A New Life - Memories: West Coast

Chapter Two

© 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

 

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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(From last chapter)

"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.

 


I watched as Kalen took Daren from the room and I couldn't help the tears that fell down my face at what I had just witnessed, as I slowly walked over and sat down behind my desk.

What that boy went through was horrifying and it almost made me throw up at what I saw.

He had scarring extending from his neck all the way down his back, across his buttocks and onto his legs.

Most of the damage was confined to the posterior, but some of the scars extended to the sides as well and the fresh bruising and more horribly the fresh wounds spoke of damage being inflicted by something very nasty.

He had a laceration extending from the left of his neck on his shoulder diagonally down his back to his waist which was still open and in danger of infection, along with several smaller lacerations in the vicinity of the main wound.

He had been whipped with something repeatedly, in the last several hours, and as I glanced down I could still see the blood which had flowed onto his undershirt laying on the floor where he had discarded it.

I rarely saw the signs of severe abuse like this, and never something this bad, but I knew I had to get myself together, if I was going to be of any help to the boy, especially to Kalen.

Now that was an interesting development to say the least. It seems as if my son had finally discovered something about himself, something which we had suspected for some time, but now we knew.

If for no other reason, Kalen loved him and he was now a part of the family; I just had to make sure that this boy stayed where he would be loved, because I had decided that we would love him, and he needed a lot of it, because somehow I knew he hadn't had much, if any, up until now.

I took a deep breath and picked up the phone, dialing a number by heart.

"San Francisco Family Court System; how may I direct your call?" the voice said.

"Judge Samuelson please; this is Joanne Samuelson." I said.

"One moment Mrs. Samuelson." the voice said, and then another voice came back, "Hi honey, what's up?" Robert asked.

"Bob, I have a serious problem, and need help." I said.

"What's wrong?"

"Kalen called me this morning…." And I explained everything that had happened in the last little while since that phone call, concluding with my desire to keep him here with us, and why.

Robert didn't say anything for a minute, and then he said, "Alright honey, things are going to get very busy very fast, and I want you to be prepared. I am going to issue an emergency order of custody, placing the boy with us and then get P.D. and social services involved. I will be home right away with it and we'll get this boy safe, I promise you that. Let the boys know that Daren is safe now." he told me.

"Thanks Robert, I love you.  You should know that Daren is convinced that nothing can be done for him and that a teacher tried to help before, and is now in jail for it. I don't know the whole story on it, but he is sure he will be returned to his mother's house."

"No he won't be!" Robert said, with such finality in his voice, that it was almost frightening to hear, "He won't, I'll be home as soon as I can." he said, and then the line went dead.

I looked at the phone and then placed it back in it's cradle.

I only heard that tone in his voice once before, hearing it now only served to both frighten me and reassure me.

I didn't know which was better.

I sat there until I heard the doorbell and got up to answer it finding a man standing there who identified himself as Sgt. Wakefield with the Children's Investigative Services Unit of SFPD.

"Please come in," I said, just as another car pulled up.

I waited with the officer, as a woman came hurriedly up to me.

"I'm Melanie Tipton with CPS."

"Please come in; this is Sgt. Wakefield with the police department." I said, as she walked in and I led them back to my office, shutting the door behind us.

"Where's the child?" Ms. Tipton asked.

"He's with my son, and they are lying down at the moment. The boy has suffered severe ongoing injuries." I told them, as I walked over to my photo printer and picked up the dozens of pictures I had taken and printed out, walking back with them and handing them wordlessly to the two to look through.

They gasped and looked up at me, but I didn't say anything I just let them go through them one by painful one.

When they were finished, they sat in silence for a few minutes before Sgt. Wakefield asked, "Do you have any information on who did this to the boy."

"Yes, it was his mother. There is no other adult in his home, or that has access to him." I said.

"What is the child's name?" Tipton asked.

"Daren Sebastian Michaels, and he's 11 years old." I told them.

"We're going to need to speak to him, and see these wounds directly." the detective said, and Tipton nodded her head to this as well.

"He is very fragile right now, and very scared. Be very careful with him, and you will be able to see some of the wounds but the open ones have been bandaged," I said.

"We'll walk very softly I promise," Ms. Tipton said to Wakefield's nod this time.

"Very well, but if he starts getting too upset, then I will end it, Okay, and more than likely my son will remain with him, so be prepared for that." I told them before getting up and walking out of the office and to my son's room, where I found them curled up in a ball together arms and legs all intertwined, and wished I had my camera right then.

I walked to the bed and bent over, gently shaking Kalen until he looked up at me blearily and said, "Mom?"

"Shh it's alright honey, the police and social services are here to see Daren, and daddy's on his way home, right now." I told him softly.

I could see the fear in his face as I said this, and quickly I reassured him, "Daddy is bringing a court order with him, placing Daren in our custody."

"Does that mean he can stay here?" he asked hesitantly.

"Yeah baby, that's what it means," I told him, smiling, which seemed to reassure him somewhat.

"Okay Mom, let me get him woke up, and we'll be right in." he said.

"Okay baby, leave his clothes off for now, but bring a bathrobe with you for him, they need to take a look at his back." I told him.

"Alright Mom," he replied.

I ruffled his hair, and stood back up, heading back to my office, pulling the door closed behind me.

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

I watched as Mom left and shut the door behind her, and then turned back to Daren.

He was not going to be happy about this, I knew that, but I also knew Mom and dad would protect him.

He would never be hurt again, never.

I looked down at him and my heart filled with the most warm incredible feeling in the whole world.

I loved him so much.

As if he knew I was thinking about him, I watched his eyes open and stare up at me, before a smile came to his face.

We just laid there looking at each other and finally I said, "I love you, Daren Sebastian Michaels," with a real goofy grin on my face.

His smile got even bigger as he replied, "I love you too Kalen Richard Samuelson."

I just laid there, lost in his eyes, and then without thinking, I moved my face closer, until my lips softly touched his and the feelings that exploded in my body were such that I had never experienced before, as a jolt of pure electricity shot through me from my lips outward.

I heard myself groaning, along with a matching sound emanating from Daren as we clutched each other tightly to one another; feelings new and wondrous to us were coursing through our young bodies as the kiss became way beyond gentle.

It was a gentle cough that brought us back to this world, and we turned guiltily to find Mom standing there with a smile on her face, as she looked down at us.

"Boys, I think it might be best to do this later, before you have a mess to clean up." she said.

I felt my face get hot, and just knew that it was now bright red and could see that Daren's was the same, as I cried, "MOOOM!" in embarrassment, but I knew she was right, we almost did have one.

"Yes," was all she said, chuckling as she turned and left the room, leaving us to try to recover some dignity, although I knew now that I didn't have anything to worry about with her finding out.

After seeing that, I think she knew.

I turned back to find Daren staring at the door worriedly.

"What's wrong?" I asked him, concerned.

"Do you think she'll hate me now?" he asked.

"Hate you? What for?" I asked him.

"Cause she saw us." he replied.

"No, she won't be mad, she was laughing and teasing us." I said.

"My Mom would kill me." he said, softly.

"Well, you don't have to worry about that anymore," I told him, and he just looked at me before saying, "God, I hope you're right."

"I know I am, Dad's on the way here right now, with a paper that says you can stay here, and the police and social services are here now to help you," I told him, and saw the fear take over his face.

"Daren, you have to trust us, we won't let her hurt you anymore; now come on." I said, trying to get him moving so he would stop thinking about it.

We headed towards the door, and Mom's office, and by the time we got there, I was almost dragging a very reluctant Daren behind me.

I could only get him as far as the door, and that was where he stopped, refusing to go any farther into the room.

Mom came over and knelt down in front of him, "Daren, honey, I know you're scared, baby, but these people are here to help, they won't hurt you." she told him gently.

Then she reached out and took his hand, standing up and pulling him into the room slowly, with me following right behind.

We came to a stop as far against Mom's desk as Daren could put himself away from our visitors, and they just looked at one another, not saying anything for a moment.

"I'm Dale, and this is Melanie, I know how scary this is, but try not to be scared, little one, we're here to help you." the cop told Daren, but he didn't relax any.

He looked up at my mother before shrugging his shoulders and addressing Daren again, "Can you turn around, honey, so we can see your back, please?" he asked.

Daren turned, and I watched their faces change, at what they saw. They controlled it better than Mom or I had, but I could see their shock at what was before them.

"Okay, thank you Daren." Dale said again.

Daren turned back around and I grabbed the robe we had brought up, and helped him into it, everyone remaining quiet while he secured it and faced them again.

"Daren, I need to ask you who did this to you?" Dale said to him.

"My mother."

"Has anyone else ever hurt you?" Dale asked next.

"No, just her." he replied.

There was question after question, and Daren answered all of them in a wooden voice, squeezing my hand in a death grip at some of them.

Finally it was over, and the detective asked one last question,

"Daren, can you tell me your mother's full name?"

"Loraine Beatrice Michaels." Daren replied, in a whisper.

I watched the detective write it down, but what got my interest was the social worker's reaction.

Her head came up like she'd been shot, and she now looked intently at Daren.

Her expression was not very friendly.

"Excuse me, but I need to make a call," she said.

"Here, use my phone," Mom told her.

"I'm sorry, in private." she replied, reaching into her purse and pulling out her cell phone.

"Certainly, Kalen, show her out, so she can have some privacy." Mom said, which I thought a bit strange, but nevertheless, I shrugged my shoulders and stepped away from Daren who started to protest, but Mom quickly came over and took him into her arms.

"If you'll come with me," I said, leading the way, and took her back through the house to the front door, opening it and letting her out.

She was out the door like a shot, and before I could close it completely, I heard her speaking, "We're in trouble, deep trouble," and I let it rest against the jamb.

I don't know why I did it, and Mom had always said it was poor manners to eavesdrop, but I did it anyway.

"No, I'm not fucking kidding, we're in trouble. You know that call that came in from the judge about an abused kid, well, it's Loraine Michaels kid again." she said into the phone.

"No, I'm sure." she said next.

"What the hell am I supposed to do? this kid looks like something out of a horror movie, and there's a Barney Fife here who hasn't got a friggin clue."

"Well, I'm not going the way of Bobby, screw that."

"You better do something, but you got more problems than that."

"What? I'll tell you what, that damn judge is coming here with a court order, removing him from his mother's custody, that's what." she was practically screaming now.

"Well how the hell are you going to get around that?" she asked the person on the other end of the phone.

I was getting more and more frightened, this didn't sound right at all.

"Well, you better figure it out, before the shit hits the fan, you understand me?"

"What the hell am I supposed to do now?"

"Stall, you've got to be kidding me. You didn't see this kid, he's a mess with open wounds and all. The bitch did a real number on him this time."

I listened as she laughed a sound that didn't sound like she was happy and said, "Okay yeah, but not with her being his mother, I won't."

"Well, do something and do it fast, I have to get back inside." she said, before I heard the snapping of the phone, and quickly moved down the hall and leaned against the wall like I was bored, but inside I was really starting to freak out.

She came through the door and stopped when she saw me, looking scared for a moment, before smiling and saying, "Well thanks for waiting young man, but you didn't have to."

"That's alright, Mom would've wanted me to." I said, starting off for the office, not wanting to hear anything else she might say.

We got back into the room, and Mom said, "Everything alright?" to the social worker while I just gave her a look.

She saw it and frowned before turning back to Melanie, who told her "Yes, everything is fine I am going back to the office and take care of this problem."

"Problem?" my mother asked, raising her eyebrow, while Daren just cringed.

"Well, the report of this incident." Melanie replied.

"I see," was all my mother said, but she was looking quite intently at the social worker.

"I had best be going as well, I have someone to arrest, young man, you'll be…" the detective was saying, when his cell phone began ringing, causing him to stop and pull it from his waist and answer it.

"Wakefield."

"I'm sorry sir, but I'm in the middle of an…" he was saying when I heard from across the room, "I don't care what the fuck you're doing, get back here NOW!" from the phone.

The officer had a look of complete shock and surprise, quickly giving way to anger on his face, before he said, "Sir I have a severely abused child, and I'm about to make an arrest of the perpetrator."

I watched as the detective's face turned red and he said very angrily, "I will not."

"You will do what your fucking told!" could be heard over the phone, as if he had it on speaker as the detective said, "No sir, I will not, and I will file a formal complaint of your conduct and orders in this matter."

I watched as his face went pale, and he said, "You can't do that." and then pulled the phone from his ear and just looked at it in disbelief before placing it back on his waist.

"What's going on here?" Mom asked, now all warmth gone from her voice.

He looked up at her and said, "I don't know," before shaking his head to clear it and then told us, "I was ordered to return to the station immediately and bring the boy with me, taking no action against the mother. I was told that she would be meeting us there to claim him," he said, still not believing it.

"I don’t know what to say ma'am. I refused and I've been suspended," he said, shaking his head again.

"Why would you be ordered to do such a thing with this kind of evidence?" Mom asked him.

"I don't know, it doesn't make any sense," he said.

"You should know that he is sending officers here for the boy right now," he told us.

"Like hell he is." Mom said, going to the phone and dialing a number on it.

"Robert, we have problems, big ones."

"Yes they are and the detective's superior just ordered him to bring Daren to the station and turn him over to his mother, and when the officer refused, he was suspended." Mom told my dad.

"It gets worse, more cops are coming to take him from here," she said next, and this time I could hear my dad scream, "LIKE HELL!!!" and then it was my mother looking at the phone before slowly replacing it in it's cradle.

The social worker was looking kind of worried, but she didn't say anything as we all just stood there.

Daren was shaking, and I had put my arm around him to comfort him, but he lifted his head and said, "See, I told you there is nothing you can do."

"You let us worry about that, you're not going back to that woman." Mom told him, just as the phone rang.

She picked it up and said "Okay, Okay, I can do that, Okay." and then hung it up.

"That was your dad, he called the state police and Federal Marshals, and they are on the way over here right now." she said, and then she turned to the detective, "I would like that person's name and number that you just spoke to, please."

The detective nodded his head and recited the information while Mom started dialing.

"Lt. Johansen, my name is Doctor Joanne Samuelson, and we have a little problem." she spoke into the phone.

"Yes Sgt. Wakefield came to my home, and that is the problem." She said.

"Well Lt. let me explain something to you, I am a pediatrician, and I have seen as well as treated the injuries to this child, and I have also legally documented them. Your refusal to allow your detective to do his job has been duly noted, but what you may not be aware of is that my husband is Judge Robert Samuelson, and he has issued a court order of emergency placement removing the child from his mother's custody, and placing him here. Any attempt by your officers to interfere in that, will be a felony, and they will be arrested." she told him, with ice in her voice.

We watched as my mother's face turned red, and finally she said very softly, "I hope you do, I'll look forward to it." and the grin that came on her face was one I hoped never to see directed towards me.

She hung up the phone and said, "Your father is almost here, and help is on the way. This boy is not going anywhere."

"Mrs. Samuelson,  I'm not sure it will be determined that the child will be placed with you." Melanie said.

"It's not up to you, dear, a court order has been issued, and the matter is settled." Mom told her; the ice back in her voice.

Melanie looked at her but finally said, "We shall see."

I didn't expect my mother's response as she came around the desk like lightening and got in the social worker's face, "No we won't see anything, this child is not going anywhere, do you understand me?"

"I think I should leave." Melanie replied, as my mother said, "Allow me to see you to the door," and not waiting to see if she followed began walking from the room.

Melanie looked back at Daren and they walked out of the room, leaving stunned silence in her wake, until Daren said, "I told you so."

I had had enough of this and replied, "And we told you too, and she's leaving and you're not," with such vehemence in my voice, that he stepped back, looking afraid and I was instantly ashamed of my outburst as Mom walked back into the room.

"What's going on here?" she asked, looking pointedly at me.

"Ah…nothing Mom," I said.

"Kalen, don't lie to me," was her only reply, but her tone left no room for argument.

"It was my fault," Daren spoke up, coming to my defense, but I quickly walked in front of him and said, "No, it was mine, I scared him."

"Because I made you," Daren said.

"No, I shouldn't have said what I did in the way I did."

"ENOUGH!!!" Mom bellowed, startling both of us, as we looked up at her, shocked.

"This is ridiculous, both of you are bending over backwards to keep the other from getting in trouble, and no one is going to get in any trouble. I just want to know why Daren was so scared when I came back into the room," she said.

"I said 'I told you so' to him, and he got mad." Daren told her.

"Daren, I didn't get mad at you, I got mad at what you were saying." I said to him more than Mom.

He just looked at me for a minute before Mom said, "I think you need to watch how you speak for a while, until Daren gets used to us, okay?"

"Yeah Mom, I will." I said, and vowed that I would, cause it would hurt Daren if I didn't.

"I'm sorry ma'am" Daren said.

"For what, honey? Being hurt real bad by someone who was supposed to love you and take care of you? You haven't done anything wrong at all. You just have to get used to being loved is all, and then you'll feel safe, and probably argue and fight like any other kid does," she said, smiling at him.

Daren looked shocked at the very idea of it, but I told him, "You know I love Rodney and all, but even we fight sometimes."

"And argue all the time," my mother added.

"Mom!" I said.

"Well…" she replied, smiling.

Parents could be so embarrassing sometimes.

At that point the doorbell rang, and my mother held up her hand, "I want you to wait here and lock the door. If you don't hear the password when I come to the door, then I want you to go visit Aunt Jodie, got it?" she said to me.

"Yes Mom, I understand," I told her, suddenly realizing this wasn't a game anymore, if I had ever thought it was.

She left the room and I locked the door behind her. I was really and truly scared for the first time, before turning around to find Daren looking at me.

He surprised me by walking over and putting his arm around my shoulder and hugging me to him, as I looked at him in question.

He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I guess maybe this twin thing might be real after all," giving me a little smile. 

"Come on," I told him leading him over to the mantle behind the desk and pressing a hidden button there, revealing a panel that looked like that on a phone dial.

I placed my hand across the keypad, like they had taught me, and put in the code, then pressed my thumb into the scanner alongside the device and waited until it beeped and the light turned yellow.

There was only one more sequence of numbers to put in, to open the secreted compartment that we would use if it got bad, and now, all I could do was wait.

"What is that?" Daren asked me, finally.

"It's a panic room isn't it?" Dale asked.

"No, it's a safe room," I replied, before turning to Daren and saying, "It's a room with stuff in it if someone ever broke in to hurt us. No one can get in to us there, and there is food and other stuff in there so we can stay safe, for quite a while." I told Daren.

He didn't say anything, and it was back to waiting, until I heard someone trying the door.

I felt Daren's hand squeeze mine, and I knew I was squeezing back just as hard at this point, especially when a voice said, "Open this door, police." in a loud voice.

Okay now, I quickly turned around and punched the final code in, and the panel slid aside revealing a metal door that opened up, and I pulled Daren through, turning back to look at the detective.

"Go on in there, and don't come out until your Mom gives you that word, no matter what you might see and hear." he said, so I just nodded and sealed the door and pressed the button that would lock the system, sealing us into the room until we released it from inside.

No one else could get in now, not even Mom or dad.

I pulled Daren on into the room, and went to the secure phone there, pressing a speed dial button and when dad answered, I said one word,

"Sandstorm."

"What's going on son?" he asked.

That word came from a book my dad loved, and it meant that there was an emergency and we were in the safe room.

"I don't know, Mom said if anyone came to the office door besides her, without the password, then we were to go in here and stay put. Someone came to the door and said they were the police. Dad, I'm scared." I said.

"I know baby, I'm almost there, you stay where you are, and I'll be there real soon." he told me.

"Okay Dad."

The line went dead, and I activated the monitors looking at various scenes in the house.

There were a number of cops at the door to the office, and Dale was inside still, and hadn't let them in. I saw Mom being held in the living room, and they had put handcuffs on her.

I turned up the volume and listened to what was going on.

"Open this door immediately!" the cop on the outside of the door yelled, while Dale just sat there.

"If this door is not opened in the next ten seconds, we will kick it in." the cop yelled out.

Dale got up and walked over to the door and said loudly, "I'm a police officer, and I am armed. I am opening the door," and then proceeded to do it, stepping back and keeping his hands in plain sight, as the officers rushed into the room with their guns drawn.

"Where are they?" a man snarled, coming in through the door last.

He was dressed in a suit, and was fat especially for a cop, who I thought were supposed to keep in shape.

"Who?" Dale asked, innocently.

"You know damn well who, do you think this is funny!?" the man yelled.

Dale's face screwed up in rage and he reached down, and picking up the pictures, held them up so everyone could see, and asked, "Do you think this is funny, sir?" adding the last word, more like an insult.

I watched as most of the officers gasped, and looked away from the open wound on Daren's back, but the fat man said, "Give me those."

"No, they're evidence." Dale said, pulling the pictures back from the fat man's grasping hands.

"You'll give them to me this instant." the man said, before a voice said, "Or what?"

A voice that made me almost feint with relief at hearing it.

Daddy's home!

The fat man swung around and snarled, "Who the hell are you?"

My father walked further into the room and said, "Actually that should be my question. since you are in MY house, terrorizing MY family, and disregarding MY order from MY court!" in an ever increasing voice.

The fat man just smiled and said, "You are interfering with a police investigation, and I'm placing you under arrest," while I gasped, crying "no," softly.

But I was surprised when Dad just began laughing at the fat man.

"I'm glad you think it's funny, take him into custody," he ordered his officers.

Dad never stopped smiling as suddenly the room was filled with other police officers in different uniforms, with their guns drawn, pointing at the first set of officers, followed by a man who said,

"I don't think I would do that if I were you."

"What the fuck do you think you're doing here; this isn't your jurisdiction." the fat man snarled.

I watched as the newcomer looked down at the patch on his shoulder and then back at the fat man with puzzlement, before replying, "It says here. that I'm a  US Marshal, and last time I knew, San Francisco was still in the United States." smiling all the while.

"You know damn well what I mean." the fat man spat out, and I could see it flying even through the camera.

"Well, one of the things we do, is enforce court orders, and you are interfering with one. Another is that we protect judges, and since you have invaded this judge's house, those two should begin to answer your question," the new man said, smiling ever so sweetly.

"You won't get away with this." the fat man said.

"Oh, yes we will. Take him into custody, NOW!" the new one said, firmly, and several officers moved towards the fat man.

"WHAT? You can't do that!!" he screamed.

"Watch me." the new cop said, smiling all the while.

Daren and I watched in awe, as one cop arrested another one, one who was screaming all the way out of the house, screaming about what he was going to do to us.

"The new cop looked around at the others and said, "Unless you would like to join them I suggest you find somewhere else to be," and when they didn't move, he added, "Now!"

They apparently decided that would be a good idea, because suddenly all of them were trying to fit through the doorway and get out of the room.

We watched as other officers came into the room in different uniforms and joined my father and the first ones.

"I can't believe it." Daren said, softly.

"I know, but I told you my Mom and dad wouldn't let anyone hurt you anymore," I said, smiling up at him.

The look on his face was one that I would never forget for the rest of my life, and I was so happy that my family had put it there, as he said, "No one has ever done something like this for me," in a voice filled with wonder, shock and disbelief.

"Get used to it." I said, and reached up, kissing him on his cheek, making him blush but smile in return.

"Where are the children?" an officer asked as Dale said into the room "Kalen you can come out now"

"He won't listen to you Dale." Mom said, coming into the room, and I was so glad to see her.

"It's safe now, he can come out." Dale replied, looking puzzled.

"He won't come out until I tell him to." Mom replied.

"Well tell him to come out." one of the other officers said, and I tensed up and could feel Daren take a hold of my shoulder in a grip that cut circulation.

"I think they will stay there for now, all these people would be too much for Daren right now." Mom said, and I told myself to give her a big kiss when I got out, as I felt Daren's grip loosen at hearing that.

They looked at one another, and finally the marshal said, "Well, we'll have two officers stationed outside, until further notice, just call if there are any problems, here's my card." and he proceeded to reach into his shirt pocket and take out a business card and hand it to my father.

"Thank you for coming so quickly," my father told them, and received nods in return.

"Now Sgt. Would you like some back-up in making an arrest?" the marshal asked with a smile on his face.

"I'm afraid that I have been suspended, and can't arrest anyone." Dale replied.

One of the new officers walked over, and pulling a card from his pocket handed it to Dale and said, "If you don't get this straightened out, then give me a call, State can always use some good men."

"Thanks," Dale replied, taking the card.

"You can come with us anyway, that creature who calls herself a mother is going to jail." the officer said.

"I'd like to see that." Dale replied.

"Judge Samuelson, we'll keep you advised." the officer stated, as they all began to file out of the room.

I watched on the monitors until the last one had left the house, and as they all got in their cars to leave, when Mom's voice brought me back to the here and now.

"Kalen, Daren, you can come out now, honey." Mom said, and I reached for the controls and then froze.

She hadn't said the safe word.

I looked around at the monitors and didn't see anything, but she hadn't said the safe word.

"Why aren't you opening the door?" Daren asked

"She didn't say the safe word, remember?" I said to him.

He looked lost for a moment before saying, "When she sent us in here, she said…"

"Yeah she said don't come out, unless she said that." I finished for him.

We both turned back to the monitors where we watched them standing there, not doing or saying anything.

Finally dad said, "They're not coming out, dear," with a soft smile on his face.

"Good." Mom said, smiling as well.

"Arilinn." Mom said, and I sighed in relief.

"What?" Daren asked me.

"She was testing me, to see if I would come out without her giving the password." I told him.

"What is that word?" he asked.

"It's from a book she loves." I told him, thinking of Darkover and the haven that was Arilinn Tower.

I quickly entered the code, to release the lockout and waited until the light went to green and then I opened the door, running out and into my dad's arms, who just held me.

I had never felt so good as I did then with his strong arms surrounding me, keeping me safe.

"Dad!" I said, looking up at him.

"It's alright now, Kalen." he said, smiling at me gently.

"I was so scared, Daddy," I told him.

"I know, I was too, but it's okay now." he told me, and I just buried my head in his chest all worries forgotten for the moment, until he said, "Would you like to introduce me to your friend?"

I pulled back and felt my face getting hot again as I realized that I had forgotten Daren for the moment, as I turned and looked to find Daren standing in the doorway with an uncertain look on his face,which was mixed with fear.

I felt so bad about it but I walked over and said, "Come on." reaching out and taking his hand, pulling him reluctantly forward towards my father.

I pulled him to a stop in front of Dad and said, "Dad, this is Daren," while looking at the love of my life standing there shaking.

Dad smiled and said, "Welcome to the family, Son," and surprised the hell out of Daren by reaching out and taking him into his arms hugging the boy to him.

I could see the fear, and Daren's body shaking at the beginning, but watched as after being stiff for a few moments, he suddenly collapsed into my dad's arms, and just let himself be loved.

Dad brought his hand up, and began stroking Daren's back, but wasn't expecting the cry of pain that came from him, and with a shocked look, he released the boy.

"What is it? What's wrong?" he asked, concerned

"I'm sorry," Daren said, shaking again.

Dad was looking totally confused at what was happening, but I decided to help out.

"Daren, show him." I said, moving to pull the robe off of his shoulders and down his back.

What I wasn't expecting was Dad's response, when I turned Daren around.

With a strangled gasp, Dad cried, "LUCAS!!" and then, before my eyes, I watched, as he shuddered once, and then began to fall.

"DAD!!!" I screamed, as Mom cried "Robert!!" and began to go to him, while Daren cried "NO!" and joined my father in crumpling to the floor.