Once she was done with her packing, Brielle went across the hall to Jane’s room and knocked at the door.
“It’s open.” Jane called from inside.
Brielle entered. Jane was sitting at her computer. She spun around in her twirl chair and got a straight shot into Brielle’s bedroom.
“Mom, what’s going on. Why are the suitcases packed?”
“That’s what I’m fixing to talk to you about. I need you and Olivia to come into my room.” Brielle advised.
“Olivia!” Jane called out, “Mom wants to see you!”
Olivia came into Jane’s room holding the baby on her hip.
“Let’s go to my room. We need to talk.” Brielle told her.
Olivia looked at Jane, then back at her mother.
After the girls followed their mother into the bedroom, they all sat on the side of the bed. Brielle looked at her girls and spoke.
“Girls, I know this is going to be a hard thing for you. But I’ve decided that we have to pack up and move back East. We cannot continue to live with your Dad and his temper. There’s just no point in living in fear any longer. We must have some peace. And I feel I’m setting a very bad example for you girls, by staying in this marriage. No woman should ever stay in a marriage with a man who is abusive. I know you’re going to miss your dad, but I can’t let him hurt us anymore. I hope you understand.” She explained.
Breaking it Gently to the Children
A tear ran down Jane’s cheek.
“I understand, Mom. I love Dad and yes, I’ll miss him. But I understand,” she said.
Olivia gave Jane the baby, then cupped her face in her hands. She sobbed as Brielle put her arms around both the girls as Jane held on to the baby.
“I promise you. Everything’s going to be alright. You will get to see Granny more. Maybe even spend the night with her on the weekends. You’ll get to eat her banana bread you loved so much when we traveled there last summer. We’ll get to see Uncle Paul and Aunt Melissa. And also Uncle Jesse and Aunt Amy. You’ll get to see Uncle Joey and Aunt Julie and maybe they’ll teach you how to ride the horses. And you’ll get to see all your cousins.”
After holding her babies for about an hour and letting them cry until they couldn’t cry anymore, Brielle stood up.
“I’m going to help you both pack your things. Go ahead and get out your suitcases, duffle bags, and overnight bags. I’ll call Granny and your uncles and tell them we’re coming. Your Dad won’t be home until Saturday. We still have four days to pack, call a U-haul and get out of here. But I’d like to leave here by tomorrow morning. So, we need to pack and work fast.” Brielle said gently.
A Nosy Neighbor
Little Kennedy soon grew sleepy. Brielle rocked her to sleep, then lay her in her crib for a nap. Once the baby was asleep, it was time to get moving. Brielle called her grandmother and brothers to tell them they were coming, then she called the movers to come get the girl’s beds and dressers, Brielle’s grandmother’s old recliner, the queen-sized bed out of the guest room and the furniture that went with it. She also had her old furniture from when she was single and living in her apartment.
The girls quickly emptied their closet and dresser drawers, folded their clothes and placed them in their suitcases and duffle bags.
They could not take a chance of packing the Escalade during the day for the nosey neighbor across the street, Geneva. Bill always had her watching the house. But she was older and went to bed with the chickens. So, Brielle decided that they would pack the car that night after they were sure Ms. Geneva had gone to bed.
It was a good thing that the older lady went to the retirement center to play bingo every Wednesday at 10am and she would be gone for two to three hours. And most of the other nosy neighbors worked during the day. That would be the perfect time for the movers to arrive and load up all their furniture.
An “Upstanding” Guy
Bill had that lady and a few others watching that house like hawks and it infuriated Brielle to no end. He always made the excuse it was to keep them safe. But Brielle knew better.
She could not count the times Bill had accused her of cheating on him while he was away and slapping her around over it. And to everyone outside the house, Bill was a real stand-up guy. Only Brielle and the girls knew what he really was.
Bill had a way of drawing people to him. He had charisma and he could lie like a dog and make you believe it. This man could charm a nun right out of her panties if he wanted to. He sure had Brielle when they were dating. Had her fooled right up until they got married. And once he got that ring on her finger, off came the mask.
And what made this so frustrating was that Bill’s superb reputation outside the home, as both a businessman and an awesome and lovable guy, was the main thing that prevented Brielle from speaking out about the abuse she and the girls suffered. Who would believe that such a great man would abuse anyone, much less his own family? Even worse, who would take the word of a stripper turned lowly housewife over that of an esteemed businessman?
A “Bad Influence”
Those things alone were enough to intimidate and silence Brielle. But the fact was that the pressure was building, and she had to pack her things, take her kids, and get the hell out of Dodge before she snapped and either hurt Bill severely, or killed him.
No way would Brielle spend the rest of her life in prison over some narcissistic creep who seemed to take pleasure in having power over people. For fourteen long years already, she had been a prisoner in her own home. Damn if she was going to exchange one prison for another. Screw replacing one jailer with a slew of others.
Brielle had only one friend in the neighborhood that she could trust and that was Karen Fritz. Karen was the only person who knew the real Bill. She was also the only person that Brielle could trust with her secrets and her children. Bill detested Karen, calling her a bad influence for his wife and girls. No surprise there. Bill felt threatened when Brielle and the girls talked to anyone.
Brielle called the moving company and told them to arrive at 10 the next day, then she and the girls spent the rest of the day packing their things. That night at just before midnight, she and the girls loaded all the suitcases, duffle bags, overnight bags into the Escalade and locked the doors. And because the windows of the escalade were tinted, Brielle did not worry about anyone walking by the next morning and noticing the contents of the SUV so easily.
Brielle thought for a moment. How would Bill take it once he got back home and found that they were all gone? And more importantly, what would he do?