That detective had to out of his mind if he thought she would date him. He’s everything she fought against, never wanted to trust in again. To relax, she always found peace cooking at Safe Haven Community Center, a place she had built with her hard earned money. Her former life as a singer over seas served her well and the community had benefited from it. Children from all age brackets came to blow off steam and have three square meals a day. Parents even came to dine with their children and take home much needed produce, clothes and information about employment. Isidora was connected to many high rollers in Boston, there wasn’t anyone she didn’t know. She knew the city like the back of her hand, frequently warning kids to stay away from certain places at night.
Isidora vowed never to touch the money she entertained half the world for. Though she earned every cent, somehow she felt it cheap of her to live sinfully comfortable while others struggled in her community. She made her living as a local fashion designer, bag maker and sometimes designed shoes. VIP clients brought in the bulk of her income. Who knew dressing men in custom suits would bring her such fortune? Though she wanted a boutique, she opted to sell most of her merchandise online. But she kept busy in the community center fulfilling her passion, making sure her community was well taken care of even if she had to snatch up a few wanna be gangsters.
The hum on the kitchen refrigerators always made her smile, her shoes clacking against the tile floor made her feel as if she had made it in the world and that she was making a true difference in the lives of the youth. They could come here just about anytime if they needed someone to listen to their problems when their parents couldn’t. Safe Haven is an extended family to orphans or absent parent children. They learn life skills that can be replicated with continual practice. Isidora had personally witnessed with her eyes that the positive out weighs any of the bad that walks through Safe Haven’s doors.
Since the first group of children up until now lives by the motto New Haven boasts, ‘Always look out for you fellow brother and sister. Correct them when needed so Isidora won’t have to. And always be respectful.’ The current cycle of adolescents explained the rules to the newcomers and for the most part, keep the order of things flowing. Rarely does Isidora have to put the smack down on teenagers, but there have been some to test their luck. She has stood toe to to with young teenage boys who thought they were tough but as usual, she converted them to her side, adding to the community of children with bright futures.
All kids really need is love and correction and a little bit of discipline. They only hate your guts for a short period of time and next you know, you can’t peel them away from you. The success of children that filter in and out year by year only spoke to not just her resilient nature, but the employees who dedicate their lives in helping to produce the best crop of human beings possible. She knew they were doing something right despite earlier doubts about the impracticality of converting rebellious teens, low income families and a failed educational system into something fully functional.
It grated against her nerves that those in authority thought so little of minority children and their families. Isidora did all she could to keep kids out of the way of gangs and more importantly, the police. It’s funny over the past seventeen years, attitudes have changed towards her life’s mission and now those that sit on high want to take all the glory in shaping these young minds. She lets them spout their stale rhetoric and move on with life. The community of children know who have invested in them and the visiting ones make sure to volunteer their time when they come back home.
Out of everything Isidora has ever accomplished, she’s most proud of her community and she’d do anything to protect it. That’s why she can’t have cops lurking around Safe Haven looking for a fight, and she definitely can’t that detective getting next to her. If it looks like a cop and smells like a cop, that means you can’t trust them. Numerous times she’s watched them setup innocent civilians and sometimes she’d tip off unsuspecting victims. It was all in a days work for her. They’d have to make their quota some other way far away from the community. The sound of doors opening led her to crane her head around the corner to see who it was.
“Good morning Don. Couldn’t sleep?”
“I was just excited to get back here and there’s the fact I figured you’d be here.”
“There’s not too many places you can’t find me.”
“So what about you, couldn’t sleep either?”
“I haven’t been to sleep since yesterday morning. I’m here blowing off steam.”
“Who did it and why?” It’s just like Don to go into big brother mode. He would definitely cut someone over her and not lose a minute of sleep. He was a man after her own heart.
“I was at the police station last evening. I kicked a detective in both his shins so he arrested me.”
“Why’d you do that?”
“He interfered while I was teaching a pervert a lesson. Beat him down to the pavement I did. Would have finished him off with the brick in my hand had it not been for that detective.”
“This the same detective that harassed you in the past?”
“No, it’s a different one. I’ve never seen him before. If I remember correctly, his name is Xavier something.”
“Sounds about right. You know him?”
“I’m familiar with his reputation. Never heard a bad word spoken about him. Seems clean.”
“There’s no such thing as a clean or good cop.”
“Perhaps. But you never know unless you find out for yourself.”
“Did you come here to annoy me and whose side are you on?” Don smiled wide showing perfect white teeth. When he smiled, it reached his eyes and she couldn’t help but return a grin.
“I’m on the side of right.” Moving the subject to healthier topics, they chatted away while Don whipped up a giant bowl of waffle batter then moved on to slicing bacon on the rind. Isidora squeezed oranges for juice and baked off loaves of bread for toast, cinnamon rolls and muffins. Not long after, additional staff filed in wide-eyed ready to start the day. A salad bar was filled with fruits and vegetables, a large metal pan with scrambled eggs was set in the warmer along with an assortment of meats.
When all breakfast items were out, prepping for lunch began. Trickles of kids walked through the door immediately going for the hot food table and then the salad bar. Isidora went out front to greet them and was gifted with hugs and chatter. They were talking to her all at once about what the day held for them. Times like these made her wish she still had the two sets of twins she adopted. No thanks to that detective she almost killed and backstabbing “friends”, she’d lost them, rather they were abducted from her. She still remembered their scared faces and tormenting screams for her to save them. Isidora wanted to but she couldn’t bring herself to move. Her heart and soul felt like it was ripped from her body. It was her job to protect them and she had failed.
Shaking bitter memories away, she informed Don she’d be out for the remainder of the morning. Fatigue spread through her body and eyes began to close, shaking herself lucid, she climbed into her silver SUV and started on her way home. As dangerous as it was, there have been many times she’d driven herself home not knowing how she got there, only to wake up the next morning to find herself sprawled across her bed. She’d done many dangerous things while conscious and none of them she regretted. Isidora’s life has been an adventure all it’s own and somehow the heavens above saw fit for her to keep breathing. Sometimes she was even astonished she had made it into her thirties.
Driving up to the only home she had ever really had, she found a familiar truck trespassing on her property and that detective sitting on her porch swing rocking back and forth relaxed as if he lived there. Setting the gear into park, she opened the door and hopped down to the pavement inching closer to her unwanted visitor.
“Ms. Torres, it’s nice to see you again.”
“You just stay right there, I’ll be back in a minute.”
“You don’t think I know a threat when I hear it. You’re not getting that shotgun.”
“Get off my property.”
“Are you busy this evening?”
“I guess I didn’t make myself clear. You just hold that thought.” Xavier popped up from the swing, backing her up against the door.
“There’s no need to get violent Ms. Torres. I’d like to take you out for dinner if you’re free.”
“I’m never free.”
“I see. You should know I’m never going to give up on you.”
“You have a death wish.”
“Suppose I can’t always avoid death in my line of work. But I’m going to pursue you with the time that I have. I think you’ll eventually warm up to me.”
“If you don’t get off my property, I will shoot you.” Xavier chuckled and backed away thinking he’d just escaped with his life. Maybe he did have a death wish messing with Isidora but for first time in a long time he actually felt his blood burning hot through his veins. As much as he worked to bring a sense of justice to families of victims, he found he was miserable with his job. Seeing death on a constant basis does something to the psyche and the shame he was living with broke him in ways he never thought possible. In law enforcement, if one stays long enough, there is always that one case that haunts and hurts like no other. Xavier had experienced it and he could never bring himself to look the victims parents in the eyes and tell them that somehow he had dropped the ball.
He visited that girls grave far too often than he should have knowing nothing he could ever do would bring her back. She didn’t deserve to die the way she did, alone, in the dark, in a cramped space. Xavier constantly question why he stayed in this line of work. Most days he didn’t want to wake up to another murder case or abduction or any other sinister acts psycho’s came up with to hurt innocent civilians. So maybe he did have a death wish, Isidora caused him to feel again and if he had to throw everything away to claim her, then so be it.
Next part here: Full Circle
©Copyright privatethoughtsmadepublic. 2016.