It was official, she needed a bigger house, Dara
thought as she moved toys, crayons, baby paraphernalia
and books out of the way in order to sit down on her
own sofa. A few months ago, her house was clean and
pristine. You could’ve eaten off the floor, but now
while Stone was awake you’d be lucky to find the
floor. How her life had changed.
She watched as Stone and Michael laughed and sang
along with Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, and
Nia waved her arms. Dara wasn’t sure if the arms were
in beat to the music or to Nia’s own personal tune.
She thought it was probably the latter. Yet with all
this going on, she had never felt more at peace then
she did now.
Feeling tears welling up in her eyes, she exited the
living room unnoticed and went to her bedroom. This
was all a dream, an illusion. Those weren’t her kids
in the living room. And sooner or later, Brenda was
going to walk through her front door and reclaim her
son. And where would that leave her? Alone. In an
empty house. The tears streamed down her face as she
wrapped her arms around herself. She couldn’t imagine
living in the quiet environment that she had once
taken so much pleasure in. Maybe she needed to call
her acquaintance at DCF and sign up for the
foster/adoption classes. Maybe this time with Stone
had been to prepare her and show her that she was
ready to have a child.
But before she got ahead of herself, she needed to
find a way to prepare for the loss of Stone. When he
first stormed into her life everything happened so
quickly, she didn’t know if she was coming or going.
Falling in love with him never crossed her mind. Now
she couldn’t imagine her life without him. And she
felt Michael and Nia creeping their way into her
heart. She couldn’t allow that. Those three children
had families of their own and she wasn’t apart of
them. She needed to protect herself, her heart, her
soul. She had to distance herself because if she
didn’t she wasn’t sure she could survive when they
were ripped out of her life. She- -
“Hey,” Sonny greeted, ending her stream of thought.
Startled Dara jumped and spun around.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said
Quickly turning her back to Sonny, she said, “That’s
okay. Where’s Leticia? I thought she was picking up
“I gave her the rest of the day off. What’s wrong?”
Taking her arm, he turned her around to face him. He
gently wiped the tears from her cheeks. “So what are
He frowned. “If you don’t tell me what’s wrong, I’ll
lock the door until you do. And sooner or later the
boys are going to be banging on the door telling us
they’re starving and if we don’t answer they’ll decide
to feed themselves. And by then, Nia will be hungry
and they’ll feed her too. And knowing Stone that
means Nia will have chocolate syrup in her formula.”
Her face cracked and Dara smiled. “And Michael will
cook some peanut butter and jelly concoction.”
“And I won’t even imagine what the kitchen will look
like after they finish or what they will look like.
So save us from cleaning up a big mess and tell me the
“Is something wrong with him?” Sonny asked, instantly
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I was just
imagining what life will be like once he’s gone. He’s
changed my life so- -“ She fought so hard not to cry,
but as soon as Sonny took her into his arms the tears
flowed freely. Dara cried for the loss of a family
that was never hers to begin with and she reprimanded
herself for ever forgetting that. As her tears
subsided, she became aware of the comfort Sonny
provided. The safety. She never felt as secure as
she did in his arms. Not with Justus, Marcus, or even
Jack. Here she found the comfort she always longed
for in the arms of an unavailable and dangerous man,
dangerous both to her life and heart. Reluctantly,
she tore herself away from his strong, supportive
“Have you heard from Stone’s mom recently?” he
questioned, handing her a handkerchief.
“His mom calls on a regular basis,” she replied.
Brenda called whenever she was able to secure a safe
“I hate to be cruel. But isn’t this a part of foster
parenting? Don’t they prepare you for this?”
Averting her eyes from his, she responded. “Yes, but
knowing it and living it are two different things.”
She walked to her bay window and watched the sunset.
“He’s brought these amazing changes to my life. He
makes me see the world differently.”
Sonny wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin
on her shoulder. “Before Michael, I knew I wanted
children but living with him every day teaching him,
watching him, learning from him. It’s indescribable.
And now I can’t imagine not sneaking into his room in
the middle of the night to pull up his covers,
watching Nia sleep with her little bow mouth open. I
dread the day when Michael and Nia won’t start my day
with a kiss and a hug. But what’s the alternative- -“
In silence, they watched the sunset both lost in their
own thoughts, wrapped in each other’s arms.
Dara leaned into Sonny garnering strength from him.
She hoped he was gaining strength from her also.
“All we can do is live on day at a time and enjoy each
precious moment with them.” Closing her eyes and just
feeling, she thought she could easily get used to
this. She- -
“Aunt Dara, Uncle Sonny, Dad,” Stone and Michael
shouted from outside her room door, knocking loudly.
“Come in,” Sonny said, not letting her go. He kissed
top of her head as the school age boys walked in.
“We’re hungry,” they announced.
“How about pizza?” Sonny suggested.
“Yipee!!!” Stone said with glee.
“Hey, it’s Thursday. There’s no school tomorrow,
thanks to the teacher’s conference so let’s live on
the edge. Go get your coats.”
The boys shot out the room like bullets in a gun.
“Relax, take a long, hot shower, we’ll be back in an
hour.” Stepping away from her, he left the room.
“I’ll make a salad.”
“No salad. We’re living it up tonight. It’s pizza
The boys cheered.
“You guys want to get some movies?”
“Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can,”
Stone and Michael sang in unison as they left the
apartment with Sonny and Nia.
Live on the edge, she repeated to herself as she
walked to the kitchen. Searching her cabinets, she
found the brownie mix. As Dara mixed the brownies,
she thought she was living on the edge. She wasn’t
even disturbed that Sonny left a guard outside her
apartment. In fact, she found it endearing that he
was worried about her safety even when the kids
weren’t around. She wasn’t suppose to know and never
would have if it wasn’t for Felicia.
One evening the guard was caught watching her by
Felicia. And then Felicia was off like a dog with a
bone, until a few days later Felicia informed her that
Enrique was one
of Sonny’s guards shadowing her. Not wanting to
Felicia’s endless questions, she hid her surprise and
told her friend that the guard was for when Michael
was over. She knew Felicia didn’t fully buy the
story, but kindly dropped the subject. She remembered
noting in her files, when she worked in the DA’s
office that Sonny protected and guarded those he loved
and cared for deeply. She didn’t care to look too
deeply into what the guard meant in reference to her.
Pouring the brownie mix into the pan, she pondered how
her life ended up like this. She gave up prosecuting
criminals to give herself more freedom on the type of
cases she took and to find her love of the law again.
She knew she never should have taken Brenda and
Jason’s case. But if she hadn’t she wouldn’t have
Stone in her life. And he was definitely worth it.
She placed the pan in the oven, set the timer, and
closed the oven door. Who would have ever thought she
and Sonny would be working together, watching each
other’s kids, and facing broken hearts together? Not
her, never in a million years.