Lots of bad things happened in the space of a few days. Then something completely different happened. I'm still trying to make up my mind on whether it's bad or good.
I guess I'll start from the confrontation.
I was just leaving Claudia's house, she had invited me over for dinner. As I passed Lionel's house I resisted the urge to look inside... I didn't want to catch a glimpse of any other... romantic entanglements.
This turned out to be a bad idea.
Lionel's door flew open and out came Charles, red as a crayon and angry as annoyed hornet.
"What the bloody 'ell is your problem mate?" Charles yelled as he stumbled down the walkway. "Can't keep a secret or something? Or do you just enjoy ruining your friend's life? Eh? SAY SOMETHING!"
"No! Charles I... I didn't sa-... I don't understa-...what do you me-"
"What do I mean? What do ya think I mean you lit'ul bugger! Why can't you keep your mouth to yourself? You just gotta go and tell everyone about Lionel and me? HUH?"
"I didn't tell! I just told... Claudia! Wh-what happened?"
"Well I don't know Daniel! Why don't you ask Lionel? Oh wait that's right... HE WAS ARRESTED FOR JUMPING ON A TRAIN AND TRYING TO RUN AWAY!!! Do you have any idea what you did?"
I couldn't think. I could barely breath. What had happened? I told Claudia we would think of something! I spun to head for home with Charles still yelling at me, but I wasn't paying any attention.
Bad thing number two happened as I walked in the door.
"-must be some mistake!" My mom was saying into the phone, a very worried expression on her face.
"SHHH!" she said as she hel up a finger, stopping me short.
My mom never shushed me. Something very very wrong had happened.
"Why yes... yes we are... uh-huh... yes it is... yes. Thank you officer. All right... bye."
My mom dropped the phone onto the counter, missing the cradle completely and she shuffle out of the kitchen without a word to me. I followed her into the living room where my mom was hugging my dad and crying. I wondered what had happened... I didn't have to wonder long.
"Lionel's parents... business trip overseas... plane... crashed!"
NO NO NO NO NO!!!
I whipped out my cellphone and hit... speed dial number one. Lionel was still there. Would he answer? WOuld he ignore me? I hoped against hope that he wou-
"Police Department, who is this?"
"Oh! uh... I'm... I'm Daniel..."
"Why are you calling this phone Daniel?"
"Lionel Stephens... he's a friend and... I was just calling to see how he was doing."
"Mr. Stephens cannot receive phone calls at this time. Thank you."
In order to save time, I'll gloss over the vents following that. By the events I mean pacing, thinking, head banging... nothing you'd really be interested about.
Event number three... gosh this week sucked.
I was heading to Claudia's house to pick her up for school, when I noticed a flicker to my right. I pulled to the curb and glanced over to notice the lights in Lionel's house sporadically turning off.
I turned off the car, got out, and went for Lionel's house. Lionel's parents were... well... and Lionel was in prison... who was turning lights off and why?
I knocked on the door. No answer. I knocked again. Nothing. The door was unlocked so I eased it open. It appeared to be empty. No sound. No movement.
I checked the house room by room and discovered nothing... until I came to the living room. Something was scattered all over the floor. Splotches of liquid stained the couch and rug. It smelled.
There was a form on the couch. I gently rolled it over. It was Charles. In his hands were... no... no...
Not another one.
In one hand was a bottle of pills. In the other hand was a can of beer.
My lifeguard training took over and I knelt by Charles, feeling for a pulse, a breath, anything. There was a faint rhythm... very... very... faint. I whipped out my cellphone, dialed 911 and had a brief, tense conversation with the receptionist.
I had to get him to throw up.If I didn't... he probably wouldn't make it. Even if I did... he might not make it...
I ran to Lionel's room, threw open a drawer, and grabbed a sock. I pulled the sock over my hand and ran back to Charles. I tilted his head back, opened his mouth, and went for his uvula.
He threw up. Several times. The flashing lights arrived, the doctors came in, and Charles was bustled away.
The final event. The one which I haven't categorized yet. I was sitting in court. My parents to my right. Claudia and her family to my left.
A lawyer was pacing and speaking to the judge. Making his final arguments. The judge banged the gavel, declared the session over, and called the next case.
He cleared his throat and began. "So, if I understand correctly, Jessica and David Winters, you are petitioning for the custody of an orphan. Lionel Stephens. Why do you believe you are fit for this role?"
My father stood and walked forward. So did Claudia's.
"Your honor, we've known the Stephen's for a very long time, we have child-rearing experience, and we have references as to our ability."
Claudia's dad spoke, "I am here your honor to testify in support of the Winter's adoption of Lionel. For as long as I've know them, 11 years now by my count, I have always admired the way their family works. They are close to one another, close to many members of the community, and couldn't ask for a better son. Adding Lionel to their household would be a wise and safe decision."
The Judge nodded. Consulted some papers and looked up again.
"Mr. Winters, you have been named as an emergency contact number on Lionel's school information card. It also says here that Lionel has no other family."
The judge looked down again, thought for a few moments then banged the gavel and stood.
"Lionel Stephens will be moved into the cared of Jessica and David Winters. Court Dismissed."