Simon was at his work station in the Ops center with Eva in his left arm and was typing away one handed at his keyboard, whispering to her the entire time. Nikki was asleep in the recliner that they had brought into the Ops Center so she could rock and feed the baby and still be part of the team. Dante stood inside the room taking it all in when Simon asked without looking up,
“What’s going on Dante, you haven’t been the same since we ran into Chester yesterday? Are you ok?” He leaned back and shifted the baby to his other arm and brought his eyes up to take in Dante. He knew that there was something on Dante’s mind and he also knew enough about him to know he would tell him in his own time. Dante was studying the floor intently when he finally let out a long breath and looked up at Simon,
“After my mom abandoned me, I was put into the foster care system.” He paused for a few seconds and then continued, “The first home they put me in seemed to be pretty nice. The house was clean, there was food and everything seemed ok… for a while. It didn’t take long and about a week after I arrived, the father came to… “check on me” one night. Until that night, I had thought that being abandoned by your own family was the worst thing that could happen to you. I was wrong…” He cast his eyes back down to the floor for several more seconds, taking deep breaths trying to calm himself. Simon shifted the baby again and said,
“I’m sorry that happened to you Dante, but it was part of what makes you who you are today. Use it, that fury inside you. Use it to make sure others don’t get a chance to hurt people like you were hurt. Your instincts are spot on again, check this out.” He clicked some keys and Chester’s profile showed up on the screen under the state’s Foster Care Network. Simon clicked several more keys and up came a profile of the young girl that they saw in the car with Chester. 13 years old, this was her 7th foster home.
Nikki had awoken and heard Dante’s admission. She stood up from the chair, walked over to him and pulled him into a hug. She held him for several long seconds letting him feel the love she had for him and then she pulled back and regarded the 2 men,
“Don’t you 2 have a night op to prep for?” She leaned forward, kissed Simon and then took the baby and went up the stairs.