What is it like when those closest to you are not there any longer?
Wednesday, March 27, 2019; Morning
Kevin woke early to do the run that Coach Grant said he wanted him do each day. He’d already planned where to run, with the uphill part first, and then he did a test run to see how long it would take; he’d finished in about twenty minutes. In his opinion, that was close enough to the twenty-five minutes on the schedule the coach had given him.
When he got home he took a shower, had a quick breakfast, then left to ride his bike to school.
Kevin met with Alex during collaboration period, and they used the chem lab to do the first experiment he’d missed. He finished it and looked at Alex. “Okay, I didn’t blow up anything or burn down the science building, so I have two questions for you. First, did I run the experiment correctly? Second, are my results the right results?”
“Okay, congratulations on the not blowing up or burning down anything. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. Less surprising, but better for your grade, is that you completed the experiment successfully and your results are correct. Are you ready to take the exam for this chapter?”
Kevin took the exam and got all twenty questions right. He wondered why both his Chemistry and Algebra 2/Pre-Calc classes almost always had exactly twenty questions or problems on exams. He didn’t bother mentioning that to Alex.
“Okay, our hour is almost up,” Alex said. “For Friday read the next chapter you missed, then you’ll be ready to do the experiment and take the exam. You’re doing a great job so far, Kevin.”
“Thank you. It’s a result of my hard work and the excellent tutoring provided by Mr. Alex Burney.” He smiled.
“My dad said he gave you the days and times he’s available for the meeting with the FBI and the police department. Do you know when it will be?” Alex asked.
“There are four choices for the date, all on Saturdays, and two times for each date, and everyone is available on all of those dates and times. They are all in April, except for one at the beginning of May.
“I’m going to call Lieutenant Richardson at the Walnut Creek Police Department during lunch today and give him those choices, and I assume he’ll arrange the schedule with the guy from the FBI. I also assume he’ll tell us where we’ll meet. Probably at the Walnut Creek Police Department.”
“Wouldn’t it be better if the meeting was at your house? That way you and I would be there when it’s over.”
“You know, that’s a great idea. I might be out of it after hearing what they have to tell me, and being at home will make it a lot easier.”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
Kevin looked at Alex. Really looked at him. “Alex, I’m so glad that we met.”
“Me, too. I’m falling for you big-time.”
Kevin smiled. “That’s great — Because I’m falling for you big time, too.” He stared at Alex for about fifteen seconds. “Maybe the word should be ‘fallen’ instead of ‘falling’ — you think?”
Alex smiled. “Yes, I definitely think.” Alex grinned, and Keven thought it lit up the classroom.
“I’d better get going. English 3 awaits,” Alex said. “I’ll see you later.”
Kevin sat at his lab bench and waited for students to start arriving for the Chemistry class so it could get started. Finally, most of the students had filed in and taken their seats. Donna Garcia, his lab partner, rushed in just before the bell.
“Ugh! I didn’t think I would make it to school today. Someone ran into a fire hydrant in our neighborhood early this morning, and they had to shut off the water. My mom woke me early to let me know. I was able to eat breakfast, but then I had to brush my teeth using just toothpaste and mouthwash. That’s totally yucky! I came to school early so I could take a shower in the girl's locker room. That’s why I was almost late to class.”
“Do you know when they’ll have your water turned back on?”
“No. I hope it’s okay by the time I get home this afternoon.”
“I wish you luck. You ready for the exam this morning?”
“I think so. I reviewed the chapter, and I think I’m good to go. You?”
“Yeah. I read the chapter and did the homework. I’m also getting caught up with what I missed. This morning during collaboration period, I did the first lab experiment I’d missed. Alex said my results were right on. Then I took the first exam I missed, and all my answers were correct.”
“Good for you! So how’s your tutor doing?”
“Really good. He knows more chemistry now than I’ll ever know. But then, he’s into chemistry, and that’s what his major will be when he goes to Cal.”
“How about you? What major are you thinking about?”
“Computer science and information systems.”
“That sounds heavy duty.”
“I’ve always been interested in computers, so I’m finding it’s easy. What will your major be when you go to college?”
“Biology and biochemistry first, then forensic science for my masters. I’ve always been interested in science.” Donna grinned.
“Wow. That sound extra heavy duty! It also sounds interesting.”
“I hope so. My folks think it’s too advanced for me.”
Kevin leaned back and scowled. “You’re doing great in chemistry. Why in the world would they think your major will be too advanced? If that’s what you want to do, go for it.”
“Thanks, I agree. They think it’s going to be tough for me to break into that field. But there are a lot of women in biosciences and forensics. You might think this is weird, but the reason I got interested in this field is from watching CIS and NCIS shows on TV.”
“Nothing weird about that. I got interested in computers when I got a Game Boy for my tenth birthday. After a couple months I decided to take it apart and see what made it tick. Then I found Kahn Academy on YouTube and started watching their math and computer programming tutorials and got hooked. I even built my first computer by myself.”
Mr. McBride arrived and stepped up to his lab table at the front of the room. “Alright, students! Good morning and welcome to another ninety minutes of chemistry. The first thing we’ll do is have an exam.”
There were moans from some of the students. Kevin didn’t understand. Everyone knew there was an exam scheduled. Maybe some kids just liked to complain. Or hear themselves groan.
He found the exam easy. That meant either he knew the material or he didn’t know it at all. That thought made him chuckle.
Academy period followed Kevin’s fourth period chemistry class on Wednesdays and Fridays. It was a one-hour period and was for special interest classes and studying and catching up on homework. Or just hanging with friends. Or whatever. Also, some clubs met during academy period. That reminded him that he should look into the GSA. Maybe they met during academy period. He pulled out his phone and opened the browser. He found the clubs page on the Edison High website and the GSA listing. Their meetings were during collaboration period on the first Friday of each month. Once he was caught up with his Chemistry experiments he could see what the GSA meeting were like.
He was scheduled to meet with Jason Valle, his Spanish 3 tutor, during academy period so he could take the exams that he’d missed. Jason had sent a text to Kevin telling him they could use the LA-117 classroom where Jason had his Spanish 4 class, and that he’d confirmed wasn’t used during academy period. That’s where they’d met for their tutoring session the last time. He walked across campus to building 400.
Kevin saw Jason sitting at a desk near the front of the room.
“Hi Kevin. Do you feel confident enough to take the second exam you missed without any tutoring?” he asked.
“Sure.” Then Kevin looked askance. “Or maybe that should be, I think I’m sure.”
“Okay, you want to do it anyway?” Jason raised his left eyebrow and grinned.
Kevin nodded, and Jason handed him the exam.
“Why don’t you find a seat by yourself. That way I won’t be distracting you. I’m studying for the statistics exam I have sixth period. I might be doing a lot of grumbling and moaning and complaining as I go through the problems and discover how much I don’t understand.” He shrugged his shoulders, then took out a textbook and spiral binder, and opened them.
“Okay,” Kevin replied. “No hay problema.” He walked to the back of the room and sat down, then leafed through the exam pages. After looking over the questions, he grinned and thought, ‘definitivamente, no hay problema,’ then turned to the first page of the exam and got started.
Kevin finished in twenty minutes, including going back and checking his answers. He got up and walked to the front of the room. Jason looked up.
“You’re finished already?”
Kevin handed him the exam. “Yes. How do you do this; do you check my answers or turn it in to Mr. Contreras and he grades it?”
Jason raised his eyebrows and smiled. “Both. I’ll check your answers then turn it in to Mr. Contreras.”
“Will I find out my results from you, or do I have to wait for Mr. Contreras to tell me?”
“I’ll tell you what you scored on the exam. Give me a few minutes, and I’ll check what you did against the answer sheet.”
Kevin walked a few rows away, then sat down. He didn’t want it to seem like he was looking over Jason’s shoulder.
‘Damn!’ he thought, ‘I should have asked him for the next exam when I gave him my answers.’
“Okay,” Jason said, so Kevin walked up to the desk where he was sitting. “All of your answers are correct.” He turned around so he could see the clock on the wall above the teacher’s desk at the front of the room. “I think you’ll have time to do the next exam, the third one you’d missed. It’s shorter, so it should take less time to finish. According to the clock, you have twenty-five minutes. Here’s the third exam.” He handed Kevin the pages.
This time, Kevin sat down at a desk next to Jason, then turned to the first page of the exam and got started. He finished just as he heard the bell announcing the end of academy period. He handed Jason the exam.
“I assume you won’t have enough time to check my answers,” he said.
“Actually, I can be late for my next class. Mr. Flynn always arrives five or ten minutes late.”
He checked Kevin’s second exam against the answer sheet. It took him about five minutes.
“Again, all of your answers are correct. Congratulations, Kevin. I’ll see you on Friday so you can take your fourth missed exam. Let’s meet here in LA-117 again.”
“Okay. Thanks, Jason! See you on Friday.”
They left for their fifth period classes, Jason to Statistics and Kevin to AP Computer Science. As he walked to the computer lab, Kevin was smiling. He was pleased that he’d done so well, both with chemistry and Spanish 3. He hoped the rest of the Spanish 3 exams would be as easy.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019; Lunch Period
Kevin stopped by the cafeteria and got a turkey sandwich and a can of ginger ale for a quick lunch. It wasn’t the team lunch; but he wanted something easy to eat while he used the rest of his lunch period to call the Walnut Creek Police Department. He had already looked up the phone number and added it to the contacts on his phone. Now he needed a quiet spot without people around who might overhear when he placed the call. He went to the west end of Building 400 and, as usual, there wasn’t anyone there.
He sat on the bench and ate half his sandwich, then called the Walnut Creek police department. The call was answered by an automated system. It had voice recognition, so he asked for the Lieutenant by name. He was connected to a department receptionist — a live person this time.
“I received a call, and I’m supposed to talk to Lieutenant Mack Richardson. My name is Keith Young.”
“I’ll put you through.”
‘That was interesting,’ he thought. ‘Almost like she knew that if I called, I was to be connected to him right away.’
“Lieutenant Richardson speaking. You’re Keith Young?”
“Yes. When I got home Monday night, there was a message from George Bradford of the FBI saying they and the Walnut Creek police want to meet with me and give me a status report covering what you’ve found out about the death of my family. He said I should call you. So, I’m calling to schedule that meeting.”
“Alright. I know you go to school, so we were wondering if we could meet with you on a Saturday?”
“Sure. I prefer Saturday. I already checked with the people I want to be with me at the meeting, and I have the days and times they’re available.” He told Lieutenant Richardson the four dates and the times that were available for each date. “Which of those dates and times works best for you?”
“How about three o’clock on Saturday afternoon, the twentieth of April?”
“That’s good. I’m going to have four people with me, if that’s okay with you.”
“That’ll be okay. I’d need their names and phone numbers and a brief description of why you want them at the meeting. Are they your relatives?”
“None of them are relatives. All of my relatives live on the east coast or in Vancouver, Canada, so it’s not easy for them to get here.
“Two of the names on my list are my attorneys. The first is Jonathan MacIntosh; he’s a family law attorney.” Kevin spelled his first and last names and gave him Mr. MacIntosh’s office phone number. “The second is Thomas Burney; he’s a criminal law attorney.” Kevin spelled his last name and gave him Mr. Burney’s office phone number.
Lieutenant Richardson interrupted. “Why are you having a criminal law attorney at the meeting?”
“He’s my best friend’s father, so there’s that connection. We figured if there’s a discussion about who the killers were and information about them, about bail, what the charges would be, when the trial would be scheduled, and things like that, it would be good to have someone who could explain things to me from that perspective. Does that answer your question?”
“Yes. And the family law attorney?”
“He will be there to make sure my rights are being upheld, and he can explain my status as an emancipated minor if that’s needed. Is that answer okay?”
“Yes. Who else will come with you to the meeting?”
“Because of the shock and impact of my family being murdered, I’m seeing a therapist, Doctor Jennifer Ranse, who’s helping me cope with what happened. I want her there because that way when I have my next session with her the following Wednesday, she’ll be able to help me cope with what I’d learned about who murdered my family.”
“Having your therapist there sounds like a good idea. Her name and phone number, please.”
Kevin spelled her name and gave Lieutenant Richardson her office phone number.
“You said there were four people. Who’s the fourth?” Lieutenant Richardson asked.
“Alex Burney. He’s my best friend and the son of Thomas Burney, the criminal law attorney I’m using. We both go to Edison High. I want him there because I think that some of what I’m going to find out at the meeting could be tough for me to handle. Alex is going to stay overnight with me to provide support and help me get through what you and the FBI will tell me about what happened. He said if I need it, I can cry on his shoulder. He told me that he can stay with me as long as I need him.”
“How old is Alex Burney?”
“Sixteen, same as me.”
“We’ll need a parent’s approval for him to be present.”
“Since his dad is going to be at the meeting, can he give his approval there?”
“Yes, that’ll be fine. I’ll need Alex Burney’s phone number.”
Kevin read Alex’s cell number to the Lieutenant. He decided that he should text Alex so he’d know that it was scheduled and the police had his phone number in case they needed to reschedule the meeting.
“There’s one other thing. I’d like the meeting to be at my house instead of at the police department or somewhere like that. Is that okay?” he asked.
“As long as you have a room adequate for… let’s see… nine people that should be okay.”
“So you’re going to have four people there?”
“Yes. I’ll be there, as well as a stenographer who will take notes about everything that’s said. George Bradford and Lynn Camorly from the FBI office will be there as well.”
“We can either meet in the dining room if it’s important to have a table or in the family room. Whichever works better,” Kevin said.
“Alright. I think the dining room would be better because having a table will be convenient for those taking notes during the meeting. We can decide where each of us will sit when I get there. I’ll arrive fifteen minutes early. Can I assume that’ll be okay?”
“Yes, that’s okay. Should I make coffee?”
“If you’d like. You might get stuck with a full pot if there are no takers.”
“No problem. Uh, let’s see… when will I find out if it’s going to be at three PM on Saturday, April twentieth, for sure? I need to advise the people who’ll be with me at the meeting so they can lock it into their schedules.”
“I can check with George Bradford right now to confirm the day and time. I’ll put you on hold for a couple minutes.”
While Kevin was on hold it gave him time to think about some things to support the meeting. On Saturdays, Connie usually left by eleven AM. He could give her an extra hour off so that her presence wouldn’t be an issue when Lieutenant Richardson arrived for the meeting. She could prep the coffee just before she left. And she could pick up some bagels and shmear at Noah’s when she went shopping on the Friday before the meeting in case someone was hungry — besides Kevin and Alex. Kevin knew that he could freeze any that were left over.
Finally, after a little over five minutes, Lieutenant Richardson came back on the line. “Sorry about the delay. The FBI staff has a conflict and prefers it to be at eleven AM on Saturday, the thirteenth of April. Is that okay?”
“Let me check…. Yes, everyone’s available on that day and time. And it’s okay with the FBI that the meeting will be at my house?”
“Yes, it is.”
“They have my address, I assume,” Kevin asked.
“Yes. 159 Sutter Court.”
“How long do you think the meeting will last?”
“Probably between a half hour and a little over an hour, depending on the time it takes to answers questions that you and the people you’ve asked to be there might have. George Bradford and Lynn Camorly and I may have questions for you, too. The meeting can be as long as is needed.”
“What kind of questions would you and the people from the FBI have for me?” Kevin asked.
“The questions that we’d ask would be for clarification of some points about the home invasion. I know one of them is which bedrooms each of your siblings used. The interviews that were done during the investigation seemed to confuse the bedroom locations.
“Okay,” Kevin responded. “I’m also sure there’ll be questions from the people who I’ve asked to be at there and from me, too. It will probably depend on how much information you can tell me about what happened.”
“We’ll be prepared to answer your questions. However, there may be some questions about things that we won’t be able to divulge for various reasons, including information specific to the investigation or the trial.
“That reminds me. Do you have a floorplan of your house that we can have? All we need is the floor plan, not all of the construction details.”
“I don’t have a floorplan. My uncle in Vancouver is the architect who designed our house. He should be able to send me a floor plan.”
“Thank you. That will help the district attorney as the case is being prepared for trial.”
“Okay, I’ll call him. Do you want it mailed to you or can I give it to you at the meeting?”
“At the meeting will be fine.”
“Okay. Assume I’ll have it for you at the meeting. If my uncle can’t get it to me by then, I’ll phone you and let you know.”
Kevin thought for a couple seconds. “I have a question,” he said. “Why will there be a stenographer at the meeting? I would’ve thought you’d just record everything that’s said at the meeting.”
“We will record the meeting, but we’ve found that having a stenographer helps in case there’s something said during the meeting that isn’t clear. The stenographer can ask for clarification, and the person speaking would repeat what they’d said, and hopefully say it clearly. Also, the stenographer will have keyed in everything that was said, and we can review her printed document and compare it to what’s on the recording if necessary.”
“Okay, I can understand that. So, I’ll see you on Saturday, April thirteenth, at ten forty-five AM. The others will arrive at eleven AM.”
“That’s right. If there’s any delay or a change in plans I’ll give you a call on the number you used to call me. Is that your cellphone number?
“Yes, it is. I have my cellphone with me at all times. I also have permission to take calls while I’m in class. It’s set to vibrate instead of playing my ringtone, so you can call me anytime. I’ll have to step out of the classroom to take the call, so don’t hang up on me because I don’t talk to you immediately.
“And finally, if I have to change the date or time for the meeting, I’ll call you.”
“That’s fine. If you do have to make a change, please let me know several days prior to the thirteenth.”
“If you don’t have anything else, I’ll say goodbye.”
“Nope, nothing else until I see you at the meeting.”
“Okay, I’ll see you on April thirteenth at ten forty-five AM.”
“Okay. Thanks, and g’bye for now.” Kevin ended the call.
Even though he had an appointment with her after school, Kevin decided to phone Dr. Ranse and let her know the details of the meeting. He also told her he’d be ready for their session today. She said she’d block the day and time for the meeting in her schedule to prevent an overlap.
He called Mr. MacIntosh and Mr. Burney to tell them the same thing. Both reconfirmed the date, time, and place for the meeting and that they would be there.
Next, Kevin phoned the Young-Williamson-Lautner Architects Ltd. office in Vancouver. The call was transferred to his uncle Graeme.
“Hi, Kevin. How are you doing?”
“I’m doing a lot better. The reason I’m calling is the Walnut Creek police lieutenant asked if he could get a copy of the floorplan of my house. Do you have one that you can send me?”
“Do you know what level of detail they want?”
“Lieutenant Richardson said he doesn’t need the construction detail, just the floorplan.”
“I’ll send you two copies. That way you’ll have one for yourself that you can keep. How soon do you need it?”
“He’d like it by April thirteenth. He said it’s for the district attorney so he can start getting the case ready to go to trial.”
“Okay. I’ll print two copies and overnight them to you. You should have them in a day or two. Of course, that depends on the speed and efficiency of both Canada Post and the U.S. Postal Service. That’s out of our control.”
They both chuckled. Kevin thanked his uncle, and they said goodbye.
Then he remembered he needed to send a text to Alex letting him know the date and time they’d scheduled the meeting, and that it would be at Kevin’s house. Alex texted back immediately that he’d also stay over on Friday night so he’d be there and would make sure Kevin woke up in time for the meeting. That made Kevin laugh.
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