“Sasha, we need Vincent’s whereabouts. He’s supposed to cut the ribbon on the new town hall building at 3. Go there. Follow him. I’ll call you when I want you to come back. I want to know what he ate, when he slept, and if he had an itch, where did he scratch.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to peek at the package before I leave?”
“You know we can’t do it without Persia. I’m just as anxious as you, but we have work to do.”
“Can’t blame me for trying. See you later.”
Rome went into her office and relaxed in her chair. Her business, although very illegal, had done well for itself. She meditated often on her how her past led her here.
“Rome, I can’t take it anymore.” Persia said.
“I know, I know. We are going to get out of here.”
“How? We don’t have any money. We don’t have anywhere to go. We are stuck here until we turn 18.” Sasha wept.
“I need you guys to trust me.” Rome said.
She knew they were tired of their foster parents. She had grown weary herself, but she couldn’t let them see it. She had a plan to get them out of there and to a better life. They just had to hold on a little longer.
“Can you do that for me?” Rome asked.
They nodded in unison. Rome was a saving grace for Persia and Sasha. She was adopted by the foster family that took them in and was their protector ever since. She entered the system when she was 15 while her mother was fighting trumped up charges in court. On the other hand, Sasha and Persia were born into the system. They were adopted by the same family when they turned 5. They have been together ever since.
“Let’s try to get some sleep, we have school in the morning.”
They huddled up and tried their best to drift off.
“What’s up Sasha? Is Vincent done already?”
“Even better, he pulled up to the Four Seasons with a leggy blonde.”
“He couldn’t be dumb enough to show up to a hotel with a woman.”
“Oh but he is. I’m sending you pictures now. I think she’s his assistant.” Sasha said.
“Follow them to the hotel room. Take pics of everything and don’t let them out of your sight. We won’t have to kill the bastard after all.”
Rome arrived at a ranch in the country an hour later. The smell of manure was enough to make her gag.
“I don’t know how people live with animals.” she thought to herself.
She held her nose and rang the doorbell.
A petite woman answered the door. Her wrinkled face complimented the gray strands that peeked through her brunette hair.
“How can I help you?” she said.
“Hi. I’m here to see Crystal.”
“You must be Rome, please come right on in. I’m Marsha, Crystal’s aunt.”
“Nice to meet you, Marsha.”
Rome followed Marsha into the dining room.
“You are dressed much too fancy to be down here with country folk, Rome.” Marsha said.
“Next time I’ll come properly dressed.”
“Maybe I can teach you how to how to saddle a horse.”
“I’ll consider it. Can I have the room with Crystal and Persia please?”
“I know that husband of hers has been knocking her and the kids around. I told her to let me take my shotgun up there with the fancy folk and teach him a lesson.”
“As nice as an offer as that is Aunt Marsha, I can’t let you do that. Why don’t you take the kids and let them pet the horses?” Crystal said.
“I suppose. Holler if you need me. Come on, Ryan and Rachel, let’s go pet the horses.”
“Thank you for coming, Rome. What was so urgent?”
Persia and Rome shot each other a look across the dining room table.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” Persia said.
“What’s going on? Is he dead already?”
“No, there is a change of plans.” said Rome.
“I want him dead. Do you see the bruises on my arms, my neck, my ribs? He deserves to die for what he did to me, to our children. I never thought he would put his hands on them. Never!”
“Crystal, did you sign a prenup?”
“We married right out of high school. We didn’t have two pennies to rub together. There was no need for a prenup. Why?”
“We have reason to believe Vincent has been having an affair. I know you want him dead, but he doesn’t suffer this way. You have no prenup, the ball is in your court. You can demand anything you want. Divorce is a real option here. This is your way out.”
Crystal bit her bottom lip, but said nothing.
“Is there anything you want, Crystal? We can get it for you. Your children’s education can be paid for until they are tired of getting degrees. You can keep the condos and the houses, the maids, car service, it’s all yours.” Persia said.
“Do you have proof?” Crystal said.
“My constituent is following your husband and the woman we suspect at the Four Seasons as we speak, she has been sending pictures and video.” said Rome.
“Good. I want his bank accounts emptied. I want every dime and I want him out of office. I want to go public with this and I want to make sure this never happens again.”
“Those are reasonable demands that we can make happen. You’re brave to come forward and speak your truth. We will be with you every step of the way. There is a possibility that he would serve jail time.”
“Perfect. I hope he rots for the rest of his days.”
“Persia, help her gather the kids. I’m going to check with Sasha and make sure she is still on them.”
Rome and Crystal met Sasha in the lobby of the Four Seasons.
“They are in room 1827.” said Sasha.
The three women headed up on the elevator.
“It’s about damn time, you took forever.”
“Dear put on some clothes before you open the door.” said Vincent.
“Pass me my robe.” said the leggy blonde.
The door swung open. A swift kick to the stomach rendered the leggy blonde useless. Crystal stared at the woman clutching her stomach.
“I trusted you with my husband. You’ve been in my home. Assistant my ass.”
“Crystal! You do not stoop to his level. That is not how we resolve this.” Rome said.
“Vincent you are going down, I knew you were having an affair with that bitch, I just needed proof.” Crystal spat.
His nose flared. You could see the steam coming off his head. He raised his hand.
“Senator! I wouldn’t do that if I were you. There are several witnesses here and your career is already in jeopardy.” said Sasha
“Think long and hard Vincent Harold Chapman. How you handle this depends on whether you live to see another day.”
His hand lowered.
“What do you want Crystal?” he said.
“Everything! You play this my way and you don’t go to jail. At least not yet.”
“Senator Chapman, sit down.”
His eyes narrowed.
“That is not a request. You will listen to your wife’s demands or I will have the police come arrest you and the paparazzi here to film every embarrassing moment. Now sit.”
“What is your name?” Rome said to the leggy blonde.
“Alice. This is Sasha, she is going to take you to the bathroom to get you straightened up and to make sure everything is ok. Is that ok with you?”
“Senator Chapman, my client has a list of demands that will be met by you.”
“I like a challenge, Vincent. I have ways of making people do things I want them to do. I know people, I know things you don’t want me to know. I will ruin your career. I will run your name so far through the mud you’ll be left wondering why you existed. I will make your life a living hell, and this is not a threat. This is a promise. Are you ready to meet her demands?”
“What are they?”
“You have been a very bad boy. Cheating with no prenup, domestic violence, a gambling habit. The list really goes on.”
“Get to the point.” he said.
“Crystal wants eight million dollars and all 5 properties.”
“No. I’m not agreeing to that. Are you back snorting Crystal? You think I will give you everything and have nothing for myself? I worked too hard for this.”
“You worked too hard for this? I remember this being an equal partnership. I helped you build everything you have. I never wanted to play the housewife. I wanted to keep working. I wanted to run my own company, not play a maiden. After I had the twins I sacrificed everything for us. You wanted this life, and when I gave it to you, you put your hands on me every chance you could. You should be grateful to still have air in your lungs.” Crystal said.
Vincent sunk in his chair.
“Shall we continue?” Rome asked.
“Please.” said Crystal.
“Crystal, also wants you to go to rehab. Now, before you decline, rehab is your get out of jail free card. You go to rehab and therapy as a family and she won’t press charges. If you choose not to go to rehab you lose everything. If you don’t want to do it for yourself think of your children. Ryan and Rachel are already suffering from this. You have a chance to correct this. The side effects of domestic violence will seep into parts of their lives you couldn’t begin to imagine. Reverse this while you have time.”
“I have a job to do.”
“You are taking a hiatus until you get out of rehab. Your family will stick by your side until you get out and then you and Mrs. Chapman will sign the divorce papers. You can rebuild yourself. You can even keep your job, but you owe your family this.”
“I will do this, but she gets six million and I keep the condo in Manhattan.”
“Can you agree to that Crystal?”
“I have no objections.”
“Good. Let’s get out of here. We will see you tomorrow for the press conference Senator Chapman. Let’s go Sasha.” Rome called out.
The three women exited the hotel room to the elevator.
“I didn’t think he would agree to six million and 4 of the 5 properties.” Crystal said.
“I told you to trust me. Aim high and put everything on the table. He knew better than to call my bluff.”
Crystal’s hands trembled.
“You did great in there. I think the therapy will help him. I wish there were more brave women out there. Be proud of yourself.”
“Thank you Rome.”
“No, thanks needed. Persia will take you and the children home.”
Rome and Sasha exited the elevator and disappeared like thieves into the night.