This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
This story is copyright by Owen Hudson, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.
Dreams Don't Grow on Trees
"You got glasses!" Justin exclaimed when Amy picked him up for school.
"Justin, Adam's a little concerned about kids making fun of him for wearing glasses," Amy said.
"Why, I think they're cool," Justin said.
"Really?" Adam questioned.
"I wanted glasses, but Dr. Bishop said I didn't need them."
"I can read better with them."
"Justin, I think it would be better if the other kids didn't know that Adam just got his glasses," Amy suggested.
"I won't say anything," Justin agreed. "Adam, could I try them on?"
"Okay," Adam reluctantly agreed.
"They look good on you too," Haden acknowledged.
"Yeah," Adam agreed.
"How do you see anything with these?" Justin questioned.
"Adam's glasses were made based on his eye examination," Haden explained. "If you needed glasses your prescription most likely would be different."
"Adam, Mrs. Whiteside will pick you up after school and Dad will bring you home," Amy said when she dropped Adam and Justin off at the elementary school. "Justin, we'll pick you up and give you a ride home."
"But I don't know Mrs. Whiteside," Adam protested.
"Dad said that one of the teachers would be at the bus loading zone and they would show you where to wait for Mrs. Whiteside," Amy said.
"Mrs. Whiteside was my teacher last year," Justin said. "I'll show you."
"He's still a little nervous," Haden observed.
"Not as bad as you were your first day of high school," Amy chuckled. "You almost vomited before you got on the bus."
"Don't remind me."
"How was your first day at school?" Darrell asked Adam when he picked him up at Mrs. Whiteside's house.
"It was okay, I guess."
"You guess? You don't sound like it was okay."
"I told you that I'm not very smart."
"Now, what makes you say that? Did your teacher say something?"
"No, Mr. Kennedy is nice. But when he asked me a question in Geography I didn't know the answer, and the other kids laughed at me."
"What did Mr. Kennedy say?"
"He got on to them and said that it was my first day and I didn't get the reading assignment."
"There you go; you didn't have your reading assignment. But you'll have to make sure you read your assignments."
"I've read it already, Ms. Lyla had me read the chapter and then she asked me questions. I only got two wrong."
"See, you're smart. You'll have to do your homework though."
"I know, Dad."
Haden and Amy were busy in the kitchen cooking dinner when Darrell and Adam arrived home. "Adam, if you're hungry, help yourself to some fruit, dinner will be ready in about an hour," Amy said as she gave Adam a welcoming hug.
"Ms. Lyla gave us peanut butter spread on apples for a snack, they were good too."
"I haven't had peanut butter on apple slices in a long time, and yes they are good."
"So that's why she had me fill out a form listing allergies," Darrell said. "Fortunately the school records from Covington stated that you didn't have any."
"Tomorrow we get fruit salad."
"Why don't you go do your homework before dinner," Amy suggested.
"I did it at Ms. Lyla's, but could I go read?"
"Of course you may go read," Darrell smiled his approval.
"Adam, dinner's ready," Haden announced when he found Adam absorbed in his book.
"Okay," Adam answered while bookmarking his page. "I can read better now."
"It looks like it; you're almost halfway through that book. Wash up and come on to dinner."
"This is good," Adam said as he enjoyed Amy's chicken enchilada casserole.
"Thank you, Adam."
"What is this?" Adam asked when Haden served the dessert.
"It's rice pudding?"
"Is it good?" Adam asked with some skepticism as he inspected a spoonful of pudding.
"Taste it, if you don't like it you don't have to eat it," Darrell offered.
"Mm, Amy, this is good," Adam declared.
"It is good, but I didn't make it, Haden did," Amy laughed.
"Haden's becoming a good cook too," Darrell proclaimed as he too enjoyed the pudding.
"Could I learn to cook too?" Adam asked.
"I think you should learn," Darrell agreed. "But I think you should wait until your grades are better."
"How did you like school today?" Haden asked.
"It was okay, and Mr. Kennedy is nice.
Each day Adam bonded more with the family. He had a growing list of friends at school, but Justin remained his best friend. His grades continued to improve and he actually began to like school. Rita Holland was pleased with Adam's placement and that he was progressing well in school.
"Nora is no longer with the department and we'll be hiring a new caseworker," Rita mentioned during a visit. "The worker will be taking over my cases, but I'd like to manage this one until it terminates."
"That would be great," Darrell eagerly agreed.
One evening Rita showed up at the Harrington residence shortly after Darrell and Adam arrived home. "Is Adam here?" She asked.
"He's in his room reading, I'll get him," Darrell offered.
"I need to talk to you first. The Tennessee authorities are throwing the book at Adam's mom. She's a repeat offender and had a large amount of methamphetamine for distribution. They've offered her ten years with no parole. That means that Adam would be twenty when she got released. If she takes the plea bargain we'll file to terminate her parental rights. We'll do the same if a jury finds her guilty."
"What will happen next?"
"He'll then be eligible for adoption.
"How long will that take?"
"If she pleads guilty, a few months, but if she doesn't, it could take a year or more."
"Are there any relatives who are qualified and want to adopt him?"
"We located his grandparents who aren't in good health and believe their health problems are too much to take on a young boy. He has an aunt who would be no better than his mother."
"It would break our hearts to give him up. He's worked his way into this family and our hearts."
"I was hopeful that you'd say that. Would you consider adopting Adam?"
"Of course I would," Darrell almost shouted in joy.
"I assumed you would, so I brought the paperwork to get everything started. In trying to cover all the legal aspects, the government's made it complicated. You may want to have Steve help you with the paperwork, and I'm sure Paul can help you with the financial part. You don't have to be rich to adopt, but you do have to have the financial resources to support him."
"As you can see, I'm not rich, but I do okay."
"Once the application is submitted, an adoption specialist from the state will be by to do an in-home study. We want to have everything ready when or if the parental rights are terminated. Since Adam's ten, he'll be asked if he wants to be adopted by you. I'll talk to him about it today."
"I'll send Adam in. Would you care for something to drink?"
"Coffee would be great, if you have some made."
"If not, it won't take long to brew some. Do you take yours with cream or sugar?"
"I take mine black."
"Haden, would you take a cup of coffee to Rita while I go get Adam? She takes hers black."
"Adam's outside riding his bike," Haden stated when Darrell headed toward their bedroom.
"Dad, dinner's almost ready. Why don't you ask Mrs. Holland to stay for dinner when she's finished talking to Adam?"
"I'll do that."
"Adam, come inside," Darrell called out to him as he rode his bicycle by. "Mrs. Holland needs to talk to you."
"Why?" Adam asked in a near panic as he stopped his bicycle with much more ease than he previously had.
"She has a few things to ask you," Darrell said. "You don't have anything to worry about."
After chatting with Adam for a few minutes, Rita sent him to bring in the entire family. "Adam and I had a discussion and he wants to be adopted by this family, or as Adam put it, 'he wants to adopt this family'. If you'll have a seat I'll explain what to expect."
"Amy and Haden have dinner ready," Darrell said. "Why don't you join us and explain it over dinner."
"Oh, I couldn't impose," Rita protested.
"You wouldn't be imposing. We'd enjoy your company, unless you need to get home to your family."
"I lost my husband twenty years ago to an accident at work and we had no children, so I live alone. Something really smells good ...I think I will join you."
"Haden made an orange glazed ham with sweet potatoes, and I made a peach cobbler," Amy announced.
"There's no way I could turn that down," Rita laughed.
"Amy and Haden are really good cooks," Adam declared.
"Adam has agreed that he would ... oh my, this looks wonderful," Rita said as Amy placed a large slice of ham on her plate. Anyway, as I mentioned, Adam has agreed that he would like to be adopted. This means that there will be an in-home inspection by an adoption specialist from the state ... mmm, this is really good."
"Thank you," Haden smiled, pleased at the compliment.
"How long will all of this take?" Amy wanted to know.
"It depends on if Adam's mom takes the plea offer or not. It could be a few months or up to a year or more."
"Adam, how do you feel about this?" Darrell asked.
"I want to live here. I have a nice clean bed, nice clothes, and plenty of good food to eat. But best of all I get to live with nice people who don't hit me."
"Amy what do you and Haden think about this?"
"I can't speak for Haden, but to me he's already part of this family."
"I'm tired of being the youngest in the family," Haden joked. "I think maybe we should keep him."
Haden and Adam cleared the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher while Amy served the cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. "Adam, I can see one of the reasons you like living here, you do have good food to eat," Rita said as she savored the cobbler.
Adam briefly looked up from his serving of cobbler, smiled, and continued eating. "I'm all sticky," he said when he finished off his serving.
"Maybe you should go to the bathroom and wash up," Darrell laughed.
"He's adorable," Rita said while Adam was in the bathroom.
"He's certainly is a lovable kid and he's worked his way into our hearts," Amy admitted.
"How's he doing in school?" Rita questioned.
"He's making a lot of progress," Darrell proudly stated. "He was incredibly proud of himself because he made an 82 on his geography test. His glasses have made a huge difference in his reading skills, but he's still struggling with his math. Lyla's spending extra time with him on that, and Amy has been working with him some here at home."
"I understand that you have a son in the military," Rita stated. "Will he be living here when he's discharged?"
"No, Perry's getting married soon, and they already have an apartment in Covington. He's been in rehab at Walter Reed Hospital and will be stationed at Fort Gage soon."
"Dad, he's being transferred to Fort Gage next week," Amy pointed out.
"Yeah, I guess that's right."
"Oh, I didn't know Perry was your son," Rita stated.
"Yes, do you know him?"
"We've never met, but Betty and I have been friends for years."
Adam was both excited and apprehensive about being asked to participate in the wedding. He and Justin were asked to pass out the wedding programs to the guest. Both were thrilled to go with Perry and Haden for their tuxedo rental and fitting.
The wedding week was a busy one for Lacey. Her final exams ended on Thursday and the wedding was on Saturday. Thankfully, Betty, Linda, Debbie, and Amy were helpful with the pre wedding planning. Linda and Debbie were taking care of the reception to save the couple money. Paul and Debbie were paying for the photographer as a wedding gift. Steve and Linda insisted on paying for the rehearsal dinner as a wedding gift.
"My goodness, you two look handsome," Rita Holland remarked when she saw Adam and Justin handing out the wedding programs. "Let me get a picture of you two."
"Could I have a copy, Aunt Rita?" Justin asked when Rita showed them the digital image on her camera.
"I'll get you both a copy," Rita said just before an usher escorted her to her seat.
"I didn't know Ms. Holland was your aunt," Adam said.
"She isn't my real aunt; she's really just my mom's friend."
The wedding was simple, yet beautiful. There was plenty of finger food at the reception. Of course Lacey was beautiful and Perry was handsome. By mid afternoon the newlyweds were on their way to The Pocono's in Pennsylvania.
"Adam, will you be coming to our summer camp after your school is out next week?" Father Jensen asked after church Sunday.
"I don't know," Adam answered with a puzzled look.
"What summer camp is this?" Darrell asked.
"A few years ago the church started a summer camp for kids where we have bible stories, but it isn't all bible study. We also have sports activities, book readings, and crafts. We might even have a field trip or two. We also serve them lunch as well as morning and afternoon snacks. It helps our working parishioners with a place for their kids to go when school is out for the summer."
"We're definitely interested," Darrell said with relief. "Amy and Haden will be taking summer college classes and I was afraid I'd have to take Adam to work with me."
"There is a $15.00 per day fee to cover the cost. You don't pay for the days he doesn't come."
"Amy and Haden don't have classes on Fridays, so he'd probably want to stay home with them on Fridays."
"There are applications on the table outside of my office. We have to have the application completed with contact information prior to his starting."
"If I could send Justin I could work this summer," Betty said.
"Pickup an application too," Father Jensen suggested.
"Dad, why do I have to go to church camp?" Adam later asked.
"Don't you want to go?"
"I'd rather stay home."
"You can't stay home by yourself. Amy and Haden will be taking college classes this summer."
"I've stayed by myself lots of times before."
"I know you probably have, but if I let you do that now the state possibly would take you away from us. You wouldn't want that, would you?"
"No, but ..."
"You can stay home when Amy and Haden aren't in class. You'll have most of August to stay home."
"Alright," Adam reluctantly agreed. "Could I go ride my bike now?"
"Yes, but remember to stay in the yard."
"I will, Dad."
"Why do you suppose he doesn't want to go to church camp?" Amy asked after Adam left the room.
"I don't know, he didn't put up this much of an argument about going to school. And he admitted that he didn't like school."
"I'll bet he'll like it once he gets started," Haden offered. "Mark and Justin will also be going. I wonder what Cody will be doing this summer. Wayne will be going to live with his aunt and uncle soon."
"Did I tell you that Debbie has invited us to dinner Saturday evening?" Amy asked. "Wayne's family will be picking him up and Debbie wants to have a farewell dinner for him."
"Is there any word on the adoption of Cody and Mark?" Darrell wanted to know.
"Mark's parents have relinquished their parental rights, but Cody's parents are refusing to sign. Steve said that Mark's adoption will be in a month or two. Cody's will take longer."
"I sure hope Adam's mom takes the plea bargain," Haden mused.
"We all do, Son," Darrell agreed.
"Dad, did you ever think you would be adopting?" Amy posed.
"I couldn't have afforded another child until I got the manager's position at the lumber yard. The rental portion is bringing in more money than we expected. That means that I'm making more money."
"Dad, speaking of money, don't you think it's time you give Adam an allowance?" Haden asked.
"I hadn't thought about it," Darrell admitted. "He's always with one of us and we take care of his purchases."
"Dad, that isn't teaching him anything about money," Amy added.
"You're right, how much do you think it should be?" Darrell asked.
"I read an article that suggested a dollar a week for each year in age," Amy suggested.
"I'll give him $15.00 a week and have him save $5.00," Darrell proposed.
"I think that's an excellent idea," Haden agreed.
"I guess I don't get the Wii," Adam said when his grades came in the mail and he got a C in Math and another in English.
"Son, I'm still proud of the progress," Darrell proclaimed. "But the agreement was that you make a B or better in all of your classes. We'll think of something as a reward."
"I decided that I would rather have a computer like Haden's anyway. How much would one cost?"
"I think you deserve Haden's computer. I'll buy Haden a new one and you could have his old one."
"Really? Really?" Adam asked while dancing a happy dance.
"Haden has to agree," Darrell declared.
"I don't really need a new one," Haden said.
"Oh," Adam said in disappointment.
"But I'd like to see my little brother have a computer, so I guess I'll agree," Haden smiled as Adam jumped on his lap, giving him hugs.
"When do I get it?" Adam wanted to know.
"You and Haden can go to Covington tomorrow and get his new one," Darrell said.
"Oh boy!" Adam yelled in excitement.
"I'll have to transfer files to my new computer first," Haden laughed at Adam's excitement.
"How long will that take?" Adam asked.
"I'm not sure," Haden admitted. "My guess is that it will take an hour or two."
"Okay," Adam reluctantly agreed.
"I'll call the bank in the morning and have money transferred from my account into yours," Darrell said.
"Dad, I have enough money to buy a new laptop," Haden said.
"I'm doing this more for Adam than you," Darrell laughed. "Besides, I can afford it."
Haden woke with a gentle shake and Adam saying, "Haden, wake up so we can go get your computer."
"Adam, it isn't even 6:00 o'clock. The mall doesn't open until 10:00."
"Sorry ... I guess you can go back to sleep, then."
"I'm awake now. I'll fix us breakfast as soon as I shower."
"Okay, I've already showered."
"Adam, how long have you been awake?"
"I don't know, 'bout an hour I think."
When Haden finished his shower and was dressed, he went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Adam was enjoying a glass of orange juice and Amy had already started breakfast. "What's this?" Adam asked when Amy placed a plate in front of him.
"It's an omelet, haven't you ever had an omelet before?"
"I don't think so."
"Try it, if you don't like it I'll fix you something else."
"It's good," Adam smiled after taking his first bite.
"Amy, are you going to Covington with us?" Haden asked.
"Thanks for asking, but I think I'd rather stay home and just relax."
"Ask Tony if he'll help me transfer the files from the old computer to the new one. I know he did that when he got his new one."
"Alright, I'll invite him to dinner."
"Adam, I've decided that you should have an allowance," Darrell said.
"An allowance is money you get for doing your chores," Darrell explained. "You're allowance can be taken away if you do something bad."
"I promise to be good. What chores do I do?"
"You already clean the bathrooms," Darrell said. "You can also help with the garden and yard work."
"You'll get $15.00 a week, but you have to save $5.00."
"Wow! Ten dollars is a lot to spend."
"Adam, did you realize that you just used math? Now you see why it's important to learn it."
"Yeah, I do."
"Here's $10.00 and tomorrow when I get off work we'll go to the bank to open a savings account in your name."
"Thank you, Dad," Adam said, giving Darrell a hug.
"Don't lose your money now," Darrell said. "Haden, help Adam select a wallet today. He'll need it now that he has money. I need to get to work. I want you two to be careful today."
"Can we go now?" Adam asked while putting his plate in the dishwasher.
"Adam, it isn't even 8:00 o'clock yet," Haden pointed out.
"Maybe you should go brush your teeth," Amy gently suggested.
"I was going to, really," Adam said as he rushed to the bathroom.
"I guess he'll need a printer," Amy said. "If you'll get one for him I'll reimburse you."
"We don't have a space in our room for another printer. Mine's wireless, we can share it."
"I guess you're right."
"Can we go now?" Adam asked, after brushing his teeth.
"We may as well," Haden smiled. "We'll stop by Target and get you a wallet first."
"I like this wallet," Adam said after looking at the kid's wallets.
"That's $7.00," Haden pointed out. "If you buy it you'll only have $3.00 of your allowance left."
"I know, but I'll have a wallet to put it in," Adam giggled. "Besides, I'll get another $10.00 next week."
"It's your money."
"Yep," Adam giggled his little boy giggle. "Hey, why are you going to Best Buy, I thought we were going to the mall?"
"They have a computer on sale that I want to look at."
"My brother needs a new computer," Adam declared when the sales person offered his help. "I get his old one."
After purchasing the computer that he had in mind, Haden found a math game for Adam. "Do you want to go to the mall now, they should be open? Haden asked as they left the store.
"No, I want to go home and play with my computer."
"Remember we still have to wait for Tony to transfer my files to this new one."
"Call Tony and tell him."
"I'll tell you what, why don't you call Amy. I'll bet she can get him to do it for us as soon as we get home." Haden couldn't help but think how quickly he had come to love Adam as much as he loved Amy and Perry.
"She'll call him," Adam said as he handed the phone back to Haden.
"Tony's here," Adam proclaimed when Haden pulled into the driveway.
"Adam, remember that it'll take a while to transfer all of the files."
"I'm not sure, but I'll bet Tony knows."
"Tony, how long will it take for you to do the files so I can have my computer?" Adam asked as soon as he saw Tony.
"About a day or two," Tony said with a straight face.
"It will not," Adam argued.
"Tony, stop teasing him," Amy reprimanded. "He's anxious to get his computer."
"It's going to depend on the number of files Haden has on the computer," Tony explained. "See this cable?"
"Yes," Adam said, although he didn't know what he was looking at.
"This is a transfer cable," Tony clarified. "I'll plug this cable in the old computer and the other end in the new one. Depending on how many files we transfer it should be one to three hours."
"There isn't much on the old one," Haden said.
"Let's go to your room and get started," Tony suggested.
Adam watched every move Tony made and asked questions with nearly every move. "Adam, it's going to take him forever if you keep asking questions," Haden warned.
"I don't mind," Tony said. "He has a keen interest in computers."
After starting the transfer, Tony explained, "This will take a while, so we may as well go keep Amy company."
"I want to watch," Adam protested.
"Alright," Tony agreed, "but don't touch anything and come get me if it stops."
"Okay," Adam said, not taking his eyes off of the computer.
After a couple of hours when Adam still hadn't come to let Tony know that the computer had stopped, Tony said, "We'd better go check on the computers."
"While you guys are doing that I'll make some sandwiches," Amy said. "Adam hasn't eaten since breakfast."
To their surprise Tony and Haden found Adam curled up on his bed peacefully sleeping. "He woke up really early," Haden explained.
"It looks like the transfer has completed," Tony observed. "While he's sleeping should I put a parental control on his computer?"
"That would probably be good," Haden agreed. "He probably wouldn't search an inappropriate site, but he could accidently go to one."
"Do you want to wake him and let him put his password on now?" Tony asked when he finished.
"I should or he'll be awake all night."
"I just closed my eyes for a minute," Adam explained when Haden gently shook him awake.
"We know," Tony laughed. "It's all finished. Now you can type in a password that you won't forget."
Adam thought for a minute and said, "I can't think of one."
"It should be one that you can easily remember," Tony explained.
"And it should be one you can spell," Haden added.
After a short time Adam typed in ranger.
"It's ready for you to use," Tony said.
"Oh boy!" Adam exclaimed.
"Hold on," Amy, who had been observing from the doorway, said. "Lunch is ready."
"Can I eat in here?"
"You may not. We don't eat in our bedrooms, and you're not to gobble down your food either."
"Shoot," Adam said with a mischievous grin.
"That was good," Adam said after finishing his roast beef sandwich.
"There's fruit salad," Amy said.
"Could I ..."
"No, you're not taking it to your room," Amy laughed.
After playing with his computer for a couple of hours, Adam grew tired of it and decided to ride his bike for a while. Haden decided to take his Kindle to the front porch and read for a while. Soon Adam was sitting beside Haden yawning in boredom.
"Are you tired of riding already?"
"No, but it's boring just riding around the house and barn."
"Let's go for a ride."
"I have something to do in town."
"Enough of the questions, do you want to go?"
"Why are we stopping here?" Adam asked when Haden parked in front of the bicycle shop. "Oh, another question, huh?" Adam grinned.
"Am I getting a new bicycle? I like the one you gave me."
"No, I'm getting a new one. I thought that you and I could ride our bikes into town and you wouldn't have to just ride around the yard."
"But Dad said that I had to stay in the yard."
"I think he'd let you ride into town with me."
Haden decided on a used bicycle that had been a trade-in. "I checked it out and serviced it," Barry, the shop owner, explained.
"Why didn't you buy a new bicycle?" Adam asked as Haden drove away.
"Because I saved at least $100.00, and this one is as good as new. Remember, you have a used bike too."
"Oh yeah, I do."
"Can we ride today?"
"We'll ride tomorrow when we have more time. And don't you wake me up early in the morning to go riding."
"Hee hee. Hey, where are we going now?"
"I need a couple of things from Wal-mart."
"What do you need?"
"You sure are nosey today."
"Hee hee. Well, why are we going to Wal-mart?"
"I need a couple of things that cost less here than at the bicycle shop."
"Do you never stop?"
"Hee hee. I bet you asked Perry lots of questions."
"Nope, he would've of beaten the crap out of me."
"He wouldn't have, he's nice."
"He is now, but before he went into the army he was as mean as a snake."
"You already have a bicycle," Adam said when Haden went to the bicycle section in sporting goods at Wal-mart.
"We need water bottles and water bottle holders for our bikes."
"I only have $3.00 left."
"It was my idea, so I'll buy."
"Who are those guys hanging around your truck?" Adam asked as they walked back to the SUV.
"That's Kevin and his buddies. He thinks he's a badass," Haden recalled how Kevin and his buddies had tried to gang up on him before, and this time he was in an isolated area of the parking lot without many people around."
"Hee hee, you said badass."
"Who's this little squirt you have protecting you?" Kevin bravely asked.
"I'm his brother and you leave him alone," Adam challenged.
"Adam, run back to the store," Haden said. "I don't want you to get hurt."
"No," Adam protested.
"Adam, I said get back to the store," Haden said with more authority. "Run ... now!"
Adam ran toward the store as told just as Kevin and his gang of four began to circle around Haden with their fists doubled. Haden decided that he would go for Kevin first, regardless if he couldn't fight them all off. Kevin rushed Haden just as he had during the first fight with the same results. Then Todd Chapman wrapped his arms around Haden, holding him tight. This allowed Kevin the opportunity to get in a couple of solid punches before two Wal-mart security guards came rushing out with Adam right behind them.
The security guards managed to break up the fight and hold all involved for the police. "He started the fight," Kevin stated as soon as the police arrived.
"Can it, Kevin," the officer said. "I remember you from the first fight you had with this young man. Besides, he isn't dumb enough to start a fight with five guys."
"Just ask these guys - he started it," Kevin whined. "Yeah, Haden started the fight," his buddies readily agreed.
"Liar," Adam yelled.
"We should have it all on video," a security officer said. "We have video cameras covering the parking lot. I'll show you the video."
"Would you help keep these guys corralled until another officer arrives?" The officer asked the other security guard.
"Kevin, it's obvious that you were the aggressor," the officer said after returning from viewing the video. "The store will be providing a copy of the video for the District Attorney's office. He'll decide on charges. You and your buddies are coming down to the station with us. Haden, you're free to go."
"Hey, what about him?" Kevin screamed. "Look at all of this blood."
"He was protecting himself. It's up to the DA to file against him if he sees something that I didn't see on the video."
"Come on, Adam, let's get out of here."
"Haden kicked a guy's ass," Adam announced as soon as they walked into the house.
"Oh my God, you have blood all over your shirt!" Amy exclaimed when she saw Haden. "Your eye is all swollen."
"It's Kevin's blood," Haden explained.
"Yeah, the cops took him and the other guys away," Adam added in excitement.
"I'm calling Steve and getting a restraining order against Kevin," Darrell said.