A/N: Barbadiangirl's loonnggggggg gaps between updates? One word: UNIVERSITY. Perhaps it is fitting that I wrap up this story as I prepare to wrap up my teen years as well.
Of note, I have edited the previous chapters so I suggest reading them.
New readers, welcome. Older readers, I'm immensely sorry for the delay but thank you for sticking with me.
Hope you guys enjoy this installment. It's much shorter than the others but I just needed to get it out.
Charah v The Teens- Chapter 4: Righting Wrongs
Robert Smith had a big smile on his face when he heard that his son had been in a fight with CJ Bartowski. However, the smile was smacked off his face when he heard that his son had been the aggressor.
"You stupid little fucker," Robert growled at his son as he drove away from the police station. "You couldn't get those idiots you hang out with to hang back and back up your story. You're pathetic, you know that?" He continued to rant. This would've been a big pay day compliments of a Bartowski settlement but nooooo. "And you're lucky that jaw wasn't broken because it would've taken a chunk out of the insurance bill." He then took a gulp of his beer as they approached a stoplight.
"Could you at least stop drinking while you're driving?" Jake muttered.
"Don't fucking well tell me what to do!" He ground out, annoyed by his what he perceived to be insolence.
"Well if you wanna drink and drive, be my fucking guest." As the light was red, Jake unbuckled his seat belt and then got out of the car, slamming the door behind him. His father didn't even bother to yell after him to find out where he was going. Instead, he rolled the windows up and sped off as soon as the light turned green.
Jake pulled the hood of his jacked over his head as he walked.
"...couldn't get those idiots you hang out with to hang back and back up your story?"
His father's angry words echoed in his head.
At least those idiots were there for him when his father wasn't. Since he had met them two years ago, Troy and Mike were much more of a family to him than his father was. Sure he provided shelter, clothing and food but beyond that, he was a miserable excuse for a father.
Two years ago
He had just finished eating a bag Doritios when he passed by the basketball courts. The game was over and most of the boys were heading home. Two remained, shooting some hoops.
"Mind if I join?"
"Nah dude," the taller one spoke and tossed him the ball.
They shot hoops for a little over half an hour before calling it quits.
I'm Jake," he introduced himself to the two older boys.
"I've seen you a couple times around the neighbourhood Jake," the older of the boys spoke. "I'm Mike by the way."
"Nice to meet you,"
"So Jake, what you doing out so late on a school night?" Mike asked.
He shrugged. "Oh you know," he trailed off.
"Ah so you've got family problems? Well my man I think you'll fit right in with us."
"What school do you go to?"
"Cool. Cool. I not too long got out of juvi and my sister got me enorlled there so I guess we'll be seeing each other."
"That's cool," Jake replied. He was a bit miffed by how Troy mentioned being in juvi like it was no big deal. "What about you Mike, where do you go to school?"
The oldest boy laughed. "Nah, I'm done with school. But I guess when you get into fights a little too much and the last one happens to be with some politican's son, getting kicked out is a natural progression."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that."
"It's no biggie. I have a plan to leave LA in the near future anyway."
"And how do you guys know each other?"
Troy laughed. "We actually met in juvi. Mike here was the top dog in there."
"Cool," Jake smiled.
"Look man you hungry?" Mike asked. "Me and Troy were going to head over to Burger King for some grub. You can come with if you want."
Jake shook his head. "Nah, I don't have any money on me."
"We got you man. We gotta look out for each other right?"
Jake smiled at them, happy that these boys seemed to be nicer than his father was.
From that night they had formed a strong friendship and the older boys came to see Jake as somewhat of a younger brother. And that meant that they began to hang out more. So when Mike was invited to a party by his girl of the week, Jake and Troy had tagged along. That was where he had gotten his first taste of alcholol via spiked rum punch. It was also at that same party that he lost his virginity. Troy and Mike had been waiting outside the door for him, and when he came out, a small unsure yet confused smile on his face, they had patted him on his back and congratulated him on becoming a man.
His father didn't even care about where he was most of the time and the parties he went to with the other boys and the girls he slept with while at said parties all racked up.
"Yo Troy," Jake announced his presence as he entered his friend's apartment.
"I'm in the kitchen," Troy's deep voice replied. When he caught sight of Jake, his eyes grew wide. "Dude, what happened?"
"Nothing I couldn't get out of."
"You understand that we couldn't have stuck around right bro?
"Yeah man, I know your case worker would've been glad to recommend sending your ass back to juvi."
"She's a pain in my ass that's what she is."
They shared a laugh and then settled into the living room to watch some TV. Ten minutes later, Mike joined them.
"Jake bro, you okay man?" He asked, seeing that his friend's nose looked a bit swollen.
Jake shrugged. His face in general felt a bit tender and his nose occasionally throbbed but he would tough this out.
"Well my sister's working the night shift. I say we order some pizza and just chill for the rest of the night. Y'all game?"
"Yeah man, we can watch the play offs too."
"You mind if I crash here tonight Troy? I kinda got into in with my father..."
"Sure man. Like you even had to ask!"
"Alright thanks man. What are you doing? I thought your sister made you quit?" Jake looked in confusion to his friend who had a spliff in his hand.
Troy scoffed. "She can never keep down I and I brethren. It's Babylonian system!"
"Ummm, okayyy then," Jake scoffed at his friend's newly acquired Jamaican accent.
"You guys sure you don't want a joint?' Troy offered, gesturing to two other spliffs.
Mike picked up on of the beers from the six pack he had brought over and shook his head. "Nah bro, I'm good. And you know you should listen to your elders Troy. I've told you already that you need to take it easy on that stuff."
Jake also took up one of the beers and took a swig. "I'm good too man,"
They were halfway through the game when Mike's phone chimed, indicating he had a text message. He looked down at it and smirked. ''Well guys, I'm gonna head out early."
"Where you going man?"
"Tiffany," Mike smirked as he put on his leather jacket.
"A booty call? Dude, you're gonna miss the NBA for a booty call?"
"Dude, have you seen Tiffany? Have you seen her twerking videos? Ain't no way in hell I'm gonna pass this up."
Troy nodded his head in agreement. "I feel you man! You'd be crazy not to tap that."
"Besides, I need to maintain my streak. Can't have you young fellas breaking it," Mike smirked and fist bumped his friends.
With Mike gone, Jake turned his attention back to the game.
"Dude, serious question," Troy grabbed his attention. "Is the 's' or the 'c' in scent silent?"
Sariyah woke up at 6:00 am. It was the first time in a long while that she had gotten up so early. She was going to get up and prepare for school when she remembered that she was on a suspension. Her name would probably be all over the school by the time she returned. She snorted to herself. Who was she kidding. Some of the girls in her school breathed for gossip so word of her suspension probably spread immediately after first period and was probably all over the school by lunch time. The realization hit her hard. She closed her eyes and her mind recounted the events that led up to this. I was so damn foolish!
She felt a dip in her bed which indicated that she wasn't alone. Based on the degree that it had sunk to, she knew that it was her father.
"Daddy, I'm sorry," she mumbled, her eyes still closed.
"It's ok." Chuck rubbed her leg to console her a bit.
She sat up and wrapped her arms around Chuck and laid her head on his shoulders. "No it's not, I was stupid...I lied a lot...I didn't mean to be so bad." She was hysterical at this point. "I know you're still mad at me. Mommy has admitted that she's still mad at the situation, and I am a big part of the situation so it's logical to infer that she's still mad at me. And you didn't come with her last night to talk to me. Were you that mad that you couldn't look at me? I know I'm a disappointment, but I promise I will behave. Please stop being mad. I'll be good from now on. I promise." She broke away and fell back on to the bed and let out a noisy cry. She lied, went against their rules, was suspended and had been very rude. If she was a parent, she would have hated to have a child who behaved in the manner she had over the past couple of days. She had turned into one of those cliche problem teens - always on punishment and with their parents never trusting or believing them.
Chuck's heart broke for her. He hated to see her cry. "Sariyah, baby. Come on. It's ok."
Sarah had been awoken by the lack of her Chuck pillow and was on her way downstairs in search of him when she passed by Sariyah's room. Hearing Sariyah crying, she came into the room. Sariyah's breath caught in her throat when she saw her mother. Her chest got tight and her breathing became laboured. "I can't breathe!"
Sarah shot Chuck an alarmed look. He began to rub his daughter's back and Sarah sat on the bed so she could look at Sariyah at eye level.
"Count Sariyah. One...Two..."
Sariyah squeezed her eyes shut. Her heart was thumping hard and fast in her ears and she felt tears welling in her eyes. Her mother's voice sounded so distant.
"Sariyah, open your eyes and look at me." Sarah said. "Baby, we love you, nothing is ever gonna change that."
"Count Sariyah. One...two..three."
"One...two..three." She followed Chuck's lead and her breaths started to come easier. When her breathing returned to normal, she wrapped her trembling arms around Sarah. Chuck looked at Sarah and nodded. They wouldn't be going to work today. Sarah left the room and went to get Sariyah some water.
"Sweetheart, I know you messed up. But it's ok. I'm not mad at you anymore. I know you're sorry about everything and I'm sorry about the way we handled it at first. You know I love you, don't you?"
"Yeah, I know," Sariayh sniffed.
Chuck smiled. " If there's ever a problem, I'm here, both your Mom and I are."
She was his daughter and he would always want what was best for her. Sometimes it might not be easy for her to understand what he did, but she had to know that they loved her and didn't see her as a disappointment or a problem child. He tilted Sariyah's head so that he could look into her eyes. "I'm really sorry about the hickey thing, I think that catapulted this downward spiral, so I think we need to go to the school." He thought back to when he had walked into the office to sign her out and him seeing the hickey on her neck in the car. He had been furious to hear the circumstances of the suspension in light of the sexting problem days prior. He didn't want her to get too out of control and had acted on that. He just wanted to make sure that she stayed on the right track.
"I'm sure your mom told you already, but you're intelligent, kind, sincere, beautiful and a wonderful person. I'm not just saying that cause I'm your dad."
Sariyah smiled shyly. Her father always had a way with words. Sariyah then hugged her father.
Sarah knocked on the door and entered. "I'm sorry I took so long to bring the water but Sky woke up early and she was really clingy this morning," Sarah explained as she handed Sariyah the glass.
"Where is she now?"
"Well apparently, it's the one morning everyone in the Bartowski household is up early. CJ took her down to the kitchen."
"Well kiddo, how does French Toast for breakfast sound?" Chuck smiled at Sariyah, knowing it was her favourite.
She smiled back just as brightly. "Sounds awesome."
When Sariyah had flitted from her room to join her siblings downstairs, Sarah looked sadly over at Chuck.
"I know baby, I know," He sighed solemnly. "She thought since I didn't come with you last night that I was still angry."
"She never could stand the thought of you being disappointed in her," Sarah said wearily as she remembered a ten year old Sariyah feeling devastated at having to admit to her father that she didn't like Sizzling Shrimp.
Chuck kissed his wife's hair and pulled her closer. "We'll get through this."
Sarah stopped Chuck and Sariyah as they were leaving to take Skylar to school. "I called the school, we have a meeting with the principal at ten," Sarah informed them.
"Why are you going to a meeting?" Sariyah asked, confused.
"Why are we, going to a meeting," Chuck corrected. "You're coming too."
"I think we need to sort out the locker mess. The principal, like us didn't let you explain and that's a wrong we need to right," Sarah said.
"He took advantage of you and I don't think it's right for you to take the punishment for something in which you were a victim," said Chuck.
A few hours later and for the second time in a week, Sariyah found herself in the principal's office. But this time she was a lot less scared or upset. Her parents were with her and they believed her and that was one of the greatest feelings ever.
"While we appreciate that Sariyah has been a good student since she enrolled, there are somethings we just cannot condone."
"Look, I know the school has a reputation to maintain as one of the best in the city and thus you like to adhere to the school rules. And I respect that," Chuck began.
"But you didn't allow Sariyah to explain the situation." Sarah finished.
The principal narrowed her eyes. "I saw them with my own eyes. I don't think there was any need for an explanation."
"And that's where we humbly disagree with you Ma'am."
"She didn't get a chance to defend herself and that goes against the rules of natural justice."
"Sariyah told us what happened and we believed her," Chuck said firmly.
Sariyah smiled timidly in her chair when he said that. It was good to hear them defending her publicly after all that had happened.
"She's your child. Of course you believe her," Mrs Olford said. She had been in the educational system for nearly thirty years and had seen many parents in denial. Whether it was when they were called because their child had been found taking drugs on the school premises, having sex, or even bullying, it was usually the same "not my son/daughter!" In her opinion, the simple fact of the matter was that oftentimes, the children were not the saints and angels their parents held them to be.
Sarah sighed, this wasn't going anywhere. But they couldn't give up. They wouldn't allow Sariyah to be so unfairly punished by the school.
"Don't you have cameras monitoring the hallway?" Chuck asked suddenly, having remembered that it was part of the state's latest attempt to make the schools safer.
"We do, but I really don't think that's-"
"Well I think having a look at the recording from yesterday would help to clear up this mess," Sarah suggested.
The principal sighed. She knew the Bartowski parents were not going to let this go. "Very well then. I'll call security and have them bring the DVD up."
"Actually," Chuck intervened as he moved to pick up the phone, "to save some time I could access the feeds from here. If you'd let me use your laptop?"
Within a few minutes Chuck had tapped into the school's server and located the security feeds. The video was soon up and playing. Hearing Sariyah tell the story was one thing, but seeing Jake invade their daughter's space like that made smoke come from Chuck's ears. Sarah meanwhile was already planning which knives she'd use to mutilate his body.
By the time the video was over, the principal was aghast by Jake's actions and contrite about her own. "Mr and Mrs Bartowski I owe you an apology,"
"It's not us that need the apology," Sarah interrupted, sliding her hand over Sariyah's.
"Sariyah, I am deeply sorry for the way in which I treated the matter. I admit that you should have been allowed to give your account. "
"Now, what will the school be doing about Mr. Smith?" Chuck queried.
"As you know he was given two days suspension. Speaking of suspension, in light of this video I'll lift her suspension and have it removed from her school record. She's free to return to classes today even."
Hearing that, Chuck and Sarah encouraged Sariyah to leave the office and head to class. Once Sariyah was gone, Sarah turned serious.
"I'm sorry but I don't think a two day suspension is going to cut it. He basically assaulted my daughter."
"Yes, I understand that in light of the video evidence the suspension seems like a slap on the wrist but-"
"But? But what?" Chuck cut in. "Do I need to replay that video?"
"Look Mr and Mrs Bartowski, all I am trying to say is that there are some channels we have to go through."
"And what sort of channels would those be? I'm sorry but if you think that we are going to let bureaucracy into this and nothing more be done about the situation then you are clearly mistaken," Sarah stated and Chuck's eyes blazed in agreement.
The principal sighed. "I'll bring the matter to the school board."
"We'll be in touch," Chuck told her before he and Sarah shook the principal's hand, leaving her office with the thought that just maybe they would have to take matters in their own hands.
The team gathered around the table, anxious to begin the mission briefing.
"What have we learned?" Chuck queried.
"Well it seems that Jake got a bit of a bad break in life. His mother was a drug dealer and got caught in a sting operation. She got twenty years for heroin manufacturing and distribution. That happened when he was five and since then he's been with his father," Morgan recited, looking at the paper in his hands.
"And what do we know about him?" Sarah asked.
"Robert Smith. Aged fifty-five. He's got a bit of a record- a DUI and soliciting prostitutes," Casey replied. "I got the feeling he was a bit of shifty character. When I picked up CJ from the station, the officer said that he had been going on about suing you two."
Chuck sighed. "Great. So we've got a seventeen year old who likes to play women with two parents that are less than desirable."
"Like I said, he seems to have had a bad break in life," Morgan affirmed, sounding a bit sympathetic.
"I hope you're not defending him Moron," Casey growled. "He forced himself on our Goddaughter!"
Morgan put his hands up in defence. "Whoa, whoa! I'm not. What I'm saying is that he has shitty parents and maybe didn't have anyone to teach him better."
Sarah snarled. "Pretty much all of us had shitty parents in varying degrees. As much as I loved my father, I knew what we did, what I did was wrong. Jake? Preying on girls like that? I don't care how far off his parents' moral compasses were. It's inexcusable."
"What's the school saying?" Casey asked, trying to tone down the tension in the room.
Sarah stood from her chair and began pacing. "You know how these schools are sometimes Casey. It's no different than the CIA or NSA with their bureaucratic bullshit. School board my ass."
Casey grunted. "I guess the question is: what are we going to do?"
A/N: One more chapter to wrap this up. Feel free to review, (even if it's a guest).
Until next time,