After the Game Revised

Chapter Ninety~Three

Dana and I were concerned about Jake and Rachel and even though Jake told me they were working through some things, the fact that he wasn't very forthcoming with details made us very apprehensive.

The talk I had with Jake about what was going on apparently wasn't good enough for Dana and she needed to lend her motherly touch to the situation. I couldn't find her one evening after dinner when the boys had gone to their rooms to study for their exams and I went to the hallway to the bedrooms and I saw her come out of Jake's room.

"I was just talking to him about the opera we're all going to see next month in Toronto," she said.

"Were you going over it scene-by-scene with him? You've been gone about a half hour," I said, as I gave her a very skeptical look.

"We got onto other topics," she said, as she gave me a smile.

"So what were you able to find out?" I asked, as we walked to the living room.

"Nothing that we didn't already know, except that Rachel isn't pregnant," she said.

"Pregnant? I never thought of that. Thank goodness that's not the problem," I said, relieved.

She was able to find out that Rachel was having a stressful situation at school, which involved another girl, but that was about all Jake would divulge. Dana gave him some motherly advice which Jake was thankful for.

"I told him to be supportive and understanding and he seemed a little relieved after we were finished talking. I can't get a good read on what really is going on, but I don't think it's a problem with their relationship," she said.

Things settled down with Rachel over the next few days because of the exam period and she was focussed on studying, as were the boys. And despite the fact that the boys' extracurricular schedule was still a busy one, they weren't having too many problems with their exams and for the most part they went well, according to them. Sean breezed through my Accounting exam, but wasn't as confident about his English.

"I think I done good," he said, with a smile, knowing his bad grammar would get a rise out of me.

Even though his marks in English were much better than when he first came to me, I was concerned that they may hold him back from getting accepted into a University program of his choice.

Jake was confident about all of his exams, particularly in English and Society Challenge and Change. He was still the top student in Grade 11 English and was his 'teacher's pet' as Sean, Glen and Charles kept saying. The boys, including Glen, came home together after their last exam which was English.

"They should have made the English Exam three hours, instead of two," Jake said. "I didn't have enough time to write everything I wanted to say."

Sean and Glen just rolled their eyes and gave him a exasperated look then reached for another muffin that Dana had made for the after school snack. While they were eating, Garth arrived from the school bus. He had had a ballet lesson the night before and we were interested in hearing how it went. He didn't seem to be his usual bubbly self though, as he was a little lethargic and didn't have as much bounce in his step.

"How was ballet last night?" Dana asked him.

There was a pause as he had to swallow a big bite of his muffin. This was an accomplishment, because, in the past, Garth thought nothing of talking with his mouth full, until Dana made it her mission to break him of that habit. That was one of her pet peeves.

"It was hard," he said, with an anguished look on his face. "My legs hurt and I'm really tired."

"Almost too tired to do the video diary last night," Glen said, as he gave his brother a big smile.

We all knew that Garth would have to be on death's door to miss an opportunity to perform in front of a camera. Apparently Igor had worked them pretty hard according to Garth. I knew from my girls' experience that's what usually happened in a ballet class. It was a very demanding physical activity and Garth and Derek would be using their leg muscles differently than in hockey.

"Did you learn all five positions? I asked.

"How did you know about the positions?" he asked.

"You forget, I have two daughters that took years of ballet lessons," I said, as I ruffled his hair.

The snack must have perked him up because he decided he needed to show us what he learned.

"I hope this doesn't include any leaps," Dana said.

He laughed and got down off the stool and put his hand on the breakfast bar counter.

"I need to hold onto the barre," he said, as he got into position.

Barney started to bark at him because he wasn't getting any crumbs which 'inadvertently' seem to drop to the floor when Garth was eating. He showed us the first and second position which didn't look too bad for just having one lesson.

"And then Igor showed us how to do 'dammy plays'," he said, as he proceeded to bend his legs.

I couldn't figure out what he meant, but then I started to laugh when I saw what he was doing.

"I think 'dammy plays' is 'Frussian' for demi-pliés."

He didn't know what I was talking about, but rest of us did and we were chuckling.

"Does Igor have an accent?" I asked.

"Yeah, just like Sean's grandmother," he said.

"So he's from Russia," Sean said.

"I don't know. He just told us he was born in a train," Garth replied.

All of us were puzzled at this response, but given the miscommunication about the pliés we suspected that he had missed some details. After a few pointed questions we found out the story of the 'train'.

"We're going to have to sign you up for Russian lessons," Dana said, as she smiled and put her arm around his shoulder.

"I think what he said was that he was born in the Ukraine," I added.

He was still puzzled and by now the other boys were laughing.

"The Ukraine was a part of Russia, but is now an independent country," Dana said.

Finally the light bulb went on and he joined the laughter.

He didn't show us too much more, as he was having trouble doing the pliés because his legs were still stiff.

"I can't do the big thing," he said, as he rubbed his thighs.

"Do you mean a grand-plié?" I asked.

"Are you sure that's how you say it?" he asked.

He was still skeptical about my pronunciation until Sean brought out his iPhone and showed him a website with a lot of ballet terms, complete with the phonetic pronunciations.

"I'm going to have to call Derek tonight and tell him," he said.

Glen then pulled out his iPhone and showed us the last five minutes of his lesson, because he had gone with John to pick him up.

"My, that looks pretty good," Dana said, as Garth was beaming.

"You and Derek look like you're really enjoying yourselves," I said.

His leg discomfort, however, didn't stop him from telling us some of his latest jokes after he got back up onto his stool at the breakfast bar and wolfed down the rest of his muffin, deftly dropping a piece on the floor for Barney.

"What's a monkey's favourite snack?" he asked.

"Peanuts," Sean answered, quickly.

He just giggled and wasn't going to tell us the punch line until he heard another guess.

"Bananas," Dana said.

Finally he finished his giggle and said, "No. Chocolate Chimp cookies."

The boys groaned, which set him off on another fit of giggling.

When he stopped, he had another one for us.

"Where do snowmen keep their money?"

"In snow banks," Jake said, with a big smile.

"How did you know?" Garth said, with a frown.

"Lucky guess," Jake answered, as we all were chuckling.

Since Jake spoiled his joke he decided to tell one more.

"There was this boy camel that had two huge humps and he married a girl camel who had one hump," he said, as he paused to giggle, signifying one of his 'premium' jokes.

"What if I know the answer to this one, too," Jake said, teasing him.

"Then I won't tell it," he said, as he stopped and started to pout.

Jake assured him that he was just fooling him and he continued as his smile returned.

"They had a little camel and he didn't have any humps. They named him ....," he said, as he stopped.

"Do we have to guess?" Sean asked.

He shook his head 'yes' as he was trying to stifle his laugh. Needless to say none of us came up with the correct name.

"They named him .... Humphrey."

Once again, we all groaned, which only heightened Garth's laughter. He delighted in getting a reaction out of us and we enjoyed his antics more than his jokes.

The next day I went into the school to clear out my materials from the accounting classroom since the semester was over and I was finished the teaching assignment. The teachers were all there, but the students hadn't started the next semester yet. There were a number of meetings that were taking place about the next semester's classes and I didn't have to attend them, thank goodness.

I had a chance to see the boys' report cards which they would be getting the first day back to school. Both Sean and Jake had done well and for the most part, so had Glen. In his case he was still underachieving in certain subjects, notably English, because he really wasn't too interested in it. His Art mark was exceptional and was once again the highest in the subject. Sean was the highest in my Accounting class and he almost pulled off the highest mark I had ever given. Before I left for home, the head of the department called me into his office.

"Al, I hope you're going to be available for next semester to take the grade 12 Financial Accounting course," Graham Barton said.

"I thought Trudy was supposed to be coming back."

"Thankfully, she's not," he said, with a relieved expression.

He told me that she had been suspended because she had been caught supply teaching for a private school in the neighbouring city where she lived. This was definitely not allowed while she was collecting sick leave compensation and not only did the board suspend her, but they clawed back the salary that they had already paid.

"It's only one class and it's the first period in the morning," he said.

I would've been very reluctant to take the class, except that Sean had wanted to sign up for it, but hadn't because we thought that Trudy was going to teach it. I decided to agree to the assignment, when I found out that there was room in the class for Sean to take it.

As I was on my way out of the school I ran into Joan Renat in the hallway.

"I owe you an apology, Al," she said. "I feel betrayed that Trudy manipulated me and I treated you so badly."

I accepted her apology and was very happy that Joan and I were able to come to a resolution of the problem, because, as much as this had strained our relationship, we still did have a mutual respect for each other.

"I also want to apologize for what I said about your boys being part of the problem. I was out of line, which is something other colleagues have pointed out to me," she said, as she held out her hand in friendship, which I willingly accepted.

Now that the exams were over, the boys were prepping for a performance at the Royal Conservatory celebration in Toronto. Each candidate that had taken an exam and had attained honours was given the chance to perform in Koerner Hall, which was the main concert hall in the Royal Conservatory building in Toronto. It was a black tie event for the parents and the kids, and they had a reception beforehand in the lobby outside the hall. Melissa and Rachel were joining us, as was Ronald, because the boys were allowed to invite one guest each. Stéphane was between girlfriends, so he didn't have any love interest with him.

Sean, Jake, Charles and Stéphane were going to perform their pieces that they had done for their exam. Stéphane was performing the solo piece he did for the examiner and not the Mendelssohn sextet performance piece he did with the kids. I was really looking forward to all the performances and in particular Stéphane's, as he was playing Brahms 'Intermezzo Op. 118, #2', which was one of my favourite piano pieces. Stéphane was also going to do a new piece composed by a friend of the family who lived in Amsterdam and was staying with them for the week.

"Al, this is Dr. Alan Swanson, the composer of the second piece Stéphane is going to play tonight," Dénis said.

"I'm very pleased to meet you. Dénis has told me a lot about you and your boys," he said, in perfect English with no sign of a Dutch accent.

He was a tall man, who was a retired professor. He grew up in the United States but had been in Europe most of his academic career. He had always had a love of music and had been involved in the industry over the years. When he retired he moved to Amsterdam to be in the cultural centre of the Netherlands.

"Dr. Swanson is an expert in opera. He does some reviewing for one of the classical music magazines," Dénis said.

I introduced the boys to him and he already knew a lot about them from Dénis and Stéphane.

"I believe I remember that it's you, Jake, that's interested in opera," he said.

Jake was thrilled that he was an opera expert and he immediately started up a conversation about Richard Strauss' opera 'Salome', which was the production that we were going to see the next month. Dana had to gently interrupt because Jake was getting wound up and she thought it was time to rescue poor Dr. Swanson.

"We shall have to continue this discussion after the concert, young man. Even though this is a fascinating subject to the two of us, I'd really like to hear you boys play tonight," he said, with a big smile.

He then turned his attention to Sean, as well as Charles, who had now joined us.

"Stéphane tells me you two sounded great when you played the 'Sinfonia concertante' at the youth concert a few weeks ago," he said.

He also told Sean he was looking forward to hearing his new violin that Fin had given him. It was obvious that he was an excellent educator, who was genuinely interested in the boys' achievements.

"And you, Charles, play one of my favourite instruments, which I'm looking forward to hearing. I've written a viola concerto that I'm sure you'd enjoy. I also like your bright red hair, which was the colour of mine before it turned white," he said, as he chuckled.

He had also remembered that Rachel and Melissa were musicians.

"Mr. Bateaux tells me that you girls are talented players, as well. Maybe next time I'm over visiting I'll get to hear you two play," he said, as he smiled.

We were all very interested in finding out more about the piece that Stéphane was going to play. It was part of a Partita and was called 'Tombeau de C.I.'. Dr. Swanson let Stéphane answer some of the boys' questions about the piece.

"A Tombeau is a musical composition commemorating the death of a great man," Stéphane said. "The American composer, Charles Ives, is the C.I. in the title."

"The Tombeau is one of six pieces in the Partita that I've composed. A Partita is a suite of pieces," Dr. Swanson added.

We made our way to our seats, which were in the third row from the stage, after the reception was over. Jake, Sean and Charles were up early in the evening and they did a great job playing the solo pieces they did for their exams and the audience gave each of them a warm round of applause. All three of them were a little nervous beforehand as this was the largest audience they had ever played in front of as soloists.

"Whew, I'm glad that's over," Charles said, as he joined us in the audience after his performance.

"I know. That stage is huge. I felt naked and nervous up there alone with my bass," Jake said.

"Since when did you ever feel nervous about being naked," I added with a big smile. We all had a chuckle at my comment, including Jake.

Stéphane was the last act of the evening and his rendition of Brahm's Intermezzo was elegant. He was developing a very nice touch on the keyboard and this selection allowed him to use his expressiveness to create a very sensitive interpretation of the piece. He was also thrilled to be playing on the nine foot Steinway D concert grand piano that had been played by many famous concert pianists over the years in the hall. After the applause had subsided he addressed the audience before he played the Tombeau.

"This is the debut performance of the next piece which is an original by Dr. Alan Swanson who is in the audience tonight," he said, as he gestured to where Dr. Swanson was sitting.

After Dr. Swanson acknowledged the applause, Stéphane sat down and took a few moments to compose himself before he started to play. The 'Tombeau de C.I.' was a piece with a very haunting melody in a contrapuntal style. The pauses in the piece allowed the preceding chords to echo throughout the hall and it took about three and a half minutes to finish. The audience was very appreciative of his playing and the composition.

"I'm delighted at your playing of my piece and the exposure it's received," Dr. Swanson said to Stéphane after the performance. "You're an excellent pianist and I wish you well with your future, whatever you decide to pursue."

He was also very complementary to Sean, Jake and Charles.

"You three are very talented and I hope you keep up your musical studies. I'm glad you also have great support," he said, as he smiled at the girls and Ronald who had now joined us.

Melissa had the car and the kids, including Ronald and Charles, were going to go out for some hot chocolate and a bite to eat while we were going on home. Ronald drove from town and he was going to take Charles home afterwards. Sean and Jake were staying at Katie's overnight and then taking the Go train back to town the next afternoon. Stéphane wasn't joining them, because his family, along with Dr. Swanson, was having a special gathering at a restaurant in the city to celebrate the performance.

"Boys, just remember to be careful... if there's a need to be careful," I said to Sean and Jake, as I smiled.

"If there's a need," Sean said, as the two of them returned my smile.

Having a vehicle at the boys' disposal created a measure of independence that they were enjoying.... much more than Dana and I were. It was the first day of classes for the second semester and we let the boys drive the RDX to school because they had music lessons afterwards. Glen was also teaching at the art school and they were going to drive him there first and then go on to their lessons. It was mid afternoon and I was doing some Foundation business when the phone rang. It was Melissa calling.

"Hello, Mr. Burger, it's Melissa. I can't get a hold of Rachel and I didn't know what to do," she said.

She was in a real panic, which was unusual for her and I didn't really understand much of what she was telling me or why she was calling.

"Slow down and start again please," I said, as calmly as I could.

"Rachel texted me about a half hour ago and she's really freaked out about what this girl and her friend are going to do to her. I think her cell ran out of battery power because she didn't answer when I called her back," she said, in a calmer voice.

She told me that she thought that it sounded like she was outside and not inside the school. She also told me that she wasn't sure if Sean, Glen and Jake had found her yet.

"They must be out of range of the cell tower," she said.

Before I could react to the fact that the boys skipped school, my cell phone was ringing. When I looked at the call display it was Sean.

"Melissa, I'm going to hand you over to Mrs. Burger while I take the call from Sean on my cell," I said, as I handed the phone to Dana who had now joined me in the den.

"Hi, Dad. Before you get mad we needed to get here quickly, so there wasn't time to call you. Rachel texted Jake that she was in trouble and we found her on a trail in the woods near her school. Her mom's not home and she won't let us take her there, so we don't know what to do," he said.

This wasn't the time to ask about detailed explanations so I had to suppress my curiousity and get the basic facts. I told him that Melissa was on the land line.

"Melissa mentioned something about a threat from a girl named Becky and her friend. What's this all about?" I asked.

He told me that this had been an ongoing problem between Rachel and this girl and he said, "She's a nasty piece of work."

He told me that this Becky had posted a threatening message on her Facebook page because she blamed Rachel for her boyfriend breaking up with her.

"Look, take her to our Tim Horton's near the school. I'll call and tell them you're coming and in the meantime I'll see what I can do about derailing this girl. I'll be down as soon as I can," I said.

"Mom should come too. Rachel's really upset and maybe she can calm her down. We're not having much luck," he said.

We made arrangements with John to get Garth before he got on the school bus and then got into the LX. While we were driving down to the neighbouring town to meet up with the kids at the Tim Hortons, Dana updated me on what Melissa had told her.

"One of Rachel's friends told her about the message, because Rachel's not one of this girl's Facebook friends. There's also something about a picture, but she didn't tell me any details."

I knew the vice-principal of Rachel's school, who used to be one of my students, so I gave him a call using the hands-free connection as we were driving. He was quite accommodating and wasn't surprised at the information I told him about what this Becky had done and why Rachel hadn't reported it before this. He was quite familiar with her.

"I'll see if the buses have left. I'll call you back with an update," he said.

As we were getting closer to the town I got the return call.

"We just missed them, but I'll have the two girls to my office first thing tomorrow morning."

The Board of Education had very clear guidelines as to what constituted bullying and what the consequences were. I was confident that this would be dealt with appropriately by the school. When we arrived at the Tim Hortons, the manager Dave Boynton, who was my business partner, met us.

"The kids are in my office off the kitchen area. Jake's girlfriend is really upset," he said.

When we walked through the door to his office Dana immediately walked over to Rachel and took her into a big hug to console her. She started to sob into Dana's shoulder and after a little while she settled down and composed herself.

"I've caused all this trouble and put everyone out," She said, as she wiped away the tears.

"There's no need for tears or blaming yourself. This wasn't your fault and no one's being put out," Dana said, as she took her back into a hug.

Rachel then opened up about what had been going on. She told Dana and me that Becky had been bullying her for quite some time and that Rachel's friends had told her about some of the nasty things she was posting on Facebook about her.

"This all started when Becky's girlfriend started to hit on me. Becky, her friend and former boyfriend are all creepy," Jake said.

"They started to hassle me after the girl realized Jake wasn't available," Rachel said, as Jake and Rachel smiled at each other.

She said that she didn't report the harassment to the Principal because she was afraid of what Becky would do to her. She wanted to keep it a secret from the parents because she wanted to handle it herself. Apparently this girl was on already on probation for assaulting another girl last year.

"I realize that this was a big mistake, because the harassment just got worse," she said.

"Melissa said something about a picture that had precipitated some of this conflict," I said.

All four of them just looked at each other and were silent. Finally Sean spoke.

"Show them the picture, Jake."

Rachel protested, but Jake finally talked her into letting us see it. This had been emailed to Jake in an attempt to break them up.

"It's a fake picture and we all know it," he said. "It's Rachel's head, but the rest of the picture is someone else."

"I took it apart on my computer with some graphics software and it was obvious someone had used Photoshop to make it," Glen said.

Jake scrolled it onto the screen of his iPhone and it was clear why it caused a lot of upset. It was two young people naked, having sex on a bed and it was clear who the girl was, but not the guy. It was also well done, because we couldn't tell it had been Photoshopped.

"She had it on her facebook page, but she's also threatened to post it to a picture site on the Internet," Jake told us.

This was now into the realm of criminal activity and was beyond the realm of bullying. If it was posted on the picture board it would be impossible to stop the distribution as people downloaded it to their computers.

The boyfriend was the hockey player that the boys had the scuffle with at the hockey tournament over the Christmas holidays. The boyfriend, Becky and her friend were the reasons that Rachel wasn't at the hockey games involving that team. She thought it best that she not be there because she was afraid Becky would make her way over to her in the stands and create a confrontation.

"How was Stéphane involved in this? He was pretty mad at that guy," Dana asked.

"That guy was on Stéphane's travelling hockey team a few years ago and he tried to hit on his girlfriend at the time," Sean said.

"He has a history of sleeping with a lot of girls and he's a real creep. He's really crude and has a big mouth and he said something about Rachel that really pissed me off," Jake added.

Neither Dana nor I were going to ask what was said, because we could tell Jake was really mad about the comment and he rarely swore off the hockey rink. Rachel then told us about the threat that Becky had texted her. She told Rachel that she was going take care of her for good.

"I can't show you, because the battery on my cell died," she said.

"You have this on your phone?" I asked, and she said yes.

I had heard enough and I made a call on my cell phone.

"Who are you calling?" Dana asked.

"Ken Robson. This is more than just bullying."

I had Ken's cell number and this was the quickest way to get a hold of him. Since he was the police chief, calling his office would have resulted in an unnecessary delay as the call would have been screened by his administrative assistant.

"Burgs, I take it this isn't a social call," Ken said.

I explained why I was calling and gave him a quick overview of what had transpired. He asked me for the names of the girls and the boyfriend and told us to keep the text messages as evidence. He also asked for the URL of the girl's Facebook page and some other details that I didn't know, so I handed the phone over to Jake.

"I'll get out a search warrant to seize the boyfriend's computer and I've got the girl's Facebook page on the screen as we talk. I'll have someone call Facebook and shut down her page immediately," he said, after Jake had handed the phone back to me.

We took Rachel in the LX with Jake while Sean and Glen followed us in the RDX as we drove to Rachel's house. When we arrived, Glen took Niko, Rachel's dog, to the backyard to do its business, as the rest of us were preoccupied with Rachel. It was a little Yorkshire terrier, who was almost as yappy as Barney. Glen loved animals and was good with them, which was evident in the fact that Barney never tried to bite him. He came back inside and left Niko outside in their fenced backyard to run around and work off some energy.

Janet finally arrived home and was very surprised to see all of us. Rachel made her way over to her mom and collapsed in tears in her arms. While Janet and Rachel were embracing, we briefly explained what had transpired.

"The one day I'm not home in the afternoon and look what happened," Janet said, as Rachel finally got a hold of herself.

Unfortunately, there were additional details of the bullying that Rachel wanted to share, which were almost as disturbing as what we had already learned. It was cathartic for Rachel as these details just poured out of her.

"Every time I walked into homeroom in the morning, Becky and her friend would fake vomiting when the teacher wasn't looking," she said.

She told us that she received constant text messages calling her all sorts of derogatory names and Becky spread false rumours about her to Rachel's friends, which caused some of them to shun her. Other friends started to avoid Rachel, because they didn't want to take on Becky, as they were threatened as well and everyone was well aware Becky was on probation for assault.

"What really got Becky riled up, though, was when her creepy boyfriend broke up with her last week. He was tired of her, but she blamed me for the breakup, because she thought I was after him," Rachel said.

Glen thought it was time to bring Niko inside and he went out the patio door to the backyard to get him while we continued the converstion.

"What the fuck are you doing!" we heard him yell, as he took off down the steps from the deck leaving the patio door open.

We all rushed to the patio door to take a look outside. We could hear Niko around the side of the house barking and we went outside to see what was going on. When we got around to the side of the house, the gate was closed, but Glen was nowhere to be found. There were two very large rocks on the ground that were obviously not part of the landscaping. Rachel grabbed Niko and Sean and Jake opened the gate and ran to the front of the property.

"You folks stay here and we'll see what's going on," I said, to Janet, Rachel and Dana.

The boys were on the sidewalk at the front of the house when I caught up and they were looking down the various streets that intersected in front of the house.

"I think that's Glen running down that street after .....," Jake said.

"It's those two girls that are causing Rachel all the problems," Sean said.

We took off after them and they ran around the corner. When we finally caught up to them, Glen had both of them by the coat and there was a great struggle happening. Before we could get to them a police car stopped and one of the officers rushed out to see what was going on.

The officer made the assumption that Glen was in the wrong and was just about to put him to the ground when I yelled, "Officer, it's the two girls that are the problem." The office stopped when he heard me.

"This is sexual harassment," Becky said to the officer, as she was struggling to get away from Glen's grasp.

"The hell it is. That's the last thing I'd want to do to you," Glen replied, as he forcefully let go of them and pushed them towards the officer.

"I think these are the girls we're looking for. Well young man, you made our job easier and I apologize for making the wrong assumption," the officer said to Glen, as his partner put the two girls into the cruiser.

While this was happening another cruiser pulled up and we all gave our statements to the other officers as the first car took off with the girls. In the course of Glen's statement we found out that when he came out the patio door the two girls were just about to throw the rocks. Becky was aiming at Niko and her friend was aiming at the patio door.

"I don't think we should tell Rachel that Niko was a target," I said to the boys as we made our way back to the house.

We told Rachel, Janet and Dana what had transpired, minus the detail about Niko and they were relieved. Jake and Rachel went to the family room to be alone for a few minutes before we left for home and Sean called Melissa to update her on what had happened.

"We're going to have a family meeting tonight about communication when Derek and Bob get home," Janet said.

Jake and Rachel came back into the kitchen with their arms around each other and for the first time in over a month Rachel looked relaxed and almost back to her old self. Both Janet and Rachel thanked us for all our help and we could tell that they were emotionally drained and it was time for us to leave. That evening we got an update from Ken Robson.

"We took both girls into custody and they've been charged and are in juvenile detention until tomorrow, when they can be processed by the Justice of the Peace. The parents weren't too happy and were pretty confrontational with the sergeant on duty. It wasn't too hard to figure out where their kids got it from," he said.

He asked how Rachel was doing and we told him that she was relieved that this was all over. He then went on to say that the former boyfriend's computer had been seized and he had been charged with making child pornography as well as criminal harassment like the girls. He also told us that there was more than one picture that had been doctored.

"I don't think Rachel has to worry about the girls giving her trouble at school because they won't be back," he said.

Both Dana and I had the same perspective on the boys' handling of the situation and we sat down later with them and had a talk about communication.

"I know you boys are growing up and taking more responsibility for your actions, but there are times when you need to rely on your old mom and dad to help," I said.

"This was a very serious case of bullying and I know Rachel was reluctant and scared to involve the school and her parents, but there are times when you have to recognize the problem is bigger than you can handle. Keeping silent is one of the worst things you can do in the case of bullying," Dana added.

"Are you mad at us?" Jake asked.

"Absolutely not. You two are doing a fine job of making your way to adulthood, despite this bump in the road," I said, as I smiled at them.

"Just remember we're here to give you guidance," Dana said, as we had a family hug before the boys went off to their rooms to get ready for bed.


Five Positions

Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 #2 - Arthur Jussen

Tombeau de C.I.

Alan Swanson, Composer

Koerner Hall, Toronto