"Uhm... I'm okay... " What the hell... Nothing here is making sense.
When I last left you, I was confused and upset. Marie was confused and upset. Everyone was pretty much confused and upset.
Why wouldn't Marie just have the bastard thrown in jail? Why would she allow herself to be subjected to repeated abuse?
None of it made sense.
I sat down on the bed next to her. Brian sat to her left, insisting on staying.
"So how's your Mom?" I asked, grasping for anything to talk about other than the obvious.
"She's doing real well, Epi. She asked about your mom last time I saw her. She's at Kingwood, ya know. She had a stroke last year."
I had in fact transported her Mother the year before, she was one of my first runs at The Little Private Service That Could.
"I know, honey. And I'm sorry about your Dad." Pancreatic cancer had taken him a few years back. I genuinely LOVED her father. It broke my heart to find out he had passed on. I turned my attention to Brian, her loving husband of ten years. "Brian, you need to go talk to the PD."
"I'd rather stay." Brian appeared nervous. I didnt' give a flying fuck. I felt fearless at that moment. I felt like Marie's sole protector. All I wanted to do was get through to her. There was no way to do that with Brian in the room.
"I know you would. It'll only take a minute or two..." Joe was standing in the doorway to their bedroom. He looked angry. He was doing his best to swallow that anger, I know he was. But it clearly played out across his face.
"Come on out, Brian. I just need you to sign a few papers." Joe was lying. Brian probably knew it too. I was fully prepared to have his sorry ass dragged out of the room into the street and beaten to a pulp. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have to take several deep breaths to regain my calm.
Brian had his fists balled up again. "I SAID that I'd rather stay."
"Brian," Joe started... "Either you come out here and talk to me or I'm going to call a few of my friends and have you removed from this house. Now MAN up and get your ass out here or I'll do it for you."
I wasn't sure if it was the fear of Joe and a few of his off duty Cop buddies dragging him out of the house or if he was in fact "Manning up" but Brian left the room, peacefully with Joe.
I turned to Marie. "What the HELL is going on? And don't give me that crap about falling down the stairs. That's the oldest most tired story I've ever heard."
Marie was startled at my honestly. "I... I fell..." She stammered. "You know how clumsy I am."
"Marie, you took dance lessons for twelve years. What would your Daddy think? Your Dad would KILL him, and you know it. Sweetheart, you deserve better. NO ONE deserves to be treated like this. Look at yourself in the mirror."
"I fell, Epi."
A lump was quickly forming in my throat. "MARIE... He beat the shit out of you. Look in the fucking mirror! Look at what HE has done to you. What about your babies?" I couldnt' come up with their names, but I knew she two kids around the same age as mine. "Do you think they need to grow up watching this. Is this how you want your son thinking this is how he should treat his wife? Does your boy need to grow up thinking that treating a woman this way is okay?"
"Brian would never physically hurt Morgan and Aiden. Never. Now I told you I fell. Either you believe me or I'll have your ass thrown out. Like Joe."
Her room was trashed. Frames with pictures of Marie and the kids were laying on the floor, glass scattered everywhere. I couldn't come up with anything else to say. I was at a total and complete loss.
Joe's partner, thank God, picked a perfect time to appear. "Epi, the husband is going to stay with a friend tonight."
"Thank GOD." I responded. I managed to exhale for the first time in what would have been fifteen minutes. Marie did the same. I noticed. "You can stay with me and the kids if you want."
"I don't want to uproot them. They're used to being here..." Her voice trailed off, her hands wringing an imaginary piece of fabric.
"I know you don't. Know that I'm here. Joe and his wife are here for you. We want to get you back on your feet sweety. We're willing to do anything we can to to get you there. Anything."
"Epi... I told you... I fell."
I can only hope she heard me.
She assures me she has.. Almost on a daily basis. She assures me she has.