I shift on the couch, resting my feet on the coffee table. “I like it too.” My phone beeps, indicating that I’m getting another call. “Oh, hold on a second, angel.”
“Okay, babe,” she responds, the obvious smile in her voice.
I press a button and answer the incoming call. “Hello?”
“Hey, Ben. It’s Rollins.” Phil Rollins is another officer that works in my precinct. I don’t see him or his partner much, considering that they worked nights. “Listen, man. You’re gonna need to come down to the 14th block of Canton Street. I just pulled Angie over for drunk driving and she’s got Nolan with her.”
I am on my feet and moving toward the door as soon as I hear Nolan’s name. “What? Is he okay? Rollins, fucking tell me if he’s hurt!” My entire body tenses up and I feel my heart pounding in my head.
“He’s fine, man. I’m about to arrest Angie though. She’s way over the legal limit and she seems to be on something besides alcohol.”
That stupid cunt. I sprint to my truck, not being able to make my legs move fast enough. “Don’t arrest her until I get there. Do you hear me? I wanna see her fucking face before you take her away.”
“Alright, just promise me you won’t be joining her in the back of my car. Keep your shit under control, Kelly. Your son needs you.”
“I’m on my way. Tell him Daddy’s coming. Don’t let him think I’m not coming for him.” I start my truck and hang the phone up, startling at the sound of it ringing again. Shit. I forgot about Mia. “Baby, Angie was just pulled over for drunk driving and Nolan is with her.” My voice cracks at the end. Something could’ve happened to my son. She could’ve killed him.
“Oh my God. Is he alright? Where are you going? I’ll meet you there. I’m leaving right now just tell me where to go.” Now it’s her voice that is quivering. I hear movement and the sound of a set of keys jingling.
I need her. Nolan will need her. I clear my voice and keep it steady. “He’s okay. He wasn’t hurt, thank God. If he was I wouldn’t be responsible for what I might do to that bitch. They’re at the 14th block of Canton Street.”
“Okay. Tessa and I are on our way. Babe, just try and stay calm, okay? Nolan’s probably really scared with all that commotion and he’s going to need you to be strong for him.”
God, I loved this woman. She knew exactly what to say to keep me composed. “Just meet me there, angel. I need you.”
The sound of a car starting comes through the phone. “I know. I’m coming.”
* * *
There are three cop cars at the scene and an ambulance. People are starting to gather on the street outside their homes but I don’t pay attention to any of that. The only face I see is Nolan’s as I scramble out of my truck and run up to the back door of the ambulance. He is in Rollin’s arms, getting checked out by the paramedic. As I rush up to them, Rollins takes in my terrified state.
“Just a precaution, man. He’s perfectly fine.”
I nod in relief, smiling at Nolan who finally registers my presence. My son grins at me the way he always does. “Daddy! Wook at all da powice carws!”
The paramedic gives me the go ahead to grab him, having finished with the examination. I pull him to my chest and hold him gently. “Are you okay, buddy? You aren’t hurt anywhere?” He looks completely unharmed, but I feel like I am cradling a wounded animal against me. I can hear Angie’s hysterical voice in the distance but I try to block it out. I don’t want to get angry in front of Nolan. I pull him away from me and look all over his face, his arms, and his legs. I’m scanning every inch of exposed skin for some sign of injury, but I find none. “Nolan, you don’t have any boo-boos?”
He shakes his head and looks past me over my shoulder. His face lights up. “Daddy, Pwincess Mia and Aunt Tessa arwe herwe!”
I turn my body and feel a rush of calmness run through me. Mia’s face is streaked with tears but she quickly shakes off her sadness when she sees Nolan. She is either relieved or she doesn’t want him to see her like this. Tessa, on the other hand, looks murderous. “Here, can you take him for me while I go handle this?” I hand Nolan over to Mia and he can’t seem to get into her arms fast enough. She leans into me and kisses me on my jaw before walking toward my truck, her lips pressed to Nolan’s forehead.
Tessa waits until Nolan gets several feet away before saying, “where the fuck is that stupid bitch? She doesn’t deserve jail. She deserves to eat my fist.”
“Calm down, Tessa.” Luke’s voice startles us both, Tessa more than me. He walks past her and joins my side, keeping his eyes on her. “How would you going to jail help out in this situation?” She glowers at him, crossing her arms over her chest as we walk toward the first cop car behind the red Altima.
I can feel the blood rushing in my ears as Angie’s face comes into view, her lower body hanging out of the back of the cop car. Her hands are obviously bound behind her and she is crying hysterically. She seems to cry harder when she senses my presence. And now that Nolan is out of ear shot, I don’t have to remain calm. I push past the officer that is standing right outside the door, not even bothering to register who he is, and bring my face a breath away from hers. I can smell the booze on her and that just fuels my anger. If she was a man, I’d rip her throat out.
“You fucking bitch!” I feel the hands on my shoulders, trying to pry me away from her but they aren’t strong enough. I stay right where I am and she feels every ounce of hate I have for her. “You’re a fucking disgrace. I hope you’ve enjoyed your three years with him, because you’ll never see my son again.” The hands multiply on me and I am slowly being dragged away from a regretful looking Angie. But I don’t care how sorry she is or if she’s sorry at all. There is nothing she can say to make me feel a shred of remorse for her. But the dumb bitch speaks anyways.
“I’m sorry. Ben, I’m so sorry. But you gave up on us.” Her tears come harder. “You gave up!”
I lunge forward and fill my lungs to the max. “There is no us! And I don’t give a shit if you’re sorry! You could’ve killed him! You could’ve killed my son!” She is delusional if she thinks any amount of apologizing is going to help. And the fact that she thinks it will help only enrages me further. “You’re a fucking piece of shit!”
“Ben, that’s enough,” Luke strains in my ear. He has the main hold on me and I am now a good fifteen feet away from the cop car. I see Tessa’s wide eyes and realize I need to calm down. I can’t be like this when I get back to the truck. I’ve said all I wanted to say to Angie and I don’t want to see her face again.
“Alright. I’m fine.” I shrug him off me and walk over to Rollins who is watching the scene.
“Can’t say I blame you for that outburst. I would’ve reacted the same way.”
“What are my chances of getting sole custody of my kid now?” I ask him. Rollins’ wife is an attorney that we work with frequently, and he in turn knows more about the system than I do. He also has an ex-wife that took him to court years ago over a custody battle.