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~Chapter Twenty ~
Harry writhed on the floor, tears streaming down his face. His head pounded in excruciating pain, and now a cop was pushing him over onto his belly. He pulled his arms back and hand-cuffed him. Harry let out a tortured moan. “You’re hurting me,” he whined.
“Get over it Dirt Bag. This is nothing compared to what you’re going to be facing here pretty quick.”
Harry stopped sobbing and did his best to turn toward the cop. He couldn’t get turned over because the hefty officer had a knee in his back. “Wh…what do you mean?”
“You’re going to prison, jerk. You don’t do things like this and get away with it.” The cop pulled him up none too gentle-like and shoved him toward the top of the steps. Come on; let’s get this show on the road.”
Harry planted his feet, trying to stall the inevitable. “But it wasn’t me,” he protested.
“You’re an idiot, Harry. They can’t see me,” Adam laughed in scorn.
“But it was you, Adam,” Harry screamed. “This was all you.”
The police officer yelled, “Get some help up here. The Perp’s going off.”
Harry struggled now, trying to displace the cops hands. “Let me go. I can explain. Just give me a chance…”
A woman police officer rushed up the stairs, pepper spray in hand. She pressed into the top and a steady stream spewed into Harry’s face.
He screamed. “Ow, it hurts.”
“Judy, call some muscle. I’m gonna have him carried out of here so nobody takes a tumble down those steps.” He gestured down the steep staircase.
“Got ya, Joe.” She pulled the mic attached by a cord to her mouth and called for help. Seconds later two strong young men came rushing up the steps.
Anger washed through Harry as the two men carried him down the steps as if he were nothing more than a ragdoll. He let Adam take over.
Adam fought the rage, wanting to keep calm enough to speak. He took a deep breath and yelled in his low voice, “You all are a bunch of imbecilic idiots. Don’t you know you can’t cage us? You may have us down now, but we’ll be back!”
Justin pulled into the parking lot of the police station, heart hammering against ribs that felt too close. He couldn’t wait to see the look on Arianna’s face when she saw her baby. He hoped they would let her hold him. Wouldn’t they be able to tell he belonged to her just by seeing them together?
Arianna sat up and looked around. “Are we there?”
Tenderness washed through him at how innocent and expectant she looked. “Yes.” He didn’t resist the urge to bend down and plant a kiss on her small, upturned nose. Almost loath to remind her, he asked, “You do remember you won’t be able to take him tonight, right?”
Her face fell. “Yes. In a way I think it’s stupid, but I also understand why, but I just want to take him home and hold him in my arms. It feels like an eternity sense I last held him.”
Her huge, haunted eyes filled with tears and Justin reached over and hugged her, giving her skeletal back a comforting rub. “I’m sure you’ll be able to see him every day.”
Her lips curled at the edges. “Do you think so?”
“I do. Come on, let’s go.” He got out and helped her out, pulling her close to his underarm, wanting to protect her, and help her into the building.
Mary Jo walked just behind the newly married couple. In an overly happy tone, she said, “Can you believe the ordeal is almost over?”
Arianna turned to look at the nurse, still walking forward. “I can’t, but I’m so happy it is. I didn’t think I would ever get out of there alive.” She looked up at Justin. “And to think my father might’ve had something to do with it is enough to turn my stomach.”
Mary Jo gasped and Justin looked down at her in surprise.
“Yeah, I overheard you two talking. At first I was angry, but the more I thought about it the more sense it made. I can remember my mom and dad fighting like cats and dogs around the time I was kidnapped. Dad had gambled away most of the estate and they were close to financial collapse. My dad wanted to tell everybody. He said it would be less humiliating to tell it themselves rather than let people find out on their own and make up their own reasons why it happened. But my mom wouldn’t hear it. She insisted he keep it a secret.” She shrugged. “And if that’s the reason my dad had me kidnapped, I wonder how she’ll feel. If she feels anything at all.
Justin gave her slight shoulders a comforting squeeze as he opened the door and followed her inside. “I hope we’re wrong and he had nothing to do with it. I can’t imagine anyone’s parents allowing something like that to happen, let alone orchestrating it.”
Arianna shook her head in agreement. “Me too, but something tells me my parents did. At least one of them.”
They walked up to the first counter and Justin did all the talking. He explained what had transpired and told the plump woman behind the counter they wanted to see the baby. He moved Arianna in front of him and gestured down at her. “This is his mommy.”
The woman stared down at the computer screen in front of her, moving fake-nailed fingers swiftly over the attached keyboard. After a couple minutes she looked up, made a sympathetic tsking noise. “I’m sorry sir. Ma’am. Child protective services picked the baby up an hour ago. You’ll have to go through the proper channels to resolve this.”
Anger rose within Justin and he tried to tamp it down, but wasn’t entirely successful. “They knew we were coming. The police officer told me to bring Arianna here.”
The lady cop nodded. “I understand what you’re saying, but there’s nothing I can do. The baby’s gone.”
Arianna collapsed against his shoulder, sobs of sorrow issuing forth from her tensed body. She looked up into his eyes, the devastation in her own almost unbearable to look at. “I want my baby.”
He patted her awkwardly. “I know, honey. So do I.”
“Please Justin. Make them bring him here.”
In that moment he knew if it were possible, he would make it so.