This chapter is dedicated to fireflies7 - thank you for all your reads, comments and votes on all my stories.
20 – Losing
Just as expected, Tivon Goldstein filed a petition for change of custody as soon as the courts reopened on Monday morning, alleging child endangerment for leaving Noah alone in the apartment with Alyssa. At Noel's advice, my father had taken off work for the rest of the weekend and acted as main caregiver to his grandson since Marcus had not only called him, but child protection services, and they would have otherwise removed Noah from my care. That alone was an indication that my chances of winning in court this time around were more than slim.
The whole weekend, Noel, Pam and I had plotted out strategy and after due deliberation, they had decided that I couldn't even testify to present my side of the story. In a civil case, Tivon could pretty much ask me anything, and the risk that I self-incriminated myself was too high. That would be another strike against me since I couldn't even tell the judge about Charlotte's injuries when I dropped Noah off for his visit this past summer.
Kade was also taken out of the loop – he had presented himself as her physician and was bound by confidentiality. According to Noel, it would be impossible to prove that Ryan was abusive unless Charlotte came clean which was highly unlikely. I had maneuvered myself into a corner and the Parks had the upper hand. I would be lucky if I walked out of that courtroom without a new criminal charge.
Needless to say, the other side was in the best of spirits when the hearing commenced at three in the afternoon. Marcus was there as star witness and beamed at me as he strolled to the witness stand.
After being sworn in, he adjusted his tie and shot me a vicious glare before focusing on Tivon.
"Mr. Forrester, could you please state your full name and occupation for the record," Tivon said.
"Sure. Marcus Lamar Forrester. I'm the Deputy District Attorney for Cook County."
"And Mr. Forrester, what is your relationship to the respondent, Ms. Cooper?"
"She is friends with my daughter Patrice."
"And could you please tell us what happened this past Friday, February 14th?"
Marcus took a sip of water and shifted his body in his seat before continuing with his testimony which got me all fidgety.
"I got a phone call around six thirty from Patrice who asked me to bring Alyssa over to Ms. Cooper's apartment. The girls were planning a slumber party and wanted her to participate."
"Did that raise any red flags that Alyssa was meant to babysit?"
A small wrinkle appeared on Marcus's forehead. "I was a little leery at first since Patrice and Alyssa don't really have a close relationship due to their age gap, but Patrice had been away at college in Indiana and said that she wanted to spend some time with her little sister. With Alyssa recently taking interest in make-up, I thought they were just trying to be nice and do some girly stuff with her."
"Would you have allowed Alyssa to go over to Ms. Cooper's apartment if you had known she was meant to babysit a small toddler?" Tivon asked.
"Absolutely not." Marcus shook his head adamantly and I hated to say that I believed him. "Alyssa is ten and while I leave her alone with my son who is six for short periods of time when I run small errands, she is not suited as a night time babysitter for a one year old."
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