As Brielle was hanging up with her grandmother, Jo came outside and got into Brielle’s car with her.
“What time is it?” Jo asked.
“Almost two a.m. Any word on, Atticus?” Brielle responded.
“He’s conscious now. But he can’t see out of his right eye, Brielle. And that hematoma? What if he has a major brain bleed and…” Jo sobbed.
Brielle leaned across the middle console and embraced Jo in a hug. Jo sobbed on Brielle’s shoulder as the distant chopping and whir of helicopter blades faded in, growing louder and louder. Brielle looked through the windshield into the blackness of the night sky.
Brielle Consoles Jo
Suddenly, Brielle heard a loud tap on her driver’s side window. Brielle turned around and looked to see who was at her window. It was Bobby, tapping on it with his flashlight. Ashton, who was with him, leaned on the side of Brielle’s SUV and folded his arms, wearing the same smug smirk on his face.
“What the hell do you want?” Brielle barked bitterly.
“We’ve been watching you, Brielle. Who were you on the phone with a while ago?”
“None of your damn business! What are you, the Gestapo!” She chided.
“Get the hell out of here, you Nazis!” Jo yelled at the crooked lawmen, “get out of here now! I know you both had a hand in this! You did this!”
The two county cops chuckled derisively before tipping their hats to the women and walking away.
“Those bastards! Those evil, hellish bastards!” Jo yelled.
Brielle continued to hug Jo until she calmed down. She then looked at Jo.
“Listen, those idiots aren’t real law. They put shame on the sheriff’s badge. And you need to stay with Atticus, So, I’ll cover your shift and mine if I have to,” Brielle told her gently.
“Thank you, Brielle. Thank you so much,” Jo said, with tears still streaming down her cheeks.
A Mysterious Lull
Over the three weeks that Atticus was in the hospital, Brielle worked many long shifts, covering for Jo. Many loyal customers would stop Brielle to ask how Atticus was doing and she made sure to fill them in on his progress.
Also, because Jane had made many friends out of the targets and other students on the lower and middle levels in the school hierarchy, the higher-ups had decided to back off her. Because things seemed to be peaceful, Jane thought that she’d seen the last of the drama her bullies had brought her during the first three months of school. She soon became comfortable at school and her confidence showed so much that everyone noticed.
Brielle was relieved that her daughters were doing much better in school. She felt that things were indeed looking up for the girls. Also, the sheriff and the rest of the old clique from years ago seemed to disappear from Brielle’s life. Because it seemed that everyone had stopped confronting her, Brielle could finally breathe, and she too grew more comfortable with her life. It seemed that things were looking up for everyone who had, in the past, found themselves in the crosshairs of the Thomasville elite.
A Well-Needed Break Nonetheless
Lord knew why they’d suddenly stopped bothering Brielle and the rest of the so-called undesirables. Maybe they wanted to watch their p’s and q’s because they didn’t want to get arrogant and careless like Johnny Crabtree had years before. The old clique didn’t want to do anything that might get them in trouble.
Had they stopped for good, or was it only a temporary break designed to lull the Markowitz’s and the Carpenters into a false sense of security? Had they grown bored or was this a trick to lull them into bringing down their defenses?