The Girl Most Likely To ... - Part 15.
by Barbara Lynn Terry
Chapter 1 - Rachel goes in to town.
As Naomi walked to her car, Sharon peeked out of the door.
"Naomi, what happened in court, this morning."
"Nothing much. The judge appointed pervert a lawyer, and said he would hear motions for bail and take his plea, after he has had a chance to talk with his court appointed attorney. I will be watching this very closely. Until then, he stays in jail."
"Good! Bye Naomi, please come back."
"You can bet on it, sis."
Naomi got in her car, and took the turtle dove from her pocket. She hung it on the rear view mirror, so she would always be reminded that she now has friends for life. What Naomi didn't tell the girls, that the reason she was in Pine Meadows County when she was asked to take a minor female's statement at the home, was because she was making arrangements to transfer not only departments, but also to find a house to live in near the girls. She wanted this to be a surprise. But the state police barracks at Pine Meadows was full, so she had to see if there was an opening at the Pine Meadows County sheriff's department. She was a martial artist that trained rookies, and did duty as a children's court officer. She was told that they would be in touch, and if all went well, they could talk about position and pay. Then she went back to the state police barracks, to leave a message for Trooper Jim O'Donnell. That was when she was asked to go to the girls home and take a minor's statement.
She thought about how Rachel had handled herself with Renée and how much the two girls had bonded. She smiled to herself, and then said aloud; "Yes, my little sister is going to be just fine."
She stopped in Pine Meadows to get a little lunch, then head home. It was a two and a half, sometimes three hour drive from the home to her house in Forest City. She wasn't even going to tell Renée in case it accidentally slipped out, about her plans to be near her sisters.
A more loving, caring heart you have never seen in a law enforcement officer, but Naomi Petersen was an exception. She loved children, she loved animals. She even stops for a skunk to cross the road. She has taken stray, hurt animals to the vet, and when the animal was healed, put an ad in the paper so someone could adopt the animal. She would sometimes have her lunch in the park and watch the children playing, or laugh at the antics of two squirrels chasing each other. Nobody could ever accuse Naomi Petersen of being a hard nose.
"I hope she comes back," Sharon said, to no one.
"Don't worry, sis, she will be back," Rachel answered her.
"How do you know, I mean what's to stop her in case she doesn't want to come back?"
"Sis," Rachel intoned, looking at her sister with concern. "What's the matter?"
"Oh Rach, I...I'm just...torn...I...guess."
"Because if you hadn't come here, we would have never had the courage to stand up to the pervert, the way you did. Now we have Naomi coming here and helping you, helping us, and I am just...just..."
Rachel hugged her sister and sat with her on one of the sofas.
"It will be all right, sis, you'll see. Naomi is here to help, and she will definitely be back. The reason she has to leave is because she does have a job in Forest City she has to go to."
"You're right, Rach, I should be ashamed of myself for even thinking she..."
Rachel shifted positons on the sofa, putting one leg under her.
"Now it is my turn to tell you, that you have nothing to be ashamed about. You watch what I say, Naomi is our sister, and you know she will be back. When we made her an honorary sister, she was actually crying real tears. She is a woman of her word, believe me."
"Thank you, sis." The two girls hugged.
"You know what you need, sis," Rachel stated, matter of factly. "You need a couple of hours of retail therapy in town.
"I think that is a wonderful idea, Rachel," Jan said, with a beaming smile. "You don't have any money in your account yet, so I am going to loan you ten dollars that you can spend. You have to pay me back when you get your allowance, but this will be my way of saying thank you, Rachel Eileen Watkins."
"Thank you? For what?"
"For just being you."
Rachel hugged Jan. How many staff members does anyone who has been in a residential treatment center, reform school, reformatory or prison, know that has been affectionate like a parent would be towards a resident or inmate? None, I will wager. But Pine Meadows wasn't most institutions. It was started with the belief that if you treated troubled girls like human beings, they would automatically show their respect for that treatment. These girls admitted they have problems, and they stick together in trying to solve those problems, or at least deal with them in a mature way.
Rachel came to the Pine Meadows Home For Adolescent Girls as a punishment by the court, but ended up liking the house and the girls, and they in turn like her. When Rachel had her talk with Naomi on the way to the home, she was thinking to herself that this was the time to let everything out. She thought that maybe she could be herself without being called nasty names. Was she scared? Oh, yes, she certainly was, because this was a trip in to the unknown and the unknown is always scary.
Jan came out of the office with the ten dollars.
"Here you go, Rach. Buy something nice."
"Hey! Where are you two going?" Melanie asked, coming in to the living room.
"We're going to town for a little retail therapy," Rachel answered.
"Wait! I'm going with. Jan, may I have twenty dollars from my account, please?"
"Just a moment," Jan answered her. "Mel, you have only fifteen dollars in your account."
"Then, may I have five dollars? I want to get a special Christmas card for my mother." Jan went to get the five dollars.
"Mel, do you think this will make her come up and see you?"
"I am hoping so, Jan, but I won't hold my breath if she doesn't."
"Good girl," Jan said, in reply.
The town of Pine Meadows was only a mile from the home, and the girls have walked it in good and bad weather. Today it was nice out, but still, the girls needed their boots. The shop keepers in town knew the girls by their first names. They always showed respect when they were in town, and always conducted themselves like young ladies.
So as they were walking, they saw snowmobilers riding on the snowmobile path on the other side of the fence separating the road from the field. As one of the snowmobilers crossed the road, he whistled at the girls. They all shouted after him, "you wish", and he stopped.
"Hey Mel, Sharon. Who's your new friend?"
"Hi Tommy. This is Rachel. Rach, this is Tommy Barker, he lives two miles down the road, that way," Melanie said, pointing in the opposite direction from town.
"Nice to meet you, Rachel. I sometimes come to the dances and parties they throw at the house."
"It is nice to meet you, too, Tommy. How hard do they throw those dances and parties at the house?"
The girls giggled, and Tommy guffawed.
Thomas "Tommy" Barker is sixteen years old, and has rippling muscles because he works on his father's farm, when he is not in school. Tommy was a decent boy, and always had respect for the girls. If he had known what Dr. Poole did to the girls, the good? doctor wouldn't have had a chance to be arrested. But, Whenever there was a dance, or a party, he always talked decently, and never mentioned getting away from the crowd; if you know what I mean. He has been kissed on the cheek by the girls, thanking him for a wonderful evening, but never let it go his head.
Some guys would take a peck on the cheek as come on, but not Tommy. He knew these girls were troubled, so he helped the best way he knew how; by being decent.
"So, going in to town?"
"Yes, Tommy. Want to come along?"
"Yes, Sharon, I would like that. You keep on walking, I will be right back."
Tommy headed for the farm with his snowmobile. He was gone maybe ten minutes, and when he came back he had his "old jalopy" as he called it. It was old car, a 1987 Chevrolet Impala, but it looked like Tommy was working on it. They got in the car, and they all went in town.
Most of these small towns have an all in one store; hardware, clothing, lawn mowers, riding mowers, a cafe, and just about everything else. Tommy stopped in front of Jim's Harware Emporium, because then they could walk all over Main street, which was five blocks long.
They started walking to the greeting card store, where Naomi bought the turtle doves. As Sharon and Rachel went in, they didn't see Tommy and Melanie head for the dress shop a few doors down. Melanie had whispered in Tommy's ear that when Rachel came day before yesterday, she only had one dress, and that was given to her on the way up, by Evie. Tommy knew Eve Reinhardt, as did everybody in town.
Tommy told Melanie to pick out a nice outfit for Rachel, and it would be his Christmas present to her. After picking out a nice top, and an A-line skirt, Tommy paid for it and asked that it be wrapped. He told Melanie to put Rachel's name on the box after they got to the house, and not let her see her do it.
They went back to Joan's Greeting Cards, and found Sharon and Rachel.
"What have you got, Tommy?" Sharon asked, curious.
"Oh, nothing, just a Christmas present for a friend."
Melanie looked for that special Christmas card and found what she was looking for. It wasn't a Christmas card, per se, but it had a heartwarming message to a mother from her daughter. Melanie thought, if this doesn't do the trick, then we will have to find another way.
They still had a little money left over, so they decided to go for a soda pop and fries. As they sat down in Glenn's Eatery, Rachel noticed Eve sitting at the counter.
"Evie, come and join us."
Eve went over to the booth and after saying hello to Tommy, she sat down.
"What have you got there, Tommy?"
"Oh, nothing, Evie, just a Christmas present for a friend."
"Is this a special friend, you may have romantic intentions towards?"
"No, Evie, just a friend."
"Darn! How is your mother and father doing?"
"They're good, at least I think so, anyway. Dad keeps yelling at me, and mom keeps yelling at me to take my boots off at the door. So, yeah, they're good."
"Rachel, how do you like your first time in town?"
"It's fun. I have never seen a street with stores on it, this small."
"Well, it's a small town," Eve answered her.
"Were are you from, Rachel?"
"From Forest City, Tommy."
"That is a ways."
"Yes, it is."
They finished their fries and soda, and decided to head back to the house. Tommy offered them a ride back.
When they got to the house, Tommy acted like he was putting Rachel's present in his trunk. Rachel and Sharon went in the house, and Melanie followed with Rachel's present.
"Thank you, Tommy. She is really going to love this."
"Any time, Mel. If I can help, I will."
Melanie gave Tommy a sisterly peck on the cheek, and went in the house. Melanie looked around for Rachel, and when she didn't see her, went to place the present under the tree. She wrote on the name tag, "To Rachel, from Santa Claus."
There is one thing you never do with "secret" Christmas presents. You never, ever, ever, place it in the back of the tree, because it will be found for sure. The best place is right out in front. Melanie placed two presents near it, to make it look like it had always been there.
She found Rachel and Sharon in their room, talking.
"Yes, Mel?" Sharon asked.
"Oh, nothing. I'll come back when you're not talking."
"Thank you, Mel," Rachel said, with a smile.
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