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Run Danny, Run novel Chapters 5&6

Story ID:11450
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:Fiction
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:17
Person:Esther & Richard Provencher
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
CHAPTERS FIVE AND SIX CONTINUE THE NOVEL RUN DANNY, RUN BY ESTHER AND RICHARD PROVENCHER.

CHAPTER FIVE

Andrew Delaney thought he had everything planned just right, sneaking out with the last of his personal belongings. As luck would have it, anything of value fitted in the backpack he hefted on his shoulder.

The day began as if was going to be an OK Saturday.

But he didn't count on his old man waiting for him at the curb. Just because he was Deputy Police Chief in Truro didn't give him the right to be his boss. Things were going to be different in this kid’s life.

He looked to see if any of his friends were around. Probably watching from beside someone's house, waiting to see what his father would do. What was the ‘old man’ doing back here anyway? Andrew thought his father had to meet someone. Isn’t that why he had to leave early?

"Andrew?"

"What?" the boy asked, trying to ignore the man as he walked around him on the sidewalk.

"I'm talking to you, son."

Andrew hated that tone of voice. "I am not your S-O-N! I already said I'm moving out. And I'm not coming home anymore. I'm a man now.

"What did you say?"

"Cool it," the boy said half to himself. "Nothin'." He knew he should stop sucking in fresh air and at least listen. His fingers twitched for a smoke. "Got any?" he asked his father absent-mindedly.

"You've got to be kidding. For a fifteen year old, you sure have no respect. I thought you'd change your mind, after our chat last night."

"Guess I'm in for it now," the boy mocked. “Is it time to play good little kid, pop?"

Deputy-Chief Trent Delaney had a good position in the town and respect from the merchants, but not from his only son. To his boy, he was simply "The old man" or "pop." Trent hated to be called "pop."

The boy stood there, wondering what to do next. He thought he had tried to measure up to his father’s rules. They had been having serious words in the last month, since mom left. Andrew figured if the adults couldn't work it out why should he try?

Besides, lectures from the ‘old man’ kept getting longer and longer.

"Will you stop and look at me for a moment, son? What's going on here?" Trent's eyes were pleading. He was almost worn out from worrying one day to the next, whether his son would follow through on his threat. Now he was, and just caught in the act. Live on the streets of Truro? The kid must be nuts.

Trent knew something was up when things kept disappearing from around the house, such as flashlight, sleeping bag and pillows. Never mind the food evaporating from the fridge and freezer. Was the boy planning on feeding all of his friends?

Ever since his son joined up with the "Gladiators" Andrew discovered he didn't have to live at home anymore. As long as he didn't commit crimes or harass anyone, he was free to live with friends. After all, he was old enough and free to be his own person, according to the Youth Offender Act.

"Okay, I'm listening." Glazed eyes were fixed on his father, but his mind was thinking of his girl, Sam. Andrew had the uncanny ability of being able to look at someone with interest, even though his mind was traveling.

And Sam was worth moving for. She sure looked good in tight pants. And her curves were in all the right places. But that's as close to Sam as he ever got. He had to admit he was just looking. And for now, that was all right.

"Andrew, for goodness sakes, will you please answer?" His father seemed to move into the picture now. Poof, Sam was turned into smoke.

Now it was just the old man in his face. Father and son stood as two statues on Queen Street. They confronted each other on the walkway of their large Victorian styled home. It used to be such a happy place where Andrew spent the last fifteen years of his life. He was thinking a cappuccino would go good now. He needed a sugar-fix.

"I'm outta here and I'm not moving back. Gotta go." Andrew put on his most serious face, hoisted his pack and headed for the street. He was proud of himself. There was no argument like the many they used to have. It was simply, "Gotta go." Andrew thought it was best this way. Too hard trying to be a cop's son, he thought, especially with mom gone.

Now he'd do things his way.

I’ve got to keep pop happy in front of the townsfolk. No arguments, right? And Andrew flipped his father a bird and sauntered down the street.

In a nearby alley, two skateboarder friends shared ‘high-fives’ with each other. "Cool," they congratulated their 'main' man.

And a father called Trent Delaney, otherwise known in respected circles as Deputy-Chief Delaney watched sadly as his son sauntered away.

The boy carried his 150 lb. frame well, showing off a physique much sought after by female street kids and, admired by the guys. The father almost smiled as his son's huge baggy backside was partially covered by an oversized muscle shirt.

The moose tattoo on his right shoulder seemed to saunter right along with him.

Trent could almost hear jangling from a bucketful of metal things hanging from his son's ears, his head crowned with orange spikes. He even worried someday his son might break a leg with that skateboard clutched under his arm.

Wishful thinking or what, the man wondered, at least it would keep him home.

*

Sam's place was just down the street. It was barely far enough away for Andrew to break a sweat. Huge sneakers slapped at the pavement. He couldn't wait to see the surprise on Sam’s face.

"What---what are you doing here?" she asked. It was hilarious.

"Har-Har" he laughed. “Like maybe I'm going to crash here."

"So you got away from him alright," Sam said. She motioned him outside her front door. "I told you not to come to my house. You know. I’ve got my own problems here."

But Andrew was beyond caring much about manners. Gladiators made their own rules. Although he knew he wasn't as mean and nasty as some of the other 'rogues,' he was learning how to take care of himself.

Sam’s driveway was lined with a variety of flowers; store bought and planted early in the season. "Oh hi, Mrs. Semple," he said putting on his most innocent smile. Sam once told him her mother said she'd rather he not come around. Too bad, he thought.

"Hi again," Andrew said, bolder this time. Got to be cool with this grouch, he thought. She sure wasn't his number one fan.

"Yes, what is it?" Mrs. Semple snapped back.

"Uh, I really came to see Sam." He did want to see her and if it meant licking her mother's boots, then he'd do it.

"Well, she's right there beside you. Guess who’s here again?" she yelled back into the house. With that statement she left both teens on the front porch and slammed the door.

Then Andrew's girlfriend was beside him. "So you did it!” she squealed.

"Guess so," he answered, staring at the door her mother had tried to dislodge from its frame. If Sam's mom had her way, she'd have said, "Get lost, bud." But he knew Sam was spoiled rotten. And her parents enjoyed giving her things. Somehow, Sam liked Andrew, and well---that was fine with him. She was a fox.

"Come on in the living room and talk," she said pushing him through the door. He shifted his eyes a couple of times trying to give her a message, as he noticed Mr. and Mrs. Semple glaring at them. "Mom, I haven't seen him for two weeks and---never mind. Let's go outside then."

"Okay, okay. We get the message," and both parents left the room, finally leaving the two of them alone.

"I'll buzz off if you want," Andrew offered.

"No!" Sam answered quickly, and to the point. That's what he liked about her. She reminded him of his old man sometimes.

He didn't dare say too much with adults nearby, or stay too long either. Besides, he didn't want anyone kidding him if they saw him coming out of her house. "Andrew's got a romance going," they'd say.

"The tough guy who brags about having the girls always following him is chasing one right now." He couldn't handle that kind of teasing.

A fast kiss on her cheek was his goodbye, for now. Then Andrew headed over to the MacVicar's house. There should be someone from the Gladiators hanging around about now. He wanted to teach them a new skateboard jump he'd been practicing.

CHAPTER SIX

The look Larry gave his wife first thing this morning could easily have frightened away the ghost of Lunenburg. If in fact it did exist. Staring through the window afforded him a most pleasant scene, as he tried to collect his thoughts.

The picturesque village of Lunenburg lay along the Lighthouse Route of Nova Scotia. It was founded in 1753 by German, Swiss and French Huguenot settlers. This international historic site has long been known for its shipbuilding, and seafaring expertise.

They had booked into a beautiful room on the third floor overlooking the harbor. The Boscawen Inn was a tower-like affair with 17 antique-furnished rooms, and quite cozy. The building was once part of a 'dowry' and situated in an area with many other magnificently designed homes from the 19th century.

Lunenburg is also home to Canada's most famous tall ship, 'The Bluenose.'

After refreshing themselves the night before, Larry and Anne had sat down and ordered some gorgeous food from a delightful menu. They selected the seafood platter with haddock, salmon and black oval mussels with a mild lobster sauce. The supper was delicious and their quiet strolling before bedtime, relaxing.

That night, Larry teased his wife. "I think I see the ghost in the corner of our room," he said mischievously before turning out the bedroom lights.

Anne cuddled really close.

One little phone call could have brought everything to a happy conclusion the next morning. It was supposed to be the start of what should have been a perfect day.

Breakfast was whole-wheat toast, home fries, hake fish cakes, and rhubarb relish. The coffee was dark and strong.

Larry had rehearsed his planned conversation with Anne a dozen times until his voice was almost worn out. "Hi Danny. This is your dad, your real blood relation dad. I've been looking all over for you and now you're here. And I love you," he would also add.

Except it was not to be.

*

Anne watched her husband stare with lifeless eyes at the phone receiver now held loosely in his hands. Then he hung up, and in slow motion turned to her.

She could barely make out his words as he painfully whispered, "Danny ran away last night from his foster home. No one knows where he went. The Police are out looking---"

His words took her by surprise at first. But then why should she be? It seemed each step bringing them closer meant a new twist in this searching. However, this one was so unfair. They had been so close---really close.

"After supper last night he told Leona Symes, his temporary foster parent that nobody wants him. She felt terrible because he wasn’t to be told we were coming. Remember, it was part of the plan, and now it’s all blown to pieces.

Apparently she felt sorry for his sadness and spilled the beans about our visit and that we lived in Truro. Then he went to bed early, unusually early for him, around eight PM. Before retiring for the night herself, she went to check on him as she usually did."

The words were a struggle. Anne closed her eyes.

"He’s gone," Larry said. "And so was a packsack full of clothes and camping items. He didn't even leave a note," he added sadly. "What are we going to do, hon?"

"I'm not sure," Anne answered softly.

The Lunenburg CAS caseworker reviewed much of what had been already confirmed. The information was known but the stunning reversal of hope now dulled their senses. Everyone listened patiently.

The Caseworker spoke about Danny’s background information as if it was all memorized. "The boy began foster home placements since the age of two. Six foster homes and one probationary adoptive home had been his route from ages two to eleven. Of course after the breakdown at the Lapointes, he was moved a short distance away.

In fact he moved just several blocks away. Leona and the Lapointes are very good friends. The Agency felt their closeness was crucial until we could do another evaluation and try to determine the best direction for this very troubled boy."

Everyone in the room shook their heads. "So close'" was the collective password, the unfairness of it all.

"After all we went through," the caseworker said resignedly.

Danny's temporary foster parent, Leona Symes continued the conversation. "At the age of four he received two psychiatric evaluations. One stated he was un-adoptable due to severe rejection in his formative years and was probably brain damaged. The other stated he was adoptable, with firm loving parents. Or so we thought."

"I'll never forget that day," Mr. Lapointe added. "The boy was one of several interviewed on the television series, 'Take a Chance.' It was a new CAS sponsored program featuring placement requests for children with severe behavioral difficulties. And we were the family that took that chance."

"We brought him to a new province, hoping it would make a difference," Mrs. Lapointe said, head hanging.

Larry and Anne heard a fascinating tale of how much this family had tried. They even put at risk the peace and stability within their own family of three younger children. Each wanted to prove to Danny that caring and love were not just words. Wanting to work as a family to help a hurting child like Danny was their common goal.

Mrs. Lapointe continued, “It didn't take long before our visits to his last foster home placement in Cochrane, Ontario were completed. After the necessary paperwork, Danny was on his way to Nova Scotia. Eventually we all felt we wanted to make him an official part of our family.

After the first six-month adoption probation period was completed we tried a second. Everyone in the family had an equal vote. The decision was unanimous.

"It became quite painful as the weeks and months passed. After trying so very hard we had to ask the CAS to move him to another foster home. He was placing such a strain on our family," Mrs. Lapointe said.

She added, "Danny demanded, through his behavior, almost total attention. There was little patience left for his brothers and sister."

The story was almost like a video movie. Painful words expressed from each adult said more than a written story of broken hopes.

"At first, he seemed so happy," Mrs. Lapointe said. "Then he began to steal from us. It was pathetic when he explained it was to buy cigarettes and chips. To make friends at school, of all things."

Anne and Larry winced as they continued to hear about a family who had tried to help Danny overcome feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. Then a litany of out of control behavior included lighting a fire at school, petty mischief in the neighborhood and what seemed like a deliberate failing of his grades.

This was in spite of high scores in his IQ testing.

The Lapointes had every reason to re-evaluate their potential adoption commitment after frequent police visits, and many trips to Juvenile court. A buildup of violations finally led to eleven months at a training school.

"This was the straw which broke the camel's back," the CAS worker said. "After returning, he showed his change into a mean-spirited person. We can only guess what went on to turn him in such a direction."

"Imagine," Mrs Lapointe said. "There was even a day we wished Danny would run away and give us some peace. Sadly, he now has. It’s a shame it had to be from the foster home that also tried so hard to guide him. He left, knowing his own father wanted to meet him." It was just too difficult for the Lapointes to speak any further.

They had said enough for today.

Larry stood up, went forward and placed an arm of support around Mr. Lapointe's shoulder. He didn't know what else to do or say. "Jack, you did your best," he mumbled. His coffee was now cold and there was a lump building in his chest. He felt like sobbing for himself and Anne and for these kind people who had obviously done their best.

Mr. Lapointe said, "He must have seen his chance to follow through on our wish when he found out his real dad found him. All we did was visit with him when Leona told him about you. We tried to gently explain things. We said you just wanted to visit, as a first step. And that it was arranged for you and your wife to take him out to dinner."

Everyone at the kitchen table could hardly believe what had happened.

Mrs. Lapointe continued, "Maybe the CAS and Leona Symes should have done it themselves. They thought since we spent so much time with him, we were the right choice to actually tell Danny. Now it looks like it was a huge mistake."

"I was so close," Larry whispered. "Where do you think he might be?"

"I called the Police and the Children's Aid right away. I don't know. I just don't know what's left to do." Leona hung her head. "He was only here for two months. Why couldn't he have waited? At least see you and talk to you---his biological father."

Larry and Anne were silent as they put away several albums of pictures the Lapointes had brought over. A boy grew up in those pages. And Larry was sure there were many other adventures as the boy moved through different foster homes. What was driving him? Was his lot in life never to be fulfilled? Was he taking his anger out on his own flesh and blood father, by running away?

"Something else you should know about," Mr. Lapointe said meeting their silent stares. “He sneaked out with my .22 rifle. A Cooey Repeater, along with several boxes of ammunition. I don't know why, but it's gone along with a pup tent, sleeping bag, food and a few other things. He used to go rabbit hunting with me lots of times, and he's a pretty good shot. In fact, I taught him a lot about the outdoors."

"The Police know about the rifle and are quite concerned," Leona said. The CAS worker echoed those sentiments. “In the hands of an unstable fourteen year old boy?” The question was left hanging in the air.

Anne and Larry left with heavy hearts. It had been an evening of good and bad information.
Good: where Danny had a great week at a horse ranch when he was thirteen. And Bad when it was discovered he forged a couple of his parent’s checks so he could play pool after skipping school.

They made plans to meet and talk with the Lapointes and Leona Symes after they returned from holidays. Both Larry and Anne knew they had to go through with their plans, for the sake of their own children.

“Perhaps you could even come for a visit to Truro,” the Reynolds’s said. In the meantime everyone promised to keep in touch, especially if the police discovered any information.

"What does he want with a .22 rifle anyway?" Anne asked.