Hours later, Brian found himself sitting at the police station. Sammy was asleep under a blanket on a row of chairs beside him. Brian rubbed his sleepy eyes. It was almost three in the morning and he could barely stay awake. The end of a tour was supposed to be a time to catch up on lost sleep, but now he was losing more than ever.
He had been stuck at the hospital with Harsen for two hours before a doctor finally examined Sammy. The good news was that he was all right but he was still in shock after being left in the road and would need plenty of rest to recover. Harsen had then driven Brian and Sammy down to the police station and left them both in an empty room while he got in touch with the L.A police. It had taken Brian a while to get Sammy to sleep, but the little kid had nodded off as soon as he was certain that Brian wasn’t going to leave him.
Harsen had insisted that Brian would be better to leave but Brian was not prepared to go back on a promise he had made to Sammy. He was not going to leave him alone to deal with this. He needed the support and if his mother was not going to be here for him then Brian would make sure that he looked after him himself.
Eventually, sleep invaded Brian’s own mind and the dreams took control of him. He was in a car with his mother and now she was telling him to get out and go.
“Mommy, please don’t leave me,” he begged, but she didn’t even look back as she sped away, leaving him alone in the dark. “MOMMY!”
He awoke with a start. He was gasping for breath and his mouth felt dry. He looked about him in panic. A police man was staring down at him. Had the police found him? And then he remembered… His own mother would never have abandoned him. It was Sammy who had been left on the road. He was the one that was alone.
He looked down at Sammy’s sleeping form. He was all right. He turned back to Harsen. “Y – yes?” he said.
Harsen glanced at Sammy and then looked at the door. “We need to talk.”
Brian nodded and slowly stood up. His legs ached from sleeping on the chair and he awkwardly stumbled towards the door with Harsen. He left the door open in case Sammy awoke and wondered where he was.
Harsen looked uncomfortable. “The L.A police went to his apartment.”
“The land lord said that Chloe Brooks left earlier saying that she would not be returning. A few hours after she’d gone, there was a fire. The whole place has been destroyed.”
“What caused the fire?”
“We don’t know. The land lord thought that Chloe might have set alight to something before she left. It seems suspicious that it started in her apartment.”
Brian struggled to take everything in and there was something in the way that Harsen spoke that gave Brian the feeling that he was holding something back. He ignored it though. The fire was not the most important thing at the moment.
“What’s going to happen to Sammy?” Brian asked.
“The land lord didn’t know of any relatives and or family friends. There’s no one to look after him. He’ll have to go to a home now, until we find his mother. I’ve called the local foster home and they said that they can take him.”
Brian closed his eyes. Sammy didn’t deserve to go to a foster home. No child did. He deserved a real, loving family like everybody else.
“Can I stay with him until he goes?”
“I suppose so,” Harsen said, with a shrug.
Brian let himself back into the room and sat beside Sammy. He brushed the blond hair back from his sweet face and re tucked the blanket back around him. Sammy stirred slightly but didn’t wake.
He stayed with Sammy for the remainder of the night. Harsen bought him some coffee at seven and Brian was glad to have something to keep his heavy eyelids open. His head ached from the lack of sleep but he knew that if he surrendered then Sammy would probably have been taken by the time he woke up again.
He held the hot mug in his hands thinking things over and gaining comfort from the warmth it provided him with. However, when he looked at Sammy, he felt an icy coldness settle inside him that refused to subside. He felt sick thinking about it. Sick that there were some people in the world who were willing to leave something so young and fragile on a dark road to fend for themselves. He heard a murmur and saw Sammy’s eyes flicker open. He smiled when he saw that Brian was still with him.
“Hey buddy,” Brian said.
“You stayed,” Sammy replied, thankfully.
“’Course I did. You asked me to and I promised.”
Sammy reached out a tiny hand to clasp Brian’s. But the contact was short lived as Harsen walked in the room along with a pretty, dark haired woman.
“I’m glad you’re awake Sammy. This is Hilary. She works at the local foster home. She’s going to look after you for a while until we find your mom,” Harsen said.
Sammy turned his blue eyes to Brian and he saw the fear in them. He didn’t want to go.
“Can Bri come?” he asked, hopefully.
Brian lowered his eyes, knowing that Harsen would force them to part ways now. Why did he feel like crying? He’d only known Sammy for half a day…
“You’ll be fine with us, sweetheart,” Hilary said with a big smile. “There’s lots of children your age at the foster home. You’ll like it.”
“You don’t need Brian anymore,” Harsen said and the words stung Brian’s heart.
Sammy looked at Brian imploringly. “Please come with me,” he begged.
“I would if I could,” Brian said in anguish.
“Come on, Sammy.” Hilary reached out and seized Sammy’s hand.
Sammy had tears in his eyes as he stood up. He clasped Brian’s hand and refused to let it go. Brian knelt down in front of him, his own eyes becoming wet though he tried his hardest to hide it from Sammy.
“If I could take you home with me, I would but I can’t. You go with Hilary and I promise that I will come and visit you soon,” Brian said.
Sammy gave him a hug and then slowly began to back away. He kept hold of Brian’s hand until he was too far away to hold it any longer. Brian kept his eyes on Sammy’s back as he left.
He sat back down upon one of the plastic chairs. Why did it feel as if his heart had just been broken?