Who the hell am I? Book 2 Chapter 17

Chapter 17

Rose sighed. “I've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news none of us really understand.” She breathed out heavily. “When we spoke to child protection here, they spoke about obvious child abuse, now the person who has taken over your case calls it mildly excessive force for a discipline technique.” She moved to hold my hand. “Don't panic, we are not going to allow that man to touch you again.”

“But they want to send me back to him.” I stated with an emotionless voice. In my mind I started to work out an exit plan. I had all my things here already and with some money in my bank, I think I could do alright.

Rose squeezed my hand again. “It's not going to happen. First we need to buy time so we have spoken to your doctors and they are going to tell child protection that you need to be here for another week and a half. In reality, they could probably discharge you in another day or so. He only has temporary custody with the full custody hearing due in three weeks. Karen is working on speeding that up, so hopefully, we can get custody with Karen sorted before you leave here.”

“And if we can't?” I asked quietly.

“We'll come up with something else.” Jenny stated firmly.

“Karen is sending a private investigator here to interview you. She is asking you to tell her everything. She didn't feel comfortable revealing your secrets, but said that she thinks you should. The PI has been hired by a movie company who is interested in you for an audition. I'm not sure what secrets she is talking about and whether you want me in the room at the same time is up to you, but I would like to speak to the PI myself. Something smells about what is happening to you and I would like someone to find out what is going on.”

“I don't mind you knowing, it is a bit embarrassing for my mother.” I had to pause for a moment to gather myself after another wave of sadness crashed down. My mother was never going to be embarrassed again. I fought back tears which was harder when I felt my hand being squeezed and arms around me as I became the centre of a group hug. I let out a few sobs. Eventually, I got myself together. “I don't think she would mind, now. The girls all know about it, so it might be easier if they tell you.”

“You mean the non fraternal twin thing?” Alison asked.

“Karen knows about it, so I'm guessing that is what she is talking about it.” I agreed.

“Why don't we wait until the PI is here and then we will tell them both. Jesse can add or correct any details that we get wrong. Her voice is much better, but it would be better if she doesn't use it too much.” Jenny suggested, then she looked at me. “Is there anything that you would be uncomfortable talking about in front of us?”

I smiled wanly. “If I have any more skeletons in the closet, I don't know about them. You know me, warts and all.”

The discussion wound down leaving me with a constant level of stress. When Rose left we gathered together to hash out Plan B.

“Girls, as much as I want to believe everything will work out, I need an alternative plan. I figure running away will be a lot easier and safer if I have already prepared for it.” I told them seriously.

“What do you need?” Susan asked.

“Ideally I need somewhere to go and some way to get there.” I mused aloud.

“You'll need a disguise and money.” Beth suggested.

“It will need to be hidden somewhere you can get to relatively easily.” Alison added.

We did some brainstorming and came up with a plan. Beth was going to check out the local park and find a few locations she could easily describe and yet could hide something for me to find later. Alison was going to check out shelters for either runaways or women's and children's centres. She would chat to them and work out where I might find temporary safe shelter. Susan was going to check out transportation and disguises. Mildura was not the largest town, so I might need to get to a bigger area like Melbourne or Sydney. Jenny was going to check out the money situation.

I still had a good sum of money in my bank, but we were worried that pulling it out would give away my location. Susan suggested a travel visa from the post office, or multiple travel visas. Once you have charged them up, all you have to know is the pin to be able to use them. We weren't sure about age restrictions. If they needed to be registered under a name, they could all get one to give me four different options, none of which would be under my name. If that didn't work, Susan said I could have her debit card and just pay her back later.

Beth left to start her search and Jenny went with her for safety. Susan went back to the camping grounds with Rose to pick up her laptop to make researching easier and Alison stayed with me, using her phone to start her investigation. Alison suggested we go for little walks when I felt a bit more mobile so that I could map out different escape routes. That might have to wait for a day or two as I was still sore when moving about.

When Susan returned she was able to show me on google maps where the park was and Beth was able to zoom right in and point out where she would hide stuff, should the need arise. Alison found some phone numbers of women's and children's centres and then went somewhere private to have a conversation with them. She suspected that they would be naturally suspicious and that she would have to meet them face to face to explain my situation. She also wanted to get a feel for who she was dealing with, trusting her women's intuition.

They all left before dinner. I didn't want them to spend their valuable holiday time just babying me, so I insisted they have didn't have to visit with me every day and that they should have fun at the holiday park. I then quizzed them about what they had done. The hospital was fairly lax about visiting hours but didn't like anyone staying too late.

I have a feeling that my grandfather was very aware of when they were coming and going since he arrived to visit me about half an hour after the girls left. I pressed the nurse button as soon as I saw my nightmare made real. I was frightened, but I was also angry. I felt an urge to move away from him which I had to quell as I was lying on my front and there wasn't another position that didn't hurt.

He looked me over with a very judging, unpleasant expression. “What a lot of fuss over nothing. My father beat me with a belt and I never complained to anyone. You're trying to make me look bad, and I won't have it. Get up, you've had enough coddling, I'm taking you home.”

“Nurse!” I tried to shout. My voice wasn't fully recovered, but I managed a reasonable volume.

“Quiet Bob! I am your legal guardian, it is my right to take you.”

“Nurse!” I tried again.

“Are you looking for more discipline? I can move on to the back of your legs.” He threatened as he grabbed hold of my arm and started trying to pull me out of the bed.

“Help!” I yelled in desperation, trying to pull my arm out of his grasp.

The nurse burst in the room and looked in horror at the scene in front of her before she started screaming with a much louder and more effective voice. “Security!”

Charles let go of my arm and turned to explain to the nurse.

“He is my abuser!” I told her accusingly.

He looked at me venomously, before turning back to the nurse. I ignored what they were saying, grabbing my phone and sneaking into the toilet, locking the door.

I phoned Jenny.

“Jesse?” She answered.

“He's here! He's here.” I told her somewhat incoherently.

“Whose there?” She asked me slowly and calmly.

“He's trying to take me away!”

“Calm down, deep breaths, we are on our way.” I could hear her telling Rose 'we needed to get to the hospital straight away' before she returned her attention to me. “OK Jesse, where are you?”

I tried to get my breathing under control. “Toilet.” I answered.

“Is it locked?” Jenny asked me.

“Yes. But they could still get in.”

“Not easily.” Jenny reassured me. “We are on our way.” She repeated trying to calm me down. “What happened? Did you grandfather visit you?”

“Yes. Told me taking me home. Not my home, never my home.”

“Rose has phoned the hospital, they won't let him take you. He can't go against the doctor's recommendation without your consent. You are safe Jesse, he can't take you.”

“Scared.” I managed to get out.

“I know honey, I know. I will be there as soon as I can. I will wrap you up in the biggest cuddle.”

There was a knocking on the door. “They are coming Jenny!”

“That is probably the nurses making sure you are alright. Let me just check with Rose.” I heard Jenny saying something to Rose, but I couldn't make out the words. “Rose has asked them to stop knocking and wait for us to arrive. I think your grandfather has been asked to leave.”

“Scared Jenny, so scared.” I started crying.

Jenny spent the next fifteen minutes trying to sooth me, but I couldn't stop crying.

“We're here. Listen at the door and you will hear my voice.” Jenny told me.

I moved to the door and heard her calling 'Jesse' repeatedly. I unlocked the door and cautiously opened it a bit. When I saw Jenny and the girls there, I opened it wide and fell into their arms.



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