In the back of his mind he could hear Dick yell:
Robert couldn’t even move. His eyes were wide with fear, his heart pumping nineteen to the dozen. His heart dropped into his tummy as he realised what he had done, and how much trouble he was going to be in.
Everything seemed to move very slowly.
The policeman asked his name. Robert couldn’t speak, he opened his mouth but no sound came out of it.
“Cat got your tongue?” the policeman seemed friendly, but Robert was still terrified.
Dick had left the bike, and the policeman picked it up.
“Come with me, lad!”
Robert stumbled after him. He brought the bike with him, seemingly unable to let it go. His hands gripped the handlebar tightly, his knuckles white.
“I’ll need to get your mum or someone to sit with you while I question you.”
The policeman looked at the clearly frightened boy.
“You’ve not been in trouble before, have you?”
Robert managed to shake his head.
“What made you do it?”
Robert just shook his head again. The words wouldn’t come.
PC Davison could see the lad was in shock, he just walked with him quietly to the police station.
“Lad, do you have a phone?”
Robert handed him his mobile. PC Davison looked through the names, not many of them. He noted down Roberts mums number.
“Lad, I have to call your mum. You sit in here, and I’ll get someone to sit with you.”
He showed Robert into a plain room with a desk. Not long after, a woman entered and introduced herself as Claire.
“How are you?” She asked.
Robert just shook his head again.
“Your mum won’t be long, don’t worry.” She reassured him.
PC Davison came in with two cups of tea, one for Claire and one for Robert. He took a sip.
“Your mum is coming in, we sent a car for her, she’ll be a couple of minutes.”
Jaime came bursting into the room, a horrified look on her face. Robert took one look at her and burst into tears.
“Robert! What happened?” she asked, as she put her arms around him.
“I’m, I’m, so so-so-sorry, Mum.” he stuttered.
PC Davison told Jaime it was the first thing he had said.
Jaime explained that he had probably gone into shock, he did it at any unexpected thing. It was just a tendency he had.
“When his dad left, he didn’t speak for three days. It’s the shock.”
“Are you feeling better now your mum’s here, Robert?”
“Yes Sir”, Robert muttered quietly.
“In your own words, Robert, tell us what happened today.”
Robert explained everything exactly as it happened. He told PC Davison about the bikes, about going out over the field, about how they didn’t tease him about the hole in his shoe; in fact, everything just poured out of him. Jaime was surprised to learn about his shoes. She started crying when he told the PC Davison about being hungry all the time. Once he started talking, it was like he couldn’t stop.
He told PC Davison about Mr Edwards.
PC Davison spoke for the first time. “Mr Edwards? He is my daughter’s teacher. Trudy. Trudy Davison.”
“Yes, she is in my class. Mr Edwards knocked her over when I punched him. Sorry.”
PC Davison left the room and got them all more tea and sandwiches. Robert devoured them, even the half that Jaime gave him of hers. As they finished their tea, PC Davison explained what was going to happen.
“Robert, I am not going to take any further action on this. You have been honest with me and told me everything you know. I think you have learned a lesson today. Do you think you will steal again?
“No Sir. Never!”
Jaime hugged Robert. “He is normally a good boy, PC Davison, I promise.”
“I see that. What I am going to do is have a word with Mr. Edwards, make sure you don’t get into any more trouble. I know Mr. Edwards quite well, he is a fair man. Let’s see if we can smooth things over here.”
“Thank you, Sir!” Robert smiled for the first time since he got to the police station.
“You don’t need to call me Sir, Robert. My name is Mike, you can call me that.”
“Thank you, Mike.”
I’ll give you a lift home in my car. Come on.”
Robert and Jaime got themselves together and followed Mike out to his car. They got in and Mike turned round to Robert, “What size shoes are you in, mate?”
“Great stuff. I have some size 8 shoes I don’t use any more. I’ll drop them off for you when you’re at school.”
“Thanks, Mike,” Robert smiled at his mum. “Yes, thanks, Mike.”
Jaime wasn’t comfortable with it, but she knew it would save her some cash.
Mike dropped them off then returned to the station. He got on with calling Mr. Edwards. The two of them discussed Robert, his problems, and what they could do to help. Between the two of them, they constructed a plan to help him as best they could.
The best thing would be to get Jaime back in work, but that was difficult. They would both listen out for anything they thought Jaime could try. In the meantime, Mr. Edwards would have a word with the canteen staff to see if Robert would be considered for any extras they had knocking about.
Although the food was brought in each day, some kids were off sick, often there was a bit more food around. Robert could tidy up the desks in return for some extras so he wouldn’t feel like a charity case.
Mr Edwards was going to have Jaime and Robert in to talk to them about the library, joining it and accessing the computers. He knew one of the librarians, so he was sure Robert would get looked after there.
Both men could see that Robert wasn’t a lost cause, just a bit down on his luck. They didn’t want him to be like so many kids, falling through the cracks, lacking a male role model, no discipline at home. Jaime was doing her best, she was involved in Roberts life, they knew they would all be working in agreement to help Robert stay on the straight and narrow.
Would their efforts succeed? What would happen to Robert when the other boys found out what happened, that he told on them? Could they do enough for Robert to stay out of bad company?
Part Four coming soon!
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