Monday, February 27, 2017

In the Best Interests - Dolores, Daisy, Vincent, Darcy and Josh

February 16th

Dolores Spanner looked around her office as she waited for the student to be called and appear in her office.  Unconventionally, her furniture was purple, as were many things around the office.  She even had a small purple lace doily on a side table.  Overall it was very feminine.  Delores herself was known as a rather severe woman, both in look and manner.  Small and painfully thin, her hair was tied in a severe bun at the back of her head.  Members of her Hall Monitor program had reported to her that she was seen in many ways as Minerva McGonagal somehow tragically crossed with Delores Umbridge.  She didn't see the movies, so she really didn't know.  All she knew was that she had kept the reputation of Alexandra Academy spotless for thirty years and would continue in that tradition .... no matter what.
no plus ones

Daisy nervously walked into the office after being shuffled by the secretary. She clutched the strap of her fuchsia backpack as if for dear life. Ms. Spanner had always terrified her and her emotions were running high. She had been barely making it to school every morning as it was but she hadn't been late or missed a test or assignment yet so she wasn't sure why she was in trouble. She tried to find a greeting in her mind that sounded contrite and all she could come out with was "Hi?" Oh that wasn't very good at all. Stupid Daisy!

Looking up from her desk as the girl walks in, Delores offers her a grin.  "Please.  Miss Dale.  Close the door.  Do have a seat."  she motions to one of the chairs in front of her desk and then folds her hands in front of her.

Daisy purses her lips and walks to close the door before sitting. she drops her backpack between her feet and nervously clutches her knees with her hands, looking at the edge of the desk.

Clasping her hands before her, Delores looks at Daisy with a smile that is almost predatory.  "I've heard you have something to tell me, Miss Dale."  she announces.  "So I will give you this opportunity to confess, before I am forced to confront you with the ugly truths I have heard."  her voice is calm, but ... somehow dark.

Daisy frowns "I don't know what you mean Ma'am." It crosses her mind she could be talking about the pregnancy but then she dismisses it. how would Spanner know? Not that many people know. Maybe this is about one of Joey's stupid fights.

"Oh, you don't?"  Delores asks, her voice taking on a sarcastic edge used by adults accusing children of lying to their faces.  Eyes on Daisy, Delores opens a laptop on her desk.  It's purple, of course, and fiddles a bit with it.  Turning it to the young girl, a video player program can be seen, paused footage, apparently from a cell phone camera, at a scene where Joey Piccolo is reaching out for Daisy's neck.  Delores taps the space bar and Joey's voice comes through the laptop's speakers.  "Don't you walk away from me, Daisy."  Joey snaps.  "You get rid of that kid NOW.  I'm not paying for YOUR mistake."  The video goes on through the rest of the ... conversation, stopping only when Arthur VanBuren's voice booms,  "Alright, boys, break it up."  the recording then ends and Delores looks across her desk at Daisy.  "Am I to understand that you are pregnant, Miss Dale?"

Daisy shrinks back from the laptop at Joey's horrible words and shudders, eyes filling with tears "Why do you HAVE this recorded? Yes I am, but I'm handling it. I'm still getting all my work done..." She seems really shaken by seeing this again and reliving it.

Arching a brow, Delores defends herself.  "I didn't record it.  It WAS recorded.  This IS the age of cameras everywhere.  Let's be happy this isn't on the Internet, shall we?"  she closes the laptop and smiles.  "Now, what are we going to do about your .... problem?"  she asks, sounding suspiciously like Joey in a way.  "This school has a fine reputation.  We can't have it tarnished, Miss Dale."

Daisy looks confused by the question and sentiment "It won't be obvious for awhile. I'm not sure why this is the school's problem. It affects my life way beyond school."

Pursing her lips in distaste, Dolores looks at the young mother-to-be.  "Word gets around, Miss Dale.  Rumors begin and persist.  And, as you point out, in a few months it will be blatantly obvious exactly what kind of girl you are."  she lifts her head.  "Girls like you set a bad example to the student body."  she looks at Daisy as if that should be obvious.

Daisy starts to protest at first but then starts physically deflating. Ms Spanner is feeding her insecurities. "What do you think I should do then?" Her voice is suddenly smaller?"

A victorious smile appears on Dolores's face.  She'd been afraid that this obvious little harlot would put up a fight.  "It's the end of the school day.  Clean out your locker and go home.  I'm sure you need your rest.  I'll see what I can do for you."  which would ultimately to list the girl as a dropout.  She sounds as if she's offering up salvation on a silver platter.  "Maybe classes from ... home."  where no one would see her.

Daisy awkwardly picks up her backpack and stands, at a loss for words. She doesn't trust any of this but isn't sure what her options are. Can she just do this? Daisy gives the principal a non descript nod and heads for the door.

Standing from her desk, Delores moves to the door, opening it for the unfortunate girl.  Knowing who her mother was, this was an inevitable waste of lives ... seemed to be a family curse.  "Take care, Miss Dale."  she calls after.

Daisy walks down the hall a little dazed as if she might have dreamed this all. She ends up at her locker and opens it looking at what would need to come out to empty it. With robotic movements she starts filling her backpack and then her gym bag and stacking things. As she packs more the tears come and eventually she's in a sobbing heap again on the floor in front of the locker, a lost scared girl. School at home? In her mother's house? She can't imagine being able to work there when her mom hits her next bender.

Vincent is heading down the hall, glad to see the end of this day with half the homework he expected.  He spots Daisy on the floor in front of her locker and moves to her quickly, kneeling beside her.  It looks like she is rearranging everything.  "Hey."  he says to her, looking at everything around her.  "Spring cleaning?"  the groundhog saw his shadow, so it was possible she was one of those.  But didn't pregnant women 'nest'?

Daisy shakes her head and slumps forward at Vincent's question "She told me to clean out my locker. Work from I don't shame the school for the type of...." She does quotes in the air "Girl I am." Daisy sniffs and then tries to shove a too big binder in her already overstuffed backpack.

Vincent's brows raise in disbelief.  The words were stupid and wrong on more levels than he could count.  But it didn't sound like her mother.  Then he remembered Addison complaining that Spanner had complained to her in the nicest ways possible that she wasn't feminine enough.  And other girls about little things.  Skirt length and showing too much leg.  Flirting with boys.  But he'd never heard of anyone being thrown out of school for it.  "Girl you ...."  he begins to repeat and then shakes his head.  He puts his arms around her shoulders.  "Come on.  Put all this stuff back in your locker.  I think we need to go talk to my mom."  he tells her and begins to put the stuff right back IN the girls locker.

Daisy lets Vincent take the lead on this. She has no emotional energy left after her talk in the office. She lets go of the bag and lets it be taken after she fishes a small purse out of it and puts on her jacket. Wiping her eyes she asks hopelessly "What can your mom do?"

Vincent sort of shoves everything into the locker and gets the door shut.  "I have absolutely NO idea."  he admits as he puts his arm around her and begins to lead her to the school entrance, heedless of who might be watching and what they might think.  "But this sounds illegal and my mom's a cop."  he pauses just outside the school doors to send a quick text to Fiona, so she knows why he isn't meeting her, as usual.

Daisy lets herself be steered by Vincent and notices the many eyes on them and whispers as they leave the building. She looked ahead, trying to ignore it, but hoped it wasn't going to cause Vincent any trouble later. She walked in silence with him for a long time and then finally started telling him about what happened "Spanner had a video of Joey and I....when I told him I was pregnant. She said I should be thankful it wasn't on the internet, that someone had filmed it and given it to her......"

Vincent keeps his arm around her, because she looks like she could use the comfort and, even while thinking of the day she asked him out and his rejection of her, and how she had talked around about what her mother had seen of him naked, he still thought she could use some comfort.  He sighs deeply and groans.  "Yea, well .. that kind of shit gets on YouTube and shit, but that's not the point.  Is she trying to shame you into dropping out of school?  That HAS to be illegal."  he realizes vaguely that some of what he always thought of as Darcy's moral righteousness seems to be rubbing off on him.

Daisy thinks "She said I could do it from home.....I'm not sure if she meant through the school or some kind of correspondence thing. Vincent I won't be showing for quite awhile and teenagers get pregnant ALL the time. I'm not sure why this is such a scandal to her. My mom had me when she was 15...not here obviously, if it's so shocking to people..." She scoffs.

Vincent nods.  "Maybe, but ... that HAS to be illegal, Daisy and you shouldn't have to go to school at home if you don't NEED to?  There's a perfectly good school here in town.  Well .. not perfect, obviously but."  he motions to the school as they turn onto Central.  "But no matter what, it's not like you have some communicable disease or .. or ... or .... something!"  he protests as they walk the short distance, cross 2nd and stand in front of the Alexandra Police Department.  "Maybe my mom can tell you what to do, cause this is really wrong!  My mother was pregnant with me at 16 and still finished high school, but .. yea .. not here ..." he sighs.

Daisy shrugs "My mom didn't but I don't think she wanted to. But I don't want to try and study at home. Home is not quiet and stable enough to get any work done......" She stepped forward from Vincent and pushed the door open to the police station and then looked completely overwhelmed as the idea of talking to Vincent's mom sunk in as the reality of being in the police station itself.

Darcy stands mindlessly in front of the copy machine waiting on an endless stack of forms spitting out. She sipped a coffee and glanced out the window at Martha Bloom shuffling along seeming to mutter to herself and snapping like she was trying to recall something. Darcy sighed. Such a sweet lady to have that struggle to hang on to her day to day world.

Vincent almost smiles ot himself as Daisy takes the initiative to open the door and go in.  Almost.  He follows her and spots Mert, immediately.

"Hi, Vincent!"  her voice is unnaturally loud, but her smile is bright and friendly.

But Vincent avoids wincing at the noise and smiles at her.  "Hi Mert."  he looks behind her at Darcy.  It wasn't like he had to ask if she was in.

Daisy jumps a little at Mert's voice and steps back like she might try and sneak out but the idea is halted by Darcy noticing she and Vincent and walking over.

Darcy drops the stack of forms on her desk and then hears Mert greet Vincent, because how can you not. She smiles at him and walks forward "Hey kid. What are you...." She notices a petite blonde now behind him. The girl is literally a younger version of Kenzie Dale so it has to be Daisy Dale. Darcy looks between them and then kindly says "Hi Daisy. Can I help either of you?"

Vincent reaches for Daisy's hand when she jumps.  Mert took a lot of getting used to.  He looks at Darcy when she steps forward.  "Can we talk to you, Darcy Mom?"  he asks.  "Something .... came up at school?"

Josh Greene steps out of the Chief's office, holding an empty coffee cup in one hand and the bridge of his nose with the other.  He moves to the coffee maker and pours, having noted their visitors and glancing at the clock.  School just let out, so it isn't truancy.  But he catches the mention of the school and sort of loiters.

Darcy looks curiously at them. Vincent doesn't appear to have any injuries so it's not a  fight. And the school hasn't called. She beckons them in "Come sit at my desk. Daisy, we haven't met. I'm Officer anyways." She drags two plastic chairs to her work area. Darcy had seen Josh but didn't pull him into the fray, suspecting he was tuning in from his vantage point.

Daisy squeezes Vincent's hand and then lets go. It's very sweet of him but his mom is watching them and he has a girlfriend, and Fiona is now a friend too. She nods at Darcy and follows "Nice to meet you Officer Lynch. Vincent thinks the principal said something to me..." She settles into the chair "Thanks....that might be illegal."

Vincent sits and watches, ready to support Daisy.

Josh sighs happily as he drinks some coffee, and reaches into his pocket when he hears the word illegal in conjunction with the principal.  Dolores Spanner.  Taking out a bottle of Tylenol, he takes two.

Darcy leans forward, making eye contact with Daisy, making sure she knows she's being heard "OK. Tell me about that?"

Daisy takes a deep breath and exhales nervously "Well.....I'm pregnant. No, I didn't plan it....and not that many people know. But Ms. Spanner had someone give her a video of me telling...someone..." she gulps "And she told me I should clean out my locker and do school from home because I'm bad for the school reputation."

Darcy blinks and then shakes her head "Were those her EXACT words?"

Daisy nods "Pretty much. Can she do that? Can she kick me out of school? I'm still getting my work done. I won't show for a long time yet..."

Darcy shakes her head gravely "No, she can't legally kick you out Daisy. The music program is in the private sector but the academic side is in the public sector, which means if you live in the catchment area of the island, they have to accept your enrollment and educate you."

Vincent listens and nods in approval, as if he knew anything about it, except that even if he got kicked out of the music program, he could still go to the Academy.

Josh listens and finally turns his head in the direction of Darcy and the kids sitting by her desk.  He tightens his jaw and steps to them.  "Officer Lynch is right."  he tells her, his face more or less neutral.    "But Delores Spanner has pulled this in the past.  A couple of times at least."  he looks at Daisy.  "I'm Lieutenant Greene.  Good to meet you both."  he is practicing his diplomacy while he can.

Daisy looks shocked "Hello Lieutenant Greene. She has? and she still works there? How does THAT work?" Daisy is starting to look angry about the whole thing now that she knows it's wrong.

Darcy defers to her Lieutenant after a nod to the kids "So what's the recourse Sir? Do we have the jurisdiction or is this a civic matter for the mayor's office? Do we have to contact the school board and seek a superintendent? This is a new one for me...."

Vincent looks interested, but remains quiet.

Josh nods.  "She's done it at least twice in the last 15 years that I know of."  he admits.  "And she still works there because 15 years ago and even 8 or so years ago, peoples perceptions were different.  Teenage pregnancy was not as acceptable as it is now."  he tightens his jaw a moment and looks over at Darcy.  "It's a civil manner, BUT."  he raises his coffee mug.  "If attention is brought to bear, Spanner may make a move on her own to make this more public.  Not something the new mayor is going to need."  he raises his coffee mug again.  "But ... I think we can handle this internally.  I know the parents on the school board.  And Arthur VanBuren."  he looks at the kids.  "I think we can handle this quietly.  Yes, I know I sound like a politician.  But if she makes noise, it can go badly for not only the school and the island, but you as well."  he considers, sipping more of his coffee.

Daisy catches on to what Josh is saying and nods "So I should make like I'm cleaning out my locker or just take some time off until it goes through the proper channels?"

Darcy looks between Josh and Daisy. This girl was much smarter than her mother, who she'd dealt with on some parking tickets and minor citations before. She caught onto subtlety and jumping through hoops to make the system work.

Vincent smiles and keeps nodding.  He was feeling he'd done the right thing bringing Daisy here.

Josh smiles.  "Exactly.  Go home for a few days.  I'll take the flack IF anyone tries to call you truant."  he pauses and lowers his coffee mug.  "Are you still living at home?"  he asks, sounding concerned.  It's a small town.  He didn't know this girl had been pregnant, but he DID know her mother and several of the less than stellar Alexandra citizens she'd been associated with in the past.

One thing Daisy was adamant on was protecting her mother from CFS so she answered almost too fast "Yes Sir I am. I live with my mother Kenzie Dale. It's not much but she takes care of us." It was barely the truth outside of having a roof over her head but Daisy would make this work. She smiled contritely at the lieutenant and folded her hands in her lap.

Darcy looked sideways at Daisy and smiled, but her eyes were suspicious. Was this kid playing Josh? She remembered what Vincent had said about her mother. She also knew the kind of record Kenzie actually had, hardly the responsible mother profile. But she wasn't going to put her on the spot "Well let us know if you need anything Daisy. We can help you...both if you need it." She stole a quick look at Vincent. This was an awkward situation for him to be in but she was glad he was helping this girl.

Vincent's eyes widened and he blinked, but tried to recover.  He replied to Darcy.  "Yea.  Well you know I'll help you out.  But you also have Fiona and Addy."  he offers.

Josh listens to her and laughs.  "Don't worry, Daisy.  I just wanted to make sure you had a roof over your head, even if it has a couple of holes in it."  he tells her.  "I'm not calling anyone but the school board."  he pauses.  "But if for some reason CFS comes calling, get in touch with this station IMMEDIATELY."  he looks at Darcy.  If Spanner wanted to cause this child trouble, that's one way she can do it.  "Tell them to call me, no matter the hour."  he looks at Daisy.  "We'll work this out."  it seems a slightly odd thing for the Lieutenant to say.  "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and make a couple of phone calls."  he winks, waves to them and heads back to his office.

Daisy's eyes go wide as the Lieutenant just comes out and calls her bluff. Then she looks down awkwardly and says quietly "Yes Sir. Thank you." I guess it was stupid to think that the cops didn't know. Some of them had been to their apartment, sometimes for her mom's drunken public mischief and sometimes for the violence of some of the men she had brought home when the neighbours complained. Her mother got just as nasty and violent back to the men and garnered a few assault charges of her own. Daisy often wondered how it would have gone with Joey if she was more like her mom.

Darcy actually looks visibly relieved that Greene knows but also curious about his demeanor with Daisy and his words. After a thinking frown she turns to Daisy and Vincent "Yes, friends. Rely on your friends Daisy. I'm glad Vincent is among them." She gives him a little smile "You guys can wander and I'll check in with the Lieutenant. Daisy...if you want to leave us your cell number, we can call you with information as we get something more tangible." She passes her a pen and a small pad of paper.

Daisy nods and writes down the number "Thank you Officer Lynch....and Vincent."

Vincent looks relieved.  Daisy's mother had a reputation.  After all, she had dated Gino.  He stands as Daisy writes her number down.  "Lets go to Earthcakes."  he suggests.  "Because sugar makes everything better."  and he heads out with her.

Josh sits at his desk and starts with text messages to John Reinhardt, one member of the school board.  Good choice, because John tell him that Daisy has stayed with his family and can fill in a few more detains ... including who the father of Daisy Dale's baby is.  After that he hangs up and sips at his coffee again.  Sometimes kids made the damnedest mistakes.

Daisy leaves with Vincent looking cheered up a bit by the idea of both sweets and company. "I'm going to text Fi and Addy to see if they want to meet us there. Talk to you soon Officer Lynch."

Darcy waves as the kids go and the approaches Josh's office. The door is still open so she does an awkward leer in and knock "Do you have a moment to debrief Lieutenant?"

Josh turns his head and nods, motioning her in.  He has been behind this desk in a temporary capacity before but soon it will be permanent.  "Sure.  Come in and close the door."  he tells her.  Once she does, he leans back.  "Tell me what YOU know, Lynch."

Darcy sits after closing the door and starts "I don't know a lot about Dolores Spanner other than this incident and Vincent mentioning she doesn't like girls and shames them about clothing choices. I thought she might be some sort of religious zealot but clearly it goes deeper. As for Daisy, I did know she was pregnant. Joey Piccolo is the father but not being supportive. Daisy has a less than ideal home life to begin with too. Should I be aware of more?"

Josh listens and sighs.  "Well, Piccolo is trouble.  You know the type.  As for Spanner..."  he pauses.  "She's been the principal there for twenty years almost.  And she's shamed a couple of pregnant teens into panics before."  he clears his throat.  "One of them was my daughter.  Long story short, Spanner used my position, and her mother's to add to the shame of a teenage mother on a small town island.  My daughter ran away, then my wife left, but not to find her."  he clears his throat, gruffly.  "The other girl was from a religious family, but Spanner shamed her so badly she opted to abort.  Needless to say that did not go over well with her family and she wound up in another school.  Vancouver I think.  With Daisy ... there isn't much family to ruin, but I can't let her ruin another young girls life."  he pauses and sighs again.  "Too much information?"  he wonders.

Darcy listens to it all with patience and empathy and then says "I'm so sorry Sir. I had no idea." It would be futile to ask if he's looked for his daughter. She suspects he's done everything he can. "We'll make sure Daisy gets all the help she needs."

Josh nods.  "Well, this is a small town where sometimes the people will respect the very painful things and not turn it into part of the historical record."  he looks at her.  "We will.  I'll be talking to the members of the school board and then we'll talk to VanBuren.  I've heard he's more popular than Spanner anyway.  With luck, she will quietly resign and go ... live someplace else."

Darcy nods respectfully "I hope so. I really do. Ms Spanner has no place in administration if she's going to abuse the position like that. Mr. VanBuren is the administrator I've had an exchange with and he seems more than competent. Vincent likes him too, even after a suspension from him. He got in a fight with Joey Piccolo over how he treated Daisy when she told him she was pregnant. Just to be clear on the reason for the suspension."

Josh nods, slowly.  "Arthur is a good man."  he agrees and them he arches his brows.  "Is that why he got suspended?"  he shrugs.  "I'm sure you handled that well.  Personally I probably would have tried to walk that fine line.  Grounded in a room full of your favorite things."  he scoffs.  "Kids can be difficult, I know.  From what I've seen, you're doing a fine job."

Darcy grins "Pretty much winging it but thanks." She jokes. "How's the big chair fitting by the way?" Darcy had clearly settled in. She was cracking jokes to commanding officers and more than anywhere in recent years, this town was feeling like a home. The unanticipated creation of a family was cementing that.

Josh chuckles.  "You're welcome."  he sits back in the chair with a sigh.  "It fits.  Technically I should have gotten the job years ago but ...  Adum needed it and I didn't want the responsibility.  My own personal shit, if you know what I mean.  But ...."  he chuckles.  "Fred and Adum both decided I could do it."  he folds his hands.  "Actually it was probably Fred."  he snorts.  "Much as people bitch about Sewid ... he has had his reasons for being such an insufferable ass hole over the years.  I guess I did too."

Darcy smiles and then it fades as she decides to ask the awkward question once and for all "Your family....your daughter. Do you have any contact now at all? If it's not out of line for me to ask...Sir."

Josh considers.  This woman was part of their shift.  Like its twin in the Fire Department, they were a family.  So this bunch knew more about him than anyone, possibly.  And it was testament to the family that none of the others; not Sharp or Wright or any of the others, had told her anything of his past, even if they knew.  "My wife divorced me.  She didn't speak to me but to demand alimony ... because Rachel .. my daughter ... didn't go with her.  After her first remarriage, the alimony stopped, but I had an idea what she was up to.  Same old, if you know what I mean."  he shrugs.  "She made Kenzie Dale look like a nun."  he sighs and ran a hand over his bald head.  "Rachel ... vanished.  I spent a lot of money for a lot of years on investigators but ... they figured she'd changed her name and maybe gone off the grid so I couldn't find her.  So I don't know what happened to her.  I used to make the rounds once a year, hoping cops in other cities could find her but .... nothing."

Darcy sighs deeply "I'm sorry. That's unbelievable. But you're still doing helping people every day, making a difference for another young woman. That's amazing if you don't mind my saying."

Josh gives a half smile.  "I don't mind.  Thank you."  he accepts.  "I guess ... I ... wonder how shitty a father I could have been for my daughter to think she couldn't come to me."  he sighs.  "Maybe it was just because I was a cop.  I don't know.  But ... I try and make it up with other kids?"  he sounds unsure about his own words.

Darcy frowns "Oh no...Sir that was not what I meant at all. I'm sure you were great. Sometimes even that isn't enough. It's complicated."

Josh sits up a bit.  "Well ... what DID you mean, Lynch?"  he wonders.  "Am I missing something?"  he feels that was the theme to his experience as a father.  If he can't do it with his underlings as Chief ...

Darcy feels like she's really stepped in it, without even trying "You can have a screwed up kid with a loving parent or parents. I mean we've seen it in our work. It's not always the fault of the parenting. I just meant you helping another kid in your daughters situation honours your daughter whether she's aware of it or not.'

Josh relaxes.  "Oh ... yea .. sorry."  he apologizes.  "I guess I'm STILL not over it.  But it feels like a failure."  he strokes his chin.  "I never thought about it like that."  he sighs.  "It's ... rough .. not knowing what happened.  To her.  To her baby.  My grandchild."  he shrugs, lightly, but clearly it's something he's thought about for years.

Darcy nods slowly "I can only imagine how horrible that is. I hope wherever they are, they're both OK." She looks down feeling both sad for Josh and a little awkward about her side of the conversation.

Josh can understand.  He rolls his shoulders.  "Hope springs eternal.'  he replies.  "But for now, Spanner is my problem.  And I still have a little POLICE work to do.  So lets end this little coffee break, shall we."  he orders, but offers a slight smile anyway.

Darcy nods more formally and stands, but with a little smile too "Yes Sir. Thank you. I have a small stack of reports to tackle now."

No comments:

Post a Comment