I'm 12 now. I should be able to come to terms with my situation. But I can't.
My name is Lea Ashley McCoy. My mother died in a car crash before I was born. I was extracted from her womb. My dad doesn't know about me.
My mom's name was Claire. People say she was beautiful. People also say she would have loved me.
But she can't love me. She's gone.
After mom was declared dead, the doctors performed a C-Section even though it was rather early in the pregnancy. Four months to be exact. But out I came. I had to be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) until I was 6 months old. The nurses knew my dad's last name, and my mom's best friend who visited her was named Lea Ashley. That's how I got my name.
You would think that they would send me to live with my dad. But they couldn't. After mom died, he went in to a slump. A psychiatrist who was close to him, Dr. Olivet, said he was unfit to be a parent to anyone, much less a baby. He works late, and may be an alcoholic. My dad is Jack McCoy, Executive Assistant District Attorney.
I am going to see him today.
Ever since I was 2, I have lived in foster homes. I've been bad. It's funny actually. My parents were out there prosecuting people, while I should be prosecuted.
After running away for the 4th time since I was 9, my foster parents gave up on me. I was also caught with cocaine. I didn't use it, but I needed the money so I was going to sell it.
If my dad doesn't take me in, I will be declared a ward of the state and I will be remanded to a Juvenile Facility. I will not have any money, not for college, not for anything. I want to be a lawyer like my mom and dad. But I can't even afford community college, let alone law school.
Isn't it ironic? My mom and dad both were properly cared for, and they had great lives, great jobs. All I want is a chance. Please daddy, please be there for me. Otherwise, I will probably wind up flipping burgers at McDonalds for the rest of my life.
If I don't kill myself first.
I will never flip burgers. Irish pride I suppose. My social worker says my mom was Irish and my dad is Irish.
Now I'm at the building where the social worker says my dad works. Here goes. It's now or never. God save me. I enter the building and ask the guard at the desk where I can find Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy. I love saying that. It makes my dad seem very important.
The guard tells me, and I take the elevator to the 9th floor. I see the door. It says "Jack McCoy" on it. I knock. A voice says "Come in."
It's now or never Lea. Come on, this ones for the money. I take a deep breath, and walk inside. There is my father. And I'm finally meeting him face to face.
It's been a long day for me. Abbie, my assistant for almost 9 years now has just left, and I am one of the only people on the floor. I am reviewing a case. Hell, that's all I ever seem to do. That, and drink. I haven't had any interest in anything else since the accident. The accident which took the light of my life away. Claire.
I still miss her. I try to pretend I don't, but I do. Every brunette with short hair who is around 5 foot 8 I see reminds me of her.
God. I am so pathetic. It's been 12 years now, since I lost her. I need to get a grip. I need . . . I don't know what I need. I am about to go home when I hear a knock at the door. "Come in." I say.
It's a little girl, maybe 4 foot 3 in height. She looks like Claire. She's maybe 8,9. God I am paranoid. She doesn't really look like Claire, does she? Normally I would think I was delusional, but she really does look like pictures I saw of Claire when she was young.
The girl is shabbily dressed. Her jeans and black T-shirt look like they came from Goodwill and the weather is too cold for what she has on. I think maybe she is a witness in a child abuse case, and she is lost. Before I can think any more, she speaks.
"Are you Jack McCoy?"
"That I am." She amuses me, she seems almost afraid, but not exactly of me.
"I have something I need to tell you."
"And what is that?"
"I need your help. What you decide can make or break my life."
"And how's that?"
"You're my father."
There. I've said it. I can see the look of shock on his face, and I don't blame him. I don't think he believes me, except for the fact that he looked like he recognized me when I came in.
I shouldn't have come. This man doesn't need me, want me. He has a life, what right do I have to disrupt it?
"I should go." With that, I head for the door.
"Wait!" Is that my father calling to me?
"Before you go, tell me your story."
What the hell is going on? I don't have a daughter that age. My daughter Maggie is in her 20's. Who is this person?
I am about to laugh when I see the look on her face. She does look a bit like Claire. Hell, she looks a lot like Claire.
"Tell me your story."
With those simple words, my life changes forever.
Her name is Lea Ashley. It's a pretty name. I was wrong about her age. She is actually 12, her size so small as a result of her premature birth. As I watch my daughter tell me the saddest story I could ever hear, I want to die. I don't know what to do. I'm in my 60's, I can't take care of a 12 year old. But there is no way I am abandoning my child, and let her go to a Juvie facility. No way in hell.
So I make a decision. Lea Ashley McCoy is going to by part of my life whether I like it or not. Maybe she's what I need to pull me out of the gutter. Hell, she's a bit of Claire left for me.
6 Months Later
Dad is helping me move in. He took me in! I have a home. All the legal technicalities have been worked out. He has introduced me to all of his co-workers. His assistant Abbie is really cool, and his boss Adam is still kicking strong as Dad says even though he is reaching the 90 mark.
I now know that I am going to be a lawyer in the DA's office. I am going to be the best I can, because Dad deserves it. He lost mom, and I did too. But now we have each other.
I start school tomorrow. I am happy for once. I have real clothes, not the kind for Sears. Clothes from real stores.
When you're 12, that means a lot.
When you're 12, having a dad means a lot and I think I mean a lot to him too.