The Juvenile Detention Center was being built just a few blocks from the police station. That was convenient
for Callie. It was within walking distance and she would be spending much of her time there. As much as was needed once it
She had stopped by on her way to the office. Construction was well underway. It wouldn’t be long before
the structure was completed. This gave Callie some encouragement.
She had wanted to take a short tour of the place but decided it wasn’t safe with all the machinery
and equipment laying around. But she had smelled the fresh wood and it had felt good just being there.
Callie wasn’t sure what lay ahead. She knew the detention center would house over fifty juveniles.
More if they used bunk beds in each of the rooms. Callie’s job would be to counsel the offenders. Help them to get back
on the right track. Steer them clear of a life of crime.
On paper it sounded so easy, but Callie knew that she had her work cut out for her. Granted she had experience
dealing with teenagers back home in Wyoming. Florida was a far cry from Pleasant Town. Could she relate well to these teens?
Could she even begin to make an impact in their lives?
Callie thought about those questions as she settled behind her desk. She began to organize her assortment
of psychology books and parenting books. They were her pride and joy. She’d had most of these books during her college
days. They had given her valuable insight into the working mind of an adolescent. She would never part with them.
Especially now that Johnathan was gone. There was nothing left for her to treasure. Nothing but these old
Callie was aware of Rus Lane sitting at the desk across from hers. She tried not to pay too much attention
to him, but it was difficult. When he was on the phone she couldn’t help but respond to the sound of his voice. It was
pleasing to her ears. It seemed to lull her into a calm, relaxed state.
Callie didn’t know what happened but suddenly Rus was in a rage again. She watched as his hand squeezed
the phone at his ear. His knuckles turned stark white. His lips were clamped together. His face and neck turned red as he
attempted, without success, to hold his temper in check. When he finally exploded, Callie flinched, listening as his outrage
poured through the room.
"What do you mean my son has been expelled?"
Callie pretended to be busy. She didn’t want to be listening into Rus’s private conversation.
It really was none of her business what was happening to his personal life. Yet, she couldn’t help but be concerned,
to be interested. That was a part of her nature. It was in her blood. It was her job.
"Yes, I’ll come to the school right a way. You tell my son he’s in a world of trouble with me."
The phone went down hard into its cradle. Callie couldn’t help but glance up. Rus was just sitting
there staring at her wondering how much she had heard. He didn’t like the look in her eyes. He didn’t need sympathy
and understanding from a woman such as Callie Martin. He didn’t need sympathy and understanding from any woman.
Without saying a word, Rus got up from his desk, retreated into the captain’s office. Within a few
short minutes, he was slamming the door and marching out of the building.
Callie sighed in disappointment. This job was not starting off anything like she had hoped it would. She
and Rus couldn’t even communicate. How was she going to discuss her ideas with him. She was certain, anyway, that he
would be opposed to any ideas she might have about this new program.
Well, she thought to herself, she would just play it by ear and hope for the best.
An hour later Rus returned to the office. Behind him followed a young boy around the age of fifteen or sixteen,
if Callie’s guess was right. Neither father nor son spoke. Callie sized up the boy, noting his appearance, his demeanor
and the like.
Rus’s son seemed a little rough around the edges. He wore black leather from head to two. A pair of
thick black rider’s boots encased his feet. On the back of his jacket was a decal of a skull and cross bones. On the
upper left arm around the shoulder area was the insignia of the devil. On the other arm was some other paraphernalia related
to devils and demons.
What Callie noticed most of all was the hidden anger. Rus’s son was tormented by something in his past.
She could see so much in him, the way he held his shoulders in a defensive gesture. The brooding in his eyes, the hardening
around his mouth. His posture was stiff and tense. But underneath it all, Callie saw an innocent desperation. The youth was
screaming out for help.
"Sit," Rus demanded of his son. When he failed to obey, Rus jerked the boy down into his seat. "Do you want
to tell me exactly what you were thinking when you brought that knife into school? Didn’t I just confiscate a knife
from you the other day?"
Rus’s son wasn’t speaking. He looked sullen. He just sat there with his arms crossed over his
chest, staring down at his feet.
"And take that jacket off. You know I hate that jacket. I think when I get home, I’ll burn the blasted
"You will not," the young boy shouted. "I like this jacket."
"Why?" Rus asked. "What is so special about a jacket that announces to the whole world that you belong to
"Well at least I belong to someone."
Rus sighed heavily. He was frustrated. He thought a moment then spoke tenderly. "You belong to me, son. Don’t
you get it. Don’t you understand. I am your father."
"Well you’re not a very good one," he stated emphatically.
Rus’s first instinct was to get defensive. His next was to get angry. Instead he took a long, deep
breath. He prayed a moment, asking God to guide him through this, to give him the right words to say. After a short pause,
Rus looked at his son.
They were so much a like in looks. Both dark-haired, dark-eyed, good looking, healthy and strong in appearance.
"I try to be the best father that I can be. You don’t make it easy for your old man."
There was a deafening silence between father and son. The younger of the two merely shrugged his shoulders
as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
This only infuriated Rus even more. His temper was getting the best of him these days.
"Well do you know what son?"
Nothing. The two of them just sat there staring at one another.
"Since you are expelled for a week, you are going to get up every morning at six thirty. You are going to
get dressed and you are going to come down to this office with me every day. And you are going to be my little helper."
"What," Rus’s son stormed. He lunged from his chair. "You can’t make me do that."
Rus smiled. It wasn’t friendly. It was smug, as if he had the upper hand now. "I’m your father,
and I can do anything I darn well please. You will start right now by getting me a cup of coffee."
The boy just sat there. He wouldn’t budge.
Callie admired Rus. Maybe his temper needed some help, but he seemed to be on the right track with his son.
Even if the son was being ornery.
Rus held out his coffee mug. "And don’t forget to wash it out before pouring fresh coffee in it."
The boy refused to take the mug. Rus had to force it into his son’s hands. "Now get up and do as I
The boy marched away, muttering something under his breath. It was obvious he was not happy at all.
After he had disappeared into the kitchen area, Rus finally ventured a look in Callie’s direction.
There was that look again. Her eyes were bright with so many emotions. It made Rus’s skin crawl.
"I suppose you heard everything," he said dourly.
"I believe the whole station heard," she complained.
"I know what you must be thinking," Rus thought out loud.
Callie shook her head. "I’m not thinking anything," she revealed. "It’s really none of my concern.
"Isn’t it though? Isn’t raging adolescents your expertise? Isn’t that why you took this
job? To save the world of the young? Give them false hope and to lead them down the road of righteousness?"
A flash of sadness passed over Callie’s face. It lasted a few seconds, then it was gone. But when her
face lifted to Rus’s, he could still see the lingering effects of his words. "I love working with teenagers. I think
I can make a positive impact in their lives. I don’t give them false hope," Callie admitted. "I give them what they
need to hear so they can begin to believe in themselves."
Rus didn’t act like he was impressed any at all. Callie moved from her position behind her desk. She
found her purse and slowly turned away from him. What was it about this man? He infuriated her. He was arrogant and none too
friendly either. He could well use some lessons in behavior. She was tempted to give him those lessons whether he liked it
Rus went after Callie but she was out the door before he could stop her. By the time he returned to his desk,
Ricky was standing there with the coffee in his hand. He retrieved the mug, barely said thank you, then he sat down hard in
his chair swearing under his breath.
Callie Martin hadn’t been there two days and she was already causing havoc in his life. She was stirring
things in him that were best left alone. He didn’t need involvement of any kind, with any woman. He couldn’t wait
for her to be gone. And Rus knew he was lying to himself.