At just before seven the next morning, Brielle awoke to the stirring of baby Kennedy, who gurgled next to her, and to the mouth-watering smells of breakfast cooking and coffee brewing in the kitchen downstairs. Bandit was curled up on the bed by her feet, wide awake. He sniffed the air, then licked his chops before starting to pant.
Brielle crawled out of bed, took the baby in her arms, then tiptoed down the hall, peering into the room where Jane and Olivia were. The two girls were still sound asleep.
She carried the baby downstairs, with Bandit following close behind, and went into the kitchen to see Grandma Bennett in front of the stove cooking pancakes and sausage. Grandma Bennett, dressed in her granny gown, robe and house shoes, looked up and smiled.
“Well, good morning, sunshine.” She greeted, “How’d you sleep last night?”
First morning home
“Like a baby. Kennedy didn’t even wake up once. She was out like a light too.” Brielle answered.
“Long trips will sure take it out of you.” Grandma Bennett said.
“Tell me about it.” Brielle agreed.
Brielle grabbed her cellphone from her pocket and checked it. She gasped when she saw how many times Bill had tried to call. She noticed that his last attempt was at four a.m.
“Good grief!” Brielle sighed.
“What’s the matter?” Grandma Bennett asked.
“Bill was blowing up my phone. ‘Tried to call fifteen times last night and this morning. It’s a good thing I turned off my ringer. We never would’ve gotten to sleep.”
A desperate caller.
Grandma Bennett’s eyebrows shot up.
“Fifteen times! What in the world is wrong with that man! Lord, I declare! There’s something wrong with him!” She cried.
“Yep. There is.” Brielle said, shaking her head, “I just don’t want to talk to him right now. I know he’s not just calling for the girls. He’s calling to find out where we are.”
“Doggone right, he is!”
It was Sunday and besides attending church services with Grandma Bennett, Brielle rested, still recovering from the long time home.
The following day was Monday. After feeding the baby, the dog, and herself, Brielle rose from the table after breakfast.
“I’ve got to go set up an account at the bank and then get information on that 4-bedroom house down the road. It seems like it would be a good place for me and the kids.”
“Just make sure you don’t do a fool’s rush in. Have the place inspected before you buy it.” Grandma advised.
“Will do, Grandma.” Brielle said as she took the baby upstairs.
After getting dressed in a nice pair of jeans, light summer blouse with shoulder holes in it and sneakers, Brielle straightened her hair and put on her makeup. When she came downstairs, the girls had awoken and were eating in the kitchen.
“’Morning, sweeties.” Brielle greeted as she kissed each of the girls. She turned to Grandma Bennett.
“Grandma, I’ve got to run. Girls, you behave for Grandma. Okay?”
She kissed her grandmother and gave one more kiss to the girls, then left.
Hearing the motor of Brielle’s Escalade crank, Jane looked at Grandma Bennett.
“Where’s Mom headed?” She asked.
“She’s got to run to the bank and then check out a house she saw advertised in the real-estate section of the newspaper last night. I think she’s going to be gone a while. She’s got to get you all established in a new town and that takes a while.” Grandma Bennett answered.
“Wow! What kind of house?” Olivia asked.
“It’s a 4-bedroom house down the road from here. ‘Seems to be a good place for you all. If she gets the house, you’ll be within walking distance from here, so you’ll be close to family.”
“Cool!” Olivia shouted.
The next day, Brielle called and made an appointment with the real estate company that was selling the house. She also called an inspector to inspect the home for cracks in the foundation, bad wiring, and such.
A New Home
The following week, Brielle’s parents arrived at Grandma Bennett’s house after their honeymoon. Seeing that Brielle and the kids had returned home from California, the look of pleasant shock flashed across their faces.
Jane and Olivia excitedly came running out of the house when John and Marcelle Bennett pulled into the driveway in their metallic maroon Ford F150 quad-cab. They got to the truck before the grandparents had time to get out of the truck!
“Granny! Grampy!” Jane and Olivia shouted excitedly.
“Oh, my goodness! Jane! Olivia!” Brielle’s parents squealed from inside the truck.
As the grandparents saw them, they smiled as they got out of the truck. They each gave the excited girls long hugs and lots of kisses.
“Well, Jane! You’re growing into such a beautiful young lady!” Marcelle said as she hugged her, then took her by the shoulders and looked at her.
“I’m thirteen now.” Jane said in excitement.
“A teenager! It seems like only yesterday you were just a six-pound little rat I held in my arms at the hospital in California! We flew there just to be there when you were born!” Our first grandchild! We just had to be there!” John told Jane as he took his turn hugging her and kissed her on the cheek.
He then hugged and kissed Olivia.
Brielle came out of the house with Kennedy on her hip, followed by Grandma Bennett. She waited until the kids got their love from her parents before passing the baby to her mother for kisses and love.
“Oh, she’s getting so big! She was such a tiny thing when you and Bill came here back in March!” Brielle’s mother Marcelle gushed.
“I’m just sorry we didn’t stay longer. Bill only wanted to stay for three days. I barely had a chance to visit everyone.” Brielle said.
“It’s okay, honey. We understand. Bill’s always been a demanding old drip.” Marcelle replied.
“Well, Bill’s no longer an issue. I left him and I’m not going back. I’m home for good this time, Mom.”
Marcelle’s mouth dropped in shock, then a huge smile spread across her face. She put her arms around Brielle and hugged her tightly.
“Welcome home, baby! I’ve been waiting so long for this day to come because I know how badly he treated you and these children.” She said softly.
“I gotta set an example for my girls, Mama. I have to teach them that they don’t have to stay in a relationship that hurts them, and they don’t have to take abuse from a man, ever!” Brielle replied.
“I’m so proud of you, sweetie! I always knew that you would eventually get tired of his crap. I didn’t know when, but I knew that eventually, you’d get enough of it.” Marcelle told her, “I’d get damn mad at you sometimes, but I’ve always believed in you.”
“Thank you, Mom. I’m so glad to be home!” Brielle said with tears in her eyes.
“What are you doing tomorrow morning?” Marcelle asked.
“I have an appointment at the realtors’ in the morning.” Brielle answered, “I’m looking at buying a house for me and the kids.”
“Oohhh! I didn’t know.”
“It’s okay. I’m not rich, but I’m not broke by a long shot. I figure that I might as well go ahead and buy a home while I have the money to do so.”
Grandma Bennett came out onto the front porch.
“Well? Is anybody up for some pot roast, steamed potatoes, and carrots tonight?” She called out.
“Sounds great!” Jesse called back.