Stood on my current foster mother’s front doorstep at 1am in the morning. I give her what I hope comes across an innocent smile. So that she ignores the two pigs stood behind me with stern faces. I swear they have got it out for me.
“Hey Julie.” I say still giving her what I hope is an innocent smile. I know no one understands me. Least of all her. Okay I get it I’m a bad kid. I was labelled it when I was 11 years old, and I’ve possibly fit that description ever since. Maybe even before that.
“What has she done now?” Julie sighs sounding exhausted with me. The officer tells her where they found me.
“Snitch.” I mumble loud enough for him to hear me. I don’t care what they think of me anymore. They have all already made their judgements after all. It was only a little bit of breaking an entry and damage of property oh and using his computer so they will take his computer and realize the guys a Pedo. It wasn’t that bad.
“Codi.” She sighs out my name looking at me, like I’ve hurt her. Her eyes soften as if knowing what she has to do may hurt me. hey, she had the patience of a saint for me to get that look from her I knew I had crossed to many lines.
“I thought you were in bed Codi, you went to bed hours ago.” She sighs.
“I’m sorry I can’t. I just can’t do this anymore.” She sighs looking at the officers over my shoulders.
“We understand, we will be taking Claire down the station.” One of the officers says his hand on my shoulder.
“You can’t help those that don’t want to be helped Julie. You tried with Claire.” I hear him reassure Julie.
“Go and collect your stuff, Claire.” I’m told. I nod and I go do just that. Julie moving so I can get into the house. When I’ve thrown everything, I own into my bag I’ve had since I first went into the care system, I walk down the stairs. I can hear Julie talking with the officers she says my social workers name so must be on the phone. I feel slightly guilty that I’ve caused Julie and my social worker to be awake at this time of the morning. But I shake it off. When they all notice me, my foster mom gives me a look her cheeks wet from tears, that she didn’t have to cry about me. I look down at the floor not wanting to face the disappointment in her eyes.
“Come then Claire.” One of the pigs says.
“it’s Codi.” I snark.
“Claire Hart.” The pig says. with heavy efferences on the name Claire. The name I hate. He gives me a look, how he had caught me with his pot belly that hangs slightly over his pants makes me feel like I need to work out more.
“It is time to go.” I’m told.
“I’m sorry Codi. But I don’t feel like this is the right home for you.” Julie tells me sadly. I nod. I follow the officers out the house. That had never and would never be my home. One of them opens the back of the cop car and I climb in. I force myself not to look back as the door is slammed. Then the two of them walk and climb in the front. I keep my head facing forward.
“Where to now? Back to the group home? back to Juvi?” I question looking at the back of both their heads. not looking at the house that I have stayed in the past two months. Yep, they sent me to Juvi, and I still hadn’t changed. I think they all know I will rot in prison when I’m older.
“A night at the station.” I’m told, by one of them as he looks at me in his mirror.
“But that doesn’t mean you won’t end up back in Juvi Claire.” The cop says looking at me in the mirror. I nod my understanding. They drive me to their station in almost silence only talking to each other. It’s a dance I’ve done with these two quite a few times since I arrived here. I tie my naturally straight dark hair up into a messy bun on top of my head. My hair is so dark that in most lights it looks black, but when you take a closer look, you can see the burgundy, copper and reds running throughout. When we get back to the station, I take in my social worker Nicola waiting for me. I look at the ground. Not wanting to face her disappointment. She has been kind to me since I met her when she came to Juvi to introduce herself. She gave a shot to the kid that no one really had before. She possibly regrets it most days when she gets dragged here to deal with me.
“Two months Codi.” She sighs I can hear her frustration, without even looking up at her I know she is fretting about what she can do with me next. she’s adamant that I just need a shot. that my distrust of people and life is what stops me from being able to settle into a normal life.
“Codi.” She sighs as I just look at the floor.
“Why Codi? two months.” She sighs.
“She did well didn’t she.” I say weakly looking at my toe peeking out the side of my sneakers.
“Maybe you guys should let her foster one of the cute kids, she deserves a rest after dealing with me for so long.” I say, not looking up from my toe.
“Codi.” my social worker sighs.
“Sit down Claire.” One of the officers says firmly. I sit down, still looking at my toe.
“Codi.” Nicola sighs again. Forcing myself to look up I take in her blue eyes that look exhausted. This job had aged Nicola before her time.
“Codi. Perhaps it is time that you move away from here for a while and go to stay with your uncle.” She sighs. I scrunch up my nose slightly.
“I have an uncle?” I question, never hearing about one in the past.
“I have been looking into your family Codi.” She sighs. I doubt it as she doesn’t even know my real name. Claire Hart is who they believe I am. I have never corrected that, and I never will. Phoenix Harper is a ghost in the system and in truth has been dead far longer than she ever got a chance to live. So, in truth has Claire Hart. After all I plucked her name and date of birth of a death certificate when I was 9 years old. It’s one of the main reasons I hate it when people call me Claire. My name isn’t Claire. It never has been and never really will be. Codi is the nickname I got in Juvi because of my unique skills of hacking. Codi is the name I like. Codi is the name that feels like it truly belongs just to me.
“Your uncle lives in a small beach town in South Carolina.” She starts. I screw up my face even more.
“No thanks.” I say, hoping that’s the end of that. He isn’t my uncle, and I don’t want to move to live with someone I don’t know. in a town I know nothing about. it was hard enough coming here to start with.
“I don’t want to live with a stranger. Who my mom never mentioned? Millions of miles away from here. It was bad enough moving here. I don’t want to keep being moved about.” I whine looking at her now.
“Well, we have already contacted him, he is technically your last living relative.” She informs me firmly.
“Let me guess you gave him the I’m just a miss understood kid speech and told him that I’ve just got out of Juvi 20 months ago. that I’ve been kicked out of 10 different foster homes since then. that you’ve now had enough of me so sending me to another state to deal with.” I say glaring at her.
“Not quite like that.” She says giving me a look. She knows when not to back down. I know I’m not her first complicated child and I doubt I will be her last. She looks me in the eyes not backing down. I sigh and look back down at my toe peeking out my sneaker.
“Does the poor man even know what he’s going to be dealing with.” I question my toe.
“I don’t know you could change, you could actually try.” She suggests. I scoff
“How long have you got on it till I’m in Juvi again?” I question the officer who picked me up today. I suspect there is a bet pool going. I sometimes want to say $20 I don't last the rest of the year.
“So, if I have this make-believe uncle why have I never been sent to him before? Why didn’t I get sent straight to him after Juvi?”
“Come on I got out of Juvi almost two years ago now, I’m 16 years old now. I’m more than able to look after myself.” I point out. not that they will just let someone with as big a criminal record as me be an emancipated minor.
“You are an amazing smart girl Codi, you just have not had the best start to.” Nicola starts.
“Oh, you really did give him the I’m misunderstood speech?” I interrupt her.
“Codi.” She sighs.
“I don’t want to hear about it. Nicola just get on with sending me away from here. You’ve already made up your mind after all.” I say crossing my arms. She starts to say a lot. But in all honestly, I stop really listening to her. I don’t want to say I’m sulking, but I admit it I’m sulking.