He actually yawned, as he pulled around the corner onto his street. He’d been up almost all night but the stake-out had been a success. A group of drug dealers were caught and two of them had been actually killed in the flurry of the raid.
Now Tom Davis was tired, and it was home for him.
The stake-out had been organized by him. He’d used detectives from the precinct and uniformed officers. But he, Captain Tom Davis, had been in charge.
Nor did he mind that the adrenaline was gone now and he was ready for a long snooze.
He drove down the street and just before he got to the corner, where he’d turn to get to his house on the next block, he saw her.
It was Laurel Eames. She was talking a blue streak, which was normal for pretty little Laurel. Only now, she was talking to her ‘baby’, Betty, whom she had in her carriage and was out walking.
The problem was that she’d gone now past the corner that their house was on, and Tom was pretty certain that Sherry, Laurel’s Mom, didn’t want Laurel wandering away that far.
He parked his truck and got out, and it was then that Laurel saw him.
“Policeman Tom,” she said with great joy.
“Hi, sweetheart,” Tom said. “How are you?”
“I’m really good,” Laurel answered.
“And Betty?” Tom asked next.
“Betty is having a very nice day, since we’re out for a walk,” Laurel added.
“But don’t you think that maybe you’d better only walk Betty on our block, where your Mommie can always see you,” he asked.
Laurel seemed to think then and said: “This is where Mommie takes me for a walk; I thought that I’d take Betty on the same walk.”
“Can your Mommie see you, if she comes out and looks?” he asked.
Laurel looked around and said: “No, I don’ think so.” A frown creased her brow then.
“Well,” he said, “We don’t want your Mommie to worry; do we?”
“Oh, no,” Laurel said.
“We can maybe ask her about what route you should take to walk Betty; how about that?” he said, smiling.
“Yes, that would be nice,” Laurel said.
“Well, then let’s go back and we’ll find your Mommie,” he said finally.
He held out his hand and, with a joyful look on her face, Laurel took Tom’s hand and they turned around and went around the corner.
He could see Sherry out in front of their house immediately. She heaved a great sigh and put her hand over her heart, when she saw Laurel come around the corner, pushing her doll Betty’s carriage, and holding Tom Davis’ hand.
She came hurrying up the street to where Laurel and Tom were walking.
“Oh, honey,” she began, going down on one knee and getting a hug from Laurel. “Mommie was worried. I couldn’t see you.”
“I was walking Betty,” Laurel said. “Like the walks you and I take.”
“Oh, I know, sweetie,” Sherry said, kissing Laurel’s forehead. “But I need to be able to see where you and Betty are, when you’re on your walks. How about it if keep those walks to either corner and back in the future?”
“Yes, Mommie,” Laurel said, smiling. Then she added: “And I met Policeman Tom, when I was on my walk.”
“Wasn’t it nice of Policeman Tom to walk you and Betty home?” Sherry said next.
“Yes, Mommie,” Laurel said, “Betty and I love Policeman Tom.”
“Well, good,” Sherry said, getting up now and going to Tom to hug him also.
“Thank you for seeing her home,” Sherry said. “I had no idea that she’d go beyond the corner.”
“Quite an adventure, I guess,” he said.
“Yes,” Sherry said, “You must think I’m terrible for letting her get out of my sight.”
“Not a bit of it,” he said, holding onto her, and realizing that she wasn’t finished with the hug or her fright.
“It’s okay,” he whispered, “We’re good here.”
“Yes,” Sherry said, “Good here.”
Then Laurel piped up with: “Mommie, do you love Policeman Tom too?”
Both Sherry and Tom kind of smirked at each other, when Laurel asked that. Sherry blushed a bright red color and Tom just smiled.
“Well, I certainly appreciate him walking you and Betty home,” Sherry said. “We’ll just have to see about anything else.”
“Yes, Mommie,” Laurel said. “But I love Policeman Tom.”
“I know you do, sweetie,” Sherry said, going down on one knee again and hugging Laurel. “I know you do.”
But Laurel wasn’t quite finished yet. “Mommie,” she said next, in a very serious voice. “I’ve talked to Betty about this and she and I think that Policeman Tom would make a smashing Poppa, and we don’t have one.”
Now there was dead silence that was broken only by Tom coughing. Sherry’s face and neck again started to get a bright red color, especially since Tom was grinning from ear to ear at her and Laurel.
“We’ll have to talk about it another time,” Sherry said.
“‘K,” Laurel said, walking toward their house and pushing Betty in her carriage.
Sherry turned to Tom again and she hugged him, thanking him again for walking Laurel home.
“The wisdom of children!” he said, kissing her on the cheek.
“So,” Sherry went on, “You just going to work?”
“No,” he said, smiling and letting her change the subject. “Been out on an all night stake-out. Paid off too. Group of drug pushers got swept up.”
“Good for you,” she said, “Must be tired.”
“Am,” he replied.
“Come in for a cup of coffee before collapsing?” she asked.
He smiled at her and said: “I’d like that.”
Sherry turned then to Laurel, who was watching and said: “Honey, Captain Tom is going to come in for a cup of coffee with Mommie. Please don’t go past the corner. Okay?”
“Yes, Mommie,” Laurel said and then, addressing Betty: “Come on, Betty; we can walk up to the corner and back.”
The two adults watched her walk away, talking all the while to Betty, who was still in the carriage.
“She’s wonderful,” Tom said, smiling at Sherry.
“Yes,” Sherry answered, “And to think it was a one night of passion at a party, when I was younger and maybe wilder.”
They walked companionably into Sherry and Laurel’s house, as Tom asked: “The father?”
He hastened to add: “Please tell me to mind my own business; I won’t mind at all.”
She actually giggled at that. “But Laurel has us almost married already.”
“Yes,” he said, “There is that. Need to kind of hold onto that idea.”
“No,” she said, reverting to their previous conversation. “No father. He was up and gone almost before we got our clothes back on, at least those clothes that we’d taken off.” She finished giggling again.
“Well, I have to say that you’re taking that awfully well,” he commented.
“Yes, but the result was my Laurel, and I can forgive even him a lot just for her loveliness in my life,” she said softly.
“Wonderful attitude,” he said.
By then, they were in the house and she put a fresh pot of coffee on.
“Be only a minute,” she said.
“I have a new maker with those ‘k cups’,” he said companionably.
“Oh, how good is that?” she asked, as she got out cups for the coffee.
“Grand,” he said. “Lots of variety to choose from, though I go for some of the really strong stuff myself.”
“You’ll have to demonstrate for me sometime,” she said.
“You’re on,” was his comment to that.
They sat then and talked, over their cups of coffee. Sherry went periodically to look out, noticing that Laurel was still walking up and down the block with Betty, and each time turning at the corner and coming back.
She took up the subject of Laurel again, not having finished talking about it: “At times it’s been hard and complicated, you know the single mother thing.”
He simply shook his head ‘yes’, as he sipped his cup of coffee.
“But you’ve done wonderfully with her,” he opined. “She is simply a treat, a real treat.”
Sherry smiled and thanked him for saying so.
“So,” she said then, “How long a policeman?”
“Decades,” he said, “My Dad was one; retired now. I kind of moved here from where they lived so that I didn’t have to be in his shadow.”
“How did that work out for you?” she asked.
“Really pretty well,” he said. “Have gone through the ranks to get to where I am, and have always enjoyed it.”
“Exciting?” she asked.
“At times and a great deal of routine; more routine than most people realize.”
(At that particular time, Laurel was 6 years old and her Momma, Sherry was a lovely 24. She’d had Laurel after a tryst at a kind of party after the end of her senior year in high school. She was very fortunate in her Mom and Dad, who totally supported her desire to carry and keep the baby and were still a major plus in Sherry and Laurel’s lives.
Sherry Eames, her maiden name still, was fairly short, like her Mom, Mabel. She was a runner to keep her fit and had some experience working in data for a local company.
In Sherry’s case she also had an ‘upside down’ shaped heart butt that was the single greatest arguments in favor of granny panties. Sherry Eames was a true physical treat.
None of this, of course, was lost on Tom Davis, who was simply convinced that Sherry Eames was a major treat. The ability that was currently presenting itself to get closer to her, to get to know her better was playing directly into his hands.
And it can be said that both Tom and Sherry were happy to have reasons to improve their relationship with one another. That had been slowly happening for a while now, and they were both pleased with the development.
Tom had gone to the police directly from college and had progressed through the ranks in the department to the point where he now was, a captain. At 38 he was in excellent shape, and concentrated on his workouts to keep himself in fine fettle.
Laurel was simply the image of her Momma. She had the same red hair and greenish eyes.)
THE ATTEMPT: A FOILED PROBLEM:
it was a little over a week later, in the later afternoon. Tom was on his way home, having worked a night shift at the precinct. As he pulled into the driveway of his house, he saw Laurel walking down the street with Betty in the carriage.
Then, in a flurry of activity, that galvanized Tom into action immediately, an older pickup truck zipped into the curb and the driver was out of the truck grabbing Laurel.
Laurel shouted and Sherry was out on the porch screaming immediately.
By the time the grabber had Laurel in his arms and turned back toward his truck, he was faced with a big policeman, who stood in front of him and had a gun drawn.
“Don’t move an inch,” the guy said, “Or I’ll kill her!”
“No, you won’t,” Tom said, “You won’t hurt her at all, and you’ll set her down now.”
Sherry was still moving out into the sidewalk and her shouts of ‘Laurel’ moved the little girl into kind of action.
Laurel began to wiggle and move around almost uncontrollably. The guy, busy facing down the big cop, lost control of the little girl and Laurel dropped to her feet and ran toward her Momma, who was down the street a little way.
“Ok,” Tom said, “Not another move.”
The guy just sneered at him and reached for the gun that was tucked into the waist band of his jeans.
“Don’t!” Tom said loudly.
Now they could hear sirens, since a neighbor, who’d been watching, had already called 911.
Just as the guy’s hand reached the butt of his gun and began to pull it out of his pants, Tom shot. He hit him once in the throat and then twice in the chest. The kidnapper went down in a heap.
Everything was pandemonium right away. Laurel had reached her Momma, who was now holding her and letting Laurel cry against her chest.
Sherry was staring at where the scene had played out between Tom and the kidnapper.
The cars from the 911 call were on the scene quickly. Tom told the emerging officer to help: “See to this, will you, Tracy?” he said.
“Yes, captain,” the police woman said.
Then Tom went over to where Laurel and Sherry was. Laurel was still crying and clutching her Momma.
Sherry sprang up, still holding Laurel in her arms, and grabbed Tom into an embrace.
“You wonderful, wonderful man!” Sherry said and now she began to cry, as Tom held both of them.
After a little bit, it was Laurel who spoke up: “Momma,” she said, “Policeman Tom is a hero! Isn’t he?”
“Yes, love,” Sherry said, “He’s our hero.”
“Take her in,” Tom said, “Give her a treat for being so brave; I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Yes,” Sherry said. “There’s absolutely no way that I can say an adequate ‘thank you’,” she whispered to him.
“Sure there is,” he said, “You’re doing it now. I’ll be right in.”
He went back to the officers who were taking care of the scene. The coroner had been called and they were waiting for him.
“Got all this, Captain,” Officer Tracy said.
“Thanks, Tracy,” Tom said. “I’ll be in to help with the paper work.”
“We’re good, Captain,” the lady officer said and Tom went back up the walk to Sherry’s house.
Sherry and Laurel were sitting on a couch and Laurel was still sobbing and crying, now and again.
Tom sat by them and Laurel calmed down, when she saw him.
After just a bit, it was Laurel who spoke: “Policeman Tom, is the bad man gone?”
“Yes, honey, he is,” Tom Answered.
“Did he try to hurt you, Policeman Tom?” the little girl wanted to know next.
“Yes, honey, he was going to try to hurt me,” Tom said.
“I’m so glad that he didn’t hurt you,” Laurel said, and she crawled out her smiling Mom’s arms and went to Tom, who opened his arms and held her.
“I love you, Policeman Tom,” Laurel said. “You protect people.”
“And do you know whom I will protect extra well?” Tom asked her.
“Who, Policeman Tom?” Laurel responded.
“You and your Momma; that’s who!” He said.
Sherry smiled and put her head on Tom’s shoulder, as he held onto Laurel.
“I love you, Policeman Tom,” Laurel said again.
“I love you too, sweet Laurel!” he said, and turned his head toward a smiling Sherry, who then reached up and grazed his lips with her own.
They sat there for a long enough time for Laurel to calm down completely.
“And guess what?” Tom said to Laurel.
“What?” she asked, and was smiling now.
“How about if I order a pizza for us for dinner?” he asked.
She was clapping her hands then and saying: “Oh, I like pizza.”