A Pawn for Malice(11)By: Cynthia Roberts
Jessica watched as a huge flat screen rose from inside the cabinet and slowly shook her head in amazement.
She settled into one of the wide single seats mid-way down the aisle and buckled herself in. She could hear Allison inform the Captain they were clear for takeoff. The engines immediately revved. The wheels slowly rolled the jet back out of its ramp, maneuvering onto the taxiway, and they were third in line for takeoff.
She felt as though a thousand pounds had been lifted from her shoulders. She got away, she smiled triumphantly. She was finally free. Despite the euphoria she felt accomplishing the feat, she still could not help, but feel remorse for her part in Richard’s death. It bothered her terribly, regardless of the abuse and humiliation she was forced to endure. She knew her actions were justified. She knew she was a decent person. She knew she tried with all her might to salvage her marriage and beg Richard to get help.
But, she also knew in her heart, that Richard would have killed her that night, if she had not defended herself. Her eyes filled with tears, as she reflected on all the painful memories that would hold her hostage for quite some time. And the greatest loss most of all, was the child Richard took from her.
Her hand absently reached for her mid-section, as she gazed mindlessly out the window and slowly massaged the area, that once cocooned the babe she lost almost six months ago. There was nothing she could do then, despite her efforts to shield herself and safeguard the baby from his brutal attack. Tears streamed from her eyes, as she remembered the anguish and pain she bore and would haunt her for the rest of her life.
The moment the wheels touched down on the runway, Jessica felt safe for the first time in what seemed forever. She could not wait to see her Aunt and get on with her new life. Once the plane neared its private hangar, she released the seat belt and noticed a shiny, black town car was parked to the side. Her Aunt’s chauffeur, Martin, exited the car and opened the back door. Jessica’s eyes filled with tears, when her Aunt exited the vehicle and turned her gaze toward the plane.
Her Aunt’s broad smile sent a feeling of calmness to wash over her, and Jessica waved excitedly from the window. The hostess, Allison, let Jessica know she was clear to disembark the plane and Jessica popped out of her seat quickly. Patiently, she waited for Allison to unlock the cabin door. Jessica thanked the captain and hostess graciously, stepped over the threshold, and immediately descended the steps.
She watched as her Aunt walked briskly forward to greet her, and Jessica quickened her steps to close the gap between them. It was an emotional reunion , as they both broke into tears and wrapped their arms tightly about each other, plying each other’s cheeks with tender kisses, and speaking words of endearment.
Her Aunt held her at arm’s length and looked her over with a critical eye.
“You look ghastly, dear. Whatever have they done to you?” Her Aunt looked behind her and her gaze was puzzled. “No luggage?”
Jessica shook her head. “No, none … just what you see here,” she lifted the purse from her shoulder and pointed to her clothing. “I was being watched and had to move quickly.”
Florence sent her a look that made her gulp.
“Did he threaten you, that bastard?”
Jessica sighed deeply. “That, and more.” She looped her arm through her Aunt’s and directed her toward the town car. “I’ll fill you in on the way, okay?”
She focused her attention on Martin and extended her hand in greeting.
“Hello, Martin. It’s good to see you again.”
He was ever-so gracious as he bowed respectfully, before taking her hand tenderly between his big, brawny ones, speaking softly.
“Tis very good to see you too, Miss Jessie, and welcome home. It’ll be a pleasure serving you once again.”
A tender smile crossed her lips as she replied. “Martin, you’re a dear and the feeling is mutual I assure you. Will you go riding with me again?” She winked playfully. She knew from his reaction that her question pleased him. “I’m serious, Martin. I won’t ride with anyone, but you.”
There was a sentimental softness that shone in his eyes, as he smiled warmly and planted a fatherly kiss upon her brow. “I’m touched and would love nothing more.” He stepped toward the back door and opened it for them to enter, closed it, when they were both seated comfortably inside, and moved to the driver side, entering.
Just as the town car pulled away, her Aunt turned to her with a look of determination planted upon her face. Jessica knew what she was going to ask before the words slipped from her Aunt’s lips. She knew that Florence would be livid, but for her own safety, Jessica knew it would not be wise to hold anything back. She lifted her hand to forestall her Aunt’s words and inhaled deeply before she began to tell her about Hal and his offer.