Title: A Little Trust
Disclaimer: It's not mine. The Fosters belongs to ABC Family.
Summary; Set after Ep 5. Callie knows there's only one way to keep Jude from being sent away from the Fosters, after all that Brandon told her.
A Little Trust
Things hadn't been the same since Brandon had confessed that he was developing feelings for her. She had tried her best to explain. She had hoped that even though she had turned him down, told him she couldn't jeopardize herself and Jude's position in the house, that he would see how hard it was for her to do that. She never cried, and she had. She had told him that she couldn't do it - not that she didn't want to do it. But he hadn't picked up on those signals she'd given him before she ran up the stairs. He'd been downright sullen the last three days.
He still watched her, but he wouldn't speak to her. He did everything he could to make sure he wasn't sitting or standing next to her. Callie didn't push it. She just tried to throw herself into helping Jude, but since they had been in the Foster's home, he didn't seem to need her so much. So she was stuck in this horrible suspended sense of time, where she thought about what Brandon said nonstop, and she had nothing to distract herself with. Even Wyatt wasn't a good enough distraction. She liked him well enough, but Brandon had really ruined any hope of her actually falling for Wyatt.
The moms were starting to notice the tension. Just last night, they had asked Brandon to let Callie use the computer in his room for a project she needed to work on. Brandon had insistently said, "No, I've got work to do on it." At the same time, Callie had protested with, "I can use a computer at the library."
They had looked at each other, and then Brandon had stomped up the stairs. Callie had slid into the kitchen guiltily, leaving Lena and Stef confused.
"Why is he so sulky lately?" Stef asked, watching the stairs worriedly.
"Maybe it's his break up with Talya." Lena offered, pulling Stef to her for an embrace.
"I don't think that's it, Lena. Haven't you noticed that he doesn't even speak to Callie anymore?" Stef protested, "Maybe it's because the break up had to do with Callie, somewhat, but I don't know. Something's off."
Lena nodded. "Yes, it is. But I wouldn't try talking to him tonight. He doesn't seem up to it."
Callie listened from the corner, breathing deeply. They would figure it out. If she stuck around, even though she and Brandon had never actually done anything, they would figure it out. She knew what she would have to do.
"Babies, let's go! It's time for school. We've got breakfast!" Stef called out as the kids slowly assembled in the kitchen. Jude grabbed his waffle and began dripping syrup on it. Mariana had a banana and Jesus grabbed the plate of waffles with a smirk, "Guess the rest of these are for me!"
"You wish." Jude said, laughing. Jesus nudged Jude with his elbow before serving himself.
Brandon came down, poured his juice and began sipping. Stef looked around. "Where is Callie? B, go tell Callie we have to leave in few minutes."
Brandon slammed his glass on the counter, "No, I've got to eat." His behavior was startling. Jude cut in, because he knew why Brandon was trying to avoid him. "I'll go get her." He slid off his stool and hopped up the stairs.
He returned shortly later with a piece of paper in his hands. His looked like he was going to fall apart at any minute. He bit his lip, just like his sister did sometimes, and sighed, "Callie's gone. She left."
Lena hurried to Jude's side, wrapping her arms around him. Jude started to cry, then, because he knew Callie would be gone for good. She wasn't coming back. Stef grabbed the letter from Jude.
It's better for you if I get out of here. Maybe they'll keep you forever if I'm out of the way. You know I always screw everything up, and I've done it again here. You're happy and you're safe, and if I'm away, you'll stay that way. I know the Fosters love you. How could they not? I love you too.
It'll be better this way. You can be adopted. Mariana can have her room back. Brandon can stop being so damn miserable all the time. The Fosters won't have to worry as much about money. It's all going to be better if I'm just gone. Don't worry about me. I've always taken care of myself. Mama always wanted me to take care of you. I've tried to, but it's just gone so terribly wrong. This is the only thing I can do to make sure you are taken care of. Remember, I love you.
The kitchen fell silent. They had never had such silence in a room full of wakeful people. Jude's crying turned to sniffles and they looked at him.
"Has Callie run away before, Jude?" Lena asked him.
"No, she never left me before, except for when she got sent to juvenile detention." Jude looked over at Brandon, waiting to see what he was going to do. He had to know this was all his fault. Callie had never left him before. Yes, the Fosters were great and they were both afraid of when they had to leave, but Jude knew she'd really left because of Brandon.
Stef grunted. "Why would she do something so stupid? This is going to break her parole! She'll get sent back to juvie if we don't get her back soon. She has to be living with a family and attending school regularly. Why would she do something so irresponsible? We told you both that we wouldn't send you away until you had a permanent home. I know you don't trust us, but we meant that."
Jude shook his head. "Don't you see she does trust you? That's why she left me here. She thinks you'll keep me forever if she's not here. She's afraid of what will happen if you find out."
"Find out what?" Jesus asked. He couldn't believe that Callie had run away.
Jude flicked his eyes to Brandon and Brandon shifted uncomfortably. It wasn't spoken, but he knew, just like Jude knew.
"I don't know. Like everything she's ever done wrong in her life. She doesn't want you guys to kick us out. She always thinks it's her fault when we get sent back." Jude shrugged it off, knowing that he couldn't say all the real reasons. "You know Callie is always trying to protect me. That's what she's doing now. Even if she's wrong about it."
Stef sighed, "We'll have to look for her. The repercussions of this act are huge. I don't know how we are going to find her. I don't want to put an APB out on her. If we do that, the parole officer will find out she's run away. I'd like to at least wait a couple of days before we do that. I really just want us to find her and bring her back without anyone having to know."
Lena agreed immediately. "I'll take today off and go looking for her. You and Mike can look for her while you are on patrol. The rest of you - school. At least we'll know where four of our children are."
The kids didn't put up much of a fight this time. They knew that what was happening was so big that the moms needed them to do this without grumbling.
Brandon scoured the halls when he got to school. He spotted Wyatt down the hall, talking to a small group of people. He really didn't feel like talking to him, but maybe Callie told him something – anything.
"Wyatt! Wait up!" Brandon hurried to catch up with him before the bell rang. Maybe he could find Callie before school was even out if Wyatt had any information.
"Hey, bro. What's up?" Wyatt stopped and turned to face Brandon. Brandon grimaced at the familiarity like he had every other time they'd spoken. He wasn't friends with Wyatt. He'd never liked him. Why Wyatt insisted on acting like they were best friends was beyond Brandon.
"Listen, have you seen Callie anywhere? Or talked to her?" Brandon asked bluntly, trying to move the conversation along.
Wyatt shrugged, "Nah, I haven't seen her since yesterday. I have class with her in a minute, though. You need me to take anything to her or something?"
Brandon shook his head, "No. Did she say anything when she last talked to you? About leaving?"
A look of confusion crossed Wyatt's face. He brushed his hair back, and thought, "No. Did she get kicked out? Did your family make her leave?"
"No, of course not. Callie ran off last night, I guess, or early this morning. She left a note. We don't know where she is and we have to find her before her parole officer finds out about this. I was hoping maybe she'd said something to you." Brandon hated giving Wyatt this much information, but he didn't know what else to do. Besides himself and Jude, Wyatt was the only other person Callie ever spoke to.
"Nah, man, she never said anything. She acted a little weird on the phone last night when I talked to her, but she didn't say why. I figured it was just Callie being Callie." Brandon rolled his eyes at Wyatt. He grunted in frustration and turned to go on to class, like he was going to hear anything happening in class today. This was his fault. He knew it. Jude knew it. She was so afraid of having to leave the Fosters and then he'd ruined it by telling her how he felt. He knew the rules and he knew how terrified Callie was of having to go to another bad foster home. But instead, he'd let his jealousy get the better of him, and he'd ruined everything for both of them. Then, he'd threw a little fit like a little boy, refusing to talk with her because he was so embarrassed that she'd turned him down. What had he expected? For her to throw everything away for him? He should have just continued to admire her from afar. He should have just been in love with her from afar, but kept their relationship platonic, stealing slight touches and looks and using that to fuel is passion. What had possessed him to behave the way he had – both before the confession and after. And now he was here, listening to Wyatt, wondering where the hell Callie had gone and if she was safe or hurt or lonely or afraid.
"Callie being Callie? Come on. You didn't ask her what was wrong?" Brandon asked in frustration.
"No, I didn't. Callie doesn't really like to share, in case you hadn't noticed. I just go with whatever mood she's in. Now, if she's missing, I'd like to help find her. I don't want her to go back to jail anymore than you do." Wyatt crossed his arms and waited for Brandon's reply.
"I don't know where to look. You were my only hope for a clue, as horrible as that is. Listen, if you see her, talk to her, call me. Tell her she needs to come back home."
Wyatt nodded. "All right. I'll go look for her after school. She likes the beach."
Brandon snickered. "Yeah. I'm sure she ran away to the beach. Because no one would look there."
He turned on his heel and headed to class. He had some lists to make. Maybe he could come up with some places Callie might run to. Oh, whom was he kidding? Callie didn't tell them anything. He had no idea where she would go.
It had been three days since anyone had seen or heard from Callie. Jude had become despondent. He didn't do anything, not his homework, not play video games, nothing. He just sat in the room he shared with Jesus and stared into space. Jesus and Brandon had both tried to cheer him up, get him to come do things with them, go drive go carts or go min-golfing, but Jude just shook his head and looked at his hands.
Lena was going to call Bill tomorrow. They had waited too long as it was to report this. They really should have done it right away and they would probably get in trouble for not doing it sooner. They were going to use the fact that Stef was a police officer and that she and Mike had been patrolling non-stop trying to find her.
Even Mariana mentioned how her room seemed almost too quiet, that she had gotten used to Callie sitting in the corner, playing the guitar and giving her looks at everything she did.
Dinners were a quiet affair. Conversations were sparse. Everyone had one thing on their mind. Callie.
Callie sat outside the homeless shelter. She'd missed the raffle for beds, so she'd get to spend another night on the streets. She smelled, she was tired, and she had never felt so alone in her life. She pushed her hair into a messy ponytail and leaned her back against the wall. She closed her eyes, wondering if she would even sleep tonight. She was going to have to figure out what to do next. She couldn't stay out here for the rest of her life. She didn't know what to do. How would she get a job looking and smelling like this? And now she'd broken the terms of her probation, so if they did any kind of background checks, they'd know that technically she was a fugitive. She didn't stand a chance. Maybe if she crossed state lines, she could do something. She could go to like Nevada or Colorado or something.
What was she going to do?
She missed Jude. She knew that leaving him with the Fosters was the best thing she could do for him. But that didn't mean she didn't feel like half of her was missing.
She missed Lena and Stef, Jesus and even Mariana. She missed the hustle of the house, the noise and comfort, the warmth and love – even if she didn't really participate in any of it.
She missed Brandon. She knew she would have to leave before Stef and Lena figured out that Brandon had a thing for her. And that she had a thing for him. They were catching on. She'd overheard that. She couldn't take a chance of them finding out and then sending her and Jude away. If she had stayed near Brandon, she would have given in. She was weak like that. He was angry and hurt and sulking like a child, but she would have eventually admitted that she felt the same way he did and then they'd act on it, and the moms would know.
She couldn't be weak. She'd ruined Jude's chances before, and she wasn't going to do it again.
So she'd run, even though she felt that her heart was being ripped out of her chest.
She saw the guys walking down the street, their swagger making Callie feel uncomfortable. She knew they'd come heckle her and try to make her do things she didn't want to do. Sitting here was not her best option. She grabbed her duffle and headed down the street, keeping her head down. That was the only way she'd survive out here.
She passed a pay phone. She paused, wondering. Could she just call the house? Just to hear a voice and know that they were okay.
Stef stretched across the couch, rubbing her temples. She'd let that girl worm their ways into their hearts, but now she'd broken it. The worry they all felt for her was too much. It was all consuming. "If she'd just taken that phone we gave her, we could have used the cell tracker."
Lena cracked a smile, "Why do you think she left it behind? She knew that."
They sighed in unison. Lena leaned over, shaking her head. "I don't know how to help the kids. Jude is just lost without her. I don't know how she thought that this would be better for him. We wouldn't have sent her away. Even if she and Brandon decided they couldn't stay away from each other. We would have dealt with it, not sent them away."
Stef glanced out of the corner of her eye, "B and Callie? You think that's why she left?"
Lena shrugged, "I don't think that's the only reason she left. But yeah, I think that's part of it."
The phone rang, cutting off the conversation. Brandon picked up the phone in the other room, "Hello?"
Silence. There was no sound. "Hello?" He waited for a response but didn't get one. He heard some light breathing and he knew instantly. "Callie? Callie, talk to me! I know it's you. You've really turned our house upside down. We miss you so much. Callie, I miss you. I'm sorry for not talking to you. I'm sorry for being such a child about it. I should have understood where you were coming from. I'm sorry. Come home. I'll leave you alone. The moms will never know and I won't force my feelings on you. Please, Callie."
She didn't hang up but she didn't speak either. Brandon continued, "Jude's barely speaking. He can't handle you being gone. He needs you."
Finally, she spoke, "You didn't force your feelings on me. But I couldn't stay. Listen, just put Jude on the phone. Please. I just – I need to hear his voice."
Brandon rushed upstairs with the phone and called for Jude, "JUDE! JUDE! IT'S CALLIE! COME ON!" Jude came running to the hall upstairs, while the moms and the twins came surrounding them too. Brandon handed Jude the phone, Jude, who looked the most lively he'd looked in three days.
"Callie? Come home please. I miss you! We don't have to stay here. We can go somewhere else. If you can't stay here – because of him, it's okay, as long as we're together."
"Jude, you're staying there. That's why I left. I couldn't dream of a better place for you. But I do still miss you. I love you. I just wanted to hear your voice." Callie's voice cracked, the exhaustion and sadness seeping through. "It's okay, Jude. You have a family now."
"Callie, you are my family." Jude said. Stef had already headed downstairs to get her cell phone to call Mike.
"Callie? Callie?" She wasn't responding again. Jude was worried they'd lost the connection. But then he heard a thud and Callie's voice from the background, "Get off of me, asshole." There were some sounds coming through with a crash and then silence.
"CALLIE? CALLIE! Are you okay? Callie!" Jude stared at the phone as he dropped it from his ear. He looked at the group with wide eyes. "Something happened. I don't know what, but it sounded like she was fighting someone. We have to find her. Right now."
Stef was dialing her cell phone, "Mike? Callie just called the house. We need to run a trace on the number she called from, see if we can get a location. We need to hurry. Jude said that it sounded like she got in a fight while she was on the phone. Yeah, call me back. ASAP!"
Stef hung up. "I'm headed to the station to pick up Mike. Lena, you can follow if you want."
"I want to." Before Jude could say he was coming, Lena cut him off, "Jude, I need you to stay here. In case she calls back. Jesus and Mariana will wait with you." She shot a glance at Brandon. "I assume you're coming with me."
Brandon nodded, "Yeah."
So they separated quickly. Mariana wrapped an arm around Jude, picturing how she'd feel if Jesus had run away. Jesus pulled them on into his room, to distract Jude from worrying. The moms and Brandon headed out.
Brandon had never been to this area of town before. He realized just how sheltered he'd been in his life. He knew it. He knew every time he heard a story of Callie and Jude's life before the Fosters. This was just one more place he'd never experienced and he couldn't imagine how Callie would run here. A dog barked from far away and the sounds of people shouting came from down the street. They saw a pay phone on the corner. This was the pay phone that Callie had called from. "We should split up to look for her. Mike, you go with Lena. I'll go with B. Whatever you do, stay in sight of one another. We don't want to be separated in this part of town. We won't leave until we find her."
They hurried down the streets, looking in every corner, down every alley. They looked for what seemed like hours, but in reality was 20 minutes. They saw a group of people standing on another corner, a couple of prostitutes standing across the street. Was this what had happened to Callie?
Brandon turned down an alley and saw a large dumpster. He heard Stef calling for him to wait, but he knew that this was it. He ran and turned around the corner of the dumpster. She was there, curled up in the fetal position. Her nose was bleeding; she had a cut on her cheek. Brandon stepped closer to her.
She held her knees tighter to her and was ready to spring up and run, but once she lifted her head, she saw that it was Brandon. She relaxed slightly and Brandon crouched next to her. He reached out and touched her cheek softly.
"Callie, you never should have run away."
She shrugged and lifted her head up. "I did what I needed to." He knew his mom had caught up with them, but he didn't care. He pulled her close and wrinkled his nose at her scent.
"Callie, what happened?" He asked. "Did they-" She shook her head against his chest, so he didn't have to complete the thought that was in their minds.
"Nah. They just beat me up. I knew this was going to happen. I didn't get a bed at the shelter and I saw the three of them. I ran off and I thought I'd lost them, but they caught up to me in the phone booth. They got a few good punches in, but I was too fast for them. I ran off, but I had to leave my bag behind. It would have just slowed me down. But I'm fine." Brandon knew he should let her go, but he couldn't release her. He couldn't let her out of his arms or out of his sight.
Stef finally spoke, "Callie, what were you thinking? If your parole officer found out, you'd be back in juvenile detention right now. We were going to have to call tomorrow."
"You didn't tell already?" There was surprise evident in her voice.
"Not yet. Mike and I were hoping we'd find you on patrol."
"I was going to leave California. I was going to get away and out of your lives." Callie said it almost bitterly, but there was a lonely edge to her voice.
"That's the last thing we want, Callie. It doesn't matter what you've done or what you think you will do to screw up. We love you. We promised you we'd keep you until you found a permanent home. We meant that. Nothing you have done or will do will make us change that." Stef said. She had her phone out to text Lena and Mike to let them know they'd found her and to meet at the cars. She bent down, "And whatever it was that made you away, it'll be okay." She gave her and Brandon a knowing look. "Now, let's get you home. I think you probably need a shower. And some food. And a bed. And a hug from Jude."
Callie sighed lightly. Stef was right. And she even seemed like she knew all the reasons she'd left.
She started to get up, but groaned from the pain. Brandon helped her and slipped her arm over his shoulder so she could lean on him. He waited until his mom turned to walk back to the street, and then he leaned down and kissed her forehead. "Callie, it's all going to be fine. We'll figure the rest out. Just don't ever leave like that again. I was scared, Callie."
She nodded, "I kind of was too." He tightened his grip and continued to lead her to the car. "And Callie, you smell."
She laughed a little. "Yeah. It's been a few days since I showered."
"Another reason you should never run away." He helped her into the car and climbed in beside her. Lena and Mike came rushing back to the car. Callie was surrounded by hugs, from Stef, Lena, and even Mike. She never expected this reaction. She was trying to help by leaving, to relieve all the stress and tension at the house. She never thought they would be so glad to see her. No foster families had ever had that kind of reaction to her. She should have known. After all, they were different.
"There will be repercussions to this, Callie. You know that. We'll have to talk about this tomorrow. But for now, let's just get you home." Lena said in her stern vice-principal voice.
Callie nodded, expecting no less. There were consequences to everything you did. This was just one more thing in a long line of mistakes that she had made. She looked at the people who surrounded her, the moms, Brandon, and she realized that maybe she should trust them. Trust that the moms wouldn't send them away, no matter what, and trust that maybe, just maybe, Brandon was different. And most importantly, maybe she should trust that she kind of had a home.