Over the summer they attended the meetings with her father dropping her off and Maverick bringing her back to the farm later in the evening. The next day was often the worst for her because she would still get up before the sunrise to do the chores she had been assigned. The fact she was different didn’t get her any special treatment on the farm. She was okay with that. Her parents divorce was being dragged out in the court system even though all the kids had said who they wanted to live with already and their parents were not contesting that at all.
Maverick knew that she had told the courts she didn’t care who she had to live with. Her father had taken most of the custody when it came to her but it was still a problem because of her being in college and her needing a ride to and from school. Her mother had little to no contact with her. Dawn wasn;t all that surprised by that either. He was though.
The time they had on the weekends she seemed a little more relaxed though she was often placed at odds with other members of the group. Maverick had joined and he found himself surrounded by the female half of the group constantly. He was not interested in trying to find a date before or after one of the meetings but they didn’t seem to get the hint.
“It is so cute how you dote on her.” One of the girls said to him before one of the meetings. “It is like you are her big brother that way. That is a real turn on.”
“Well I tend to look out for her.” Maverick said as he looked to the door to see if she was there yet. He didn’t like being in the room or even the building before her because of the onslaught of attention he would get. “She has been a good friend.”
“She has a crush on you as well. That is so cute.” The girl said.
“I don’t think she does. She doesn’t really work that way.” Maverick tried to explain but he knew it was pointless to really try. These science girls would try and beat him into submission most of the time but she somehow diverted their attention. He craned his next to see her walk in and then go down the hallway. “Excuse me.”
“Sure.” She said as he rushed out of the room to find Dawn walking down the hallway to the end as she was wiping her face. He could see she was crying.
“What is it?” He asked as he walked close to her. She jumped not realizing he was there. He didn’t think about that as he spoke but when he saw the handprint on her face he swept her into a hug and held her close. “Your mother’s night?”
“Afternoon.” She said as he rubbed her head. “She hated the idea that she had to bring me here or even have to have me at her house today. She was meaner than normal because of it. Something how I ruined her life and everything like that.”
“Dawn.” He said as he looked down at her and saw that she was going to cry again. “Sweetheart it is okay.”
“No, Mav it isn’t.” Dawn said. “Nothing is okay anymore. It was bad when all my friends couldn’t talk to me anymore because I was different but now my own mother hates me for something she did.”
“What do you mean something she did?” He asked as he continued to hold her close to him.
“You really think the divorce was because one of their kids is a genius?” Dawn asked. “My mother got caught having an affair. That is the real reason they split up though they have been for years. I am not supposed to say anything but I don’t remember my dad at her house unless it was a holiday or birthday.”
“Why didn’t you say something before this?” He asked, “You know I don’t care a lick about your family.” Maverick said, “Did you say something about the affair?”
“No.” She said with a slight hiccup, “She told my dad she was going somewhere with some of the kids and some would have to stay with him. The real story was she pawned off some off the kids on the older ones or their friends. Well one of them got sick and needed to go to the hospital but they could reach her. That was one of the kids she was supposed to have with her. He knew then.”
“Wow.” Maverick said. “But how is that your fault?”
“Apparently I was supposed to know how to fix the idiot.” Dawn replied and he chuckled. “That is my fault.”
“But?” Maverick was going to question it when the teacher who ran the group came into the hallway.
“We are waiting on you two.” He said loudly.
“Do you want to be here?” Maverick asked.
“I don’t have anywhere to be.” She said as she looked up to him.
“Then come on.” He said as he took her out of the building to the gasp of the older man.
“I don’t think he is going to be happy about that.” Dawn said.
“Tough.” Maverick said. “I don’t want to be there right now.”
“I guess you could take me to my dad’s.” She said with a sigh.
“Is he even there?” Maverick asked.
“No.” She said. “I even have the morning off because of it. He is with his new girlfriend.” Dawn said as she propped up on the concrete wall that surrounded the building.
“So your dad won’t be home in the morning either?” He asked.
“No. He had his workers come in for the weekend. To work double shifts. He wanted the weekend for her.” Dawn said.
“Then there is no one at your dad’s house?” He asked. “Not any of your brothers or sisters?”
“No.” She said, “But they aren’t normally there anyway. Dad said he can only handle having to deal with me there since she hates me.”
“Dawn, I can’t take you there if no one is there to watch you.” Maverick said.