The night was moonless. In the quiet Louisiana, six apartment complex shouts could be heard.
“You’ll give her away and come home.” Carlos yelled at Gina.
“No I can’t do that Carlos. I’m not your wife. I am keeping Jenny.” Gina didn’t move quick enough to avoid his right hand. It knocked her against the wall.
Carlos stepped up and grabbed Gina by the throat. His beer breath hit her full in the face as he snarled, “You are still my wife and you will do as I say.”
“Carlos if you don’t get out of here I will call the police. You might as well not come back because you’re not welcome. Get out of here. Jenny and I will do without you.” Gina felt his fingers digging into her neck. She pushed hard against her drunken ex-husband.
Carlos didn’t have a tight grip on Gina. Before he recovered his balance, Gina moved to the phone and jerked it out of its cradle.
“I mean it Carlos get out and don’t come back.” Gina was shaking from a combination of rage and fear. She watched as Carlos nodded. He headed for the door.
“This conversation isn’t over and I will be back for you. I am not going to give you up. You will give the brat up.” He slurred as he opened the door.
He stepped over the door frame and Gina slammed the door locking it in one swift motion. She moved a heavy table in front of the door as Carlos beat on the door.
He shouted and called her every name he could think of. He tried to get to the front window to scare her some more. The lights on the inside went out he couldn’t see where Gina was. The idea scared him as much as he suspected it scared Gina.
“All right Gina, you have won this round, but you will be my wife again one way or another and without that brat.” He yelled he saw a man watching from the office of the small apartment complex. He waved to the man as he weaved his way down to his car. He drove out.
Gina turned out the lights staying away from the window. Carlos was shouting and hammering on the door. The fear overcame her and she slid down the wall in the corner behind the door. “Please let Jenny stay in her room.” The tears ran down Gina’s face, as she felt sure that he would smash the window with the wild hammering he was doing.
Then quite abruptly, it stopped and Carlos got quiet. Gina crawled over to see what was happening. She saw the owner of the apartment complex standing in the doorway of his office. She watched as Carlos wobbled to his car and leave. She didn’t turn the lights on.
She found the phone and called Eric the owner of the apartment complex. “I just wanted to thank you for looking out when you did. My ex-husband hasn’t gotten the word that I don’t belong to him anymore.”
“Are you hurt? Do I need to come over there?” He asked.
“No Carlos is predictable. He won’t be back tonight. He’ll wait a few days and try to talk to me again. I’m sorry I was a problem. I think Jenny and I will have to move again. We will be out of your hair in a couple of days. I’ll see if I can’t get your money to you before I leave.” Gina said.
“Gina, I understand. I don’t need this kind of trouble and neither do you. I’ll talk to you in the morning.” The man hung up.
Gina went to check on her daughter. Jenny wasn’t in bed. She went to the closet and looking around behind the clothes. She found her four year-old hiding deep in the back of the closet. It was difficult for Gina to find Jenny.
Jenny had turned a small cabinet over to hide behind she also pulled some blankets down on top of her. The blankets had covered her completely. Most people wouldn’t have noticed a tiny girl in the closet at all.
“Jenny, you can come out. Carlos left. “Gina got scared when Jenny didn’t answer.
Gina crawled into the closet pulling the blankets out of the way. Only to find her daughter curled up asleep. Gina touched the little girl’s head. She would never put Jenny through that again. She was going to move her daughter away to a safe place.
“Did Carlos leave?” Jenny sat up blinking sleepy at her mother.
“Yes munchkin, Carlos left and he won’t be back.” Gina pulled her daughter into her lap
“Why was he yelling at you?” Jenny asked.
“He wanted money that Mommy didn’t have. Let’s get you into bed sweetie.” Gina didn’t know how much Jenny had heard.
“Does it hurt where he hit you?” Jenny asked.
Gina wanted to cry knowing that Jenny knew that Carlos had hit her. “No honey it doesn’t hurt. Jenny I think you and I are going to move again. We are going to go someplace where Carlos can’t find us.” Gina picked the girl up and took her to bed.
“Okay Mommy, I don’t want Carlos here. Mommy, please sleep with me.” Jenny cried, her little arms hanging tight to Gina’s neck.
“You betcha,” Gina didn’t know if she was doing it for Jenny or herself. She laid there with her daughter in her arms as Jenny slept against her.
“Carlos you will never get the chance to hurt Jenny or me again. I’ll never allow that to happen again.” Gina decided and began thinking about the move.
Gina stopped in at the community technical school the next day. She had graduated the month before in diesel mechanics. She looked on the job placement board. When the school’s administrator came out, there was a sharp intake of breath.
“Gina, come in to my office please.” Sam Gray held the door for her. Sam sat down after closing his office door. He was a distinguished man of about her father’s age. That would make him somewhere in the age of fifty. He’d found ways to help her get money for school. He understood about her ex. Sam found her a baby sitter for Jenny during the day.
Sam and Deloris were childless. Deloris loved keeping Jenny.
“What on earth happened to you?” Sam looked at the bruise on Gina’s jaw.
Gina had tried to cover it with makeup, but the light blue still showed through. It didn’t hurt as she thought it would. She automatically put her hand up.
“Well that answers that question. I thought I had it covered better than that. Carlos came into town a couple of days ago. We sat and talked for a couple of days. I let him come over to see Jenny. Once she was in bed, Carlos decided I was still his wife and I was going home after I gave Jenny away. I told him no. This is the result.” She sighed
“I came by to see if there was anything on the board. That might be out of state. It was a long shot.” Gina said. She hated to tell Sam this. She’d hoped to find a job close to Sam and Deloris.
“Gina I’m sorry. You know I don’t usually have anything from out of state. I got a call from a man in Mississippi the other day that is looking for a diesel mechanic. It might be a decent job.” Sam looked through a bunch of papers.
“Here it is. Tom Riggs owner of Riggs-Luck Transportation, I could call him and see if it is filled for you.” Sam looked at Gina.
“Sam, I would appreciate it. Please don’t say anything about Jenny. I’ll tell him once I get the interview. I want to get the job.” Gina said.
“I can do that.” Dialing the phone Sam waited for Tom Riggs to answer.
(To Be Continued )