Tommy’s stomach was tied in knots as Paige got closer, he could only hope that he got the go ahead to take Kira home.
“Well I have good news and bad news, the bad news is there will be welfare check ins every once in a while but the good news is your request was approved Kira can stay with you until the trial and we will judge if she can remain permanently from there.”
Tommy let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding; he could deal with a social worker checking in as long as Kira was safe with him.
“That’s fine” he replied relieved that he was able to get approval so quickly.
Paige looked at Tommy as Claudia excused herself feeling that her presence was no longer required.
“She needs a lot of support, this could have a crushing effect on her self-esteem,” Paige sighed.
“I know but I’m willing to do whatever I can to help her.”
“She’s lucky to have someone like you in her life, it’s rare that kids like her have the kind of support she has or any at all really.” Paige sighed, “I wish I could say otherwise but really this case has been the exception to any ideas we have about these kinds of cases.”
Tommy sighed more relieved than ever that he had the ability to take care of Kira and the space to have her live in his home.
He said good-bye to Paige and went to get Kira. He was glad that Claudia had let her sleep, she could use the rest but he knew that they needed to get something to eat before they got to his house and went to bed which now sounded more appealing than ever and he could tell Kira agreed with him.
“Kira, it’s time to wake up.” He said shaking her shoulder gently.
Kira looked at him still very much asleep.
“So where am I going?” she asked.
“You’re staying with me, at least for now.” Tommy replied.
“Okay,” he knew she liked this idea even if her drowsy response showed no enthusiasm whatsoever. He figured she would begin to get it once she woke up a little better and her brain caught up to what she had just been told.
Kira sat up, hazel eyes unfocused, she was just waking and Tommy knew that eventually she would figure out exactly what this new development meant. She wouldn’t have to leave her friends, and she could continue to perform at Hayley’s Cyberspace.
Tommy sat beside Kira and waited for her to wake up fully. This was going to be a big adjustment, for her especially but one they welcomed, she needed this change, needed someone who would be there for her consistently and that was him.
Kira looked at Tommy as what he said finally set in what he’d said. She was staying in a place she was familiar with, where she felt safe. She let out a breath as the relief hit, she wouldn’t have to convince someone to let her go to Hayley’s to perform, let her go visit her friends, including Tommy himself on a near daily basis, she would be with him. He already knew more of her secrets than anyone else ever did and she knew he would hold them in complete confidence as he has for months. Sure some would have to come to light should this go to trial but she knew that everything would be okay now.
Tommy gave her shoulder a squeeze as it became obvious she was getting what was going on.
“So now what…?” she asked.
“Home, maybe get something to eat and we get some rest. This has been a long day” Tommy sighed.
“No kidding, how long was I asleep?” Kira asked running her fingers through her hair to get the tangles out.
“At least half an hour, maybe longer, you were asleep when I got in here from the interview room and I saw no point in waking you up. The interviews were over for today, there may be more later on.”
“Great, another afternoon spent here.” Kira muttered, she hadn’t wanted to confess this but she knew it would have come out eventually. She had just hoped that she had been able to tell Tommy in private about what was going on. She then thought about it and realized that maybe it was best she took that dilemma out of Tommy’s hands.
Kira put her face in her hands realizing this meant she wouldn’t see her mom again, not on good terms anyway. Then again maybe not being around her mom was for the best, after this there was a whole world of other things that could happen that Kira didn’t even want to think about.
Kira felt a hand on her back and realized that it was Tommy; he had to know how conflicted her heart was at that moment. She was so happy to be moving in with him but there was some part of her that was hoping to reconcile with her mom and find that relationship with her that other girls had with their moms. That last part was completely crushed.
Paige watched through the window as Tommy pulled Kira into his arms. She saw the powerless look in his eyes, the one that wanted to make all the pain Kira was feeling stop. The part that never wanted it to come to this, had wanted Kira to be able to come to some peaceful agreement with her mom. He volunteered to keep her out of the orphanages, from the hold of foster care and what he felt would crush her in her vulnerable state.
Paige sighed as Kira leaned her head on Tommy’s shoulder like a child seeking comfort and Tommy willingly held her, obliged her with the comfort she desperately needed despite the fact that it didn’t take a genius to tell he didn’t feel well. He swallowed the pain and discomfort he felt in a selfless show of strength for her, for the girl that might as well be his daughter.
“He’s a rare find isn’t he, it’s obvious he’s sick and yet he has tried to hide it every moment. He puts up a front of strength despite what he feels. I didn’t know what to make of him until I really spoke to him.” Jennifer Rodriguez said.
“Me either,” Paige agreed, “We’re trained to be suspicious when a male takes a lot of interest in a female student, but this case, he was her confidant, her friend. She trusted him with her every secret and he holds them in the strictest confidence because he knows she expects nothing less. He… he wanted different for her, wanted her to be able to find peace with her mom, not have to leave her.” Paige sighed sadly “In his heart that’s his child, she’ll be safe with him.”
“She gives regular concerts at a cybercafé not too far from here and he’s only missed one in nearly 5 months and that wasn’t by choice. Sad part is her own mother hasn’t gone to see her daughter perform once in that same five-months.” Jennifer added. “As a mom I find that despicable that Kira’s mother couldn’t find the time in her life to be there to watch her daughter live her dream and yet her science teacher was there every week without fail to cheer her on. I think it showed where her priorities were.”
“Yeah, not with her child,” Paige said ruefully as Tommy and Kira left. “He probably knows Kira better than her mom ever has, he’s heard her every song more than once and saw her through the ups and downs that make up her life, the moments her mom should have helped her through he did and all without complaint. All of the things he shouldn’t have had to do he did and volunteered to keep doing because this, she, means more to him than anything.”
“She’s like his child, she reached out to him looking for a parent that gave a damn, and he reached back, why? He claims that he saw a need and he stepped up to fill it, I don’t know.” An investigator, Derek, said
“I believe him,” Jennifer said “Just look in those eyes, he’s hurting, seeing her in pain genuinely hurts him and he wants to make it all stop. He’s hugged her several times, but not in a romantic way, it’s like a father holding his daughter or maybe an older brother who steps up when his sister is in pain, he didn’t want this outcome for her, he derives no pleasure from taking her in. Sure he’s more than happy to do it because he knows that’s best for her, but really he wanted a different outcome for her and her mom but as much as he hoped something in his heart told him that wouldn’t happen.”
“Has anyone besides me noticed that she has not shed one tear since she got here?” Derek asked.
“She’s in shock, her mom probably has her convinced crying is a sign of weakness or something. I’ve seen a few tears but I figure she’ll fall apart when they get to his house.” Paige sighed, “My sister does that, she puts up a front and doesn’t cry in public but will fall completely apart when she crosses the threshold of her bedroom. I may not be a mom but I’d defiantly step in if one of my sisters treated their child like this woman did her daughter.”
“If you were my sister I’d hope you would step in if I started turning into this woman.” Jennifer sighed, “I just got the report from the interviewer that spoke to the mother. She confessed to what happened. She said she had thought she had dreamed it up until the officer showed up and then in a moment of shocked sobriety she confessed that it did happen.”
Paige’s jaw hit the floor.
“She confessed?” she echoed.
“Yes, apparently the mother has come to the stark reality that she is an alcoholic and now a danger to Kira and, in the most motherly thing I think this woman has done, said she would sign away her maternal rights willingly. She found out that Dr. Oliver volunteered to take Kira and she wants to know if he would be opposed to making the arrangement permanent.” Jennifer sighed, “She says she wants to be a better mom and if letting Kira go is the best thing for her, she’s willing to do it.”
“Wow, where was all this motherly love when she was hurting her daughter?” Paige asked.
“I don’t know, but the higher ups are saying we wait until morning to take this news to Dr. Oliver and Kira.”
To Be Continued…