2007-11-12: Guidance Counselling

Starring:

Cam_icon.gif Church_icon.gif

Summary: Cam is called into see the guidance counsellor and gets some unusual guidance.

Date It Happened: November 12th, 2007

Guidance Counselling


Brubaker Secondary School

Cam's on time for his appointment, actually about two or three minutes early when he knocks on the door and steps inside, "Mr. Church? I got a note in homeroom that you wanted to talk to me?"

It is almost intriguing, the timing Cam has on coming to the guidance offices. Just as the boy enters, the brunette man in the high-back office chair swivels around to face his desk, slowly and partly distracted. But only because of the school newspaper in his hand, which is set down upon the other papers seemingly strewn over the desktop. "Ah! Mister Reynolds." An introductory basis, here. "Usually I expect all my appointments late." Lawrence sends the young boy a practically blindingly white smile and a short laugh. "Have a seat?" He motions towards one of the two chairs facing his desk before smoothing back his hair with the same hand.

Cam smiles back and nods a little, "I don't like being late, sir." He moves to take a seat, not looking all that nervous. "Thanks." He's probably never been called into an office like this to know there's anything to be nervous about.

"Right. Good." An upward twitch of both eyebrows travels over the desk, and Church brushes his white sleeves up to the crook of each arm. "First things first, kiddo. How've you been doing lately? Here, at home? I know that you're in the school on a program, but only recently did the administration think to ask me to supervise it, and the students in it. Which they should have done from the start…" That last sentence is rheotorical, and at a lower tone. The rest does seem a little bit cryptic, obviously, but at least Lawrence isn't being too weird about it.

Cam blinks, and then says, "Oh. How many other kids got in on that program? Think I was the only one in the shelter that came, but that was before the st…um.. social worker found me." Then, the question, and he hesitates, "Um…" He looks down at his feet a moment, then asks, "Did Mr. Jones tell you about what happened last week?"

Church folds his hands and plunks the pair onto his desk, leaning half onto his elbows. "It's his duty to tell us what happens with his students. Especially things like this." Unfortunately, a lot of the administration doesn't care enough. So they give more of it to the strange, out-of-thin-air, new guy. "You want to talk about it? Or, we could talk about your math grades. Then there is always… the incident with your social worker, if that is what is on your mind?" There are a lot of choices and words there- at least they come in a calm and patient voice.

There's a lot of stuff there that Cam really wants to talk about, too, especially that last subject. At the same time, there's a lot he can't say about that last subject to a stranger. He's quiet for a long moment, not sure what to say, not sure how much he can trust, before finally he picks the easiest subject: "What's wrong with my math grades? I thought I was doing good."

"You are, don't get me wrong." One hand shuffles around between papers, pulling out a sheet with what looks like a grading chart. He turns it around so that Cam can lean over and look at it too. "Some seem to think that a kid can't pull up his grade this quickly all on his lonesome. These were your grades on your work from before, and these-" His finger shifts down a bar. "-are your grades after you came to school with an injury. I don't know much about that itself besides what the nurse sent me, but apparently in a setting like this, the teacher thought it was suspicious." Notice how there are no accusations. Lawrence isn't moving to assume much of anything besides the facts, which probably is a good idea. Be neutral.

Cam blinks at that, and then says, "Oh." He grins a bit sheepishly, "I ain't… um.. haven't been doing it alone. Since I got hurt, I'm staying with the woman who rescued me. Her son, Micah, he's really smart, 'specially with math. He's been helping me figure out my homework." Then he hesitates, and asks, "That's ok, right?"

Church puts the back of one hand off to the opposite side of his mouth. "As long as he isn't doing it for you, and nobody's whipping you into shape-" Literally, apparently. The hand falls back to the table to relocate the grading chart. "-then if you do better on your own, all the power to you, kid." After a moment of shuffling papers, Church speaks again. "How is that going, with the woman watching you? Sounds like you get along with her son, which is good. If he's helping you out, he seems like a good guy."

Cam nods quickly and says, "Yeah, he's just helping, not doing it for me. I wouldn't be doing good in tests if he was, he doesn't go to this school." Then he nods quickly and says, "They're great! Niki, she's been real nice to me and everything, and Micah's a really good friend. Wish I could stay there. The social worker was stupid not to think Niki's a good mom." He probably shouldn't have said that, but ther question seems to have hit a tender spot.

Church doesn't really seem to be bothered by that comment- or at least not on the outside. Hm. Sounds like Cam didn't like that woman much, huh? "Why would she think something like that, Cam? It sounds like she's a good mom, coming from you."

Cam nods emphatically at that question, "She is! She's just gotta take a bunch of pills, and a couple weeks ago she mixed up and took the wrong ones together or something and had to go to the hospital. Just 'causa that she wanted to take Micah away from Niki. And me too, but knew that might be comin', but isn't fair wanting to take Micah too!"

Lawrence adopts a thoughtful manner of frown through the end of the story. Whether it is for Niki Sanders and her…conditions, or kids in her care has yet to be determined. But, at least he plays the part of oblivious, no matter what he does know. "Anyone can do something like that. I'd have to agree with you there." The counselor's hands fold on the desk again. "I need a serious answer for a very serious question, Cam. Do you know anything about that woman's death? If you do, I need you to tell me." The man sitting in the bigger chair can be felt going from a more nonchalant place to a serious one; he's not being so buddy-buddy anymore, but not quite at the point where he might seem like this is getting turned into an interrogation.

Cam bites his lip at that question, and shakes his head a little, "No… I don't think D.L.'d kill anybody, but he *was* really mad when he ordered me and Micah to go into Micah's room when the social worker was there. Dunno what happened after that, Niki, Micah and me went to stay at her friend Peter's, and then when we were about to go back saw D.L. on the news."

Folded hands move up to make a perch for his face, where Church leans as he listens. Some of these things will certainly be relayed back to his other job, as is pertinent. "Well, Cam, that's still awfully suspicious. You probably realize that?" Lawrence takes a few seconds to breathe in, then sigh. "I suppose the police will handle it, if there's something amiss." Not that they did the first time, eh, Fourth Wall? "We seem to have gone over everything except what happened here at the school." Hint, Cam, hint.

Cam nods a little and says, "Niki said 'cause he gave himself up, they won't doubt he did it, so it won't help finding a good lawyer like Monica, that's Micah's cousin, like she wanted." Then at the hint he bites his lip and says, fidgetting a little as he tries to find a way to explain it, "I..I didn't want to snitch, it's just… they *really* hurt Jakey. I thought if I didn't tell someone, he'd die. They didn't… never thought something like that would happen."

"I don't recall mister Jones telling me why that may have happened. Can you tell me?" Sharp brown eyes rest on Cam, from just below a slightly kneaded brow, and Lawrence shifts in his own seat. While he can guess what went on, he'll let Cam sort it out. Personally, he may like to involve himself in cleaning the school- but with his other duties outside of the school- constraints may not allow an outright interference. For now, though, he can do it a few kids at a time. Maybe pressure the principal into scheduling an anti-drug program in the regular hours, or perhaps one of the more hardcore campaigns that seem to scare them off of the stuff. Church is no expert, but there are experts out there for it.

Cam bites his lip, and nods a little bit, looking down a moment. But this time he answers more sure, "I heard, when it happened, Jakey, he owed Marshall five hundred bucks, 'cause he couldn't get something he said he would. Something about not having a prescription, can't 'member everything. He only had fifteen, and he borrowed that from me. Marshall paid me to stand watch, I thought.. thought it was just gonna be a trade, like usual. But then they went at Jakey with baseball bats." Then he adds, his fear coming out a little more, "I don't wanna be next, I just wanted to help Jakey." He's doing his best to hold in his power, of course, which when he's scared is a bit of a struggle. He might just look like he's trying to maintain his composure, though.

Wow. These kids are as hardcore as anyone he knows. Church lets his eyebrows lift just a little. "I know, Cam. You did help him. I heard that he's going to be okay despite the pain he's in, but the good thing is that he got found in time all because of you." And that is fantastic, judging by the sound of the older man's voice. "I'd say 'stand up to them', kiddo, but you're too sharp to buy that mumbo-jumbo off the bat. The best advice I can give you, is to not let them know they intimidate you, and make sure that there is always someone you can trust around. Use the buddy system if you have to. I digress, I can't control what happens, which I also regret, but I can exercise my authority, and you can be smart." By this point, it is clear that Church isn't quite your everyday, average High School guidance counselor.

Cam relaxes at that first part, a little at least, "Really?" Knowing that it was worth it seems to help him a little, steady him. Then the advice comes, and he nods a bit, biting his lip. "But they *do*. I mean, I can try to hide it, but I think they already know." Then at the last he brightens a bit, "You can do something? Mr. Jones tried, but they're still here, they didn't even get detention that I heard."

"Detention is for sissies." Lawrence exclaims almost immediately. He has some opinions, clearly. "There are always loopholes into suspension and expulsion, Cam. I think it was all because evidence was entirely 'he said, she said'. I bet you that I could catch them on something so utterly ridiculous that the entire student body would either be howling in laughter or doubling over in pain by lunchtime. No guarantees, though." Sometimes the only way to get rid of a disease is to cut it out, right? Right. "But I'll see what I can do in that department, okay? Meanwhile, you just need to be sharp. Be on your toes, but don't let them know that. You do understand that, don't you?" Church looks at the boy from under his brow, one side jaunted upwards.

Cam smiles at the idea, and says, "I'd like to see that." Then he nods quickly, and says, "I understand, sir. I'll try." He fidgets a bit, but sits a little straighter. That additional hope that there's more to his future than being beat to death seems to help him. "What if they still come after me?"

"What we talk about after this point stays here, Cam. We're out of Counselor territory now. I'm going to try and be as honest as I possibly can right now." Lawrence stares back at Cam for a few seconds, meeting his eyes. "If they come after you, then you pretty much have three choices." The man across the desk sits straighter, ticking the numbers on his fingers. "One, if it gets physical, you can curl up in the fetal position and take it. Two, you could fight back. If you do that, take out the leader first." Waaay out of counselor territory. This might actually seem kind of cool, depending on Cam's view of the meeting. "A snake without a head, a pack without an alpha- similar situations. Three, you can scream and run as fast as your little legs can carry you."

Cam's eyes widen a little, but he nods seriously, "I won't tell anybody, promise." Then he's given his three choices, biting his lip again at the prospects but nods just a little. "I'm a pretty good runner, but I can fight if I gotta. A little."

"I'm not much of a fighter, myself. Least, not with my fists." Church even lets out a chuckle. "Do what you must, to ensure your own safety. Look out for number one, kid. Unless you have to defend someone, I guess. Just…use your noggin, alright?"

It's the 'do what you must' that seems to reassure Cam the most. Whatever he's thinking, he nods a little and says, with a bit of a smile, "Thanks. I will."

Church nods back, with an air of certainty and bravado, just before a smile. "Good boy. Now, go on and get back to study hall. Put that math tutoring back to work."

Cam nods quickly again with a smile, "Ok." He hops to his feet and says, "Thanks again, sir." When he first came in, his confidence was an act. Now? It seems a lot more genuine, as he walks back out the door with a wave.

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