"Your Honor, with all due respect, I don't see how this is in the best interest of my client." Silently sitting in a conference room again awaiting my future to be decided yet again by a Judge and Court appointed Lawyer, who picked up my case file mere hours ago. Not that I really blame them for my predicament. It's not their fault that I continuously run from the foster homes I'm placed in. I just know I'd be better off on my own. I stick around until something shows signs of going south and then I leave. Taking simply what I had brought with me. Narrowing it down to a science. I learned how to do that at a young age. Between my mother, now deceased, who had a drug problem. And my father, who I haven't seen in the better part of 5 years.
"Considering your client is facing some pretty serious battery charges, I believe this offer is more than reasonable. Unless you can give a good reason for your actions that go against what Mr. Clayton has written in his statement Ms. Garner, I'm afraid you'll be serving time in the Juvenal detention center." The Judge cocked his eyebrow at me before the foster family I had been previously placed with started to argue that nothing good would come out of my mouth.
Thinking about it now, breaking a couple fingers of the kid who took a couple pictures of me in the shower probably wasn't the smartest idea, but in my defense. Nah, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I let out a deep sigh and pull the cellphone sims card out of my pocket and slid it across the table to the Judge. "I'm sure you'll find the reason I did it within the first could dozen pictures on this." Suddenly the room was quiet, and the family began to look rather frightened. Like I said, I go through a lot of foster families. Not all bad. I had one right after my mother passed away that I wish I could of stayed at. Sadly her health deteriorated and she was no longer suited to be a foster parent in the states eyes. She's made it a habit of taking me in more times than not for an overnight stay before I inevitably get picked up by CPS and start my rotations around the system again.
Soon after I produced the sims card the judge dismissed all charges and gave the family the choice to get their son help or he'd be prosecuting him on predator charges and have him placed on the registry. I didn't feel the need to press charges, much to my Lawyer and the Judges dismay. I just wanted to go about my life jumping home to home so that I could eventually graduate.
"Hey, hold up a moment Ms. Garner." the judge says as he rushes out of the courthouse soon after me. Slowing my pace and waiting for him to catch up to me. "I understand this is not regular but I have a friend and his wife who are currently looking into taking in a foster. Seeing as what I have witnessed and how many homes you've been through, I'd like to make and emergency placement." he gave me a gentle smile before continuing. "If you don't mind that is. We can walk over to his office right now and you can meet them before making any decisions."
Highly confused by a Judge showing so much interest in my family placement I give him a weary look. But considering my equivalent is a group home till they find me another placement I just shrug and follow his lead. The busy rush hour traffic made the trip long but the silence of the car was strangely peaceful. He didn't try to make any unnecessary small talk. He just allowed me to sit and look out the window. Suddenly we pulled up in front of One Police Plaza and I gawked up at the building.
What the hell kind of joke is this? I manage to pull myself together and follow him in. "I know you have some questions, and I promise they will be answered in a few moments." I watched the floor number go up and the further up we went the bigger the pit grew in my stomach before I was almost positive, I was being absorbed by it. For some strange reason I felt like this elevator ride was leading me to a whole different life than what I got on with. Before I could fully pull my thoughts together the sound of the elevator dinging and the doors pulling open brought a new kind of anxiety. A middle-aged couple met up in the foyer of the floor. Both sporting high end suits and straight white smiles.
"Hi, I'm Leona Granger, this is my Husband Police Commissioner Frank Harbor." Giving a tiny wave I find myself smiling and feeling very self-conscious. "I know this is very last minute and unexpected, but Mr. Xavier explained a little about your foster history and we already made the call to your case agent letting her know we planned on fostering you until either more suitable arrangements can be found or until you are old enough and secure enough to take care of yourself." I nodded in understanding but was still awestruck by the words this woman was saying to me. The Police Commissioner and his wife were standing in front of me proposing to be my foster parents?
"If you'll let us, we'd like to take care of you. We both feel like this could be a great fit. But it won't be all easy. We expect you to keep your grades up and study hard. We know you are a good student. Your case worker says you are one of the brightest she's had in her case load in a while." The Commissioner added to what his wife had previously said. I got excited. The idea of going to school and actually learning made me happy. I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face and I gave way to the urge to hug them. Rushing over to Leona and wrapping my arms around her neck. Clearly surprising her. Tears began to fall down my face.
"Thank you." I choked out, not trusting much else that would come out. I felt a large hand patting my shoulder in a calming manner.
"Well, I'll leave you to get acquainted better. I have a meeting and with this traffic I'll be lucky if I make it. Have a good night." With that Mr. Xavier had made his way out of the office and had disappeared into the elevators.
"Well, I believe this is a cause for celebration." Leona says after I pull myself together and step away from her. "Isla why don't you go and get freshened up and I'll take you shopping while Frank finishes up here, we'll meet up at the Daniel." Something about them made me feel instantly safe. Almost like I belonged.