| Autumn burst into tears when she saw the security guards take her mother away. She had known what was going to happen, and she was scared, she was not prepared for what was to come.
"You didn't tell me it was going to be like that!" Autumn screamed when Sariah entered the room.
"I mean, I didn't expect her to freak out like that, and you are all standing there so calmly, like you knew she would do that!"
"We have all seen things like that before...well, Sariah, the security guards, and...me, that is."
"Hey, wait a second...not that this has anything to do with anything, but you were Ingrid Lambert's counselor last year, right?" Jamison asked.
"I'm not allowed to disclose that information. However, I do have some questions for you, Autumn and Jason, that is, Mr. Hanson. You're going to have to leave Mr. Perkins."
"This information is strictly confidential, among those of us who are involved."
"Well, Jamison is involved in everything." Autumn and Jason said in unison.
"If you knew what was going on, why didn't you tell anyone?" Deanna asked with a hard edge to her voice.
"I...I didn't know she was drinking. I mean, she seemed kind of mixed up sometimes, like she didn't really know what was going on. I just attributed that to her stress about the treatment and illness..and all that stuff."
"I shouldn't have been so harsh," Deanna said apologetically when she saw the shame in his eyes.
"Perhaps I should have known, but...I just don't know how I could have missed it!"
"You are only sixteen, you're not expected to get it, and your life hasn't been easy either. You're still trying to deal with your own struggles, how can you be expected to take on someone else's problems as well?" Autumn defended her friend.
"Okay, Deanna broke in quickly, "we have other issues to discuss."
"Like what?" Autumn asked fearfully.
"Obviously your mother is not capable of caring for you, so we're going to have to find a foster home as soon as possible."
"It's just until we can find a suitable family member." Deanna said reassuringly, at the same time Jamison muttered, "Don't trust the system, Autumn. It's a mess."
"We're going to do everything possible to keep your friend safe, and she's under enough stress right now. I don't need you to add to it."
"Yes ma'am," Jamison said quickly, looking away from Deanna.
"I have some questions for your mother. Then I'll come back for you, Mr. Hanson."
"Um, yeah..." Jason couldn't focus on what the department something or other was saying. This was his daughter they were talking about. How could they just put her in some stranger's home, and what did Jamison know about what he called the system? Well, he would give them a piece of his mind when they returned to interrogate him. Jason would never forget the sceen that morning with Lynne. He could tell she had been drinking, and the way she looked when they took her away...he could handle it, but Autumn had to see all of that happen. She saw the law enforcement take her mother away to some strange place she knew nothing about. How he wished he had been able to shield Autumn from everything: her alcoholic mother, her broken family, the poverty, cancer and the conflict she had to witness that morning. No wonder they wouldn't give Jason full custody of her...but still, she was to live with some stranger? Would she think he had abandoned her again? Would she live long enough to face whatever came next?
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