The Truant Risk

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1) - DUELING POWER PLAYS

Submitted: May 04, 2019

Reads: 71

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Submitted: May 04, 2019

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Roughly thirty minutes later as they entered the city limits of KariAnn’s hometown, a large familiar green and white sign greeted them that read: ‘WELCOME TO TROY THE CITY OF TOMORROW TODAY’.    Although she had only been away two months, evidence of change and growth had already taken place.  As they drove down Livernois towards the street she lived, KariAnn noticed a new Arby’s going up, some buildings under construction, and the local drug store once called Lowen Drugs had changed its name to Troy Pharmacy & Gift Shoppe.

We’re almost there, Antonio.  The name of my street is Hickory, and it will be coming up in a couple more blocks on the right.” said KariAnn nervously.

“Do you want me to go up to the door with you?” he offered.

"No, you’d better just drop me off at the end of the street and let me walk the rest of the way.  No telling how mom’s going to react to my coming home.” she said, staring out the window and counting down the street signs as they came nearer.  “Slow down, this is it, the next one coming up.”

Antonio put on his right blinker and pulled the truck over after turning onto Hickory.  “Don’t look so worried.  Things have a way of working out.  After all, you are her daughter, and I’m sure she must love you.  She’ll be relieved just knowing you’re alright.”

“I hope so.” she tried to smile, and leaned over to kiss him good-bye.  “I’ll call you tomorrow if everything’s okay, and if you don’t hear from me, it’s more than likely she made me go back to the school.”

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, KariAnn, and luck permitting will talk to you tomorrow.”

“You know, Antonio, I think given more time; I would end up falling in love with you.  Thanks again for everything.”

Nostalgic memories flooded over her as she slowly walked the block and a half to her house.  The family had moved into the neighborhood seven years ago when KariAnn had started second grade, and now she knew just about everyone on the street.  She wondered how many of the neighbors and her friends knew she had run away or even knew about her being sent to Vista Maria.  She was back where she grew up, and she didn’t ever want to be sent away again.

She spied her mom out by the pool skimming bugs off the surface with a net when she walked up the driveway.  Her dad’s car was gone so it was obvious he wasn’t home yet in spite that it was after seven o’clock.  Her dad had always worked long hours, and she guessed he had to work even harder now to pay the $400 a month to keep her in boarding school.  She wished he was there to give her moral support, and so she could hug him and say she was sorry.  Her mom never saw her walking up, and the kids were nowhere in sight.

“Mom.” her voice trembled, and when Mrs. Randall spun around with eyes and mouth open wide, she looked as if she’d just seen a ghost.

“KariAnn!” her mom screamed with joy, and dropping the net ran toward her and threw her arms around her daughter.  It was a very emotional reunion, and feeling each other’s embrace, which had been a long time since they’d shown or expressed love in this manner, brought both of them to tears.  “We were all so worried!  When the police couldn’t find you and you didn’t call, we were so afraid something horrible happened to you.”

“I’m sorry, mom, I’m so sorry!” she cried, not wanting to let go of her like a hurt child needing a mother’s comfort.  “Mom, please give me another chance, and let me live at home.  I’ll be good!  I swear!”

KariAnn’s hopes grew high when her mother surprised her with such a loving display of affection and concern, but her dreams were popped like a bubble when she instantly stuck in the pin of disapproval once she heard her plea to come home.  KariAnn was left confused and resentful over how she could go from warm one minute to icy cold the next.

“Did you really think that running away and worrying me sick would make me change my mind, and say oh sure, KariAnn, you can come home now?  All you’ve done is shown me you’re not ready to be trusted.” said Mrs. Randall removing KariAnn’s arms from around her, and becoming the mother KariAnn knew best.

“You’re wrong, mom.  I ran away because I was lonely, and missed leading a normal life like other teenagers.  I tried everything I could to make things up to you and earn back your trust so I could become part of the family again.  Don’t you love me anymore?  Didn’t you miss me too?” said KariAnn fearing she might cry, but not wanting to give her mom the satisfaction.

“You have a habit of making everything sound so black and white with no shades of gray in between.  Of course, I love you and missed you when you were away, but many things have changed since you left.” explained Mrs. Randall.

“Like what, mom?” KariAnn wanted to know.

“For one thing,” Mrs. Randall began, “I’m not worrying about you all the time, and your dad and I have less fights now.  Michelle is getting used to being the oldest in the house, and has been handed more responsibilities and extra privileges for taking over what you used to do.  We even gave her your room so your little brother didn’t have to share a bed with Denise anymore.  You know Michael has a bed wetting problem, and Denise was pitching a fit.  I just don’t think things would work out at this time if you were to come back home to live.”

“It sounds more to me like you’re permanently kicking me out!” said KariAnn bitterly.

“You can take it any way you want to, but that’s just the way it is.  You have no one to blame but yourself that we had to send you to boarding school, and the only way you’re going to get out is to hang in there the remaining twelve months and continue the good grades along with staying out of trouble.  I’m afraid, KariAnn, as soon as I notify the school, I’ll have to drive you back.” replied Mrs. Randall laying down her conditions, and showing KariAnn she had power over her.

“Can’t we at least wait until dad comes home so I can see him first?” asked KariAnn without much expectation of her saying yes.

‘Why, so you can work on him with your crying act and good promises?” her mom asked sarcastically.  “Sorry, but I want to get you back before he gets home and it gets too late.”

“I swear if you take me back to that boarding school, I’ll only run away again the first chance I get!” threatened KariAnn.

“You do, and you’ll blow it for yourself.  I’m warning you now, KariAnn, that not only won’t I let you come home, but I’ll turn everyone in this family against you.  That’s a promise, and you wait and see if I can’t do it!” Mrs. Randall counter-threatened, and then walked to the phone to call the school.  Sr. Renee was relieved that KariAnn was alright and showed up at home.  She had high expectations for KariAnn, and was very fond of her.  It was hard for Sr. Renee to believe KariAnn would take off the way she did, and she had prayed every day she was gone that God would watch over her and deliver her back safely.

On the way back to Vista Maria, KariAnn stared out the window without saying a word like the first time they drove out together to enroll her.  It was 8:30 p.m. and already semi-dark when they arrived back at the school.  Both Sr. Renee and Mother Andrew were waiting to greet them at the door.  “Welcome back, KariAnn.” said Mother Andrew.  “We don’t usually take back girls that have run away from the school, but we’re making an exception in your case since you’ve done so well prior to this.  We know that your being deeply upset about not going home triggered this irrational and unacceptable behavior, but I warn you if it happens again you won’t be allowed another chance to stay here.”

“I understand, Mother Andrew.” answered KariAnn with respect.

“I trust you won’t do anything so foolish again.” Sr. Renee spoke up.  “Next time something troubles you, promise you’ll come see me about it.  I’m here to help you, and I’m a good listener.”

“I know you are, and I will.” KariAnn gave her word.

“Good, I hope you do.  Say good-bye to your mother, and then go join the rest of the girls in the TV room.” Sr. Renee told her.

“Believe it or not, I do love you and have faith you can do well if you try.” said Mrs. Randall playing the role of a supporting parent.  “We’ll see you next month on visiting day.”

After breakfast the following morning, KariAnn was informed that being she was truant over 48 hours, she had to undergo a complete physical, and was sent across campus to see the school’s doctor.  Dr. Jacob looked up from the pile of papers on his desk when KariAnn walked in.  He led her into a small room, instructed her to strip down and change into the open-backed examining gown, and would be back in a few minutes.

She did as she was told, and when the doctor returned she was sitting at the end of the table dressed in the provided gown with her clothes neatly folded on the chair.  The examination went along smoothly until it came time for the required Pap smear.  KariAnn knew he was sure to see how Antonio hurt her down there, and tried to prepare how she’d answer the questions he’d be bound to ask.  She laid there uncomfortably with her feet in the cold steel stirrups and her butt at the edge of the table.  Spreading her legs apart hurt badly enough, but when he touched her with his impersonal, disposable-gloved fingers, she couldn’t hold back the moan of pain that escaped her lips.

The questions she expected him to fire at her didn’t come.  Instead, Dr. Jacob just shook his head and glanced up at his very young patient.  “Whoever you had sex with, young lady, has left you with some vaginal tearing almost in need of stitches.  However, I think it will heal up okay on its own if you soak a half hour every day for the next ten days in a tub of warm water and Epsom salt.”  He paused for a moment and then added, “I’ll have to give you a pregnancy test also if your next period is late.”

“A pregnancy test!” she wondered if she had said it to herself or aloud, but the doctor only thumbed through her file ignoring her if he had heard.  This was something she didn’t give a hell of a lot of thought to before, and didn’t welcome having to think about it now.  “Dr. Jacob,” she said suddenly, “You don’t have to tell my parents about this, do you?  Please, I really don’t want them to find out.” KariAnn pleaded with him as panic set in at the thought of them being told.

“Alright, I guess I don’t have to say anything to them at this point, but they’ll have to be informed either by you or by me if it turns out you’re pregnant.” he warned her.  “When was your last menstrual period by the way.” he asked so he could record it down for future reference.

“I just had one.  It was a week ago yesterday I stopped bleeding.” she remembered easily.

“Good, then you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.  It’s usually pretty safe the first week before and the first week after your period.” he assured.  “Let’s see, your next one then should be due around July 7th.” he figured out on the calendar sitting on his desk in front of him.  “I want to see you back here, KariAnn, in ten days to check how you’ve healed up after the tub soakings, and we’ll plan on the pregnancy test if you don’t start on the seventh.”

“Okay, and thank you for agreeing not to tell my folks.” she said with relief.

“But only if…”

“Yeah, I know.  See you in ten days.”  Little did she realize at the time that she would not be keeping that appointment.


© Copyright 2019 Katie McDougal. All rights reserved.

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