Yollie froze, the plate held in mid-air. “How did you know?”
“The way you move it.” Mr Georgiadis made an exaggerated imitation of the way Yollie had moved her arm. “From that and your expression I can tell that you’re used to it hurting. So, is it an ongoing injury, repeated injuries, or an illness?” He bit into the biscuit and had a mouthful before adding, “These are really good. You should have some more.”
Yollie put down the plate and picked up another chocolate and nut biscuit with ganache holding the two constituent cookies together. “I might have some bruises,” she admitted.
“I see,” said Mr Georgiadis before he had some more of the cookie in his hand. “Are they bruises you can show Mz Lennix and I, or should we get a medical officer to give an opinion?”
Yollie considered the matter, part-eaten cookie in hand and feeling not unlike a deer caught in the headlights of a car. “I could show you some of them,” she said slowly.
Mz Lennix sighed. “You don’t have to try to protect anyone, Yollie. If someone’s been hurting you, we can help.”
“It’s not my parents,” Yollie said flatly.
Over at the Renver house, another social worker was knocking on the front door, the Renvers having dealt with the doorbell being a trigger for several of their children by doing without one. The door was opened by a neatly dressed young man in his early twenties who had blond hair too short to tousle and a visible twitch that turned his chin to the right. He looked over the social worker’s shoulder as he greeted her with, “Mz Weathers, what a surprise. Is there a problem with Karla?”
“I don’t know, is there Ted?” Jorja Weathers followed that up with, “Your sister Yolanda, who shares a room with her, has been picked up at the airport trying to make a unparentally sanctioned flight to North-West.”
“Oh, I gave Yollie permission to fly,” said Ted Renvers, the frequency of his twitch picking up. “Our parents are away on a respite weekend and I’m the responsible adult in charge. She’s got a tertiary place over there and a scholarship.”
“Since the Washburn-Cameron trafficking case the rules have been changed to require written approval,” Mz Weathers told him. “It ups our work load but it’s easily resolved.”
“I can give you a signature,” said Ted with his usual slight perseverance stutter. “Is there a form?”
Mz Weather s smiled, “As it happens, we made one up. I’ll just,” she was interrupted by a buzzing sound from her shoulder bag, “answer this phone and then get you one. Excuse me.” She stepped away to stand on the garden path as she talked.
Ted Renver noted her expression as she turned her back towards him just after the conversation started so she would have that small, extra degree of privacy, and he sighed to himself.
Mz Weathers ended her call, put the phone back in her bag, straightened her shoulders and turned around before walking back to talk to Ted. “I never thought I’d have to ask this, Ted, and I need you to answer truthfully. Has someone here been hitting Yollie?”
This is now followed by Null and Void 3.