Brielle had just fed and burped the baby and laid her asleep in her play pin. She then sat down to eat when suddenly, her cellphone began to ring with the song, “These Boots Are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra for her ringtone. She had selected the ringtone specifically as the ringtone for Bill’s number that afternoon because she knew that Bill would call just as soon as he’d gotten home and found that she and the girls were gone, and Brielle’s things were missing.
Grandma Bennett looked at her from across the table.
“It’s Bill, isn’t it?” She asked.
Jesse stood up with a serious look on his face.
“Nobody but.” Brielle replied.
She continued to let the phone ring.
“Well, are you going to answer it?” Jesse asked.
“I don’t know if I should. I left him the new number in case he wanted to talk to the kids.” Brielle said.
“You gave that monster your new number? Brielle, what in the heavens were you thinking?” Grandma Bennett asked in an annoyed tone.
“He’s the girls’ father, Grandma. I can’t just cut him out completely. And you don’t know him. He’s vindictive as hell. He’ll use this to tell the courts that I’m keeping him for seeing the girls- violating his rights as a father.”
“His rights? What about your rights to be safe and not to be harmed? What about the girls’ rights not to be harmed?” Joey asked angrily.
“I know, Joey. But that won’t carry much weight with Bill. He doesn’t care.”
As they talked, Bandit, curled up on the floor under the table, panted and his ears perked up. The phone finally stopped ringing after the sixth ring. Then began ringing again. After Bill attempted to call for the third time, Brielle turned off her ringer.
“You don’t think he’ll show up here, do you?” Amy asked.
“He better not show up here!” Paul thundered.
“Damn right! We’ll give him a welcome wagon he’ll never forget!” Jesse promised in a threatening tone.
“Alright, knock it off!” Grandma Bennett ordered, “You boys stop crowin’! He’s not going to come all the way here.”
“You think not? Grandma, somebody like him could hop on a plane and be here in a matter of hours.” Jerome said.
“I don’t think so.” Grandma said, “I don’t think he’s that stupid.”
“Oh, Lord, I hope not.” Brielle sighed.
“Well, Grandma. We’ve got to go home and retire.” Jesse told Grandma Bennett as he leaned down and kissed her. Each of the guys kissed Grandma Bennett, Brielle and each of the girls and baby before they gathered their wives and children and left for their houses.
Now, it was just Brielle, Grandma Bennett, the girls, and baby in the house. Brielle rose from the table.
“Come on, girls. Let’s get ready for bed.” Brielle called.
After the girls were in bed, Brielle and Grandma Bennett sat up and talked. Grandma Bennett picked up her coffee mug, took a sip, and set it down on a folded napkin on the table.
“So, what happened between you and Bill, Brielle. What did he do this time?” She asked.
“He’s just got a volatile temper. He just can’t control his temper. And he thinks he owns me and the girls. He treats us more like his property than his family.” Brielle explained.
“He hit you again, didn’t he?” Grandma Bennett pressed.
“Yes. He hit me, Grandma. But never again. Because I left for good this time. I need to be happy. The girls need to be happy, and they need to live in peace. I must teach them that it’s not okay for a man to hit you and this is how I do it. I have to be an example for my girls.” Brielle continued.
“That’s right, Brielle. And I’m so proud of you for leaving that scumbag! Just don’t go back to him. Don’t let him talk you into- “
“Don’t worry, Grandma. I won’t. I’m done with him. I don’t even love him anymore.”
“I’m glad to hear it. You deserve better than him, Brielle. You deserve to be happy for once.”
“You’re right. I do. And so, do the girls.”
Brielle than got up, then she turned back around and looked at Grandma Bennett.
“Oh, by the way, do you have this week’s newspaper lying around somewhere? I need to look in the classifieds and the real estate ads. I want to see about buying a place for me and the girls and start looking for a job soon.”
“Sure. This week’s newspaper is lying on the counter. I just got through reading it.” Grandma Bennett answered as she pointed to the counter with the newspaper folded on top of it.
Brielle picked it up and learned against the counter as she read it.
“It says here that there’s a 4-bedroom house for sale a few miles down the road from here. It’s in the country where it’s peaceful and quiet.” Brielle said as she continued to read.
“That’s the old Hancock Place. It’s been up for sale for over two years, and they can’t seem to sell it.” Grandma Bennett told her.
“I wonder why.”
“Because they wanted too much for it. The realtors have since brought down the price a little and they still can’t sell the place.”
“I’d like to call the realtors in the morning to set up an appointment. Then I want to go look for a job. It’s ten o’clock so I need to get to bed so that I can get up bright and early. Thanks again, Grandma.” Brielle said sweetly.
She then leaned down and kissed her grandmother on the cheek.
“Goodnight, Sugar. I’ll see you in the morning.” Grandma Bennett said.