As soon as Mrs. Golde left, Nala broke down into tears, sobbing hysterically, hyperventilating so badly that Suzy was afraid she would stop breathing if she didn’t do something, so she held up the milkshake and straw to Nala’s lips and made her take a few sips. Her friends breathing calmed a bit, enough that she could keep control of it, though she couldn’t stop the tears rolling down her face.
“Oh Suze. What am I going to do? I should just go along with the he hit me thing, it’s far nicer than what actually happened. Don’t you think?” Nala looked helplessly at her friend, seeking her advice. Though Suzy just gave her a helpless shrug and wrapped her arms around Nala’s shoulders. When she pulled away she grabbed her notepad from the floor where she left it and wrote something quickly, then held it up for Nala to see.
I really think you should tell them Nala.. As soon as Nala finished reading it she shook her head, hard.
“Not a hope in hell Suzy! School starts back in two days, I can hold on until then, and as soon as we are hanging out with our other friends again, and focusing on our work, I’ll be able to forget it all happened. It doesn’t help that you won’t speak.. Please say something? Help me move on? We can help each other?” Suzy looked into her best friends eyes, then hung her head in shame. She knew full well that she should be talking, that she really had no right to be so traumatized as this hadn’t happened to her, yet she couldn’t make herself speak. She picked up her empty glass, and Nala’s half empty glass and walked off to the kitchen to rinse them.
Imogene hung around the house all day, trying to keep herself busy, trying not to think about what her stupid fucken drunk of a husband had done to their beautiful daughter. She knew she wasn’t there enough for Nala, but she loved her, she truly did. She was vacuuming for the third time in the upstairs bedrooms when she heard the door open and Peters voice call out, in that light, playful tone – ‘Honey, I’m home!’ she turned off the machine and walked slowly downstairs, calculating her every move as she thought about what she was going to say. She really had no idea, until she saw his face at the bottom of the staircase.
“There you are sweet, have you started dinner yet?” he asked, all innocent. Imogene could barely think, all she could do was focus on breathing, but she knew she had to speak.
“No, I haven’t, I’ve been busy.” She replied, as calmly as possible. She reached the bottom of the stairs and walked into the lounge, shuffling around some magazines on the table. Peter followed her and sat down in his chair, looking up at her.
“Oh? Busy with what?” he asked, giving her a wink. She couldn’t hold in her rage anymore.
“Busy wondering what the fuck you did to our daughter!! Penny Golde called today, said the last time Suzy stayed, and you know damn well she hasn’t been back since, she wasn’t speaking that morning, and hasn’t spoken since. The girls said you’d been drinking again and they wanted to get away, Nala said she didn’t want to come back unless I was here, I’ve been back a good few weeks and she’s been home one day since. What the fuck did you do to them Peter?!” she was screaming, raging, her blood was boiling and her face had turned bright red. Her eyes seemed to pierce through his very being. All he could do was sit there and stare at her, his eyes wide with shock and terror. When he didn’t answer Imogene stepped closer, getting into his space, blocking his view from anything but her.
“I said, what the fuck did you do to them? Did you finally drink enough to let yourself get physically abusive, do you hit her? Push her against a wall? Slap her? Dislocate her arm? Or did you do worse Peter?? I can’t believe I even thought it was okay to leave her here alone with you during the weekends, I’ve been so bloody blind that I didn’t notice you were hurting our daughter. My daughter, she clearly doesn’t mean anything to you!” It was with that last sentence that Peter snapped and jumped up, forcing Imogene back and poking her in the chest, glaring at her.
“Okay, fine, I punched her. I went up to say goodnight to her and Suzy, her friend was in the bathroom so I tried say goodnight to our daughter and she pushed me away, telling me I small like the drink again. I knew damn well I did, I didn’t need that little cow telling me so, and I told her that, she got smart with me, and I won’t tolerate for that, so I told her to quit it or there would be consequences, she just told me to get lost, and I just lost it, I punched her. When I turned to leave the room before I did anymore damage, I saw Sassy—“
“Suzy!!” Imogene interrupted.
“Fine, Suzy, I saw her standing in the bathroom doorway, staring at me, at Nala, there was hate and fear in her eyes. I walked over to her, put a hand on her shoulder and told her if she ever told anyone about what happened, then I would do worse to her, and made sure she understood that. It’s not my fucken problem if she took that as ‘you can’t say anything to anyone ever’!!” Peter stared deep into Imogene’s eyes. “I do love our daughter, Nala, more then anything, and I so, so regret what happened, but I refuse to be blamed for any of this!!” Imogene couldn’t take anymore, she pushed him back so he stumbled and fell into his chair, she run upstairs and locked their bedroom door, throughing her clothes into her two big suitcases, and packing her handbag with as much of her make up and feminine hygiene supplies as she could fit. As soon as she was finished, she grabbed everything, including her car keys, unlocked the door and walked out. Peter was standing there, watching her.
“Where are you going?” he asked, trying to keep his voice steady.
“As far away as possible from you.” Imogene replied, beginning to descend the staircase again. “I also want to say you will be receiving the divorce papers in the next week, if you want a fight, you got one.” She called, almost at the door. She hadn’t realised Peter had followed her until she felt a hand on the small of her back and the other around her throat. She heard Peters raspy breath and he moved his mouth next to her ear.
“I swear to God and all other holy spirits Imogene, if you even think about telling the Authorities about what happened, I will blame it all on you, I will damn well turn it around so that I was completely innocent and you forced me into it!” he threatened. Imogene knew she didn’t have a huge chance, he was a lawyer, but she would fight till the death for Nala.
“I’m going to use that threat against you in court, Peter. Let me go now, before you get yourself in even more shit.” Peter quickly let her go, realising what he’d already gotten himself into and watched her run, stumbling down the drive to her car, throwing everything into the back seat and accelerating quickly away. He was going to have a big battle on his hands.
Tony had stayed late at work, the business had a big break coming up and he was the final clincher, he was to pull the clients in the final few meters, convince them this was their big break, and it’d be the best business decision they’d ever make. He knew it was bullshit, the whole company knew it was bullshit, but they were damn good at making other potential business partners and clients believe it was all go. Around 2pm he’d begun to get this niggling feeling in his stomach like something was very wrong, he wanted to call Penny and was just about to when his boss came in.
“Hey hey, there’s my big guy! How’s things coming along T? Have the final presentation all set?” and after that, it was all on, he didn’t get a break until now, and he was going to head home for the night. It was almost 8pm, dinner will have been and gone, but he knew his lovely wife would have saved him some, she always did. He drove home, whistling Jump by Van Halen, he always had been a sucker for the 80s’ Music. When he reached his house, there was a car in the drive that he didn’t recognise. It was well fancy though, and he couldn’t stop ogling it as he walked past to go inside. The door was unlocked, thank god, he’d forgotten his house keys that morning, he really should attach them to his car key chain like Penny kept suggesting. He walked in and dumped his work stuff under the table by the front door, easy to grab for the next morning. Walking into the kitchen and loosening his tie he stopped dead when he saw Nala’s mother and Penny sitting, crying at the kitchen table.
“Penny?” he asked, taking a few steps towards them. She looked up and gave him a sad, slow smile.
“Hi sweetie, sorry, I didn’t cook tonight, I ordered Pizza for the kids.” Suddenly, he didn’t care, his appetite was gone. He just nodded and walked over, sitting next to her and kissing her cheek.
“What’s going on?” he asked, looking at both ladies. They looked at each other and sighed.
“I’ll tell him, it was my husband that caused this mess.” Imogene finally said, then looked at Penny’s husband. “Tony, you may want to pour yourself a drink. We have some news. I’m staying a few days as well, but I’ll try not to get in your way.” Tony just sat there, then stood and got three shot glasses out and brought out a bottle of Whiskey.
“I’ve been saving this, though I feel now is the time, if any.” The women both cracked a smile at this and they all took a shot together, feeling the burn of the straight alcohol. Imogene put down her shot glass and leaned back.
“Okay, this is difficult to say, but I’m divorcing Peter. I also found out why Nala is living here now and why Suzy won’t speak. I understand if you’re mad when I’m finished, but please don’t do anything to Peter, he will use it against us all in the court room.” Tony’s blood was already starting to boil. His beloved Suzy hadn’t spoken in about 3 weeks, and it was all that slime ball Peters fault. To think he’d even gone to Baseball games with that guy!! Let his daughter stay over at his house!! He clenched his fists and kept quiet, Penny reached over under the table and squeezed his leg, she could see he was already getting angry.
“So, me and Penny talked over the phone today, and I confronted Peter about what happened that night with the girls. He said Nala ‘got smart’ to him when he tried say goodnight to her, and he punched her, when he turned to leave before he did any more damage, he saw Suzy standing there in the bathroom door, watching him, and looking at Nala who by that point was curled up on the bed crying. He walked over to Suzy and put a hand on her shoulder, telling her if she told anyone then he’d do worse to her, then he left. Suzy isn’t talking because she’s scared she’ll say something to someone.” Imogene said. She hadn’t mentioned that Peter was drunk, because they all already knew, it was a weekend and he was always drunk then. Tony thought for a few seconds, then nodded and poured them all another shot. After they each swallowed theirs down, he finally spoke.
“Now that we know, we can talk to the girls and Suzy might open up and talk, since we already know she hasn’t got anything to worry about, not like she could say something that will surprise us.” He offered, both women nodded but frowned.
“That’s what we thought, so we tried, Nala cried and confessed everything to us, told us it was all true. Suzy cried too, but still won’t speak. We were hoping you’d try talk to her. You two always were close.” Penny said, resting her head on his shoulder. Tony reached up and stroked the hair back from her face and nodded.
“I’ll give it a try next time we’re home and free at the same time. I will try make the time.” He said and stood. “However, right now, I am angry, upset, and tired, it’s been a long day at work. So I’m going to get some sleep. See you in bed Penny.” He said and placed the Whiskey bottle back in the cabinet then walked up the hall to their room. He sat heavily on the bed and dropped his head into his hands, shaking his head repeatedly.
“That bastard is going to get what’s coming to him..” he promised himself, before getting undressed and climbing into bed, feeling the effects of the Whiskey and falling asleep almost instantly.