She took a deep breath and exhaled. Pressing her hands together, she stopped their trembling. Her choice was made; nothing left but to do what was needed. One final look at her face in the mirror; she hadn’t overdone the make-up but it did its job. She smiled. Yes. Perfect. Standing, she pressed her dress that it wouldn’t show any wrinkle before she went into the kitchen to prepare dinner.
Just as she and the twins were about to sit at the table, the door opened. Charlotte and Catherine looked at her questioningly; she smiled. They must eat before heading to bed. Charlotte still needed to recover from her broken wrist.
“Honey, I’m home.” John entered with a giant bouquet of roses. “And dinner is served. You’re perfect. Isn’t your mom perfect girls?”
They both said yes, while he kissed her on the mouth, embracing her as if she were the most precious thing in the world. She flinched.
“John, the thorns.”
“Oh sorry sugar. Here’s a present. For… well. You know.”
He cast a quick glance at their daughters.
“Thank you John, you really didn’t have to. They’re beautiful. They’re my favourite.”
She was gushing, she knew. She cleaned the flowers and put them in a vase, as her husband sat at the table and ate. He asked the girls about their day at school but didn’t really listen to their unenthusiastic answers. He kept looking at her with that hooded gaze he had when he wanted more of the night than just dinner and a book in bed. Good… it’d be easier to do it. In fact once he was done, he agreed easily to her one week trip to her parents in Vermont with the girls. He couldn’t take time off work anyway.
So when he left them at the train station, he couldn’t have known her plans had nothing to do with what she’d told him. But with some help from the Lord above, it would be a week before he figured it out. She wasn’t going to her parents; they would call him that he would come and get the three of them back. They wouldn’t understand, they wouldn’t believe her. And if they did, they would say it was her fault. She must have failed as a mother or a wife for him to beat her. But Betsy would be damned if she ever let him hurt her children again.
She purchased the return tickets to Vermont though she and the girls got down earlier than her parents’ stop. Then, wig in place, she got the car Nancy Parker rented for her the week before, and drove to New York state. She stopped on the way and called John to let him know they’d arrived. That she’d call in a few days since she and the girls would go camping with their grandparents. The weather was so swell it would be a shame not to enjoy it.
For two days she drove West, crossing a couple of states. Then came the hardest part. But she had to do it. To protect them. John would find her… wherever she went he would try and find her. He had the means and the tools. But not the girls. She didn’t cry in front of them. She told them she loved them but she had to let them go. To protect them. Still what did 6 year old girls understand about being abandoned? They knew their father could be mean: Catherine’s broken wrist was proof of that. But now their mom was giving them up. She left them on the bench of the church before she left tears streaming down her face.
She drove farther, so that no one would guess where she could have left her daughters. Nancy had set it up that she could leave the car at any rental place she wished. She’d paid big bucks for that too. Someday Betsy would pay her back. Or maybe she wouldn’t; she couldn’t guess what would happen. John might not go to the authority or he could. It would depend on whether he thought he could get away with the murder of their baby boy. He was a good lawyer but even he couldn’t fight the evidence she’d ensured were in Nancy’s safe. Still in the end, she would be the monster, the woman who kidnapped her children, who forsook her vows to remain steadfast and obedient throughout life.
Betsy would probably never see her girls again and though she was far from fine with it, she knew it was the only way to protect them from him. She didn’t mind breaking her vows and be a pariah if she could do just that.