“Always,” I said. I stroked his hair careful not to touch the bandage over the wound near his scalp. I looked up at the police officer. “Is he okay?” I lifted his head in my lap.
“He may have a concussion,” she said. “The EMTs are here, now. They’ll take care of him. You kids are cute together.” She smiled as she stood, one leg up off her knees, then the other. She was big, six feet, and muscular. No wonder she was the one that chased him down. I looked up, Mama and Andre were there in front of the black and silver motorcycles.
“Mama, this is my Billy,” I said and a tear slid down my cheek. Mama nodded.
“That’s obvious,” Andre said grinning.
“Hi, Mama,” Billy said.
“I’m pleased to meet you, Billy. I wish it was under better circumstances.”
Billy said, “I’ll come over when I’m better.”
Mama said, “That will be just fine. We’ll be glad to have you.”
Billy smiled up at me and the medical men got there and I had to back away. There was barely room for them to get the backboard and the stretcher in there between the line of motorcycles, but they managed. I followed them out to the ambulance and they took him away to Mercy General.
I stood with Mama and Andre watching him go in the ambulance. The shop owner was there, Gregory Stutzman someone said. That must be the man who answered the phone that day. Gregory Stutzman was tall and handsome and had shaggy grayish hair cut nice, thick, and combed to the side. He was talking to the police. His clothes were nice, too. I thought it odd for a man who worked in a motorcycle shop. Then those two police in suits came over and introduced themselves as Detectives of the Vice Squad. The other police had Angel and Penny in separate cars, so they could not hear what the officers asked us and what we said. The tall wavy haired man spoke first.
“Now’s the fun part,” he said with a grin. He had an overbite! It was cute! “We have to sort out this mess.” The older, pot-bellied detective stood there with his lips pursed.
“Ma’am, I have it that the female juvenile involved here,” he said and looked at his spiral notebook, “Penny Jenkins, is your daughter?”
“She’s my foster daughter, officer. I am her proxy guardian. Her legal guardian is the Department of Child Services. I am trusted with her care and I am responsible for her.”
It sounded to me like Mama was trying to distance herself form Penny some. That’s just me, I don’t know, but who could blame her?
“Foster mother,” he said and looked up from his writing, “let’s leave it at that, shall we? She said she’s fifteen years old. Is that correct?” Mama said it was. “And did you know of her whereabouts today? Can you trace her movements today?”
“I cannot,” Mama said.
He’s blaming Mama! This is wrong! “Penny runs off!” I butted in.
“She’s strong headed and never tells anybody where she’s going,” Andre said.
“Sherlock Holmes couldn’t keep up with Penny Jenkins!” I said.
Andre laughed out loud. Mama tried to keep from laughing.
“This Angel Carnes came and got her this morning on his motorcycle about eleven a.m.,” Mama said. Our comments gave her time to think.
“You let her go with him?” the officer asked.