“Sorry Peter, this is a private meeting with my family,” said Jo-anne blocking Peter’s entrance to the room.
“But Mom,” complained Denise, looking apologetically at Peter. Denise was again dressed in that horrible black outfit Peter bought her, with the heavy black make-up around her eyes.
“Please, go in Denise this is important,” insisted Jo-anne.
Denise knows that look on her mother’s face. No begging or negotiating will change her mother’s mind.
The room Denise entered is a cosy meeting room at the State Parks Board Offices. The walls are covered light blue colours with large comfortable leather chairs. It was in one of these chairs that Denise fell into with a staged sigh, showing her disrespect for her mother.
Jo-anne ignored this show of defiance and walked to stand in front of what used to be her family and John, her lawyer. Her heart was thundering and it felt to her as if she will never be warm and happy again. A shiver runs down her back. This is going to be difficult to do.
Jo-anne took a deep calming breath, straightened her shoulders and looked at the faces of Charles, Jakes and Denise.
“For the last six months, I have been humiliated, ridiculed and criticised, now is my turn to have my say.”
Charles moved uncomfortably in his chair and touched his collar as if it was too small. Charles’ cheeks stained red as he is unable to hide his shame on what he had done, but he agreed to give Jo-anne this chance to speak to the kids. His cooperation in this will ensure a quick dissolution of his marriage to Jo-anne.
“The manner in which your father brought Peter into my home devastated me. I just could not believe that the man I knew and who I thought loved me, could be so devious, underhanded and dishonest.”
Again Charles moved in his chair, it looks as if he wants to run away.
“I love you, Jake and Denise,” continued Jo-anne with determination, “with all my heart and I tried to find a way out of this disaster without harming you, but the longer I stayed, the less respect you had for me. You also started to mock me like Peter. I did not know what to do. How am I going to save my kids from the destructive influence of Peter? Without a friend in the pack I felt stuck.”
Charles started to say something, but she lifted her hand, ‘You promised to give me the opportunity to have my say.”
He sat back in the chair with a frown on his face.
“I do not know if you remember, but the evening before you left to spend the holidays with Peter’s family, Peter came into the kitchen and said, ‘When we come back, make sure there is room for my stuff, this house is so full of your old junk.’
The kids nodded their heads in agreement.
“So I started to clean the study as most of my stuff was crammed into that room. After I had cleaned out all our family stuff, I started with the pile of old papers and found crucial documents I forgot about. I found the marriage contract your father and I signed. In the contract is a paragraph that states that if your dad cheats on me, he loses the right of access to any of the properties in my name. I also found the property deeds confirming that all land around the lake area is my property, yes Charles including the cabins.
All the Transfer Deeds in safe keeping with John’s firm, and he will negotiate on my behalf with the Alpha.
“The more I cleaned, the more I realised that Peter did me a huge favour, forcing me to take action.
“All your stuff are at Herbert’s Storage. I gave your dad the keys,” she said looking at her children with all her love reflected in her eyes and her hands clamped tightly together, it helped her to control her emotions and now show how she was shaking on the inside.
She cleared her throat, trying to get rid of the tightness.
“The house we used to live in is rented out, and you are not allowed onto the property. The tenant asked to demolish the house to build a prototype eco-house on the site. The house you know does not exist anymore.”
Jo-anne’s family looked at her with shock on their faces, she always put her family and their comfort first, it was the one thing they thought that will never change.
“I know that your dad loves you and you love him and that it would be unfair to take you to the place I will be staying, but for this to happen there will be three conditions.”
At this Denise rolled her eyes and Jake raked his hands through his hair showing his agitation at what is going on. They looked at their mother as if they were expecting a bomb to drop. In a sence it did.
“You, Jake, will learn what it is to be an honourable and honest man, that respects women. A man that keeps his promises that does not lie and cheat without any regard to the person he hurts. You and your father will have to work out how this will happen.
You, Denise, will learn what it is to be a normal girl again. You will attend modelling school. The fact that Charles allowed you to get a tattoo without my permission is a problem. I have arranged with Dr Smith to have the tattoo removed. No more Goth styling, no extra piercings.
At this Denise sprang up and shouted at her mother.
“You cannot do this!”
“Oh yes, I can my girl, because if you do not do this, you will go to that Alaskan all-girl boarding school you liked. Your details are already with the school’s administration office, waiting for confirmation.
You will also learn about nutrition and what is in all the cakes and soda you eat does to your body.
I have a question for you. Since you changed your appearance as Peter encouraged you to do, how many boys showed interest. Did Jerry not break up with you, because of your Goth look? Personally, I think the uglier you are, the better for your dad and Peter. So, do you think Peter has your interest at heart or his own?
Charles jumped up yelling, “You can’t say that.”
“What, and he can say I am a bad mother because I insisted that the children study for their exams, and not join you at an all-male party at Eric’s house?” said Jo-anne, while she poked her finger into his chest.
John calmly stood up and put a hand on her shoulder said, calm down, our time is running out.
Ever the peacemaker Jake changed the subject.
“Its cool mum but where are you going, may we not come with you?” asked Jake, looking at her with hurt in his eyes.
“Oh my boy, you know I love you, don’t you” and Jake nodded.
“I need to find my self-respect and confidence again. I want to be an example to you and Denise, not this abused and ostracised person in the pack. The moment I am settled, I will contact you, in the meantime be the tough, reliable son I know you are and look after your sister for me.”
John looked pointedly at his watch.
“OK, the last rule, you both will maintain a distinction average at school. This is also a not negotiable requirement so that you may stay with your dad.”
Jo-anne walked towards her daughter and pulled her into her arms, giving her a fierce hug. Enveloping Denise in the familiar scent of her mother’s favourite lavender shampoo.
“I love you, my darling, goodbye for now.”
Denise looked at her mother tears streaming down her face, as she realises her mother is walking away because of her actions.
“Mum?” asked Denise holding her hand out to her mother.
Jo-anne then walked to Jake and gave him the same fierce hug.
Jo-anne turned around, pulled her shoulders back and walked out of the door with her head held high, and tears streaming down her face, without saying else.