The lady at the center, Denise Walker, called the Tylerville Police Department in hopes of relaying a message to Officer Andrews. Blake sits nearby, quietly hoping that this works. He hopes that somehow Officer Andrews is able to reach his mother because he has no other means of reaching her. The person on the phone for the police station, Officer Gomez, speaks.
“I’m ready for the message. Feel free to proceed.”
“Okay… Blake Kimball wants Officer Andrews to call Blake’s mom.”
Denise finishes giving Blake’s message to Gomez. She hopes and prays that Officer Andrews is successful in reaching the boy’s mom. Blake, on the other hand, is silently praying that his mom’s heart will be softened so that she’ll take him back.
“Is there anything else you would like me to tell Officer Andrews?” Gomez asks Denise. Denise looks at Blake.
“Is there anything else you want to tell Officer Andrews?”
“Just ask him to see if my mom will let me come home,” Blake says, as a tear rolls down his face.
Denise tells Officer Gomez what Blake said. Then Denise says goodbye and hangs up. Blake carefully reaches into the bag and pulls out the large orange that Officer Andrews gave him in his lunch.
Blake eats only half of the orange and then he thanks Denise and heads out to the bus stop. As he walks to the bus stop, he thinks about what the past two days have brought him. The world seems like a much friendlier place with Officer Andrews and his partner in it. It amazes him how complete strangers can care so much for someone they don’t know. He’s managed to get a new pair of gloves and a hat, got a free ride to the City Center Shelter, and gained two guardian angels. He finally has his first ray of sunshine since arriving in Tylerville. Meanwhile across town, Gomez is about to hand over the message to Officer Andrews.
Gomez picks up the phone and places a call, first on Officer Andrews’ landline and then on the cell phone. Trace answers his cell phone immediately when he sees that it’s the station calling. He could have blown it off, since he’s enjoying lunch with the love of his life at a local diner, but something tells him to answer it.
“Hey this is Trace, what’s up?”
“Trace, I have a message from Blake Kimball. Are you ready for it?”
“Sure go ahead!”
“He wants you to call his mother and see if he can come home.”
“Thanks Gomez. I want to call from the station, so I’ll be up there in about ten to fifteen minutes.”
Ian heard Travis’ side of the conversation and had that “What’s up?” look on his face.
“That was Gomez, Blake wants me to call his mom and see if he can come home.”
Ian’s heart wanted to break in half and so did Trace’s. It’s quite probable that they know her answer already. They finish their lunches pay the bill, and then off they go to the police station.
Arriving at the station, Trace seeks out the police chief to get the okay to place the call from the station.
“Hey Cap, I was wondering if I could use a phone to place a call on behalf of a kid who’s living on the streets.”
“What’s the call about?” the chief asked out of curiosity, but also to make sure that the phones aren’t tied up over something stupid.
“The boy wants permission from his parents to return home,” Trace said to the chief, hoping that he okays the call, because he hates the idea of breaking his promise to Blake.
“Under the circumstances, Officer, feel free to use the phone and I want to know the results of the call when you’re done.”
Trace can’t be happier and almost tells the chief that he owes him one, but decides not to.
He walks out to Gomez and gets the number, then proceeds to the first free phone and dials the number. He almost wishes that no one picks up because his anger is already climbing.
“Hello, Kimball residence. Is this really the Tylerville Police station calling?”
“Yes it is,” Trace said to the lady on the phone. He assumes that the lady is Blake’s mom.
“Is there a problem officer?”
“What an understatement,” Trace thinks as he prepares himself to talk to whomever is on the phone. He’s trying to hold back the anger so he doesn’t explode on her.
“Ma’am, my name is Officer Andrews. First off, are you aware that Miss Rebecca Kimball is dead? Second, is Blake Kimball your son?”
“No… no, I was not aware that she died. Are you sure she is dead? Do you know how she died?”
Wow… lots of concern there for her son. She didn’t even know that Miss Kimball is dead. It would appear that no one called to check up on Blake since he showed up in the city.
“Yes, I’m sure that she is dead. No… sorry, I don’t know how she died. Are you Blake Kimball’s mom?”
“How long has she been dead?”
“Seven months, ma’am. Now please answer my question. Are you Blake Kimball’s mom?”
“Why didn’t anyone contact us about her death?”
“Honestly, I don’t know ma’am. It’s not my job to contact family members. Now for the last time, are you Blake Kimball’s mom?”
“Officer Andrews, I heard you the first time you asked me about Blake. The answer is yes. I am Blake’s mother.”
Trace can’t believe the nerve of this woman. She acts as though the dead aunt is more important than her live son.
“I can only assume that since you didn’t know about Miss Kimball’s death, that you also do not know that your son has been living on the streets here in Tylerville since he arrived here.” He flat out told her about the issue at hand and then waited for a response. No doubt, her reply will only help to raise his blood pressure. He thinks, “Man, I wish the chief could hear this phone call.”
“No, I was not aware that my son was on the streets, but that isn’t my problem, now is it? You see, Blake is gay, so we kicked him out of the house to protect the rest of the family from his evil influence. Do you have kids?”
He knew her response would cause him to reach the boiling point.
“Ma’am… whether I have kids or not isn’t the issue here, the issue is your son is living on the streets and you aren’t aware of it.”
“I believe you’ve already mentioned the fact that Blake is homeless. Has he given up on being gay? What I want to know is did anyone contact Rebecca’s niece Lisa White from Chicago?”
“NO MA’AM… no one contacted Lisa White. And no, I will not be contacting her either, but if you would like to, feel free to do so. And I didn’t call you to discuss your son’s sexuality with you. Now since Rebecca is dead, will you be paying for his ticket home?”
“NO… I will not be paying for his ticket home.”
Suddenly Trace had an idea.
“Can you hold for a minute?”
“I can wait.”
“It would serve her right if I never come back to the phone! Too bad the she isn’t paying for the call.” Trace thinks as he approaches Ian.
“Honey, let’s take Blake into our house,” Trace says with a big smile on his face. Ian thinks for a second, smiles and then gives his partner a big hug. All it took was that hug from Ian, and Trace has calmed down a bit.
“Thank you for holding, ma’am. I need to know what you want me to do with Blake. My options right now are to call child protective services in your state or you can relinquish your rights as parents and turning him over to another couple to adopt him.”
There’s silence on the phone for a few seconds and then, in the background, he thinks he hears talking.
“Officer, would you really call CPS on a parent who was just protecting their other kids?”
“In case you didn’t hear me, his aunt has been dead for seven months, he has never lived with that relative, and you apparently have never called to check on him, so yes, I would call CPS on you. I have no doubt that if I called CPS that you would lose the rest of your children and serve some jail time.”
Again there was silence on the phone.
“Officer, Lisa White needs to know that her aunt is dead.”
“Ma’am… once again, I am not contacting Lisa White. I need to know what you want me to do with your son. He can’t keep living on the streets.”
“Frankly, officer, for all I care he can stay on the streets. He’s evil and he is not coming home until every thought he has of him being gay is gone from his mind.”
“Ma’am… you haven’t answered my question, do you want the state to place your son with another family?”
“Fine! If it makes you happy, you can send him to another family. Now, I need to call Rebecca’s niece, since your police department will not take care it.” Trace wants to chew Blake’s mom out, but she hangs up.
There is no reason for her behavior towards her son. He cannot believe that anyone could treat their child this way. This has been one of those cases that have gotten under his skin. He’s glad that she decided to give him up. Still, they deserve to be punished for their actions. Why is he torn on this? He knows that he needs to report them, but he also doesn’t feel that the other kids are in danger. He gets up and goes to Ian. One look is all it takes for Ian to see that Trace is drained of all emotion. He’s ready to spill the story of the phone call to Ian, but decides instead to talk with his chief. Knocking on the door, he announces himself to the chief.
The chief calls him into the office. Trace sits down in front of the chief. “How did the phone call go?” the chief asked Trace. Apparently, he couldn’t read Trace’s face or his body language, because he would already have his answer.
“Well, the mother didn’t know that the relative that her son was supposed to be living with has been dead for seven months. She didn’t know that he was living on our streets. Chief, Ian and I would like to take him as our son, and so I gave her the option of calling CPS on them or relinquishing their parental rights. They chose to give up their parental rights, but I still feel that they need to be reported.”
The chief looked at Trace and posed a question.
“Will anything really be accomplished by reporting them to CPS?”
Trace stops to think. He already knows that nothing will be accomplished. Even if they do call, they won’t find any signs of abuse in the other kids, and they’ll walk away. Unless another child is gay in the family, the other kids aren’t in danger.
“No sir,” Trace answers. “I’ll be going now, Cap. Thanks for letting me make the phone call.”
“Good work, Officer Andrews,” the chief says and returns to the reports on his desk.
Trace is unsure of what to do next for Blake. One way or another, Blake needs to know what his mom said on the phone. He just can’t picture a nice kid like Blake being evil. Nor can he imagine what it must feel like to be disowned by your parents because of who you are. Trace comes out of the office and goes over to Ian.
As Trace is ready to leave the station and walks up to Ian, he looks at him and signals for him to get up. Once outside and in the parking lot, Trace gets into the passenger side of the car. Ian gets in on the driver side and asks where they’re going. Trace tells him to go to the shelter. A few minutes later, Trace steps out of the car and approaches the front door. He pushes the door bell and immediately a voice comes across the speaker.
“Can I help you?”
“My name is Officer Trace Andrews. I’m here to deliver a message to Blake Kimball.”
He shows his badge to the camera. The person at the mic tells Trace that Blake left the shelter forty minutes before. Now he has no way of knowing where to look for him. Suddenly, he comes to a complete stop and he thinks for a minute, then it hits him that he might be headed back to the building that is close to the school he’s attending. Trace takes out his radio and says:
“This is Officer Andrews, is there an officer who can check the old Wescott building for a 15 year old named Blake Kimball. He’s a homeless kid who’s been sleeping in the building. If he’s there just keep him there till I arrive. Do not mess with him, just tell him that I’m coming.”
Trace hopes his plan will work. A few minutes go by and then a fellow officer calls in on the radio.
“Officer Andrews, Officer Scott here, I’ve found Blake and he’s waiting patiently for you inside my squad car.”
“10-4, why is he in your car?”
Trace doesn’t understand why, after being told not to mess with him, he would be inside the car.
“He’s just a little cold.”
“10-4. Thank you, Officer Scott!”
Trace gets back into the car and tells Ian to head for the old Wescott building. Ian doesn’t know how to get there, so Trace takes the wheel. He hopes to get there before Officer Scott goes off duty.
They arrive at the building in ten minutes. The patrol car is still running to keep the heat circulating in the car. Trace steps out of the car and knocks on the window of the squad car. Officer Scott rolls down the window and Trace asks if he can speak with Blake alone. Officer Scott steps out of the car. Trace gets into the car and looks back at Blake.
“Blake, I did as you asked, but I don’t think you’re going to like what your mom had to say.”
“Why? What did she say?”
Blake knows what she said, but he feels he has to ask anyway.
“She… she said that you can’t come back unless you can quit being gay.”
Blake didn’t say anything. He starts to cry. Trace isn’t sure he can finish what he has to say without crying himself.
“I did get permission for you to be taken in by a foster family, so we can get you off the streets.”
Blake hears what Trace is saying, but he doesn’t respond. He doesn’t want to be put into a home. He’s heard one too many stories of kids being abused or killed by their foster parents. His fear and sadness can be read like a book now. Trace looks him in the eyes and asks:
“Would you like to live with me and my partner?”
Blake looks up and faint smile comes across his face. He can’t believe that he might finally have a home where he’ll not only be loved, but also supported.
Trace wants to hug him, but he can’t reach him.
“You’ll need to be where I can find you, okay?”