Ring - student project

"Tho, who are we gonna call?" 

I didn't answer right away. I was still shocked by the swelling on Lily's face. "I don't know yet, but what I do know is that I'll do the talking. The swelling around your lips is giving you a lisp and it'll be a dead giveaway that we got into trouble."

Lily shifted in her seat, looking down and avoiding my stare. "I'm....I already told you - " 

"Yeah I know. You don't need to tell me again. It's nice and all but it doesn't get us home to mom." I shook my head. "She's got enough on her plate already and if she wakes up with a call from the police station..." 

It was an ugly thought to think about. Mom had been pulling double shifts everyday ever since Dad died. I could tell the long hours were taking their toll and I didn't want to add any more burdens onto her shoulders.  

"Why did you even pick a fight with that older woman?" I said. "You told me you were going out to get breakfast for Mom. The corner store is right up the street and it should have taken you five minutes. A half an hour later I walk in to make sure you're alright and I see you bloody lipped and black-eyed, swinging at a woman three times your age. Why?" 

"The lady had a diamond ring," she said. It was clear her mouth was still sore. 

"Wait...you..." I laid my head against the bars and took a deep breathe. "Lily, you're telling me that I knocked out that woman, a person who I thought was attacking you, because you tried to rob her?"

"I didn't know you would thow up! I didn't know I would get caught! Thee put the ring on the counter, after complaining how her fingers thwell in the rain. The lady walked away and I went to grab it." She ran her land lightly over her face. "Things got a little outta hand. Then you thowed up." 

This didn't sound right. Lily was still just a kid and she has never stolen anything in her life. She hates being in trouble so she also avoided it. If I press her too hard about it now, she'll shutdown and I won't be able to piece together anything. I need to be more gentle. 

"You don't even like jewelry." I said as I sat next to her. "I tried to buy you some cheap ones when you were a little kid and you gave them away at lunch for some tootsie pops." I smiled. "So, why take it now?" 

Lily made eye contact with me for the first time that night. "For Mom." 

I floundered between confusion and shock for a moment. That pause gave Lily enough room to continue. 

"Mom needed money -" 

"Lily, we don't steal to earn money. Mom wouldn't accept it even if you had succeeded." 

"I know that. It wasn't to thell," she said. 

"Then...what was it for?" 

She took a moment, reluctant to confess. "Mom needed money, so she thold her wedding ring. I know Mom didn't want to and it made her thad. The woman had a ring like Mom and I wanted to give her thomething to help other than money." 

My heart sank. Were we hurting that bad financially? Yeah, meals had been simple, and Mom was always working, but the lights were always on. It didn't seem like we were in any danger.

I heard a sniffle as Lily wrapped her arms around me. 

We were hurting. 

"I'm glad you're okay," I said.

"You too."

I took a deep breathe and let it out slowly, wincing at the thought. "I'll call Mom." 

"No need," said a familiar voice. The clacking of her heels stopped outside the cell. "The police already called me. We have a lot to talk about when we get home."