Chapter 15: When it Rains it Pours
What were the odds that she was the other little girl’s mother?! I just about died when October Davis entered the room looking a bit frazzled. Her concern for her daughter was apparent as she directed her attention first and foremost to the redhead teen who was sitting next to my own daughter. I could definitely see the resemblance between the two now.
I was almost back from the estuary where some boaters had sprung a leak and needed assistance when Mrs. Williams’ secretary called my cell. So, it took me a minute to get back to dry land and to my truck.
Truth be told, I’d only arrived at the Summer Center a few minutes ahead of Doctor Davis.
If I hadn’t been so pissed at the little blonde for existing, I would have stood up to the uppity superintendent who was late herself, coming in the building at the same time as me, then stepping out to take a personal call just before October arrived.
Like the other two parents, I hadn’t been informed yet about what happened between our kids, though from Rainie’s calm yet irritated attitude, I could tell she figured that she wasn’t in the wrong, which eased my fears just a bit. Surely Rainie hadn’t caused the sniveling boy across the room to bleed?!
The African American boy with closely cropped hair was twice her size and looked like he could be Olympic strongman Mark Henry’s kid.
Mrs. Williams, to my further irritation, directed October to sit next to me on the ridiculously small bench in the corner of the room. The office was definitely not designed for adult seating. Determined that I wasn’t going to show her any courtesy, I maintained my glaring expression, moving over an inch as she sat down with an equal amount of determined attitude.
Then it happened - she touched me, and I forgot all about the real reason we were even here.
Of course, it was unintentional - her shoulder against my arm as we shared the cramped bench unwillingly. Nonetheless, it was physical contact, and I felt every hair on my body stand on end.
“Fuck no! This is not happening! Not here, not now, and definitely NOT HER!” I screamed inside my mind as my vision seemed to blur momentarily. This had to be a mistake!
As a shifter, I experienced touch a bit differently than my non-shifter human counterparts. When shifters come into contact with certain people our animal-instincts kick in. So, for example, shaking hands with a mortal enemy triggers that inner alarm sending us into defense-mode.
But my dolphin-sense wasn’t picking up an enemy at the moment, and defense-mode was nowhere near the feeling I was getting. Instead, I felt extremely protective and possessive (well, as possessive as dolphins get, which compared to wolves, isn’t all that possessive). I knew exactly what this feeling was, and I was petrified.
Dr. October Davis was my soul mate! What had I done to the universe to deserve this?! I was screwed!
“Let’s begin, shall we?” Mrs. Williams’ voice brought me back to the here and now as I tried to discreetly put more distance between myself and the woman beside me. I didn’t want to feel the connection between us now, or ever!
“Rainie, why don’t you start? Tell us what happened.” The superintendent began and I focused on my daughter, pushing aside my revelation as the matter at hand was more important. Things weren’t boding well as it was, and if October’s daughter got my daughter in trouble, things were about to get worse.
“Well, ma’am, Kyle was saying some really mean things to Anne, and I told him to quit picking on her. But he wouldn’t. Then she yelled at him and he got all up in her face like he was going to...” She paused, trying to grasp the right words, “I don’t know, I just felt like... Uh, he looked like he might hurt her.”
She paused again, having a difficult time explaining herself as she looked down at her hands and then back at the superintendent apprehensively.
“What did he say, Rainie?” the woman prompted.
She took a deep breath, glancing over at the girl next to her, and then replied, “Uh, he said... Well, he said that her mom was a bad person because she stole his dad’s job and that they both have no right to be here and should leave and that he didn’t want her in his school.”
I hadn’t necessarily expected that turn of events, thinking the kid would have been picking on her hair or some other dumb preteen boy thing, and I shifted uneasily on the bench as my attention was forced back to the veterinarian. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had it out for her and her job at the aquarium.
October obviously hadn’t expected her job to be the subject at hand, as she looked on wide eyed, glancing over to Kyle and his mother. It seemed the boy’s mother was mortified as she propped her son up, coddling him no more.
“Then what happened,” Mrs. Williams ushered.
“So, when he got in her face, she kinda pushed him away - not hard or anything, telling him to quit. But he just came back.” She paused, “And so I punched him in the nose.”
“But what about his eye?!” Kyle’s mom exclaimed for her side of the room, now ready to defend her bully of a kid, and my glare moved over to her.
Rainie swallowed nervously, and Mrs. Williams gently told her to continue. “His nose was bleeding, and he got really mad and pushed me.”
At that moment I started to rise from the bench - anybody who laid a hand on my daughter was going to die, especially a boy twice her size!
“Mr. Waters, stay seated please!” Mrs. Williams warned coolly, and I froze - every muscle in my body tense and my expression calculating, as October eyed me nervously, unsure if it was safe to be sitting next to me. It probably wasn’t.
“Go on, dear.”
“Well, after he pushed me, Anne punched him in the eye. And then that’s when Mr. Talbot came over and stopped us.”
“I see,” came the superintendent’s cool reply. “So, you threw the first punch?”
Rainie guiltily nodded, then looked down at her hands again, as Anne reached over and patted her arm before Mrs. Williams glared at the other girl for interfering.
I couldn’t hold back any longer, and my voice came out louder than I had intended, “Are you really insinuating that Rainie started this?”
“No, Mr. Waters, I’m not saying that at all. If she’s telling the truth, then...”
“Telling the truth?! Of course, she’s telling the truth!” I cut her off.
Stunned, the superintendent carefully continued, “Well, we haven’t heard from the other two yet. Let’s give everyone a chance to tell their side of the story.”
Both, October and I simultaneously threw visual daggers in Kyle’s direction, and his mother, obviously feeling the heat, looked at her son angrily, pulling his hand with the ice pack down so that he had to look her fully in the eye. We could all see his swollen and bruising face - it did look pretty bad.
“Is that true, Kyle? You speak up now, you hear?!” She said sternly.
Everyone in the room had turned their attention to the boy, who finally whispered an answer so softly that only his mom could hear.
“Speak up, son. You be honest now!” She boomed.
“Yes, ma’am,” he mumbled.
“Yes, ma’am, what?” his mother urged angrily.
“Yes, ma’am, she’s telling the truth.” He was defeated and looked like he was going to be sick.
I was relieved that I wasn’t going to have to fight his mother, and October, Anne, and Rainie all seemed to breath a collective sigh of relief at his admission.
Kyle’s mother on the other hand looked at both me and October in earnest as she wrung her hands, her fierce attitude put aside, “I am so sorry! You see my husband used to work at the aquarium doing logistics, and got laid off after... And, well, things have been a bit difficult for him, having to work two jobs to make ends meet and all. And I guess my son just... Well, you know, my husband was angry for a while and would say things while he was upset. But we don’t really blame you Ms., uh, Dr. Davis. It’s just been hard on our family.”
October squirmed a little, unsure of how to handle the awkward situation, and just smiled weakly and nodded.
“Very well, that makes things a little easier. Thank you for your honesty, Kyle,” Mrs. Williams interrupted as she tried to diffuse the tension between the adults, effectively pulling the attention back to herself.
“As you should know when you signed your kids up for the summer, we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding fighting here at the Summer Center. So, according to the standards of the Center, I am going to suspend all three students for an entire week.”
At that moment, three very angry parents simultaneously stood up and the tiny room became very loud.