Cameron struggled to get his seat belt on as the car was going faster than he ever remembered going in a car before. Though fearful that they were going to crash, he felt mad at Josh for trying to out run the police, and he felt even more frustrated with Matt egging Josh on from the back seat.
He turned and looked out the back window as another police car fell in behind them. Both cars right there despite the speed they were traveling.
“This is so stupid Josh.” He yelled loudly to be heard over the car’s engine and Matt’s cheers. “We’re gonna get in so much trouble.”
Josh took his eyes off the road and glared at him for just a second. “Hence getting away, asshole!” he sneered.
Gesturing with his head out the back window Cameron tried again. “We aren’t losing them in case you hadn’t noticed.” Seeing by the look of determination on Josh’s face on increase Cameron sat back against the seat not sure if he was more worried about being caught, or getting into a wreck.
It wasn’t until about three minutes later one of the cop cars raced by them and slid in directly in front of them and started to slow down. Josh swore and tried to pull out around the cop, but apparently the he was better at this than Josh was. No matter how Josh maneuvered the car, the cop shadowed his every move.
Josh started a stream of curses mostly directed at Matt. The car was forced to slow in speed, and Cameron felt himself relax even though he knew they were in a lot of trouble. He thought ‘it’s better than a bunch of bloody corpses having to be peeled up off the pavement’.
When the car finally came to a stop, the doors of the police cars flew open and what was surely half a dozen cops got out. Just like in the movies they shielded themselves behind their doors, and their weapons aimed directly at them.
“Fuck!” Cameron said, his eyes wide, never thinking he’d be one of the people that the guns were pointed at. He swore again not able to come up with much else to say as one of cop’s voices was magnified filling the night air.
“Get out of the car slowly, hands in the air where we can see them.”
The car had been dead silent, but slowly one by one Cameron heard the doors open, then he opened his. He put his hands out of the car first then slowly stood up. He was just to his feet seeing the others in much the same position around the car when they were ordered to lie on their stomachs on the ground.
Cameron shook his head as he looked at the cold hard ground but with guns pointed at him he wasn’t about to argue. As he lay on the cold pavement he heard the running of feet and soon his arms were pinned behind his back and he felt handcuffs being put around his wrists. He wanted to kill Josh at that moment. He knew he would have not been lying on the ground in handcuffs had the idiot just pulled over. He wondered how in hell Josh could think his crap box old car could out run a police car in the first place.
He was pulled to his feet, which was quite a feat with out the use of his hands. He listened numbly as he was read his Miranda rights feeling like it was a dream and it couldn’t really be happening. After the cop stopped reading he was led to the back of one of the several police cars. Not all of them had been in the chase and he wasn’t too sure when they had shown up but after a quick count he realized there were five of them there, and cops all around.
Once he was seated in the back of one of the cars the cop that had led him there walked back to Josh’s car. Cameron leaned sideways so he could see between the seats out the front window and saw they were searching Josh’s car. A car he was sure they would find plenty of drugs in. Just another thing they would add to the list of charges he was compiling in his head.
He wondered if just being a passenger in the car he could be charged with eluding police, or if they could pin the drugs on him since it wasn’t his car. He wasn’t sure of any of that, but he knew Josh at least would be in a hell of a lot of trouble, he didn’t feel too sorry for him though. He should have known better then to try and outrun them.
When he saw them pull out empty egg cartons and spray paint cans he swore again wondering why they had brought the stuff back to the car in the first place; of course at the time none of them had figured on getting caught. Suddenly Kyle’s boring house seemed very intriguing to him. He knew Kyle would never find himself in trouble like this. He hoped Kyle wouldn’t be too mad about this, but he highly doubted he’d get his wish.
What seemed like an hour later, the cop finally came back to the patrol car. He didn’t say one word during the ride to the police station. Cameron was too worried about his fate to be able to actually form his worries into questions.
Once inside the police station he saw he was the last one of his friends to arrive. They all sat on a couple of benches along the wall. They’re hands still in cuffs, as his were and he was instructed to ‘take a seat’ himself. He sat by Josh who apparently was so pissed his face was red. Cameron figured it safer not to speak to him and focused his attention to a spot on the floor.
His friends were taken away one by one over the next half hour. Again he was the last to go, and he was led into a small room with only a couple chairs in it, one on either side of an old small table. He looked at the wall and saw the one way mirror and wondered blankly if anyone really just thought it was just a mirror anymore.
He sat down in the chair he was directed to by the plain clothes officer, or at least what he assumed was one, and was relieved when the man took off his cuffs.
“I’m Detective Mills. I’m going to be asking you some questions about what happened tonight.” He paused long enough for Cameron to nod. “First off, why don’t you tell your name?”
“Cameron Jamison.” He wished all the questions would be that easy. He also wished he knew what the others were saying, or had already said, but he assumed that was probably why they had kept them separated as much as they did. So they couldn’t come up with a good lie.
The detective pulled out a notepad. “I’ll need your parents’ names and number.”
“Mark Jamison, 555-2248.” He wondered if his father would care at all about this. He watched as the man wrote that down his mind going a mile a minute on how he would answer the rest of the questions.
“Whose car were you in tonight?”
The second it was asked Cameron made a decision. He wasn’t all that fond of the truth, but he figured if anyone’s stories were going to match it would be those telling the truth. “It was Josh’s.”
“The one who was driving it?”
Cameron nodded. “Yes sir.”
“Okay. Tell me in your words what happened this evening?”
Taking a deep breath Cameron sat back in his chair. “Well, Josh and I were just driving around. He said we had to stop at his friend Matt’s house cause he was upset about something. So we went there and Matt said we were gonna pay Mr. Marsh back for telling his father he was cheating in class. So we went over to Mr. Marsh’s house and egged and toilet papered it. Then when we left the cops started chasing us.”
“Why didn’t Josh stop?”
“He said he wasn’t gonna get in trouble for something so stupid.”
“Had you guys been drinking or doing drugs?”
Knowing they had tests to prove such things Cameron slowly nodded saving himself, he hoped, from taking those tests.
“The drugs that were found in the car were they yours?”
Cameron shook his head.
The man asked questions for another half an hour then left Cameron alone in the room. His buzz totally gone, he was feeling very tired. Looking behind him he saw a clock on the wall that said it was already after two a.m. Seeing it was that late it only made him feel more tired. He put his head down on the table and closed his eyes, not figuring he would sleep but at least wanting to rest his eyes.
He jerked awake over an hour later and quickly wiped at the drool running down his chin as he looked up at the detective. He watched as the man retook his seat across from him and was surprised to see a small smile on his face.
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to stay here for the night. Your father doesn’t want to come get you and he won’t put up bail.”
Cameron nodded not the least bit surprised by that.
“We can try him again tomorrow. Maybe he’ll come to reason.”
Shaking his head Cameron glanced down at the table then back up at the man. “No sir, I don’t think he will.” He watched as the man cocked his head to one side studying him.
“Why do you say that?”
Cameron shrugged not really wanting to explain yet at the same time not wanting them to keep bugging his father, which would no doubt just royally piss him off.
“Well I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.” He stood up and motioned Cameron to do the same. “First we have to finger print you and take your picture, and then I’ll take you to the holding cell.”
It was just after four by the time he was put into a cell and the door locked behind him. The room had three or four other people in it all sleeping one of them, he noticed was Josh. He walked over to the cot Josh was sprawled out on and sat down on the edge of it. It only took a couple pokes for Josh to wake up.
Josh propped himself up on his elbows. “I thought they were letting everyone else go?” he asked surprised.
“Well my dad wouldn’t come and get me. Why are you still here?”
“I’m in more trouble then you guys.” He looked down towards his chest and shook his head. “I can’t believe I thought I could outrun them.”
Cameron nodded. “Ya, I was thinking the same thing. So what’s gonna happen to you?”
“I got to see a judge in the morning. I won’t know anything until then. I’ll probably have a stay at the youth center.”
“Shit.” Cameron muttered hoping since he more then likely couldn’t go home that he wouldn’t have to go there too.
“I’m gonna kill Matt the next time I see his fat face.”
Nodding Cameron knew all the trouble Josh was in had little to do with Matt. If that were true they would all be in just as much trouble. “The cots are all taken. Can I share yours?”
Josh nodded and scooted over to one side. Cameron gratefully lay down. He was asleep almost the moment his head hit the pillow.
When he woke up again the sun was shining brightly into the cell. He sat up slowly realizing Josh was gone and took a look around. He was the only one left in the cell and wondered what was going on.
“Oh you’re finally awake.”
Cameron turned in the direction of the voice and saw a uniformed officer sitting behind a desk.
“You sure are a sound sleeper.”
Cameron stood up and stretched. “I guess. Where is everyone?”
“All went to court.”
“How come I don’t have to go to court?”
“Your hearing will be in a few weeks. They don’t rush the misdemeanors.”
“Am I gonna have to stay here until then?”
“No, soon as someone comes to get you, you are free to go.”
Cameron walked over to the bars and wrapped his hands around the cold steel as he looked out at the officer. “What if no one comes?”
The officer smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Someone will come, even if your dad doesn’t take you. We’ll find someone, even if it’s a foster home.”
“A foster home?” he nearly gasped not wanting to go to one of those. The last thing he wanted to be was a foster kid.
“They’re not so bad.”
Cameron nodded and turned away from the bars the reality of his situation making his gut churn.
He shook his head putting his hand on his roiling stomach, not thinking it was quite up for food. Looking back over his shoulder he was glad to see the man looking over papers on his desk and took the opportunity to go up to the toilet and relieve himself.
Not having anything else to do when he was done he walked back to the cot and laid back down pondering and worrying about his fate. He supposed he should be happy that he wouldn’t be shipped off to the youth center but wasn’t so sure a foster home would be any better.
He had never known a foster kid, never knew much about the homes, but just the word seemed scary to him. He was two weeks shy of 17 and truly wished he could just be on his own. He had a job, it would be tough but he could swing it. He had been buying his own food and clothes for years already, and was pretty sure his boss would let him have more hours under the circumstances.
He was still deep in thought when he heard the cell door opening. Pulling his arm from over his eyes he sat up to see a woman in a long coat enter the cell. Being too dressed up he didn’t figure her to be there as a prisoner. When she walked up to him and shook his hand he was even surer of it.
“I’m Natalie West. I work with Child Protective Services.” She looked down behind her and seeing another cot took a seat on it so she was facing Cameron. “There’s not really an easy way to say this, but your father doesn’t want you back.”
Not one bit surprised Cameron nodded.
“I’ve checked your record, and other then the incident last night you don’t even have a one. Do you have any idea why your father wouldn’t want you?”
Cameron shrugged trying to look nonchalant. “He just doesn’t like me much is all.”
Natalie nodded and pulled out a pen and a file. “His wife? Emily is it?”
“She’s not your mom is she?”
“Where is your mom?”
“She left a long time ago.”
“How long ago?” Natalie asked writing as fast as she was talking.
“Umm, about 12 years.”
“And you haven’t heard anything from her since she left?”
“No Ma’am.” He watched her sigh waiting for his next question.
“So then it’s a pretty safe to say you have no idea where she is?” she asked looking up from her writing and into his face.
He shook his head. “No Ma’am.”
There was a pause as she wrote some more then she looked back up at him seemingly scrutinizing him. “Do you do drugs a lot Cameron?”
He shrugged surprised at the change in questioning. “ Sometimes”
“Do you do more then pot?”
He shook his head never having tried anything more and not sure he would ever want to.
She looked up and studied him again. “Your being honest with me right?”
“Yes ma’am.” He answered not so sure why his drug use was so important.
“How often do you drink?”
“A few times a week.”
“Last night when your friend suggested that you go egg Mr. Marsh’s house did you think that was a good idea?”
“I thought it was kind of stupid.”
“So why did you go along? Couldn’t you have asked to be dropped off at home?”
Sighing Cameron wrung his hands together. “I wanted to stay at Josh’s last night. I figured the way to do that was to stick with him through the night.”
“Did you feel you couldn’t go home?”
“No, I just didn’t want to go home.”
He looked at her but didn’t know how to answer.
“Did you get hurt at home?”
“No,” he said quickly. “I just know I’m not really welcome there so I try to stay other places as much as I can.”
“Did your father ever hit you Cameron?” she asked her eyes boring into his.
“Not in a long time.”
“So he used to then?”
“Why do you gotta know all this?”
Her face softened and she smiled at him. “It just helps me find a suitable place for you to go.”
“What does my father hitting me ages ago have to do with that?”
“How a person was raised has a lot to do with their character.”
Though it didn’t make a lot of sense to him he figured she would keep asking until he talked. So he thought it was just best to humor her and just get it over with. “Well it was a lot but for a short amount of time.”
“What do you mean by that?” she asked furiously writing again.
Cameron sat back a little and crossed his ankles. Gripping the edges of the cot tightly he opened his mouth to tell something he’d never told anyone before. “It was the year after my mom left. He was angry at her. At me too I guess for making her leave. He wasn’t home much but when he was he was always yelling at me and hitting me.” He paused to take in a breath. “It stopped though when he met Emily,” He looked up at her. “the new wife.”
“How did he treat you after?”
“He ignored me. It was like I didn’t even exist anymore.” Though he was used to it and that was the way it had been for 11 years it somehow still hurt to say it out loud. Taking the opportunity of her silence as she wrote down what he said he finally asked. “Ma’am, couldn’t I just live on my own?”
She didn’t answer for a moment seemingly wanting to get down every word. When she was done writing she looked back up at him. “No Cameron, I’m sorry. They just don’t allow someone of your age to live on your own.”
“But I’ve heard of people that do.”
“If they are they’ve never been brought to the attention of CPS. After last night you are already in our case-files. So I’m afraid you’ll have no choice but to go into a foster home or some kind of residential care facility.”
“What’s a residential care facility?”
“Like a group home, where kids who can’t live with their families go.”
He moved his head from side to side in confusion. “Isn’t that a foster home?”
“No, a residential care facility is different. It can house many kids and there’s a more controlled environment.”
“As in strict?”
She nodded, “That’s why I’m asking all these questions. To see if maybe you would benefit more from a residential care facility or if you are simply in need of a place to stay.”
“He doesn’t need a place to stay he’s got one.” Cameron and the woman both looked in the direction of the voice to the man that was standing just outside the cell Cameron’s eyes widening in surprise