Tina groaned and stretched out her arm for her blaring phone. It was pitch black in her bedroom and her pillow was covering her face. She heard the muffled clunk on the floor after her hand knocked her phone of the bedside table. "Damn it." She whispered into dark before reaching over the side of her bed and holding her phone to her ear. "Hello?"
"Tina, it's Richard." The deep voice echoed through the phone.
"Where are you?" Tina asked as she sat up in bed, looking at her alarm clock. "It's almost three in the morning."
Richard exhaled loudly through the phone. "I'm at Bellevue. It's about SJ."
Tina felt her stomach drop as her hands started to shake. "What happened? Is she okay?"
"She's fine, but you should come down. There's a detective here. She wants to take SJ down to the station to question her about what happened." Richard explained as he looked in on the detective already questioning SJ in the hospital room.
"What unit is this detective from?" Tina asked flipping on her lamp and hurrying to her closet to find something presentable at this time of the night.
Richard paused biting his lip. "Don't overreact."
"Don't tell me that."
"Special Victims Unit." Richard sighed before he heard the click of the call ending. "Shit!" He mumbled before running a hand down his face.
"Where is she?" Tina asked as she hurried over to Richard. Her heart was still racing and she couldn't remember the car ride here. SJ could not be going through this.
Richard grabbed her shoulders to stop her from charging at anyone for answers. She immediately slapped his arms away, but he blocked her. "Tina, just calm down. It's not what you think."
"Calm down?" Her eyebrows rose with her question, not believing the words were being uttered from his mouth. "You are telling me to calm down after telling me a detective is questioning my daughter from the Special Victims Unit. We both know the kind of cases they deal with."
"Yes, but SJ was not a victim of that kind of crime." Richard whispered. He could tell she was just being confused by his words. "SJ was mugged tonight. She was not raped, Tina. She was walking home from a club I guess. A guy came out of nowhere, grabbed her purse, cut her with a blade in the process, and left." He put a hand on her shoulder, relieved that she didn't push him away again. "Other than the cut, she is still her same old self. Nothing else happened."
Tina's eyes closed feeling like the world had just fallen off of her shoulders. "Thank God." She inhaled slowly before looking back up at Richard. "Then, why the detective from SVU?"
"Since she is a very public figure, they wanted to keep this as quiet as possible. Nobody needs to know that an actress got mugged in the streets of New York." Richard stated as he crossed his arms over his chest. "I've told her to call me if she doesn't have a ride. She can't just walk around whenever she wants."
Tina rolled her eyes. "She shouldn't need a bodyguard everywhere she goes, Rich. We both know SJ is going to do whatever the hell she wants, whether it's good for her or not.""I wonder who she sounds like."
Richard smirked before stepping back from her, allowing her to walk past him. "She's in the room right now. They just want to bandage her up and take precautions in case the knife was dirty."
"Alright, where's the detective?" Tina nodded as her eyes glanced around the white hallways.
Richard jutted his chin towards the elevator. "She went to go grab a coffee. I guess she wanted to call her captain and update him on what's going on." He watched as she brought her thumb up to her mouth, gently biting at the nail. "Go see your daughter. It will make you feel better, and I'm sure she wants to see you right now."
Tina saw his hand coming up to take her arm before she moved away, disappearing into the room before he made contact with her. She exhaled sharply when she entered the room. Although she knew SJ was safe, being in a hospital didn't make her feel any better about it. The lack of personal details and neutral colors just reminded her of how many things she wished could be like this in her life instead of burned into her mind with the great detail that still haunted her some nights.
SJ was standing next to the hospital bed that her jacket occupied. Her long brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail, and her shredded sleeve was hanging around her bandaged forearm. When she looked up, her blue eyes met Tina's. "Mom?"
"Hey, Richard called me." Tina smiled before walking up and hugging her daughter. "You should've called him to bring you home."
"The club was only a couple blocks from the apartment." SJ breathed into her mother's shoulder. "I thought it'd be fine." She hugged her mother tighter, welcoming the comforting moment. "I didn't mean to worry you."
Tina kissed SJ's head before pulling back to look at her face. "I know you didn't, baby. Next time, just please call Richard. I don't like you walking around alone, especially at night." SJ nodded her head. "Now, are you alright? I know he had a knife, but is there anything else?"
SJ shook her head before looking down at her sleeve. "No, it was just the knife. I'm doing alright; I guess. I'm not really sure at this point. I think I might have broken his arm. He was holding it when I was chasing him down the street."
"You were chasing him!" Tina's eyes widened. "What the hell were you thinking?"
"I was thinking that he wasn't going to get away, but he outran me." SJ stated before slipping her phone into her pocket. "I know it was dangerous, but didn't want to spend more time worrying about who else he might go after."
Tina sat down on the bed, watching as SJ pulled on her jacket. "The police are supposed to catch him. He could've been another person after you. What about Tyler? You two weren't exactly happy with each other the last time you talked to him."
SJ shoved her hands into her jacket pockets. "Tyler and I were breaking up. He wouldn't hurt me. I know he wouldn't.""People can surprise you."
Tina sighed before there was a knock on the door. A taller woman with black hair was peeking in with brown eyes. She stepped further in, her heels clicking on the floor, to reveal her matching pantsuit. On her belt hung a golden NYPD shield, catching the florescent lights hanging above. "Ms. Baxter, I have a squad car downstairs waiting for you."
"Okay, this is my mother." SJ said before looking down at Tina and holding out her hand. "Are you coming with?"
"Yeah." Tina whispered sliding her hand into her daughter's and squeezing her fingers. "I'm coming." Slowly, her feet carried her out of the room with the help of SJ's tugging hand. She felt lightheaded, like everything was just a messed up nightmare. But, she knew better. Life was unfair sometimes.
She held her breath, trying to hold in the sob so he wouldn't hear her. But, her lungs were burning, and her eyes kept filling with tears. Everything within her ached and jerked before she let out the first of many sobs that uncontrollably took hold of her body. She didn't care anymore. There was too much pain.
The sudden intrusion of light momentarily blinded her as the door opened. Evan looked down at her with concern. How weak she must have looked huddled in a ball in her closet? Quickly, she wiped her eyes though it was pointless with the countless ones streaming down her face."Tina, what's wrong?" Evan asked squatting down beside her and turning her towards him.
"I can't do this anymore, Evan." Tina choked out. "All the lying, the secrets, it's eating me alive. It's hurting people. This could destroy you. It's already torn me apart."
Her last words were regretted when she saw the hurt expression come across his face, like he was being stabbed in the heart. She looked down at her lap, avoiding his gaze. But, that didn't last when his thumb and index finger gently moved her chin so she had to look up at him. "Is that really how you feel? Do you want to end this?"
Tina felt her heart twist at how broken he sounded. "I don't know how I feel. I just know that if this doesn't stop I'm not going to be the same person I used to be. I'm not that person now. Whatever choice I make, I lose something that I don't want to."
"Why don't I give you a couple of days to think about this? Don't come to the office. Spend time with your family, and figure out what you really want the most. I'll be waiting for your answer here." Evan whispered before wiping her face with his handkerchief. He smiled kindly at her. "I understand that this is a lot. I never wanted this to put you through so much."
"Alright, but what are you going to do while I'm gone? You have to have someone there to help you out." Tina questioned now worried more about him than what her current crisis was.
Evan shrugged. "I'll figure it out. You just relax, and we'll figure out your position when you get back. Don't you worry one bit; I'll wait for you."
Tina shook her head, clearing her head of the memory when the car stopped in front of the precinct. SJ looked over at her mother. "Hey, are you alright? You were zoned out there for a while."
"Yeah, I'm fine." Tina said plastering a clearly fake smile on her face.
"Mom? What's wrong?" SJ asked giving her full attention to her mother.
Tina often wondered how she did that. Even though there were cameras and reporters around waiting to talk to her or even see her, she could ignore them all and make somebody feel like they were the most important person in the world by just focusing on them."Right now, let's just worry about you." Tina tried assuring her by squeezing her hand before kissing her head. "Let's get this over with. Richard is already clearing a path for us."
SJ sighed, but did as she was told. One thing she knew about her mother, you only find out what you're supposed to know. "Fine, but stay close to me."
Both women emerged from the car and were led by the detective through the ever curious crowd as they thrust microphones in their faces and flashed their cameras. One of the reporters blocked them off from Richard. "SJ, is it true that your father is a politician in Washington?"
Before Tina could retract her daughter from the conversation, SJ was in the journalist's face. "Where did you hear that?"
"I don't reveal my sources." His sly smile showed just how big his ego was.
"And, I don't answer stupid questions." SJ smirked before grabbing his microphone and chucking it down the street like a football. Her hand found Tina's again as Richard pushed his way back to them. "Don't listen to them, Mom."
Richard wrapped his arms around both of them. "Let's get you guys out of this." He said as more uniformed officers came out to keep the crowd back. Once inside, all let out breaths they didn't realize they were holding. "Are you guys alright?"
"We're fine." Tina said running a hand through her hair. She could feel her heart pounding erratically in her chest, and her palms were sweating. The knot of nerves in her stomach made her feel like vomiting, but she kept herself together.
"One of those reporters knew about him." SJ breathed, ignoring her mother's words completely.
Richard's eyes widened before he looked out at the swarming frenzy of cameras and hands trying to intrude in on the conversation inside. "Shit! Tina-"
"Don't 'Tina' me. I'm fine. We're not here to deal with that shit now." Tina fired back at him. "I haven't seen him in twenty-two years; we're not going to worry about him."
The detective from before came over to them, her heels clicking on the floor. "Is everyone alright? Somebody must have tipped off the reporters about this."
SJ nodded her head. "We okay. Can we just get this over with?"
"Of course." The detective smiled sympathetically and nodded. "Just follow me upstairs."
Richard took SJ's hand into his own. "C'mon, SJ." He whispered to her. Tina grabbed her daughter's hand as they entered the elevator and followed the detective up to the squad room.
The room was a riot. Detectives were hurrying around with piles of paperwork and promising new leads, trying to find their partners in hopes of closing whatever case they were working on. It was a maze with the amount of desks and chairs in there. Most of the light was flooding in from the windows, making the fairly large room look small and dark.
"Sorry about the mess. We've been working on a really big case." The detective sighed before grabbing a file off of her desk. "Why don't we go somewhere more private?" She raised her arm and waved to somebody before leading them into a smaller conference room.
Richard pulled out two chairs for Tina and SJ before seating himself down, taking SJ's hand into his again. "You are not going to your interview today."
SJ's eyebrows rose. "This has been planned for months. It took my agent forever just to get in contact with the scheduler."
"I don't care. Somebody is after you. If you are out in public, it gives them a greater chance of actually killing you the next time." Richard stated looking directly into her eyes. "Promise me that you won't go."
"I'm not promising jack." SJ gritted out quietly, watching for the detective to come in.
Tina put a hand on her daughter's back, making her turn to her. "SJ, Richard is right. I'm not losing you to some stupid show who wants to talk about the latest rumors."
SJ searched her mother's face for something to prevent what was happening. When she could only find fear of what could possibly happen, she relented. "Fine, I promise. I won't go anywhere. But, what am I supposed to do why this prick is running free and waiting for my next appearance?"
"You could learn how to call somebody when you need a ride somewhere." Richard mumbled mostly to himself, earning a glare from the two women beside him.
Before the discussion could become more heated, the detective came in with a man behind her wearing black slacks and a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He looked sleep deprived with the bags settling under his green eyes. There were gray hairs starting to emerge from the black ones behind his ears. He smiled kindly at them before extending his hand. "I'm Detective Turner; I'm Detective Jacobs partner."
Tina glanced at the female detective hearing her name before looking back to Detective Turner. He sat down at the end of the table and remained focused on SJ, asking her question after question about what happened.
After hearing the entire story, Tina felt cold, but her blood was hot with rage. Some low life tried attacking her daughter in an alley and nearly killed her. Whether it was someone just wanting her purse or an obsessed fan, she didn't know and really didn't care. It was someone who was trying to hurt her daughter, and that deserved justice.
"So, what happens now?" Tina finally spoke up.
Detective Jacobs took out a pen and glanced over the notes she had taken. "Well, we need to find whoever did this. Is there anybody you know that would come after you like this?"
SJ shrugged her shoulders. "I can't think of any, but I've had stalkers before. They just take pictures through windows; they have never confronted me before, not in that matter anyway."
"What about that boyfriend you broke up with a couple years ago? You two didn't end on the best of terms." Richard suggested as an idea.
"Well, we broke up. I moved out. He seemed fine with it." SJ stated before squeezing Richard's hand.
Richard shook his head and looked at the detectives. "When she moved out, he threw a tantrum. He started breaking things and told her that nobody else would ever have her. She had to file a restraining order against him."
Detective Turner's eyebrows raised up. "That sounds like a good start. What was his name?"
"Greg Parks." SJ said leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms over her chest.
"The baseball player?" Detective Jacobs asked, her jaw dropping with the question.
SJ nodded her head. "He lives near Central Park. He's probably screwing another Playboy girl right now."
Richard cleared his throat, scratching his five o'clock shadow. "Are we free to go?"
Jacobs shook her head. "No, if we have anymore questions, we'll call you. Otherwise," she handed over a crisp white business card with the NYPD badge on it, "if you need anything, call me anytime."
"Thank you." SJ nodded before taking the card and clasping it in her hand as they all walked out. Tina felt as if something was missing. There was a piece to this puzzle that wasn't showing up, but she knew it was there. Her thoughts were interrupted though when the elevator doors closed and Richard started talking.
"Tina, the reporters are probably still here. We can go out the back way."
Tina shook her head. "What are they going to do? I've been through much worse."
SJ hugged her mother tightly. "Are you sure you're okay? Mom, I'd understand if you're not. I don't know why they would dig into that."
"You're a celebrity. Whatever secrets you have are going to come out or be buried with money. Honestly, I don't know which option is better." Tina sighed before rubbing her back. "I promise, baby. There is nothing they can do to me. I'm fine."
"Like you're going to tell me otherwise." SJ smiled softly, sniffling as she pulled back to look at Tina's face.
Richard was checking his phone behind them, mumbling to himself again. "I wonder where she gets it from. I know where you get it from. It's scary, because it's started to rub off on me." He continued to mumble his thoughts until the elevator doors opened back up on the main floor. "Alright, Tina call us when you get home. Check closets, under the bed, and the shower before you hang up."
"Okay, thank you Mr. Paranoia." SJ said pushing softly on his chest, silently telling him to back off. "Just call us when you get home, please."
"I will." Tina chuckled before hugging SJ again. "Stop worrying about me though."
Richard smiled before kissing Tina's cheek. "No promises, Troublemaker."
Tina shook her head, grinning at the two. "Go home." She watched as they stepped outside, entering back into their world of cameras and questions while she finally took a breath to calm herself. That's what she needed in order to convince herself that everything was going to be okay.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, SummerRaeBensonWrite a Review