Annette’s hands shook as she jammed clothes into the large brown suitcase. She took deep breaths as she looked at the wood paneled walls that felt like they were closing in. Her footsteps were muffled, in the plush carpet, as she crossed the room to open the mirrored closet door under the eaves. Annette pushed the clothes aside and knelt to move the pile of books and lifted the loose floor board. The secret compartment held her personal papers in a brown satchel, an envelope of money and her journals.
Annette looked in the mirror as she fought the burn of tears in her dark blue eyes. She had changed into jeans and black T-shirt, with a picture of a bucking bronco on the back. Jake had called her a country bumpkin, so might as well look the part. She brushed her auburn shoulder length hair to one side to partially conceal the purple bruise on her check. Satisfied she put on her blue jean jacket, black cowboy hat and matching boots. Her thoughts wondered as she looked around the room for the last time.
Jake had held her hair when they heard sirens coming down the street. The neighbor must have called them when Jake came home, stinking drunk, ready for a fight. His cruel words rang in her ears and tears streamed down her cheeks.
“Its time you learned to fit in with my clients and associates,” Jake had said in a deep husky voice.
“You’re hurting me,” Annette had whispered, as tears filled her eyes.
Quit being a cry baby. Grow up.”
“You are nothing but a country hick. It’s time you started to look like an executives’ wife instead of a country bumpkin,” Jake had twisted her hair a little harder.
“Please let go, you’re hurting me.”
“You deserted me, so why did you come back?”
“It was a visit. You had been invited but wouldn’t go,” Annette had said, as she grimaced with pain.
“There were important things to take care of.” Jake had forced her to look at him. “You should have been by my side instead of gallivanting around the country.”
Annette had stared at him, in disbelief, unable to understand why everything had gone so terribly wrong. Her mouth opened but words wouldn’t come past the lump in her throat.
“Well what do you have to say for yourself?” Jake had said in his deep baritone voice.
“I’m your family now,” Jake had said, as the shrill sound of sirens came closer. “Who called the cops?”
Jake had given her a shove and headed towards the back door. “You disgust me. If you don’t like it leave.” He stomped out leaving the door wide open.
Written by M. E. Hembroff