A raven-haired youngster sat quietly on the wooden bench in front of a large old-fashioned brick building with multicolored window frames and doors. The sign on top of the bright orange double doors read "Our Lady of Fatima Children School".
The child, who looked younger than her fives turned the pages of her book, "Matilda" by Roald Dahl, carefully, reading each line with wonder and deep concentration.
The look in her intense emerald gaze only reminded her intent watcher, of her mother, who was miles away in Sacramento, working.
The child, who the watcher now considered a near-saint awaited patiently for the arrival of her uncle, or at least his secretary, to drive her home or to some restaurant for food.
How this child's mother could manage to stay away from her, this beautiful, intelligent, determined child, was beyond him. If she'd been his daughter, and all knew he'd been an exceptional father, he'd always be there for her, watching her grow, never letting her innocent little soul be corrupted by the injustice and cruelty of our world.
This child he'd been spying on everyday for a whole week, without even glancing towards his direction, inside a silver hired car, had completely stolen his heart, more than any woman ever had. More than his own daughter, his own wife ever had. This child was his best friend's "forbidden fruit", she was a mistake, however, the best mistake Senior Agent Teresa Lisbon could have ever committed. She was after all the spitting image of her quietly beautiful and petite mother, inside and out.
The watcher let out a sigh of relief, not for himself but for the child, when a dark-blue Ford pulled over and a tall raven-haired man with big hazel eyes, with an apologizing grin and dressed in a suit took the little girl's Snow White backpack with wheels and placed it in the front seat while she entered the car and sat in her booster seat quite unwillingly. Quietly fuming, just like her mother.
Teresa Lisbon sat in her office in complete silence, as everyone else had gotten out for lunch and stared at a picture from inside her wallet—it was a picture of herself holding a tiny infant wrapped in light yellow blankets with rosy chubby cheeks and a chunk of ebony curls on her small head, bright green eyes open wide for the camera.
She examined this portrait just like in any other day, silently, longing for the moment where she would hold this same baby again, feed her, carry her, bathe her. Longing for it to be six o' clock soon so she could hear this now large mini-me of hers babble animatedly over the phone, always brightening her day.
As soon as the small pointer struck six, Teresa immediately dialed the seven digits she would never allow herself to forget, for it was how she channeled through all this mess that was her life and for once concentrated on something truly important, truly significant, truly precious—her daughter.
"Mommy!" Teresa's heart fluttered at the sound of her little monkey's bubbly voice. "Mommy guess what!"
"Guess what? How am I supposed to know what to guess if you won't give me a clue?" Teresa replied with a truly happy voice. "Am I supposed to guess just how much I missed you, cause it's a lot of numbers…"
"I miss you too, ma, but that's not it—Look out your window!" The little brat cried out with a loud amused tone of voice.
It was then that Teresa Lisbon noticed the sound of a busy street on the background of her daughter's call.
"Olivia…" Teresa shook her head in complete dismay and swiftly walked past her work-mates and her own agents, nearly running towards the main entrance of the Police Headquarters she worked in. "Olivia you are so busted! Does Matthew know you're here?" Teresa questioned as she ended the call on her phone and was nearly knocked over by an ever-growing kindergartner that owned her mind, body and soul.
"No, he had a meeting so I ran away from miss Eaton's office, grabbed a cab and came here. They took credit cards, I borrowed uncle Matt's."
Teresa shook her head in disapproval and sighed. "I can't really blame you baby, for taking matters into your own hands and coming here to see me. I know I've been very distant and a really bad parent to you—" Olivia shook her head and allowed Teresa to lift her into her arms and wrapped her arms and legs around her mother, like a baby monkey would do, never wanting to leave again. "But stealing your uncle's card, grabbing a cab all by yourself, that's absolutely crazy and unforgivable. Don't you ever do that again, young lady!"
Olivia nodded, becoming aware of the trouble she had caused and how reckless she had been. "Let's call uncle Matthew and miss Eaton and tell them you're here, shall we?" Olivia nodded and hid her face at the crook of Teresa's neck, hiding her little face in her mother's hair, identical to hers, only much longer, and cherished the few seconds she got to be close to the grown-up she loved the most in the world.
"Sister Sandra said I'm an exceptional reader and writer today… she saw me reading at recess and then during class when I wasn't supposed to. Class gets boring when you already know all about what you're studying. She says she wants to call you and uncle Matt over to talk to her, I'm not into much trouble am I?"
"Well honey, considering you're constantly running off, wandering the streets by yourself, pick-pocketing and hauling taxis, all I have to say is that I'm really proud you have street smarts and can fend for yourself, but that is no way a five year old girl who has a family, a home and so many people who love her should act. When you feel like seeing me you can call and I'll go and get you or ask someone to bring you here. I don't want to hear about you grabbing Taxi's all the way from Oakland and risk your life by doing so! I'm going to call your uncle, you're coming home with me and you're lucky, Olivia Marie that today is a Friday and Monday and Tuesday are holidays, or we'd be riding back to Oakland right now…"
Olivia frowned deeply, her big green eyes full of hurt. "It's not my fault my mom doesn't care enough to make an effort to see me! I'm always the one who has to come!" Olivia cried out, angry, frustrated tears pouring out of her eyes.
Teresa sighed as she was faced with three quarters of her team, staring at her completely thrown aback—even Cho. Teresa sighed again and realized that keeping them from the knowledge of Olivia had been far from keeping the personal out of the professional, she'd hid a great part of her life from them and that was sort of like betrayal, to herself, to them and especially to her little daughter.
She walked inside her office and held her daughter, promising God, the Virgin Mary and all the saints she knew that she would never keep Olivia away from her for "protection". Yes, Teresa was afraid that the same thing that happened to her consultant, Patrick Jane and his family happened to her and her daughter, but that was no excuse to not be a present mother.
Never again would she settle Olivia away from her, Teresa now realized that she was safer here, with her mother, than in another town, constantly wandering away, midst strangers and busy streets, bad people, strange people, perverts.
Olivia was safe where Teresa could watch her, watch her grow, be the mother she was too much of a coward to be before. Olivia was her daughter and she wanted to be her mother, for real and not just over the phone.
Lisbon had raised three punks before, Olivia wouldn't be too different, except for in sex and her overly-independent personality. Teresa Lisbon had put countless bad guys in jail before, now, she was locking away her inhibitions, her fears and her terrible habit of always being alone. She wouldn't be lonely anymore, there would always be Olivia there to come home to.
Thank you everyone for reading, this is a better version of chapter one I re-edited and posted. Thank you all for the constructive criticism and I'm deeply sorry if at first the format of this chapter interfered at allowing you all to have a more leisurely read.
Also, if Olivia is five and grabbed a cab and credit card alone, it's because she inherited all her mother's smarts and this is FICTION after all.
All in all, thank you all so much for reviewing and stay tuned for chapter two!