"We can't just leave her here, she’s our child" Samantha cried to her boyfriend Craig. “Are you stupid or what? You know we've got nothing to offer her, she's better off without us!" His voice was colder than the cold night, his eyes red from smoking and his breath reeked of alcohol. "Just put the stupid baby by the dumpster and let's get the hell outta here before the cops see us" "We can't just leave her out here in the cold, she'll freeze to death." Samantha begged "let's look for a church, wherever. Please Craig, she's our daughter not some..." Grabbing her by the neck, he whispered in her ear "she's not our daughter Sammie. She's a mistake, a mistake we shouldn't have made." She tried to protest but his grip tightened around her neck and it came out as a squirm. "Now listen to me, you stupid bitch, and listen good. You have to make a choice." He stared her right in the eye "it's either you leave that baby here and come with me or you can stay here with her and forget about me. Need I remind you, that your parents want nothing to do with you and you’re still wanted by the cops for the hit and run. So you’ll probably end up in jail and she’ll be in the system, it’ll be a whole messy situation. So what's it gonna be Sammie? A good life with me or a life here with a child, no money, nowhere to go?” He chuckled mockingly “there isn’t much of a choice here my love.” His words cut through her like ice. She struggled to free herself from his grip, but he held on to her apparently waiting for her answer. Staring into his dark eyes she knew w she didn’t have much of a choice here. "I’ll go with you" she muttered breathlessly. "Good girl. Now you know what to do. Make it snappy, I don't got all night" and with that Craig walked towards his old truck that was parked by the road. She stared into her baby's beautiful green eyes and fought back the tear that was threatening to fall. "I didn't even get to name you." She hurriedly removed the locket around her neck and hung it around her baby's neck. "That's the last piece of me... " "Yo! We got some place else to be, get in the truck and let's get the hell outta here!" Craig was yelling angrily and she knew better than to upset him further. "Please, stay alive for me, I'll be back for you one day, I promise. Mummy loves you." She pressed a kiss on her baby's cheek and the baby began to wail as if she was indeed aware of the cruelty that had befallen her. Samantha hurried into the passenger seat of Craig’s truck and gazed into the darkness as the engine roared to life. She hoped that her baby wouldn't die in the cold night, that her baby would at least get a chance to live. "Excellent choice Sammie, don't worry about her, she'll probably die in a few hours. It'll be like the whole ugly episode never happened" he said smiling slyly. That smile that she had fallen in love with, the same smile that had gotten her here. Her intestines twisted in knots as he started the truck, her heart thumped in her chest from fear for her baby. She bit her lip to keep it from trembling. "God please help my baby" she prayed silently. As the truck drove away, she stared out the window into the darkness. She let the tears roll down her cheeks. * * * Early the next morning, Rico woke up with a start. He thought he heard something, a baby crying. He wasn’t sure since there were no babies in the neighborhood. There it was again. "Mario! Mario! Wake up!" He slapped his brother who was sleeping beside him "Mario!" He slapped him harder this time and his brother woke up abruptly. "What the hell Rico? Don’t you see me trying to sleep? You loco?" Mario said angrily "que problema?" "There's a baby crying." Rico said Mario looked at his brother and processed his brother's reply for a while. "You must be outta your freaking mind, you wake me up because you hear baby crying " he lies back down. "I'm sure it's got a mother, there's nothing I can do about no crying baby. I'm sure it's momma's got boobies to feed it. Go back to sleep Rico" he shut his eyes to sleep again when he heard the baby wailing. And it was a little strange because there were nothing but dumpsters behind their house. “I think someone left it behind the house” He hurried out of the room. "Are you coming or what?" Cursing under his breath Mario got up from the floor and followed his brother. "Damn it! Rico..." "Shut up, Mario. Come see what someone dropped". He held the baby up so his brother could see "She's divine." "Is that a baby?" Mario asked shocked. "No. It's a pot of smelly beans we'll eat for breakfast. Have you no eyes?" He carried her towards his brother "take a look at her eyes, isn't she beautiful?" Staring into the baby's beautiful face Mario took her from his brother. "How did she survive in the cold? Let's get her inside she’s freezing" "Ya think?" Rico yelled as he led the way into the little house. “We have to keep her warm, get some clothes.” He wrapped her snugly in the thin blanket she had been in when they found her. "Here you go" Mario said giving him the clothes "Mario!" "What?" "Why the hell you set her down on rags? Are you trying to give her rashes?" Mario knelt down beside his brother and smiled at the baby, and they stared as if she would disappear if they blinked. "Hello pretty. Welcome to planet earth. I'm Mario and the idiot beside me is Rico." "You're hopeless" Rico said with a mock frown and then laughed. “Look at her eyes. They're so beautiful.” “Who would be heartless enough to leave such a beautiful baby to die in the cold?” Mario asked in disbelief. “She must be a real fighter to still be alive.” Rico answered. “Can we keep her?” Mario asked “it’s not like we can go to the police or anything, we’ll get caught…uh… we could find a church or something, I mean, she’s like eighty percent white, she might have a shot at a good life here.” Rico answered “Let’s call Maria, she should be able to help, we can’t take her to a church or the police, she’s still part Mexican, she’ll end up in the system and…” Mario said softly looking into the baby’s face again. “Things aren’t so great with us Mario and you know it, the garage is packing up and we literally steal to eat, at least an orphanage would be better, they would know what to do.” Rico answered. “Let’s just call Maria, She's gonna... Christ! What's that smell?" Mario exclaimed holding his nose. "Looks like bebita is due for a change, please call Maria" Rico asked “What do we call her?” Rico asked absently "Let's see" Mario said taking a closer look into the baby's beautiful eyes "how about... Emerald?" "I couldn't agree more" Rico answered with a grin.