The Girl Most Likely To ... - Part 44
by Barbara Lynn Terry
(Author's Note: As I had said several chapters ago, this story is a tg soap opera, if you will. It isn't about any one person, but about different people supporting each other. This story may have started out with Renée and Rachel, but like any multi-plot soaps, it has gotten into the personalities of others, who just so happen to be teenage girls. Renée and Rachel are always here, but in the background in some chapters, and in forefront in others. Also, the Pine Meadows Home For Adolescent Girls is a girls residential treatment center, not under the department of corrections. Prisons, reformatories, reforms schools, girls schools and boys schools are all under the Department of Corrections. The Girls at Pine Meadows are not prisoners nor are they 'convicted' of any crime. They are minors and as such have been shown mercy by the court, but removed from the home 'in the best interest of the child'. Thank you all for reading and commenting. Barbara)
Chapter 1 - A man in no man's land.
As Jerry listened to the cheerful banter of the girls, he noticed, too, that there was no calling each other names or swearing at the staff. He marveled at the fact that these girls seemed happy. He wasn't about to ask why, lest he spoil the mood.
"Excuse me, Jerry, my name is Sharon, and I want to ask you a question. When you found out that your niece was sent here, what were you thinking?"
"Well, I really didn't understand why, but since the home front has changed dramatically, Melanie is welcome at home, now. I don't think the battles that went on between her and her father will ever go on again."
"Why is that?"
"For someone so young, you ask a lot of questions."
"Yes, Jerry, I do. Melanie is our sister, and we would like to know how she is doing. See, Jerry, we are all here for different reasons, and we know that. Whenever we need to talk, we can talk to any of the staff or any one of our sisters. Admitting we have problems and admitting we help to deal with them, is what this place is all about. That is why there are no restrictions here, except what we would have at our own homes. So, if we have to be here, then this is our home, and we make sure it stays that way. You might say this is a high school sorority house, if you want to put a label on it."
"No man's land, hey. Yes, when I was majoring in criminology in college, I walked past a sorority house on my way to my dorm. One of the girls was sitting on the front porch one fall, and told me that I pass their house so often, you would think I wanted to join their sorority. We laughed, had a good talk, and we decided to go steady for a semester. Then we got married. I was to find out, later, that she was the sister of a fraternal brother, who was engaged to one of the girls."
"Why isn't she with you, now, Jerry?"
"Because she is home with her family in another state. Maybe sometime, after we move here, I will bring her by and I will introduce you to her. You may see her, too, walking our little gold and white Pomeranian."
"Do you have any cats, Jerry?"
"Just my sister and Melanie." There were lots of giggles, even from Marilyn and Melanie.
The three headed monster known as man, has been unmasked and shown to be just like everybody else. The girls were glad that Jerry had a good sense of humor. Up until Jerry had made that little quip, the girls didn't really bother with him, until Sharon decided to break the ice.
"Jerry, if for any reason you can't find Melanie, and she didn't say she was going in to town, you can find her here. Also, the next dance we have is the St. Valentine's Day dance at rec center in town. If you think you are surprised now, wait until then. You will be even more surprised."
The Pine Meadows Home For Adolescent Girls was a place unlike any other under the state Department of Family Services. This "institution" was run like a normal home. There was staff on duty on all three shifts, and they wrote reports about the girls behavior, but there were no restrictions, as such, and all the girls had to do was behave themselves. Of course, there were demerits for improper behavior, and that is why the girls all went out of their way to help and support each other, and make sure they didn't lose the privileges they had.
Jerry Anderson was very surprised when he heard there were no restrictions here, except what the girls would have in a normal home.
"Sharon, you say there are no restrictions and you can come and go as you please. What would happen if you left to go in to town, but decided to keep going?"
"When we got back, we would be grounded, just like in a normal home. If you are wondering if they would come after us, no. They would notify the police, but only for them to keep an eye out. See, Mr. Anderson..."
"See, Jerry, the reason they wouldn't come after us, is because they know that sooner or later we would get hungry and we would be very tired, and we would come back on our own. You are probably thinking why would we come back. The answer is simple. Here it is warm, loving and caring. On the streets, on the run, we wouldn't have that kind of security."
"Has anybody told you that you are wise beyond your years?"
"Yes, Jerry, they have. All the time, in fact. Jerry, what kind of work do you do?"
"I'm a criminal investigator for the state police."
"Are you a trooper?"
"No, just an investigator. I do carry a gun and handcuffs, but that is only for my own protection. I do have arrest powers, but only in certain circumstances."
"So, are you going to live here, then?"
"Yes. I can transfer districts easy enough. I haven't talked to the commander of the state police barracks here, yet, but I will, and then I have to sign a few papers, then start here. You girls are really amazing for being so young."
"Thank you, Jerry. You have met Naomi, you need to meet her fiancé Trooper Jim O'Donnell. Naomi is a deputy sheriff and teaches hand to hand self defense to rookie deputies."
"Naomi, I am very happy to meet you. So, tell me, how does a deputy sheriff become engaged to a state trooper?"
"Will power, Jerry. Simply, will power." The girls all giggled.
"Well, I can see why they call this no man's land." There were more giggles.
"Jerry, since you are moving here," Naomi volunteered, "we will be seeing a lot of each other. Here the state and county jurisdictions overlap, and we help each other as much as possible. You will also find out that in a barricaded hostage situation, they will call me to help diffuse an otherwise ugly gun battle. See, Jerry, I am a Tai Chi martial artist. I use my martial arts to help a suspect calm down."
There was a low "you can say that, again" from one of the girls, but Naomi let it go.
"See, Jerry, I moved here so I could be close to the girls. I promised one girl in particular that I would come up from Forest City two maybe three times a week and help her through her therapy. Then I decided to move here, so I could be close to her and her sisters. The girls have made me an honorary sister, as well as one of this girl's best friends. This house is run on trust, love, caring and sisterhood. It may be listed officially as a state institution, but it isn't run like one.
"Everybody in town, knows these girls by name, and here, Jerry, it takes a village. Everybody looks out for these girls, and the other children that live here in Pine Meadows county. Even our most dastardly residents make sure the children that live in this county are safe. If a stranger should happen to come in to the town or the county, he or she is watched very carefully, until they leave. It takes a village, Jerry. You will see after you move here.
"So you are an investigator. I worked as a deputy sheriff for ten years in Alameda County. Then I transferred to here. I spend more time here, with these girls, than I do my own house. I live a half a mile up the road, toward town, and half a mile from the town. Everybody in this county knows my house as the 'old Connors' place."
"How long have you lived here, Naomi?"
"About a month. In that month, there isn't anybody in Pine Meadows county that doesn't know who I am, well, by name anyway. Since you work for the state police, you will meet Jim O'Donnell. He and I work together quite a lot. We actually met the first night I transferred here. I was assigned to drive him around and back him up if need be. That first night, we were doing traffic duty at a fire not far from here. Then, we became engaged right there at the fire ground site. It was a night that you wouldn't understand, even if you had been there."
"It sounds like you two had a wonderful night, even doing a mundane job as redirecting traffic."
"It was a wonderful night. I guess I should put in an appearance at my house. Ladies, thank you for being such gracious hostesses. I'm sure our guest appreciates that very much."
"Naomi, will you be back this weekend?"
"Yes, Joy, I will be back this weekend. Even if I have to work."
With dinner being over, the dish brigade began clearing the tables. Naomi gave all the girls a hug, and told Jerry it was nice meeting him, and left for her house.
Chapter 2 - Naomi calls Jim O'Donnell.
When Naomi pulled up to her house, she took out her cell phone and called Jim O'Donnell.
"Hi Jim, Naomi here. Do you know anything about a state police investigator named Jerry Anderson?"
"Yes, Naomi. He has investigated crimes all over the state. He has worked here a few times, but I never met him. He is a really nice guy though. Why do you ask?"
"Because, my future husband, he is Melanie's uncle."
"Well, it is a small world."
"He is going to move up here, and live here so Marilyn, Melanie and him can be near each other. He said he will transfer to here, too."
"Well, Wayne County is going to lose a good man. He knows his stuff, Naomi. How did you meet him?"
"He was with Melanie and Marilyn at the home, when I came there. I was just in time for dinner. We talked some, and he wanted to know how we met, so I told him. I guess he is going to live with Melanie and her mother until he can find a house."
"That would be logical. Say, what are you doing for dinner tomorrow night?"
"Nothing that I know of. Why do you ask, love of my life?"
"Well, because I was thinking I would take you out for dinner and a movie over in Grant county. They have a wonderful dinner theater. It is only about an hour from here to Parker City in Grant County. Say, I pick you up about maybe sixish?"
"It's a date, you handsome stud, you."
"Until tomorrow my sweet love."
"Until tomorrow sir gallant knight."
They hung up the phone, and Naomi decided to go in the house.
"Don't be afraid everyone, it's just a nobody deputy."
"Hey Naomi. Are you hungry?"
"No, I stopped at the home, and they invited me for dinner. Tomorrow night though, I have a date with Jim."
"Really," Gloria Richards, said wanting to hear more. "Tell me more, girlfriend."
"Well, I had called Jim to ask him if he new about an investigator for the state police. He said he hadn't met him, but he had heard of him. Take a wild guess as to who this investigator is."
"I wouldn't even be able to hazard a guess."
"His name is Jerry Anderson, and he is Melanie's uncle."
"Yes. He is going to move here, so he can be close to his sister, Marilyn, and his niece, Melanie. He is transferring his job to the state police barracks here."
"Whose transferring here?" Renée asked, bewildered.
Naomi repeated to Renée what she had told her mother, and Renée's face showed the shocked surprise.
"I wonder why Melanie never mentioned him?"
"I don't know, Renée, but he seems like a nice enough guy. We had dinner at the home, and he, Marilyn and Melanie were there. He was asked if he was trooper, and he said no, he is just an investigator."
"I won't say anything to Mel about this. I will let her tell me when she is ready."
"Good for you, Renée. That is showing true sisterly caring in the spirit of the home."
"Naomi, are we ever going to go ice skating? I ask because some of the girls want to take Rachel to the park and skate on the pond."
"Yes, Renée, I think that Saturday will be a good day for that."
"I will let Rachel be surprised then. I bought her a pair of ice skates. I called the home and told Sharon and made her promise not to tell Rachel until we get to the pond."
"That sounds good to me. Rachel deserves to pleasantly surprised, after all she has been through before coming here."
"I think, too, that we should get her a very warm parka. It is going to get very cold here, or so I am told."
"Who told you, Renée?"
"Sharon did when I talked to her on the phone. Sharon said that Rachel has a coat from the home, but that is not really going to be warm enough. I figure, if all the sisters helped with part of their allowance, and I helped with part of mine, we could get her a nice, warm, snuggly, winter coat."
"That's my daughter, always thinking of others. I am very proud of you, Renée."
"Thank you, mom." Gloria just smiled at her daughter. "Mom, tomorrow I want to go over to the home and talk to a few of the girls."
"I will drive you. Remember what Sharon said the last time you walked there."
"Oh! Yes." Renée giggled.
Renée was thinking about Melanie's uncle working for the state police. that means, if he isn't a trooper, that he has some special police powers the troopers don't have. Maybe. She will wait for Melanie to tell her about her uncle.
Let me see, Renée thought to herself. Melanie suggested that all the girls in the home now, move here to Pine Meadows county so they could all continue to help each other. Then, Naomi, her, her mother, father, sister, little brother moved here with Rachel's mom and Sandi and her mom. Then Melanie's mother comes to visit Melanie and tells her Mel is wanted back home and they move to Pine Meadows county and now Melanie's uncle wants to live here, too. She couldn't help but wonder what Pine Meadows county would be like with all the girls and their families living here. Well, she thought, we will just have to wait and see.
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