Integral Instruments - With prelude to Justified Voices (Book 7)

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Meg was dropping Piper and Elle off at their new school, with their body guards and I was currently following Arlee to her new school, with her BG close behind.

I had to admit, Liv had picked some good ones. Very friendly looking, young guys who were trained in taeboe, or something like that. They wouldn’t stand out a bit, in the settings we were placing them in.

Meg and I had met them on Saturday and the girls met them on Sunday, when the men started at their positions.

The two for the younger girls looked like kindergarten teachers, but apparently they were deadly.

Once I introduced Piper to Brody, her guard, she had a slew of questions.

“You mean he’s going to kill somebody?” Piper asked, wide eyed.

“No, baby.” I told her, “Brody doesn’t kill people. He keeps you safe and gives the bad guys to the police.”

“Mr. Brody,” She turned to ask him, “Do you hurt the bad guys?”

“Only if the bad guy is a grown up and he or she tries to hurt you.” He grinned and got down to her level, “Your daddy pays me to keep an eye on you and make sure no grownups try to hurt you, but if they don’t hurt you I will stay quiet and just watch everyone around you.”

“So if I talk to grown ups I’m fine?”

“You are always fine, baby.” I gave her a kiss on the cheek, “But if someone grabs you, Brody here will send him to the police.”

“You mean, Arlee’s daddy won’t be able to take me?”

I inhaled sharply, “I’m also Arlee’s daddy now baby, and Arlee will have her own bodyguard. Elle will too.”

“And he will follow me everywhere?” She looked back up at Brody with wide eyes.

“Almost everywhere.” I smiled, “Go about your business today and you’ll see what we mean.”

“But what if I just want to read a book?” She asked.

“Then I will be reading a book somewhere nearby.” He did have a friendly smile, “You will always be able to see me and I will always be able to see you.”

With that, she gave a nod and announced she was going into the yard to read her book.

Elle took it... Well, as we assumed she would.

“Elle, this is Chad, he’s going to watch over you and keep you safe.”

“Safe how?” She scrutinized him.

“When your away from your mom or me he’ll watch out for you just like we would. He’s there to make sure no bad people hurt you.”

“If they hurt me does hurt them?” Her eyes were their normal saucers of over exaggeration.

“If they are a grown up, I try to hold them down until the police come.” He told her with a smile.

“Cool! Can I watch?”

“Elle, we’re hoping it doesn’t come to that.” I chuckled.

Arlee didn’t take as well as either of the girls though.

Colby, her guard, looked like an over pumped high school jock, and appeared to have the attitude of one too.

“So he’s going to be in all my classes?” She gaped at me like I was crazy.

“Yeah.” I cringed at the way she made it sound.

“Yeah, that’s not gonna cause people to stare or anything!” She was flailing her arms around as she paced, "Here's the new girl, and her body guard!"

“Arlee, your safety here is our key priority.” I reminded her.

“So I not only have to go through stupid, teenage crap, but I have to do it with a witness?! Honestly?! Can’t you just put me in koomanchoo classes or whatever they're trained at?!” She glared at Colby who laughed.

“Koomanchoo?” I cocked a brow at her.

“Come on! How did you even explain this to the school?!" Her voice rose an octave, "To my bosses?!”

“We told them our circumstances.” I gave a nod, "They understand."

“God! Do you know how that’s going to mess with my GPA?!” She screeched.

“You have a 4.7 GPA.” I stared at her through slotted eyes, “I think your fine.”

“It’s a new school!”

“With people you already know there.”

“I can’t have a body guard! I’m already going to stick out like a sore thumb! Black isn’t even my color!”

The school had a black and while policy for students. I didn’t see a problem with it and neither had Arlee at first. I had no idea what her issue was.

“Look at him!” I pointed to Colby, “He just looks like a senior. He won’t even stand out.”

“I don’t know what seniors YOU know, but they are not THAT buff, Dad!” She motioned to Colby who was grinning like a snarky teen.

At least she hadn’t degraded me by calling me “Ryan”. I was still Dad, even though she was pissed.

“Can’t he just stand outside of my classes?!”

"This isn't just about your father, Arlee, it's also about the press this is going to get, if your father fights this." I could tell by her stance that she was going to have her hard limits on this. I looked at Colby and he shrugged.

“Fine, but he still follows you to work, the orchestra and anywhere else.”

“It’s only for a couple of weeks, Arlee.” I explained, “Just until the adoption is over.”

“Fine! But once it’s over burley is gone!” She stomped up to her room and I hadn’t heard from her until she was ready to leave this morning.

Even now, she didn’t say anything to me. She just got into her car and waited in the driveway.

When we got out of our cars at the school I walked over to hers, “You gonna be okay, kid?”

“Why are you even asking?” She glared at me, “I’ve got the new captain of the football team following me.”

“Okay,” I looked over her head at the school, “Still pissed.”

“Let’s go do the principal thing and, for God’s sake, don’t embarrass me.”

She began to stomp off and I followed her, “So you don’t want me to wipe your nose for you? I can still hold the tissue though, right?”

She turned and gaped at me, “Seriously? Dad, you're in a band. You're supposed to be the cool parent!”

“Sorry. Your mom occupies that position.” I laughed and continued to follow.

“Mr. Ford,” the principle greeted me as we entered his office, “I have admit that when Mrs. McGhee called me on Saturday night, I never expected THIS.”

“I’m sorry. I know we were planning on having Arlee attend next year, but we’ve had to take some security precautions and taking her out of public school was the best option.”

“I assume the girl’s mother is on her way?”

“Yes. She should be here shortly, but matters of tuition payment are mine alone. Like Bree told you, I’ll pay this full year's tuition and next year’s up front.”

The guys eyes literally lit up.

“I can’t charge you for the full year when she will only be here for less than half the year, sir.” Oh, he wanted to though.

“Consider it a donation to the school then," I smiled, "Name a bench after me or something. I don't know how hard you had to work to fit her into classes and I want to make sure she gets the education she deserves.”

“I was looking over the transcripts I was sent on Saturday evening and you, my dear, are a very intelligent young woman.” He told Arlee and her face lit up, "You could have been here all along, on scholarship, you know."

“Thank you, Sir.” She blushed.

“A 4.7 GPA," He grinned, all money aside, "With AP classes, extra curricular activities, such as orchestra and choir, but it's the symphony in downtown, where I remember you from."

"I frequent the orchestra, Miss O'Brien," He gave a nod, "It is not intelligence alone, that we look toward for scholarships, we also look at academics, and you have surpassed all of the others."

“I didn’t know you were in the choir-” I leaned in to whisper and she shushed me.

“Some of our advanced classes were occupied," The principal went on, "But you have already exceeded expectations for most of our junior credentials and I have found some senior classes to squeeze you into. You will also have to take physical education, since we have no substitution here. But if the workload gets to be too much, let your counselor know and we will adjust your schedule.”

“Thank you.” She let out a breath and was full of smiles.

He hit his intercom button and spoke, “Mrs. Rume, can you please send June in here to show Miss O'Brien to her classes?”

A girl about Arlee’s age walked into the office and smiled, “Hi, Arlee. I’m June. I’ll be showing you around today.”

“Hi.” Arlee gave a little wave.

“Your in in good hands, Arlee. June is one of our brightest minds.” He gave her a nod and the girls were off.

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