~Chapter Twenty-Two ~
The sound of the bathroom door banging against the wall had Justin scrambling to stand up. As he turned toward the noise he saw a handsome policeman in riot gear.
Justin stuck out his hand. “Thank you, sir.”
The cop took the offered hand and pumped it up and down with enthusiasm. “You’re welcome. We’re just glad you folks weren’t hurt.”
Arianna stood up, her slight frame shaky. With trembling voice she asked, “Can I see my baby now?”
Justin’s heart went out to her. He laid a protective hand on her shoulder. “I’m afraid not, Sweetie. We have to fill out the proper paperwork and submit it first.” He looked down at her, hoping she understood.
He laughed at the look she presented. Her lips pursed in an impatient ‘o,’ and her eyes flashed with irritated anger.
“No, I want to see Chance now. This is ridiculous. He’s my baby—and they have no right to keep him from me,” she sputtered.
Justin had to agree, but it didn’t change the reality of the situation. She wouldn’t be able to see him until she submitted the proper paperwork.
Mary Jo, who’d just finished giving her statement, walked down the short hallway to join them. “She needs to see her baby, Justin.” She gestured toward Arianna’s top.
Justin glanced toward Arianna, not catching the nurse’s look. He shrugged. “I know, I...”
Mary Jo took a firm hold on his shirt sleeve. “No you don’t. You’re missing the point.” She gestured toward Arianna once more.
This time Justin’s eyes fell to her chest, and understanding dawned. “Oh…I get it. She needs to see the baby.”
Mary Jo nodded, a huge smile covering her face. “Yes.”
Justin looked at the officer. “Sir, my wife needs to see the baby, and as soon as possible.” He gestured toward Arianna’s chest.
The officer looked, and his face turned a bright red.
Justin had to laugh. Such a big tough guy, standing there in riot gear, red-faced because a new mother’s breasts were telling her it was time to feed.
“I see—that, sir. Let me see what I can do about it.” He walked away.
Justin snickered continued to snicker, watching as the man said something to the woman behind the desk.
Arianna spoke to him now, this time her anger directed at him. “Justin, that was embarrassing. That guy was looking at my chest. I felt so exposed.”
“I’m sorry, Sweetie. I had to make him understand you needed to see the baby.
Hope swept across her face and Justin gasped as the color flooded back into her wan cheeks. She was beautiful…and so fragile, he reminded himself.
She smiled up into his face. “Do you think they will? I can’t wait to hold him in my arms again.”
He nodded. “Maybe.”
Mary Jo didn’t smile. When Arianna looked at her, she shook her head. “I don’t think it’s wise to get your hopes up so high, child. They may not.”
Arianna’s face fell. “But why?”
As if explaining to a small child, she answered, “You have to look at it from their point of view. They have a newborn baby who was found in an old house. Neither his mother nor father was there. They have to be positive that baby belongs to you before letting him go. If they let you feed him, you two might bond. They can’t allow that with just anyone. I mean, they may have that baby for months and months. How foolhardy would it be to let him bond with some random woman who isn’t related to him?”
Arianna listened then gave a small nod. “But I was there Mary Jo. I see your point, but you have to see mine, and so do they.”
Mary Jo’s face softened even more and she rushed to Arianna’s side, patting her shoulder in consolation. “I understand, Arianna, I really do.” She looked to Justin, as if he had some miraculous answer that would fix everything.
They walked into the main police station and stopped just short of the desk. Justin searched the crowds of people who stood about, gossiping about the uproar ‘the Monster’ caused, trying to catch sight of the nice policeman who’d disappeared in this general vicinity. When he spotted him, he held up a hand to get his attention.
The man locked eyes with him and Justin moved his little group forward. “What did you find, sir?”
The policeman looked to the woman who stood behind the desk and she turned around, grabbed a folder full of papers and slid them across the desk. She reached underneath and grabbed an old-fashioned clipboard and thumped it down on top of the folder. She pulled a blue ink pen from her pocket and added it to the pile. “Here Ma’am. Fill these out and we’ll see if we can at least get your baby here so he can feed.
Arianna’s face wreathed in a huge, bright smile. “Thank you so much.”
The plump woman shrugged. “Don’t mention it.”
Arianna smiled, sweetness dripping with every word. “Thank you so much. You don’t know what this means to me.”
The woman’s face turned to hardened anger. “No I don’t, but I can imagine the horror you must’ve gone through, knowing that monster had your baby.”
Arianna burst into tears while the others looked on in horrified surprise.