November 18th, 1989

He didn't hate the family that had taken care of him while his mother was, unbeknownst to him, in prison. He did like them, but never really loved them. He'd always felt like he didn't belong. And the parents' biological son and daughter made sure he knew that by giving him dirty looks whenever their parents turned away.

But now he was happy, he finally got to see his real mother.

Despite the long drive from Scranton, Pennsylvania to New York City, he could hardly sit still. The women in charge of his case, Lynn, smiled at him and asked, "Are you excited to see your mother?"

The ten year old nodded enthusiastically. Finally, he could feel like part of a family. He briefly wondered if his mother and father were still together, if he had any siblings he didn't know about. His thoughts were interrupted upon seeing the pensive expression on Lynn's face.

"What's wrong?" he asked in that childhood innocence tone.

"Oh, it's nothing," she said, quickly replacing the smile on her face, "I'm just gonna miss seeing you."

How could she let this happen? That woman, Joline, had been in prison for the past nine years and she was supposed to just give her her child back? Lynn didn't believe Joline was fit to be a mother, but the judge had ruled that, while not exactly an ideal role model, she didn't have time to prove herself a bad parent, and that so long as she stayed out of trouble with the police, she could have him back.

Lynn grimaced, but again immediately dismissed the negative look for his sake. Maybe there was a chance that prison had turned her around; scared her back onto the straight and narrow.

When they finally arrived at Joline's home on the outskirts of New York City, what Lynn and her privileged upbringing called 'the slums', he couldn't unbuckle his seatbelt fast enough.

"Alex, slow down," she laughed, "She isn't going anywhere."

"I know," the little boy whined, "But can't we hurry?"

"Alright, alright," Lynn sighed, making only a slight effort to move faster.

She got his two suitcases out of the trunk just as he was about to cross the street, "Alex! Wait just a second!"

She had better be a good mother for how excited he is, Lynn thought as she rushed over to Alex. She followed him across the street and up the small set of steps to Joline's front door. Lynn reached up and knocked on the door. After a minute or two, there was no answer. She could see Alex's happiness start to fade. Lynn was about to knock on the door again when it flung open again without warning.

"Sorry it took me a minute to get to the door," Joline smiled, "I was on the phone with a friend and she just would not stop talking."

"Oh, it's okay," Lynn said, "You're here and that's the important thing."

Joline picked up on the accusatory tone in her voice, "Well of course I'm here, I wouldn't want to miss seeing my little boy!"

Joline kneeled down and held out her arms. Alex immediately ran into her arms and hugged her tightly. Joline took the chance to glare up at Lynn without Alex seeing.

"Come inside, won't you?" Joline offered as she stood up, holding Alex.