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Finding Hope – Chapter 5

          It was two days later when Kevin found himself in the kitchen with his family.  He was about to tell them the news that he had a daughter.

          “So, the reason I wanted you all to come here was because,” Kevin started saying as he got interrupted.

          “Daddy,” Emma said as she came into the kitchen area sucking her thumb while clutching her teddy bear in her arm.  “I heard a ding and Mommy was sleeping and she didn’t want to wake up.”

          “That was the doorbell honey,” Kevin said. 

          “I sleepy Daddy,” Emma said as she climbed up on his lap and closed her eyes, not realizing that people were there.

          “Kevin, what is that little girl doing calling you Daddy,” Denise whispered yelled.

          “This is why I called you all here, let me put her upstairs and then I will come and tell you,” Kevin said as he went upstairs and laid a sleeping Emma down by a sleeping Dani.  He then gave both of his girls kisses on the head took a deep breath and headed downstairs.

          “As you can probably all tell, that was my daughter,” Kevin said as his family started firing questions at him. 

          “Let me explain and see if that answers all of your questions,” Kevin calmly said.  He knew that if he stayed calm his family might stay calmer.

          “Anyways, last Friday night Dani had me go downstairs to get something for her and as I was walking to get it, I saw this little girl in the corner of our basement.  She was soaking wet from the rain and shivering.  Her name is Emma, and she is four years old.  I took her upstairs with me; I wasn’t going to just push her back onto the streets.  She was really shy that first night.  We fed her dinner and she hardly ate anything.  When Dani took her to the bathroom, that night she saw bruises on her tiny body, she said she was beaten by a man called Sir.  She has had nightmares every night since she got here.   Anyways, we called the police on Friday night and, they let us keep her for the weekend, and yesterday Dani and I both officially adopted her,” Kevin finished as he held his breath, waiting for his parents to not approve of his decision, but all he was met with was tears and hugs from both of his parents.

          “Hi guys,” Dani said as she came downstairs a while later, she had just woken up from her nap.  After she said hello to everyone, she sat down between Kevin and Frankie.

          “Where is my granddaughter,” Paul asked.  They had seen her briefly when she came out because she heard the doorbell and didn’t know what it was.

          “She is still sleeping,” Dani said as she heard little footsteps behind them.  “Mommy, you gone when I woke ups,” Emma said as she climbed onto her mom’s lap.

          “I know I was saying hello to your grandparents and uncles,” Dani said as she gave her a soft kiss on the head.

          “More Zio’s and Uncle B’s,” Emma exclaimed.  She was overwhelmed with all of these people that she was meeting.

          “Well yes,” Dani said.

          “Hi Emma, I am your Grandpapa,” Paul said as he came over to where Dani was holding Emma and introduced himself.

          “I am your Glammy,” Denise said as she also came over and introduced herself.

          “I am your cool uncle, I am Uncle Joe,” Joe said as he came over and tickled her a little.  Emma giggled a little when he tickled her.

          “I am Uncle Nick,” Nick said as he got up and came over.  “Kevin do you have any juice?” Nick asked.

          “Yea it should be on the door,” Kevin said as he watched his younger brother very closely.  He always kept the fridge stocked with juice for this very reason.

          “Daddy, I want juice too,” Emma said as she reached out for him. 

          “Just a minute Emma,” Kevin said as he gave her a kiss on the head.  “Let’s let Uncle Nick get his juice first, plus you still have to meet your Uncle Frankie.”

          “Hi Emma, I am your coolest Uncle Frankie, if you ever need something that your Daddy won’t let you have come to me and I will get it for you,” Frankie said as Emma giggled.

          “Oh great,” Kevin said, “you better not be getting her into illegal stuff.”

          “Uncle Frankie, can I have juice?” Emma asked.

          “Wow you are already playing the cool uncle card,” Frankie laughed.  “You know how this works already,” he said as he got up and went to the fridge, “Emma do you want apple or orange.”

“I don’t know,” Emma said as she looked confused.

“Here why don’t you try this one,” Frankie said as he grabbed an apple juice off of the door and poked the little straw attached the box in it as he brought it over to her.

          Emma took one sip and then started crying, “Daddy, I don’t like it,” she said as she pushed it away from her.

          “Yea I had a feeling you wouldn’t like it Em,” Kevin laughed.  The ice cream on Sunday had given them a hint that she didn’t like sweet things.  Then yesterday when she and Kevin went to the grocery store, Kevin got a doughnut for them to split and she didn’t like that, it was too sweet.

          “I don’t like it Daddy,” Emma said again as she turned around and sobbed into him.

          “Shhh, it’s okay, you don’t have to have it,” Kevin said as he rubbed her back, “Emma Bear do you want some milk,” Kevin said as Emma stuck her thumb in her mouth and nodded her head with tears dripping down her face.

          “Frank, can you get her some white milk, it’s on the door, the 2 percent,” Kevin asked his little brother as Frankie went and got a glass of milk for Emma.

          “Here you are Emma,” Frankie said as he sat it down in front of her.  She took the big glass in her small hands, with the help of Kevin, and took a big drink of it.

          “Is that better?” Kevin whispered into her hair and gave her a kiss on the head.  “What do you say to Uncle Frankie?”

          “Thank you, Uncle Frankie,” Emma said as she snuggled into her Dad and stuck her thumb back in her mouth.

          The rest of the night went smoothly, Emma was the perfect granddaughter and niece that anyone could ask for.  “Emma it’s time for your bath, then its book time and bedtime,” Dani said.  Since Sunday night, she and Kevin had been reading Emma books before bed and they had started calling it book time.  She loved reading books, and drawing, but her absolute favorite activity was cuddling with her parents.

          “Okay Mommy,” Emma said as she reached up, indicating that she wanted to be carried.  Dani picked her up and carried her upstairs to their bedroom where Emma was staying for now.  Even though they had more rooms than she could ever imagine, both Kevin and Dani talked about it with Emma and she felt safer in bed with them.

          “Emma do you have to go potty before your bath,” Dani asked the little girl who nodded her head.  Dani sat her on the potty chair and then started the water.

          “Emma, are you done?” Dani asked once the tub was filled with warm water.  Emma just nodded and then took off her shirt that she was wearing.  After she had her bath, Dani let her go downstairs and say good night to her uncles, grandparents, and dad.

          “Daddy book,” Emma asked her that night after her and Dani went downstairs.

          “If you bring me the book you want to read, we can read it down here with Glammy and Grandpapa, but then its right to bed.

          “Princess Baby?” Emma asked, Princess Baby was one of her favorite books.

          “Okay, go get it and then we will read it,” Kevin said as he gave her a kiss on the head.  Emma hopped off of his lap and went upstairs to get the book.

          “She is adorable, Kevin,” Denise said.

          “She is really good, we have had a couple of times that she has needed corner time but other than that she is really sweet,” Kevin said.

          “Daddy I can’t find it,” Emma yelled.  It was then that Kevin remembered that he hid it from her this morning, when he was on the phone asking him to read it with her.

          “Emma, Daddy’s coming,” Kevin said as he got upstairs and went into their room and grabbed the book from the shelf that he put it on.

          “Can we read it here with Glammy and Grandpapa,” Emma asked her dad.

          “Let’s go downstairs and read it with them, I know that isn’t your routine but it’s just for tonight and then we will go back to reading books in here,” Kevin said.

          “Okay, up,” Emma said and reached her arms up for Kevin to pick her up.  He picked her up, “hold onto the book for Daddy,” he said as he handed her the book.  She admired the cover until they were downstairs.

          “I like cuddles with Mommy and Daddy,” Emma said when they were downstairs and sitting on the couch next to Kevin’s parents.  “Daddy I snuggle with you,” Emma said as she snuggled in with him and stuck her thumb in her mouth and rubbed her eyes with the other hand.  “Teddy, we forget Teddy,” Emma said as she jumped off her dad’s lap and ran upstairs and got him and came back down with her brown Teddy Bear.

          “Now I’m ready for book time,” Emma said as she rubbed her tired eyes again, “I sleepy Daddy,” Emma said as she snuggled into him some more and closed her eyes while Kevin started the book.

          About halfway through the book, Kevin looked down to find a sound asleep Emma snuggled into him.  He closed the book and carried a sound asleep Emma upstairs and laid her in their bed.  Then he came downstairs to find his family all sitting together in the living room.  Both Joe and Nick had a beer bottle in their hands.  Nick was close enough to twenty-one, it only being a little less than a month and he wasn’t driving anywhere tonight so it was okay.

          “Kevin do you want one, I ran out and got some, you didn’t have any in your fridge,” Joe said.

          “No, I gave up,” Kevin said but didn’t elaborate until both of his brothers said in unison, “you gave up beer,” they said as Kevin nodded.

          “Wait, what, when?  When you were on tour you had a beer every night, when did this happen, start talking mister,” Nick said.

          “Emma is afraid of me when I drink beer,” Kevin said, as she sat down next to Nick, and then went on to tell the story.

Last night after dinner, Kevin sat down on the couch with the last bottle of beer in his hand.  He made a mental note to buy some more tomorrow at the store before his brothers came.  Emma came running in the room to show him something, probably another drawing that she had made, when she backed up out of the room and started crying.

          “Emma,” Kevin said as he sat his beer bottle down and went up to find her.  He was confused to why she would start crying.  ‘Was she hurt?  Did he do something?  What was going on?’ those were just some of the thoughts that were going through his head at the time.

          “Emma what’s wrong?” Kevin said when he found Emma just around the corner crying, he could hear little sobs coming from her.  Emma just tried to get away from him.

          “Daddy scary,” Emma said as she kept as close to the corner as possible.  She was afraid that he was going to hurt her.

          “Emma, what do you mean?” Kevin asked as he got down at her level.

          “Sir used to invite his friends over to drink bottles and they would always yell at me, throw them at me, and hit me.  I don’t want that to happen again,” Emma said quietly as she looked up at him.

          “Em, Daddy will never be mean to you,” Kevin said as he tried to give her a hug.  As soon as Kevin opened his arms to give her a hug, Emma came hurdling into him sobbing.

          “Daddy,” Kevin heard behind him, she then ran to him, jumped in his lap, and buried her face in his chest.

          “Emma Bear, what’s wrong?” Kevin said as he rubbed her back to get her calmed down.

          “Scary dream,” Emma said as she snuggled into him more and stuck her thumb in her mouth, a telltale sign that she was still scared.  She only stuck her thumb in her mouth when she was scared, upset, or tired.

          “Oh honey,” Kevin said as he tried to get her to calm down.  “You want to talk about its Emma Bear?” Kevin asked her as he looked down at Emma to find her eyes closed again.  Kevin leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss on her head.  Once she was sleeping, he carried her upstairs and laid her in bed.

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