Reuben was sitting in his office on pins and needles. He'd come back from a short deposition this morning to pick up some files for a case he had later on when Julia told him Amy had scheduled a meeting with him this afternoon. He'd left quickly after for the case but now it was over for the day. He'd grabbed an early lunch and had been racking his brain for the better part of half an hour wondering what she wanted to talk about. If she had scheduled an appointment with his office than it had to be a legal matter of some kind but all Julia had told him was that it was a personal matter. Writing a will? Medical power of attorney? Emancipation? What does she need my help with? He glanced at the clock and saw that it was exactly 12:00. In the front of his office Amy had just walked in and went up to the woman sitting at the front desk.
"Hello. My name is Amy Juergens and I have a 12:15 appointment with Mr. Ruben Enriquez." Julia just stared at her for a moment with her mouth open but quickly composed herself and smiled. She instructed Amy to please have a seat while she let Mr. Enriquez know she was here. Even though she was smiling, Julia's heart was racing. She's so young and if she's meeting with a district attorney, by herself, it must be something serious. Lord please watch over her. She quickly buzzed Ruben's office.
"Ms. Juergens is here sir."
"Please, send her in." Amy walked in a few moments later and took a seat. Ruben was about to greet her when he noticed her facial expression, or rather, lack thereof. He got up to close the door and then returned to his seat, fully alert and focused now.
"Amy, Julia informed me you have a personal matter you wish to discuss." She nodded and he continued, "What exactly is it you would like to talk to me about?"
"Mr. Enriquez I need to have more of a personal interview with you than a discussion and I would appreciate complete honesty, regardless of what you think my reaction might be to the truth." If Ruben was focused before he was on hyper alert now. But the only way he was gonna know what this was about was to have this 'interview' with Amy.
"Why did you buy the house next door to my mother's?" Oh no, this is going to be about her and Adrian not getting along. He sighed but answered her question anyway.
"Cindy and I wanted to become a family and have all three of us living together in a house instead of an apartment. Cindy and I looked for homes in the school district but there were none for sale."
"How did you find out that my father was selling his house?"
"Adrian told us."
"Were you and your wife the first ones to make an offer on my father's house?"
"Yes," he answered hesitantly, not sure where she was going with this. Why is she so focused on the house all of the sudden?
"How do you know?"
"You father called and offered to let us look around."
"How did he know you and your wife were looking for a house?" Nope, this is still about Adrian.
"He told us Adrian had dropped by and mentioned it."
"Were you aware of the reasons your daughter wanted you to buy my father's house?"
"Amy, there's really no need for twenty questions here. If there's something about Adrian you wish to discuss with me, you can just come out and say so. I know the two of you haven't always been on the best of terms, for a multitude of reasons. What is it you really wish to ask me?" Amy remained silent. Ruben decided to wait as well to see if she would relent and speak what was really on her mind. Five minutes passed and Ruben realized they were going to do this Amy's way or not at all.
"Alright Amy, yes. I knew she wanted us to buy the house so she could spy on Ricky."
"Why did you decide to move into a house next door to someone that you knew your daughter didn't like and vice versa?"
"Amy, Adrian was jealous that you got to spend time with her boyfriend too. There's not a lot a parent can do about their child's jealously accept to discourage it and encourage their child to deal with it in a healthy way."
"Where you aware of the unhealthy ways that your daughter was dealing with this supposed jealously?"
"Yes." What did she mean 'supposed'?
"Which ones?" Ruben looked at her confused. Which ones? What exactly had been going on between these two?
"I knew she had made some derogatory remarks about your mother and that she had held John without your permission."
"Is that all that you were aware of?"
"What do you mean?"
"Were you aware that your daughter approached me in the hallway at school, before finding out I was pregnant, and specifically asked me if I was interested in Ricky, promising to stay away from him if he and I were involved and that I had told her he and I weren't?"
"No." That was news to him. Although, he wasn't physically a part of Adrian's life back them.
"Were you aware that upon learning I was pregnant with Ricky's child she offered to drive me to the clinic to have an abortion and informed me that Ricky would never love or want to marry me?"
"No." Adrian actually said that!? As rocky as her relationship with Ricky was, what made her so sure he wouldn't care about the mother of his child?
"Were you aware your daughter later informed me my child's father would never love me and would forever hate me because by having my son I had ruined his life?"
"Were you aware your daughter later informed me because she was willing to have sex with my child's father that she would one day be able to replace me as his mother the two of them would raise my son as a real family?"
"She said WHAT!?" Ruben had never felt so angry and disappointed in his daughter, including the morning before school Cindy had asked him to drop by the apartment and he'd found her and Ricky half dressed.
"Were you aware that your wife had had an affair with my father?"
"Huh? Yes, but…."
"Why did you feel it was a good idea to move in next door to the woman whose marriage ended in part because of your wife's actions?" Ruben was rapidly losing both his temper and train of thought. Is Amy blaming me for her parents' divorce or is she simply mad at Adrian and taking it out on Cindy and I?
"Amy, I need a moment here to make sure I'm following you, okay?" When she remained silent he asked the question he had moments ago asked himself. "Are you angry with Adrian about something she said to you in the past or are you angry at Cindy for your parents' divorce?" Amy didn't respond and he could tell from your expression and body language she wasn't going to. He simply sighed and asked her to repeat her last question.
"Why did you feel it was a good idea to move in next door to the woman whose marriage ended in part because of your wife's actions?" Hearing the question again Ruben had to take a minute to think about it. At the time Cindy's affair hadn't seemed like such a big obstacle to overcome or deal with simply because it had happened and ended before we started dating. Wait, she's not asking about how I felt, she's asking about her family! Ruben could've slapped himself. He had gotten to know George and got along with him. He knew Amy and Adrian were at odds mainly because of Ricky but he figured if they both put in the effort to get along as neighbors they could come to terms with the reality of their situation. It never once crossed my mind how Anne might feel living next door to the woman her husband cheated on her with, let alone how her daughter might feel. He put himself in Amy's shoes for a moment. If I found out my parents were getting a divorce because my dad had an affair, then found out the other woman was the mother of my personal antagonist , and then found out that now both women would be living next door to me I'd feel….awful. And on top of that I now have to watch my mother's reaction every time she sees the 'other woman' next door and is reminded of the affair. Oh man did I screw up!
"Amy…..I'm sorry. I was so focused on making sure you and Adrian got along that I forgot to even think about the rest of the people affected by our buying that house because of our history together." Ruben wanted to continue apologizing but Amy asked her next question before he could get out his next sentence.
"Why did you initially offer to help my son's father obtain legal joint custody?" Wait, now she's mad at me for helping Ricky!? He stopped himself from asking her where she was going with that question, having recently learned that he'd figure it out eventually. Instead he told her the truth, knowing she probably wasn't going to like it.
"Most of your friends, including Ricky, decided to play hooky one day and we parents were called to the school. Leo and your dad were there and we discussed our children's decision to play hooky. We came to the conclusion that maybe if we all shared some of our mistakes and poor decisions with the lot of you, you wouldn't repeat them. I shared with Ricky that I knew he was unhappy about being separated from John and that he was willing to fight to be a part of his child's life, something I hadn't done. I told him that even though I'd paid child support for Arian all her life, I was never there. Her mother wanted it that way and I went along with it, even though I wasn't happy about it. I told Ricky that if he wasn't happy with his current visitation arrangements with you, that little impromptu vacation aside, I was willing to help him do better for his child than I had done for mine, even if that meant legal action."
"Did you ever discuss with your wife why she didn't want you around?"
"Did you ever ask my son's father why I was comfortable with the arrangement we had before you offered your assistance?"
"No, but Amy when both parents are around and willing to raise their child all the decisions can't come from just one parent. Not only is it unfair to the child but it's unfair to your partner, or co-parent."
"Were you aware at any time before the judgment was final that I was uncomfortable with the custody arrangement my son's father proposed?"
"Yes, but I told Ricky to first try to come up with an arrangement that both of you were comfortable with and that if he didn't honestly try I wouldn't help him" he said reluctantly, knowing that he had once again missed something vital, but at least in this case he had considered Amy's feelings and possible reactions to legal action against her.
"Did you ask him what my reservations were?" Reservations? That means she had concerns but wasn't completely opposed to the idea of joint custody. Something's happened that's confirmed one or more of those reservations. Does Amy feel she needs to do something but legally can't because of the mediation? What is going on!?
"What happened Amy? Do you want to amend the mediated agreement for some reason?" This was not going to be easy but the sooner they got started on the process the better, for Amy, Ricky, John and their friends and families.
"No." She stood up and Reuben did likewise, albeit confusedly.
"Thank you for your time and honesty Mr. Enriquez. I'll see myself out." And with that she turned, opened the door, and walked out of his office. Ruben had a gut feeling that whatever this 'meeting' had been about hadn't been resolved. This, whatever it was, was far from over.