The following Tuesday, Brielle arrived at the Human Resources office at the Boot Factory, officially known by the company name, “Dusty Trail Western Boots Manufacturing.” She walked into the lobby, dressed for success, in a ruby red business suit and matching closed toe heels. Her face was neatly made up and her long, blonde, highlighted hair hung about three inches past her waste.
Dusty Trail Boots were high-end, cowboy boots that were made from real leather. They were the most expensive boots, with many pairs having been bought by the hottest country and western stars in Nashville, and they ranged from four hundred, fifty dollars to over two-thousand dollars per pair.
The HR manager looked over Brielle’s application and noticed her work history but didn’t seem to mind that she’d once been an exotic dancer in California.
“Well, I don’t see why we can’t give you a shot. No, you haven’t had any experience working in a factory, but you can learn,” said with a smile. He stood up and shook Brielle’s hand.
A New Job
“I’d like you to report for work next Monday at 3pm. I’ll start you on second shift. You’ll be working in quality Control as an inspector. You’ll inspect each pair of boots, looking for any flaws. Each pair of boots will come with a ticket. If you find no flaws with a pair, you’ll stamp the ticket for approval and send it on to shipping to be packed and shipped out. The flawed boots, you’ll stamp the ticket for rework and send them to the rework department. Your trainer will give you more details when you start,” the manager said.
“I’d like that, and I’ll be here,” Brielle answered, “Thank you, Mr. Samuel.”
“Call me Sam,” he told her in a kind voice.
After Brielle left the boot factory, she stopped at Grandma Bennett’s house. The octogenarian woman was sitting on the front porch reading a newspaper and sipping a hot cup of coffee when Brielle pulled into the driveway. She got out of her SUV and called out as she got closer to the porch.
“Well, good morning, Glory! How did your interview go?” Grandma Bennett called out as Brielle stepped onto the porch and took a seat across the table from her.
“It went perfectly! I got the job. I start next Monday afternoon at three,” Brielle answered with a smile.
The Beginnings of a New Life
“I’m proud of you, sweetheart. I knew they’d hire you. Jesse and Paul work there also- second shift, so you’ll see a lot of them. They both work in maintenance. What department will you work in?” Grandma Bennett asked.
“Sam says I’ll be on one of the assembly lines,” Brielle answered, “I’m kind of glad I have two brothers who already work there.”
“That does make things easier. I wish you all the best, darling. I know you’re going to do well. The assembly line isn’t that hard from what I’ve been told. You just stand there and watch the boots come down the line, being assembled, and when the red light comes on, you stop the machine and call maintenance, that’s basically all. The machine does most of the work putting the boots together, stitching the leather, gluing the heel and soul to the bottom. They basically put each boot together before sending them to the polishing department.”
“Sounds easy enough. Listen, I gotta go, Grandma. Jane’s at home babysitting her sisters and I need to get there soon so I can change into some comfortable clothes and fix lunch. I’ll see you later,” Brielle said as she got up, then leaned down and kissed her grandmother.
“I love you, Sugar! You be careful and make those girls a good lunch. Y’hear?”
“I sure will, Grandma. I love you too,” Brielle replied with a smile as she bent down once more to give her grandmother a hug.
A Supportive Family
Grandma Bennett embraced her granddaughter and kissed her once more before she watched Brielle trot down the steps and flounce cheerfully toward her vehicle.
“Brielle, wait,” Grandma Bennett called.
Brielle stopped and turned around.
“What is it, Grandma?” she asked concerned.
“Do you have any plans this weekend? I was thinking about having a big family barbecue on Sunday, after church.”
“Sounds good, Grandma. Saturday, I’m going to pick up Raina and she and I are going to the twentieth high school class reunion out on the boat dock. Then Sunday, the kids and I can come to the barbecue.”
“Wait, you’re going to do what on Saturday? Did you say, class reunion?” Grandma said in a tone of high concern.
“Sure. Raina and I are going together,” Brielle answered.
“Oooh, Brielle! Do you really want to see those people again, after the horrible way they treated you? Lord, Brielle! They did you so dirty!” Grandma Bennett reminded her.
“They did, Grandma. And I’d really rather not go, but Raina wants to go and she talked me into going with her. You remember Raina, don’t you, Grandma? She was my only friend in school.”
“I remember her. And she was such a good girl. But Brielle, what if that bunch starts messing with you and Raina again?” Grandma said in a worried voice.
Everything Seems to be Coming Together
“We’ll get up and leave. I’m a grown woman now and I don’t have to stay there and take crap from people anymore. I stopped taking crap from Bill so don’t think I won’t tell my classmates to take a long walk off a short pie,” Brielle assured her.
“Well, alright, but you just be careful and watch yourself!”
“You bet I will, Grandma.”
Still, Brielle had that niggling feeling in her gut and a question nagged at her mind. How would the people from way back when react once they found out that she was back in town? And how would they behave toward her?