Today I’m sharing a snippet from “In The Best Interest of the Child.” Olivia Chandler is finally arriving home after a full, exhausting day that didn’t go quite as she had planned. She has also just been assigned a special case by the court that will haunt and challenge her, and make her question everything she thought she knew about herself.
*Unedited and subject to revisions.
After pulling into her garage, Olivia pressed the remote to close the door behind her. Feeling the beginnings of a migraine pulse behind her ears, she leaned back against the headrest and closed her eyes. When had her day gone down hill so bad as to bring on her killer headaches? Olivia did a mental recap of her afternoon. A celebratory lunch with the senior partners of her firm for her prevailing in three child custody cases in the last ninety days, which would all eventually be used to strengthen children’s rights when they oppose blood relatives in court; the Cox and Janey vs. Janey decision, which didn’t immediately end the way she would have preferred, but would gain the desired outcome in time; and her meeting with Lacie Cox to tell her about the court giving custody of her to Mileda Janey. That kid was tough. She took the news better than Olivia expected and even smiled and hugged her. But Olivia could see the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes which were shadowed in sadness. She was excited about getting to spend more time with her dads, and told Olivia that even though they had to rotate weekly visits, she knew she would get to see them both every week. The child spoke with confidence when talking about the two men she loved dearly. Melida had never been much of a mother, but Ronnie and Matthew had both, in turn, did their best to make sure Lacie never went without and always felt loved. However, it was Melida’s avarice and narcissism that eventually would push each man out of the home. Hopefully, those same characteristics would be her undoing in a very short while. Lacie would be fine, and now that Ronnie and his current wife, Fran, were expecting their first child, Lacie would soon be a big sister. She couldn’t undo the bad times of her childhood, but she was young enough to make cherished, new memories with family that loved and wanted her.
Olivia abruptly stepped out of her car and slammed the door. She could feel the muscles in her neck tightening, and felt like Fate was sitting on her shoulders with a sledgehammer determined to crack her skull. Try as she might to not think about it, Olivia knew the source of her frustration.”Dammit Olivia, stop it and stop it now! You haven’t even read the file. Why are you getting yourself all worked up?” As if defeated, Olivia leaned back and sagged against the car. “Oh great. Now I’m talking to myself. The crazy has truly come home – I have become my mother.” Thoughts of Sarina Chandler instantly changed her feelings of frustration into anger. Grabbing her bags and the take-out meal she probably wouldn’t eat tonight from the backseat, Olivia made her way to the door that opened into the mud room. Kicking her shoes off without stopping , she stomped up the two steps and into her spacious kitchen, dumping her things on the counter, nearly knocking over the large vase of calla lilies. Scolding herself for being such a wimp, Olivia removed the file from her briefcase, and just stared at it. This wasn’t just a file, it was a child who needed her help, someone who needed her to make sure their voices were heard and their wishes known. She had handled thousands of these files over the last fifteen years…and she would handle this one as well. She would not let this child down.