Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C5.4

After dinner, Brielle and Marcelle helped Grandma Bennett clean the kitchen and load the dishes in the dishwasher. Once they were done cleaning the kitchen, Grandma looked at Brielle and noticed something was wrong.

“Brielle, come sit at the table with Grandma,” she gently suggested.

Brielle did as she was told, and Marcelle joined them while the rest of the family gathered in the living room to watch TV.

“Now, what’s bothering you, honey?” Grandma Bennett asked.

“I don’t know about this, Grandma. I just don’t feel right sending my girls to Thomasville schools. I have a real bad feeling about it,” Brielle replied, “The teachers really weren’t very welcoming to us today. And all I heard was gossip and anger about the video coming from some of them and the other parents. But I don’t have any other options. The girls need their education and if there were any private schools or home schools nearby, I’d gladly enroll them there instead.”

Brielle’s Concern

“Wait a minute. There is a home school here. They opened it while you were in California. It’s called Pathway Christian School and they’ve been headquartered here in Thomasville for about a year now. The kids go to school one day a week, which is every Friday for testing. After they test, they get their assignments for the following week to do at home. Also, they allow the kids to go at their own pace and there have been kids who sailed through and graduated a few years earlier than they would have if they’d stayed at Thomasville and Glover County Public Schools,” Marcelle mentioned.

“That’s right,” Grandma Bennett confirmed, “I didn’t think of that. Otherwise, I’d have told you. However, I need to warn you that the parents who have taken their kids out of public school here and enrolled them in Pathway have gotten a lot of heat from the local establishment and so has the home school itself.”

“Why am I not surprised?” Brielle replied.

“That’s true, Brielle,” Marcelle, her mother warned.

Another Option

“Believe me, if I take the girls to Pathways, I’ll do it no matter the pushback I get. And if I find out that my girls are bullied there, that’s exactly what I’ll do, I don’t care who likes it or doesn’t!” Brielle said firmly, “However, since they’re already registered, I’ll see how it goes before I transfer them. Maybe Jane and Olivia will be accepted there.”

Later that night, after a good family visit, Brielle and the girls returned home.

“It’s after ten o’clock, girls. It’s time to get ready for bed.” Brielle told them as she carried the sleeping baby on her shoulder and headed for the baby’s room to put her down for the night. Jane and Olivia both sleepily trudged to their bedrooms to change into their pajamas.

After Brielle placed the sleeping baby in her crib and turned on the nightlight, she then visited each of the older girls’ rooms to kiss them goodnight before retiring to her own bed for the night.

It seemed as if Brielle had just gotten to sleep when suddenly, in the dead of night, a loud noise sounded, startling her awake. Bandit, who’s been curled up asleep at the foot of Brielle’s bed, began barking frantically. He jumped off the bed and ran down the hallway as he continued to sound off a cluster of loud barks.

B & E

Brielle, now wide awake, noticed her bedside clock which sat on her nightstand. It was three thirty a.m. Hearing the baby screaming in terror down the hall, Brielle quickly and quietly pulled open one of the drawers of her nightstand and pulled a gun out.

Sensing a presence in the house and hearing faint, clinging and clattering noises, along with dog barks, Brielle sprang from her bed and crept out of the master bedroom to check on her kids and see what was going on. As soon as she got into the hallway, her eyes adjusted to the darkness, and she could see into living room. What looked like a dark silhouette of a man, ran across the living room with Bandit yapping at his heels.

With a ferocious bite, Bandit lunged and grabbed the back of the ankle part of the criminal’s pant leg. The dog growled viciously as his teeth clamped down on the pant leg and began pulling at it. This slowed the burglar down and caused him to stumble. But he managed to keep from falling. Kicking his leg violently, trying to shake the dog off, he kicked Bandit hard. The dog yelped loudly from the pain of the blow.

Modern Day Annie Oakley

Brielle took aim and fired the gun three times. A high-pitched screaming, “Oh my God!” echoed from Jane’s bedroom. Olivia’s blood-curdling screams could also be heard along with the baby’s screams of terror and barking of the dog. The dark figure managed to pull himself free and take off.

“Stay in your rooms and don’t come out!” Brielle shouted.

The sound of the door swinging and slamming against the wall, followed back the sound of fast-paced footsteps across the front yard prompted Brielle to run to the door, gun in hand, but aimed toward the ceiling. She ran out on the porch to see the dark figure run across the yard, then across the road, and disappear into the huge cornfield across the road.

Brielle turned and ran back into the house. She ran back into her bedroom and grabbed her smartphone, being sure to take it off the charger, and shoved it in the front pocket of her pajama pants. She then tucked the gun, nose down into the waist, burst into the baby’s room and lifted little Kennedy out of the crib.

Protecting Her Nearest and Dearest

“You can come out now!” She shakily called.

Jane and Olivia came running out of their bedrooms and into the baby’s room where their mother was. They both ran to her, frantically wrapping their arms tight around her and crying.

“It’s alright now, girls! It’s alright! Everything is alright!” Brielle assured them, trying to remain calm and her voice still a bit shaky. Holding the baby in one arm and wrapping the other arm around both frightened girls, she held them tighter than she thought she’d ever held them their entire lives.

Brielle then let go of the girls, set the baby back in the crib, took her smartphone, and dialed.

“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” The Dispatcher answered on the other end, after only two rings.

9-1-1

“I’ve had a break-in and just shot at an intruder in my home.” Brielle told her, “I’m at 2301 Hobbs Rd, just west of Thomasville.

“Someone broke into your house, ma’am?”

“Yes.

“And you say you shot at him, was he still in the house when you fired the shots?”

“Yes. I fired three times and he got away.”

“Was the intruder hit by any of the bullets?”

“I don’t know.”

“Okay. Hang tight. I’m sending a deputy.”

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C3.2

Hit the road concept, road – 3D rendering

After the movers left, Brielle left hers and the girl’s old phones sitting on the kitchen counter. She carried the baby on her hip, while calling  and whistling for the dog. Bandit came running, followed the family outside and jumped into the SUV. Then Brielle, strapped the baby in the safety seat before she and the girls got into the Escalade and pulled out of the driveway, leaving Karen and the boys standing there waving at them.

Brielle and the girls waved back as they pulled away and slowly disappeared down the suburban street, toward the freeway, thus beginning a long drive back East.

The girls turned around in their seats and took one last look at the house and neighborhood before Brielle turned a corner and it faded out of sight. Bandit barked, then let up a whimper.

“Seatbelts, girls.” Brielle said in a stern tone.

Leaving the Only Home the Kids Ever Knew

“Sorry, Mom.” Jane said as she sat in the passenger seat and clicked her seatbelt secure. Olivia followed suit in the back seat. Baby Kennedy gurgled and cooed in the baby seat beside Olivia. Bandit sat in the back with his back to the humans in the car, staring out the back window and panting. The dog had always loved to ride in the car.

“I just wanted to get one last look at the house I grew up in. ‘Ya know?”

“I understand sweetie.” Brielle assured.

“As bad as Dad is, I’m going to miss California and our home and neighborhood.” Jane continued as a tear streamed down her cheek.

Brielle reached over and lovingly patted Jane’s knee.

“I know honey. But you understand why this has to be, right?” She said.

“Yes.”

“Okay, girls, now listen. I’m doing this for not only me. I’m doing this for you girls too. It’s like I told you yesterday. When a man abuses you, that’s never okay. It’s never okay when he hits you and it’s never okay when he yells, curses, or talks down to you. None of that is okay! I can’t stress this enough! You girls grew up watching your dad abuse me and enduring abuse from him yourselves. And when you’ve grown up with it, it’s too easy to think that crap is acceptable and normal. It isn’t!”

A Much-Needed Discussion

“I want you teach the three of you that you shouldn’t allow a man or anyone else to abuse you. I also want to teach you that we deserve better than what we’ve been getting, you deserve better. And there are great men out there- loving men who will love you and take care of you. But you must get to know him first. It starts when you are dating, not after you’re already married. You must watch for the signs, and I did not do that because I wasn’t very smart about it. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”

“Yes, Mom.” Jane and Olivia both answered.

Brielle continued to talk as she drove on, pulling onto the interstate and heading east.

“Not every man who shows his teeth to you loves you and has your best interests at heart. Not every man who marries really loves his wife. To some men, men like your father, women and children are possessions rather than individual humans with their own thoughts, feelings, perspectives, opinions, and views. Your dad was very controlling and someone who tries to control you doesn’t really love you. When someone hits you, that’s not love, Jane. When someone tries to control you, that’s not love. Do you hear me, Olivia?”

“Yes ma’am.” Olivia said.

Looking Back and Realizing Her Mistakes

As soon as they reached the east side of Bakersfield, Brielle and the girls stopped for a late lunch. Not wanting to leave the dog in the car, they went through the drive-thru. They bought and paid for the food, then sat in the parking lot and ate. Once they were through eating, Brielle hit Interstate 40 and they were headed east.

By dark, Brielle and the girls were well into Arizona. They had just pulled onto the interstate again after having dinner. The baby had fallen asleep, aided by the hum of the motor and the steady vibrations. Jane and Olivia had their earbuds in and were playing games on their tablets. As Brielle drove, all was quiet, and she finally had time to think.

Brielle was taking a huge step, perhaps, the biggest step she had ever taken. After fourteen years of being verbally and physically abused, Brielle had taken her three children, left her husband, and was moving back east to Tennessee. This was no easy task by any stretch of the imagination, and neither was it an easy decision.

A Hard Decision

It was downright scary. Brielle still cared for Bill, even loved him a little bit. But she had to love herself and her girls more than she did him. She had to do what was best for the three of them. If she did not fart around, she would already be in Tennessee by the time Bill returned home on Saturday.

Brielle could only imagine the look on his face when he pulled into the driveway and realized that Brielle’s escalade was gone. She could also imagine the shock as soon as he entered the house to find them all gone, along with Brielle’s and the girl’s belongings. Bill would shit a gold brick! That much she knew, and it was best to get as far away as she could.

Brielle then thought back. Bill had been a complete psychopath. During the first year of their marriage, he had started out verbally abusing Brielle. Then it escalated to physical abuse. Brielle had finally reached her breaking point. She thought back to her middle and high school days. As she reflected, Brielle remembered how horribly her classmates had bullied her.

She wondered. Why was it that women who were bullied in school always seemed to attract, fall in love with, and marry bullies? She couldn’t understand it. It seemed that no matter what she did, she always attracted more bullies and more abusers. But she finally realized that there were things she had to change within herself before she could stop allowing these types of people into her life.

The Big Realization

After years of wondering if there was something wrong with her, Brielle finally concluded that there was never anything wrong with her. Bill had the issue. Bobby, Rita, and the rest of the creeps who had bullied her in school- they had had the issue! Thanks to Shannon Crooke McGregor and her books, Brielle had come to the realization that each of her abusers were the ones who had the problems.

She then became angry- angry at her abusers for brainwashing her into thinking that she “made” them hurt her. And most of all, angry at herself for allowing it! Brielle was angry at herself for taking the blame for their disgusting behavior! For taking the blame for the battering of her own spirit! And this time, she was done!

She was done with Bill! She was done with every person who’d tried to destroy her spirit in the past. And she was done with being treated like a piece of garbage. Brielle was bound and determined that she was going to be happy for once in her life. More so, her girls were going to see an example of a strong woman. As a mother, Brielle was determined that her girls weren’t going to follow in the footsteps of a weak and powerless woman.

Putting Herself and Her Kids First

Brielle was not only leaving for herself; she was leaving for the welfare of her girls. She wanted to set an example for her young daughters and to send them a message – that they didn’t have to take abuse from anyone, be it a man, a girl pal, anyone. Ever! That it was okay to leave when you didn’t feel safe. And that is exactly what she planned to teach her daughters from here on out.

After spending the night in a five-star, pet-friendly hotel in Arizona, Brielle, the kids, and the dog set out once again. It was Thursday and the sun shone high in the sky…

Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II C3

Chapter 3
The Escape Home

The next day at 8:15, Brielle and the girls watched as Ms. Geneva got into her Mercedes Benz and pulled out of the driveway to go to her weekly Bingo game. She always left early to go have breakfast before her bingo game.

“There, she goes, Mom. She never misses a game of Bingo, does she?” Jane remarked while slightly opening the blinds and peering out the window.

“Perfect!” Brielle said with a smile, “C’mon, girls. Get everything we’re taking to the living room in front of the door, so when the movers arrive, they’ll be able to load everything quickly and we can get out of here before Ms. Nosy Britches gets back. In the meantime, I’ll take the baby and run to the bank. Be sure and keep all the doors locked until I return.

After Karen arrived to watch the kids, Brielle grabbed her purse, phone, and keys, then left. She had never told Bill she had her own bank account. When Brielle had married Bill, she had remembered her mother’s advice. “Even if you’re married, it’s always best to have a secret bank account just in case the shit hits the fan, and you have to bail out.” She had never forgotten it.

A Sneaky Hustle Plan

Therefore, unbeknownst to Bill, Brielle had worked two nights per week at the strip club while he was on his business trips until recently. And Bill had been gone mostly on the weekends. Taking the girls to Karen’s allowed Brielle to work, making about five to seven-hundred dollars a night, one to two hundred to pay Karen, and the rest to stash away in her private bank account. And after having secretly worked for the last ten years, except for the months during her pregnancies, she had saved quiet a bit of money- close to five-hundred thousand dollars to be exact.

Because her husband paid all the bills, including her cell phone, Brielle was able to save and save big. And she was able to plan her escape years in advance. Also, she had money in an old bank account from when she was single and worked fulltime, which was a stash of about twenty-three thousand.

After closing both of her bank accounts and being handed her money in the form of cashier’s checks, Brielle went to the phone company and bought new smartphones and data plans for herself, Jane, and Olivia. She could not take a chance on Bill having someone track the phone. The old phone was already in Bill’s name, which meant he would get the bill, see all the numbers of her incoming and outgoing calls and any text messages. So, who was to say that he could not get her locations too?

Getting the Ducks in a Row

Brielle returned home just before ten o’clock and as the movers were arriving. The movers pulled into the driveway as Brielle was taking the baby out of her safety seat.

After the movers loaded up the huge box truck, Brielle paid them half and would pay the other half once the movers got her belongings safely to her grandmother’s house in Tennessee. Because the movers would have to take the items across the country, the moving was awfully expensive.

Her best friend Karen stretched out her arms and Brielle embraced her. The two besties hugged each other tightly.

“I’m going to miss you all so much,” Karen told her, “But I understand why you have to leave. You deserve to be happy, Brielle. And I want you and these girls to be happy even if it’s in Tennessee. Please be careful. And call me when you get there so that I know you all are safe.”

“I sure will, sweetie. I’m going to miss you too.”

Karen’s fifteen-year-old son, Ryker, hugged Jane. Her twelve-year-old son, James, hugged Olivia.

“I guess this is it,” Ryker told Jane.

“Yeah. I’m really going to miss you,” Jane said in a low voice.

The sadness of Leaving Friends Behind

“Yeah, me too. Have a great trip. And call me,” Ryker chirped.

“I will. You have my new number. Right?” Jane asked.

Ryker dug a folded piece of paper out of his pocket.

“Right here.” He assured.

“Program it into your phone. You’ll easily lose that paper if you don’t.” Jane warned.

Ryker unfolded the paper, took out his smartphone, and did as Jane suggested.

“Got it!” He chirped.

Excerpt from “Townies, Cronies, and Hayseeds II (A Collective Grudge)” By Cherie White

…Brielle was taking a huge step, perhaps, the biggest step she had ever taken. After fourteen years of being verbally and physically abused, Brielle had taken her three children, left her husband, and was moving back east to Tennessee- no easy task by any stretch of the imagination, and neither was it an easy decision.

It was downright scary. Brielle still cared for Bill, even loved him a little bit. But she had to love herself and her girls more than she did him. She had to do what was best for the three of them. If she did not fart around, she would already be in Tennessee by the time Bill returned home on Saturday.

Brielle could only imagine the look on his face when he pulled into the driveway and realized that Brielle’s escalade was gone. She could also imagine the shock as soon as he entered the house to find them all gone, along with Brielle’s and the girl’s belongings. Bill would shit a gold brick! That much she knew, and it was best to get as far away as she could from that.

Brielle then thought back. Bill had been a complete psychopath. He had started out verbally abusing Brielle. Then it escalated to physical abuse and Brielle had reach her breaking point. She thought back to her high school days and how horribly her classmates had bullied her during her middle school and high school years.

She wondered. Why was it that women who were bullied in school always seemed to attract, fall in love with, and marry bullies? She couldn’t understand it. It seemed that no matter what she did, she always attracted more bullies and more abusers. But she finally realized that there were things she had to change within herself before she could stop allowing these types of people into her life.

After years of wondering if there was something wrong with her, Brielle finally concluded that there was never anything wrong with her. Bill had the issue. Bobby, Rita, and the rest of the creeps who had bullied her in school- they had had the issue! Thanks to Shannon Crooke McGregor and her books, Brielle had come to the realization that each of her abusers were the ones who had the problems.

She then became angry- angry at her abusers for brainwashing her into thinking that she “made” them hurt her. And most of all, angry at herself for allowing it! Brielle was angry at herself for taking the blame for their disgusting behavior! For taking the blame for the battering of her own spirit! And this time, she was done!

She was done with Bill, she was done with every person who’d tried to destroy her spirit in the past, and she was done with being treated like a piece of garbage. Brielle was bound and determined that she was going to take control of her own destiny- that she was going be happy for once in her life and that her girls were going to see an example of a strong woman instead of one who was powerless.

Brielle was not only leaving for herself; she was leaving for her girls. She wanted to set an example for her young daughters and to send them a message – that they didn’t have to take abuse from a man. Ever! That it was okay to leave when you didn’t feel safe. And that is exactly what she planned to teach her daughters from here on out.

After spending the night in a five-star, pet-friendly hotel in Arizona, Brielle, the kids, and the dog set out once again. It was Thursday and the sun shone high in the sky.

After another two-days of driving and spending the night in hotels, Brielle and her brood finally arrived at her grandmother’s house in Tennessee. It was Saturday morning and Bill would not be getting back to California until later in the evening. Several kids were playing in the yard when the family pulled up. And there were lots of chickens in the yard pecking and scratching.

Brielle and the kids got out of the car. Bandit barked as he jumped from the vehicle and ran around the yard, sniffing the grass for a good spot. The kids ran up to Bandit and began petting him. Bandit sniffed the kids then stood there and let them pet his fur.

Brielle’s grandmother came outside and placed her arm around her. Brielle’s brothers and cousins also came piling out of the house with their wives.

“You’ve just had a long drive, so you and the girls go on in and rest. We’ll unload your truck and bring your stuff in for you. Now, the movers got here a few hours ago and unloaded your recliner and other stuff. I had them put it all in the shop behind the house.” Grandma Bennet told her.

“Thank you, grandma. How’s Mom?” Brielle asked.

“She and your daddy went on their second honeymoon. They won’t be back until next week.”

“Right. I knew their anniversary was coming up and they would be out of town. I didn’t call them and let them know I was coming because I didn’t want to put a damper on their plans.” Brielle said.

“Nonsense! You should’ve called them, Brielle! They would’ve helped you.” Grandma Bennett scolded her.

“I know but I didn’t want to bother them right now.”

“Honey, you’re not a bother, I promise. Now get inside and go lie down a while if you’re tired.” Grandma Bennett said before she squeezed Brielle tight and gave her a kiss on her cheek. Brielle then gave hugs to each of her three brothers and three cousins.

“Oh, it’s so good to see you, baby sister!” Jesse, Brielle’s oldest brother gushed as they hugged each other tight, “I was hoping you’d come back home someday. But I understand why you left.”

“Thank you, Jesse. You’ve always been my protective big brother and I love you for it!” Brielle said sweetly.

“I love you too, Little Sis!”

Brielle came to Joey, her second oldest brother and Joey spread his arms out to hug her.

“I’m so glad to see you, Sugar! It’s been too long!” He said lovingly as he embraced his sister, “So, are you here to visit or…”

“I’m here for good, Joey. I’m not going back to California. I left Bill and I’m going to divorce him.” Brielle told him.

Brielle’s cousin Tim spoke up.

Open door on long empty asphalt road, highway towards sun. Hope, success, new way concepts etc.

“Good! ‘Cause I never liked that fool anyway.” Tim remarked.

Brielle then hugged her youngest older brother Paul, then each of her cousins.

“I didn’t like Bill either.” Grandma Bennett added, “There’s always been something off about him. He just gave me a suspicious vibe, Brielle.”

“I understand, Grandma. And I don’t blame you. I’m home for good this time. I’m not going back.” Brielle assured her, “I just want to spend time with my family.”

“Well, we’re so glad you’re home, honey! And we’ll help you anyway we can.” Grandma Bennett said in her loving, grandmotherly tone.

She turned to Brielle’s three brothers Joey, Jesse, and Paul and cousins, Tim, James, and Jerome.

“Boys, let’s get Bri’s and the girls’ things in the house.”

“Yes, ma’am!” Jesse said excitedly as they all opened the hatchback of the Escalade and went to work unloaded the suitcases and bags.

That night, Grandma Bennett cooked a large supper of two rotisserie whole large chickens, mashed potatoes, blackeye peas, greens, and cornbread.

“Wash your hands for supper, everyone!” she called as Brielle led the girls into the bathroom. After everyone had washed their hands, Brielle’s three brothers, three cousins, and two oldest daughters all sat down at the long table in the dining room as Brielle helped Grandma Bennett set the table. Next, Brielle lifted the baby out of her play pin, then prepared her baby food. She then sat down with the baby in her lap and spoon fed the child while everyone else ate.

“So, how was your trip, Brielle?” Grandma Bennett asked.

“Exhausting. I think me and the girls are going to sleep good tonight.” Brielle replied.

“Well, I’ve got your bed ready in the quest room. The girls can sleep in the second guest room upstairs. The boys will be leaving to go home after supper.”

“Thank you so much, Grandma. You don’t know how much I appreciate this.” Brielle told her.

Back in California, Bill pulled into the driveway in his BMW. Noticing that Brielle’s vehicle was gone, he got out slowly then paused and stared at the empty space in the driveway with an annoyed look on his face. He then looked around.

Bill took his briefcase out of the trunk. After closing the trunk, he went to the front door, unlocked it, and went inside the house. He dropped his briefcase when he took one look around the house and realized that not even the dog was there. He also noticed that Brielle’s recliner was missing as were the baby’s play pin, toys, and Brielle’s pictures of her family and a few pictures of the girls.

Bill then raced upstairs, into the master bedroom and jerked open the door to the walk-in closet. Brielle’s clothes were missing. He then darted into the bathroom. Sure enough, Brielle’s makeup and toiletries were also missing.

Next, he ran into the girl’s rooms and noticed that they were completely empty, no beds, no vanities, no computers, no desks, no pictures, no toys or nick-nacks. Nothing. He burst into the baby’s room. Again, nothing. Jane’s, Olivia’s, and the baby’s rooms were all empty and bare.

After making a mad dash down the stairs, Bill went into the kitchen and found three cellphones lying on the counter- Brielle’s, Jane’s, and Olivia’s. In a rage, Bill picked up one of the phones and, with a scream of fury, hurled it through the window in the patio door.

He then found a note on the far counter by the stove and picked it up. It read:

“Bill,

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the last few months. Things haven’t been good between us for a long time now and I think that it’s time to end our marriage and go our separate ways. The girls and I deserve to be happy, and we haven’t been because all you do is hurt us. Well, I won’t let you hurt us anymore. I’m determined for us to be happy and I’ve come to the conclusion that we’ll be much happier without you.

Don’t worry. You can still come see the girls. I won’t keep them from you. But we just can’t live with you anymore. I wish you all the best in life. Know that I’ll always care about you. You’re the father of my children. But I’m not in love with you anymore. Little by little, you killed that love with each slap, each punch in my face, each time you called me a bitch, and each time you verbally assaulted me. And now it stops.

You go on with your life and let me and the girls go on with ours. That’s all I ask of you.

Sincerely,

Brielle

Ps. Here’s my new number if you need to talk to the girls.

(323)555-0672”

Bill took the letter, crumpled it up, and threw it across the kitchen.

“Goddammit!” He screamed, “That bitch!”

He then walked over to where the crumpled letter had landed, picked it back up, and straightened it out. Next, he read it again. He then took out his cellphone and dialed the number written in the letter….