When things finally start going right,
there’s always a nagging feeling that there’s something missing.
This is a sequel to the story One Questionable Outcome.
By the time Jeremy got to his Web Design class they were in the middle of a discussion of fonts and on-screen readability. He waited to turn in his late slip until after class so he wouldn’t interrupt Mr. Everington’s lecture. When the class was over he headed to his seventh period Communications Studies class. He had to laugh to himself. The lesson was about the selection of fonts and readability in various types of media. He wondered if the teachers had coordinated their study plans.
After seventh period Jeremy went to his locker and packed the rest of his books in his backpack. Then he went to the northeast corner of the campus, the nearest exit to the Iron Horse Trail, to wait for Lyle who arrived about five minutes later.
“Hey, Jeremy,” Lyle said, as he walked up with a big smile. “I’m sorry I’m late, but Coach wanted to talk to me after class today. He had fantastic news. My CIF transfer paperwork has been approved, and I’m on the swim team! God, I’m so stoked!”
Jeremy smiled as well, and he grabbed Lyle in a bro-hug. After a few second he pushed away, holding Lyle’s shoulders at arm’s length.
“Congratulations. I’m so glad for you. We ought to go out and celebrate. I’d suggest a Giant George’s hamburger, but now that you’re on the team you can’t eat one of those unhealthy, calorie-laden, fat-clogged, salt-overloaded, but absolutely de-licious burgers. So we can walk to Veggie Grill and have something healthy, low-calorie, low-fat, low sodium that is also delicious and will be good for your body.” Jeremy stood there waiting for Lyle’s response. But he didn’t say anything. Finally, Jeremy couldn’t hold it back and he laughed, then so did Lyle.
“Actually, that veggie place sounds interesting,” Lyle said.
“Let’s get going, then. It’s about fifteen minutes from here. We take the Iron Horse Trail to Mt. Diablo Boulevard, about four blocks. Then walk over to the restaurant. It’s on Locust.”
“Will you play tour guide along the way?”
“Absolutely, and at no extra charge,” Jeremy replied.
By the time they reached Veggie Grill, Lyle had his fingers in his ears, pleading with Jeremy to end his non-stop tour guide blather. But the ‘blather’ was constantly interrupted by laughter from both boys.
Jeremy stopped in front of Veggie Grill, turned around to face Lyle, and pointed to his left. “Here it is. Shall we go in and have something to eat?”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Then let’s do it. Something healthy for the next Las Lomas High School swimming champion, specialist in the butterfly and backstroke. My treat.”
“Thank you, thank you,” Lyle responded, bowing to Jeremy.
They ordered and sat down with lemonades and chatted while they waited for their meal to be brought to their table.
“So what was going on in the cafeteria today? I got my lunch and sat down waiting for you and a fight broke out at the other side of the cafeteria. It looked like a bunch of jocks were involved. So I took my lunch outside and ate it there.”
“Ah-ha! That’s why I couldn’t find you when I got to the cafeteria. What happened is Leo showed up.”
“You’re kidding!” Lyle yelled.
“No, I’m not. Someone must have driven him there. Then somehow he got on campus without anyone questioning him, and got into the cafeteria. Even though his hands are bandaged, he was able to grab a kid and demanded that he tell him where I was. I know the kid, he’s a freshman, but there’s no way Leo could have know that. He’s Sean Greyson, and he was totally freaked. When they saw what was going on, four jocks, guys on the varsity football team, grabbed Leo and sat on him; he was held face down on the cafeteria floor.”
“On the cafeteria floor? I’ve seen that floor during lunch. It’s gross. How did Leo get away from the cops? I thought they were taking him to jail.”
“That’s what I thought, too. Last night they took him to the hospital to have his hands and wrist stitched and bandaged. They’d have to check where I stabbed him in his abdomen, too. I was aiming for his crotch to cut off his dick and balls, but he moved back and I got him in his lower abdomen instead.”
Lyle shook his head. “To paraphrase what Mike said last night, ‘Note to self: Never get Jeremy mad at me.’ How the hell did he get out of the hospital?”
“I assume he snuck out last night. The cops must not have kept him under surveillance all the time he was there. Mr. Butler, Mike’s granddad, is meeting with the Walnut Creek police and someone from the district attorney’s office to find out what happened, and make sure Leo is put in jail and not released.”
“Maybe after getting bandaged up he called somebody he knows and they helped him get out of the hospital. Sort of like how he just walked onto the Las Lomas campus,” Lyle said.
Jeremy shrugged his shoulders. “I’ll let you know when I find out.”
They were interrupted when the server brought their veggie BLTA sandwiches.
Lyle took a big bite of his sandwich. “Damn, this is great. It tastes exactly like a real bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado sandwich. What is this ‘tempeh’ bacon made of?”
“Soy something, I think,” Jeremy replied.
“It tastes just like real bacon. It’s even crunchy. This is a great sandwich. Lots of avocado. It’s my favorite fruit.” Lyle grinned.
“Avocado’s a fruit? Really?” Jeremy asked.
“Yup. It grows on a tree and has a pit, sort of like peaches or mangos. It’s not sweet, though. It’s amazingly delicious. I can eat two of them scooping it out with a spoon. I love guacamole, too.”
“Me too,” Jeremy agreed.
They sat and ate, looking out the front window at the people passing by.
“See that guy, with the black jacket with a hood, standing at the corner?” Jeremy asked.
“Uh huh. Who is he?”
“I don’t know, but that jacket is the one that was stolen from my locker at school.”
“How do you know it’s yours?” Lyle asked.
“See that red flap hanging down in the back? I sewed that in the jacket for when I went cross country skiing with the ski club from school last year. That way anyone with me could see it was me. Normally it’s pushed through a little loop in the inside of the coat so it doesn’t hang out. I’m going to go see where that guy got the coat.”
“I’ll go with you.”
“No, go get our sandwiches packed to go, then come out. I don’t want to freak the guy by having two of us following him up close right away.”
Lyle got up and grabbed both plates and took them to the front counter to get them wrapped and bagged. Jeremy walked outside and strolled up Locust street following the guy in his coat.
The next signal at Cypress Street turned red just as the guy got there. Jeremy stopped just behind him. Just as the signal turned green Lyle stepped alongside Jeremy.
They crossed the street and the guy continued up Locust with Jeremy and Lyle following him a few paces behind. They followed him all the way to Civic Drive, and another red signal just as he arrived.
“I’m going to walk up to his right side,” Jeremy whispered to Lyle, “and I’m going to ask him about the coat.”
“I’ll stand behind him,” Lyle whispered.
Jeremy stepped next to the guy. “Hi. That’s a cool coat. I was wondering where you got it. Mind telling me?”
The guy looked at Jeremy, and when he saw who it was he looked scared.
Jeremy realized that he’d seen this guy around school. He looked like he was a sophomore or maybe even a freshman. He was real skinny and the coat was too big for him. He looked like a young kid, maybe fourteen or even thirteen years old.
“Uh… I found it.”
“You found it? Wow, that sounds lucky for you. Probably not lucky for the person it belongs to.”
“The person it belongs to?” the kid asked. “I don’t know. No one ever asked me about it.”
“Do you wear it to school?” Jeremy asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe sometimes. Why?”
“Well, a coat exactly like that was stolen from my locker at Las Lomas High. I’ve seen you at Las Lomas High. We don’t have any of the same classes, so I don’t think that you’re a junior. What grade are you in?”
“Ninth. I’m a freshman. I recognize you. I’ve heard your name. It’s Jerry, right?”
“It’s Jeremy, Jeremy Sievers. What’s your name?”
Lyle stepped next to Jeremy. “And I’m Lyle Welter.”
Jeremy pressed the coat issue. “You know that red flap hanging down in back at the bottom of your coat?”
“What red flap?”
“I’ll bet you never even noticed it before. There’s a loop that holds a red flap inside the back of the coat so it’ll hang out only when you want it to hang out. You must have accidentally pulled it out of the loop because it’s hanging out right now. I sewed the flap and the loop in the coat myself. It’s there for when I went cross country skiing.”
“Oh.” Bill teared up, then he started to cry, just tears.
“There’s a bench over there in front of the Lesher Center. Let’s go sit down and talk about my coat.”
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry,” Bill said as the three boys walked to the bench and sat down.
“What happened? Why did you break into my locker?”
“I didn’t. Really, I didn’t. The locker door was open, and the coat was the only thing in there. I didn’t have a coat and it was so cold outside… I just reached in and pulled it out, then closed the locker door.”
“Didn’t you think about the person who all of a sudden didn’t have a coat?”
“No. I was so glad to have a coat that’s all I thought about. How nice and warm it was and how it would keep me from catching another cold again. For the first time in a couple weeks I could walk to school and back without being cold.”
“You said you didn’t have a coat. Why?”
“I’m living with a foster family and they say they don’t get enough money to buy me a coat right now. I had a light jacket and that’s what I wore until I took this coat. I’m really sorry for taking it. I never thought about the person who didn’t have a coat anymore. You can have it back. Here, I’ll take it off.”
Jeremy put his hand on Bill’s shoulder, keeping him from standing. “Tell me about your foster family.”
“They’re okay. It’s just that I don’t get much money for things I want or need. Even clothes. They say it’s because they don’t get enough to pay for the room that I have and the food that I eat. They say they only get $425.00 a month reimbursement for what they spend to take care of me. A coat like this one costs over $250.00. They said I’d have to wait a couple months when Penny’s or Macy’s has a sale.”
“What did you tell them when you wore this coat home from school?” Lyle asked.
“My foster mom asked me where I got it, and I said a friend gave it to me.” Bill looked down. He seemed to be ashamed about stealing the coat and lying to his foster family.
Lyle continued questioning Bill. “She didn’t want to know more about that friend?”
“Yes, but I said he knew I needed a coat and he felt sorry for me.”
“Didn’t she want to know who he was?”
“I said he was shy, and asked me to not tell anyone that he was the one who gave it to me.”
Lyle wanted to get back to the money the foster family got each month. “Bill, it seems like $425.00 a month isn’t enough. I remember reading an article about foster families that get into it because they can get so much money from the state.”
“I know another kid at Las Lomas who’s a foster kid,” Bill said. “He gets less stuff than I do. He’s treated like a servant who has to do most of the housework. At least I don’t have that kind of problem. I do just regular chores, like taking out the trash, like their own boy does.”
“Tell you what, Bill,” Jeremy said. “Keep my coat. I have another that I was able to get from the One Warm Coat charity so it didn’t cost me anything. I don’t have much money either. Your foster parents should check with some of those charities around here for other clothes for you. Let’s keep in touch, get together at school. Maybe during lunch. Do you eat in the cafeteria or bring a lunch?”
“I bring my lunch. My foster mom makes it sometimes; I make it sometimes.”
“Why do both of you make your lunches?” Lyle asked.
“If I don’t have a lot of homework then I make my lunch. I almost always have a lot of homework, so she mostly makes it for me. I don’t mind making my own lunch.”
“Are there other kids in your foster family?” Jeremy asked.
“They have a son, Ryan. He’s ten years old. He’s a lot of fun. We toss a baseball around outside and play video games — those that are at his age level.”
Lyle shook his head. “I still don’t see why they couldn’t buy you a coat. They could have said something like, ‘Okay, that means no other clothes for three months,’ or something like that.”
“I don’t know. All I know is what they’ve told me. I don’t think they’re lying to me. I can see that they aren’t rich, they both work, and they are really nice to me just like I was their own kid.”
“Okay,” Jeremy said, “why don’t we meet up for lunch? Do you have a regular group you eat with?”
“Not really. I just sit down at a table and other kids come and eat there too. It’s not like we’re friends or something.”
“Then look for me in the cafeteria on Monday, okay?” Jeremy suggested.
Bill smiled. Jeremy and Lyle both noticed that was the first time Bill had smiled since they started talking to him.
“Okay. Is there somewhere you usually eat?”
“There’s a table in the back corner near the window where you can find us,” Jeremy said. “Just look for me. I’ll bring my lunch Monday, so I’ll be there before it gets crowded and save you a seat.”
“You’re sure you want me to keep your coat?” Bill asked.
“Yes. You need it, and I have another coat now.”
“Can I tell my foster mom that you’re the one who gave me the coat?”
Jeremy grinned. “Sure. Now it’s true.”
“Thanks, Jeremy. It’s nice to have met you. And you too, Lyle. Now I better get going. It’s a long walk home.”
“Where do you live?” Jeremy asked.
“On Parkside Drive. It’s on the other side of 680 near where Ygnacio Valley Road ends. It’s about a half-hour walk from here.”
“Let’s exchange our cell numbers and email addresses,” Jeremy said.
They did that and said their goodbyes.
“You okay walking home?” Jeremy asked Lyle.
“Sure. Let’s get moving, though. I have homework tonight.”
“Yeah, me too. I also want to make sure they fixed my window. I really want to sleep at home tonight.”
When Jeremy got home he found that the window had been fixed, and there was a bill from the window company. He’d have to send that to State Farm. He hoped it would be covered by the homeowner’s insurance. He also needed to ask how to get the carpets cleaned to remove the blood that was now dried into the fabric. And who would do it.
The first thing he did was call Mike.
Mike answered, “Hey, Jeremy.”
“Hey, yourself, boyfriend. How was school today?”
“Same as, as usual. Had one test, in Algebra 2 and Trig. You?”
“Well, you won’t believe who came to school at lunch today.”
“It was Leo, right?”
“How did you know?”
“It was on the five o’clock news tonight.”
“Whoa! What channel? I’ll watch the eleven o’clock news on that channel.”
“905. You have Wave Cable, right?”
“Yes. I’ll set the reminder alarm on the microwave to ten-fifty-five. And I’ll call Lyle so he can watch it too. Were there pictures?”
“Only of the front of the school. It was a short segment, maybe thirty seconds. If you have a DVR with your cable subscription, you can watch and record it if it’s on again tonight.”
“No such luck. Mom said we couldn’t afford a DVR. What we have is a Hi-Def receiver with the basic and Hi-Def channels packages.”
“You going to do your homework tonight, or are you going to wait until tomorrow?”
“I always try to do it as soon as I can, especially on Friday night so I don’t have to waste time on the weekend.”
“That’s a good plan. That’s what I’m going to do. Do you have any plans for tomorrow?”
“Nope. How about you?”
“Yeah. Diablo Valley College is having an open house for high school kids. Have you ever been there?”
“No. What are they doing in this open house?”
“They are showing the various departments and the equipment they have, and instructors will be there talking about the programs and courses they offer and how they can be transferred to the University of California and the California State University system. They will have people there talking about scholarships and grants. Sounds interesting.”
“Better than sitting around watching TV all day. What time is this open house?”
“Eleven a.m. to four p.m. The cafeteria and the restaurant will both be open when we get hungry.”
“How would we get there? Is it close to BART or is there a bus?”
“I’m not sure, but my folks are going to take my brothers and me. I decided to invite you.”
“Thank you. I’d like to do it. How about Greg and Nikki?”
“Neither will be coming to Diablo Valley College. Remember, Lyle is going to a movie with Greg tomorrow. It’s their first real date. Nikki is doing something with a friend she made at school.”
“A guy or a girl?”
“A friend, quote-unquote. That’s all she said, and I didn’t press her for details. I figured I’d find out from Greg.”
“Okay. Can you pick me up?”
“Sure. We’ll be there around ten-thirty. Dad wants to get there early so we don’t end up parking a long way from the campus.”
“Okay. Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you here at ten-thirty tomorrow morning.”
“Okay. Bye, lover!” As usual, Mike started laughing and hung up before Jeremy could respond. ‘I’m going to get him next time,’ he promised himself.
Jeremy heated some lasagna he had in the freezer and had that for dinner along with a salad. Then got to his homework. Around seven p.m. the phone rang.
The caller ID read ‘Out of area’ so Jeremy’s first thought was that it might be his mom.
“Hello?” he said.
“Jeremy, it’s Roger Butler. Do you have a few minutes to talk?”
Too bad, Jeremy thought, it’s not my mom.
“Sure. I could use a break from my homework.”
“I met with the Walnut Creek police this afternoon. The officer who went with Leo in the ambulance stayed at the hospital waiting for Leo to be released so he could be taken to jail. He was called away to help with an unruly patient in the Emergency Department waiting area. When he returned to the room to check on Leo, he was gone. He checked all of the other emergency rooms, but he wasn’t there. He checked all hospital exits and the guard at one of the exits from the main hospital said a man who had bandaged hands left with another man. That other man was in a suit. The officer reported it to his supervisor, and was told to return to police headquarters. They issued an all-points bulletin for Leo. When he was caught in the cafeteria at your school today, they arrested him and took him to the County Jail in Martinez.
“Then I met with Dave Morrison in the District Attorney’s office in Martinez. He said an attorney, Eric Cordon, contacted him and said that he’d removed Leo from the hospital, that he wasn’t under guard so he ‘obviously’ wasn’t under arrest. Apparently Leo had called the attorney. With his hands bandaged he must have had someone at the nurses’ station dial the number for him.
“I asked Dave Morrison if he was aware of the situation Leo got mixed up in at Las Lomas High School today. He said yes, and that Leo was now in custody at the County Jail on a no-bail no-release warrant, and he will be arraigned on Monday. Jeremy, I know that you’re wondering why we have to wait. It’s because the courts don’t work on the weekends. Then Dave Morrison said he’s going to ask that Leo continue to be held without bail because he’s a danger specifically to you, and is a danger to the general public as well. In addition, he’s a flight risk.”
“That’s a good thing, then?” Jeremy asked.
“Yes. It’s definitely satisfactory. Now, I looked up Eric Cordon. He typically represents gang members. He has a reputation for getting his clients out on bail, and having their bail reduced. Dave doesn’t think that’s going to work in this case. Leo was heard by the police who were called to your house yesterday, and by several witnesses today at Las Lomas High, that he was going to kill you. Add that to the fact that Leo broke into your house and assaulted you yesterday, and today he assaulted another kid at Las Lomas High.”
“Did you talk to anyone about my mom being missing?”
“Yes, with Dave Morrison but not the police. I told Dave the problem you face because your mom is missing and at best is probably somewhere in Mexico. We talked about options for you. One is for you to file a petition for declaration of emancipation of a minor. There’s just one problem. You have to have a job and be working in addition to going to school full time. But, if you’re interested in finding out more about this option, we can discuss it and I’ll give you some material describing emancipation and the requirements, positives, and negatives. I have a thought about how to solve the job requirement, too.”
“Would that mean I can continue to live in my house?”
“Yes, until we find your mother.”
“Or until we find out that she died,” Jeremy said.
“Yes, unfortunately,” Roger Butler said. “Jeremy, if you are available after school on Monday, Dave Morrison would like to meet you and discuss the case against Leo with you and me at four-thirty. I can pick you up at about three-fifteen.”
“Yes, that’s a good time. Tell you what, don’t come to the front of the campus. Park in the Whole Foods parking lot and wait for me in front of the store. We can each get a cup of coffee, and maybe something to munch on, and talk about the meeting with Mr. Morrison.”
“That a great idea, Jeremy. I’ll see you around three-fifteen, then?”
“Make it around three-thirty. I’ll have to go to my locker and get the books I need for my homework and offload the ones I don’t need, then walk to Whole Foods.”
“Alright, I’ll see you then, Jeremy. I’ll say goodbye for now.”
“Okay. Bye, Mr. Butler. Thanks a lot!”
Jeremy ended the call and got back to his homework. About a half hour later he heard the doorbell.
He went to the door and looked through the peep-hole. It was a man in a suit; he didn’t recognize the man. He put the security chain on the door, and opened it as far as the chain allowed.
“Yes?” Jeremy asked.
“Are you Jeremy Sievers?” the man asked.
“Why are you asking for Jeremy Sievers?” Jeremy asked.
“My name is Eric Cordon. I’m the attorney for Leonard Rivers, representing him in the case where he is charged with attacking you. I’d like to ask you a few questions so I can prepare his defense.”
“I will have to consult with my attorney before talking with you. In addition, he will have to be present at any such meeting. The meeting will have to be next week. I’m not available this weekend or Monday. I go to school from about seven a.m. to three-thirty p.m. Monday through Friday. I often have after-school activities. Please contact my attorney about a meeting.”
“I’ll do that, but I don’t know your attorney’s name or phone number.”
“David Morrison, from the district attorney’s office, didn’t give you that information?”
“No, he did not.”
“And you didn’t ask him for it?”
“He said he didn’t have it.”
“Okay. Let me write it down for you.”
Jeremy closed the door, went to his bedroom, and picked up his cell and called Mr. Butler.
Roger Butler answered the call. “Hi, Jeremy.”
“Hi. Leo’s attorney, Eric Cordon, is here. He wanted to talk to me but I wouldn’t let him in. I told him he’d have to talk to you. He claims he doesn’t have your name or phone number, and that he asked David Morrison for it and he told Mr. Cordon he didn’t have it. I think that sounds weird.”
“Yes, that’s strange because David Morrison certainly does have my name and office phone number. This Eric Cordon must be on a fishing expedition wanting to find out what you know. Give him my name and number, then say goodbye and close the door.”
“I don’t have your office number,” Jeremy said.
Roger Butler told Jeremy the office number. Jeremy wrote ‘Roger Butler’ and the phone number on a sheet of letter-size paper. A bit large for such little information, but after he folded it length-wise it would be easy to push through the small space at the front door.
“Okay, thanks. I’ll give him this and tell him goodbye. Thanks, Mr. Butler.”
Jeremy entered the office number for Roger Butler in his cellphone, then went back to the front door. He opened it, again only as far as the chain would allow.
“Here’s the name and phone number of my attorney.” Jeremy pushed the paper through the space and Eric Cordon took it. Jeremy said, “Please arrange everything through Mr. Butler. Goodbye.”
He didn’t wait for Eric Cordon to say anything but closed the door and turned the deadbolt to the lock position. ‘Maybe this guy is an attorney,’ Jeremy thought, ‘but he’s Leo’s attorney so that makes him less than trustworthy.’
Jeremy heard Eric Cordon shout, “Thank you,” through the closed door and a short time later the sound of a car driving away.
“That was weird,” Jeremy said out loud to himself. “Very weird.”
He thought about the charges Leo would face, and that seemed to be the end for Leo. Jeremy was glad it would soon be over. Now what he hoped was that his mom would phone him or return. She should if Leo never contacted her again; which, of course, he couldn’t from jail.
Jeremy returned to his homework. He wanted it finished so he’d be free for the DVC visit tomorrow and the APUSH study group at Lyle’s house on Sunday.
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing One Satisfactory Outcome
If you enjoyed this story,
you can read the other stories in the series on Codey’s World:
|One Warm Coat|
|One Best Friend|
|One Perfect Boyfriend|
|One Complicated New Year|
|One Sexy New Neighbor|
|One Cute New Neighbor|
|One Questionable Outcome|
|One Satisfactory Outcome|
|One Confusing Phone Call|
|One Acceptable Outcome|
|One Life Changed|
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