song(s) for this chapter: hero X mariah carey
It was Tuesday afternoon, around 5, and Gionni sat in the waiting area of Saija's office. Nayeli's last session before her hearing was today, and he was hoping she'd open up about what was happening at her mothers house. If not, he still had an extremely strong case against her, and believed he'd win, but the more evidence he could pile up against her the better.
"Mr Cartier," Saija's assistant spoke. "Dr. Ford is requesting that you join them in the office," she said, gesturing toward the door. He nodded hesitantly, getting up to make his way into her office. Nervous was an understatement to describe what he was feeling. He didn't know what to expect to hear from his child's mouth and he was hoping it didn't throw him off the deep end and have him banging down Ameera's door.
"Look, Nayeli. There's your daddy," he heard Saija say once he came into view. Saija waved him over and had him sit directly across from her. "Now remember what we talked about, sweetheart. Your daddy isn't going to get upset with you, he wants to help you right?" Nayeli nodded.
"And he can't help you unless...." Saija drew out, waiting for Nayeli to finish.
"Unless I tell the truth," she mumbled, sitting up in her chair.
"Good job, Nayeli. You can start whenever you're ready, tell him exactly what you told me okay?" Saija confirmed. Taking a deep breath, she began retelling the story she told her therapist.
"In the summertime, mommy stopped working at her store," she began, causing Gionni to raise his brows in suspicion.
Ameera was a stylist and what some would consider a model as well, but, her main source of income was working for her elder cousin at her boutique, which Nayeli always mistakenly called "her store".
"She was home with me a lot, and then sometimes I would be at Grammy and Pawpaw's house until daddy came to get me on Friday. When Grammy couldn't get me, mommy made me stay in my room all day. She would only let me get out to potty," she continued. "O-one time I was thirsty and I was calling mommy but she didn't hear me, so I went out of my room to get my cup for juice." Gionni waited for her to continue, practically sitting at the edge of the chair, terrified.
"Go ahead, Nayeli, you're not in trouble," Saija encouraged.
She took another deep breath before lowering her head again to continue. "I went to mommy's kitchen to get juice and there was a man...he was kissing mommy and she-she didn't have any clothes on and he was touching her private area, I screamed, but I didn't mean to!" she said frantically as Gionni's blood ran cold.
"Mommy's boyfriend was yelling at me and mommy was yelling at me and he hit me," she sniffled, wiping her nose.
"After that she wouldn't take me to grammy's house no more, and she let the man hit me all the time, and-and they said if I told my daddy they would hurt me bad," she spoke in a shaky voice through tears. "Mommy thought I told Ms. B what happened and they hit me again and again, I didn't tell her anything! I thought didn't do anything wrong, I'm sorry daddy," she mumbled, reaching her small hand up and wiping her wet face.