Author's note: This story is set after episode 4.7, and before 4.8 'A pretty good day.' I just saw 4.7 here in New Zealand, and I am impatiently waiting for 4.8 to screen here on thursday, so this is just me impatiently waiting!
Disclaimer: These characters and the show 'Judging Amy' are not mine. I own nothing. I don't even own this computer.
Amy stared at the people in front of her, their faces withered in the hot, stifling courtroom, voices deformed by the heat. Stupid, stupid people.
'So let me get this straight. Neither of you want custody of your daughter?'
The woman stared at the ceiling. The husband stared at his feet.
The lawyer was new. He stood, cleaning his glasses and shuffling his feet, acting out the lawyer stance he'd obviously seen in some late-night courtroom drama.
'Your honor, my client has a very busy lifestyle.'
This case was going nowhere. And it was traveling ever so slowly.
'Your honor, the same applies for my client.' The man nodded in agreement with his lawyer.
Amy felt like banging her head against the wall. This couple had a wonderful, intelligent daughter, and yet neither of them seemed prepared to get to know her. She was merely a detour on their life plan, which they planned to reverse as soon as possible. All Amy wanted to do at that moment was go home and watch a childish cartoon with her own daughter. Or cookies. Amy hadn't cooked for years, but she had the sudden urge to bake. She considered stopping at the supermarket on the way home and buying one of those biscuit mixes. It was cheating, really, but at least she was trying.
'Your honor, we propose custody be granted to the maternal grandmother. She has looked after Anna for the past two months whilst the couple were away and numerous times in the past. The paternal grandmother has passed away and the maternal grandmother is the only capable adult who has expressed interest in bringing up the child.'
Amy looked wearily at the couple, and at the grandmother, absurdly young to have grandmother status who was twitching her fingers in nervous, motherly excitement.
The couple shook hands with the grandmother, as though they had just completed a business transaction, and left the courtroom.
Amy retreated to her chambers, and sank into her chair. Fondly, she eyed a portrait of Lauren on her desk, and closed her eyes. Tired. She was so tired. It was a couple of days since she had seen Jason in her yard, but she had spent every night since then on a camper bed in Lauren's room. She had told her daughter that their was a leak in the roof in Amy's room, but in reality, Lauren's room was the farthest away from the yard-and there was no way she could leave Lauren on her own when she knew he was out there, somewhere, waiting.
As it was, the camper bed didn't exactly provide sleep-filled nights anyway, and the fact that every noise sent her heart racing didn't help either.
Moments later her head began filling with nonsensical images, autumn leafs racing through the street like a flood, a dog barking noiselessly. The phone rang outside her chambers, but Amy was only dimly aware of it as the ringing crept into her dream, and turned into her house alarm, beeping incessantly. Gillian was trying to turn it off, whilst eating an ice cream sandwich. Now the sandwich was calling her name. The sandwich sounded a lot like Donna.
The images of Gillian and the sandwich faded as Donna shook Amy's shoulder-hard.
Still blinking back the remnants of her broken sleep, it took a few moments for what Donna said next to gain their full impact.
'Amy, it's Eric. There's trouble at the house, I think you'd better go.'
Amy looked at Donna, and blinked.
'I'm sorry... I don't know what you... Eric... he's babysitting... Oh my god.'
Amy began to shake and she repeated the phrase several times.
'Oh my god. 'Oh my god.'
'It's Jason... Lauren... Oh my god.'
She was having trouble breathing. Coat, car. No, Coat, Keys. Then car.
Donna was saying something about postponing her cases, that she'd sort it out. But all Amy could think of, oddly, was the ice cream sandwich. It was telling her to go faster.
1 hour previously
'Hey Lauren, your show's on.' Eric called from the kitchen.
Lauren rearranged herself on the couch, on which she'd spent the last hour watching various reruns and pretending to do her homework. It was math tonight. Ugh.
'I know, I'm watching it.'
'You've got half an hour, okay, then I'm coming to help you with that Math.'
Eric turned back to his homework, swinging his leg casually against the formica counter. He smiled as he heard strains of Lauren quietly humming the programs theme song along with the opening credits.
'Lauren? I'm surprised your mom lets you stay home alone. Good thing I was here, huh. I'm sure your mom will be very grateful.'
Eric head snapped up. Who the hell was that.
'Hey, aren't you the guy from the tow truck?...Wait...why are you in my house? My mom doesn't let anyone come over when Eric's babysitting.'
'There's someone else here?' He grabbed Lauren's shoulders and frightened, she struggles against him.
Lauren gasped as Jason slumped to the floor, and Eric was revealed behind him, wielding her grandmother's rolling pin, Trembling, he enveloped her with one arm and reached for the phone with the other.
'Eric? That man's not a tow truck driver, is he.'
Amy made the homeward run from the court to her street in record time. Shaking, she pulled in behind the cop car in the driveway, and ran from her car to the house.
She came to a halt in the kitchen, where an officer was dropping what seemed to be her mother's rolling pin into a plastic bag. She took a a couple of steps further and came face to face with Jason. His hair was matted with blood, and tears were trickling down his face. He was attempting to struggle against the cop who was holding him, but the fight had gone out of him and his efforts made little difference.
'What have you done to her... where is my daughter!' Her voice was strained and anxious, it didn't sound like her own. Amy pushed past Jason into the living room.
Eric stood talking to a kind-faced officer, his arm slung protectively around Lauren's shoulder. Lauren was listening intently to Eric's story, nodding along with the commentary.
Amy took a deep breath, and released it slowly, shakily. Then she was across the room, her arms around Lauren tightly, and she began to cry. Lauren turned so that face was in her mothers stomach, and mumbled something almost unintelligible.
'Mom, your suffocating me.'
Amy knelt to Lauren's height, kissed the top of her head, and held her at arms length.
'Sweetheart? Are you okay?'
Lauren looked at her mother.
'Mommy? You're crying.' Lauren was scared now. Her mom was crying and all of a sudden she didn't feel brave anymore. She could no longer hold back tears and, burying her face in her mothers neck, she began to sob.
Amy held her daughter tightly, kissing her hair and stroking her back. After a little while the policeman came over to her.
'I know this is hard for her, Ms Gray, but I really need to ask your daughter some questions.' The officer looked sympathetically down at Amy. She picked Lauren up and moved over to the couch, sitting with her on her lap. Lauren began her story with courage, but by the end her head was again resting against Amy's shoulder. Amy felt her heart break a little with every mention of 'the tow truck guy.'
'Amy? Amy! What on earth is going on?'
Maxine hurried into the living room, eyeing the officers and Amy cuddling Lauren on the couch.
'Did her hurt her?'
Amy shook her head and rested it against Lauren's.
The policeman spoke to Amy again.
'I think we're done here, miss. One of my men will probably be around tomorrow to discuss charges, but you can all sleep well tonight-we've got this man in custody now.'
Amy looked at the officer wearily and thanked him. He tipped his hat and followed the other officers out the door. As she heard it click shut, Amy sighed and closed her eyes. Maxine put her arm around Eric and led him up the stairs. 'Eric, you can stay in the spare room tonight. No arguments.'
But Eric was too tired to argue, and he obligingly let himself be led up the stairs.
Amy turned to her daughter, who's eyes were beginning to droop.
'Come on, baby. Bed for you.'
She carried Lauren up the stairs and into her room. She leant to place her on the bed, but all of a sudden Lauren stiffened and clung to her mother, terrified.
'Don't leave me by my self, mommy. Please.'
Amy's heart was breaking. This wasn't like her daughter. She hadn't been this clingy since she was a baby. She kissed her forehead.
'It's okay, Lauren. It's okay.'
She tucked Lauren under the covers and then slipped in beside her. Lauren snuggled up against her mother and and closed her eyes. Amy stroked her back and and laid her head wearily against the pillow.
'It's all over now, sweetie. Every thing's going to be okay. It's all over now.' It occurred to her that she was trying to convince her self of this just as much as she was trying to convince Lauren. But Jason was in jail, and although the emotional wounds would take a while to heal, Jason was gone. It was over.
So what did you think? It's a bit soppy I guess, but that's how I like it, lol. I'm a bit of a dramatic.