”Evie…I’m almost there….” Bruno said driving 10 miles over the speed limit in his car to her apartment.
”Bruno! We can’t be late!” she told him hearing a knock at the door.
”I told you I would be here…” he smiled at her hugging her tightly.
”I missed you so much….” she told him pulling away leading him into the house early in the morning the day Sean’s rights were to be terminated.
”I missed you too…” he said taking a hold of Lucy’s teddy bear. ”Where is she?”
Evie pointed to her bedroom. ”With my mom.”
”Does she know what’s going on?” Bruno asked her quietly.
”My parents talked to her. They said they had the speech they gave us memorized and that it would be too hard for me to do. We told her the truth, that he can’t take care of her…that it’s the best for her that she doesn’t see him…but I don’t know if her little hea….”
”Bruno!” Lucy ran out of the bedroom jumping on him. ”Are you coming with us? To see the judge?” she asked.
”I’m coming with.” he told her.
”Okay..okay…let’s go…let’s go….” Lucy said dragging him out the door. He looked back at Evie and her parents. Evie was jumping to put on her shoes as her parents followed behind her.
”Bruno…are people going to recognize you?” Evie leaned over to ask him as they walked toward the front of the courthouse.
”If they do then we ignore them. Not to mention your entourage has me surrounded….” he said looking at her family that surrounded them as they walked.
”Oh..I didn’t think you would notice that.” she smiled at him. He held onto her hand tightly as they walked.
”What is it like in there?” he asked her. ”Like is it scary?”
”Naw…it’s not scary. I think I get more scared when it’s not me.” she told him sitting down on a bench on the 5th floor of the court house. Lucy sat in between the two of them playing with her mother’s hands until she saw Sean walk through the elevator. ”Go ahead, Lucy…” Lucy ran over to her dad and grandmother hugging them both. ”It’s stuff like that….” she said trying not to cry.
”Eve…don’t let it get to you. You’re making the right decision.” he told her. ”Remember that.” she continued to watch Sean sitting next to Lucy talking to her. She was using her hands to talk about something really big and dramatic. She smiled at them realizing she used her hands like Sean did. They heard the bailiff call their names indicating it was time to hear the case. Sean held her hand as they walked into the court room.
”Lulu…go sit with Mimi and Papa…” Evi told her daughter as they walked in.
”But can I sit next to Bruno?” she asked.
”Come on Lucy…” he said taking her hand to sit in the back of the court room.
”Ahhh…so we’re here again…” the judge sighed reading over the notes. ”Have both parties agreed to the terms?”
”Yes your honor…” Craig stated.
”And Mr. Greene’s team?” the judge asked.
”Yes, your honor.” his lawyer stated.
”Ms. Wilson…you agree to this? You had some hesitation last time we were here…” the judge looked her dead in the eye almost scaring her.
No….no…what am I doing? I can’t do this…I can’t…Christina leaned over to Evie. ”You’re doing the right thing, Geneva. Just say yes.”
”Yes, your honor. I have thought over everything and believe this is the best option.” she said to him. Her head almost turned her head to Sean to see his reaction like she always did. I’m not going to do it. She said. ”This is right.”
”Okay then. Mr. Greene…you’re aware of the consequences?” he asked Sean.
”Yes, your honor. I’m sorry it all ended this way.” he said sadly. Evie turned around to look at her family catching Bruno leaning in to listen to the conversation. He gave her a comforting look making her feel better than she had in weeks.
”Well, I’m sorry as well.” the judge answered. ”Let’s get this paperwork signed and finished. We’ll close the case after this paperwork is signed. And terms of a good bye visit have been planned?”
”Yes. Tuesday.” Craig answered.
”Let’s make sure that this doesn’t get canceled.” the judge answered sternly looking at Sean. ”And Ms. Wilson, please make sure to not instigate things, okay?”
”Yes sir.” she answered. The judge pulled out papers calling the two to the front.
”Now…after this gets stamped it’s official. Ms. Wilson..there is no change of heart. These proceedings break my heart. But it is what is right. Mr. Greene, please make better decisions and get yourself together. Ms. Wilson, please be safe in your future endevours…” he handed them pens watching them sign the papers, Sean signing his parental rights to Evie and Evie signing as a witness. They handed the pens back to the judge turning at the same time to see their families.
”I’m sorry, Sean.” she told him.
”Whatever Geneva. I’ll see you on Tuesday.” he shook his head walking to his mother and sister who walked out the room with no words to each other.
Bruno held Lucy’s hand walking out with Evie’s family. After getting in the elevator he leaned in to Evie. ”You are the strongest person I have ever met in my life, Geneva Wilson…please don’t cry…”
”I’m gonna try not to…” she told him running her fingers though her daughter’s hair.
”Mommy…don’t be sad. You said it was to be safe. Anyway, Bruno can be my dad.” she told them.
”Lucy!” Evie exclaimed while the rest of the family laughed at her daughter’s comment.
”What?” she asked. ”He told me in the car….but he said he has to marry you first.”
”Lucy Shay…get in the car.” Evie told her daughter ignoring what Lucy had said laughing the same way the rest of her family was laughing. Bruno looked at Lucy and shrugged his shoulders.
The family drove to Evie’s childhood home where her parents still lived to have a small family get together. Well, actually small was relative as several of Evie’s friends came by later in the afternoon after work and even more of Lucy’s friends’ parents and friends came over to the house. Lucy ran around the backyard with her friends completely unaware of what had just happened. Evie wanted to keep it that way. She was still struggling with what had happened.
”Evie, are you okay?” Bruno asked her moving his chair closer to her away from Caleb and McKenzie who had come over to her parents’ house.
”I am. I just…look at how happy she is. Like it just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside that she has no idea how horrible her dad is and that she will never see him again after Tuesday..or at least until she’s 18…”
”I know it hurts, Evie. ” he said rubbing her leg reassuring her.
”Bruno?” she asked him before he could turnaround to see his cousin.
”Yeah, babe?” he answered.
”What did you tell Lucy in the car?” she inquired.
”I said…Evie…Lucy asked if I loved you. And of course I said I do. And then she asked me if I would be her dad since Sean was going to go away.”
”She said it that way?” Evie asked concerned.
”Yeah. She said it in her little voice like because my dad is going to be gone.” Bruno said. ”So, I told her I’d try to be her dad….but that I’d have to ask you first.”
”So where did the but he has to marry you first come from?” Evie asked.
”Then she said that we should get married and you should get dressed up in your red dress for me. I just said okay, Lucy. I’ll ask your mom.” he answered.
”So you weren’t like telling her….” she was caught by his voice.
”Evie….” he turned her toward him watching everyone else in their own worlds while they were equally in their own. ”I….Eve…right now it’s about you, and me and Lucy….we don’t…I don’t…it…”
”It’s not the right time at all.” she told him. ”I want to finish school and I want everything to be perfect and….” Evie started thinking about it.
”You’re right..everything has to be perfect for you. And right now it wouldn’t be perfect.” he told her.
”Can we get through June before even saying that word again?” she asked him.
”Yes.” he said. ”But I wasn’t lying about the dad thing, Eve.”
”Brunooo…” she sighed trying not to cry. ”That means so much more than getting married. It really does….” she told him.
”Don’t cry again, Evie…geez. It wasn’t that big of a deal.” he laughed at her pushing her hair out of her face.