Zoe and I got into the police car. She was driving, and I was in the passenger seat. I didn’t feel a need to talk with her, and she seemed to feel the same way toward me, for the time.
However, once I noticed that Zoe has gone off-route that was when I decided it was time to speak up. “Zoe, where are we going?”
Zoe shook her head. “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine. There is literally nothing for you to be concerned about. We’re the police.”
“Zoe, we still have a job to do. Just because we’ve had infractions and gotten away with them before doesn’t mean that we should just start breaking rules again now.”
She laughed. “Yeah, whatever. One more won’t hurt. You’ll thank me later. Really, this is more like a small detour than anything else. It’ll be alright.”
I sighed. “Fine. Let’s be quick.”
Zoe kept driving, and I tapped my fingers along the side of the car door.
Eventually, we arrived at a house. Zoe parked and turned off the car. “Alright Fifteen, come along with me.” I got out of the car, and followed Zoe to the door. Zoe fiddled with the lock for a second, before opening the door. “Come on,” Zoe said.
I followed her in. There were already lights on inside of the house. “Why are we here, Zoe?”
“Because I’m here!” A small voice shouted. I looked around for the source of the voice.
Then, I saw Annabelle. She ran down the hallway toward me, before leaping at me.
“Fifteen! I missed you!” She exclaimed. I lifted the child up, like she seemed to want me to. She felt heavier than previously.
“She’s already gotten used to being here. She just plays while I’m not here, and sometimes cleans, too. I usually have to ask her to clean up, though,” Zoe informed me.
“I see,” I responded. “How have you been, Annabelle?”
“I’m good!” She responded. It was very clear that she was overjoyed to see me.
“That’s lovely to hear, Annabelle. You aren’t giving Zoe a hard time, are you?” I asked her.
Annabelle shook her head. “Nope. I’m being a good girl.”
“That’s good,” I said. “Zoe, everything is going well, correct?”
Zoe nodded, before looking away for a moment. “Well, mostly. I’m trying to get her legally adopted, but she isn’t even in the system. She doesn’t have a birthdate-”
“July twenty-fifth!” Zoe cut in. “My birthday is July twenty-fifth!”
“Well, not one that’s legally recognised by a birth certificate, anyway,” Zoe continued. “She also totally lacks a social security number, and a last name. I spent hours trying find something that I could use to identify her and get legal documents. There is just nothing.” Zoe stepped over to me and stroked Annabelle’s hair. “You can see why this would be an issue.”
I nodded. Annabelle nuzzled into my shoulder. “There isn’t any proof she’s a citizen. How do you plan to get her registered as one?”
Zoe shook her head. She mouthed I don’t know. We’re lucky Annabelle couldn’t see her.
“Alright, Annabelle, I think that it’s time for Zoe and I to get back to work. It was… Nice, seeing you.” I put Annabelle down. “I’ll see you another time.”
Annabelle nodded. “Goodbye, Fifteen. Goodbye, Zoe!”
The two of us left Zoe’s house, and returned to the vehicle. Zoe started it up, and we drove away.
“Anna is getting healthier,” Zoe said.
“I could tell. She weighed more then I remembered.”
“I’m just way too worried for Anna. I don’t think she could get deported, but she could just get taken from me and put god knows where. I really don’t want to try and keep a secret kid around. Well, only that secret part. You know what I mean.” Zoe sighed. “It was made pretty clear a long while ago that children in the U.S. didn’t matter unless they were clearly from the U.S. Even then, they often don’t care.”
I nodded. I remembered my lessons in laws and upholding them. “This is a problem.”
Zoe just shook her head again. “I don’t know what I should do.” The only thing that really bothered me about this was that I also didn’t know what she should do.
“We’ll figure something out, Zoe. We’ll figure out something.”