that it was Jamie."
"Hmmm. I'll have to think about this and let you guys know. Maybe we can get together this weekend."
"We could go to the park. That way we don't have to keep looking over our shoulders for our parents, so they don't hear what we're saying."
"Yeah, sounds good."
They finished up their pizzas and then returned to work getting the furniture moved and set up in Jamie's room. Once that was done, Jamie said that he could get the rest put away. So the boys said goodbye and left.
Before Josh rode off, Jamie took his hand and decided to try something. <I love you.>
Josh was startled for a moment and then smiled. <I love you back.>
They both smiled as he went to get his bike and head home. Back in the house, Dylan followed Jamie to his bedroom and helped him get everything put away. When they were finished, Dylan went to his room to work on his homework while Jamie did what little he had left at his desk. He had finished a lot during PE, so there wasn't much to do. When he was done, he got on his computer and played a couple of games. He couldn't watch TV because the cable wasn't hooked up yet for his TV and for the same reason he couldn't surf the net on his computer. He could have connected to the Wifi with his laptop, but he didn't feel like that. He went to take a shower to clean all the sweat off that he had gotten from moving his things. He closed the door and got in bed.
There was a knock and Barbara came in. "Hey Jamie. How's it going?"
She came and sat on the edge of the bed. "I'm glad. Does it feel more like home, having all your things here?"
He looked around and nodded. "Yeah, it does."
She saw a framed picture on his bedside table and picked it up. It was the picture of Jamie and his mom on the ski slope. She looked at it and furrowed her brow a little before looking at Jamie. "Is this your mom?"
"Yeah, that was a couple of years ago, when we went to Park City Utah over Christmas break."
"It looks like you two were having a good time."
"Yeah, it was great."
"What was your mom's name?"
"Hm. I know you miss her. I'm sorry I never got to meet her."
She put the picture back down on the table and looked at Jamie. She could see that his eyes were glistening a little. She leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. "Well, you get a good night's rest, honey. We'll see you in the morning."
"Thanks Barbara, goodnight."
"Goodnight." She left the room and joined Dave in the living room. She was looking at the TV, but not really watching it.
Dave looked at her and noticed that she seemed to be lost in thought. "Penny for your thoughts."
"What's on your mind? You seem to be thinking hard about something."
"Ooh, just thinking about something. Do you remember us ever meeting a Christine Carpenter?"
Dave sat in thought for a moment before shaking his head. "Not that I can recall. Why?"
"That's the name of Jamie's mom. I was just wondering if we ever met her somewhere."
They shrugged it off and forgot about it.
The next day Hal Jackson was at the Riverside's Southwest Juvenile Hall in Murrieta. He was in an interview room with John Baxter from the Bureau of Investigation who was interviewing Frank Denton, the leader of the boys who had attacked Jamie. Frank had one arm in a cast and a bandage on the back of his head covering some stitches that had been required to close up the gash from when Jamie had slammed him against the window and the broken glass cut his head. Sitting beside Frank was his public defender. John was telling Frank what he was going to be charged with in the assault. Also in the room was Don Davis from the Hemet police department. There was also someone from the district attorney's office.
"Frank, right now we have DNA evidence that you attempted to rape Jamie Carpenter while he was a resident at the halfway home of which you were also a resident as of last Saturday. Also, in the pocket of your pants was found a bag of crystal meth."
"That wasn't mine…"
His lawyer laid a hand on his arm, to remind him to watch what he said. Frank settled down.
"We can't help you if you don't talk to us Frank. Your lawyer contacted us, so that's why we're here. So talk to us."
"What are you offering for what he has to tell you?"
John walked over to Don and the district attorney. They talked in low voices for a few moments before he and the attorney sat down across from Frank. "What my office is willing to offer you depends on what you have to tell us."
The public defender leaned close to Frank and whispered to him. Frank nodded. "It was that old lady. She gave the drugs to me."
"What is her name?"
"Geddes. She said she could get me released from the home, if I planted the meth in the kid's room so he could be caught with it when they did the daily room inspection."
"Did anyone else witness her tell you this?"
"No. It was just her and me in the interview room. She's my caseworker."
The district attorney looked at Frank for a few moments before saying anything more.
"I will drop the drug possession charges as long as your drug test does not come back positive for the meth. I will also change the attempted rape charge to misdemeanor assault and battery since the boy was hurt by the attack that you and your co-conspirators did to him, but he was not grievously harmed by the attack. By doing this, your punishment will be much less than it would be otherwise. If you do not accept this deal, I can and will prosecute you for the drug possession and the attempted rape of the boy, both of which will put you in prison for many years. All of this is contingent on you testifying about this before a judge. Because this is a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony charge. It will not have as bad of an effect on your future as a felony charge. The sentence could be as light as probation to one year in jail. I believe that I am being very lenient in make these changes. Because from talking to some of the other boys, I can easily get them to testify against you that it was your plan to rape the boy and the fact that you were found without your pants and underwear on after the attack, and your DNA that was found on the boy's body, all of that will be more than sufficient to convict you of the attempted rape."
"You can't threaten my client."
The attorney looked at the public defender and Frank with a disdainful look.
"I am making no threats, I am merely promising Frank what I can and will do if he does not take this deal. It's only because Miz Geddes deserves to have every charge that I can possibly throw at her that I am even making this deal and it is because Mister Baxter here has asked that I make a deal with you to get your testimony. I would be more than happy to prosecute you, as bullies disgust me and that is what you are Frank, a bully. We have plenty of evidence against Miz Geddes, but we want to be able to charge her with every possible crime that she is guilty of. This deal expires the moment I walk out of this room, so I require your answer immediately."
The public defender could see from the district attorney's look that he was completely serious with what he promised. He pulled Frank back a little and talked low enough that only the two of them could hear. When they were finished they sat back up. "My client accepts the deal."
"Very well. I will let Mister Baxter take his statement. Thank you."
The district attorney got up and left the room. John took up the questioning. Hal listened and took some notes of his own. When John was done, a pad of paper was placed in front of Frank and he was told to write down what he had told them and sign it. Once he was done, John took it and they left. Outside in the parking lot, he stopped by Hal's car.
"Well that should be another strong nail in Alma's coffin. The one thing that is curious is how did Jamie throw the four of them off him and knock all of them out. They were all bigger or at least the same size as him. Every one of the attackers were injured and knocked out."
"It was probably just the confusion of the fight and all. Probably adrenaline fueled his ability, you know fight or flight."
"Would it be possible to get a copy of Frank's statement sent to me?"
"Sure. I'll fax it to you. Have you found everything that she took from your client?"
"I think I've found nearly all of it. She apparently had diverted some of the insurance money that Jamie received because of the accident, but I should be able to recover that. A few smaller jewelry items are missing, she probably sold those, but other than that, I think I've recovered everything. Jamie will be well taken care of. How has the investigation against Alma been going?"
"We've found some of her former cases that we have been able to determine that she stole from and we plan to interview them. Your office has been a great help in finding these people by the way. I don't think we can get them back everything that she stole from them, but they will get something."
"Well, thanks for your help John."
They shook hands and Hal got in his car. On the way to his apartment he made a call to report what had happened at Juvenile Hall. He also called David Robinson to arrange to meet with them and Jamie that evening to let them know what was going on with the case. He and Dave agreed on a time to meet. Dave asked about Jamie's property, his wallet and cell phone, etc that had been taken from him at the home. Hal said that he would stop by the place later before he met with them and pick it up. When he got to his apartment he received a call from Child Services from Jamie's new assigned caseworker. It was Meredith Lattimer who had worked with him after the accident before he was assigned to Alma Geddes. He told her about meeting with the Robinsons that evening and he suggested that she call them and let them know that she would be there as well.
That evening after dinner, Hal and Meredith arrived at the Robinson's house about the same time and they all sat at the dining room table to talk about everything. Jamie and Dylan were there as well.
"Jamie, you may remember Meredith Lattimer. She will be your new caseworker."
"Hi Jamie. First I want to say how sorry I am for how you were treated by Alma."
She pulled some forms out of her case and spread them out on the table before the Robinsons.
"We fast tracked your certification as foster parents. So when you sign these, you will be officially certified as foster parents to have Jamie live here with you."
Dave and Barbara took the forms and started signing where Meredith indicated. When that was done, Meredith took the originals and removed the copies to give to them. She then explained the things that were expected of them as foster parents and what they could expect from Child Services as regards to visits, reviews, etc. When she was finished it was now Hal's turn.
"Okay, my turn I guess. Jamie, we've been doing a lot of investigating and I've been able to find pretty much everything that Alma stole from you. We know she diverted part of the money from your mother's estate which included quite a large settlement from the insurance company of the driver of the car that hit you and your mother. She accepted before I was able to get involved and diverted a chunk of that into her own accounts. Alma had a person at the bank who helped her in diverting funds over the past several years from those children that she was able to defraud. We found all of your furniture in a storage facility that she had paid for. She was probably planning to sell as much of it as possible and again take a chunk of that money for herself. We've found that she never takes all of a child's money, but many times the child upon leaving the foster care program receives only a small portion of the total amount that should have been there. Her bank contact helped in hiding those things for a percentage of the total amount stolen."
"Mister Jackson, how much is there?"
"Well Jamie, with everything that we've found, counting life insurance, plus the house, bank accounts, investments, somewhere around three million dollars."
Everybody's eyes widened at that.
"Yep. Your mother made some good investments and she had a life insurance policy, plus a policy to pay off the house if something happened to her and on top of that, the settlement from the guy's insurance company that hit you and your mom. So, with everything, you won't have to worry about what college you want to go to, or even where. If you wanted to go to somewhere like Oxford University in England, you would have no problem as long as you pass the entrance exam."
"Wow Jamie, that's pretty cool."
"Yeah, I guess, but I'd prefer to have my mom."
Barbara put her arm around him. "Yeah, I know honey. We aren't the same as having your mom, but we'll do what we can to make you happy."
He sniffed a little as he nodded. "I know, and I'm really grateful that you're doing this for me."
"Jamie there is one other thing. We've found out that Alma had something to do with your attack at the home. She promised the leader of those boys, Frank Denton, that she would get him out of there, if he planted drugs in your room, so that you would be caught with them and would be charged with possessing them and could be sent to jail. I think that she planned to really raid your inheritance then and palm it off to legal fees and such, so she could steal most, if not all of it. She probably would get a free public defender for you and pretend to pay a higher cost defense lawyer and with the help of her bank contact make the money disappear from your account. From what her bank contact has said, she has done this before when the child in her care came into a large amount of money. We're in the process of tracking down some of her other victims to help them recoup what we can of their money. We got the information on your inheritance early enough that we've found nearly all of it. Whereas, with most of the others, we may only be able to get a portion of their money back."
"Thanks, Mister Jackson, for doing all this."
Meredith sat there with a look of disgust on her face as Hal recounted the information about Alma's activities. "I can't believe the extent of what she did. She wasn't well liked and she bullied everyone, but she had seniority. So she couldn't be fired. Maybe that's one of the reasons why she never moved up. If she was a supervisor or director, she might have had a harder time stealing from those kids."
"I'm glad to do it, Jamie. And Miss Lattimer, I will be keeping an eye on Jamie's funds and welfare from this point on until it is no longer necessary. Not a reflection on you personally, but on the department as a whole. Since they deemed Alma fit to work with children, I do not have much trust for them."
"I understand Mister Jackson. There will be no further such issues going on in regards to Jamie's inheritance."
"Good, just so we understand each other. Now onto another important point concerning Jamie. There may be some court cases coming up that you will have to attend. If there is a trial for Alma, you may be called to testify on those points that affect you as you are one of the defendants in the case. You may also be called on to testify in regards to the drive by shooting, since you were one of the victims. There may be one or more trials concerning the boys who attacked you. Although I believe all of them will be taking a plea bargain, I know the leader already has accepted one as I was there when he told the investigators about Alma asking him to plant the drugs on you."
"Was it Enrique who shot at me?"
"Yes, it was him, his brother was the driver. We found the guns that were used in their possession.
"Did he say why?"
"You were convenient. He was raised to hate anyone not like him and he wanted to prove he could do it so that he could be part of his brother's gang. They also told the police that Victor, his brother, was the driver when they did a drive by back in November. According to Enrique he was shot by you."
"You mean his brother was in the car that shot at me back then?"
"That's what he said. Enrique was very talkative when they first arrested him, because he's afraid to go to jail. I don't know how they figure that you shot his brother, since you didn't have a gun, but that's what he said. Although now he's clammed up and recanted everything since he got lawyer. His lawyer claims that the police forced the confession out of him, they didn't read him his rights, they took advantage of his youth, blah, blah, blah."
Jamie just shook his head in disbelief.
"Well that's pretty much it for now Jamie. I'll let you all know about any of the trials that you may need to take part of. You will probably have to at least give your statement. I'll head on home. Thank you for taking time to discuss this."
Hal started to get up and then snapped his fingers like he just remembered something. He reached into his briefcase and pulled out a plastic bag that he handed to Jamie. Inside were the items that had been taken from Jamie at the home. Jamie took them with delight.
"Cool you got 'em, thanks Mister Jackson."
Meredith got up from the table to leave after making sure she had all the forms put away in her bag.
"I need to get going as well. Jamie, if you need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me. You'll find that I am much easier to work with then Alma was. Bye."
They walked them to the door, shook hands and said their goodbyes. The boys went up to Jamie's room to play on his PlayStation for a little while before they went to bed.