A New Life - Memories: West Coast

Chapter One

© 2006 - 2007 Wolfdancer87. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
© 2006 - 2007 Dark Star. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Written by Dark Star based on the original story concept by Wolfdancer 87
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Portions of this story contain copyrighted characters from other authors. Characters from Memories are © ACFan and are used with permission. The characters from Enterprise Tour and Enterprise Tour: The Early Years are © Greybear and are used with permission. Characters from Memories: Down Under are © Boi From Aus and are used with permission. All characters and references to STAR TREK are © Paramount Pictures Corporation. Since I'm not making a profit from this story, I believe that it is okay to use the characters in this story.

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Any celebrities portrayed in this story are used ficticiously and have no resemblance to the personalities or preferences carrying the same name. This story is set in an alternate reality, and in no way, shape, or form reflects any events or interactions which may have or ever will happen in the real world.

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"See you later Mom." I said, twisting around to give Mom a kiss and jumped out followed by Rodney.

We walked up to the front of the school where we stopped and looked around for Daren as it had become our custom to wait for him to find us each morning.

I had woken up this morning feeling inexplicably that something was wrong with him, and now as I stood there and he was nowhere to be seen, my concern only deepened.

Daren was always there early, way early and for him not to be there could only mean one thing to me and that was that I was right in my feeling.

"Where's Daren?" Rodney asked and I could only shake my head as I didn't have an answer other than a horrible feeling that he wasn't okay.

"I don't know" I finally said to him, as we stood there waiting for the bell to ring.

The bell rang and still we stood there until finally Rodney said "Kalen, we have to go in or we'll be late."

"Go on; I'm gonna wait for Daren." I told him.

"Kalen, you'll get in trouble." Rodney said, worriedly.

"I'll be fine, but something is wrong and I want to be here if he comes, to make sure he's alright." I said.

"You want me to wait with you?" Rodney asked with concern in his voice, now.

"No, that's okay; you go on and I'll be in when I find him," I told him, glad of his worry about our friend.

"Okay, see you later." Rodney said, before reluctantly turning and walking into the school.

I walked down the sidewalk, away from the front and most of the people, so I wouldn't be as noticeable if any teachers were looking, before I ducked around the side of the building where I could keep an eye out for Daren.

I had the feeling somehow, that he was going to come, even though he hadn't shown up and I wanted to be here when he did.

I stood there in hiding for some time before I noticed someone in the distance, half running, half stumbling towards the school and I waited until he got closer before I stepped out calling,

"Daren!" causing the boy to stop as he came abreast of me.

"Kalen, what are you doing here?" he asked, in a dead voice, as he looked at me and I was scared to see the look in his eyes, as if he wasn't all there.

"Daren, what's wrong?" I asked.

"Nothing." he replied in that same dead voice.

"Daren, I was worried about you." I said.

"I'm fine." he replied.

"Darren, I'm worried about you. I can feel that something is wrong." I told him, but was surprised at the look of anger that came across his face, as he said, "Enough with this twin shit, I'm fine!"

I stood there completely shocked, as he stormed past me and walked on into the school.

Daren didn't swear, ever. I had only heard him do it twice in all the time I had known him, and him doing it now told me that something was very, very wrong, just as I had thought.

I was scared that I had just lost my best friend, as I slowly followed him into the school and all I could think about was if I had, what was I going to do?

I realized then, that he meant so much to me, and I couldn't imagine not having him in my life anymore, or his not being my friend.

I made sure for the rest of the morning to keep everything that happened between us completely business and said nothing else to him, afraid it would just make things worse.

I knew something was wrong, but I had no clue what to do about it as I went to class after class with Daren and didn't speak to him at all, unless it was school related.

By lunch time I was really down and got my food and took it to a place we often went to be alone.

It was our special place that no one knew about, behind the tennis courts, near the gym. We had discovered it last year and came out here a lot to eat our lunch and talk, without anyone being able to hear us.

It was just for the two of us.

As I walked over and sat down, the reality of his not being here with me really hit me and I almost started crying. I wanted him here so much, it just wasn't the same without him.

I took out my lunch, but just sat staring at it, not really eating or anything until I looked up and saw him walking towards me.

I quickly placed my lunch down on the ground and stood up, so happy that he came that I almost started crying again at seeing him.

I ran over to him crying, "Daren, you came." and stopping in front of him.

He looked so scared for some reason, that my heart just melted at the look on his face and without thinking, I reached out and wrapped my arms around him in a hug.

"Ka…Kalen" he said, as I pulled back looking into his eyes. "Wh…what are you doing?" he asked, with a confused look and then to my horror, I watched as his eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed in my arms.

I gently lowered him to the ground and tried to control the fear that was coursing through me as I attempted to remember everything Mom had taught me about first aid.

Having a doctor for a Mom sure helped, as I checked him over, starting with shaking him gently and calling his name.

I could feel the tears running down my cheeks as I pushed the fear away and next checked to see if he was breathing and had a pulse, which he did and I tried calling his name again.

He wouldn't wake up, and I didn't know what to do for a minute as I sat there lost and scared for him, I couldn't lose him.

Finally, I remembered something my mother had told us over and over again, make sure you get help, don't just worry about the person, but make sure help was summoned.

I remembered the time we were at the playground several years ago and my little brother had been playing with another kid on the teeter totter when that other kid had suddenly gotten off his end of it, sending my brother flying. When he landed he struck his head, and was bleeding all over the place. I was torn about whether to go after the other kid who had done it, but that lesson had been drilled into me and I quickly ran to get help before returning to be with my brother, who was very scared, but then again so was I. He could have died if I didn't get help, and I wasn't going to let it happen to Daren.

I went over to my backpack, pulled out my cell phone and called my Mom at her office.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~

"Dr. Samuelson, you have a telephone call." Rosy, my nurse said to me, as I was inserting the tongue depressor into four year old Johnny's mouth and I looked up at her briefly before saying, "Take a message please, I'm with a patient." and turned my attention back to the sick child in front of me.

"Ah... Doctor, it's your son." she said hesitantly, and I jumped, looking up at her quickly as a bolt of fear shot through me.

He would never call me unless something was very wrong.

"I'll be right there." I told her, turning back to the boy and his mother saying, "I'm sorry, but I need to take this call," and I quickly walked out of the exam room and into my office where I picked up the phone.

"Kalen, what's wrong?" I asked and then could hear the broken crying as he said, "Mom, you gotta come, quick!"

"What is it baby, what's wrong?" I asked again, in increasing fear.

"Please come Mommy!" Kalen begged again, as thoughts of all sorts began running through my mind.

"Kalen, you need to tell me what's wrong." I said to him, trying to keep my voice calm, despite the inner turmoil running through me by this time.

"It…It's Daren…he…he won't wake up, Mommy, he won't wake up. He just fell over and I can't wake him up." my son sobbed into the phone.

"Listen to me Kalen, is he breathing? I asked, afraid now for the other boy whom my son seemed to have become so attached to this last year.

"Yeah, he's breathing Mom, but he won't wake up." he repeated.

"Okay, where are you?" I asked.

"I'm behind the tennis courts, near the gym." he said, then added, "Come quick, Mommy, please!"

"Ok honey I'll be right there, and I'll bring an ambulance with me so we can get him to the hospital right away.

"Okay Mommy" I heard and then the line went dead.

I got up and virtually ran for the door out into the office only stopping long enough to tell Rosy that I would be gone for the rest of the day and to get Dr. Adams in here right now.

"Is Kalen alright?" she asked me

"Yes he is but a friend of his is unconscious and he's scared to death" I told her as I left running for my car.

I pulled out my cell and quickly called for an ambulance to be dispatched to the school ending the call upon reaching my car.

I pulled out of the parking lot and blew all speed limits as I headed straight for the school which wasn't all that far away from my practice wondering what could be wrong with the child and worried a great deal for him but even more so what would happen to my son if it was something serious.

~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hung up the cell and put it in my pocket as I looked down on Daren lying there, and finally sat down alongside his body and gently began caressing his forehead.

"Please Daren, please," I whispered to him "Please, you have to be alright, you just have to." I said, as I could feel the tears falling to drip on his chest.

"Please," I repeated a million times "Please be okay." begging him until finally I bowed my head and said,  "I can't lose you, Daren, I can't. What would I do without you? I love you so much."

"K..Ka…Kalen." I heard, and looked up to find a very confused boy, looking back at me.

"Daren, DAREN, are you okay!?!" I shouted at him in joy at seeing him awake.

"Wh…what happened?" he asked, still looking lost.

"I don't know, you just passed out." I said.

"I don't remember." he said, "I was walking towards you and then…then…" he tapered off and looked up at me before saying, "You hugged me."

"I…you'll be alright Daren, Mom is coming, and an ambulance too, you're going to be okay." I told him blushing a bit but was surprised to see the terror that came into his eyes, as he said, with fear lacing his voice,

"No, no please!!"

"Daren, she's a kids' doctor; she'll take real good care of you." I told him.

"No! You don't understand, they'll take me to a hospital, and I…no call her back, please!" he said beseechingly to me, and I couldn't help but do what he asked.

I pulled the cell back out of my pants and quickly called my Mom's cell phone, getting her right away. "Honey, what is it?  I'm just a few minutes away." she told me.

"Mom, he woke up, and he's fine, you can go back to work now, and stop the ambulance too." I said quickly, while looking into the panicked eyes of Daren, who looked worse now than when he passed out.

I didn't know what was the matter, but something was scaring him to death about my Mom seeing him, or going to the hospital, and I had to do something.

"Honey, if he passed out, then he needs to go to the hospital, you know that." she said.

"Please Mom, he says he's fine now, and doesn't want to go to the hospital, please." I told her, almost begging her now.

"Kalen, you know better than that; an 11 year old boy does not just pass out for no reason, there could be something seriously wrong with him." she said to me, sounding irritated now.

"Mom, please, I'm begging you don't take him to the hospital, he doesn't want to go." I said, now desperate seeing the panic that was taking over Daren's face.

"Why doesn't he want to go to the hospital?" she asked me, and I replied "I don't know, but he doesn't, please Mom!?"

"Baby…." She started to say, but I did something that I never do, I interrupted her. I don't know why, but just the look in Daren's eyes made me do it.

"Mom, please, I'm begging you, no hospital, please!" I said and heard silence on the other end for a moment, before she said, "Okay, I'll cancel the ambulance for now, Kalen, but I'm still coming, and I am going to take a look at him myself, and if I think he needs to go, then he's going, and there will be no discussion; is that clear?" she said, and I knew by the tone of her voice, that  not only was this the best that I was going to get, but that it was final too.

"Yeah Mom, thanks." I told her, as I hung up the phone.

"Kalen?" he asked me, as I looked into his terrified eyes and said, "She's going to cancel the ambulance."

He looked at me for a minute before saying, "She's still coming, isn't she?"

"Yeah, she wants to take a look at you." I told him, and watched the panic return in full force.

"No, I have to go." he said, as he started to struggle to his feet.

"Daren, no, please stay, it'll be alright, she won't do nothing bad to you, I promise." I told him, as I quickly reached out to help him up.

He was a bit unsteady, but I held onto him tightly, until he was stable and even then kept a hold of his arm.

"I have to go Kalen, I have to." he said, but I wouldn't let go.

"Daren what is it, please tell me." I begged him.

He looked at me for a long minute until he finally surprised me by saying, "Did you mean it?"

"Mean what?" I asked, confused.

"What you said," he whispered, and I knew exactly what he was talking about.

I was embarrassed and didn’t know how to answer him, because I was afraid that he would hate me now. Boys didn't love other boys, yet I did.

"Did you?" he asked again, and I could only nod my head and in the barest whisper say, "Yes."

"What?" he asked me, and I decided that no matter what happened, I wouldn't be ashamed of my love for him, as I raised my eyes defiantly to his and said, "Yes I meant it. I love you."

He gasped and didn't say anything for a moment, just stood there staring at me as I felt the tears begin again, but then he surprised me by asking, "Really?"

I just looked back at him for a moment before I said, "Yeah really."

He surprised me again by reaching out and wrapping his arms around me, giving me a hug and then pulling back with a smile on his face.

"I love you too, Kalen." he said, shocking the holy crap out of me, and all I could do was stare at him with my mouth open as I said, "Really?"

"Yeah." he said with a goofy grin on his face.

I pulled him back and squeezed him in a big hug, so happy with what we had just discovered, but the hug ended almost as soon as it began when he cried out in obvious pain at being held tightly.

I quickly released him and asked, "What is it? What's wrong?" but he turned away from me.

I moved around to face him once again and said, "Daren, you can tell me anything, please, what is it?"

He wouldn't look at me for a minute, but finally told me, "It's why I have to leave and your mother can't see me," and before I could say anything he pulled his shirt out and down a little, showing me his neck and shoulder and I cried out at what I saw.

"Oh my God! What happened? Who did this to you?" I asked, and he proceeded to tell me exactly what had happened and who did it to him. What had been happening and who had been doing it to him for a long, long time.

By the time he was done, I was crying, and he was just staring at me silently. "Please, you can't tell your Mom." he said to me.

"Daren, she has to look at that, it's really bad." I told him.

"No, you can't." he said, desperation plainly evident in his voice.

"Daren, it is really really bad, and she's a doctor, she'll take care of you." I tried to tell him, but he was shaking his head, even before I finished and he started to pull away from me.

"No, Daren, we'll help you, you have to trust us, trust me, please?" I begged him.

"You don't understand, no one can help me, no one." he said, with defeat in his voice.

"Let us try, at least, please?" I asked him, putting everything I had into those words, but he just shook his head and said again, "No, there isn't anything you or your Mom can do," with infinite sadness in his voice.

"Why don't you let me be the judge of that." a voice said, and we both jumped and turned to find Mom standing a few feet away from us.

I could feel Daren try to bolt, but I held on as he cried, "Let me go, please," to us, looking at us frantically now, as Mom walked a bit closer, stopping in front of us.

Neither one of us had heard her approach, and we didn't know how much she had heard up until now, and Daren was scared.

I was too, but for him, not of Mom.

"Daren, please honey, I'm sure whatever it is, we can figure out someway to help you." she told him, but he just kept shaking his head, back and forth.

"Please trust us?" I said to him, and he looked at me with no hope present in his eyes.

"You can't." he whispered.

"Well, before we worry about anything, how about if we just check you out, and see why you fainted?" she asked him, kindly.

"No, please." he said.

"Mom, what caused him to faint is what I think he is worried about you seeing." I told her, and was rewarded with a look of hurt from Daren at my words.

"Daren, my son is right, you have to trust someone, and I hope that it'll be us, please son, let us help you." she said softly to him.

I could see the war in his eyes, between fear and hope, as we stood there and neither my mother or I said anything, allowing him to decide for himself what to do, although it took a great deal for me to keep quiet.

Finally, he said, "You won't say nothing to no one?"

"Honey, why don't you let me check you out, and we'll see what's going on, before we decide anything." Mom told him.

"No, you gotta promise me you won't tell no one!" he said, the fear back again.

Mom just looked at him for a minute before saying, "Daren, I won't lie to you, now or ever, and I can't promise you that, I'm sorry."

Daren just looked at her as she added, "I won't say anything to anyone though, unless it's something I have to."

I watched, as Daren hung his head and didn't say anything for a minute, but finally looked up and looked at me.

I could see the trust and fear there, so I just gave him a smile as he said, without breaking his gaze to my mother, "Alright."

"Good, why don't you come back to our house, where you might be a bit more comfortable?" she asked, and he nodded his head at that.

He never let go of me all the way to her car, and kept hold of me until we got to our house and inside.

"Okay Daren, why don't you come back to my study, and I'll take a good look at you, okay?" she asked him, as we stepped into the house.

I could see the panic begin again, as I quickly said, "I'll stay with you, I promise."

"Honey, this is private…" Mom started to say, but Daren looked up at her and said, "Please?"

She just looked at him a  minute, before turning to look at me with an odd look on her face, but finally she said, "Alright, if you're sure you want him in there honey, then he can come."

"Yes, please, I'm sure," he said in reply, looking at me quickly, but I sensed he was afraid again for some reason, and I didn't think it was because of what it had been, up until now.

We followed Mom back to her study, and she closed the door behind us before saying, "Daren, I need you to get undressed, please."

Daren looked around and his eyes widened, like he was a deer caught in the headlights, but finally let his shoulders sag in defeat, as Mom said, "I'll wait outside," quickly before going out the door.

He looked at me and then began to undress silently.

When he got his pants off, I stifled a gasp at the marks and scars on his legs, but when he slowly reached up and pulled his shirt off, I screamed,

"Okay MY GOD, MOOOM!!!!!" at what I saw.

Dr. Samuelson came running into the room, and came to a stop, bringing her hand to her mouth as she said, "Oh sweet Jesus!!" in a horrified voice.

Through the tears that were exploding out of my eyes, I could see Daren shaking, and his head hung down, while Mom stood silently in shock at what was before us. I watched as her mouth opened several times, and then closed without saying anything.

What could you or anyone possibly say to this?

We stood there in a state of shock, for I don't know how long it was, before Mom moved slowly forward, as if she was trying to not believe what she was seeing while all I could do was stare in horror at what was before me.

I didn’t think the shock and horror could get any worse until Daren said what he did next.

"I guess you hate me now, cause I'm so ugly." he said quietly, into the silence in the room.

I gasped again and noticed the tears begin to fall from  my mother's eyes as well now, while I just walked forward and placed my hand underneath his chin, forcing it up so I could look into those beautiful hazel eyes of his, and then I said the most important words in my life that I would ever say,

"I could never hate you, never. I love you, Daren Sebastian Michaels, I love you," and put everything in me into them, to make him believe what I was saying, before I added, "I think you're the most beautiful person in the world."

I watched, as he searched my face and eyes for any deceit or lie and finding nothing, he said again, "Really?"

"Yeah, really." I told him, smiling as he started crying and then threw his arms around me.

We sank to the floor, and I just held him gently as he cried, for God knows what, but letting at least some of it out now.

I noticed Mom was looking at me strangely, but right now, I didn't care if she had just found out my secret, it really didn't matter.

The warmth and certainty that flowed through every part of my body, as I held this sweet and gentle boy, filled with pain in my arms, was something I would never forget and we just held each other and cried together, but I vowed, there and then, that never, ever again, would my love be hurt like this, NEVER!!!

I couldn't tell you how long we sat there, before slowly releasing each other, but it seemed like hours, and not nearly long enough at the same time, as we pulled back from each other, and gave one another soft smiles, a little embarrassed about what we had just done, but not ashamed, never that, as we looked into one another's eyes, and I could see the love reflected there, back to me, that I felt for him.

I know people say that kids can't love, but they are wrong. I loved Daren with every fiber of my being, and it was a love that was wholly different than what I felt for my Mom or dad. It was the love of one person for another, total, complete and the most wondrous feeling in the world.

People say that I couldn't feel that, but they would be wrong, I knew that this was what my mother and father felt for each other, and while a lot of people thought boys loving other boys was wrong, I didn't, and I didn't think my parents did either. Then again, it really didn't matter, because that was what I felt, love for another boy, and he loved me too.

To say I felt complete was to simply not do it justice as I sat there staring into those hazel pools of feeling, I felt that something missing had been found, that something empty had been filled, that…Okay I'm sure you get the idea. Things I didn't even know about had become apparent, like the fact that something had been missing in the first place.

We helped each other to our feet and Daren turned to face my mother once again with me holding his hand and we stared at her as she watched us with the strangest look on her face.

I expected her to say something, but she didn't, she just looked at us and then walked forward pulling Daren into a gentle hug and held him to her.

I was surprised when he began sobbing brokenly in her arms, stiff at first, and then melting into her, as she held him.

It was then she said softly, "I agree completely with my son, you are the most beautiful gentle soul I have ever seen, and you could never be ugly."

I added my arms to my mother's and we just held him as he cried even more, to the point where I was beginning to wonder if it would ever stop.

I couldn't imagine what he had been through and with just what I saw already, I was scared to find out.

How could anyone do this to someone... to anyone... but especially a kid, was something that I just couldn't understand, and more importantly, it was something I hoped I never would understand.

What I had seen was not just a beating that happened this morning, but stuff that had been happening for a long, long time.

What must he have suffered through to have those kinds of scars all over his body like that?

I didn't want to know, but I knew I needed to find out, as much as it would hurt all of us to acquire that knowledge.

As his crying eased some, he let go of my Mom and she stepped back as well, but I kept ahold of him as she looked at him.

"Honey, I am going to have to dress those wounds." she told him.

"No, she'll see then," he pleaded.

"Who will see?" Mom asked him.

Daren bowed his head and mumbled "No one."

"Daren, I know it must be very hard to trust adults right now, but I am asking you to trust me now. I need to know who is hurting you, so I can make sure it never happens again." Mom told him quietly.

"You can't do anything except get me in more trouble." he said, bitterly.

"You might be surprised what I can and can't do, young man." Mom told him, which caused his head to come up and look at her again.

"You can't, a teacher tried once and now he's in jail." he said.

"Jail?" Mom asked, puzzled.

"Mom told the police he did stuff to me, because he took my clothes off to look." Daren told us.

"Well, I won't go to jail, don't worry about that honey, but you need to be safe and that means we need to do something," she said to him.

"I'm scared," he told her, and she took him in her arms again and said, "I know baby, I know, but it'll be alright now, if you'll let us help you."

He looked at Mom and then at me, going back and forth for a minute before saying "Okay," as if it was the biggest decision in his life.

Mom nodded her head and said, "Okay then, the first thing is that we need to take some pictures of what has been done to you, okay?"

Daren nodded his head, as Mom went out of the room to get the camera and I turned to him smiling and told him, "Daren, Mom will take care of everything, you watch."

"I hope you're right, Kalen. You don't know her and what she will do." Daren said, worriedly.

"We ain't scared of her." I told him, trying to reassure him, but he just looked at me darkly and said, "Maybe you should be."

Mom came back and spent the next few minutes taking a million pictures, before finally asking him, "Daren, can you lower your underwear, please," causing Daren's face to get bright red.

"I'm sorry honey, but I need to see if you've been hurt down there." she told him, but he just hung his head and she added "Kalen, why don't you step out for a minute," and I said "Okay" and quickly walked outside the room.

I wasn't out there long before she called me back in and I rushed to Daren who was still a bit red, but had his underwear back on by now.

"He just has more marks on his butt, honey." Mom said to me, as she finished gathering supplies from the cabinet and told Daren, "This is going to sting a bit Daren, but I have to clean these wounds out, I'm sorry."

"It's okay, just do it, I'm kinda used to pain." he said, which caused my heart to break at hearing this said so matter of factly.

I could see my Mom's face tense at those words, and the fury which came over her at hearing them.

You shouldn't get my Mom mad.

I held Daren's hand tightly, or more accurately, he held mine and I began to wonder before it was done, if I would need some of my Mom's treatment while she worked on his back, neck and shoulder, finally putting the bandages in place and announcing, "We're done, honey."

"Thank you ma'am." Daren said softly.

"Call me Joanne." Mom told him, and he nodded as she asked him, "Daren, I'm sorry, but I really need to know who did this to you. It is very important."

I guess he had decided to trust us because he answered softly, "My Mom."

Joanne gasped and repeated stunned, "Your Mom?"

Daren looked up at her and said, "Yeah, she says I'm bad, and don't listen."

I watched as my Mom's face got red, and she said furiously, "No one could be that bad, to deserve this." but it was the wrong thing to do apparently, as Daren cringed away from her and began shaking and muttering, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

I could see that it was like a bucket of cold water had been thrown on my Mom, as she went from red to pale and fury gave way to shame, at what she had done, as she quickly knelt down and said,

"Daren honey, no, I'm not mad at you. I'm very mad at the one who did this to you."

Daren looked timidly at her for a long while and nothing was said until he asked tremulously, "You're really not mad at me?"

"No sweetheart, I'm not. None of this is your fault." she told him.

"If I'd only been good, Mom wouldn't have had to punish me." Daren said, as if that explained everything.

Mom was shaking her head before he finished and quickly said, "Daren, honey, it doesn't work like that. This isn't punishment…" then she choked up for a second before continuing, "It's not punishment, it's abuse, it's far beyond spanking, baby. It's wrong, DEAD WRONG!"

"Really?" Daren asked, not quite believing what he was being told.

"Yeah, baby, really, and I'm going to make sure it never happens again." Mom told him, and I knew then that Daren would be safe from now on.

"What are you going to do?" he asked, scared once again.

"To start with, I'm going to call my husband, then probably the police and social services," she said, which only made it worse for Daren.

"No!!! You can't, they won't help." Daren said frantically.

"Daren, listen to me, that is what they are there for, and they will help, and even if, for some reason, they didn't want to, my husband is a family court judge, which means he can order them to." Mom told him.

Daren didn't say anything else, he just shook his head back and forth, as I wrapped an arm carefully around him, and pulled him gently to me.

"Daren, honey, I need to ask you a couple of questions." Mom told him.

"Okay." he replied.

"Where's your dad?" she asked.

"He died when I was a baby." Daren answered her.

"Does your mother have a boyfriend or anything like that?" she next asked.

"No, she's never had one of those." Daren replied, in an almost scandalized tone.

"Is there anyone else who hurts you?" she asked him.

"No, there isn't anyone else allowed in the house, ever." he said, while shaking his head.

"Why don't you go and lie down for a while.  I am going to make some calls" Mom told us and I led Daren from the room glancing back at the doorway to see Mom watching us with tears running down her face and I could see her mouth to me "It's going to be alright" as I led Daren from the office to my bedroom where we curled up and I held him tightly to me as we drifted off to sleep thinking that I really hoped so.