“Can’t, they’re allowed to do it as long as they don’t distribute it or make money off it,” the officer said, not sounding too happy about it.
“I want to talk to them,” Edward said. Without waiting he moved forward with Dana right behind him. He walked right up to the kids.
“Hand over every tape you have and I want you to erase any pictures you have on phones, now!” Edward demanded.
“You can’t do that! I know my rights!” the taller boy said.
“Then you should also know that if you distribute or show it to anyone I can sue you and your parents if you’re under age,” Edward said.
The kids looked nervously around. “It’s true. And since we have your names and addresses I will give them to him if any of this gets leaked,” the officer said.
“Oh, come on, man, do you know how much money we could make on this? A p**n o with these two will make us rich!” the smaller boy said. Edward ran his eyes over the group and realized they were probably all legal age. That would work better in his favor.
“It will also put you in debt if you get sued,” the officer pointed out.
“How would you feel if you and your girlfriend were videotaped making love without your permission?” Edward asked, trying to get the kid to see it his way.
“If she were my girlfriend I wouldn’t care if the whole world was exploding around me!” the tall boy said, gawking at Dana. The young woman with him hit him hard on the arm.
The middle boy spoke up. “I’m no expert, but I wouldn’t exactly call what you two were doing making love, it looked more like you were fuc-” The girl hit him upside the head before he could finish his sentence.
“Thank you,” Dana said to the girl.
“No problem. I didn’t want to do this. They saw you leaving the pharmacy and decided to follow you.”
“Shut up, Krystal!” the tall boy said.
“Yeah, I don’t think so. I also don’t think I want to hang out with three perverts anymore. Officer, can I get a ride home or to the station so I can call my parents? I don’t want to be alone with them again,” she said angrily.
The officer nodded. “I don’t blame you. We’ll take you home after we get this resolved.”
“Look gentlemen, she is my future wife and she is also in her first trimester with my children. I will not stand aside and allow you to humiliate her. Now hand over the tapes, all of them so you won't be tempted to do something stupid,” Edward said.
“Damn it!” the middle one said, looking nervous. “What should we do?”
“We wouldn’t have been caught if you didn’t try getting that close up, jackass!” the tall one shot back.
“How many cameras do you have?” the officer asked.
“Three,” the short one answered.
“Damn it,” Edward groaned.
Dana sighed and pulled out the money she'd stuffed in her pockets for a hotel earlier. “Look, gentlemen, I can guarantee that if you even think about showing any of those tapes, my future mother-in-law will have a field day with you in court. You’ll be in serious debt before you’re old enough to drink. What I suggest is that you give me all of the tapes, and they better be the real tapes, and I will give you each,” she thumbed through her money, “Four hundred dollars.”
“Four hundred bucks?” the middle and short one asked.
“Yes, but I want all of your tapes, that includes blanks.”
“Done!” the two young men said. They handed her five tapes and took their money, happily. “Thanks!”
“No problem, gentlemen. How about you?” Dana asked the tall boy.
“This is bullshit!”
“Don’t talk to her like that again,” Edward snapped.
“Just give her the tapes. Don’t be such a prick, Brad. She’s not an ice bitch like you said she was,” the shorter one said.
“Um, thanks,” Dana mumbled, too stunned to manage a coherent sentence.
“Fine!” he slammed three tapes into Edward’s hand. “But, you two douche bags, can find another ride home.”
`“What the hell, man!” the middle one said.
“Come on, guys, we’ll give you a ride home,” the officer said.
“That’s cool,” the short one said. He looked at Dana. “I’m sorry. I hope we didn’t embarrass you.”
“It’s fine, guys. I appreciate your help.” She pulled out a fifty and handed it to the short one. “This is to cover the cost of the tapes.”
“This is going to sound ballsy after what we just did, but um, could I have your autograph? I’m a huge fan of your books,” the middle one said nervously.
“No, that’s fine.” Dana said, chuckling. She signed as Edward looked on protectively. When the short one went to hug Dana he stepped forward.
“Oops, sorry man,” the boy said, grinning nervously.
“That was embarrassing,” Dana said as she followed Edward upstairs to his old bedroom. It was after five in the morning and everyone else was still asleep.
Cole stumbled out of his room and walked into Edward’s room. “I want to sleep with Daddy,” he announced.
“You and me both kiddo,” Dana mumbled, making Edward laugh.
He kissed her. “I’m sorry. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“I see how it is.”
“Exactly.” He walked to his room and paused before closing the door. “Sorry, no girls allowed,” he said with a mischievous smile as he shut the door. She made her way back to the room Cole abandoned and collapsed on the bed.
Dana woke up an hour later and made her way into the bathroom, feeling the need for a shower before everyone else woke up in the morning. She washed her hair and stayed under the hot water until she was completely relaxed.
Afterwards she went downstairs and sat at the computer, knowing no one else would be up for an hour. The kids had to get up in an hour to get ready for school and for Deana. She decided to check her e-mail. She answered her fan’s emails twice a week.
“Oh great,” she muttered to herself. They made the headlines last night. The lead stories were about the bomb. She read over the stories, most of them were pretty accurate. She didn’t appreciate the pictures of her kids scared and huddling on the ground when the gun was pointed their way.
A headline caught her eye, “Dana Mathews is an unfit mother.” She felt her stomach twist into a knot. She read through the article which mentioned Cole’s burns from a few months ago, the fact that she was a single mother, well was officially, and left her kids with friends while she worked. If she was anyone else people would be saying she had great friends helping her out, but since she was sort of a celebrity she was abandoning them.