CONCRETE ANGELS

By: Sineag

Disclaimer: The usual not mine, no money etc etc.

Sequel to Hell is for children:

Thanks Bonnie May for the great suggestions, and being a great beta.

Warning: Child Abuse, Trauma,. Death, Suicide of a Child.

This story is a sequel to Hell is for children. The story deals with the suicide of one of the children in the first story.

 

Jim awoke to the smell of coffee and eggs. He lay in bed for a few minutes, hearing the paper hit the door, and then Blair going to get it. As he got out of bed and headed for the shower, his roommate and partner looked up.

"Morning," he said, "Breakfast should be ready in about fifteen minutes".

"O.k., smells good." Jim replied.

Jim finished his shower, and smelled something burning.

Blair was just standing in the kitchen holding a section of the paper, with a stunned look on his face.

"Blair the eggs are burning."

Blair did not respond,

Jim removed the eggs from the burner and turned it off. He turned to look at his roommate; he could hear Blair’s heartbeat, which was racing.

"Blair?" he said.

Blair continued to stand there and not even acknowledging him.

Jim walked over to Blair and touched his arm.

Blair looked at him his dark blue eyes full of tears.

"Blair, what is it?" Jim asked.

Blair continued to stare at him, as if he did not even recognize Jim.

"Hey buddy, your beginning to scare me, what’ s going on?"

Shoving the paper at Jim, and Blair retreated to his room.

Jim looked at the newspaper. There on the front page the headline leaped out at him.

Child commits suicide at Cascade Children’s Center.

Amanda Lewis who had been living at the center was found dead Friday morning at 3 a.m. by the overnight staff. The staff doing nightly rounds discovered that the girl was not in her bed. During a facility search, the girl was found in a closet where she apparently hanged herself. Medical examiner Dan Wolf reported that there was no evidence of foul play and cause of death was due to strangulation. At this time the death has been ruled a suicide.

Amanda was one of the seven abandoned and abused children that were discovered in the western neighborhood three weeks ago. While there is no evidence of foul play, there will be an investigation by the State to determine if there was negligence on the part of the Center. The other six children discovered that night are still living at the center, waiting for foster placement. Officials have been unable to find any relatives for any of the children found that night. There has been an account created at the National Bank for anyone who wished to donate money to help defray the funeral costs.

Putting down the paper Jim looked towards the room of his roommate. He could hear Blair attempting to muffle his tears with a pillow. Jim did not know how to begin to comfort his partner. Blair was an excellent police officer, but the characteristics that made him such a good cop, also made him vulnerable to all of the pain that he dealt with every day. Blair did not have the tough exterior that most cops developed over the years. Jim doubted that he ever would. Blair had approached police work, with the same passion that he had once had for teaching. That passion and zest for life made it impossible for Blair to ignore his feelings even the ones that caused him so much pain

Jim poured himself a cup of coffee and walked out onto the balcony. As he stood there his mine went back to that horrible night.

Jim and Blair had been heading home from work, when the radio call had gone out reporting a 911 call, to a home in Western Heights, an upscale neighborhood, in Cascade. They were only five minutes away, and had responded. Jim had not wanted to respond, he was tired and hungry, and they had been on duty for almost 13 hours. Jim gave in to Blair when he had insisted that they should respond. Blair had been on the force for six months and Jim knew that his partner had fit into life as a cop better than anybody had expected. Jim now wished that he had stuck to his original plan and ignored the call. However, he had given into Blair, and headed for the location. When they pulled up to the address, there were at least eight patrol cars present. When Jim got out of the car, he instinctively knew that something was terribly wrong. Jim remembered how everything had seemed to move in slow motion.

Jim had tried to listen to see how many people were in the house, but zoned almost immediately. After Blair helped him come out of the zone, and to once again focus, Jim was able to determine there was numerous heartbeats. He thought they were injured, and probably children. Jim also smelled a lot of blood and other body fluids. For the first time in years he found himself terribly frightened, and felt like the world was spinning rapidly out of control.

When and the other members of the major crimes unit entered the house, what they had found had been the cause of many nightmares for Jim and Blair the past few weeks. He still remembered the look on his partner’s face as they found one child after another locked in closets, and hiding under beds. Jim would never forget the blank helpless look on the faces of the children. The picture that stayed with Jim the most was Blair coming out of the pantry carrying a little dark haired girl holding a teddy bear. Blair was crying as he carried the small child out to the ambulance. Jim realized that the girl Blair had brought out of the house was Amanda.

Jim stood looking over the city, but in his mind, he was seeing that tiny child lying on a stretcher, with EMT’s surrounding her.

Blair came out of his room, and noticed that Jim was standing out on the deck. As he went out on the deck, he was surprised that Jim did not seem to hear him. As he looked up at Jim’s face. Jim turned and looked at him.

"I’m sorry," Blair said quietly not able to meet Jim’s eyes.

"For what?" Jim replied.

Blair felt his eyes fill with tears again and started to turn away and go back into the house. Jim grabbed his arm and turned him around,

"For what?" he repeated

Blair just stood there staring at the ground

Jim gently grasped Blair’s chin, and forced the younger man to look at him. He felt a deep pain in his heart, at the sadness in Blair’s eyes.

"What are you sorry about?" he repeated.

"Because I can’t seem to check my emotions at the door," Blair mumbled.

Jim pulled Blair into his arms and rested his chin on top of his head.

"Checking your emotions at the door, does not mean you don’t feel. It just means that you don’t allow your emotions to keep you from doing your job. Don’t ever feel like you have to apologize for your feelings. If you stop feeling, you will no longer be you. It’s O.K. to hurt over this, Blair, I know I do. It is o.k. to cry, get angry whatever."

"It just seems so unfair. I mean those kids had already suffered through what had happened to them in that house, and then this little girls kills herself. Seven year olds are not supposed to be hurt by adults and they definitely are not supposed to feel so hopeless that they kill themselves."

"I know," Jim said

A couple of hours later, while they were sitting in the bullpen Jim noticed that Blair was just staring at his computer. He wished he knew how to help his partner handle this, but if Jim was honest enough with himself, he also was having a hard time dealing with it. How could this have happened?

Blair got up and looked over at Jim, "I am going to get some tea, do you want anything"?

"Are you going to the coffee shop across the street"?

"Yeah."

Will you grab me a french roast"?

"Sure."

As Blair left the room, Simon opened the door to his office,

"Jim, can I see you for a minute?"

Jim walked in, "Yes, Simon?"

"Did you guys see the paper this morning?"

"Yeah we saw it."

"How is Blair handling it"?

"As well as anybody would I guess. I mean how is anybody supposed to handle this?"

"I don’t know." Simon replied, "when I looked at that child in the paper, I just kept thinking about Daryl. I know that the divorce was hard on him, and he acted out some, but I never worried that he would kill himself, even when he was his unhappiest. It makes me wonder at times if I would even recognize the signs that he felt that way?"

"I don’t think that you have to worry about it, Simon, Daryl knows how important he is to you."

"I don’t know sometimes."

"Well talk to him about it; let him know that you are there for him. No matter what. I really don’t think you would have to worry about it, but then before this morning, I never thought that a child that young would commit suicide."

"Me either. Keep an eye on Sandburg o.k. I know that he is a cop now, but I still worry about him sometimes."

"Blair’s a good cop."

"That’s now what I am saying, Jim. I know he is a good cop, it’s just that he has such a big heart, and cares so much, I think he feels things more intensely than other people do."

"Yeah I know, we are both having a difficult time with this. I guess we were both naive enough to think that once they were moved to a safe place the kids would be o.k."

"It would be nice if it worked that way."

"Yeah it would."

For the rest of the day Blair showed little if any emotion, and went through the day on autopilot. Jim had tried repeatedly to engage him in conversation, but Blair had retreated inside of himself, and buried himself in paperwork. When they returned to the loft Blair retreated to his room. Jim fixed dinner, but Blair refused to come out and eat. Jim was worried about his partner, not knowing how to reach him. Finally deciding to go to bed, and hoped that things would be better in the morning.

Blair lay in his bed and listened as Jim locked up the apartment and got ready for bed. He knew his roommate was worried about him, but he did not know how to tell Jim how bad he really felt. Blair was afraid if he started talking about how much he hurt inside, he would end up remembering and talking about things that he had buried deep inside him many years ago. Even without talking about it, he had not been able to stop the memories that had flooded his mind every since he had read the article this morning. Blair closed his mind and forced his mind to go blank and eventually he fell asleep.

Jim jumped out of bed, and grabbed his gun and bolted down the stairs, before the scream that had awakened him had ended. As he threw open the door to Blair’s room he froze at the sight before him. Blair had crawled into the corner of his room between his dresser and wall his body curled into a ball shaking.

In a voice that sounded much younger than the 30-year-old detective, "Please stop man, please. I don’t want you to do this. Stop no more man please. Naomi, where are you? I need you Naomi, please, I need you Momeee....."

Jim flinched from the palpable pain and anguish that was in the room.

"Blair," he said softly, as he came into the room. "Wake up."

Blair did not respond, and as Jim got closer to the corner, he saw the tears on Blair’s cheeks. Jim noticed that Blair looked as young as he sounded.

Blair’s body was shaking so hard, and he just kept crying no, over and over.

Jim reached out and touched Blair’s shoulder.

"Cmon buddy wake up for me o.k."

Blair gave no indication of hearing him, so Jim just kept murmuring reassurance that he was safe.

"Jim"?

"I’m here, Blair, you’re o.k."

Jim was suprised when Blair threw himself out of the corner into Jim’s arms. He threw, his arms around Jim’s neck, and just sobbed. Jim leaned up against the wall and pulled Blair into his lap. He then grabbed the blanket off Blair’s bed and covered Blair with, it and just sat there holding him. Blair continued to cry and hold on to Jim. After about thirty minutes, the sobs began to decrease in intensity. Blair was beyond talking at that point and each breath was just one deep shudder after another. "It’s o.k. buddy, just breathe, Your o.k. It was just a dream nobody is going to hurt you."

"Wasn’t a dream," Blair said very softly, "was real."

"What, do you mean?" Jim asked quietly.

" Nothing," murmured, Blair.

"Talk to me, Blair."

"I can’t, I can’t do this again, I had pushed it away and now its back, I can’t do this anymore,"

"What’s back, Blair?"

"Not important."

"Blair, don’t do this, you need to talk about this."

Blair was quiet for several minutes; Jim gently tipped Blair’s head back so that he could see Blair’s eyes. "

"C’mon buddy, what happening here?"

Tears filled his eyes as he laid his head on Jim’s shoulder,

"You remember when I told you that seven year olds were not supposed to kill themselves"???"

Jim nodded

"I told you that I didn’t understand, but I really do. I was just a couple of years older than Amanda, when I first thought about killing myself."

"Why"?

"The first time was when Naomi had gone to some enlightenment retreat in India or somewhere. I was staying with some people that she knew. They never hurt me, but they made it clear that I was in the way, and they did not want me there. It was a hard time for me, and I felt so alone, that I just wanted to die. That feeling of being alone never really went away. No matter where I was living, I always knew that Naomi would leave once more, and I would be left with somebody else. Most of the time I didn't even know the people that I was staying with. It was so hard; I never fit in anywhere. When I was with Naomi and her friends, they regarded me as just Naomi’s brat. When I was in school, I was the school freak. I was always younger than the rest of the kids in my class. It didn’t help any that I was always smaller than everybody else was even kids my own age. I started High school when I was thirteen years old, but I looked like I was eleven. I tried so hard to not let it bother me, and that when other people made fun of me or ignored my I would constantly just tell myself to let it go. But it really hurt. It is so hard to live with feeling alone all of the time"

"You are not alone anymore, Blair. You are a very important part of my life, and the lives of a lot of people."

Did Naomi realize that you were having a hard time?"

"Blair just buried his head in Jim’s shoulder, and shook his head.

"Why didn’t you ever tell her?"

"I tried once, I told her I did not want her to go, and she just gave me her spiel on how disappointed she was that I did not understand. The importance of what she was doing. She always made me feel so guilty, when I talked about the little stuff, how could I have told her about the really bad stuff"

Jim felt like somebody had just kicked him in the stomach

"What bad stuff"? He asked quietly

" Anything anybody wanted to do, I mean lets be real here Jim, I tend to drive people crazy. I could never sit still, and I talked too much. No matter how hard I tried, I could never be good enough. For a kid who was so damn smart, I was never able to figure out how people wanted me to act. If I was quiet, they wanted me to talk. If I was talking, they wanted me to be quiet. If I was in the one room of the house, somebody wanted me to be somewhere else. I always had a horrible feeling inside; never knowing when I was going to be hit, locked in a room, or yelled at. Nothing was ever the same, what would get me hit one day would be ignored the next. The worst though was at night. I never knew if I was going to have a visitor in the middle of the night or not. Even today sometimes I feel panicked when I go to bed, I finally learned to just shut down all of my feelings, and not even be present. I would lay in my bed and not even feel what they were doing to me. I would imagine myself living with a tribe in Africa, or discovering some lost tribe, anything that would make me powerful. After a while though that wouldn’t work anymore, and I could not go away in my head, so I would think about all the ways that I could kill myself, as a way to try to block what was happening. But it never really did. I really think the only reason I did not kill myself, was that I got to go to Rainer and it was safer there. I mean I still had jerks who thought since I was too young that I could be the local clown, but at least I didn’t wake up with them in my bed."

Jim felt like the world had just stopped

"God, Blair, I am so sorry."

"Yeah, me too. You know the hardest thing was that sometimes it felt like I had to choose between being alone, or being hurt. At times, I did not know which was worse. I know that I never really felt safe until the first night I moved into the loft. It was such a strange feeling, to realize that nobody was going to hurt me. Even when I drove you, crazy I was never afraid of you hurting me. You kept me from going over that edge more times than you will ever know."

"Have you ever talked to anybody about this," Jim asked quietly.

"No, you are the only person in the world who knows. Promise me you won’t tell anybody."

Jim heard the elevated heartbeat, and the rapid breathing, that indicated Blair was starting to have a panic attack.

"Shhhhit’s o.k. I won’t tell anybody, but I want you to think about talking to somebody about it o.k. I will go with you if you want me to, but you need help with this."

"I’ll think about it, but not now o.k."

"O.K.," Jim said and he leaned back against the wall. Blair leaned against him, and just let the sobs come. Jim just kept making reassurances, to Blair that he was there, and was not going to go away.

"You know what is hard, it that I can’t help thinking about Amanda, maybe if I had gone to see her while she was at the center, she would have felt like she mattered, but I didn’t. The hardest thing to think about is that I never even considered it. How could I have done that Jim, I knew how hard it was to be alone, but I never even tried to do anything?

I was so afraid of thinking about what had happened to me, that I just pushed her aside. I was so selfish, and all I could think about was how much I hurt. I reacted just like my mother always has. I ‘let it go’ and refused to even consider if I could have helped her. Maybe if I had gone to see her, talked to her just so she would not have felt like she was so alone."

"Blair, this was not your fault. Even if you had gone and visited her, do you think it would have made a difference? There were a lot of people at the Center from therapists, to volunteers who work with the kids. The center has a very good reputation, and they are committed to the kids that live there. I know you would have liked things to have gone differently for this little girl, I do to, but if the experts in this field could not have helped her I really doubt that we could have."

"I guess so, but man this child is going to be buried, and nobody is even going to know that she existed. That is so wrong," Blair said quietly. "I mean if I had died I would have at least had somebody who remembered me."

"Well we might be able to do something about that."

"What?"

"I don’t know, but maybe we can talk to the other guys at the station, and figure something out."

"Do you think that they would want to do something?"

"I’m sure they would. Why don’t we talk to them tomorrow, and see if we can come up with something, O.K?"

Two weeks later.

The members of the major crimes unit all gathered at the cemetery as the tombstone was placed on Amanda’s grave. Jim put his arm around Blair’s shoulder, and he placed a beautifully made angel into the holder on top of the stone. Blair looked at the angels on the tombstone, he made a silent wish that no child would ever feel that the only way to make the pain stop was to die. When they left the cemetery, Blair looked back, just as the first drops of rain started, in his mind he saw the little girl waving at him, with a beautiful smile on her face, holding her teddy bear. I will remember you Amanda.

 

Epilogue:

A few months later, Jim and Blair attended an art show opening, which was the first fundraiser for the Amanda’s Angels program. William Ellison had been instrumental in helping the major crimes unit, develop a new program that would train volunteers to work with children at the center. As they wandered around looking at the various pieces of art, they saw the painting a local artist had done of Amanda as an angel. Underneath the painting was a plaque that read

"A statue stands in a shaded place

An angel girl with an upturned face

A name is written on a polished rock

A broken heart that the world forgot

Through the wind and the rain

She stands hard as a stone

In a world that she can't rise above

But her dreams give her wings

And she flies to a place where she's loved

Concrete angel."

Stephanie Bentley and Rob Crosby

 

Dedicated to the real Amanda: May you finally be at peace. Your life will not be forgotten

End

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