The Manor House Ch. 03byvelvetpie©
Light. Bright yellow light and the scent of flowers filled her available senses. Shandi swallowed dryly and blinked, jumping at the feel of another's touch, warm hands pressing something into her palm.
"Good morning, Mrs. Colvin."
The hands removed themselves from her, the soothing voice moving away along with them. She watched the woman move toward the window, pushing the heavy drapes aside and letting the sun into the room. With that accomplished, she flicked the harsh fluorescent lights off and came to the side of the bed.
"Smell them. There's nothing like the scent of a wild rose."
"Who are you?"
"I'm Rob, short for Robina and don't you ever call me that or I'll have your hide." She said the words with such a sunny smile that Shandi couldn't help but smile back, even though her face ached. "And I hear that you're Shandi."
Rob shook her head. "The name's Rob, NOT ma'am."
"And don't be sorry. It just shows that you had good raising. Were your parents Southern?"
Shandi nodded. "And my grandparents and my great-grandparents. Straight from the dark, rich soil of the Mississippi delta."
"Then what brought you all the way to Vermont?"
"Donnie." His name caught in her throat, just sliding past the painful ache of threatening tears. "He wanted to move here."
"So you don't have any family here?" Rob noticed the subtle shake of Shandi's head. "Well, then. I guess you'll just have to come home with me."
Shandi stared at her in confusion. "I have a home, Rob, a home and husband. I belong there."
Rob finished arranging the flowers for the umpteenth time and took the chair at the side of the bed, staring at the bruised and beaten young woman. "Your husband beat you, Shandi. The home you shared with him is no longer your home."
"Of course it is!" She laughed. "This?" She gestured with her injured hand. "This is nothing. I just upset him and ... "
"And he beat the tar out of you." Rob said in a stern voice. "And it's not the first time he's done it but hopefully, it will be the last time."
Shandi's smile melted into a painful grimace, her dark brown eyes filling with tears. "The last time?"
"Mr. Colvin is in jail, Shandi. He's charged with attempted murder."
"What? Attempted murder? Against who?"
It was Rob's turn to look confused. "Against you, Shandi. Don't you remember what happened?"
"Of course I do." The bright smile on her face contrasted with the sound of her voice. She remembered the beating and about how angry he had become. She'd never seen him that angry before and she remembered really being scared. A slap or a shove had never really made her afraid of him but this last beating ... even though she felt it was her fault, she knew that this beating was worse than ever.
"Do you remember the gun?" Rob watched the woman's features and knew what was going on in her mind. She'd seen it before and hoped that the lovely black woman would be able to work through it in time.
Rob took her hand, holding it gently. "He shot you in the head, Shandi. You were lucky, though. The shot just glanced off of your temple. He didn't have the gun at the right angle to kill you."
To kill you. Those chilling words took root in her brain and something inside her snapped. Her body began to tremble, then shake so violently that Rob began to grow concerned until the purest, most terrifying scream ripped from Shandi's throat. The duty nurse crashed through the door but Rob held up a hand, asking her to keep her distance and they both watched the young woman come to grips with the truth of her situation.
To kill you. Her husband had tried to kill her. The man to whom she'd devoted most of her life to and to whom she owed her life to, in a way. After all, who else would give an old black girl a chance at the fabulous life of being an assistant district attorney's wife? Sure, there were no kids but she could throw a party like no one else. She had all the smart drinks and the trendy party favors and as a result, a Colvin party invitation was the hottest ticket in town.
But along the way, something had changed. The pressures of his position had begun to take a toll on Donnie and he'd started slapping her around. Shandi had decided that, as a good wife, she had to take care of him and this was part of the deal. She got to enjoy the lavish lifestyle in return for a few pounds of flesh. But a gun? To kill you.
She felt exhausted, as if she'd been swimming upstream for miles and just now had a chance to rest. Tears covered her cheeks and she squeezed her good eye closed as sobs of pain made her chest ache.
"Why, Rob? Why would he want to kill me?"
Rob took the young woman's hand again, gently stroking the bruised back as Shandi sobbed aloud and continued until silence reigned again.