“What do you mean you don’t get to go to the cops?” I ask Lola once my brother and Laura are out of hearing range.
“Let’s go for a smoke and I’ll explain some things,” Lola says nervously.
I grab my pack and head out to the yard. Once I pass Lola a cigarette, I light one for myself.
Lola starts coughing after she takes her first drag, “God these are strong.”
I give her a smirk which makes her shake her head.
“There are a few reasons I can’t go to the cops. I can’t tell you everything, but my father was a cop before he died, there are some guys on the force who knew him and have it out for me. If I go, they will make sure any charges get thrown out.”
“That’s fucked why do they have it out for you?” I ask.
“I don’t want to get into it, but my father’s death was messy and his partner at the time thinks I had something to do with it.” She tells me.
“How old were you?”
“Why would he think that?” I ask.
She starts to fiddle with the hem of the shorts she’s wearing. She looks up at me after a few moments. I realize that she won’t tell me any more about this. Her eyes are pleading with me to stop asking about it.
“Well, what are the other reasons?” I ask to change the topic. I want to know what happened, but I can tell she doesn’t trust me enough yet.
“When you are a criminal, you give up your rights in a sense. I’ve been brought in on different occasions for things I did to support my family. When I was 14, I had to buy cold medicine and then sell it to this guy. He would make meth with it. One time I got caught at a bus stop with a backpack full of cold medicine. They took me to the police station.”
Her situation makes me angry. When I was 14, I didn’t have a care in the world. I lived in a huge mansion with no worries. She had to make impossible choices to survive. It’s not fair.
Lola takes a shaky breath and continues, “anyway I’ve been picked up by the cops a lot. They know me and don’t take accusations seriously because of who I am. My dad being on the force also makes them remember me more. If I could even get a case against Wyatt to trial, they’d have enough to ruin my case and get him off.”
“This isn’t fair. The whole thing, not just prosecuting Wyatt.” I say in frustration.
“Well, I made my choices. I was well aware of the consequences. I could’ve let the state put us in care or make it look like my mom was able to support us. I always look back and think I made the wrong choice, but I couldn’t go back into care after the first time.”
I shake my head. The older I get the more I hate the world.
“You were just a kid, you shouldn’t have had to make decisions like that.”
“Well, that’s life, unfair. You know you remind me a bit of my older brother before we went into foster care.”
“How so?” I ask.
“Just how you carry yourself, you want everyone to think you don’t care and act all tough. But you care more than most people. He was like that. Acted like I didn’t exist in front of his friends but was always there for me when something bad would happen.”
“He sounds like he was a great brother,” I say, I’m not sure what happened to him, but I don’t know if she wants to tell me more.
“His name was Lucas; he was 3 years older than me. He was a great soccer player. Man, I miss him.” She says looking off into the distance.
“What happened if you don’t mind me asking,” I ask, I’m too curious.
“Well, my dad died, and it was really chaotic. Child welfare had to get involved because my mom was doing hard drugs and was never home. We were put into care since we had no family that was legally documented to take us in. We were placed in a home together. Some horrible things happened to Lucas,” She pauses and takes a shaky breath.
“The foster dad he raped him. More than once I think, I’m not really sure. I walked in on it happening one day. I told our social worker and the cops. They said they couldn’t do anything unless Lucas came forward. He was terrified of that man and couldn’t. I got the help of my neighbor Carl, he helped us get out of that situation and back with my mom. But my mom did not know how to deal with my brother’s trauma and has just gotten sober. Plus, she was still mourning the death of my dad. A few months later my brother killed himself.” Lola has a few tears running down her face.
Holy shit this girl is even stronger than I thought if that’s possible.
“I’m so sorry you and your brother had to go through that. That’s horrendous.”
“That’s why I didn’t want Tomás to ever go into care. I’ll do anything so that doesn’t happen to him.”
I grab her hand and squeeze. This girl is amazing.
After a few moments of silence, I ask “There’s no way we could go to someone who wouldn’t listen to the other cops, like maybe take it to a private lawyer?”
“Look I have an idea of how to deal with Wyatt, even best case in the courts he’d get parole. They won’t lock him up for attempted rape.”
“What’s your plan then?” I ask.
“Well, get him charged with something they take seriously, even if I have to frame him.”
“I can help if you need. Just let me know. I don’t care if it’s illegal.” I tell her immediately.
“Are you sure? I don’t want you getting in trouble because of me.” Lola says.
“Of course, I’m sure. My dad would bail us both out if it came down to it. He’s not a great person but he does care enough about me to do that.”
“Okay well, I need to set up a meeting with this guy,” Lola says not giving many details.
I raise my eyebrow at her, “do you want to know all the details. That implicates you more you know?”
“I’m all in, I trust you. Let me know what you’re planning.”
Carl always said running your plan by someone would be helpful. They’ll see any mistakes or things you didn’t think of. He also said to think things through, never act on impulse. I had learned that lesson the hard way right after he died.
“So, here’s the plan. There is fentanyl-laced meth going around in Phoenix. The DEA has samples and knows the exact chemical structure of it. I know of the guy who sold it. He stopped when he realized it was laced. He has a big stockpile of it that he can’t sell because the DEA is specifically looking for it. And I guess he also doesn’t want to kill his customers. Anyway, if we can get the stockpile we can frame Wyatt as the distributor.”
“Okay, that sounds like it could work. How will we frame him? Will the cops actually think a high school senior would be a meth distributor though?” Cade asks.
“Yeah, that’s the part I’m a bit worried about. If they believe it, he’ll do a hard time. In my experience, the only thing rich white men will go down for is big drug charges or tax fraud.”
“Well if we get people to buy from him or say they did that could help,” Cade says.
“I think the first thing is to meet with the actual distributor, maybe he has some guys who will fake rat on Wyatt.”
“Yeah, let’s plan a bit more before we act.” Cade agreed.
“I need to talk to some people and then I’ll let you know if I can meet with this guy. I should probably go alone.”
“No, I’ll go with you, that doesn’t seem safe.”
I thought for a moment, this guy didn’t like me, and it would be a lot safer to bring someone with me, so I agreed.
“Well okay if he is okay with it. He doesn’t like me much because I burned him in the past so just be aware of that. He might not even agree. I’d be doing him a favor by getting the DEA off the case, but he may not want to work with me.” I tell him. Since what’s happened last night, I’ve begun to trust Cade even more. I told him about my brother Lucas even. I haven’t told anyone about it since it happened.
Maybe it was more than trust. I really liked him, and the guilt was making me feel sick. Maybe if I slowly tell him the truth things could work out. Who am I kidding, once again I made the hard choice and would have to pay the consequences. It would be nice to get to know him and enjoy his company for as long as I could though.
I wish things were different, I wish I could have a real chance to be happy for once. I decided that I’ll try my best to ease Cade into the truth but not get my hopes up. If The roles were reversed, I’d never talk to Cade again once I found out.
Cade’s phone starts to ring. He pulls it out of his pocket and answers, “Hello?”
“Ugh yeah she’s okay, you can talk to her if you want,” Cade says.
“It’s Clarissa. She wants to talk to you.” Cade says holding the phone out to me.
“Hi,” I answer.
“Thank god you are okay. I’m so sorry about what happened. I should’ve kept a better eye on Elizabeth.” She says quickly.
“Hey, it’s okay, none of this is your fault.”
“But it is though. I helped Elizabeth convince you to come, I convinced you to stay longer and on top of that I let Elizabeth out of my sight, and she drugged you.”
“I don’t blame you. You had no idea how upset Elizabeth actually was. None of us did.”
“I’m still sorry, I don’t think I can be friends with Elizabeth anymore. Not after she did that to you. She’s not who I thought she was.” Clarissa says.
“It’s your decision,” I tell her. I don’t want to be the reason she loses her best friend.
“So, I was wondering if I could maybe take you to supper sometime. I feel really bad and want to make it up to you.”
“Ugh sure, I’ll let you know what day I could do on Monday at school. And thanks for checking in and helping Cade last night.”
“Anyway, I’m glad you’re okay, I’ll let you go now.”
“Okay bye, see you on Monday,” I say and then hang up. Then I pass the phone to Cade.
We walk inside to his room. On the way I ask, “so I know I said we’d hang out with Tomàs today, but could we change it to tomorrow. I need to try to set a meeting with that dealer and I’m sure you’re tired.”
“Yeah, that would work for me, I was thinking we could take him to one of those places with an indoor playground.”
“Yeah, he’d love that!” I say.
“I can take you home if you want,” Cade says.
“Sure, my mom’s probably wondering where I am and my phone’s dead.”
Cade takes me home. I bring the bag with my destroyed dress and camera from Wyatt. I’ll decide what to do with it later.
As I’m getting out of the car Cade says, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I wave and make my way up the stairs to my apartment door.