A Test of Sorts

“Ms. Becker”

“Jen, please.  I feel old being addressed so formally,” Jen’s nerves pitched her voice higher than normal.  She though she sounded like a scared mouse, or one of her son’s squeaky toys.  That thought brought tears to her eyes, but she fought them back not wanting to start this meeting off with a bad impression.

He flashed a brief smile, “Jen, then.  We have been looking into your situation.  We have a few concerns we need to clear up.”

Jen’s heart leapt into her throat cutting off her voice almost entirely, “What?”

“Your son’s father,” Rhys appeared to hesitate.

“What about him?  He’s not around.  He does not have any rights to Curran.”

“We know.  We also know he is in prison for first degree assault with a deadly weapon.  What we need clarified is your role in that charge.”

“What!  Why the hell does that matter?  The bastard was trying to kill me because I stopped him from beating my son for dropping some Cheerios on the kitchen floor,” Jen jerked to her feet, knocking the chair back, “You know what?  Forget it.  I am leaving.”

Rhys stood and touched her shoulder as she turned, “Wait.  Please.”

Jen froze but did not turn back to him.  He took his hand from her shoulder.

“That is what we needed to see.”

She turned at that, “You needed to know how much of a jerk my son’s father is?  How stupid I was at the time for thinking I could have a relationship with the asshole?  That the only good thing I ever got out of him was my son?”

“No.  We needed to see how far you would go to protect your son.”

“You could have just asked.”

“Words mean little.  Actions are truth.  Is that not right?”

Jen sat as if the bones in her legs had disappeared.  He was right and she knew it.  They were the words she lived by these last two years.

“Come walk with me.  The fresh air and movement will do you some good,” Rhys held out one hand, almost as if it was a peace offering.

Jen nodded and allowed Rhys to escort her from the bar.  Logic screamed at her that this was a bad idea, but instinct said otherwise.  Jen had been learning to trust her instinct more often as logic seemed to fail her too many times lately.  The verdict on this whole venture remained to be seen.

A cool mist had enveloped the area while they talked inside.  The trees seemed to weep, their tears dampening the road beneath their drooping branches.

“We needed to know how far you would go to protect your son because we have some leads.  But it is going to be a tough road and there is no guarantee about what will happened before it is all over.”

“I do not care.  I need my son.  Do you know where he is?”

“Not yet.  But we know he is alive.  And we know his father is not what he seems, either.”

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