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Nicole's Story This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Cincinnati, IA
She couldn't wait until it was over. Nicole layed in bed, pretending to not hear her parents fighting. She was only four years old, but she knew about her parents constant fighting already. She rolled over in her bed and grabbed her teddy bear, trying to fall asleep.

It was the next morning when Nicole was awaken by a police officer. He was from the Denver Police Department. He sat down on Nicole's small pink bed and began talking to her. “How are you doing, Honey?” He asked. Nicole sat up, holding her bear; her dark blue eyes round and frightened, and her dark curls falling down her back. “Where's Mommy?” She asked in a small voice. “Do you want to come with me? We'll go get breakfast,” the police officer said, smiling.

Nicole sat at the small table at the police station. Officer Walter brought her a coloring book and some crayons, but she did not color. She looked through the window at police officers running around, going about their work. She saw her Aunt Marcia walking in with another police officer. She was crying. Nicole stood up, hoping to go comfort her, when Officer Walter walked back into the room. He managed to smile at her, “How are you?” He asked, setting down a juice box that he had brought for her. Nicole met Officer Walter's gaze. “Why is my Aunt Marcia crying?”

Walter grimaced. What was he supposed to tell the little girl? He sat down. “Nicole, there was an accident early this morning. Your mommy got hurt.” “Does she have a lot of owwies?” Nicole asked. This made Walter's heart skip. Here was an innocent four year old girl, concerned about her mother, who was never going to have the same life again. Instead of answering Nicole's question, Walter got up and walked out of the room. He walked down the hallway into the bathroom, and began sobbing.

Marcia walked with Officer Bryant towards the room Nicole was in. She had been at the police station for three hours, and she was finally allowed to take her niece home. The officer opened the door for her. She saw Nicole sitting at the table, coloring. “Aunt Marcia!” She screamed, running towards her. Marcia grabbed her niece and held her tight. “I'm so happy to see you!” Nicole exclaimed. Marcia crouched down to be the same height as Nicole. “Are you ready to go to my house?” “Yes!” Nicole said, jumping up and down. Marcia grabbed Nicole's hand and led her out to the car. The police officers' eyes followed her out of the station. Marcia buckled Nicole into the backseat, and then drove away.

Six months later, and it was Nicole's fifth birthday. Nicole had been living with her Aunt Marcia and Uncle Dereck since the incident that Nicole still didn't know about. When Nicole was asked what she wanted for her birthday, the only answer the she gave was to see her mommy. Little did she know, that her mother was finally in a better place. Marcia had thrown a huge birthday party for Nicole. Nicole's friends from kindergarten came over and went swimming in the in-ground pool in the back yard. There were tons of kids, and balloons and toys and cake. Nicole had been having a blast until a strange car pulled into the back alley. She got out of the pool and watched her dad get out of the car, in jeans and a white shirt that was dirty. Nicole's heart skipped a beat. She knew that she was no longer allowed to see her dad, and that he was supposed to be locked away with the bad guys. She grabbed her multi-colored towel and ran towards the house. Dereck was sitting on the deck, surprised to see Nicole in such a panic. “What's wrong, Sweetie?” He asked. Nicole jumped onto his lap, “My dad is here!” She exclaimed. The rest of the kids began getting out of the pool walking towards the house, confused as to why Nicole was acting weird. Dereck got up, and slowly worked his way towards Nicole's father. “What are you doing here?” He asked calmly. “It's Nicole's birthday, I wouldn't miss it for anything!” Nicole's dad said, slurring his words together. By this point, Marcia had gotten the children inside, away from Nicole's dad. Dereck stood there, unmoving. He knew that he needed to keep him stalled until Marcia called the police. “You know that you don't belong here,” he said. “Nicole is having fun, just leave her alone.” It could've only been two minutes when the police arrive to arrest Nicole's dad; and frantic parents were picking up their children from the party, upset that there was a dangerous man and the police were there. Nicole had finally dried off and changed into different clothes, but she was still shivering. She finally understood that her mother really wasn't coming back, and that her dad had everything to do with it. He was put in the back of the cop car, and they were getting ready to drive away. Officer Walter was talking to Marcia. “Remember to please call us if you need anything,” he said.

Nicole stood there, hugging her Aunt Marcia. She watched her dad sitting in the back of the police cruiser. He mouth the words 'I love you' to her. She shivered. The feeling would not go away. That's when she realized that she would be cold for the rest of her life.





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