A few days ago Arianna met her mother and step sisters after almost 20 years distanced. She was getting to know them, but she didn’t know that her mother and Laura, one of her stepsisters were about to bring the tragedy to her life, again. Here the story…
The phone woke me up that morning.
It was Laura. “Arianna, can we meet with the attorney today?”
“Did you call him?” I asked.
“Yes, as soon as you gave me his number. We met yesterday, and we have a plan, but we need to tell you.”
“Yes, because I need your help, please Arianna. It’s for the safety of my kids,” Laura said.
“Okay, what time? Where?”
“At the coffee shop at noon.”
“Okay, I’ll be there.”
I called Joe, but I could only reach his voicemail, then he sent me a text message.
“Sorry, I’m with a client. I’ll see you later; Laura confirmed you’d go.”
Damn! I wanted to know something in advance. I was even more anxious, and I was having a bad feeling about the call, and meeting. My butterfly was trying to come out of my gut. I wanted to call Alex, but I didn’t want to stress him; besides, I had nothing to tell him, so I kept my anxiety to myself. Fortunately, Choux was there to listen to me. And she did.
I got ready and headed to the coffee shop. It was still early, so I got a coffee and waited. I was checking my emails when Laura and Joe arrived.
“Hi Arianna,” Joe said.
Laura hugged me and kissed my cheek. “Thank you, sis.”
Sis? I thought. My inner butterfly was hitting my gut even harder. Something terrible was coming.
“Your sister’s situation is critical, Arianna. She’s been helping her husband to commit fraud; that’s a felony, and she is guilty unless she confesses and says she didn’t know that she was helping him commit a crime. She would then need to ask for a divorce to avoid going to jail,” Joe explained.
“So, in order not to go to jail, she would have to put her husband in prison, and turn him into her ex-husband, right?” I said.
“In a nutshell, yes,” Joe said.
“Okay if that is the solution, then do it. Your kids need you; you can’t afford to go to jail, Laura.”
“It’s not that simple,” Joe said.
“Laura’s husband doesn’t want to divorce, and he doesn’t want to leave the house. He knows what he’s been doing, and he threatened
Laura and the kids. They are in danger. Arianna, you’ve just moved to an apartment in a gated community, an entirely safe place where Emilio can’t reach them. I need you to house Laura and the kids until the trial is over. Once she is divorced and he is in jail she will have her house back, and she’d be safe,” Joe said.
I didn’t know what to say, what to do. Alex told me to be careful; he told me not to get involved, and now I was becoming a big part of the whole mess. I was in trouble. I was frozen and unable to say a word.
Laura took my hand. “Will you help me sis?” she asked.
I saw her in the eyes; she was not crying, but she was scared.
“Okay, let’s do it,” I said.
“Thank you,” Laura said.
I went back home; they would arrive that evening; Joe would help them.
Choux was standing on my bed. “Meow.”
I sat down on my bed, and I cried. I felt so lonely and scared. How did I get involved in this mess? Why had I accepted? I shouldn’t have done that! My peace was gone for how long? Choux put her paws around my neck; she knew chaos was coming.
I called Alex; I couldn’t hide this from him.
“What? Are you crazy? I told you to keep yourself out of her troubles.”
“I know, but what did you want me to do? To say no and leave her and the children homeless and in danger?”
“Why didn’t she stay with her mother?” Alex asked.
“Because of the closeness to her home and Emilio. Here we have security,” I said.
“I’ll move my trip home as soon as I can. My contract finished, and I need to update my school documents to start the engineering in February. But first I want to talk with that attorney, what the hell was he thinking? He’d better get another safe place or put that guy in jail before I get there,” Alex said.
It is amazing how life can change in a second. I used to have a clean apartment, a peaceful life. I used to take long baths talking with Alex or my friends on the phone while drinking a glass of wine. Choux used to nap while taking the sun on the balcony every morning.
Laura arrived with her kids, and my mother decided she would come, too. So I had them all in my home. The kids wanted to go to the swimming pool and visit the other amenities; Edward asked if he could watch TV and Albert wanted to play with Choux. Unfortunately for him, Choux decided otherwise.
Albert started running after Choux along the apartment. So I stopped him.
“When Choux decides she wants to be with you, she will go to you, if she doesn’t you leave her alone, understood? This is a rule in my house.” I said.
“I don’t like that rule. Besides you’re not my mother,” Albert said.
“This is my house, and you leave Choux alone, period. Laura, please explain to Albert who manages this home.”
“Is there a problem?” Laura asked.
“Yes, I am informing Albert that a rule in this house is to respect Choux, he replied that he doesn’t like this rule and that I am not his mother,” I said. “I am explaining to him that this is my house, and he’ll do as I say, period. Agreed?”
Albert looked at the floor; he was visibly angry. “Agreed,” he said, and he left the room.
I was helping Laura when I heard Choux.
“I’m sorry, having a pet is new to them,” Laura said.
I went to see what was going on.
Albert was in the kitchen, and he was holding Choux. She was trying to jump out of his hands, and he wasn’t allowing her to go.
“I just want to play with the cat.”
I took Choux from him.
“She is not a cat, her name is Choux, and I told you to leave her alone, didn’t you understand me?” I said.
Albert went to the bedroom with his mother, and I put Choux on the floor.
“Stay away from the despicable boy,” I said.
I ordered a pizza for the kids and Laura for dinner; I wasn’t hungry at all.
The pizza arrived and I called everyone to dinner in the kitchen, they were starving and tired after this rather awkward day, so we all went to sleep. My apartment had only two bedrooms and a den that I used as a studio. Laura and the kids would be in Alex’s bedroom, and my mother would sleep in the den.
I was getting ready to sleep when I heard Albert and Laura arguing.
“I have no idea Albert; your aunt told you to leave the cat alone. I guess you didn’t?”
“What’s going on here?” I asked standing at the bedroom’s door.
“I think your cat peed on Albert’s pillow,” Laura said.
“Yes, your cat peed my pillow,” Albert said.
I couldn’t keep myself from laughing.
“What’s so funny? The cat peed Albert’s pillow. That isn’t funny,” Laura said.
“I told you not to mess with Choux Albert, but you are so stubborn, that you wouldn’t listen. This apartment is her territory, if you don’t respect her, this is the consequence, understood?” I said.
“Aren’t you going to spank that cat?” Laura said.
“No, she just claimed her territory. Besides, Albert insisted on bothering her. We will get another pillow tomorrow,” I said.
I very well knew that Choux would do that as a way of showing her discomfort about something, she did that to Alex several times when he used to bother her. Laura was not happy with my answer, but she had to accept it. I went back to my bedroom; Choux was on my bed.
“What did you do?”
“I know you don’t like him, I don’t like him either, but don’t do that.”
“Meow… Don’t do that again. Come here, let’s go to sleep.”
She came under the covers with me, cuddled and purred until we both fell asleep.
This was just the beginning of hell… Fortunately, Arianna had Choux and Alex, her son. They would be her boat of truth along this storm.