14. The justice system in this town sucks
Listening to the ducks quack as they scrambled for bread and hearing a dog bark in the distance, Lucas stared out at the water, admiring the way the sunlight illuminated it. As a gentle wind tickled about his flesh, Lucas found his eyes being drawn to a lone swan on the opposite side of the pond.
His knowledge of animals was limited so he couldn't tell if it was a male or female swan.
Crouching down, but not kneeling on the grassy earth, Lucas watched the swan from a smaller distance. For a few moments, the swan seemed to make eye-contact with him.
Casting a fleeting look to the other ducks gathered around the side of the pond where an old lady with a hideous cardigan was feeding them, Luacs stood up.
Lucas then found himself driving to Dean's house, wondering if the blonde had been taken home yet.
Trying not to make eye-contact with anyone, Lucas headed into the building and up to the reception desk enquiring after Dean's whereabouts.
Knowing his way around the hospital better than he ever cared to, Lucas easily found the ward Dean was in. Coming up to his friend's part of the room, Lucas spied three adults.
"Hey Lucas." Dean greeted his voice sounding a little tired.
"Dean, I'm so sorry." Lucas apologised as Mr and Mrs Evans looked between him and their son in confusion.
"Not your fault." Dean told him.
"Shouldn't you be at school, young man?" Mr Evans asked Lucas pointedly.
"Dad." Dean complained.
"Come on, dear. Let's get some coffee." Mrs Evans said to her husband. "Can I get you anything?" She asked Lucas.
"No thank you." He answered politely before she nodded and dragged Mr Evans away.
"There's gonna be some scarring." Dean told him rubbing a hand lightly over his stomach obviously self-conscious about such a fact.
"What happened? It was Josh wasn't it?" Lucas asked.
"Yeah." Dean replied quietly. "The police came to talk to me last night. I told them about the attack and I think they sent someone to talk to Josh's parents about it all but I'm not sure what's going on. At the moment they're treating my version of events as an accusation."
"What? That's ridiculous." Lucas claimed. "You have the injuries to prove an attack happened. Surely they have to do something about Josh other than talk to his parents."
"They might have taken him in for questioning or something, I don't know." Dean said. "But because Zack was a witness to the attack they're waiting for him to speak before they take anything further."
"Has he spoken yet?" Lucas asked and Dean shook his head.
"Elena came up to visit me yesterday and she did a little investigating." Dean informed him. "They actually ended up taking Zack to the psyche ward after they sorted out his ankle. The dude was in serious shock and nobody could make any sense of what he was mumbling."
"I heard a little of it yesterday." Lucas said. "He was saying that he tried to help, that he tried to stop it. Is that what happened? Did Zack try to stop Josh attacking you?"
"Maybe," Dean sighed. "I'm not sure. Josh came out of nowhere and attacked me from behind. He knocked me out with… I don't know. It must have been one of the chemicals from the science lab. He had whatever it was drenched on a cloth and he covered my nose and mouth with it. I don't know how or when Zack arrived on the scene. Then when I came to… Zack was freaking out, crying and begging. I managed to get up. I tried to surprise Josh and knock him out but it didn't work. We were fighting, all three of us. The next thing I knew there was a knife in my gut. I don't have a clue what happened in between. I guess that's another reason why my account of the attack is a little weak. I was drugged and knocked out. They could argue that the drugs or chemicals messed with my head and that I may not have seen what I thought I did. They took a urine sample last night, to test that I wasn't on drugs or anything voluntarily."
"That's crazy, why would they think you're on drugs?" Lucas asked.
"I'm a muscular guy." Dean pointed out. "So is Zack and with the way the dude was freaking out it isn't that surprising that they suspected we had a bad experience with steroids or something."
"So you're telling me Josh's going to get away with this?" Lucas questioned in horror. "He could have killed you."
"It wasn't a fatal blow." Dean told him. "Death was very unlikely. And there was no sign of Josh when Miss Blake and Coach Kennester got there and no weapon. If they'd gotten to the gym sooner and seen him our chances of getting Josh would be better. A teacher's word would be more credible than a student's."
"That attitude is completely unfair." Lucas huffed.
"I know, but that's the way it is." Dean said. "And Elena told me that she overheard the cops talking to Zack's parents. Apparently he's had minor offences to do with drugs before. That really doesn't help the situation."
"How is it possible that we have such unbelievably bad luck?" Lucas asked rhetorically. "I'm just so relieved that you're ok and nothing worse happened to you."
"Lucas, perhaps you should get yourself to school." Mrs Evans suggested as she reappeared with Mr Evans. "Dean needs a little more rest and a check-up before we can take him home."
"Feel better." Lucas told Dean gently before standing up and leaving, smiling meekly at Mrs Evans and avoiding eye-contact with Mr Evans before making his way out of the building.
Getting back in his car, he made the decision to drive to his boyfriend's house and spend the day there in Jensen's bedroom.
Stripping down to his underwear, Lucas curled up under the covers and hugged one of the pillows to his bare chest.
The week did not progress well. Aside from the scars, Dean was fine but confined to his bedroom by his mother to rest.
Coach Kennester, Coach Skyler, Miss Blake and the choir kids were furious. Although Coach Kennester had appealed to Gilligen to expel Josh, her attempts were all in vain as Josh was not formally charged with anything.
With Zack's bullying behaviour and past drug issues taken into account, the police easily believed that he was capable of attacking Dean.
"Why the hell would Zack admit to something he didn't even do?" Laura asked the others as they sat at their table in the cafeteria speaking in low voices.
"He must have been really traumatised by whatever happened." Jane said.
"What even happened?" Sakura asked.
"We'll probably never know." Benny answered.
"I don't like this." Molly whimpered. "School isn't supposed to be scary."
"Look, we just have to stay strong and stick together." Tatia ordered them.
"This is all because of me." Lucas said. "Everything that's happening is my fault."
"Hey, don't talk like that, Sweetie." Laura told him. "You're not to blame."
"It isn't your fault that Josh is a complete psycho and that Gilligen and the police are complete idiots." Elena added.
"Shouldn't the cops be doing more?" Brent asked. "I mean, Dean told them Josh was there but they're just ignoring that. Why are they accepting that Zack's the attacker so easily?"
"Because here people are guilty till proven innocent." Jake commented. "And the cops just want someone to blame. Zack decided to take the blame so they're not arguing with it. That way they don't have to do any proper work."
"The justice system in this town sucks." Sakura stated and the others nodded their agreement.
"The cops are just lazy; they're like most of the teachers at this school." Tatia said. "Most teachers see bullying and turn a blind eye. Cops see crime and evidence but turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. I know for a fact that some of the cops in this town know about Jensen's old pool cleaning business and what he was really getting paid to do. But they never did anything about it. Those old women were all breaking the law by paying to have sex with an underage boy. Nearly everybody in this town knows all about it yet the cops have never arrested a single MILF or cougar in this town for paedophilia."
"Not to mention all the things Coach Kennseter's gotten away with in the past." Elena added. "The police in this town just don't care; it's as simple as that."
"Maybe I should write a letter of complain to the President ." Jane mused. "Perhaps he can be convinced to assist small towns like ours with our seriously flawed legal systems. Who knows, the choir could even be invited to perform at the White House."
"Be realistic, Jane." Lucas told her. "Even if you sent the President a letter, the likelihood of him ever reading it himself is incredibly slim. I don't think I'm going to be joining you for choir practice today." Lucas continued. "I'm sorry but I don't wish to spend more time than necessary with the person who attacked Dean and continues to make our lives a living hell."
"We understand." Benny told him. "In fact I'm not going to choir practice either."
"Or me." Laura said and the others were all murmuring their agreement apart from Jane and Brent.
"Perhaps we could host rehearsals at my house." Jane suggested. "I would be happy to step into Mr. Blake's role as director until Josh is out of our way."
"I really like choir practice, I don't wanna not go." Brent said. "And Brad and all the band stuff is in the choir room."
"Well none of us wanna have to deal with Josh." Tatia replied. "If we do have choir practice then I vote for Bright's house."
"Me too." Molly agreed as did all the others.
"What about you Brent?" Jake asked.
"Ok, but should we tell Mr. Blake?" Brent questioned.
"No. I think the message will become clear when Josh's the only one who shows up." Laura said.
Friday evening, Lucas was watching T.V with his dad when he received a phone call.
"Hey beautiful." Jensen greeted down the phone.
"Jensen." Lucss breathed as he heard his boyfriend's voice. He wanted to say more but words failed him.
"Good news, babe." Jensen told him. "They're letting me back home tomorrow."
"That's wonderful." Lucas sighed as happy tears slipped down his face. "Jensen I've missed you so much."
"You too babe." Jensen replied. "Look, I don't have much phone time and I need to call my ma and let her know. But I'll come see you tomorrow as soon as I'm back. I love you, baby."
"I love you too." Lucas replied before the line went dead.