-CHAPTER TWO-

Stef led Callie into the motel room while Lena stood outside, talking to Wyatt.

Callie sat on the end of the bed. Her stomach was in knots as she thought about having to tell Stef about the kiss between her and Brandon. How is she going to react, she thought. Was she going to be sent away to another foster home? Juvie? Or worse, a group home? What about Jude? She shivered at the thought of her brother, hoping they would at least keep him.

Stef's voice pulled her out of her thoughts.

"So would you please explain to me why you ran away?"

Stef moved over to the bed, sitting down next to Callie. She gently touched Callie's arm, raising her eyebrows in surprise when the girl jumped slightly at her touch, but continued on softly.

"Callie, what's wrong?"

Callie let her brown eyes meet her foster mother's blue ones for a brief second before once again averting her gaze. She shook her head and tried to sniff back the tears.

Stef reached out, lifting Callie's chin so she could see her tear-stained face.

"Please, just help me understand. Earlier you said it had nothing to do with me, or Lena. Is it about Jude or one of the other children?"

Callie nodded.

"Brandon," she mumbled, pulling her face away from Stef's hand.

Stef reached up again and ran her hand over Callie's hair, trying to ease her tension.

"Was it so bad that all you could do was run away? Why not just come to me or Lena about it?"

She stopped stroking and dropped her hand, waiting for a response.

Callie looked at Stef and sighed. "I didn't know what else to do. I was scared."

"Callie," Stef proceeded cautiously, "we don't just run away from our problems, even if we are scared. We face them, big or small. Fleeing only masks the problem," she told her softly, but sternly. "If every time a problem arises and we choose to run, we'll just be running for the rest of our lives."

Callie didn't look at her but merely replied softly: "Just promise me that you will keep Jude? If I tell you everything."

"Callie ..." Stef began.

"Please, just promise me ..." the teen interrupted her foster mother forcefully, her voice rising. She knew what Stef was saying but the last thing she wanted was a lecture right now. Callie stood up, turning around to face the older woman. "...that what I tell you won't affect Jude. That you will still adopt him, with or without me."

She began to pace nervously. All she wanted was reassurance that if, whatever the consequence was for what she did, that it didn't include her brother and they would still go through with adopting him.

Stef rubbed her temples in frustration.

"Look, sweetie ..." She paused, taking a deep breath. "I can't promise you that, Callie, because I don't know what the situation is or what happened between you and Brandon, and..."

Callie didn't let her finish.

"Then I guess I have nothing to say," she responded flatly, her voice full of pain. She had enough.

Stef watched the young girl worriedly, wanting to hug and comfort her, but afraid of pushing her even further away. She ran her hands through her hair in frustration as her thoughts began to race. Was this really just about Jude or even whatever had happened between Callie and Brandon, or was there something deeper going on with Callie?

Stef stood up from the bed.

"Callie, I can promise you that, whatever the situation is, you and Jude ..." she continued sternly, but the next thing she knew Callie had scurried into the bathroom, slamming the door closed behind her and locking it.

"Callie ..." She sighed sadly.

Stef went over to the bathroom and leaned against the door. She was about to say something else when she heard footsteps. Lena.

"What happened?" Lena asked, sounding concerned.

Stef turned and looked at her.

"She locked herself in the bathroom."

Lena studied her partner's blue eyes and furrowed her brow.

"You look like you've been through the wringer," she said.

Stef sighed again as she turned to look at the bathroom door, then back at Lena. She could hear Callie crying inside. Stef went over to her partner, taking her hand in hers for comfort that was well needed.

They stepped out of the room so Callie wouldn't be able to overhear them talking. She started to close the door, leaving it open just a crack so she would be able to hear the teen, hoping Callie would come out of the bathroom soon. Maybe us being outside would help, she thought.

She leaned up against the railing alongside Lena.

"I really don't know, Lena. She mentioned it having to do with Brandon, but she closed herself off from telling me why, since I wouldn't promise her what she was asking for," she continued.

"What was that?" Lena asked, wondering.

"That I ... we would still adopt her brother, whatever she told me."

Lena raised her eyebrows.

"Why would whatever happened between her and Brandon even affect Jude? I mean, yes, it could affect him, but not our adopting him." she responded, confused.

"I'm starting to think there's more to it than Brandon or Jude. It's like maybe old emotions from her past are resurfacing or something. But what triggered it?" Stef sighed, running a hand through her hair, mussing it up. Her expression suggested she was extremely worried about the girl.

"I think maybe you're right," Lena agreed softly.

"Did Wyatt happen to give you any info or anything?" Stef asked, wondering if anything Wyatt had told Lena would be of any help.

"Nothing that we don't already know. He wanted to talk to Callie for a second before he left, but I told him to go grab some food and come back, seeing that you and Callie were still talking. He was fine with it. He really cares a lot for her. Hopefully when he returns, maybe he would be able to help Callie open up more, especially to us."

"I hope so." Stef tone was calm, but worried. Tears began to roll slowly down her face; something that rarely happened.

Lena put a hand on Stef's shoulder, then pulled her into a tight hug, comforting her partner.

"We'll get through this," she promised. "We will. One thing's for sure, we aren't going to give up on her."