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Just a Boy

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Catherine Willows heavily closed the front door to her house behind her. She slumped against it.

It had been one of those days, 'those' being a triple homicide and endless paperwork that she only now ended. Now, almost 5 hours after her shift had officially ended. She took comfort in the fact that she could go and sleep a few hours before Lindsay got home and the music started.

Even though her relationship with her daughter had steadily improved, there were still things in which Lindsay would stay rebellious. One being her loud music.

Catherine was just about to put down her purse, when she heard someone rummaging through the kitchen. In a millisecond her gun was out and pointed in front of her as she slowly made her way through the house to the kitchen.

She saw a figure going through a cabinet and found two things strange. The first was that the intruder was not dressed the part, opting for a simple jeans and t-shirt, and second, what could he possibly be looking for in the kitchen? She did not take her chances, however.

"Las Vegas PD, hands where I can see 'em!" The person froze. Like, really really just froze. He stood up straight with his hands in the air, showing his empty hands. He slowly turned around, and Catherine could see the fear in his eyes. She saw him swallow before opening his mouth to speak.

"I'd watch what I was gonna say if I were you," she warned, her gun never wavering.

"So, uhm, you must be Lindsay's mom," he said nervously. She narrowed her eyes at him.

"Who are you?"

"Jacob Harper."

"What exactly are you doing in my house, Jacob Harper?"

"Well you see, Ms. Willows. Lindsay kinda got sick at school and I didn't want her to be sick alone, so I told her to uh, to call you, but she said not to interrupt you at work so I sorta came with her. She's lying, probably sleeping already, on the couch in the living room."

Catherine finally lowered her gun and put the safety back on, before placing it on the counter next to her.

"You could have just said that," she commented.

"Uh, a gun is a little scary."

"You're right, I'm sorry. What are you looking for?"

"A pot, to make chicken soup. She told me there was some in a pack, I found it, but I, uh, had more trouble with the pot."

She couldn't help but smile at the kid's jitteriness around her. And indeed, a gun was a little scary. She was a little wary of the fact that he seemed to care a great deal for her daughter, but Lindsay hadn't ever mentioned him before.

"Why the couch? Why not her room?" she had to ask.

"Because she could barely make it from the car to the front door, and she was real dizzy and looking like she was gonna throw up. She did, but I found a bucket, under the sink, if that's okay, I already washed it, but I think she might need it again." Catherine opened a cupboard and pulled out a large pot, placing it in front of the boy. "Here you go, I'm just gonna go check on her. You all set?"

Jacob absentmindedly nodded as he began working on the soup, and Catherine couldn't help but think how caring the boy was.

As she neared the living room, she could already hear Lindsay coughing. The girl was lying on the couch, a blanket covering her, and a bucket next to the couch.

"Lindsay?" The girl's head snapped up, making her groan, as the fast action caused her head to feel like it would explode.

"Mom? What are you—?" Catherine silenced her daughter.

"How do you feel?"

"Like crap rolled up in crap." The girl groaned as another coughing fit came along.

"What do you feel?" Catherine tried it in a different way.

"I have a headache, my head is spinning and throbbing like it's gonna explode, I'm throwing up and I can't stop coughing." Catherine placed her hand against the girl's forehead, surprised to find her burning up.

"Do you think you can make it to your room?" The girl shook her head.

"Where's Jacob?" she asked, her voice sounding all croaky.

"No, the question is, who is Jacob?" Lindsay's cheeks were red, but Catherine could've sworn she saw her cheeks turn redder for a moment.

"Just a guy."

"Just a guy? So, he's just a guy who came to our house, and is taking care of you, and making you soup. Just a guy who almost got shot by me? Just a guy?" Her eyes panicked, and even though her voice didn't sound it, she could tell that Lindsay panicked.

"You almost shot him?"

"Well, what would you do? I come home to find someone I've never even heard of rummaging through my kitchen?"

As Jacob came in with the soup, Catherine took a good look at the boy. He had dirty blonde hair, that was a little long, only just reaching below his ears. She noticed that he had the most magnificent hazel eyes, and when he smiled, had a dimple in his right cheek. No wonder her daughter liked this boy. In a way, she liked him too. And he was polite, too.

Catherine went to get something to drink and before she could step back into the living room, Jacob walked up to her.

"Ms. Willows?"

"Call me Catherine."

"Ok, Ms. Catherine, Lindsay asked me to tell you to go to sleep." Her eyes widened at the boy, who got a sheepish look on his face and shrugged. "She said you're really tired and need the rest."

"She's sick!"

"I can take care of her."

"But still—."

"She said that you were gonna have to take care of her when I'm gone, so you should sleep," he said firmly, and she glared at him. "Miss," he added in a squeak. She internally smiled, glad that she could intimidate him a little.

"Okay, but if anything happens, you wake me up, no exceptions."

"I've done this before, don't worry," Jacob assured her.

"Done this where, exactly?"

"I'm a member of the Red Cross, and I sometimes volunteer at the hospital when they're short on people."

Catherine slowly nodded and acquiesced. While going up the stairs she couldn't help but wonder how much she liked this boy for her daughter. He was caring, polite and did volunteer work. She really hoped Lindsay knew what a good guy she had on her hands.

Even though, while she went to sleep, she was still on alert for Lindsay, she slept well, for the first time trusting a boy with her daughter.

And that was a feat in itself.