Ethan really had no idea what he would be looking for when he entered the front office. He had no lack of familiarity with visits from social services; he had called upon them several times during his years of employment, much to his chagrin. He never understood how a parent could hurt their child or how a sibling could seriously injure another. He supposed he could never understand, though; he was not a parent, and he could not remember whether he had siblings or not. Right after he managed to escape from the cemetery alive, he had stumbled into some poor old woman’s house, and she claimed to be his mother. Naturally, this confused him because he had no memory previous to waking up six feet under (quite literally). He brushed the thought aside and scoured the list for the name. He tilted his head a bit when he noticed a different name. CPS had come out to interview Samantha at school before, but the last time, it had been a female. Perhaps the girl had been assigned a new case worker? He shrugged to himself, supposing that might be the answer to his question. He decided to go and look for Mr. Card, who probably had the neatest handwriting on the list. The fact probably should not have interested him as much as it did, given that he had a nagging feeling of familiarity surrounding it. I’m probably just worried about her and it’s messing with me,
he thought to himself, finally managing to approach the man who sat patiently in one of the many chairs in the room. He introduced himself, offering his hand for the other to shake. He did not expect him to take it, but he did, although, he did not shake it as expected. He just held it, which made him feel a bit odd, but he knew people had their quirks.
Ethan grimaced slightly at Harvard’s words. ”I would have come, even if I wasn’t on hours.” He wondered to himself how many awful cases this man saw a day. Sure, Samantha’s case was heartbreaking, but he knew that the world was not a sunny and rosy place. Children and teens got molested, beaten, neglected and various other things on a daily basis; that was nothing to say of the hundreds of thousands of cases of domestic violence against any and all genders and sexes across the country. He really could not understand how people could deal with the scum of the earth for a living. Then again, most people would probably not understand how he could work with teenagers on a daily basis and keep his sanity. The thought caused him to smile a bit before clearing his throat and nodding, “I appreciate that, Mr. Card. Thankfully, it’s not as prevalent around here, but I can’t tell you how many cases like this I’ve seen in other places.” He nodded toward the door of the office and started to head out, waiting for the other man to fall in step beside him or behind him. “I usually keep the students in the counseling office to do these interviews,” he said, glancing at the other out of the corner of his eye, “There are plenty of things for them to fidget with or hold in there. Plus, I think the atmosphere is more open…” He realized after a moment that the other man was not following him anymore, and he quickly backtracked and beckoned for the other to follow him. “Be careful Mr. Card,” he warned with an amused smile, “This is a gigantic campus; I wouldn’t want you to be wandering around all day long by yourself.”
When they finally arrived at the office, Harvard mentioned that Ethan could stay in the room and he nodded a bit. “I think she would appreciate that,” he commented, glancing at the girl, who was scrunched up in the chair with her knees to her chest and clutching the stuffed dog he had offered to her like a lifeline. “To be completely honest with you, this is the first time she’s told me the truth about the whole thing,” he mumbled to the other man, sighing, “Usually, she tells me she’s just clumsy; you know, falling down stairs, getting her arms caught in doors, falling out of trees, the like. However, she’s in the gymnastics and competition dance team, and she seems to have a balanced gait, so…” He shrugged a bit before heading into the room where Samantha sat and ushered for Harvard to come in behind him. “Samantha, this is Mr. Card,” he said, smiling at the girl and pulling his chair beside hers, “He’s going to ask you some questions. I can be right here next to you, if you want, but that’s up to you.” The girl nodded quickly at his offer and he gave the other man a small, sympathetic smile and sat back in his chair, allowing the social worker to take over the interview. When the whole ordeal was finished, Ethan allowed Samantha to sit in the waiting room of the counseling office for a bit. He knew that she would not want to go back to class with red, puffy eyes and tear tracks still visible on her face, even if no tears were actively flowing. He shook his head a bit and moved his chair back behind his desk. “I really appreciate you coming out to take care of this, Mr. Card,” Ethan said with a soft sigh, “Do you have everything you need to complete your assessment? Seeing as you’re her caseworker now, I presume, I can give you her school records, if need be.” He really did hate involving other people in the lives of his students like this, but he knew the girl was in danger, and it was only a matter of time before her mother did something again. People like that did not just stop being awful, after all; they just tried to cover it up, better.