“He swung first. I have witnesses,” Burl said.
“That’s right,” Thug Two said, ratting out his friend. “Moe swung first.”
“Yeah, he did. We saw the whole thing. He was f**king with the little one earlier. We tried to stop him!” Thug Three added.
They couldn’t talk fast enough. Several other students stepped forward, speaking for Burl.
“We still have to call your parents,” the officer said.
“No need. My mother is in the car. She saw the whole thing.”
Traffic had stopped, so Deirdre was able to get out of the Jeep and walk to the sidewalk. Corin cowered in the back seat.
“These boys attacked my youngest son,” she spoke in a chilly tone. “Where were the teachers and administrators when that happened? Corin, front and center.”
Her youngest son got out. He wasn’t any taller than his mother, and slender. The other boys were considerably bigger. The security officer took one look at Corin, and got an entirely different attitude.
“They charged up to the car,” a girl said. She was the picture of a pretty high school teen; fresh faced, her hair in a ponytail, wearing a sweater, pleated skirt and saddle Oxfords. “Burl got out to stop them, but they were looking for Corin.”
“You know them?” The officer pointed to the other three boys.
“Yes, sir. Xander, Moe and Oliver.” She pointed to each of the boys.
“Marybeth!” Xander, Thug Two, squeaked.
“Shut up,” she replied.
“Did you see them picking on Corin?” the officer asked her.
“No. If I had, I’d have stopped them, or gotten a teacher. I may look like a little, bitty girl, but I’m a red belt in Aikido.”
Burl flashed her a grateful look. “They owe my little brother an apology,” he stated calmly.
“Agreed. Boys?” Crossing his arms, the officer looked intimidating.
Faced with him and Burl, the three of them babbled an apology.
“What about him?” Moe pointed at Burl. “He hit me!”
“From what I saw,” the officer said. “He was defending himself.”
The principal stepped into the circle. “The rule is that anyone fighting gets an automatic ten day suspension.”
“If you suspend my son for protecting himself, I’ll have your job,” Deirdre said. “You have multiple witnesses, parents and students, who saw what happened. Your security officer even saw it. There are cameras, too, I assume? If you suspend my son, then I’ll have to have those subpoenaed to find out why no one saw my younger son getting roughed up. He’s got a black eye and his clothing is torn. I think this is evidence enough for me to get a lawyer, don’t you?” She appealed to the officer.
“Ma’am, I’ll find out, personally, what happened. I apologize, son. Someone wasn’t paying attention and doing their job.”
“Thank you, Officer Mendez,” Deirdre said in her most regal tone. “Now, gentlemen, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take my son to the hospital. I assume that I can have them send the bill to the school? Good.”
Not waiting for confirmation, she got in the Jeep, followed by her sons. Officer Mendez round up the other boys and they were taken to the office. They were just going inside the door when she pulled away from the curb.
Three hours later, they got home. Corin wasn’t badly hurt, just bruised. He wasn’t sure how he felt about Burl stepping in to defend him. On one hand, he was glad his brother was protecting him, on the other, he felt like a baby. He was playing Call of Duty when his door opened and Burl walked in. Flopping on the bed, he said nothing, just watched his brother play.
“You kill at this,” he said when the mission was complete. “I’m not this good.” It wasn’t entirely true, but Corin was better at some things than he was.
“You’re just saying that, but thanks.”
“You’d kick my bony ass,” Burl said, dropping to the floor with his brother.
Corin handed him another controller and started the game. They played side by side for a while, crowing then they did well, cursing when they did badly.
“Thank you,” Corin said quietly. “I feel kinda stupid….”
“Never. You know how many times Aiden had to save my ass? Creeps have to learn that they don’t f**k with any Partridge. I’ll show you some tricks sometime, when Mom’s not around. She’d have a cow. Aiden showed me that duck and punch.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes