Baby Maker(2)

By: Jenny Jax

I was also reminded that not every parent was as open to doing shit for their child’s wellbeing as we were, and that was unnerving in and of itself. There had been some rough cases I’d borne witness to: fighting, screaming, swearing, parents high off their asses on various pills and potions. But this place—this was nice enough, middle-class and pretty and quiet. Not that that really meant anything, but hey, I could console myself with the fact that everything here looked completely normal.

Well, that was until I spotted the little girl clambering out of the window and sprinting off across the lawn.

I wasn’t sure that my instincts would kick in in the event of something bad happening—hell, I wasn’t even certain that I had any instincts in the first place. But as soon as I laid eyes on that little girl tumbling from the window and landing in a little pile on the ground, I was out of the car and on my feet, my blood pumping through my veins as I hurried across the street towards her.

She was on her feet and off before I had a chance to get to her—but she was on the ground long enough for me to see the blood smeared across her head. Had that come from the fall, or had that been there before? Jesus Christ. The window wasn’t high, but it was high enough that it could do some damage if she’d landed at a funny angle. I gave chase across the lawn, pursuing her as quickly as I could across the damp grass. She disappeared around the back of the house as soon as she saw me, and I called out to her.

“Please, I’m not going to hurt you!”

I racked my brain for her name. Ellie? Stella? Ella!

“Ella!” I called, hoping she’d at least respond to her own name. “Ella, come here!”

There was a moment of silence, and a few seconds later, the little girl emerged from behind a thick tree trunk that stood about six feet tall at the end of the garden. She observed me for a second, peering at me suspiciously, and I slowly made my way towards her.

Just as I reached her, I heard a noise from inside the house—a door slamming, making me jump. I turned and found myself face-to-face with a man—one of the most gorgeous men I had ever laid eyes on in my entire life.

Chapter Two

The man strode across the lawn towards the two of us, and I stood next to Ella, feeling my knees growing a little weak as he approached. He was stunning, there was no doubt about that. He stood maybe a full foot taller than me, with black hair cut short enough to show off his angular cheekbones and strong jaw. His eyes were dark brown, and he was wearing a grimy wife-beater with a leather biker jacket draped over the top of it, as though he had been in the middle of something else when he was disturbed.

“Honey,” he crouched down as soon as he reached his daughter, “who hurt you?”

His face was wracked with pain, and he ran his fingers through his hair in a panic—he didn’t even glance up at me, not even an acknowledgement, as he examined her for any further injuries. He dabbed at the blood on her head and gently took her by the tops of her arms, steadying her. She stared up at him, but didn’t open her mouth. Something had clearly happened here, and I wasn’t totally sure what it was.

“Hello?” I didn’t want to intervene, but I had to say something. I had been sent out here to do a wellness check, and found the child I was meant to be checking up on falling from a window with an injury to her head, attempting to flee the house. She didn’t seem scared to be in the presence of her father—in fact, after a second or two, she stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. She didn’t make a sound, but he held her tight then scooped her up into his arms and cradled her close. Finally, he seemed to notice that I was standing there.

“Hi.” He nodded at me. “I would shake your hand, but…” He nodded down at the little girl in his arms, and I smiled, finding myself relaxing.

“Yeah, I can see that,” I agreed. “I’m Mona Landing, I’m the social worker who’s been assigned to your case?”

“Yeah, the agency called and said you would be here.” He jerked his head towards the house. “Do you want to go inside? I want to get her cleaned up.”

“Do you know what happened?” I asked, and he shook his head as he carried her into the house.

“I left her in front of the TV watching some cartoons while I went down to the basement to grab something,” he explained. “I was gone for a second, and when I came back, she was gone.”

“And then you came out here?” I checked, making sure he had his story straight.

“Yeah, that’s right. Did you see anything else?”