“I’ll come get him. I could use a good walk,” Dana said.
“Are you sure?” Jim asked.
“It’s no problem, Jim. I’ll be there in a few.”
“Okay, see you then.” Jim hung up.
Dana scribbled a note. She walked into the living room and placed the note on the cushion next to Edward. She leaned in and kissed his chin. He stirred slightly, but continued to snore.
She grabbed her cell phone and keys and headed out the door. Of course the media was still set up in front of her house. She was tempted to get in her car, but that would be pointless since they would probably just block her. It was only four houses down. She could be there and back in less than ten minutes.
“Dana, are you leaving Edward?” a man yelled.
Cameras were pointed at her and clicking away rapidly, their bright flashes blinding her. She lowered her eyes to the sidewalk in front of her and walked at a quick pace.
“Do the other girls in Edward’s life make you jealous?”
“How’s the sex?” another yelled. She bit her lip. Paparazzi were known to say some pretty crude and disturbing things hoping to get a rise out of people. She said nothing and continued on.
“How’s it feel to be a second rate author?”
“I hear early reviews of your film suck.”
“I have pictures of Edward getting a b*****b in England, wanna see?”
“He was caught in a strip joint. I’ve got pictures!”
“He’s screwing around. Sucks, doesn’t it?”
In five minutes she was walking up a long winding driveway. She knocked on the door, glad the paparazzi had enough brains not to trespass. Jim opened the door with Cole standing by his side, wide awake and smiling. She saw Diane holding her daughter in the living room. The little girl was screaming at the top of her lungs about the monster.
“Hi, sweetie, are you ready?” she asked Cole.
He smiled. “I’m ready, Mommy. I missed you!”
“I missed you, too!”
“Sorry about this,” Jim said, looking embarrassed.
“Don’t worry about it.”
Jim looked past her towards the media vans that had followed her to the end of his driveway. “Uh, maybe I should walk you both home.”
“We’ll be fine.”
He looked unsure. “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t get used to having every bit of privacy and simple human freedom taking away.”
“Thanks a lot, Jim,” she said dryly.
He chuckled sheepishly. “Sorry.”
“Bye, guys. Let’s go, buddy,” Dana said. Cole high fived Jim and grabbed his mother’s hand. They walked down the driveway.
“Are they going to take our picture again?” He pointed to the paparazzi that were going nuts now.
“I’m afraid so.”
He shrugged. “It’s okay, Grandma says I’m very cute.”
She laughed. “You most certainly are.”
“He snores like a bear, Mommy,” Cole said matter-of-factly.
“Okay, just hold my hand and don’t let go.”
He nodded and tightened his little hand in hers as they stepped onto the sidewalk.
“Edward let’s you walk by yourself at night, doesn’t he love you?”
“What are you going to tell him when he’s older? Are you going to tell him you chased off his father?”
“I hear you won’t let his father see him.”
“His father doesn’t want him, you must be a real b***h.”
“Mommy?” Cole said, nervously.
“It’s okay, honey. Ignore them.”
“Why do you let them call Edward daddy knowing he doesn’t want them?”
“I heard Edward say your kids were brats.”
“Hey, kiddo, are you going to be okay when Edward leaves?”
She heard Cole start crying. “It’s okay, baby,” she said, trying to get him to walk faster.
“I just got word that Edward is moving out.”
Cole stopped short on the sidewalk and looked up at Dana with tears streaming down his face. “Daddy’s leaving?”
“No honey, they’re lying.”
“I’ll be good I promise!” he began to wail.
“Shhh. Cole, Daddy isn’t going anywhere.”
“No! They said he’s leaving!” He pointed at the mass of paparazzi. "I don’t want daddy to leave! I’ll be good!"
She went to put her arms around him, but he pushed away from her and ran. She ran after him only to watch him trip and fall down. The next second he was screaming bloody murder. Dana rolled him over. Cole’s hands were bleeding. She looked down his body, thankful for once for the bright lights their cameras produced that allowed her to see that his pants were torn. His knees were skinned badly and bleeding.
She tried to pick him up. He pushed away from her kicking and screaming in a full tantrum like nothing she’d ever seen from him before. “Daddy! I want Daddy!”
The house phone ringing woke Edward. He reached out blindly and picked up the phone. “Hello?” he said groggily.
“Hey, Edward, it’s Jim. I’m just calling to make sure they got back safely.”
“What?” Edward asked confused.
“Dana and Cole, aren’t they there?”
Edward’s eyes shot open he looked around. “Dana?” he yelled. No answer.
“No, they’re not here.”
“Oh no, Edward, they left here twenty minutes ago.”
“S**t!” Edward said.
“They were walking.” Jim said.
“Thanks, Jim.” Edward hung up and saw her note on the couch next to him. “Damn it, Dana.” She should have woken him up. When he got his hands on her he was going to spank her a*s. He opened the door and ran down the driveway onto the sidewalk, ignoring the paparazzi that waited for him.
About twenty yards ahead of him on the sidewalk was another large group of reporters. They were having a field day with something. He could hear a child screaming. It was Cole, he realized. His little boy’s screams made him run faster. He saw Dana kneeling over him.
Edward dropped to his knees in front of Cole. The little boy’s eyes were closed. “Daddy!” he screamed. "I want my daddy!"
“I’m right here, Cole.” Edward said.
Cole’s eyes shot open and he practically jumped into Edward’s arms. He stood up with Cole firmly attached to him. He reached back and grabbed Dana’s hand. They made their way back home with Cole sobbing hysterically into his neck.