Chapter 12: Discovered
Copyright© 2010-2011 Ezzy Black All rights reserved.
Drama Sex Story: Chapter 12: Discovered - A desperate teen runaway, danger and rescue on the high seas, even a little courtroom drama follows Rebecca, Tony, Tina and Chaos on their summer adventure aboard the yacht Kalliste. Tony pulls little Anita out of the dark waters of the Atlantic, but in the end, who really rescues who?
The next two days were relaxing for everyone but Tina. Where their band had come to the festival ready made and rehearsed they were the only ones. Their performances the following week were far from the only ones. There were jazz trios, string quartets and various other groups that, though they had been selected in advance, had never met each other, let alone played together before. Tina was to play with the full orchestra though it seemed like she had been selected for both violin and flute. She had three different performances to rehearse for the next week including one in the state park the morning of the band's beach show on Wednesday.
Trouble, such as it was, even managed to wait until Thursday after lunch. A graying gentleman in his late forties or early fifties approached Kalliste early in the afternoon. Tony was playing his acoustic while Anita listened. When the man waved Tony stood and asked Anita to take his guitar below. "Can I help you sir?"
"Ah, yes. This is the Kalliste I'm looking for a Mr. Smith."
"I'm Tony Smith sir."
"Oh, but I'm sure I'm looking for your father then."
"Probably not. He's in Savannah. Do you have a first name?"
"Well yes it says Tony here. I just thought he might be the senior."
"No sir, my father's name is Jim, James actually."
"Oh, well I guess I am looking for you then. My name is Rupert Winslow. I'm with the New Jersey Child Welfare Service."
"OK, come aboard Mr. Winslow." Tony felt an eerie calm wash over him as the man boarded the boat. "Have a seat sir, we'll talk out here. Can I get you something? Iced tea perhaps?"
The man had a slight sheen on his forehead as if he was not used to even the exertion it took to walk the length of the dock. "Why thank you, it's quite warm today." Warm, Tony realized, was relative. It was only in the mid eighties. It was probably ten degrees warmer in Savannah, with double the humidity.
Before Tony could get up Anita came across the deck. She was very polite when Tony introduced her to Mr. Winslow and asked her to bring them both a glass of tea.
"I must say Mr. Smith this is a magnificent boat. The office told me it was registered to you, unusual for such a young man."
"Yes, it is. She was my Granddaddy's. My mother was their only child and never really caught the bug. I have been sailing on this boat since I could walk; probably before that. He left her to me when he died."
"I see, well you certainly seem to have kept her up well. Now, as to why I'm here." He pulled a five by seven photo out of a folder he was carrying and handed it to Tony. "Have you seen this girl?"
It appeared to Tony to be a school photo of Cheri taken probably two years before. "It's an old photo but yes, I know her. Her name is Cheri Harris."
"Miss Harris has been missing from her home in Newark for almost four weeks."
"I'm aware of that. She has many good reasons for that. The two most important are the people who dare to call themselves her parents."
"I don't understand."
"I don't suspect you do." Tony was beyond just his serious side now, he was a bit angry. "Do parents of runaways ever come right out and tell you how they physically, mentally, and sexually abuse them? I mean you ask them, right? Any of them ever say 'Well Rupert, I guess she was a little upset after I broke her ribs and her cheek. Or maybe it could have been because I liked to watch her take a shower.' They don't really come right out and tell you those things, do they?"
"You know this to be true?"
"I already knew it was true, Cheri told us, but I got evidence of some of it this morning."
"Yes, a doctor's report."
"I see. So you have proof she was abused at home?"
"Yes. Like I said, there are very good reasons she left there and very good reasons she shouldn't go back. We..." Tony halted as Anita came up with two tall glasses of iced tea and set them on the coffee table. When they thanked her and she left he continued, "We have no intention of allowing them anywhere near her again."
"Do you know where she is now?"
"Yep, it's a thing girls do and believe me these girls are the best I've seen at it."
That brought a tiny smile even to the dour Mr. Winslow's face. "Who are the girls?"
"Well there are ten of us, four boys and six girls. The guys are all seventeen. Anita will be twelve next week. The other girls are between fifteen and seventeen."
"So Cheri is staying here on the boat with nine other teenagers?"
"Not exactly, we have a condo here as well. Only six are sleeping on the boat. Six is comfortable. Ten would be a bit crowded."
"Why here though? Did you just meet Cheri on the street?"
"Oh, no! Yeah I guess that should be explained. One of the girls is Cheri's cousin Rebecca."
"Cousin? The parents said she had no living relatives."
"Yeah, well they don't seem to have such a great track record going so far, do they? If you'll wait here for a minute it will all make more sense." Tony went below and retrieved the folder he had begun making for his mom and a couple of other items and went back up. When he sat down the first item he put on the table was the newspaper article from several days ago.
"Cheri Harris had been living under the pier down the road for almost three weeks. That's how she found us." He pointed at the paper.
"I saw this. You are the teenagers that rescued that family! Oh, and this is Anita."
"Yes, the family came to visit us when we got here. Anita wanted to stay for a while so we're keeping her for another week or so. Anyway see the caption and the picture. This girl here, that's Rebecca Harris, Cheri's cousin. She moved to Savannah last year. Cheri saw the picture in the paper and found us here."
"I see, that makes sense, and Rebecca's parents?"
"Marj and Chris Harris, they're fine. Rebecca's my girlfriend, I see her parents most every day." Tony handed over the doctor's report from just that morning. It indicated an incompletely healed hairline fracture of the left cheek, the same for two cracked ribs, and scarring on her backside from being whipped with a thin rod of some sort. Tony waited and watched as various emotions played across Mr. Winslow's face until he settled decidedly on anger.
He looked up at Tony shaking his head. "Twenty three years in this job and I never get used to this kind of thing."
"My guess, sir, is that if you ever do, it's time to retire."
He gave Tony a thoughtful look for a second and then nodded. "I guess you're right. I work with a lot of people who seem inured to it. I don't consider them to be," he paused to think, "the best of our profession."
They were interrupted by Chrissie, Rebecca, and Cheri walking up, arms full of paper grocery sacks. Oh girls you have really bad timing, Tony thought. "Tony we have another load, can you help us?" Chrissie shouted as she walked up the gangplank.
"Hi girls," Tony shouted. "I have a guest. Ask Anita to help you please."
"Oh, no, I insist, let me help the ladies out," Mr. Winslow said.
"Alright, if you don't mind; girls this is Mr. Winslow, we were discussing some business."
A chorus of hello's greeted him as Tony stuffed the items they had been looking at back into the envelope. It actually took all six of them to get everything in one more trip. Buying food for ten is a large task. The girls gave him questioning looks after having interrogated Anita and getting no information. Still they said nothing and as Tony and his guest sat back down to their discussion they began the task of putting away all of the groceries.
"She's not with them?" Mr. Winslow asked.
Tony chuckled. "She could barely read the newspaper article. The first thing we did was take her down and get her some glasses. I'm not sure why she's not wearing any in that old picture. She had some but they got broken."
"Oh, she's the girl with the glasses! That's Cheri. I didn't recognize her."
"Believe me she looks nothing like the girl who showed up here the other day. The girls just threw away all of her clothes because they were so worn and bought her all new stuff."
"And the smaller girl, that's Rebecca? There doesn't seem to be a family resemblance there."
"Well one brother married an Irish girl and the other married a Japanese girl. That's got to ruin the whole family resemblance thing," Tony replied.
"Look Mr. Winslow," Tony said. Girlish laughter wafted up from below as the girls continued their work. "You've seen her. You've seen where's she staying, you see some of her new friends and her cousin. Where is she better off right now?"
"Oh, right now she's better off here Mr. Smith. Believe me, I have no intention of doing anything rash. There are certainly legal considerations. This isn't a long term solution."
"Oh, of course not," Tony said and opened the folder back up and pulled out his mother's business card and handed it to Mr. Winslow. "That's my mother. She will be representing Marj and Chris Harris. They are going to sue for custody of Cheri. The legal wheels are already in motion."
"Her aunt and uncle have agreed to this?"
"Well the last we heard from Marj was she was already cleaning out the spare bedroom, so yes, absolutely."
"Well that makes a difference. I have no doubt I can have her parents declared unfit. The problem is keeping her from becoming a ward of the state until the custody trial. I know someone. He advocates for kids like her. He may know something that could help. Right now I think you actually have some rights. Scott will know better. But the parents will be declared unfit retroactively. The first time they put her in clear and present danger they lose their rights. Ahh, I'm just conjecturing here, I'm not a lawyer. Let me see what I can find out. Do you think I can talk to her a minute?"
"Mr. Winslow you need to understand, you represent the two things that Cheri fears most. First you are a man, and she's scared to death of most any man but me and my friends. Second you represent the man who can send her back to her stepfather. She's going to be terrified of you."
"I just need to ask her one question is all. I need to ask her what she wants. She's old enough that a judge will listen to what she says."
"OK, hang on, let me talk to her." Tony stood and made his way to the salon. As soon as he got there the questions started from four different directions. Tony simply held up his hands, palms out and said, "Later. Cheri I need you to come talk to this man. He's only going to ask you one question and that's if you want to be here, OK?"
"OK," she replied quietly. She walked forward and took Tony's hand and let him lead her up on deck. He stopped about ten feet from Mr. Winslow.
"Cheri this is Mr. Winslow. He works for the State of New Jersey. He's been working on your problem with me this afternoon."
"Hello sir," she said softly.
"Hello Cheri, it's nice to finally meet you," he replied. "Your friend Mr. Smith here has told me about what happened. You won't have to go back home. Either this afternoon or early in the morning I'm going to have your stepfather and mother declared unfit parents so they have no claim on you. Is that OK?"
Cheri nodded. "If that means I don't have to go back there."
"OK, Tony tells me you want to stay here for now, then go back home with your cousin and aunt and uncle to live in Georgia. Is that right?"