Chapter 14

Beatrice’s head had no sooner hit the pillow, than fists began pounding at her door.  The assault on her door continued in loud thumps and staccato taps as she sluggishly pulled on her robe and walked to the entryway.   Before unlocking the deadbolt, she glanced at the remnants of last night and stashed the empty bottle of wine from Arthur.  She was prepared to confront her cousin Gerald at the door about the quick return, but as she listened to the knocking she realized, at least two individuals were waiting.  Gerald had no wife or children, so it probably wasn’t him.  Mildly relieved, she opened the door to reveal Janelle standing with her youngest son on her hip and her second son standing next to her – his fists still up from knocking at the door.

“Good morning!” she said in a sing-song voice. “Do you mind if we come in?” she asked, despite her son having already bolted through the door; Beatrice waved her in.

“What do you need Janelle?” Beatrice sighed.  

“Oh nothing, I just thought since you were so hospitable yesterday the least I could do was return the favor!  I brought coffee for you and the rest of the family when they arrive, and I got us all donuts!  You know your neighborhood – I mean our neighborhood now –  has the most wonderful little bakery.  It really is a shame that we can’t stay here longer.”

Beatrice was in utter shock by the kindness Janelle was trying to show, although she recognized it would not be long until Janelle or her boys broke something.  Janelle was unlike the rest of the family, but for some reason she remained extremely loyal to them.

“You know,” Janelle continued, “if this job goes well, I am sure the rest of the family would love for you to come with us!  All of the children could to get to know you more and Aunt Te Te would be such fun to have around!” Janelle then began to reminisce about their childhood together and babbled fondly about it, despite Beatrice recalling the same stories much differently.

Suddenly, she knew.  Beatrice understood that this was her way in, this was how she could get her life back, and how she could finally be rid of her volatile cousins for good.  Janelle.  Well-meaning, good-intentioned, ever-loyal Janelle.  All Beatrice had to do was get Janelle to divulge where they went when they disappeared, and she would be free.  

Unfortunately, the realization was halted by the sound of a screeching dog.  Janelle’s son, Rodrick had pulled Pepe’s tail and proceeded to chase him around the coffee table, spilling both coffee mugs, and scattering  the remains of a powdered donut.  While Beatrice cleaned up this new mess, the cousins stampeded into her apartment again, led by Gerald Jr.  She marveled at the number of people and was as surprised as the day before that they actually fit.  

“Let’s get this over with,” she muttered.

-M.R. Gavin

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