The clock on the mantle chimed twice.
Trish stood, sauntered to the window and peered out. Using a cuff of her sleeve, she wiped a small area of glass to see the dimly lit street beyond her rose garden.
“Where is she, Lord? Andrea is never this late.”
Trish remembered the last time she waited up all night, but it wasn’t for Andrea, it was for Tony. Tony would have turned eighteen the previous weekend, but they’d rarely seen him since he walked out the night after his sixteenth birthday. Tony was still angry with them. They had argued over an all-night drinking binge while staying at a friend’s place. Then, to make things worse, Tony and his friend robbed a gas station to buy more alcohol. Tony had escaped custody three months ago after serving most of his time.
Andrea was a good kid, but then so was her brother.
“Lord, have we failed again?”
She took her cell phone from her pocket and pressed redial. “Please answer, Andrea.”
This time the phone answered. “Andrea, where are you? Are you okay?”
The voice was not Andrea’s and it startled her.
“Hello, this is Police Officer Mallory. Who’s this?”
“My name is Trish Brody. This is my daughter’s cell number. What’s happened?”
“Mrs. Brody, I’ll send a patrol car round to pick you up in twenty minutes. We’ve only just found her car. Her cell phone and purse were on the passenger seat…can someone come with you?”
“Yes, I’ll wake my husband. Where’s Andrea? Let me speak to her.”
“Mrs. Brody, we don’t know where your daughter is.”
Twenty minutes later, a patrol car stopped out front. “Mike, they’re here,” she called her husband, who was still dressing.
They had just put on their coats when the doorbell rang.
“Mr. and Mrs. Brody?”
“Yes,” Mike answered.
“Come with me; we’ve found her,” the officer replied hastily.
They climbed in to the back of the patrol car, shut the doors and waited for the officer to start the engine.
“Officer…um…” Mike stammered.
“Officer Thomas. Frank Thomas. I’ll explain as we go.”
“Go where?” Trish asked, a little louder than intended.
“The Detention Center,” he said glancing over his shoulder to move out on to the road. “You see, Mrs. Brody, this evening around ten o’clock, your son was recognized by the same attendant he robbed two years ago. The video camera confirmed his identity. We have him in custody.”
“What’s this have to do with Andrea?” Mike replied, reaching for Trish’s hand.
Trish hung her head to weep…and pray.
“Your daughter saw her brother as she was leaving the gas station. She stopped to give him a lift. Andrea tried to encourage him to turn himself in but he got annoyed and told her to drop him off a mile from a bus station, only she wouldn’t give up. She followed him on foot as far as the park on Collins Road.” He paused. “Your daughter was mugged.”
Trish gasped. Mike put his free hand over his mouth.
Officer Thomas continued. “She’s okay. Tony heard her screams and ran back and fought with the guy while Andrea hailed down a passing motorist. The guy ran off into the park.”
Trish looked up as they turned a corner in silence.
“We’re almost there,” the officer spoke again.
A few moments later the patrol car rolled to a stop outside a brightly lit entrance to the detention center.
After signing in and completing routine security checks, Office Thomas introduced them to Police Officer Mallory.
“Your daughter’s okay.” He smiled and led them into the visitation area.
“Mom, Dad.” Andrea rose from a chair and rushed to hug them both.
“What’s going on?” Mike asked, obviously confused.
“Your daughter here,” Officer Mallory began, “and the Chaplain of the Detention Center, who happened to be the motorist she hailed down, spent almost three hours talking with your son before he decided to turn himself in.”
A door opened across the room. Tony entered with the chaplain close behind. The small family group moved to a table and drew up chairs. Tony sat opposite.
No one said anything for a few moments.
“It’s okay, Tony.” Andrea spoke softly, reached across the table and clasped her brother’s clenched hands between her own.
“Mom, Dad,” he began. “I’m sorry. I was wrong…about everything. Forgive me, this time I’ll do it right and pay the price for my mistakes. God now has my full attention.”
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