The Eden Hall Series

 
Saving Eden

Saving Eden - Vol. 2

When Eden Hall's long time administrator retires and the boys' foster home is threatened by possible closure, Ryan Holt steps in as administrator.  Growing up next door to Eden Hall rather than inside didn't keep him from feeling it was a part of him.  The job was demanding but lonely until Ryan wins a national award for his work and the Chicago Tribune sends a reporter, TJ McCord, to do a story on his success.  

He finds it is more challenging to find success with Taylor than it was with Eden Hall, but just as rewarding.

ISBN/EAN13:  1434839168 / 9781434839169
Page Count:   352
Binding Type:  US Trade Paper
Trim Size:  5.25"x8"
Language:  English

Ryan sat his beer down and ran.  The boy had a half block lead on him, but he was just jogging.  He had a destination in mind though, as he saw him turn the corner and Ryan picked up the pace to not lose sight of him.  At the second block the boy turned and headed toward a house.  Ryan was only about twenty yards behind him and as he got to the house, he saw the boy climbing up an old triangular TV antenna mounting tower into a bedroom window on the side of Carlee Sinclair’s house.

Ryan ran up Carlee’s front steps and knocked on the door.  When the door opened, he took a step back in surprise and stammered, “Is Carlee here?”

Taylor raised her eyebrows in disgust.  So now this guy was skulking around in the dark, coming by unannounced to hit on his friend Vincent’s old crush.  Her very first impression was correct as it usually was.  He was a jerk.  “No, she’s not, sorry.”  Taylor had the door almost shut when his hand flew up to stop it.

“Wait, Ms. …” 

“Taylor.”

“Ms. Taylor, I work at Eden Hall and one of our boys just crawled in a window on your second floor.  I need to get him back home.”

“Crawled in a window on the second floor?”  Yeah sure, Taylor thought, “And what?  You want to come in and search the premises?  I don’t think so.”  Taylor knew Miranda was upstairs and if some strange boy was up there, Miranda would have yelled.

“Well, no,” Ryan paused, confused by her hostility.  “If you would just check in the room on this side,” he said pointing, “and send him out, I’ll take him home.”

Taylor slammed the door and walked upstairs.  The only room on that side of the house was Miranda’s bedroom and a bath.  She looked in the bathroom first and then knocked on Miranda’s door.  “Miranda, can I come in?”

She heard her turn down her music.  “Just a minute, Taylor.”  After a few seconds, Miranda opened the door with her robe on.  “Sorry, I was just getting into my pajamas.”
Well, Miranda would certainly have noticed a boy crawling in the window while she was changing.  “Oh, okay.  I just thought I heard something up here, but I guess it was nothing.  Is everything okay?”  Taylor looked around the room and saw nothing out of the ordinary.  The window was closed, the curtains untouched and Miranda seemed fine. 

“No, nothing exciting happening up here,” Miranda smiled.  Taylor nodded and headed back down the steps.  She opened the front door to see if he was still out there and he was in the yard watching the side window and the front door, talking on a cell phone. 
Ryan had called Sean who was on duty, asking him to come help him retrieve the boy from Carlee’s house.  It was obvious Ms. Taylor was not going to help.  He didn’t know what her problem was, but she definitely was one angry little woman.

“Well, I checked and there’s no boy up there,” Taylor yelled out to him.  “Sorry.” 

She started to close the door again and Ryan ran up the steps.  “Wait, unless he snuck out the back, I saw him crawl in that second window.  I know he went into the house.”
“Look, I said I’ve checked and no one is up there except…” she wasn’t going to tell this strange man that another woman was in the house.  “Your boy is not up there.  Now you need to leave or I’m going to call the police.”

“I’m not leaving without the boy and I’ve already called the police,” he yelled out as she was slamming the door again.  It was freezing out there and he paced to watch the front and side of the house, hoping she wasn’t helping the boy escape out the back door so he’d be searching for him all night.  He never even got a good look to know who he was chasing.  He’d have to call the Hall and have someone do a headcount to find out who was missing.

Taylor looked out the window and saw the man pacing, rubbing his arms from the cold.  She didn’t want to scare Miranda by telling her some strange man was outside walking around their yard so she went to the phone and called the police.

Ryan went out to meet Sean as he got out of the car.  “Carlee’s not home and that woman who answered the door won’t let me in.  She says no one’s there but I watched him crawl in that window.”  Ryan pointed up to the second floor.

“Well, she obviously thinks you’re crazy.  She called you in herself, saying some crazy man was pacing in her yard trying to get in her house,” Sean said laughing as Ryan’s face twisted in rage.  “Who’s the woman?  And who’s the boy?”  Sean asked.

“That woman…  I don’t know, I think she said her name was Taylor and I don’t know which boy it is either.  I’d have to call the Hall and have them do a headcount to see who is missing.  I just saw him run and went out after him.”

“Well, let’s go check it out.  Uh, on second thought, maybe you ought to wait here and I’ll go talk to her.  She obviously doesn’t want anything to do with you.”  Sean laughed again at Ryan’s frustrated expression.

Sean went up to knock on the door and Taylor let him in.  Uniforms always opened doors, Ryan thought as he huddled in the cold.  Whoever was up there was going to pay for his little escapade.

It seemed like an hour passed but finally Sean walked out on the porch with his hand firmly on the arm of a boy Ryan immediately recognized.  Ryan sneered at Taylor standing in the door, fighting the nasty comments that he wanted to make as she scowled at him and slammed the door again.  The three of them got into the squad car for a ride back to the Hall and no one said anything.

Ryan handed Danny off to the houseparent responsible for his wing and told him to watch the boy.  He told Danny that they would talk after breakfast in the morning, because he needed time to cool down.  Danny could tell Ryan was angry and knew there would be retribution.  What he didn’t know is that Ryan was just as angry at that woman as he was at Danny.

When everyone else was gone, Ryan turned to Sean, but before he could speak, Sean began to laugh.  Ryan didn’t get angry often, but when he did, it was written all over his contorted face.  Sean knew it looked scarier than it was and would dissipate quickly but it was amusing when it happened.

“Before you blow a gasket,” Sean held out his hands to ease Ryan down, “that woman is Carlee’s cousin and she didn’t know the kid was in there.  Miranda was hiding him under her bed.  They apparently have an unrequited lust thing going on,” Sean said chuckling.  “And she did check for you but didn’t find him.  She doesn’t know who you are, Ryan, and it is understandable that you seemed like a crazy person to her considering the circumstances.”

“Ugh,” Ryan exhaled trying to release the anger.  “I told her I worked at Eden Hall and that I saw him… ugh, whatever.  I’m going to strangle Danny tomorrow.”

“Well, don’t take your anger for her out on him.  He was just answering the call of the wild.”  Sean laughed remembering he had done the same thing many times when he lived here.  “I was lucky.  Gus would never chase me.  He’d just lay in wait for my return, but at least I got something out of it.”  Gus Washington had been the administrator when Sean lived at Eden Hall and had been in his sixties when Sean was sneaking out.

“You did this?” Ryan said.  “Never mind, that’s a stupid question.  Of course you did this.”  Sean was, is, mischievous by nature and always up for a challenge.

Sean laughed, knowing Ryan would never do such a thing.  He always followed rules.  “You better keep an eye on him though, because he’ll do it again.  They think they’re in love,” Sean rolled his eyes at the ridiculous thought, “so regardless of your punishment, he’s going to have to break out again.  She’ll expect no less.”  Sean always blamed the female.  They were the reason men did stupid things.

“Yeah, I just wish he’d pick a different house.”  Ryan wasn’t looking forward to dealing with that hostile woman again.  “Thanks, thanks for your help.  You kept me from freezing my ass off sleeping under Miranda’s window all night waiting on him.”
Sean walked off laughing, “Serve and protect, serve and protect…  See you later.”