Déjà vu. And not the warm fuzzy type.
It wrapped around Rose Bradigan like icy fingers squeezing her
chest until she thought her ribs would crack. The sight of her sixteen
year old daughter, Lily, standing on the other side of the front door,
flanked by two of New York City’s finest boys in blue, brought back the
nightmare that had begun two years ago when her husband, Ben, was
escorted out of their home with his wrists cuffed behind him. A solid
ball of fear lodged itself in the pit of Rose’s stomach as she looked
through the peephole at 1:30 in the morning.
She quickly twisted the two deadbolts then with shaking fingers slid
the chain lock free. Rose jerked the door open so hard it flew out of her hand to slam against the wall, leaving a two inch gouge in the plaster.
“What is this? What are you doing out at this time of night, Lily?” Rose demanded, her eyes focused on her daughter. At the mutinous look on
the teenager’s face, Rose looked from one law officer to the other, as
dread twisted around her heart.
“Ma’am,” the younger of the two officers was the first to speak. He
couldn’t be much older than Lily. Or at least he didn’t look like it with his baby smooth face and short curly blond hair. His piercing, gray-green
eyes, however held a cynicism of a man several decades older. “Is this
young woman related to you?”
“Of course. She’s my daughter,” Rose answered.
“May we come inside and speak with you for a moment, ma’am?”
Rose stepped aside without a word, her anxiety mounting. She
closed the door after the two policemen stepped into the foyer. Lily
reluctantly followed her mother into the living room and dropped,
belligerently into a chair. She draped one long, jean clad leg over the
arm of the wingback and proceeded to pull her cell phone out of her
pocket. Her thumbs flew across the touch screen of her iPhone5 at
“Please, officers, have a seat,” Rose invited, motioning to the sofa
across from Lily’s chair.
“Thank you ma’am, but we won’t be long,” the young officer said.
“Okay, what’s going on?” Rose asked as she stepped to Lily’s chair
and nudged the girl’s arm to get her attention. Lily ignored her. Not
unusual considering their relationship since Lily’s father had been sent to prison for drug trafficking and murder. Lily refused to believe that the father she worshiped and who doted on his daughter, would be guilty of
anything illegal. And when Rose told her she’d filed for divorce several months after his sentencing, Lily vowed to hate Rose until her dying
breath for not standing by his side and defending him.
Earlier that evening Rose and Lily had had another of their
screaming matches. Lily wanted to attend a party with her best friend,
Mercedes. That would have been fine had it been a weekend night.
Unfortunate for Lily, the hosting teen’s parents were out of town and
there would have been no adult supervision. Lily might be highly
intelligent and bordering on genius, Rose had informed her daughter,
but she was still a sixteen year old girl. An angry, rebellious sixteen year old girl. Lily had then stormed up the stairs reaffirming her vow of
eternal loathing before slamming her bedroom door so hard that the
pictures on the stairwell wall had rattled. Maybe Rose was a little
stricter with Lily than other mothers of teenaged daughters, but Rose
only wanted the best for her only child. Rose’s own dysfunctional
childhood and the loss of her mother at a young age had taught her to
make sacrifices for the greater good. Rose had even checked on Lily at
around midnight, hoping the girl would see reason. She had found Lily
sound asleep in her bed. So how—or better yet when—had Lily slipped
out of the house without Rose hearing her?
“Ma’am, I’m Officer Harris,” the older of the two policemen said.
“And this is Officer Jacobson.” Harris stood a few inches shorter than
Jacobson and had at least fifteen years on him. His short cropped hair
was shot with gray and his hazel brown eyes showed little emotion as
he recited the events of the evening. “We received a complaint about a
loud party with underage persons allegedly consuming alcohol. When
we arrived at the residence and after a cursory investigation we
ascertained that your daughter had no alcohol in her system. For her
own safety, we felt it prudent to escort her home and place her in your
Stunned into speechlessness, Rose looked from one man to the
other, wondering when the joke would be over. Of course it had to be a
joke. Someone else would be ringing the doorbell any second now and
when she went to answer it, one of her friends would laugh and tell her
it was all in fun. Rose waited. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds.
The doorbell didn’t ring again as the clock loudly ticked off the passing time.
“Oh God,” she whispered softly as she looked down at Lily, who
was still texting away on her cell phone. Rose reached over and stripped the device out of her daughter’s fingers.
“Hey, what the hell? I was talking to someone!” Lily said furiously
as she launched herself from her seat. She grabbed for the phone as
Rose held it out of her reach, glaring at Lily.
“Enough young lady,” Rose growled at her before turning back to
the policemen who were looking on with intense interest. In a choked
voice, Rose said, “Thank you for seeing Lily safely home.” Rose brushed
away a wayward tear that had slipped down her cheek. “Is she in
trouble? Will this go on her permanent record?” The fear that this
episode might prevent Lily from receiving the full academic scholarship
she had applied for, and was pretty much guaranteed, had Rose’s
anxiety ratcheting up several more degrees as she chewed fervently at
her left thumbnail. The coppery, salty taste of blood stung her tongue,
but didn’t halt Rose’s gnawing.
“No ma’am. From what we found, your daughter had only just
arrived and hadn’t had the opportunity to join in the festivities.” The
smirk on Officer Harris’ face and the doubt in his cold eyes told Rose he doubted that would have been the case had the complaint not been
called into the precinct.
Another silent tear found its way down Rose’s face. She brushed it
away with the side of her hand. She cleared her throat and said, “Thank
you again. I promise you this will never happen again.”
“Have a good night, ma’am,” Harris said, nodding to Rose. She
escorted Officers Harris and Jacobson to the front door and after they
exited, Rose slowly turned the locks and slid the chain back into place.
She stood facing the door, wondering how her perfect life had
come to this. The man she had loved since she was sixteen years old and
the father of her child, had lied to her about his business for the entirety of their marriage and was now spending the rest of his life in prison. She had never doubted that he loved her, and that he still did in spite of the bars that separated them. She had never once imagined he’d been
unfaithful to her. Lord knew she had loved him completely throughout
their time together and had serious doubts that she would ever again
find another man that she could give her heart to.
Rose’s beautiful, carefree, teenage daughter, the light of her life
and her greatest joy, hated her with every fiber of her being. Although
Lily’s grades had suffered the first year after Ben’s incarceration, Lily had thrown herself into her studies once more, announcing that she
was going to become a lawyer and free her father from the false
imprisonment and then sue the state for millions in punitive damages,
citing mental anguish as her case.
Now, the police were bringing Lily home after she’d sneaked out of
Rose turned to face the fury that was sure to come. She couldn’t
seem to make the cursed tears stop flowing as she looked into the angry
blue eyes so like Ben’s. It always infuriated Rose when she couldn’t
seem to stop her tears. She hated being the weepy type of woman. It
made her look weak and vapid, even though she knew in her heart that
she was stronger than that. But she could never seem to win the war
with her tear ducts.
“Don’t even fucking start on me, Rose,” Lily stood with her hands
on her slender hips as she glared at her mother. “And give me back my
fucking phone! You have no right to take it away from me. It’s mine,
daddy gave it to me, not you.”
“Go up to your room, Lily. We’ll discuss this in the morning,” Rose
said softly and turned away.
“What about my fucking phone?” Lily demanded.
“I’ve asked you before not to use that kind of language in this
house. And I’ve told you I don’t want you calling me Rose.” Rose’s voice was filled with resignation and desolation as she spoke. “We’ll talk
tomorrow.” Without another word, Rose made her way up the stairs to
her room and gently closed the door behind her, leaving a gaping Lily
standing at the foot of the steps staring at her.
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