Amelia forced herself back on the chair. She was shaking like an alcoholic coming down from a binge. For the first time in a while, tears rolled down the older female’s face. The one thing she knew was that she loved her sister. Mary was even named after her, though Spencer said it was after one of his relatives. He never bothered to ask Amelia why she insisted on that name.

“I need a drink now,” Amelia said. She meant it. Her hands shook, her stomach tight with knots, Amelia felt as though she would vomit.

Nicolette moved from the chair, placing a bottle of brandy on the table with one glass. She didn’t drink, nor would she ever take up that bad habit. Nicolette watched as her Aunt pulled the lid from the bottle, pouring herself a drink. Maybe she did need it. Living with Spencer, had to do some damage to the poor old woman. Though she drank his kool-aid daily, Nicolette wondered why she seemed to suffer from PTSD. Had Spencer done damage to his wife as well as his daughter? Nicolette couldn’t allow herself to care for the woman. Not yet, at least. She was the only connection she had to her Mother, so one day, she hoped to reflect on her Mother’s short life.

“Why didn’t you save Mary? Just like my own Mother, you allowed your daughter to be raped repeatedly by these sick men. Why?” Nicolette asked. She would never understand a mother who refused to see that her child was in pain and allow it to happen. At least Mary did the right thing and allowed Grace to have a family. Well, for a short period, at least. Nicolette knew that the love of a daughter is the only reason Grace was not with her biological Mother.

“I didn’t know that Spencer hurt her,” Amelia said.

Slamming her fist down on the table in anger, Nicolette unleashed her fury with words. Later, when the time was right, it would be done in vengeance. “You fucking liar. Don’t you remember when your daughter would come to you in the middle of the night crying? She would tell you to please not send her back to the room? Mary was being attacked nightly by her father and his friends, yet you allowed this to happen. What the fuck is wrong with you?” Nicolette demanded. “Your daughter was molested while you sipped that expensive brandy and turned a blind eye to her cries for help. How dare you tell me you didn’t know about this?” growled Nicolette.

Amelia shook her head tears rolled down her face. She would deny till her death that she knew about the abuse. She was once again playing victim to crimes she helped commit. People like that made Nicolette sick.

“I didn’t,” Amelia said, “realize what was happening until it was too late. Spencer would have left me if I stopped him. I can’t lose my husband because of the silly rantings of some lonely little girl.” Amelia poured herself another drink, her hand shaking more than before. “What could I do? She shouldn’t have looked like she did. Those short skirts and her lips all painted with gloss. She was always a daddy’s girl. He looked at her the way he looked at me when we first met,” she cried. She lifted the drink to her lips, trembling. Was this the moment that Amelia realized that she was wrong? Amelia looked up at her niece, the tears running down her face. There was a change in the woman. She no longer looked shocked. She could have stopped the torture but instead buried herself in a bottle until the screaming stopped. “I’m sorry,” Amelia whispered.

Nicolette never expected this apology. She didn’t need it to hear her Aunt’s shame. Gypsy was the real victim in all of this bullshit. “You can save that for when Gypsy comes here tomorrow. Or do you prefer I call her Mary?” Nicolette choked on the name. It was her mothers, and god help her. She needed her for the very first time.

“Mary, please, she is my little Mary. So bright and beautiful. Her spirit was once so radiant. She was the love of my life. I was so proud when I had a daughter, but,” she shrugged. Was Amelia finally realizing that when you have children, they will always come before anyone else? Even your husband. “I should have known about Spencer. I was just 16 when I got pregnant with William. That’s the reason that your Mother was sent away. My family didn’t want another one of their daughters to be taken advantage of by Spencer,” she whispered. “When your Mother was fifteen, Spencer tried to touch her in ways not appropriate. Given his money and status, my parents sent her away to save her, but she died suddenly. They said it was a flu that took her, but when her body came home for burial, they church cremated her,” Amelia whispered. “If only Spencer would have left her alone, she would still be alive. He took her away, and then, he took my Mary away as well. I am so sorry,” she said. Looking up at Nicolette, for the first time, Amelia confessed her hand in it all. She realized that she would have them both back in her life if she had stopped all of this.

“It’s time for you to rest. Tomorrow is a big day, and I need to rest as well,” Nicolette said. Her voice cracking, she needed to cry. Nicolette wanted so badly to have her Mother wrap her arms around her and tell her she would be okay, but life dealt her a hand that she couldn’t change. Though she could make sure that Grace never endured the same pain that Gypsy had suffered. “I have someone who will take you to a room. He will bring you dinner and tomorrow… I will see you tomorrow, Amelia,” she said.

Sitting on the edge of her bed, Nicolette allowed herself to grieve for her Mother. She cried over this woman she never knew, but she would never forgive those that took her. When this was over, that church would burn for the secrets held within its hallowed walls. No one would ever die on those marble floors again.

Have you met me? I’m Nicolette.
The one the Devil denies as his very own.
I will pick your flesh inch by inch only to consume all your sins,
Shhhh, don’t worry, when I’m done, you’ll have a one-way pass to heaven.
Sorry for the pain, but well, nothing comes without payment.

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