The boys take Claire to a clinic right next to the Catholic church. The doctor examines here and determines that she hasn’t been raped. Surprised at his own reaction, Clayton is extremely glad that she’s all right. Polly and Caroline come over to the clinic stay with Claire.
“I’m surprised Jane didn’t come,” Clayton said to Jose.
“I think she was too scared,” Jose replied. “The only one of the girls who wanted to come, was Maddie. I didn’t let her come because I didn’t think Dr. Santos needed a house full of people.”
The door to the examination room opened again. The doctor came out, smiling.
“She’ll be fine. Nothing more serious than the equivalent of a hangover. I’ve taken some blood samples. I’ll send them out in the morning. But she wasn’t—” Seeing the boys, she snapped her lips shut. “She wasn’t—harmed—in that way.”
“Why do you suppose he drugged her?” Gabe asked.
“Who knows with that one?” Dr. Santos replied.
“I think it’s time he and I had a chat,” Jose said, turning to go.
Gabe stopped him. “Not right now. Not yet. He knows not to push you too far. I made it clear, she’s under our protection. I just wish she’d listened to you in the first place.”
“Claire’s never been one to obey,” Clayton said. He turned to the doctor. “Did she say why she’d gone?”
“She mumbled something about Maddie?” Doctor Santos shrugged. “She must really hate that girl. Foolish to risk her own well being for revenge in a petty squabble.”
“To Claire, it’s not petty,” Clayton tried to explain. “To her, being the most popular, the most sought after, the most beautiful—that’s all there is for her. She hates Maddie because we all like her better and she’s way hotter than Claire. She’s also really sweet, so people want to be around her. Claire can’t stand that.”
“How sad,” Dr. Santos said. “What must her home life be like? Polly has asked to spend the night,” she told the priest. “She’ll take the bed next to Claire.”
“I’ll go back and get her things,” Caroline said quietly. “That poor child.” She shook her head.
“We all need to get back,” Jose said. “I’ll make sure Polly’s things get to her,” he assured the doctor. “Thank you. Sorry to bother you in the middle of the night.”
“It’s quite all right. Better here than the impersonal emergency room. That’s why I’m here.”
They piled into the cars and trucks and headed back to the church compound. Caroline packed a bag for Polly and Jose sent it over with some of the men. The others gathered in the fellowship hall for an update. Jose gave them one, assuring them all that Claire would be fine.
Jose pulled Maddie aside afterward. “What happened between you? She ran away to get drugs to get back at you. What have you done?”
“Me? Nothing! Anything that’s ever happened between us, Claire initiated. Why does everyone blame me?” She burst into tears.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes