I gave my neighbor a ride to pick her son up from prison, and while I am waiting on them to return, my crazy ex-husband calls me. "Hello Kevin. What can I do for you today?" I ask, trying not to sound too bitchy because I never now if he is recording the call or not. I mean, I have an app that records all of my phone calls with him, but I don't dare tell him that.
"Where the fuck are you?" he asks.
"It's really none of your concern, but if you must know, I brought Mrs. Lombardi somewhere. You know she isn't able to drive anymore, and she asked if I could help her this morning. Is there something that you needed or are you just trying to keep tabs on me, Kevin?" I ask him.
"Listen here, bitch. I know you are at the fucking prison. Who are you visiting there? You fucking someone in there? I always knew you were a whore." he spits out through the phone. I simply hang up on him. I can't do this with him today. I forward the voice recording to my attorney, so he can add it to the file. We have court again in a couple of months and I plan to use all of those recordings against him. I am a crying mess when I see Nina and her son exit the prison, but I don't take a good look at him. He is a pretty good sized man, though, and I hope he will fit in the back seat of my SUV. I wipe my tears and put on my best smile as Nina climbs into the passenger seat. Her son, Dominic, looks at me, and I feel the faintest of attractions to his beautiful jade colored eyes. "Evelyn, this is my baby boy, Dominic." Nina says. I shift in my seat to get a good look at him as he folds himself into the back passenger side seat. I give him a nod, because I know if I open my mouth to speak that Nina will know who upset Kevin just made me on the phone. Dominic is like a chiseled sculpture of a man, and I could easily look at him for hours and drool. I don't have time to ogle some man, though. I've got an ex-husband who is making my life hell, two boys to raise, a shitty job to keep in order to make ends meet where the child support doesn't. Too much in my life to pretend that I could ever be happy.
I pull up in the driveway and there is a patrol car sitting at the curb. I tell Nina and Dominic, "Well, it looks like Kevin has beat me here. Please excuse me while I try to get him to leave." I open up the camera on my phone so I can video the interaction that is about to take place. I step out of the car, and Nina tells me "Evelyn, don't go over there. Let me go with you, so he doesn't act up again." I thank her for the concern, but insist that she go home and let me handle Kevin. Dominic gives me a look that says so many things, but mostly I see pity. Eventually, they head to their house. I walk towards my front door, and see Kevin sitting on one of the chairs that keep on the front porch. "Kevin, why are you sitting on my front porch? I did not invite you here, and I am asking you to please leave now." I say, as calmly as I can, although my hands are trembling.
"Who the fuck was that in your car? You haul my sons in that car, Evelyn, and I have a right to know who you had in the car with you." he stands up and walks towards me, backing me against the porch railing.
"I own that car, and who I have in it is my personal business. Please leave, Kevin, or I will have no choice but to call your boss on you. Again. You cannot keep showing up here like this. This is my home, and you are not welcomed here." I stutter out.
He reaches up, not realizing that I am video recording him, and slaps me hard across my face. "That was a warning. You don't ever fucking talk to me like that again. I will fucking kill you, you hear me? Now get inside the fucking house until it is time to get my boys from school." he barks out at me, but I stand my ground. Before I can say anything, he raises his hand to slap me again, but his wrist is caught mid-air but a larger hand but it is quickly released. Kevin spins around, "Who the fuck are you?" he says, throwing his arms in the air and waving them a little.
"I came over her to make sure that a police officer was not using intimidation tactics against an unarmed person. A small woman, at that. The lady kindly asked you to leave, you slapped her, and now I'm asking you to leave." Dominic says, towering over Kevin like a giant. I always thought Kevin was fit and rather buff, but not anything near in comparison to Dominic.
Kevin turns to me and says, "This shit isn't over. I'm letting my attorney know that we need to move up the date. I don't want my kids around this fucker." then he walks back to his patrol car. I glance down at my phone and see that it is still recording, so I flip the angle so I can document the hand impression on my cheek. It will for sure be bruised later, but thankfully I have enough concealer to hide it. I stop the recording, and know that I need to get a restraining order against Kevin. This will never stop if I don't do something drastic.
"You okay, Evelyn?" Dominic asks me, bringing me out of my panicked state, placing his hugs paws on my shoulders.
"Yes, thank you. I'm sorry you had to get involved. He is usually far worse, though. I have to go call my attorney, and hopefully with this video I can finally get a restraining order against him. Please tell your mom that I will bring dinner over later, today is potato soup and garlic biscuits." I say as I try to get my key in the door. I start to cry, "I can't get my hands to stop shaking."
"Here, let me." Dominic says, as he gets the door unlocked and pushed open. He hands me the keys back and steps back a few steps. "You make dinner for my mom often?" he asks me.
"Yeah, I take her something every night for dinner. Some nights, I only have enough time to drop off something for her during my breaks at work and other nights we come eat with her. The home health care nurse comes in the morning and makes her breakfast and lunch though. But I've made sure she has something for dinner since she got down and unable to cook." I say, pausing and realizing that now our nightly routine would need to change to add Dominic to the group. "I'm sure you want to have your mom all to yourself, so I'll get Brayden to bring dinner over so you and her can catch up and enjoy your time together."
"Who's Brayden? And Mom would be disappointed if you did that, and if you know her at all you know that I'm telling the truth on that. Don't break your routine with her. I'm happy to share her with you." he says, giving me a shy grin. I nod and smile back. "What time should we expect you? I want to have plenty of time to clean up and all?"
"Brayden is my oldest. He and your mom are best buds. Usually we come over around 6:30, that way the boys can have their nightly story time with Nina but it still gives me time to get them ready for bed." I say, feeling my nerves finally start to settle down.
"Good to know. And Evelyn, you can call me Dom. See you later." he says, walking down the steps of my porch and back next door. Dom! Damn!
I get the boys picked up from school and while they do their homework, I get dinner cooked. Luckily, school just started up a few days ago, so they don't have a lot to do. Brayden is in 2nd grade and Logan is in Kindergarten, and they both love their teachers and going to school and learning new things. I'm hoping to get them bicycles soon, because they are completely obsessed with everything involving bicycles. Kevin kept promising them that he would buy them one and teach them to ride, but he never followed through with it. He sucks that way. I told them all about Nina's son moving in with her, but told them that he is there to help her while she is sick. I don't think they should know about where he recently moved from.
At 6:30, we lock up the house and march our way over to Nina's house. The kids love her, and look forward to dinner with her. Kevin's mom is such a bitch to the boys that they hate going to her house, and my mom lives in Canada now, so they don't get to see her but once a year (if that). Nina has become like a grandmother to them. I told them that Dom is important to Nina, and they needed to be respectful and remember their manners. They understood and promised to be extra nice to Dom. I just hope his muscles and tattoos don't scare the hell out of my kids.
The boys make fast work of setting the dinner table, and filling glasses up with iced tea. Dom helps Nina from her recliner to the table, while the boys and I get the soup served into bowls. Nina offers a small blessing over the meal and we all dig in. The boys immediately start asking Dom questions. "Are those tattoos real?" "How did you get those big muscles?" "Do you know how to ride a bicycle?" "Do you know how to build clubhouses?" I end their barrage of questions. "Okay boys. Leave the man alone. He'll run us off." I say, shaking my head in disbelief that my kids are this fascinated by someone they just met.
"As long as you cook this good every mean, I'll never run you off. These biscuits are pretty fu- fabulous." he says, widening his eyes.
"Nice save there." I say with a laugh. "Thank you, by the way. I have been your mom's neighbor for two years now. We started doing this nightly dinner thing, what, about 8 months ago or so?" I ask Nina. She just nods, and keeps stuffing her mouth full of food. "I see your appetite is good tonight." I say to her, pointing my soup spoon at her bowl that is almost empty. She gives me that big smile of hers and keeps on eating. Makes my day to know that my food is bringing some comfort to her during these awful days of sickness.
Dom turns to the boys and starts asking them questions about school and hobbies and things they like to do with their friends. The boys freeze up, because they haven't been able to really make friends yet and their dad really puts a hamper on things in that department. But my boys are honest and they tell him about how their dad doesn't take them to do things so they don't really have hobbies unless I take them. They go on to tell Dom how Kevin still hasn't bought them bikes or taught them how to ride one, and how he promised to build them a clubhouse in the backyard, but never did that either. I can see Dom looking at them in pity, and it breaks my heart because I can't do more for my own kids. Brayden tells Dom how he likes to draw and paint, but he is only allowed to do those things when he is with me because his dad won't allow it at his place. The boys tell Dom, Nina and I about a field day that the school is having next month as a sort of greet and meet, and to my surprise they invited Dom to come along with us. I don't interrupt their conversations. My kids don't get to speak freely with another man, since Kevin forces them into silence when they are with him, so if they can enjoy this little moment with a complete stranger then I will let them have it.
After dinner, I get the boys situated with Nina in the living room, where she reads to them from a classic novel that they have started together. She reads a chapter a night to them, and this is the second book that they have done this on. I like it that she is so kind to them. I get the water ready to wash the dishes, and Dom's oversized man body stands up next to me. "Here, let me do this. You cooked. Go sit with mom and the boys." he says, motioning his head towards the den area.
"Absolutely not. Out of the kitchen mister." I say, pushing him playfully towards the den. "Boys, tell Dom here what the rules of the kitchen are. He doesn't know them yet." I chuckle out.
The boys stand up, almost like they are in a military formation. "No boys in the kitchen...EVER! Always rinse off your dishes before leaving them in the sink. Never leave food on your plates." Logan sputters out, like he has repeated the rules too many times for his own good. Reality is, this is the first time he has ever repeated them. I laugh at his overly dramatic tones.
Dom holds his hands up slightly, his really really large hands, and says, "Yes ma'am. Won't happen again. Promise." he says, trailing his eyes from mine to the floor. I can see a bit of pink on his cheeks and I find it adorable.
I get the dishes washed up, leftovers stored in the fridge, table wiped down. Nina just finished reading their chapter in the book, and the boys stand up and tell her thank you for having us over. My boys are so polite and respectful. I hope they always stay that way. They give Nina her hugs for the night, and Brayden leans in a whispers tonight's secret in her ear, and she pulls his cheek to her lips for a peck. It's cute, really, how they interact with each other. I've never asked what he says to her, and he never offers the information either. I let them have their time, because I know that they will need these little memories when her time comes. She is the grandmother that I wished my boys could've had. The boys run and hug Dom as he sits leaned back on the coach. He has an utter 'what the fuck is happening right now' look on his face, and it is hysterical. "Thanks for hanging out with us, Dom." my Brayden says, and sticks his hand out to shake with Dom. Dom reciprocates, and I can see the sense of self-pride flash over Brayden's face. He is growing up so fast.
I go over as the boys put their shoes on, and hug Nina goodnight. "Leftovers are in the fridge. I hope you have an easy night. We love you, Nina." I say to her. I look up at Dom, who is now sitting on the edge of his seat, looking like he needs a hug too. "Come on, stand up. I won't tell you that I love you, but I'll give you a hug too. We don't leave anyone out in my group." I say, wrapping my arms around his deliciously ridiculous body. Fuck, I'm going to be dreaming about him later. To my surprise, he hugs me back quickly but I take notice of his deep inhaling while doing so, and as soon as his arms leave my upper body I release my grip on his very warm waist I am left feeling cold and alone. I get to the front door and slip on my slides, but holler back, "I have an appointment tomorrow morning with Mr. Fessler, and then I work until 8. If you need anything, you know where I am. That goes for both of you. I'll bring dinner over on my break tomorrow night. Don't forget to take your meds." I say as I pull her door shut. Routine. I love it.
I get the boys bathed and ready for bed. They try to call their dad from the little cheap phone that he proves for them, but he didn't answer his phone, so they left him the usual voicemail. They hated their father, but I made them call him because the last thing I want is for Kevin to accuse me of keeping the kids from him. Tomorrow morning, I will meet with my attorney to get the paperwork started on the restraining order. I'm hoping that this will help stop his craziness. His mother is worse than he is. She actually slapped me in open court last time, and the judge had her ass tossed in jail for a week. I pressed charges, and she had to pay court costs as her punishment. I still laugh when I think about her getting cuffs slapped on her and her hollering at Kevin to do something. Highlight of my year. The kids rattled on and on about Dom, and I had to remind them not to mention him to their dad when they see him tomorrow. They understood that sometimes little secrets like that were for the best because of how violent Kevin could get. Those kids have had to help clean me up before, so they are fully aware that what Kevin doesn't know won't hurt him. I feel bad putting them in that position, but hopefully I will be able to protect them better after my meeting with my attorney in the morning.
I feel like tomorrow will be the start of a whole new life for me. It's just a shame. None of Kevin's fellow officers support him at all in how he has treated me or the boys. He drug a few into court the first time, but they all told the truth on how they had to call ambulances for me and how they had to file reports against him for battery and how they had to soothe my crying babies while I was being treated in an emergency room. He always seemed to get the reports corrected to reflect differently, and I'm pretty sure he was fucking whoever was helping him at the time. But now, it won't help him. My attorney is smart, expensive but smart, and he has groomed me well on the ways of capturing evidence that I can legally use against Kevin in court. Our next court date will be epic.
I'm dreading work tomorrow, but I know that we need the money so I work whatever shifts they give me at the restaurant. I'm fortunate that it is a hot spot for law enforcement, so I always feel safe, and they are damn good tippers. The court ordered child support pays all of the household bills, so my paycheck and tips cover groceries and any extras that we may need. I find myself wondering what Dom will do for work. I don't know his skills or if he went to college or anything really about him. Nina told me why he went to prison, and I honestly admire a man who is willing to take up for a woman that way. I wouldn't call beating a man to death heroic because that kind of violence is too real for me, but it's nice to know that he isn't like Kevin and hits woman. Although, I wonder if he is into spanking one?
The next morning, I get the boys up and ready for school. I see Dom catching a cab just as we are loading up in the car. Our little drive to the school is always so fun. We sing along to the radio, tell funny little jokes and riddles to each other. I have so much fun when I am with them. I wonder where Dom was off to so early? None of my business...that's where. God! Stop thinking about your overly hot neighbor.
I get to Mr. Fessler's office, and meet with him and his paralegal. I had already forwarded the video to them, but they took photos of my face to add into evidence. They type up the restraining order while I sit there and they add in all of the dates and times of incidents. They burn all of the voice recordings from the phone calls, and all of the video recordings that I have taken, to several disks for evidence, then printed off photos of injuries since our last court date. They had been begging me to get a restraining order against him, but I refused until now. I don't know why the switch went off in my head, but it is time for action. I get the affidavits signed and the paralegal takes it herself to the courthouse for filing. Hopefully, we will know something within 24-hours, Mr. Fessler tells me that sometimes it can be within a few minutes or an hour but not to get my hopes up that it'll be before tomorrow. I use their restroom to apply makeup and cover my bruised jaw and cheek, so I can head to work. Hopefully, no one at work will be able to see anything.
I get to work, although I am about an hour late, and see that my regular table is full and waiting around on me. I quickly clock in and throw my hair up in a bun, then walk over to them. "Hey fellas. Sorry to keep you waiting, had an appointment this morning. You all doing okay so far? Staying safe?" I ask as I get my order pad ready.
"Evelyn, honey. You could keep us waiting all day long, if you needed to." Vincent Donaldson says to me. He is a sweet older cop, that has been with the department for a long time. Mostly he works as a training officer now, but he can still hold his own if needed.
"Yeah, Evelyn. You're the only reason we come here now." Scott Weaver says. A younger man, Kevin's age. They used to be friends until Scott witnessed one of Kevin's moments of rage against me. His brows crinkle up and he tilts his head, and I know that he sees what I was trying to hide. "He do that to you?"
I just nod shyly, and look down at my order pad. "So, what is everyone having this morning? Usual or you want to change it up a bit?" I say, hoping that will get all of their attention that is now on my face, off of it and back to getting breakfast. They all start rattling off orders and I go put the ticket in the window. I hope they don't question me about Kevin anymore.